Create a Surreal Flying Scene with Giant Butterflies in Photoshop

Create a Surreal Flying Scene with Giant Butterflies in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a fantasy scene featuring a flying girl with giant butterflies.


You’ll learn how to combine several stock images using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. You will also learn how to enhance colors, create depth of field and more.


Final Image

butterflies

Tutorial Details

  • Program : Photoshop CS3+
  • Estimated Completion Time : 90 minutes
  • Difficulty : Intermediate

Resources


Step 1

Create a new 1400×1156 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the clouds image and drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to rotate it to the left a bit to make the horizon more in proportion.

butterflies

Step 2

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue Saturation and set it as Clipping Mask. Bring the Saturation value to -68:

butterflies

Step 3

Use a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:

butterflies
butterflies

Step 4

Make a Gradient Map adjustment layer and pick the colors #53789b and #fb9a84. Alter this layer mode to Soft Light 20%. It’s to bring more warm pink to the clouds.

butterflies

Step 5

The clouds look too dark and dull so use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten them. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with a low opacity (about 20-30%) to paint on the left horizon and the left foreground. We aim to make the main light source come from the right horizon.

butterflies
butterflies
butterflies

Step 6

Open the sky image. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the sky area only and place it in the upper half of the canvas.

butterflies

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to erase the hard edges and blend it with the existing sky and horizon.

butterflies

Step 7

Go to Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches to soften the sky a little:


butterflies

Step 8

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer to match the sky’s color with the clouds:

butterflies

Step 9

Use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the sky. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the lightness in the sky and fit the light in the horizon.

butterflies
butterflies
butterflies

Step 10

Isolate the model from the background and add her to the middle section of the canvas.

butterflies

Use a layer mask with a hard black brush to remove the umbrella:

butterflies

Step 11

Make a Curves adjustment layer to make the model brighter:

butterflies

Step 12

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to make the model’s color more vibrant:

butterflies

Step 13

Open the butterflies image. As it has a transparent background so just use the Move Tool to place different buttterflies over the canvas. Set one perched on the spreading arm of the model and some very big ones near the foreground.

butterflies

Step 14

Apply the Gaussian Blur filter to some of the butterflies. I’ve set the radius to 10 and 12 px to the biggest ones in the foreground.

butterflies
butterflies

To the others, I’ve set the radius to 1 or 2 px to vary the depth of field. Feel free to blur the butterlies you want as long as you feel good.

butterflies
butterflies

Step 15

Select all the butterfly layers and hit Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change this group mode to Normal 100% and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the butterflies:

butterflies

Step 16

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and alter the Midtones settings:

butterflies

Step 17

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the butterflies. Paint on the ones on the top left to reduce light there.

butterflies

Step 18

Use another Curves adjustment layer to make some butterflies nearer the right horizon brighter. The selected parts show where to paint on the layer mask.

butterflies
butterflies

Step 19

Add a Levels adjustment layer to increase the light a bit for all of the butterflies.

butterflies

Step 20

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of the layers and alter all of the settings:

butterflies
butterflies
butterflies

Step 21

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the left edges and foreground a bit. Paint on the rest to keep its lightness as well as create a nice contrast for the scene.

butterflies

Step 22

Use a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect.

butterflies

And We’re Done!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial.

butterflies