Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photo Manipulation
Design

How to Create a Surreal Icy Fish Photo Manipulation With Adobe Photoshop

by
Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I'll show you how to use Adobe Photoshop to create an icy fish photo manipulation. You will learn how to create an icy landscape using several stock images, freeze a fish using some ice textures, paint snowy bubbles, make icy fins, and more.

If you're looking for resources, including stock images, textures, and 3D models for your manipulation projects, you can find them all over on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. How to Build the Base Landscape

Step 1

Create a new 2000 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

new file

Step 2

Open the winter landscape image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).

add winter landscape

Step 3

You can see that there are unwanted hard edges on the top left of the sky. To fix it, on the landscape layer, use the Lasso Tool (L) to make a selection on the top right and set the Feather Radius for it to 30:

sky edge
select a sky part

Press Control-J to duplicate this selected part into a new layer and move it to the left to cover the indicated detail. Flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.

add sky part to cover the edge

Step 4

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and increase the lightness and contrast of the landscape. On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) with a soft round one and black color. Use this brush to paint around the middle so it won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

landscape curves

Step 5

Place the ice 1 image over the main canvas using the Move Tool.

add ice 1

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove most of the sky and the background, leaving the midground and foreground visible only.

ice 1 masking

Step 6

Make a Curves adjustment layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Increase the lightness a lot, and on the layer mask, use a small medium-soft black brush to paint on the ice part near the foreground to show some details and textures.

ice 1 curves
ice 1 curves masking

Step 7

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

2. How to Add the Fish

Step 1

Cut out the fish, and choose the one in the bottom right and place it in the middle of the scene. Flip it horizontally and rotate it to make it look as if it's jumping out of the icy lake.

add fish

Use a layer mask to remove its tail, the lower body, and the small details on the head, making it blend with the mountains in the background.

fish masking

Step 2

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) and reduce the Saturation value to the minimum.

fish hue saturation

Step 3

Add a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the fish. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the bottom, leaving the light visible on the upper section.

fish curves
fish curves masking

Step 4

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to make the fish's color fit the background.

fish color balance

Step 5

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

fish DB new layer

Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 10-20% to refine some light and shadow on the fish. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

fish DB result

3. How to Make the Frozen Effect

Step 1

Place ice texture 1 over the fish and change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.

add ice texture 1

Use a layer mask to remove the part outside the fish.

ice texture 1 masking

Step 2

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the effect's color.

ice 1 texture hue saturation

Step 3

Use a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the effect.

ice 1 texture curves

Step 4

Add ice texture 2 using the same method.

add ice texture 2
ice 2 texture hue saturation
ice texture 2 curves

Step 5

Place ice texture 3 onto the fish and change the mode to Overlay 100%. Apply a layer mask to clean any unwanted parts outside the fish.

add ice texture 3
ice texture 3 masking

Step 6

Make a Hue/Saturation and Curves adjustment layers to match the color and contrast of the effect with the existing one.

ice texture 3 hue saturation
ice texture 3 curves

4. How to Paint the Icy Bubbles

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of the layers and use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to grab three circles with different sizes above the fish's right. After this, fill them with the color #fbfcfc and lower the opacity of this layer to 60%.

bubbles fill

Add a mask to this layer and use a small medium-soft black brush to paint inside the circles, revealing some transparency so they look like bubbles.

bubbles masking

Step 2

Make a new layer and use a small soft brush with the color #fbfcfc to paint more snowy effects inside and outside the bubbles, as well as on the top of the fish.

bubbles snowy effect painting

5. How to Complete the Icy Ground

Step 1

Move the ice 2 image to our working document and mask it off to show a part of the left corner only.

add ice 2
ice 2 masking

Step 2

Use a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to this area.

ice 2 curves

Step 3

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the ice's color a little.

ice 2 hue saturation

Step 4

Place the ice 3 image over the main document and use a layer mask with a medium-hard black brush to remove the foreground and background, leaving some ice visible around the fish and the midground.

add ice 3
ice 3 masking

Step 5

Duplicate this layer and resize it to be larger. Move it up a bit and use a layer mask to show some bigger ice around the fish.

duplicate ice 3 make it larger
ice 3 duplication masking
ice 3 duplication masking result

Step 6

Select an ice part from the original image and add it near the fish. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) with the Warp mode to tweak it a little. Set this layer below the two previous ones.

add small ice part
small ice part transforming

Step 7

Take other ice parts to add around the fish. Use a layer mask for each of these layers to remove the hard edges and blend them with the existing ground. Mask off the one on the fish's tail so it appears behind the fish.

add other small ice parts
other small ice parts masking

Step 8

Select all ice layers and hit Control-G to make a group for them. Change the group's mode to Normal 100% and use a Color Balance adjustment layer within the group to change the ice's color.

ice 3 color balance

Step 9

Create a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the highlights on the ice a little. Paint on the shadow areas or back details so they won't be affected or will be less affected by this adjustment layer. Lower the brush's opacity if needed on the areas which are bright enough.

ice 3 curves

6. How to Create the Icy Fins

Step 1

Open the icicles image. Isolate the icicles from the dark background. Select a part using the Polygonal Lasso Tool and add it to the fish's fins. Tweak this part using Control-T with the Warp mode, following the form of the original fins.

select an icicles part
icicles warping

Step 2

Take other parts from the original image to cover the fins' area. Use a layer mask if needed to blend the icicles better with the fish's body.

add more icicles

Step 3

Create a group for the icicles layers and use a Color Balance adjustment layer to change their color.

icicles color balance

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the icicles. Use a layer mask to reveal some shadows of the icicles to avoid a flat look.

icicles curves
icicles curves masking result

7. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the colors #d63244 and #00601b. Lower the opacity of this layer to 20%.

whole scene gradient map

Step 2

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

whole scene color balance midtones
whole scene color balance highlights

Step 3

Add a Curves adjustment layer to increase the whole scene's contrast.

whole scene curves

Step 4

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine some details on the fish's tail and body and lighten the shadow of the ice part beside it.

final touch with DB
DB final touch result

Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you've enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new for your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!

final result
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.