In this tutorial we will create an eerie floating island photo manipulation by using your vast imagination and the mighty power of Photoshop. I will introduce you to some simple editing techniques, smart objects, and adjustment layers. Let’s begin!

What you’ll be creating

This is a classic floating island scene with a touch of funny elements added to it. Multiple elements will merge together to create a believable scene. You will need Photoshop CS3 or later to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document 2400×3097 (Ctrl + N). Choose the Gradient Tool and create a gradient like shown below (set the foreground color to blue – #0068ae, foreground color to black and hold shift while dragging the gradient tool vertically).

Step 2

Open the file “Stars”. Select all (Ctrl + A) and copy (Ctrl + C). Go back to our document and paste (Ctrl +V). Convert the pasted layer into a smart object (right –click the layer in the layer palette and from the drop down menu choose “Convert To Smart Object”) and place the stars as shown below (use the Free Transform Tool – T).From now on convert all imported layers to smart objects. By doing this we will have an non-destructive workflow and we will be able to resize and apply various effects to the layer without permanently loosing pixel information.

Step 3

Add a layer mask to the stars layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All). Click on the layer mask to make it active and with the gradient tool drag from top to bottom (or inverse) to fill the lower part of the layer mask with black. This will blend seamlessly our stars layer with the blue background.

Step 4

Change the blending mode of the stars layer to Color Dodge in order to achieve the effect shown below.

Step 5

Create a Curves Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves). Use the settings shown below to increase the lightness of the background.

Step 6

Open the file “Grass”. Select all and copy/paste in our document. Use the Free Transform Tool (T) to position the grass layer as shown below.

Step 7

Add a layer mask to the grass layer. Select the gradient tool and fill seamlessly the upper part of the layer mask with black (just like we did on step 3) in order to blend the grass layer seamlessly with our scene.

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17 responses to “How to Create This Eerie Floating Island Photo Manipulation in Photoshop”

  1. Colin Avatar

    Wonderful tutorial, thank you so much for sharing it

  2. Samanta Avatar

    Its a very useful tutorial for all. Thank you

  3. Welvin, Da Great Avatar
    Welvin, Da Great

    bro, this looks like ass!

  4. Ana Sousa Avatar
    Ana Sousa

    The concept is nice, but the shadows are totally wrong. The illuminated side of the tree is on the opposite side of the light source, i.e. the sun, which is located on the left side. The shadows are placed as if the light is coming from the back, instead of the left side. Look at the tree, meerkat and baby shadow. The farmer’s shadow is correct and all the elements shadows should follow the same direction. Also, they should have placed some roots in the bottom of the tree to give the artwork more realism and the hole in the ground should have grass in its edge.

  5. Ana Sousa Avatar
    Ana Sousa

    It would look more realistic if it was used a grass brush around the edge of the hole and the island. The edge is too sharp.

  6.  Avatar

    The hole in the ground and the island could look more realistic if it was used a grass brush around the edge to make not to look so sharp.

  7. Collins Mark Avatar
    Collins Mark

    That is Great, Thank you very much. But please I will like to download it if is possible.

  8.  Avatar


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  10. Angelika Avatar

    This is a very good tutorial. I worked with it to make a birthday card for my mother in law – she will get a helper in her garden from us. But I am a little sad because the page with the download zip can not be find. But thank you for sharing this tutorial anyway

    1. Photoshop Tutorials Staff Avatar
      Photoshop Tutorials Staff

      Sorry about that – link has been fixed.

  11. Alexandru Gladciuc Avatar
    Alexandru Gladciuc


  12. Darshan Gajara Avatar
    Darshan Gajara

    Great tutorial, Johan.

  13. RevDude Dan Holoman Avatar
    RevDude Dan Holoman

    Larry, this is a great page to pick up some PS pointers!

    1. Larry Lear Avatar
      Larry Lear

      Thanks for thinking of me, your a swell guy… many thanks!!!

  14. Iftekhar Avatar

    hi thank u ,i like to know all about it please send to me ,how i can learn it ?nice to me

  15. KħâLệḓ Ẽł JââFâriy Avatar
    KħâLệḓ Ẽł JââFâriy

    عمل جميل

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