Create a Surreal Turtle Image

Photoshop Tutorial: Create a Surreal Turtle Image

This tutorial shows the creation of one of my images. It shows how I adjust lighting and colours in my images to create this surrealistic turtle.


Hopefully, you'll be able to transfer these methods to your own work.

The full version of the result can be viewed here: Full size surreal turtle.

I'm using Photoshop CS5 running on a Macbook Pro, so some stages may differ for some people. Before photoshop CS3, a gradient map is known as "Gradient Fill".

These are the sources I used in the creation of the image, special thanks to Night Fate for providing the background:

End result:

Step 1

I rarely sketch out my ideas, because blending sources this way is not very complicated, but it is important to have a feel of what you want to create, as well as the atmosphere, before you actually start working.

Like with any image in which sources are being used, selections are the first stage. We want to isolate every source so that we can create our own composition.

Below you can see the background sources and the main object, in this case, the turtle.

Step 2

When an image is imported into photoshop, it's known as a Background Layer This means that there is no layer below that one. To be able to remove the sky from Night Fate's background, we need to make this a workable layer.

Step 3

The Pen Tool is my preferred tool for extracting an object, because it's a very versatile tool that once mastered can be used to accomplish almost anything. Draw a path by pointing and clicking around the area you want to delete. The selection doesn't have to be perfect, photoshop has an extensive range of Edge Refining tools that will make any mistakes easy to clear.

Step 4

Delete the original sky, like shown below, so that the new sky can be imported. An interesting sky is very important to most images, because it helps create an atmosphere. For images with a "Happy" mood, a clear or partly cloudy blue sky works well. However, for a dark and almost depressing image, a stormy sky conveys the right emotions. With this image i chose a sunset, because it shows a slow passage of time.