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Home / Inspiration / Photo-Manip Tutorial “A Life Of Aquatic Sounds”

Photo-Manip Tutorial “A Life Of Aquatic Sounds”

In this tutorial I will show you how I created “A Life Of Aquatic Sounds”. We will realize it using a variety of blending mode tricks, photo filters and other useful Photoshop techniques. At the end of this process we will have a beautiful photo manipulation, realized in a short  time and a very easily way.
Step 1

In this step we will cover the beginning of our manipulation, simple document creation and placement of the base stock image as well as the hue change.
To start off the piece, we will need to create a new document and grab our base stock. So, firstly  create a new document at 1600×2400 pixels. Once created the document, we need to grab  the image of the bottle with the glass. Even though our first stock is from Flickr, we are able to use it since it falls under the Creative Commons license.

Once you have your stock, go ahead and place it into your document as I have done below. This way the border is no longer visible.

We will change the hue of the liquid from red to blue. To do this press CTRL+U on your keyboard and set your screen up as mine is in the screenshot below:

Our image now looks like the this one:

Step 2

In step two, we will drop our background in, and use a few simple blending modes and techniques to simplify the isolation process so it takes no time at all.
To start off we will need to grab our next stock, a mexican beach.

Once you have the stock, paste it into your document and free transform (CTRL+T) it. The main idea here is to cover the entire canvas with the image.
Then we need to apply the Gaussian blur filter (Filter>Blur>Gaussian blur). Enter a radius around 10px.

Our composition should now look like this one:

Next we need to move this layer below the bottle one. Once done that change, set the blending mode on the bottle layer to multiply and leave it at 100% opacity.

Now it looks much better! But, if you closely look at the bottom left hand corner, you can see that the floor is not 100% opaque! It’s showing pieces of the background, which is something we do not want.

To fix this we need to create a new layer. Place it between the blurred background and the bottle+glass layer. Grab the Brush tool and set it up as I have done in the screenshot below:

Set the foreground color to white and paint over the floor (on your new layer). You will see that where you paint, the bottle layer becomes opaque!
Go ahead and fill up the entire wooden floor.

We could leave the isolation as it is, or we can go ahead and create a new layer to clean up the insides of the glass and bottle.

I decided to clean up the isolation a step more. If you want to do the same, create another layer and set the opacity somewhere between 20-35%. Then use the brush tool as we made before and just fill up the bottle and glass.

Once done this (if you chose to) we can finish up this step by adding a little bit more contrast to the entire image. Duplicate your bottle layer (right click the layer and select “duplicate”) and then desaturate the image (CTRL+SHIFT+U on your keyboard).

Set the blending mode to overlay and reduce opacity to around 30% or contrast will be too strong.

Step 3

Now we can move on to coloring. In this step we will enrich our manipulation by creating a few color layers that will help to better blend the background and bottle layers.
So to start off this step we need to create a new layer, a photo filter layer to be exact. To create a photo filter layer select the Layer tab>Adjustment layer>Photo filter layer. Then set up your filter as mine:

Switch the layer blend mode to “soft light” and reduce the opacity to 25-30%, I chose 28% but it’s up to you.
Here is how my image looks now:

We can continue on by creating another layer. On this layer use whatever brush you like and just doodle all over the canvas. Any brush will work fine for this, we will blur the layer so it doesn’t really matter the way you doodle.

Next apply a Gaussian blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 200px. Once done this, simple change the blending mode to overlay and set the opacity to 50%.

Step 4

It’s time to start the real photo manipulation;-) Download this photo of a dune.

Once pasted your sand in, remove the background. You can use the technique you prefer. I used the pen tool.

Now we scale it down so it nicely fits the bottle. This layer – as all the layers to come – will be underneath the photo filter layer and above the bottle. If will be necessary, use the Smudge tool to modify the send dimensions so it will perfectly match the ones of the bottle. I had to do this because I sized the sand down to much, but looking back I think it helped the over all appeal. Finally duplicate the layer and set it to overlay.

Now select the sand (ctrl+click on the layer thumbnail). Next go back to your bottle (with the selection still active) and copy the selection of the bottle. Paste the selection into a new layer (ctrl+J), drag it above the sand layer and set it to overlay.

We can leave it as it is, but I think it’s not quite blue. So we will create a new photo filter layer just as before, but this time leave the opacity at 100% and set the blending mode to normal.

Just repeat this process on your glass using this second image of a desert dune

Step 5

We can start including other stocks images into the composition. To start off this step we will paste in a jumping man:

As with our previous stock, isolate the man using whatever method you prefer.

Now we can drop him into the bottle. Scale him down to a size you like, then you need to apply the same technique used with the sand in our previous step, so the man will look as if he’s inside the bottle.

Step 6

Let’s paste in a fish. To start off this step we need the image of a tropical fish. Isolate it from the background and paste it into the canvas. Re-apply the usual technique to put the fish inside the bottle.

Now we can put in a jelly fish!

We need to adjust the image: let’s start desaturating the jelly fish by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U on your keyboard. Then press CTRL+L on your keyboard and set your level editor up as mine:

Once you have done this our image should look like the screenshot below, but if you still see floating particles, just increase levels values or erase these out with the Eraser Tool.

Press CTRL+U on your keyboard to open the hue/saturation window and use the following settings:

Here is the result of our efforts:

Now just set your layer on screen and place it wherever you prefer.

Now just continue adding more details! Simply paste in all the fishes and jellyfishes you like! You can find lots of free images surfing through sites like stock.xchng, DeviantArt or Morguefile.

Step 7

Step seven is an extension of the previous step. Take in mind that every element of the composition need to be modified in according with its colors and dimensions. If you use duplicated layers set on overlay to increase the contrast of fishes and other details, try experimenting with layers opacity until you obtain satisfactory results.

Here is my outcome after added several details:

Step 8

It’s time to add the last details. Download the image of a gondolier.

Isolate and place him on the wave of the glass. Since he’s not in the water, we do not need to apply the effects used with prior images.

Next we can plaste in a star fish.

Extract the star fish and place it on top of the glass. Again since there is no water in that area, no effects need to be applied.

Ok guys, there’s no need to continue. At this point you know how to include other marine elements and how to modify them so that they look inside the bottle/glass. I added in some seagulls, a ladybug, a treasure and other nice things.


Well that’s all for my tutorial! To finish off my piece I sized the image down, sharpened it and applied some slight color adjustments.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and learned a thing or two! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

One comment

  1. امجدي المصري

    وربنا انت معلم

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