Underwater walk in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a surreal underwater landscape in Photoshop.

It is very easy to create the underwater world and this will help us with water texture, special brushes and of course Photoshop tools.

The lesson is of average complexity and takes you about 1-2 hours of time. The version of the program in which this collage was made is Photoshop CS5, but can be executed in any other version.

The lesson will use the resources of paid photobanks, but we will provide you with alternative source codes that you can use in the public domain.
Let’s start!

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1

Let’s start the work by opening the image of the road in Photoshop (as an alternative image, you can use the road alternative). In order to quickly go to the image selection dialog box, press Ctrl + O. Let’s take the original dimensions of the open image as the basic size of the collage.

Step 2

Let’s start the correction of the base image.
Add adjustment layer Color tone \ Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Lower the saturation value to -66.

Note: do not make changes to other settings of the adjustment layer, as well as make sure that there is no checkbox next to the “Toning” function (Colorize).
As a result, the colors in your image will become less bright.

Click on the “Create a new adjustment layer” icon at the bottom of the layers panel, and select from the list Color balance (Color balance). The image below shows the settings for all tones (Highlights, Shadows, Midtones).

When you set the desired values, change the blending option of this adjustment layer to Hard light (Hard Light); reduce the opacity (opacity) to 25%. As a result, we got the landscape in blue.

Add another adjustment layer – Gradient map (Gradient Map). The color of the gradient is from black to white; blending mode of this layer Black oute (Darken). The image has become darker. This is a good technique for creating underwater space.

Below you can see the diagram of the layers, which turned out after the steps done. I recommend that you group the adjustment layers. To do this, hold down the key Ctrl and click on each of the adjustment layers (to get a selection), and then click the combination Ctrl +G, in order to form a group. Name the resulting group “Correction”.

Step 3

Now open the image “Reflection on water”

(Attention! For those of you who do not have free access to Depositphotos, we suggest using the option from the archive. In order to follow further steps, you need to independently make color correction for an alternative water texture).

Layer with the texture of water must be placed above the background layer (under the group with adjustment layers). We use this image to create highlights on the road surface.

Set the blending mode for the water texture layer. Multiplication (Multiply); lower opacity (80%).

Translator’s Note: You can also use the blend mode “Normal”, but you need to set the opacity value to about 70% -50%.

Now press the key combination Ctrl + T, to switch to the transformation mode, then right-click and select the function in the submenu Distortion (Distort). Transform the water so that it corresponds to the direction and perspective of the road.

Step 4

Create a new transparent layer on top of the background image. If you don’t know how to create a new layer, you can simply click on the icon at the bottom of the create new layer layer, or press the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + N. Name this layer “Light.” Create another transparent layer above the “Bright” layer (Bright Tones) and name it “Dark Tones”.

Set foreground color # 7ab9b9. Choose a tool Brush (Brush tool); Opacity – 30%; stiffness – 0%. Go to the “Light” layer and paint the center of the canvas with a brush (orient to the red area shown in the picture).

Step 5

Go to the “Shadow” layer. The steps in this step are the same as the previous one (step # 4), but instead of the brush (in the brush tool) of sky-blue, use black.

In order to achieve the desired result, use the image below, which is marked in red with the area to be drawn with a black brush.
These two steps allowed us to create a sense of underwater depth.

Step 6

We turn to adding to the work of marine inhabitants. I will use the image of “Whale” in my collage, you can also use a wonderful photo with dolphins.

Open your chosen photo. Activate the handy selection tool, for example, Magic wand (Magic Wand) either Pen (Pen Tool), and separate the underwater inhabitant from the background. Transfer the character to the main canvas. Place the whale layer over the Correction layer group.

If on the body there are pronounced highlights, as in my version, then you need to use the tool Dimmer (Burn Tool) and process light spots.

Step 7

What would the animal “fit” in our water space, we use Layer styles (Layer Style), in order to go to these settings, double-click on the “Whale” layer.
Inner shadow (Inner Shadow):

External glow (Outer Glow):

Step 8

Create a new layer under the whale layer and name it “Shadow”. Activate the tool Brush (Brush tool); black colour; stiffness – 0%; opacity (opacity) – 20%. Draw a dark silhouette on the road to imitate the shadow. The shadow should look something like the one below:

Step 9

Add a glare from the water on the back of the marine inhabitant. To do this, use the texture “Reflection on water” (from step number 3). This time, place the texture over the “Whale” layer. Convert the reflection to black and white (Ctrl + Shift + U). Use the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool) and erase all unnecessary, leaving the texture of the water only on the whale.

Translator’s Note: You can apply the reflection texture layer as a clipping mask to the whale layer instead of using the Eraser. Set the blending mode of the texture layer to Overlap (Overlay).

Step 10

Add a new layer on top of all created earlier, name it “Bubbles 1”. Install the Water Bubble Brushes. Activate the tool Brush (Brush tool) and in the palette of brushes select the bubbles you like. Brush color set to white. Draw bubbles around the whale. Set the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light) and lower the opacity (opacity) of the layer to 50%.

Then create another layer called “Bubbles 2”. On this layer, using a brush with bubbles, draw larger bubbles all over the canvas. Apply a filter to this layer. Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), set the blending mode Soft light (Soft Light), opacity leave 100%.

Step 11

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it “Color.” Activate the tool Gradient (Gradient tool); gradient type Radial (Radial). The color of the gradient is from # 00b6c6 to # f67e07. After adjusting the gradient, use it on the “Color” layer. The gradient should look like an example.

Set the blending mode Soft light (Soft Light) for the “Color” layer; lower opacity to 50%. Now the image has a soft orange tint in the upper right corner, which gives the feeling that the sunset time on the surface.

Open the image “Light through the water.” Switch to Filter – Blur –Gaussian blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). Blur radius set 10 pixels.

Now create in your working document a new layer called “Rays of Light” (on top of all other layers) and add an image with blurred rays to this layer. Set the opacity value to 60% and change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay). Use the key combination Ctrl + T and activate the transform, then scale the rays so that they fill the entire work space.

Step 12

Let us turn to the transformation of the image with the help of correction layers. In order to make the image a little brighter, use the adjustment layer. Curves (Curves):

Then add an adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map) in turquoise-orange tones (color from # 005c59 to # ff7c00):

Set the blend mode of this layer to Soft light (Soft Light) and lower the opacity to 50%. This technique will give our work a general atmosphere.

Step 13

Create a selection of all layers. Then click the right mouse button and in the submenu select the item “Duplicate layers“(Duplicate All). After you have created a duplicate, merge the duplicated layers into one, to do this, select the duplicated layers – press the right mouse button – in the submenu use the item”Merge layers“(Merge Layers). Rename the resulting layer to” Sharpness “.
Switch to Filter – Sharpness – Smart Sharpen (Filter – Sharpen – Smart Sharpen). Use the filter settings below.

Now you see how much more clearly and more expressive our image has become.

Duplicate the layer “Sharpness” (Ctrl + J). Name the layer copy “Soft Blur”. Switch to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur), set the blur radius 2 pix. Click OK.

Change the blending mode of the “Soft Blur” layer to Light replacement (Lighten) This trick will add a soft glow to our collage.

Step 14

We have almost finished the lesson. There are final touches left.
Activate the tool Dimmer (Burn Tool) and process parts of the image to give it depth (use the red arrows in the screenshot example). Also, you can use the tool Clarifier (Dodge Tool) and focus on the required areas. When working with shading and lightening, use a soft round brush.

You can add extra lighting effects with these wonderful Rays of Light brushes.

Now you can admire the final result of the work done. I hope you enjoyed my lesson!

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