How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a surreal scene featuring a girl watching flying big fish on a wreck.


You’ll learn how to combine several stock images together using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. You’ll also learn how to enhance color, paint light and more.


Final Image

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Tutorial Details

  • Program : Photoshop CS3+
  • Estimated Completion Time : 120 minutes
  • Difficulty :Intermediate

Resources


Step 1

Create a new 1800×1000 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the field image. First create a new layer above the background layer and activate the Clone Tool (S) . Use this tool to remove the cars in the background.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 2

Hit Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to merge the background and the cloning layer into a new one. Isolate the field from the background using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) or any tools you’re familliar with. Drag the field image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) .

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 3

Go to Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue/Saturation and set it as Clipping Mask . Decrease the Saturation value to -84 :

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 4

Use a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the field’s color.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 5

Add a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the field a little.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 6

Open the sky image and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the sky only and place it above the field.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel too add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges and blend the sky with the ground.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 7

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the sky’s color.


How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 8

Isolate the wreck from the background and add it to the middle of the grassy ground. Use a layer mask to blend its bottom with the grass.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 9

Make a new layer (set as Clipping Mask ) and use the Clone Tool (S) to remove the letters on the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 10

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the wreck. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the effect on the details which are dark already.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 11

Add another Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the right of the wreck (from the viewer). Paint on the left or the areas you feel bright enough.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 12

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray:

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Select the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 10-15% to refine the light and shadow on the wreck. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 13

We aim to make the main light from the right and the front of the wreck. Make a new layer below the wreck one and load its selection by holding Ctrl and clicking the wreck thumbnail layer.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Fill this selection with the color #010101 and flip it vertically (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical). Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to rotate the shadow to fit the light’s direction:

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Lower the opacity of this layer to 60% and go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. Set the radius to 6 px:

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 14

Use a layer mask to soften and reduce the shadow visibility.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 15

Cut out the tree from the original background and place it onto the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Use a layer mask with a hard back brush to remove the lower parts of the tree, make it look like coming out from a hole on the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 16

Add a small branch from the tree to the lower hole on the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 17

Make shadow for these branches as done with the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 18

On the big tree layer, create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge Tool to brighten the lower detail of one of the branches.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 19

Select all the branches layers and hit Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change the group mode to Normal 100% and add a Hue/Saturation within this group.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 20

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

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 21

Make a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the trees. Paint on the shadow sides so they won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 22

Make another Curves adjustment layer with the same purpose. The selected areas show where to paint on the layer mask.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 23

Cut out the model and add her to the upper area of the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Make her shadow as done with other subjects.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 24

Use the Clone Tool to remove this hand of the model, make it look like being covered behind the pocket.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 25

Use the Dodge Tool on a new layer to brighten the model.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 26

Make a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the model.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 27

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

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 28

Open the fish image. As it has a transparent background so just need to use the Move Tool to drag different fish and arrange them over the main document.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 29

Create a Hue/Saturation to change the fish’s color.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 30

Use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the fish.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 31

Make a Levels adjustment layer with the same purpose. Paint on the shadow areas of the fish so they won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 32

Use another Curves adjustment layer to reduce the fish’s contrast.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 33

Make a new layer on top of the layers. Use a soft brush with the color #1f0b01 to paint on the right of the scene. Change this layer mode to Linear Dodge 100%.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 34

Create a new layer and change the mode to Overlay 100%. Take a soft brush with the color #efa67e to make the light more vibrant. Use a layer mask to reduce the light on the front of the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 35

Make a new layer and change the mode to Overlay 100%. Use a lighter brush (#fae6a4 ) to paint highlight for the contour of the wreck.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 36

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the whole scene color a bit. Paint on the ground so it won’t be afftected by this adjustment layer.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


Step 37

Make a Curves adjustment to bring more light to the right of the scene. Paint on the rest to keep its lightness.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1

Create another Curves adjustment layer to darken the left. The selected area shows where to paint on the layer mask.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1


And We’re Done!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial.

How to Create a Surreal Scene in Adobe Photoshop 1