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Floating Island

Tutorials Photo Manipulation 52854 Views September 1st, 2010

Hello, in this tutorial I want to show you how simple it is to make a floating island! You only need two images for the sky and castle. And you need other two images for the mud and grass texture. The tehniques used are croping, blending, vector drawing (tree roots) and free brushes! Hope you enjoy it!

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Step 1 - Prepare the background

Create a new document with this size: 500/570 pixels.

Let's start by preparing the background. Because this island is on the air, our background will be the sky. Set the Foreground Color #58b4cf and the Background Color white.

Create a new layer and call it Sky Layer. Go to Filter - Render - Clouds. Now we have a nice background sky .

Step 2 - Draw the Island

I've noticed that other people use photos for the island and make photomontage. I've decided to draw my own island. I will use photos for ground and grass texture. Maybe in another tutorial I will try the other method also.

With the Pen Tool draw a shape like in the picture below. This shape must cover half of the image, bottom area. Call this layer Island Layer.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Change the color of this shape to #976e3b. Now go to Filter - Noise - Add Noise and do the following settings.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Now I will use the Burn Tool to give shape to my island. Be careful not to set a high exposure because you will obtain a darker color to soon. The range for this tool is Midtones.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

The tehnique is relatively simple. As you can see in the picture below I've burned vertical lines that are the darkest in this image. You obtain this by burning repeatedly the same line (point1).

After this step you have to burn horizontal lines near the vertical lines; you have to obtain a round shape shadow - darken on the exterior and lighten in the center (point 2).

Than you can also darken parts of the island (point 3). This is where we will place some tree roots.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

For a bigger effect I have used also the Dodge Tool to lighten some areas.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

You can obtain the same effect using Brush Tool with low opacity and different color tones.

Step 3 - Dry mud texture

This is practically our island. I have found a nice texture of dry mud. Thanks for this texture to mayang.com.

It is obvious that this photo it is a detail of dry mud�we need to zoom out this image. So download the image and copy it to your psd. Go to Edit - Transform - Scale W: 10 % H:10%.

Now the detail in right but the photo is too small for our island surface. So duplicate this layer and go to Edit - Transform - Flip Horizontal. Merge this two layers and call it Mud 1.

Duplicate Mud 1 and go to Edit - Transform - Flip Vertical. Call this layer Mud 2.

Duplicate Mud 1 , call it Mud 3 and place it on top of all layers. I put the image below to understand better the steps.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Now you can merge all those three mud layers. Call this new layer Mud Texture Layer.

Go to Edit - Transform - Warp and change the shape of Mud Texture to obtain a spherical look.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Press CTRL and click the Thumbnail of the Island Layer. Go to Mud Texture Layer and press CTRL+C and CTRL+V. You call this new layer Mud Texture Layer and delete the old Mud Texture Layer. Change the Blending Mode of this layer from Normal to Overlay opacity 100%.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 4 - Adding Grass to the Island

Set the Foreground Color to #455609. With Ellipse Tool draw an ellipse. Call this layer Grass Layer and place it under the Island and Mud Texture Layers.

It is now time to add some grass texture to this ellipse. Copy this grass photo from Flickr .

Press CTRL and click the Thumbnail of the Grass Layer. Go to Grass Texture Layer and click CTRL+C and CTRL+V. You can see that a selection of grass texture was copied in another layer. Call this layer Grass Texture Layer and delete the photo from Flickr.

Place the Grass Texture Layer on top ogf Grass Layer and change the Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay , opacity 100%. We will return to this layer later to burn some areas.

Your image should look something like this:

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 5 - Adding the Castle

I have found this beautiful castle on Flickr. Copy it in your psd file.

Set the Foreground Color to # ff7f29. Now take the Pen Tool and draw the shape of the castle. Call this layer Castle Shape Layer. Press CTRL and click the Thumbnail of the Castle Shape Layer and go to Castle image; press CTRL+C and than CTRL+V. You now have the castle extracted from the background. Delete the initial flickr image.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Call the new layer Castle Layer . Lets change a little the color of the castle. For that simply change the blending mode of Castle Shape Layer from Normal to Color 100%.

The Castle Shape Layer must be on top of Castle Layer. Merge the two layers.

