Create a Surreal Picture in Photoshop

Final result

Starting materials

Step 1

First create a new document (600X700px).

Open the image with the landscape. Move this image to our working paper by arranging / applying scaling, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 2

Next, reduce Opacity (opacity) layer with a landscape of up to 45%, and then using a layer mask, process the top of the image (use a large soft black brush on the layer mask).

Now to the landscape layer, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation). Do not forget to convert this adjustment layer to the clipping mask for the layer with the landscape, so the correction of this adjustment layer will affect only the bottom layer, i.e. layer with a landscape.

Settings for the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Color tone (Hue): 0
Saturation (Saturation): -60
Brightness (Lightness): 0

Step 3

Next, open the original texture with crumpled paper. Move this paper texture to our working paper by rotating / applying the scaling. Reduce the opacity of the paper texture layer to 25%. Reducing the opacity will create a gentle blending effect.

Step 4

Next, add a couple of vector patterns. Arrange floral patterns in the corners of our picture.

Name the layers with patterns ‘flowers in the background’. Next, reduce the opacity of these layers to 25%, and then using a layer mask, process the flower patterns to combine them with the main background:

Step 5

Next, create a new layer, name this layer ‘Circle’. Create a large circular selection in the center of our composition, and then fill the selection. Radial gradient (radial gradient). Gradient colors from 90294b to 631c34.

Next, to the layer with the circle, add a layer mask and using a standard grunge brush with an opacity of about 15%, process the center of the circle:

Step 6

Next, with the tool Pipette (eye-dropped tool), take a color tone sample from the background.

Create a new layer, name this layer ‘Arbitrary lines’. Using the 1px brush, draw arbitrary lines within the drawn circle:

Step 7

Next, we will add floral patterns along the edge of our circle.

So add a floral pattern as shown in the screenshot below.

Next, go Editing – Transformation – Deformation (edit> transform> warp). Using tool Deformation (warp tool), warp the floral pattern so that it fits under the bend of the circle.

Now to the floral pattern layer, add a layer mask and using a large soft black brush, process the bottom of the pattern to create a shading with a circle, as well as create a smooth transition:

To the same floral pattern layer, apply a layer style Color overlay (color overlay).

Apply the following settings to the layer style. Color overlays (Color Overlay):

Blend mode (Blend Mode): Soft light (Soft Light)
Colour (Color): e70000
Opacity (Opacity): 100%

Step 8

Now, repeat Step 7, adding more flower patterns along the contour of your circle:

Step 9

Now open the original image with the raven. You can separate the image of a crow from the background with the help of any selection technique that is easier for you to work with. I personally used the tool. Lasso (lasso tool), because I knew that we would not need the background in this image.

Next, on the raven layer, apply two adjustment layers as clipping masks so that the correction of the correction layers affects only the image of the raven, not the entire composition:

Settings for the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Color tone (Hue): 0
Saturation(Saturation): -100
Brightness(Lightness): -10

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Levels):

36 / 1.00 / 253

Step 10

Next, we will add a series of new layers to create glare using radial gradients, which we will apply in the image area of ​​the crow to enhance the light / color of our composition.

The screenshot below shows, I used radial gradients, gradient colors from blue to transparent, from orange to transparent and from white to transparent (each gradient should be used on a separate layer). Further, I reduced the opacity of each layer with a gradient to about 10-20%, and also changed the blending mode for each layer to Overlap (overlay). This will add a truly delicate and at the same time attractive color shades to our picture:

Step 11

Create a new layer, name this layer ‘Blick’.

Fill the layer with black color, change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening (screen). This mode will hide the black fill, but allow you to apply a highlight without negatively affecting the pixels. So let’s go Filter – Rendering – Blick (filter> render> lens flare) and in the window that appears, install Lens type (Lens Type) 50-300mm Zoom, and the value Brightness (Brightness) at 100%. Try to position the highlight on the crow’s eye. In order to position the highlight correctly, it is possible that you will have several attempts.

As soon as you have placed the flare, further reduce the opacity of the layer with the flare to 80%. In the screenshots below, you can see the flare layer under the mode Normal (normal), as well as the result when Lightening (screen).

Step 12

Next, add text at the bottom of our picture, write the word ‘flight’.

Font settings:

Font: FatC
Font size: 82pt
Color classification: 831d15
Kerning (Kerning): 0

Next, to the text layer, add a layer mask and using a standard low-opacity grunge brush, process individual sections of the text to create a faded grunge look:

Step 13

Using tool Rectangular area(marquee tool), create a rectangular area. Create a rectangular shape, fill the created rectangle with a color shade d2d2d2. Next, without removing the active selection, go Selection – Modification – Compress (select> modify> contract) and apply a compression value of 30px. Next, press the (delete) key and you will get a nice rectangle.
Translator’s Note: Do not be creating a new layer.

Now to the rectangle layer, apply the layer style Inner shadow (inner shadow) to make the rectangle look nice.

Apply the following settings to the layer style. Inner shadow (Inner Shadow):

Blend mode (Blend Mode): Normal (Normal)
Opacity (Opacity): 100%
Colour (Color): ffffff
Angle (Angle): 120
Bias (Distance): 5px
Tightening (Choke): 0%
The size (Size): 7px

Step 14

Now we go Editing – Transformation – Distortion (edit> transform> distort) to distort the shape of the rectangle and create a sense of perspective.

