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Learn how to create artwork with Adobe Photoshop—no fine art skill required—and turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Author and illustrator Bert Monroy takes an unexciting photo and transforms it into an amazing dream sequence by combining it with other photos and techniques. In this installment, learn how to transport your images into otherworldly territory, like an underwater coral reef, an enchanted forest, or even a menacing factory. Bert's process touches on compositing, digital painting, masking, and other key image editing techniques. All you need is Photoshop, some images that could use a boost, and your imagination!
Check out Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 1 and Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 2 for more inventive illustrative techniques.
Now that we have our boat nicely selected, (UNKNOWN) we're going to look at our boat, there it is, we're going to put it into the underwater scene. Now, I have this shot here that I took underwater quite some time ago, I was doing some scuba diving down in the Caribbean. I got this shot, not much of a shot, but it was kind of cool. It just, I was just shooting away with a digital camera, you can take as many pictures as you want, as the card will hold, so I just shot and shot and shot. And this shot just seemed perfect for our little scene now.
Now, I need to make this into a tall vertical shot. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to select for the background color, the very top blue of my scene here. Now, there's a slight variance in tone here, very slight variance, but I'm going to select that color there. And then when I just clicked on this side, you see that there is a slight difference between the two blues, but that's okay. I'm going to start with this one first. What I'm going to do is I'm now going to give it more canvas. I'm going to go into the Canvas Size.
Now, the reason I selected that blue as the background is that as I add new canvas, the canvas will take on the color of the background. Now if the background color was set to the defaults of black and white, then the new canvas would be white. But by choosing that blue, which is in the image as the background color, it'll give me my new canvas based on that blue. So, what I'm going to do is, right now, my size of my file, it's quite large. This is the way it comes straight from the camera.
It's 45 inches in the width, and 34 inches on the height. So, I'm going to double the height. I'm going to make it 60 inches, nice and large, and put the existing image at the bottom. So it'll create the new 30 inches will be up here. So, I click OK, and there, we could see that we've added that to the top of the image. So there's that that color in there. We can see where it's a little bit off. We're going to fix that later because we're going to add a whole bunch of other things to this background. If you feel odd or don't like it the way it is now, that's okay, well, we can go in there and fix it now.
We have these two colors again so what I'm going to do is I'm going to go in and throw a Gradient and throw a Gradient into a layer right above the whole thing here. Now, it looks to me like there's a slight change in, in the tone here and it gets darker here again. So, what I'm going to do is I'm just going to kind of throw a Gradient going in this direction like that, right through here. There we go. And right now I just noticed it's set to Background to Transparent.
We could try that, let's just do it right through there. There we go. That's got a nice little feel to it. And what we'll pick is now this darker tone right in there. We'll pick that for the foreground. So, what I'll do is I'll throw a little Gradient down in there in the same layer because we're going from Foreground to Transparent. So, let's just throw a little tone right in there and see how they start to mix together and it's starting to give us this nice little effect. And there's a slight little line there no problem because we're going to get rid of that once we put the boat and stuff in there. And then, we're going to throw a whole cast on top of the whole thing later anyway.
So, when we look at it, there we've created these two little Gradients that kind of blended in our background to make kind of a lot smoother. So now, we got our boat. So, I'm going to use the Channel to select that boat. There's the Channel we use to select. And I'll drag this down, so I could take my boat and drag it right into my scene, right there. Now, the boat is a little small. No problem. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to enlarge it. Command+T to bring up my Transform tools and I'm going to just make it to the size that I want, right, about like that.
You know, a little larger. Yeah, it's a nice boat. And I'll put it right in position where I want it, right about there like that. So now, this boat is on the water and I want it to interact with its surroundings down in here, so I'm going to go in here in mask it. So, I'm going to give that layer, the layer of the boat, which we will now call, Boat, and I'll give it a mask. There's my mask. So, with black, which is going to hide, I'm going to take my Paintbrush.
Now, it's very rough down here. It's very rough. So, I'd like to get that same roughness into the edges of where this boat is stuck into the ground. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my Paintbrush, and I'm going to choose one of the Spatter Brushes, one of these here. I'm going to take that one right there, the 46 because it's got some nice clumps in the middle there so it got some nice variety to it. Now, I'm going to go to my Brush Engine where I'm going to give it a little spacing. It is facing like that. And then I'm going to go into Shape Dynamics, where I'm going to bring down the roundness down to zero.
I don't want any change in the roundness, the angle at 100%, because you see, as I do that, you see that right there, they are all the exact same direction. So that is going to make each tip a different direction. And the sides here, we have to 100% difference. Let's bring down that minimum a little bit or bring it up rather so they don't get too small there, like that. Now, that I see what I am doing, I'm going to bring the spacing back in a little bit. There we go. So that it gets a little tighter. And there, we have the brush that we're going to use. So now, make it a little bigger and I got black.
And I'm painting in the mask so I'm going to start to paint. And there, you can see that I'm starting to get this little feel in here of some of that stuff coming in from underneath. So, I'm going to bring it down a little bit in size just so I can kind of get some of these things to look like what they are. And we've got this big thing here so let's just kind of bring it up. There's this thing, reef, or whatever it is down there. Let's just roughen this all up so it looks like all these little pieces of the ocean floor there are, in fact, obscuring parts of our little boat. We're going to get more of this thing going, and let's put down the Opacity for this boat, just so we could see that thing.
Oh, it's really tall. Oh, I'll tell you what, let's go for the whole thing. I'm going to go in here and continue to just bring this whole piece up. There we go. The whole thing in there, and the same thing with this. Let's get all this stuff in here just to obscure that part of the boat. Now, I'm going to get a smaller brush and kind of make it look like little coral pieces, just coming out like that. Right in here, I'm going to get even smaller and I can get really tight into this area. Let's go in there and look at this. I can get really tight into this area, if I can just get just that shape, with a rough edge, because it has to be rough.
And I'm going to go in there and just kind of follow that same little growth, whatever that is. Get real small here, and just have these little guys come up kind of like the way I was tracing the boat in the first place just to separate it. Except here, what I'm doing is I'm tracing it to hide it. So, I've got all of these little things going on. Bring the Opacity back up to 100% and there, we can see that we're starting to get our boat into the ocean floor and it's stuck down there. But now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to apply that Gradient again. So, let's go in here and get this, this Gradient.
Let's get this blue. This nice blue color and create a layer on top. And we'll pick that blue right there. And in that layer, I'm going to go ahead and fill it with that blue, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to trap that layer with our boat right here. Trap it inside the boat and I'm going to set that to, let's try a couple of different modes. Set it to screen, and not the boat, I'm in the wrong layer. There we go. This is the one. We're going to set this up to screen and see what that's going to do. And that's a little too strong so let's just go in there and let's try and overlay.
That's giving us some nice blue, a little blue there. And you know what, the best one is going to be, believe it or not, just plain normal and bringing down the Opacity. Bring down the Opacity so that the boat will now start to blend into its background. We want that blue to be kind of even all the way through. So there, and bring it up just a tat. So there, we see that the boat is now sitting on the ocean floor. In the next movie, we're going to start adding a few more details to our little scene.
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