We catch a goldfish in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an underwater scene with a giant fish, using the basic tools of selection and color correction to get a beautiful result.

Final result

Source materials:

Step 1

Create a new document 2150×4187 px.

Step 2

Open the sky image. Select the image (Ctrl + A), then copy the selection (Ctrl + C), and then paste the copied sky image onto our document (Ctrl + V). Press Ctrl + T to activate the tool. Free Transformation (Free Transformation), position the image with the sky, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 3

Open the image of the moon. Using tool Oval area (Elliptical Marquee Tool), create a selection around the image of the moon.

Step 4

Copy the selected image of the moon, and then paste the copied image onto our working paper. Next, with the tool Free Transformation (Free Transformation), apply the scaling, positioning the image with the Moon, as shown in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for the layer with the Moon to Overlap (Overlay).

Step 5

Double-click the Moon layer to activate Layer styles (Layer Style) and apply the following settings to make the moon look more realistic.

Step 6

Duplicate the image of the moon (Ctrl + J). Hold Ctrl + left-click on the thumbnail of the duplicate layer with the Moon to load the selection around the image of the Moon. Fill the active selection with black color (to set the foreground color to black, press Alt + Backspace) and apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 250 px. Change the blending mode to duplicate the layer with the Moon to Multiplication (Multiply), layer opacity 23%.

Step 7

Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and apply curve values Blue (Blue) and Red (Red) channel, as shown in the screenshot below. This correction will give our image a beautiful blue tint.

Step 8

In this step, we will create a rainbow. Create a new layer and use the tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool), create a selection, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 9

Choose a tool Gradient (Gradient (G) and the top settings panel, double click on the window to edit the gradient.

Step 10

To repeat the color shades of the rainbow, apply the following colors in the gradient editor: red, orange, yellow, blue, blue, lilac. Next, click OK.

Step 11

Hold down Shift + drag the Gradient within the active selection that you created in Step 8. Next, press Ctrl + D to deselect and go to the next step.

Step 12

Next, with the tool Eraser (Eraser tool), process the edges of the gradient, and then apply to the gradient Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) with a blur radius of 20 px.

Step 13

On the rainbow layer, press Ctrl + T to activate the free transform tool. Right-click on the rainbow, in the window that appears, select the option Deformation (Warp). In the top settings panel, set the option Archway (Arch).

Step 14

You can see the result of the transformation in the screenshot below. So, our gradient begins to look like a real rainbow.

Step 15

Change the blending mode from rainbow to Chromaticity (Color) and reduce the layer opacity to 37%. Position the rainbow closer to the moon, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 16

Open the image Underwater. Select the image (Ctrl + A), then copy the selection (Ctrl + C), and then paste the copied image onto our document (Ctrl + V). Press Ctrl + T to activate the tool. Free Transformation (Free Transformation) by placing the image as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 17

Press the keys again (Ctrl + V) to paste the image under water again. Apply scaling by positioning the image as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 18

Add a layer – mask to the layer with the texture of water, for this we go Layer- Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer- Mask – Hide All), and using a soft round brush of white color with an opacity of 30%, paint over the layer mask so that some parts of the layer appear.

Step 19

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and drag the curve down to darken the image. But, since we want to apply this shading effect not to the whole image, but selectively, then we will perform a shading correction in the next step.

Step 20

Press D to set the default colors, and then select the tool Gradient (Gradient (G). Click the layer mask thumbnail to make sure it is active, then hold down the Shift + key and drag the gradient from the bottom up. With this gradient, we will darken the lower part of the sea and make our underwater scene more realistic, because if you look at the underwater world, the part that is closer to the bottom of the sea is darker.

Step 21

In this step, we will create a reflection of the surface of the water at the bottom of the sea. First, create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + alt + N) and then go Filter – Rendering – Clouds(Filter – Rendering – Clouds). Make sure the colors are set to default (press D to set the default colors).

Step 22

Being on the same layer, we go Filter – Rendering – Clouds with overlay (Filter – Rendering – Clouds). This step will give us an interesting effect, which you can see in the screenshot below.

Step 23

Press Ctrl + I to invert the color, since we want shades of underwater reflection on the seabed to be white.

Step 24

Let’s increase the contrast a bit to make our reflection more pronounced. Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves), for this we go Image – Correction – Curves (Image – Adjustment – Curves) and further, pull the left slider towards the center.