With Burn Tool I have decided to accentuate the shadows and with the Dodge Tool to accentuate the Highlights.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 6 - Adding details to the Castle

I want to make a difference between the walls and the roof of the castle. So create a new layer on top of all the castle layers. With Brush Tool, color # fae5b9, opacity 100% paint the walls of the castle. Change the Blending Mode of this layer from Normal to Color opacity 100%.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Now we have to deal with the Castle Shadow. Create a new layer and call it Castle Shadow Layer. Set the Foreground Color to # 142c01. With Brush Tool draw a castle shadow.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Go to Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur (radius 1,8 pixels). Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light opacity 100%. With Burn Tool burn parts of the shadow.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 7 - Drawing Tree Roots

I want to make some nice roots coming out of the ground. Set the Foreground Color to # 654725 .I will use Pen Tool to draw a simple root shape. Right click and choose Rasterize Layer. Now with the Burn Tool I will give shape to the root�it is something similar to Step 2 - Draw the Island. Use also the Dodge Tool to give highlights to the root.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Now use the Smudge Tool to create smaller roots. Choose size 2 for the brush, mode normal and strenght 90%.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Duplicate this root two times, flip it horizontally and place it on the other side of the island. With the same tehnique draw other roots.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 8 - Add Trees to the scene

I have found this really nice Brush Tree Set . Download this set and import it into Brush Tool.

Create a new layer and place three trees. I've used Ded2.jpg tree, size 130 px, 120 px and different tones of braun color for the Foreground Color.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 9 - Play with Shadow and Light

Create a new layer on top of all the others . Go to Image - Apply Image.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

This step is optional. I like to play with shadow and light with Burn and Dodge Tools. In the image below you have some of the areas that need this treatment.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 10 - Add the Sky and the Clouds

The sky is to flat, the image needs some clouds. I have used this beautiful sky photo from Flickr. Copy this photo and erase the buildings area, keep only the sky. Use Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the city and delete. To blend the bottom sky area with our sky you only have to use Smudge Tool and than Blur Tool.

Call this layer Clouds Layer. Duplicate this layer and call it Bottom Clouds Layer.

You can see that the layer covers the castle and the trees; not a good thing. Return to Castle Shape Layer press CTRL and click the layer Thumbnail and return to Clouds Layer and simply press delete. Do the same for the trees.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Draw a rectangle on the bottom of the image, color #88c6d9. Go to Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur . Change the opacity of this layer to 70 %

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Place Bottom Clouds Layer on the bottom of the image. I will now use Smudge Tool to make the top edge of this layer, blend with the rest of the sky. Use the Tool up and down, right and left with circular moves to make the result image look realistic.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Change the opacity of this layer to 70 %.

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

Step 11 - Add Final Touch

No image manipulation without birds! I have found a nice Free Birds Set. Place birds with color #52696d on the sky as you like.

The nest step is to draw a rectangle, color #b1aa9e on top of all the layers. The rectangle must cover the entire image. Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hue and the opacity to 40 %.

This is my final image! Hope you like it!

floating-island tutorial intermediary image

46 comment(s) for "Floating Island"

Giovana
Giovana
7:00 AM Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It is beautiful! reply
MrFree
7:00 AM Wednesday, January 13, 2010
This tut is my favorite! i will bookmark right now reply
Barbie
Barbie
7:00 AM Thursday, January 14, 2010
Well done, it is magical! reply
Carmina
Carmina
7:00 AM Monday, February 15, 2010
Great! Love it Dude! reply
Stefan
Stefan
7:00 AM Friday, February 26, 2010
WOW. that was awesome, I want to make this now XD. reply
E-maniacs
7:00 AM Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Simply amazing.
thanks reply
Arsalan-pk
Arsalan-pk
7:00 AM Friday, March 05, 2010
Awesome!!! reply
PSDDude
PSDDude
7:00 AM Thursday, March 11, 2010
Thank you very much ! I am planning to create another floating island but this time something different ! reply
Jessi
Jessi
7:00 AM Monday, March 22, 2010
wow.. it`s fantastic reply
PRO
7:00 AM Friday, March 26, 2010
Foarte interesant si bine explicat, toate felicitarile ! reply
John
7:00 AM Saturday, March 27, 2010
Niceeeeee! I want to live on a floating island just like that! great tutorial duuuuude reply
tahsin
7:00 AM Wednesday, May 19, 2010
WOW. that was awesome.It helps me a lot. reply
Mark
7:00 AM Saturday, May 22, 2010
Vey very nice! TY reply
Ensueneum
Ensueneum
7:00 AM Sunday, May 23, 2010
Hey Blogger,When you write some blogs and share with us,that is a hard work for you but share makes you
happly right?,yes I am a blogger too,and I wanna share with you my method to make some extra cash,not too much
maybe $100 a day,but when you kee reply
Matt
7:00 AM Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Great tutorial and very well explained, thank you very much for this. reply
Alex
Alex
7:00 AM Saturday, November 13, 2010
za deset :)) reply
Deep Shah
Deep Shah
7:00 AM Friday, February 11, 2011
heyy
i can't find d castle image
:-( reply
Jan Amato
Jan Amato
7:00 AM Friday, February 11, 2011
Thank you very much for these great tutorials. They have taught me so much reply
PsdDude
7:00 AM Saturday, February 12, 2011
thanks for the comments :)

