photoshop creative

How to create an underwater scene, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 30, 2013

Learn to edit with filters and blend modes inside Photoshop to submerge a room under water, swimmer included!

Download all the files you need for this tutorial here

underwater effect in photoshop


First you need to edit your photo of a room. In this example we need to get rid of the cars you can see through the doorway. Zoom in and use the Pen tool to draw a path around the bits you want to remove, holding the Alt/Opt key. After you’ve finished, Ctrl/right-click on the path, choose Make Selection and delete the images.


Duplicate the room’s layer and, using the Burn tool, change Range to Highlights and lower the Exposure to 20%. Using a Soft Round brush, start carefully painting the wall corners to create some shadows. Increase and decrease the brush size to be more precise by pressing [ and ] on your keyboard.


Let’s change the colour to add a swimming pool tone. Hold Ctrl/Cmd+U, open the Hue/Saturation window, tick the Colorize box and change Hue to 180. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, change the Value to 3px and apply the effect.


Press Ctrl/Cmd+ L to open the Levels dialog and increase the brightness just a little. Darken the image using the Input Levels before one final adjustment, via Image>Adjustments>Channel Mixer. Using the output Channel Red, decrease the Blue to around -20 and the Constant to  – 10, then click OK.


Open a new layer and, using the Rectangular Marquee tool, select a big square and fill with white. Go to Filter>Render>Difference Clouds and apply the effect. Open the filter again and go to Artistic>Plastic Wrap, increase the values and apply the effect.

 STEP 06

Use the Free Transform tool to grab the corners and adjust the water image you’ve just created. Try to follow the room’s perspective to give a more realistic feeling to the image, change the blend mode to Overlay.


Now to soften the edges using a mask. Ctrl/Cmd-click on the water layer thumbnail to select it and then, at the bottom of the Layers palette, click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Click on the mask thumbnail and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and increase the value to 20px to soften the edges.


Create a new layer and, with the Rectangular Marquee tool, create a rectangle and fill it with white. Click Filter>Difference Clouds then go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold and click OK. Now go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur, change the blur method to Zoom, slide the Blur Center to the top right and click OK, changing the blend mode to Soft Light. Erase the hard edges, using a soft eraser brush.

Continue to part 2 of this tutorial…