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How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

Today we will create an abstract composition by combining stock vectors, photos and brushes. Along with creating your image, you will learn now to:

- create interesting compositions
- use blending properties
- use layer masks
- make cutouts
- photo retouching and enhancement

Difficulty: Beginner
Completion time: 40 min
Tools: Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3 (Optional)

Resources:

Floral Vector Pack 84 from Designious.com

glass from mmp-stock

leaves from phantompanther-stock

cloud brushes from XavierZhX

lemons from setsuna22

brush from fairiegodmother

desert from phantompanther-stock

fish from phantompanther-stock

Final image preview

final designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 1

Create a new document of 1680 x 1050 px at 72 dpi in RGB color mode.

1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 2

Grab the Gradient Tool (G), create the gradient below and click-drag it like below.

2 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

2.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 3

Open the “glass” picture. Now grab the Pen Tool (P), set it on Paths and trace the outline of the glass. Then right-click > Make Selection, set it to 0 px and hit OK. Copy it (CTRL+C), go back to our document and paste it (CTRL+V). Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

3 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

3.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 4

Go to Edit > Free Transform (CTRL+T), rotate it and resize it like below. Hold the SHIFT key to preserve its proportions. Then hit Enter to exit Free Transform mode.

4 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 5

Extract the “lemons” pack in a folder of your choosing. Then click-drag one of the pictures into Photoshop. Make a cutout of the lemons like in STEP 3, then paste it into our drawing.

5 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

5.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 6

Repeat STEP 4 to make the lemon look like below. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness / Contrast and use the settings below.

6 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 7

With the lemon selected, grab the Selection Tool (V), hold the ALT key and click-drag it to the right. Then hit CTRL+T to enter Free Transform mode and make it smaller.

7 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 8

Create more copies of lemons, but keep in mind to make them smaller and more distant to one another the further they are from the glass.

8 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 9

Open the “leaves” picture. Grab the Crop Tool (C) and crop the image leaving out the frame. Double-click the lock in the Layers palette (F7) and hit OK. Go to the Channels window  (Window > Channels) right-click the Blue channel and select “Duplicate channel”.

9 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

9.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

9.2 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 10

Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Adjust the curve like below. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and use the settings below. Repeat this until the shadow (respectively, midtones) disappear completely. If you see jagged edges, then you’ve overdone it.

10 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

10.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 11

CTRL+click the “Blue copy” channel’s thumbnail, go back to the Layers palette (F7) and hit Delete.

11 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 12

Grab the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and select a leaf. Copy it and paste it into our document. Hit CTRL+T to enter Free Transform mode, resize it and place it like below.

12 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 13

Grab the Selection Tool (V), hold the ALT key and click drag multiple copies of the leaf. Resize and rotate each to fit the scenario.

13 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

13.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 14

Open the “brush” picture. Grab the Magic Wand Tool (W), click the background and hit Delete.
Grab the Eraser Tool (E) and clean up the remaining areas.

14 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 15

Grab the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), select a part of the leaves, copy it (CTRL+C), go back to our document and paste it (CTRL+V). Resize it and rotate it to fit like below.

15 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 16

Create copies like we did with the lemons.

16 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 17

Grab the Path Tool (P), set it on Shapes and draw a shape like below.

17 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 18

In the Layers palette (F7), select the shape layer you just created and click the “fx” and select Blending Options. Use the settings below. Hit OK.

18 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 19

Right-click on the vector mask of the shape layer and select “Rasterize Layer”.

STEP 20

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Then grab the Brush Tool (B), set Hardness to 0%, select the layer mask, make sure the Foreground color is black and paint the area shown below.

20 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

20.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 21

Go to Layer > Duplicate layer (CTRL+J). Hit CTRL+T to enter Free Transform mode and click-drag the rotation center to the bottom right corner of the bounding box. Then rotate it a bit clockwise. Hit Enter.

21 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 22

Double-click the “fx” icon near the layer thumbnail. Change the “Color Overlay” color to a light orange. Hit OK. Then hit CTRL+J to duplicate the layer.

22 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 23

Repeat STEPS 21-22 for multiple colors shapes: yellow, green. (Yup, you guessed it, I want to create a rainbow.)

23 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 24

Select all the shape layers you created so far and hit CTRL+G) to place them in a layer group. Double-click the layer group’s tag and rename it to “rainbow-left”.

24 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 25

Repeat STEPS 17-24 for the shape below.

25 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

25.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 26

Select all the shape layers you created after STEP 25 and hit CTRL+G) to place them in a layer group. Double-click the layer group’s tag and rename it to “rainbow-right”.

26 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 27

Open the “cloud brushes”. Just double-click the .abr file, it will load them into Photoshop.     Go to Layer > New > Layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N).

27 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 28

Grab the Brush Tool (B), hit D, then X (resets foreground and background colors and switches between them), select a cloud brush and paint over the rainbow. Experiment with different brushes.

28 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

28.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 29

Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape like below. Then go to the Layers palette (F7), click the “fx” button and select “Blending Options”. Use the settings below.

29 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

29.1 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

29.2 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

STEP 30

Grab the Selection Tool (V), hold the ALT key and click-drag it to create multiple copies. Resize and reflect them similar to the image below.

30 designioustimes abstract nature composition tutorial How to Create a Spectacular Nature Composition in Photoshop

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