Step 25

As you can see in the screenshot below, the effect has become more pronounced. This image with the created effect can also be used to create light effects. If you want to create light effects in your other works, just change the blending mode to Lightening (Screen) and the black areas will disappear, while maintaining a beautiful light effect. Next, you can simply add a layer mask and hide unwanted areas. But let’s continue and return to our underwater scene and proceed to the next step.

Step 26

Change the blending mode for the layer with the effect. Soft light (Soft Light), and then press Ctrl + T to activate the free transformation tool. Apply scaling by positioning the effect layer as shown in the screenshot below, and then press Enter. Starting to look better and better, huh?

Step 27

To the layer with the effect, add a layer mask, for this we go Layer- Layer Mask – Show All (Layer – Layer- Mask – Reveal All), and using a soft round brush of black color with 80% opacity, paint on the layer mask the upper edge of the image with the effect, so that the reflection effect seemed as if going far into the distance of the sea and smoothly combined with our underwater scene. Remember that in scenes where you want to achieve realism, sharp edges are your enemy, especially if you create scenes with nature.

Step 28

Open the Goldfish image, and using the selection tool that you prefer to work with, create a selection around the fish image. Copy and paste the image of the fish on our working paper. Arrange the fish, as shown in the screenshot below. Next, using a layer mask or tool Eraser (Eraser) with opacity of 50%, partially process the tail, as well as membranes or fin membranes. The fins’ membranes in fish are usually translucent, therefore, their treatment will help to combine the fish with the underwater scene in the best possible way.

Step 29

Duplicate the fish layer. Hold Ctrl + click on the layer thumbnail to create a selection. Fill the selection with black color and press Ctrl + D to remove the active selection. To this layer, apply a filter Motion blur (Motion Blur) to simulate the shadow below the fish.

Step 30

Change the blending mode for the layer with the shadow on Multiplication (Multiply), reduce the layer opacity to 56%. To the layer with the shadow, add a layer mask and remove the extra areas of the shadow (areas above the fish), using a soft round brush of black color, with 100% opacity.

Step 31

In our scene, the light comes from the upper left side, so let’s add light and shade to our fish to combine it with our underwater scene. At the beginning, we will add some shading. Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and change the curve as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 32

Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and change the curve as shown in the screenshot below. This action further darkens the scene.

Step 33

To create a lightening, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves), but this time, pull the curve upwards, as shown in the screenshot below, to lighten the scene.

Step 34

So, we have created adjustment layers with light and shadows, further, just fill all layer masks of these adjustment layers with black color. Next, using a white soft round brush and an opacity of 80-100%, start painting on the layer mask to obtain the desired effects.

On the layer mask of the Brighten layer, paint over with a white brush to add lighting effects to the scene, and on the layer mask of the Fade 1 and Shade 2 layers, paint over with a black brush to add shadows to our scene.

This step mostly relates to the field of experimentation, as well as listening to your inner sense, rather than carrying out an exact correction.

You can see the result that I received in the screenshot below, but do not worry if you did not get the same result. Just keep experimenting until you achieve the desired effect.

Step 35

As a final step for color correction of the fish image, let’s add a correction layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and slightly reduce the saturation.

Step 36

Of course, we will use a layer mask, so we selectively apply the desired effect. Fill the layer mask of the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) in black and then using a white soft round brush with 50% opacity, paint over the bottom of the layer so that this effect is visible only at the bottom of the scene

Step 37

Let’s add marine plants to diversify our underwater world. Download a set of images Underwater plants, select your favorite image, then copy and paste the image of marine plants on our working paper. Apply scaling, located at the bottom of the sea. Change the blending mode for the marine plant layer to Multiplication (Multiply).

Step 38

Duplicate the underwater plant layer, and then hold down the Ctrl key and click the thumbnail of the underwater plant layer to create an active selection. Fill the active selection with black color (press Alt + Backspace, setting the foreground color to black). Next, using the free transformation tool, apply the scaling, placing the shadow to the left of the plant. Change the blending mode for the layer with the shadow on Multiplication (Multiply), and reduce the layer opacity to 79%.

Step 39

To the layer with the shadow, add a layer mask, for this we go Layer- Layer Mask – Show All (Layer – Layer- Mask – Reveal All), and using a soft round brush of black color with an opacity of 80%, paint the outer edges of the shadow on the layer mask.