Create a new layer below the layer with the rectangle shape, name this layer ‘dark planes’. Now, with the tools Lasso (lasso tool) and Gradient(gradient tool), create a plane along the contour of the rectangle to create a 3D view.

Now, move the 3D frame up by placing it in the upper left corner of the picture. Create a new layer below the rectangular frame layer, name this layer ‘shading beyond the frame’, and then, using a large soft black brush and low opacity, paint the shadows over the upper left corner of the picture. This will help create a sense of depth, because our gaze is directed through the frame.

Step 15

Now open the pen image in the new document.

To separate the pen from the background, we use the selection technique using Color range(color range). This is the easiest way, because The image has a white background. Just go Selection – Color Range (select> color range).

Next, using Pipette (eye dropper tool), click on the white background. Click ‘OK’ and then go Selection – Inversion (select> inverse) to invert the active selection (thus creating a selection around the pen). Copy / paste the pen on our working paper, then use a mask or eraser to clean the edges of the pen image:

Step 16

Next, duplicate the feather layer. Zoom out the duplicate with the pen, and then move the pen up, over the rectangular frame. Using tools Distortions (distort tools), warp the pen so that it differs from the original pen, adding variety to our picture.

Next, to the duplicate layer with a pen, add a layer mask and using a hard black brush, hide part of the pen to create the feeling as if the pen is hidden behind the frame.

Step 17

Now we need to combine our pen with the setting. To do this, add a correction layer to the duplicate layer with a pen. Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation) as well as an adjustment layer Levels (levels). Do not forget to convert each adjustment layer to a clipping mask so that the correction of the specified adjustment layers affects only the layer with the pen, and not the entire composition:

Settings for the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Color tone (Hue): 0
Saturation (Saturation): -100
Brightness(Lightness): 0

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Levels):

19 / 1.00 / 241

Step 18

Now, create another duplicate of the pen layer, but this time save the pen size. Apply the same adjustment layers to the pen layer to reduce saturation, as well as adjust levels. Next, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (filter> blur> gaussian blur). Apply a blur radius of 3.8px. Using the blur filter, we will create a sense of depth, because a blurry feather will appear closer to the viewer.

Step 19

Now, repeat the technique, add more feathers. Do not forget to apply adjustment layers to each layer with a pen, as well as vary the blur radius, applying the greatest blur to the feathers in the foreground, to emphasize the depth of field. Also, don’t forget to use the tool. Deformation (warp tool) for a variety of feathers, and also helps to repeat the contour of the central circle when the feathers are deformed:

Step 20

If you remember, we previously created gentle light / color effects using radial gradients, which we applied over the crow, and then reduced the opacity of the created effects to about 10% to create beautiful gentle lighting effects. Now repeat this technique, the only thing is to create light effects on top of a rectangular frame in the upper left corner of our picture.

In the screenshots below, you can see the application of radial gradients with a layer opacity of 100%, as well as a result with a layer opacity of 20% and blending mode Overlap (overlay):
Translator’s Note: To create an effect, use multiple layers.

Step 21

Create a new layer, name this layer “bleaching / darkening”. Next, go Editing – Run Fill (edit> fill) fill layer 50% gray (50% gray). This will allow you to brighten / darken pixels without damage.

Change the blending mode to Overlap (overlay) to hide 50% gray fill, and then using a soft black brush (about 10% opacity), add a darkening to the image. Next, using the same brush, set the brush color to a white tint, start adding light highlights. Thus, we can easily add chiaroscuro to your image.

In the screenshots below, you can see the application areas of the tools. clarifier / dimmer(dodge / burn) with mode Normal (normal), as well as the result when Overlap (overlay):

Step 22

Next, add 3 final adjustment layers on top of all other layers. Do NOT convert these adjustment layers into clipping masks, since we make a general correction of the whole picture.

Settings for the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Color tone (Hue): 0
Saturation(Saturation): -20
Brightness(Lightness): 0

Settings for the adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map):

Gradient colors: ae8108 to 053141
Opacity (Opacity): 15%
Blend mode (Blend Mode): Normal (Normal)

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Levels):

20 / 0.94 / 236

Step 23

Finally, we need to apply sharpness to the central part of our composition. The easiest and safest way is to create a merged layer, and then duplicate the merged layer.

Next, go Filter – Sharpness – Contour Sharpness (filter> sharpen> unsharp mask).

Apply the following settings for the filter Contour sharpness (Unsharp Mask):

Effect(Amount): 80%
Radius(Radius): 4.0 pixels
Threshold(Threshold): 0 levels

Finally, on the layer with contour sharpness, add a layer mask and using a big soft black brush, paint over the edges of the image to hide the effect of the sharpness filter. Thus, the contour sharpness will remain only in the central part of our picture in the area of ​​the crow. This should focus the attention of the observer to the central part, as well as add clarity to the image:

And we have completed the lesson!

I hope you liked this lesson, and you learned something useful for yourself! Have a nice time doing this tutorial.

Final result

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