I am sorry for the castle image but the photo was removed from its initial location. This is the castle from another view http://sweetsoulsister.deviantart.com/art/Castle-on-Water-143854890 but you can use any nice castle reply
Jan
Jan
7:00 AM Saturday, February 12, 2011
I can't find the texture dry mud, it says it isn't available. Is there something else I could use? I am not that good with PS but I am finding your instructions excellent reply
mahmoud
mahmoud
7:00 AM Saturday, February 12, 2011
OMG very beautiful reply
PSDDude
7:00 AM Sunday, February 13, 2011
:) thanks guys, I am glad to help u improve your Photoshop skills

Jan I am so sorry for the mud texture but the guys from mayang.com changed the link, so you can find the mud texture at this link: http://mayang.com/textures/Nature/images/Mud/parche reply
Jan
Jan
7:00 AM Sunday, February 13, 2011
Thank you very much for telling me where to get the mud texture from. I really appreciate it reply
PSDDude
7:00 AM Monday, February 14, 2011
your welcome :) reply
GopTun
GopTun
7:00 AM Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Link to mud texture:
http://mayang.com/textures/Nature/images/Mud/parched_earth_and_grass_3230109.JPG reply
GopTun
GopTun
7:00 AM Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Thanks for removing my comment but use the info provided under your own sig. Shame on you! Actually you are wrong, the people from mayang.com did not change the link - I repeat, they did not chagen the link, but you typed it wrong. Double shame on yo reply
Deep Shah
Deep Shah
7:00 AM Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Thanx dude
i finished it reply
PsdDude
7:00 AM Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Hi GopTun, I only remove SPAM messages from the comments, so your message was not approved yet, now it is. Thank you for the link but I did find it myself on Saturday before your comment.

When I wrote the tut(a long time ago) the link worked ok reply
s????ve
7:00 AM Monday, February 28, 2011
wow.. it`s fantastic.Thank u reply
nirmal
nirmal
7:00 AM Saturday, March 26, 2011
so beutifull
reply
Chekist
Chekist
7:00 AM Saturday, April 09, 2011
???????? ????! ???????! :) reply
PsdDude
7:00 AM Sunday, April 10, 2011
???????! :) reply
AddictedtoDamonS.
AddictedtoDamonS.
7:00 AM Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I don't like it.....I ADORE it!
Thank you! reply
PSDDude
7:00 AM Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Thanks dude! reply
Paras Universal
7:00 AM Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Love it... If I do use your ideas I'll def give you props. reply
muhammad godc
7:00 AM Thursday, May 12, 2011
great tutorial,thaks u reply
muhammad godc
7:00 AM Thursday, May 12, 2011
great tutorial,thaks u reply
Web Design Sheffield
7:00 AM Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wonderful tutorial. Thanks for sharing this to us. I think I'll do mine with a darker background and some thunderstorm and lightning. reply
PSDDude
PSDDude
6:48 AM Thursday, September 29, 2011
In the meantime i have textured my island and publish it on my flickr account
http://www.flickr.com/photos/43648166@N07/4426185633/ reply
Kris
Kris
10:10 AM Friday, November 11, 2011
Please release psd file ^^ reply
PSDDude
10:10 AM Friday, November 11, 2011
This is a really old tutorial and I did not kept all the intermediary images so the psd file is kind of useless :(
But if you have some problems with the tut maybe I can help you! reply
michelle
michelle
7:18 AM Thursday, December 22, 2011
well done! reply
Diane
Diane
10:24 PM Monday, August 27, 2012
The link to beautiful sky does not work. Can you suggest another photo?
Thanks reply
PSDDude
10:30 PM Monday, August 27, 2012
Hi Diane,

Old tutorials may have such problems with broken links, because in the meantime the authors may have removed the stock images. So it is important for you to adapt and be able to replace any stock image.
For the sky I can suggest you this clouds texture collection. You can pick one of these textures that looks similar to the original one.

reply
Diane
Diane
11:07 PM Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Thank you for the cloud links. reply
John
11:30 PM Monday, April 29, 2013
here is a beautiful Castle Island photo manipulation inspired from this tutorial made by Bela_Zamsha (http://demiart.ru)
reply

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