Step 40

Group a layer with an underwater plant and a layer with a shadow (hold down Ctrl + select both layers, then press Ctrl + G). Duplicate this group a couple of times, for this we go Duplicate group (Layer – Duplicate Group), and then place duplicates of the newly created plants with a shadow, as shown in the screenshot below. Reduce the opacity of those plants that are removed deep into the water space.

Step 41

Since the bottom of our underwater world seems empty, let’s add some coral. Open the set of images of corals, select your favorite corals. Copy and paste them into our working paper. Apply scaling by arranging the corals as shown in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for the coral layer to Multiplication (Multiply). Use the eraser or paint the edges of the corals with a black brush on the layer mask of the coral layer to soften the sharp edges.

Step 42

Repeat the previous step, but this time, select a different coral image.

Step 43

Open the image of the Scuba Diver, and then hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the scuba diver layer to create an active selection. Copy and paste the image of the fish on our working paper. Next, using the free transformation tool, reduce the size of the image of the diver, placing it in front of the image of the fish, as shown in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for the diver’s layer to Overlap (Overlay). Each time adding small elements of the composition makes our underwater scene more interesting.

Step 44

Repeat Steps 29-30 to create a diver’s shadow.

Step 45

Using Winrar or 7zip, unpack the “Island Pack” archive (Islands). Open the file “SNV32362.JPG”. Using tool Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool), create an active selection around the image of the island and the sea. Next, press the Ctrl + J keys to duplicate the selection to the new layer. As you can see, the tool Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool) successfully coped with its task, so in the next step we will move the image of the island to our working paper.

Step 46

Copy the selected image of the island, and then paste this image onto our working paper. Next, using the free transform tool, position the island as shown in the screenshot below. To the layer with the island, add a layer mask, for this we go Layer- Layer Mask – Show All (Layer – Layer- Mask – Reveal All), and using a Chalk brush or a hard round black brush, paint over the layer mask on the upper part of the mountain contour, creating torn edges.

Step 47

Open the image Water surface. Next, with the toolRectangular area (Rectangle Marquee Tool), create a selection, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 48

Copy and paste the selected image of the water surface onto our working paper. Next, using the free transformation tool, apply the scaling by positioning the strip with the water surface, as shown in the screenshot below. To combine this strip of water with our scene, to the created strip of water, apply a filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 5 px.

Step 49

First create a new layer. Then, using Settings Manager (Preset Manager), install the Rays of Light brushes and, taking into account your preferences, draw the rays of light over a goldfish and a scuba diver. For each layer with a ray of light, add a layer mask, for this we go Layer- Layer Mask – Show All (Layer – Layer- Mask – Reveal All), and with the help of a black soft round brush, 100% opacity, hide unwanted areas.

Try to achieve the same result as in the screenshot below. You can change the blending mode for layers with rays of light on Linear light (Linear Light) or Lightening basics (Color Dodge) and reduce the opacity of the layers to 60-70%.

Step 50

Create a new layer, download brushes Underwater bubbles. Using a white brush, paint underwater bubbles, varying the size of the bubbles that rise from the mouth of the fish, as well as around the diver. Naturally, the bubbles above the diver should be smaller, and over the fish more.

Step 51

The next element that will determine our scene is marine organics. Pay attention to the various pictures of the underwater world, and you will see various remains of marine organisms or organic matter (plankton, mud, small white dots in the form of remains of organisms). We will try to reproduce this effect in our scene. To do this, first create a new layer, then fill it with black. Next, we will add noise, for this we go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter – Noise – Add Noise).

Step 52

You can see the result of adding noise in the screenshot below. In the next steps, we will increase the contrast.

Step 53

To the layer with marine organisms, apply a filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 5 px (additional blur means larger organic matter).

Step 54

Next, apply a correction layer to the layer with marine organisms. Curves (Curves), so that marine organisms of white color appear, and the environment becomes black (pull the curve runners to the left and right towards the center until you have a starry sky, as in the screenshot below).

Step 55

Change the mode for the layer with marine organisms to Lightening basics (Color Dodge) and voila, we got marine organisms. To the layer with marine organisms, add a layer mask, for this we go Layer- Layer Mask – Show All (Layer – Layer- Mask – Reveal All), and using a black soft round brush, hide some areas with organisms, try to create disorder. Do not forget to show more marine organics in bright areas and hide more in dark areas of the underwater world. And of course, do not allow sea organisms to be above sea level.

