Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

Create an Underwater Scene of a Mermaid

The underwater world is really exciting and with this tutorial, you can move there with your imagination! This tutorial will show you how to create an underwater scene using only one stock, create a mermaid with a hand drawn tail, and add bubbles created from scratch. Read this tutorial to learn how to create this amazing underwater photo manipulation!

What you’ll be creating

In this tutorial, you will start from creating underwater scene with only one stock. Then, you will make beautiful mermaid tail. After that, you can make water bubbles. After all, you will finish by creating nice adjustments, to match all colors. You’ll need Photoshop CS5.5 or newer to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Start from creating new file File > New.


Step 2

Add new Adjustment layer with Solid Color. It will be our background. I used #16505a, but you can pick any other color for your work :).


Step 3

Add new layer (Layer > New > Layer or by shortcut) . In your color picker set black and white colors. From top menu choose Filter > Render > Clouds.


Step 4

Now, from the top menu choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. Then, change blending mode to Soft light.


Step 5

In underwater surfaces, light goes from top. Bottom of image should be darker, so add Adjustment layer with gradient fill. Set linear black-transparent gradient, as is shown.


Decrease opacity of created gradient fill to 55%.


Step 6

In your color picker set dark turquoise color (#16505a). From adjustments menu, choose Gradient fill. Now, set radial gradient.

step-006After all, change blending mode of created gradient fill to Multiply, decrease opacity of this layer to 55%. It’s because more important parts of your image, should be brighter.


Step 7

Place underwater stock to your file. Change blending mode of this layer to Color dodge and decrease opacity to 53% – we’ll use underwater particles from this stock.


Step 8

As you can see, on the top is rough splash of light. Try to fix it. Click on mask of your layer (right side, white canvas). Pick big, soft brush and gently erase problematic fragment.


Step 9

Now You’ll make light rays. Add new layer (Layer > New > Layer or by shortcut). Pick big, soft brush and set blue color – or whatever you want – try to take monochromatic to your background color (If you don’t know, what color you should use, see Kuler tool from Adobe). Draw one big dot on your image.


Step 10

Transform it as is shown. Put your ray to the top of the image. Just press ctrl + T and play with arrows :).


Step 11

Repeat it (step 9-10). Create more light rays. I’ve created five rays. Avoid using the same color. Then, change blending mode of created layers to screen.


Step 12

Time to small sparkles. Load “Sparkles Brush” – from tool menu choose brush tool. Go to menu with choosing brush. Click on small arrow on the top. Choose Load Brushes…. Your loaded brushes should be on the bottom of your brush menu.


Step 13

Add new layer. Use “Sparkles brush” and draw some on the center of the picture. I used light-green color. Don’t go overboard with the amount of sparkles. It may looks unsightly.


Because sparkles are too light, change opacity and blending mode of this layer – Linear Dodge (Add), 18%.

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