Home Tutorials Photo Manipulation Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation of a Monk in the Caves

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation of a Monk in the Caves

Create this surreal scene of a monk and a floating sphere. This tutorial will teach you how to create a cave by transforming and merging different rock parts, easily create ropes in the form of a 3D cube using a 3D cube image as a reference, and creating a mountain scene peaking above the breathtaking clouds.

Preview of Final Results

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Creating a new photoshop file

Create a new photoshop file using the settings indicated in the picture below. I named my file “Surreal Manipulation Tutorial” but that’s up to you.


Step 2: Adding the clouds and the sky

Let’s start off adding the sky to our manipulation. Go to File – > Place, and choose the “Sky2” image, mentioned in the resources of this tutorial.


If everything went well, this is what you should see in your screen:


Now click anywhere in the image, hold the Shift key (so it will translate only in one axis at the time) and drag it a little bit down.


To confirm the changes just hit Enter, or click in that little check sign on the top bar:


Now repeat the process to our second cloud stock (I called it Sky on the resources list). Place the image(File->Place) and drag it down while holding the Shift key again.


This is how your layers panel should be looking like so far:


Let’s add one more image before we start the manipulation. Place the “Field” image (File -> Place) and drag it past the top part of our canvas.


And here’s the four layers we should have so far:


Maybe you don’t have the Background layer, but if you do, you can delete it now because we won’t be using it. Just click it and drag it to the rubbish bin.


Now place the last image we added (the Field) behind our cloud layers. Just click and drag it to the end of our layers panel.


While we’re at it, let’s also rename all the layers so far so we don’t get lost in the manipulation process. Double click the name of a layer to change it.


By the end of this step, this is what your canvas should be looking like:


Step 3: Adjusting the clouds and the sky

It’s  looking pretty bad so far, right? But don’t worry, we’ll fix that. Create a layer mask in the “Cloud 2” layer by clicking in the button that looks like a camera on the layers panel.


Now get the Brush Tool (Shortcut: B), right click anywhere inside the canvas and select a soft round brush (Hardness:0%). Make sure the opacity of your brush is at 100% (just below the Window menu button on the top bar).


Don’t worry about the size of the brush, but remember this shortcuts:
· To increase the size of a brush hit ] · To decrease the size of a brush hit [
We’re going to be painting with black (to hide unwanted parts of our image non-destructively). To quickly get black as your foreground color just hit “D” on the keyboard.
When painting a layer mask, you can hold Alt/Opt and click it to see exactly what you’ve painted. What you should aim for in this step is to hide the corners of the image, the sky part of the clouds, and blend the clouds of this layer with the clouds of the layer below. To do this last step (the blending of clouds), you can lower the opacity of your brush to something around 10~25%. Here is what my layer mask looks like if I click it while holding Alt/Opt.

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