Learn new tricks to create a semi-submerged scene using masks, layers and blend modes
Go to File>New to create a new document. Name it Half Submerged, and set the Width to 460mm, Height to 310mm, Resolution to 300dpi and then click OK. Now go to View>New Guide. Set Orientation to Horizontal, Position to 175mm and click OK.
Create a New Layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N) and name it River. Grab the Gradient tool (G) and open the Gradient Editor. Set the first colour stop to #2d371f and the second to #264d3b, then click OK. Place the cursor on top of the guide line, hold Shift and drag from top to bottom.
Go to File>Place and insert a water reflection. Drag the top-middle handle over the guide line and scale the image to fit. Hit Enter. Now to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Select the ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ option and hit OK. Set the Contrast to 98.
Let’s make the water clear and a little less saturated. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Select the ‘Use Preview Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ option and hit OK. Set the Saturation to -50 and the Lightness to +20.
Place some reeds into the picture. Duplicate your layer and go to Image>Adjustments>Black and White. Set Yellows and Greens to -200% and the Cyans, Blues, Magentas to 300% and click OK.
Open Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L). Drag the sliders to improve the contrast. Click Cmd/Ctrl+I and go to Windows>Channels. Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click on the RGB channel to select it. Press F7 and delete the Reed copy layer. Now, create a mask (Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection).
Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Apply. Open the Free Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T) and resize the image. Drag the image to the bottom right corner. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set the Radius to 5px and then click OK.
Go to File>Place and insert an idyllic lakeside tree scene. Drag it above the guide line, then smooth the bottom edge. Create a layer mask (Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal all). Use a soft tip brush at 600px in Size, set the foreground colour to black, and paint over the mask next to the bottom edge.
Create a new layer and name it Reflection. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to make a small selection (W:80 – H:70). Go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T and stretch across the canvas. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the angle to 0 degrees, the Distance to 250px>OK.