Photoshop

How to Create a Futuristic Leaping Whale in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a futuristic leaping whale out of the water. We’ll not actually create the whale but use some stock images and brushes to create a photo like this:

futuristic leaping whale

You’ll need:

Step 1

Firstly, open the lake image and duplicate it by selecting Layer > Duplicate Layer > OK.

futuristic leaping whale lake

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a 5px blur on the duplicate layer.

futuristic leaping whale lake blur

Create a layer mask for the duplicate layer by selecting Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Then, paint black over the water to put more focus on it.

futuristic leaping whale lake layer mask

 futuristic leaping whale lake layer mask result

Step 2

Now, create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer by selecting Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and make the following changes:

futuristic leaping whale hue saturation adjustment layer

 futuristic leaping whale hue saturation adjustment layer result

Step 3

It now looks a little too saturated, so create another Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and lower the saturation.

futuristic leaping whale low saturation

 futuristic leaping whale low saturation result

Step 4

Now, we’ll darken the picture a little bit. Create a Curves Adjustment Layer by selecting Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and make the following changes:

 futuristic leaping whale curves adjustment layer

 futuristic leaping whale curves adjustment layer result

Step 5

Open the whale picture, Ctrl-click on its layer, copy it by pressing Ctrl+C and paste it in our original file by pressing Ctrl+V. Now, select the Move Tool and position the whale like this:

futuristic leaping whale move

Step 6

To create a reflection on the water, make a new layer and using a Chalk Brush with 10% opacity, paint a reflection of the whale on the water’s surface.

futuristic leaping whale reflection

Step 7

We will now put some splashes of water to illustrate that the whale came out of the water. First, open the water splash file. Then, select the Eyedropper Tool and set the Sample Size at 5 by 5 Average in the top menu.

 futuristic leaping whale sample size

To extract the water and its rippling effect, go to Select > Color Range and using the Eyedropper Tool, select the following region:

               futuristic leaping whale eyedropper tool

Make the following changes on the Color Range window and press OK.

 futuristic leaping whale color range

Step 8

Make a new layer from this selection by pressing Ctrl+J. Now, select this layer by Ctrl-clicking on it, copy it and paste it in our original file.

futuristic leaping whale water splash paste

Step 9

Press Ctrl+T to enter Free Transform and position and resize the water like this:

futuristic leaping whale water splash transform

Step 10

Select Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a layer mask on the water layer and using a soft round brush, paint the edges black to better integrate it with the environment.

 futuristic leaping whale layer mask

futuristic leaping whale layer mask result

To make the water splash look a bit whiter and brighter, press Ctrl+J.

futuristic leaping whale duplicate

Step 11

Let’s add some more water drops to make the image look more realistic. Open splash 5 from the splash pack and go to Select > Color Range to select the water splash like we did for the previous image.

 futuristic leaping whale splash 5

 futuristic leaping whale splash 5 color range

Step 12

Make a new layer from this selection by pressing Ctrl+J. Now, select this layer by Ctrl-clicking on it, copy it and paste it in our original file. Press Ctrl+T to enter Free Transform and position and resize the water like this:

 futuristic leaping whale splash 5 paste

Step 13

Select Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a layer mask on the water layer and using a soft round brush, paint the edges and other unwanted areas black to obtain a picture like this:

futuristic leaping whale splash 5 layer mask

Step 14

To add more drops of water, just duplicate the water layer and position it wherever you want. You can also create a layer mask to hide unwanted areas. I made 7 duplicate layers in order to achieve the effect shown below.

 futuristic leaping whale duplicate layers

 futuristic leaping whale duplicate layers result

Step 15

Select all of the duplicate layers you created in the previous step and press Ctrl+G to group them together. Choose Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a layer mask and paint unwanted areas black.

 futuristic leaping whale group layers

 futuristic leaping whale group layers result

Step 16

Now, go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager and import the sparkles and glitter brushes. Create a new layer, choose a sparkle, set the foreground color as white and add some sparkles on the whale.

futuristic leaping whale sparkle

Step 17

Import the lightning brushes now. Create a new layer, choose a lightning brush, click once to apply lightning and position and resize the lightning by using the Free Transform Tool.

 futuristic leaping whale lightning

Step 18

Now, let’s add some highlights to the whale. Make a new layer and using a soft round brush with 20-30% opacity, paint white and black on the picture. The black areas will look further away than the white ones, which will help to add some highlights.

 futuristic leaping whale highlights

Step 19

Press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to create a layer from all of the visible layers. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a 5px blur.

 futuristic leaping whale blur

 futuristic leaping whale blur result

Change the layer blending mode to Soft Light and keep the opacity at 30%.

 futuristic leaping whale blending mode

Step 20

We’ll lighten the image and improve the contrast a bit by adding a Curves Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) and making the following changes:

 futuristic leaping whale improve contrast

 futuristic leaping whale improve contrast result

Step 21

Now, create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation) and make the following changes. Also, keep the opacity of this layer at 22%.

 futuristic leaping whale blue hue

 futuristic leaping whale blue hue result

Step 22

In this final step, we’ll slightly increase the contrast. Create a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast) and make the following changes:

 futuristic leaping whale brightness contrast

And we’re done!

futuristic leaping whale

About the author

Tabish Shaikh

Website designer, website developer, blogger and a writer. These are the things I like, love and live for. Having years of experience in each field. Developing sites since childhood. Getting the most complicated things done is my specialty. Providing each and everything of top most quality to each and every client.

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