Create an underwater world in an aquarium in Photoshop

Are you ready for an interesting trip to the underwater world? In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw an aquarium and create an underwater world in it, as well as how to add fish and sea animals to liven up the underwater scene. So let’s get started!

The final result:

1. Create an aquarium

Step 1

Create a new working document with the following dimensions 900 x 900 px. Now using the tool Ellipse (Ellipse Tool (U)), draw 2 circles: one large circle to create the shape of the aquarium and one small circle for the upper open part of the aquarium. Apply scaling to the drawn shapes using Free transformation (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) so that they come together.

Once you have combined both circles, right-click on the layers with circles and select the option in the menu that appears. Rasterize layer (rasterize layer). Next, with the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool (E)), hide the top of the large circle to get the shape of the aquarium.

Step 2

Next, let’s create a simple background. Right-click on the background layer and select the option in the window that appears. Overlay options (Blending Options). Choose a layer style Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay) and in the settings window of this style set Linear (linear) gradient, color gradient from white to blue, Opacity (Opacity) 25%.

Next, with the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W)), highlight the inside of the aquarium. Fill the selected area with sea color (# 92d0e6), and then with the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool (E)) soften the top of the fill.

Step 3

Let’s add volume to the aquarium. Using tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W)), once again highlight the internal fragments of the aquarium. Now using a soft brush, create a light shade inside the aquarium so that it looks round. Painting inside the selected area will help create a clean shading without any spade on the contour of the aquarium.

Next, we will add a shadow under the aquarium. Using tool Ellipse (Ellipse Tool (U)), draw a circle of dark blue (# 115273), and then go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Set the blur radius to 29 px.

2. Create a Underwater Scene

Step 1

Open both source images with the water surface in Photoshop. Using tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W)), highlight the white background, and then press (delete) to delete the white background on the images. Copy / paste (Copy / Paste) both images on our working paper with the aquarium, and then combine them to get the sea surface. Using the eraser, hide the extra portions of the images, and also apply scaling and deformation using Free transformation (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T).

Step 2

It’s time to create the effect of the sea! Open the original image with an underwater scene in Photoshop. Copy / paste (Copy / Paste) the given image on our working paper, having arranged the image with an underwater scene over the image with an aquarium. Create a selection around the image of the aquarium, to do this, click on the thumbnail of the layer with the outline of the aquarium to load the selected area. Next, right-click on the selected area and in the appeared window select the option Inversion (Inverse), now press the (delete) key to delete unnecessary parts of the image!

To add more depth and shadows to the sea, reload the selected area around the inside of the aquarium and then use a soft round brush to paint in dark blue along the edges of the aquarium.

The glass aquarium should reflect light, therefore, with the help of a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)), paint again with a soft light blue color (# b3ddec) on both sides of the aquarium.

Step 3

Let’s add the fish! Separate the fish from the background. Copy / paste (Copy / Paste) fish on our working paper. Apply scaling to the fish, and some fish reflect horizontally, for this we go Editing – Transformation – Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal).

Select a fish and then duplicate it several times to create a school of fish. Arrange these fish over each other to create a sense of depth.

Step 4

Let’s add speakers to our scene, for this, add sea gulls. To the seagull layer, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) as a clipping mask. To convert the adjustment layer to the clipping mask, click on the layer with the adjustment layer and select the option in the window that appears Create clipping mask (Create a Clipping Mask). Adjust the RGB, Blue (Blue) and Green (Green) Channels (Channels) to combine seagulls in color with our scene.

3. Add Light Highlights / Final Strokes

Step 1

It’s time for the highlights! Create a new layer, change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), and then using a soft white brush, add light highlights to the aquarium.

Step 2

Next, create a merged layer from all visible layers (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E), and then duplicate the merged layer (Ctrl + J). Turn the image of the duplicate layer upside down to create a reflection of the aquarium, play around with the opacity of the layer with reflection, and also use a soft eraser to soften hard edges.

Step 3

Finally, add small bubbles on several layers using small white dots. Now our scene is alive!

And that is all! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Now you can create your underwater scene using Photoshop. See you again!

The final result:

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