Create a surreal tree in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a surrealistic picture using various techniques of creating photo manipulations. You will learn how to combine source images and how to turn day to night. We will also create light effects and more.

First we will create the background using the original image of the grass and sky. Next, we will add a tree, a girl, a few moons, and then combine them with the help of adjustment layers, masks and a brush. Next, we use several adjustment layers to turn day to night. In conclusion, we will create lighting effects to add the final touch to our picture.

To complete this tutorial, you will need Photoshop version CS3 or higher.

Final result

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop. Set the following settings, which are shown in the screenshot below:

Step 2

Open the original image with grass. Using tool Move (Move Tool (V)) move this image to our working paper, placing it as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 3

Next, add a correction layer to the grass layer. Color tone \ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask to reduce grass saturation. So let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation):

Step 4

Next, add an adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) as a clipping mask to change the color of the grass:

Step 5

Next, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) as a clipping mask to darken the grass:

Switch to the adjustment layer mask Curves (Curves) and using a standard soft black brush with opacity (Opacity) approximately 40-50%, hide the correction of the curves in the foreground:

Step 6

Open the original image with the sky. Using tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool (M)) highlight the sky. Move the selected part of the sky to our working paper, placing it at the top of our scene. Using tool Free transformation (Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T)), apply scaling to fit our working paper:

Add a layer mask to the sky layer by clicking on the corresponding icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Next, use a soft black brush to process the hard edges of the sky image to create a smooth transition and combine it with the grass image:

Step 7

Add a correction layer to the sky layer. Curves (Curves) as a clipping mask to darken the sky:

Step 8

Next, add a correction layer to the sky layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask so that the color shades of the sky layer and the grass layer match each other:

Step 9

Open the original image with the tree. Since This image has a transparent background, then simply move the tree image to our working paper with the tool Move (Move Tool).

Add a layer mask to the tree layer and use the soft black brush to process the lower part of the tree to combine the tree with grass:

Step 10

Select the branch on the tree image. Move the selected part of the branch, located on the left side of the tree:

Use the layer mask to align the branch with the trunk:

Step 11

The light will come from above from several moons, so we have to add a shadow to the tree. To do this, create a new layer below the tree layer. Hold the keys (Ctrl + Shift) + click on the thumbnail of the tree and branch to load the active selection around them:

Fill the selected area (Shift + F5) with black color, then convert the layer into a Smart Object. Flip the black fill vertically, for this we go Editing – Transformation – Flip Vertically (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical) and using Free transformation (Ctrl + T), transform the shadow as shown in the screenshot below. Decrease opacity (Opacity) layer with shadow up to 70%:

Using a layer mask, loosen the shadow on the branches that are removed from the ground:

Next, on the shadow layer, apply the filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur). Let’s go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Set the blur radius to 3 px:

Step 12

Create a new layer below the tree layer and using a soft black brush with an opacity of about 60%, paint the ground around the bottom of the tree, adding shading:

Step 13

Select layers with a tree, a branch and shadows, press the keys (Ctrl + G) to group them in one group. Change the blending mode for the layer with group to Normal (Normal), opacity (Opacity) 100%. Create a new adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of layers with a tree and a branch to reduce the brightness of the images:

Next, go to the adjustment layer mask. Curves (Curves) and with the help of a black brush, hide the shading on areas that were already dark:

Step 14

Create another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to lighten up dark areas a bit:

Next, go to the adjustment layer mask. Curves (Curves) and with the help of a black brush hide the brightening on the areas that were already light:

Step 15

To fix the light on the trunk of the tree, create a new layer on top of the layer with the tree. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), opacity (Opacity) 100% and then fill with 50% gray:

Choose a tool Clarifier Dimmer (Dodge Burn Tool (O)). In the settings of this tool, set Range (Ranges) on Mid tones (Midtones), and the value Exposure (Exposure) approximately, by 20-30%. With the help of this tool, correct the light and shadows on the tree. In the screenshots below, you can see the brush processing under the mode Normal (Normal), as well as the result when Overlap (Overlay):

Step 16

Open the original image with the girl. Move the image with the girl to our working paper, placing the girl next to the tree. Remove the white background using a layer mask (you can use the model image of your choice):

Create a new layer below the model layer. Using a soft black brush, draw shadows on the ground around the model image:

Step 17

To the model layer, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask to reduce the saturation of the model image:

Step 18

Create a new layer using the same settings we used in Step 15. Next, use the tool Clarifier / Dimmer (Dodge and Burn Tool), spend the correction of light and shade on the model image:

Step 19

It is time to enhance the contrast and color of the whole picture, as well as turn day to night. Create a new adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all layers:

Next, go to the mask for this adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) and using a soft black brush c opacity (Opacity) approximately 20-25%, hide the shading effect in the middle of the scene:

Step 20

Next, add an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) to enhance scene contrast:

Next, go to the mask for this adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) and using a soft black brush hide the level correction in the middle of the scene, as well as on top of the model:

Step 21

Next, create a new adjustment layer. Gradient Map (Gradient Map) on top of all layers:

Change the blending mode for the gradient map layer to Soft light (Soft Light), and also reduce opacity (Opacity) layer up to 90%:

Step 22

Next, create a new adjustment layer. Photo Filter (Photo Filter) to add warm tones to our scene:

Step 23

Open the original image with the moon. Move this image of the moon to our working paper, placing it on top of the branches of the tree. Separate the moon from the background using a layer mask. Duplicate the image of the moon several times, placing duplicate layers on top of the other branches:

Double click on the layers with the moon to apply the layer style Internal glow (Inner Glow). In the settings of this style, set the color to white:

Step 24

Group all the layers with the moon into one group. Using the adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo Filter) add warm tones to them:

Step 25

Next, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to make the moon brighter:

Step 26

It’s time to add some light effects. Create a new layer on top of all layers. Using a soft brush, color the # c0beaf brush, paint over the moons, as well as the sections of the branches that hold the moons. Change the blending mode for this layer to Hard light (Hard Light), opacity (Opacity) layer 100%:

Step 27

Create a new layer. Using the same brush, add light effects to the model image as well as to the ground. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), opacity (Opacity) 100%:

Step 28

Create a new layer. Using the same brush, paint over the edges of the tree. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light), opacity (Opacity) 100%:

We have completed the lesson. I hope you enjoyed this lesson, and you have learned a lot of interesting and useful things for yourself today! Thank you for your attention and good luck!

Final result

Lesson psd file

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