Create an underwater seascape using a combination of filters and blend modes.
Filters such as chrome and plastic wrap comes in handy as most of the effects (e.g. surface texture and light rays) are based on it. By transforming, masking, and blending those elements together, we will be able to achieve a different outcome to the items we are working on.
Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) and name it as ‘Ocean’. Set foreground color as #1a324b and background color as #0c121e. Press G to select the Gradient tool. On the tool bar above tick ‘Dither’ (Dither helps smoothen the gradient by adding noise). Drag downwards to create a gradient.
Create another new layer. Press D to reset the palette. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.
Next, go to filter gallery, select Artistic > Plastic Wrap > Highlight Strength: 7, Details: 4, Smoothness: 7. Do not press ‘OK’ for now but add in a new effect layer instead by clicking on the highlighted area. With the new layer effect selected, click on Sketch > Chrome > Details: 5, Smoothness: 5. Click ‘OK’ when done. Rename the layer as ‘Surface1’. Before proceeding, duplicate 2 instances of ‘Surface 1’ as ‘Light rays’ and ‘Ocean rays’. Hide these 2 layers for now.
Select ‘Surface 1’ and click on the masking icon. Start masking off all the hard edges.
1) Identify hard edges.
2) Brush it using a soft black brush or feather a selection and fill it with black. Picture shows mask map.
(change background color to black as a visual aid)
Create another new layer and name it as ‘Sun’. Select a soft round brush and by using this color (#c5e9f5) click once to draw a circle. Now select a smaller white color brush and draw a circle in the center of the bigger one.
1) Transform the sun to a bigger one.
2) Then squish it a little.
3) Place it around the top right area.
4) Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/saturation > Hue: -10, Saturation: -55, Lightness: 0. Set blend mode to ‘Linear light’.
1) Apply Filter > Blur > Motion blur: 500px, Angle: 90.
2) Then, transform the rays by scaling it downwards, lengthening it. Further drag its perspective as below.
3) Set ‘Light rays’ blend mode to ‘Color dodge’.
4) Mask this layer as how you see fit. Most importantly, mask away the bottom part with a soft brush (depicted by red).
1) Import Image ID: 3540975 © Moodboard 123RF.com and rename it as ‘City’.
2) Mask away the sky. Set blend mode to ‘Multiply’ and reduce its brightness. Image > Adjustments > Brightness/contrast > Brightness: -60.
3) Create 2 new layers above ‘City’. Use a soft black brush to brush the bottom for the first layer created, and soft white brush to brush the top part of the city for the other layer.
4) Set the layer with white in it to ‘Soft light’ blend mode. Clip both of the layers to ‘City’ (Alt + click).
1) Import Image ID: 2779164 © Paul Maydikov 123RF.com and roughly mask to reveal only the ship. I did it by dragging the blue slider in the blending option (refer to 123RF November Tutorial #2: Extract Filter – Masking).When done, draw a selection around the base of the ship and erase that area.
2) Next, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and drag according to the sample above.
Crop the rocks from Image ID: 4823723 © svl861 123RF.com and drag to the workspace. Apply settings as shown in the picture. (Ctrl+U for Hue/Saturation adjustment, Ctrl+M for Curves)
Crop the buildings from Image ID: 2694796 © drimi 123RF.com. Flip it and place it on top of the rock. Mask the bottom with a soft brush so that it looks seamless.
Apply settings as shown in the picture and merge the Rocks and Building layers together.
Reveal ‘Ocean rays’ and bring to front. Duplicate this layer as ‘Ocean rays 2’. Hide ‘Ocean rays 2’ for now.
1) Resize and add perspective to ‘Ocean rays’.
2) Mask to reveal ‘Ocean rays’ so that it covers the entire city.
3) Access its blending option and drag the black sliders to remove some of the black.
4) Change the blend mode to ‘Color dodge’.
Using ‘Ocean rays 2’, do the same for the Building + Rocks on the right, but make sure the rays are resized a bit bigger and have it clipped to the building layer. You can alter the opacity of this layer if the rays are deemed to bright.
Cropped an image of a diver from Image ID: 2475500 © Olga Khoroshunova 123RF.com and rename as ‘Diver’. To match the overall color tone, apply the adjustments above.
Create a new layer. Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of ‘Diver’ layer and fill it with black. Apply motion blur around -70 degrees angle and transform it. Set blend mode to ‘Soft light’. Mask off excessive areas.
These steps will enhance the overall look and feel.
1) Copy a small portion of ‘Surface 1’ and bring this layer to front.
2) Scale it to a large size, covering the whole canvas.
3) Set the blend mode to ‘Multiply’ and set opacity 20~25%.
I’ve introduced some extra elements to my final image, like enhancing the surface’s texture, adding schools of fish, and a simple eerie glow effect behind the galleon to spice up the whole picture.
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