photoshop creative

Create Jimnah Njue’s Lost Aquarium in four steps!

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 4, 2015

Create this image with Jimnah’s tutorial!


1. The background


Create the background using a water texture and a sea bed. Add a layer mask to the sea bed layer and use the gradient tool (make sure the gradient is set to “Black to Transparent”) to mask the top part of the sea bed. Be sure to hold down shift to mask at a 90-degree angle. This creates a smooth transition between the water texture and the sea bed.

2. Create the aquarium


Create a cuboid shape to simulate the basic shape of an aquarium using the Pen Tool and use it to mask the background you just created. Add an image of the ocean top and the water edges then begin adding subjects to the composition. Cut them out from their backgrounds using the Pen and Quick Selection Tools and use Scale and Perspective Transform commands to fit the subjects into the aquarium and simulate depth. Use a black, low opacity and flow brush to paint in shadows. Use Colour Overlay Layer Style to the objects and use Soft Light and Colour blend modes to match them to the sea. Use custom brushes to create waves of impact on the model and paint in air bubbles.

3. Combine background and subject


Create the background using a sky texture and a desert landscape and blend them using a layer mask on one of the layers and a soft round brush to create a smooth transition between them. Add in the moon and mask it to blend it with the sky. Use Hue/Saturation and Levels adjustment layers to match the colour and contrast.

4. Finishing off


Using a soft low opacity and flow brush, paint in the aquarium’s shadows and use the Colour Dodge blend mode to create the water glow effect and its colour cast on the ground. Perform the final adjustments using the Dodge and Burn Tools to enhance the shadows and highlights and use the Colour Balance and Curves adjusment layers to enhance colour and contrast of the overall image.

Check out more of Jimnah’s work here, and follow the tutorial on YouTube!