Step 56

After processing the layer mask with the marine organisms, you can repeat Steps 51-53 to create additional layers with marine organics. To make organics larger, simply increase the radius of the Blur according to Gauss. After you have finished creating marine organics, right-click on each layer with organics and in the window that appears, select the option Convert to smart object (Convert to Smart Object). Then apply the filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 2-4 px.

Step 57

On the Smart Filter layer, (and not on the layer mask), apply a black soft round brush to hide some areas of the blur. In all cases, try to achieve the effect of randomness.

Step 58

We have already placed all the elements of our composition in its place, therefore, it is time for post-editing. Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and pull the curve up to brighten our scene.

Step 59

Set the default colors (D). Next, on the Curves adjustment layer mask, apply the tool Radial gradient (Radial Gradient Tool), pulling the gradient from top to bottom, thus, the correction of the Curves adjustment layer will appear only in the upper part of our scene. You can see what my layer mask looks like in the screenshot below.

Step 60

You can see that with the above correction, our scene has become even better. But we will not stop. Let’s move on to the next step and continue to further improve our scene.

Step 61

Next, add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves), but this time, pull the curve down to darken our scene.

Step 62

Fill the layer with the Curves adjustment layer mask in black (click on the layer mask to make sure you’re on the layer mask, then set black as the foreground color). Next, using a soft round white brush, paint over the left and right sides of the scene to recreate the shading effect. Pay attention to my layer mask processing in the screenshot below.

Step 63

This is the result of the two previous steps. The difference may not be very noticeable, but in my opinion, this delicate effect and details make our scene much better.

Step 64

To enhance the contrast of the mountains and the sky. Add adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map), gradient colors from black to white.

Step 65

Change the blending mode of the adjustment layer of the Gradient Map to Soft light (Soft Light) and reduce the opacity to 60%.

Step 66

On the layer mask of the gradient map adjustment layer, apply Linear Gradient (Linear Gradient), so that the effect appears only in the upper part

Step 67

This is what our scene looks like at the moment.

Step 68

To make the color tone of the scene give cooler shades of blue, add an adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance). Apply the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below.

Step 69

Here is the effect of the adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance).

Step 70

Next, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Drag the saturation slider to the left to decrease the saturation.

Step 71

On the layer mask of the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), apply Linear Gradient (Linear Gradient) so that the effect appears only at the bottom of the scene (where the bottom of the sea should be)

Step 72

Here is the effect of the adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) after the spirit of the previous steps.

Step 73

The surface of the sea seems to be a little dark and too blue and really does not match the color of the underwater world. Let’s fix this with a correction layer. Color Balance (Color Balance).

Step 74

Next, using a white soft round brush, paint over the layer mask of the adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) .in the middle of the scene, so that the effect appears only on the surface of the water. At this point, you should evaluate the effects created by the selective masking technique and already master the technique of using layer masks. This is a good technique, because layer masks are invaluable with the image editing technique without loss of image quality.

Step 75

This is the result of the correction effect of the correction layer. Color Balance (Color Balance).

Step 76

The image looks beautiful and complete, but I decided to add a bit of contrast in the color tone by adding shades of orange above sea level. The orange shade is in opposition to the blue shade in the color spectrum, therefore, we get a beautiful contrast and beautiful color shades. Add adjustment layer Color Balance (Color Balance). Apply the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below.

Step 77

On the layer mask of the adjustment layer Color Balance (Color Balance), apply Linear Gradient (Linear Gradient) so that the effect appears only at the bottom of the scene. This is what my layer mask looks like.

Step 78

This is what our scene looks like at the moment. One more step and we finished the lesson.

Step 79

As a final correction, I decided to add more blue shades and saturation to the underwater part, so I added another adjustment layer Color Balance (Color Balance). Apply the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below.

Step 80

On the layer mask of the adjustment layer Color Balance (Color Balance), apply Linear Gradient (Linear Gradient) so that the effect appears only at the bottom of the scene. This is what my layer mask looks like.

Step 81

And here, I decided to stop. Of course, you can continue to continue to add small details and elements to improve your image, but in my case, I decided that my underwater scene looks complete.

Final result

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