photoshop creative
Nov
9

Composite with adjustment layers

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 9, 2016

Unleash colour adjustment layers and masks to create an incredible surreal composition!


final

1. Set the stage

ss_fish-island_step1_set-the-stage

Go to File>New. Name it Fish-Island and set the Width to 460mm, Height to 310mm, Resolution to 300, and then click OK. Now go to View>New Guide. Set the Orientation to Horizontal, Position to 125mm and click OK.

2. Place the sea floor

ss_fish-island_step2_place-the-sea-floor

Add an image of a sea floor. Grab the middle-top handle and drag it down to squeeze the image under the guide line, then hit Return/Enter. The tones of the image need to be improved. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input levels to 15, 0.90, 254.

3. Add the cliff

ss_fish-island_step3_place-the-rock

Place a cliff. In the Options Bar, set the Width to 10% and Height to 20%. Drag the image to the bottom left and hit Return/Enter. Now grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the cliff. Then create a layer mask. Go to Layer> Layer Mask>Reveal Selection.

4. Blend the images

ss_fish-island_step4_blend-the-images

Grab a soft brush (B). Start painting over the mask to hide the cliff base. Aim to create a jagged surface and also hide the area above the guide line. Now go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 3 pixels and click OK.

5. Adjust the colours

ss_fish-island_step5_adjust-the-colours

Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. Check ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’, change the blend mode to Color and click OK. In the Color Picker window, set colour to #109670 and click OK. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Set Brightness to -50, Contrast to 0 and clip the layers.

6. Duplicate and flip

ss_fish-island_step6_duplicate-and-flip

Hold Shift and select the Cliff layers and the colour adjustments layers. Now press Cmd/Ctrl+G to create a group. Click Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it, then go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal. Place a landscape image. Resize it and place it above the guide line.

7. Bring in the rocks

ss_fish-island_step7_place-the-rocks

Place a rock. Go to Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object. Now go to Select>Color Range. Check Localized Color Cluster, set Fuzziness to 20, Range to 70%, check Invert and select the plus eyedropper. Position the eyedropper pointer over the sky and click all around to select the colours. Now create a layer mask.

8. Resize and duplicate

ss_fish-island_step8_resize-and-duplicate

Grab a soft brush (B) and enhance the mask. Hide half of the rock and then apply the mask (Layer>Layer Mask> Apply). Open the Free Transform tool (Cmd/ Ctrl+T), resize the image and place it over the cliff. Now go to Layer>Matting>Remove White Matte. Duplicate the image (Cmd/ Ctrl+J) and place it on the other side.

9. Introduce the fish

ss_fish-island_step9_place-the-fish

Place the fish and rasterize the layer (Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object). Let’s fix the colour cast. Go to Image>Adjustments>Match Color. Check Neutralize and click OK. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the fish. Create a layer mask and refine it. Hide the area above the guide line.

10. Add an adjustment layer

ss_fish-island_step10_add-an-adjustment-layer

Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. Check ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’, change blend mode to Color, Opacity: 40% and click OK. In the Color Picker, set colour: #109670 and click OK. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Inputs to 0, 0.90, 255 and clip the layers.

11. Create shadows and highlights

ss_fish-island_step11_create-shadows-and-highlights

Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Shadows/ Highlights. Check ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’, blend mode: Overlay, check ‘Fill with Overlay-neutral color’ and click OK. Grab the Burn tool (O) to paint the shadows on the fish. Use the Dodge tool (O) to add the highlights.

12. Place the texture

ss_fish-island_step12_place-the-texture

Place a rock texture. Click Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G to create a clipping mask. Now hit Cmd/Ctrl+U. Check Colorize, then set Hue: 145, Saturation: 20, Lightness: 0 and click OK. Add a layer mask and use a soft brush to blend the images.

13. Incorporate the island

ss_fish-island_step13_place-the-island

Place an island. Now go to Select>Color Range. Check Localized Color Cluster, set Fuzziness to 20, Range: 70%, check Invert and select the plus eyedropper. Click all around the sky to select the colours. Now create a layer mask. Resize and place it on top of the fish.

14. Use custom brushes

ss_fish-island_step14_custom-brushes

Grab the Brush tool, hit F5, click on the Brushes Presets. Click in the top-right corner, choose Load Brushes, and load some water brushes. Play with different brushes to add waves and waterfalls. To create the water line, use a wave brush and apply the Gaussian Blur.

15. Apply final touches

ss_fish-island_step15_final-touches

Paint the aquatic plants using brushes. Add the fishes, the pelicans and the ship. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Lookup. Click OK and choose Load Device Link Profile>Smokey to enhance the colours.