I saw some beautiful 3D illustration of Madagascar that inspired me to create this illustration. In this tutorial, I’ll share my experience in recreating this illustration. This tutorial will utilize Photoshop 3D features, layer masking, and a lot of selections.
Preview of Final Results
- Water Texture – straymuse | sxc.hu
- Sand Texture – neopicture | sxc.hu
- Cruise – tuareg | sxc.hu
- Iceberg1 – nitygrity | sxc.hu
- Iceberg2 – rsface001 | sxc.hu
- Whale1 – kitenellie | sxc.hu
- Whale2 – clafouti | sxc.hu
- Shark – nighthawk7 | sxc.hu
Create a new layer (Ctrl+N) with 1600x1200px wide and resolution is set to 150dpi. Create a new layer, fill it with solid 50% gray color.
Create a 3D shape by accessing menu 3D > New Shape From Layer > Cylinder. Use one of the 3D Object tool to reduce the cylinder’s height as seen below.
Increase the cylinder size by dragging up the middle square in the 3D Axis, see image below.
Still using the 3D Object Rotation tool, adjust the perspective like shown below. Show the 3D panel by going to Window > 3D menu. Inside the 3d panel, click scene button to see option about material and render settings. Click the Edit button to show the 3D Render Settings dialog, we need to see some wire frames for guidelines, so check the second option (wire frame box icon), then adjust Crease Threshold value to 0. Click OK to apply changes.
Convert 3d object layer into a raster layer, then create a new layer above it. Using solid round brush, draw a guideline to mark the area we’re going to cut.
Create a light blue (RGB: #6dcff6) ellipse using ellipse tool, make sure you create it below the guideline layer. Using Edit > Free Transform Path command to adjust ellipse’s width and height. Don’t forget to hit Enter when you’re done transforming.
Create a new ellipse shape below the first one, notice that I rename the layers for easier recognition. Use free transform command to adjust ellipse’s width & height, following the 3d model as guidance. This process will be easier if we can look the 3d model, so reducing the layer’s opacity surely will help us. As for the bottom edge part, use warp command to bend it. Hit Enter when you’re done.
Still in the layer bottom, select Pen tool from tool bar. Activate subtract from shape area option, then follow the guidelines to create a triangle-like shape. Because we’re using subtract from selection mode, the triangle will ‘cut’ the ellipse as seen below.
Click layer top thumbnail, then repeat the same step as before to cut the ellipse using Pen tool.
We don’t need the 3d model layer anymore, so you can hide or delete it now. Still using Pen tool, create the left, inside & right shape (I assume you already know how to use Pen tool). For easier recognition, I suggest using different blue color tone for each shape. Make sure the layers order from top to bottom are like this: layer top, right, inside, left, bottom (see image below for more details).
Now you’ve done creating the 3D pie, hide or delete the guideline layer since we no longer need it. The next step is adding texture, but first you have to decide where to put the light source. You don’t have to draw a polygonal shape to do this step, just visualize in your mind that the light source is from the top right corner (as seen below). Knowing the light source will make your work easier, because you know where to draw shadows and highlights globally.
Open the water image (File > Open). Press Ctrl+A to select all parts of the image, then press Ctrl+C to copy it to clipboard. Get back to 3D pie image and press Ctrl+V to paste the water image. Make sure you place it above the TOP layer and name it wave.
Still on the wave’s layer, reduce its size by pressing Ctrl+T (hold the Shift key while dragging the corner control point, this will keep the aspect ratio of the image so it didn’t look squeezed or stretched). Hit Enter when you’re done transforming. And since we’re agreed the light source is come from the upper right corner, we need to flip the wave by using Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal menu. That’s look better!
We need the wave image as a texture for the top shape layer. In order to do that, simply press Ctrl+Alt+G and voila, you’ve got the clipping mask layer.
Duplicate the wave layer, then drag it down between left and bottom layer. Create a rectangle-like selection using the Rectangular Marquee tool.
Invert the selection by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I then press Delete, this step will erase the selected areas. Now deselect by pressing Ctrl+D. To make sure there is no part of the wave image outside canvas, press Ctrl+A to select all part of the canvas, then go to Image > Crop.
Still in the same layer, go to Edit > Transform > Warp then warp the image following the 3D model side curve. See image below for more details.
Duplicate the wave copy layer, then place each image on top of left and right layer. After that, make each one of them ( wave copy layer ) as a layer clipping mask. Result of this steps can be seen in the image below.
Select the wave copy 2 layer (the one on top of right shape layer) then change the blend mode to Multiply. Make it blur by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur menu, adjust Radius value to 5px then click OK.
Repeat previous step for the other wave image placed on top of left shape layer. To apply the same Gaussian Blur filter, simply press Ctrl+F. When you’re done, select the left shape layer’s and reduce the opacity to 70%. This will make the left shape become transparent.
Go back to right shape layer’s, we need to tweak this layer so it look transparent as the left shape. Reducing the layer opacity will simply work, but I didn’t want the entire right shape became transparent. So I decide to add a layer mask, then use a black-soft round-Brush tool with low opacity (around 10-20%) to mask some areas so the transparency is applied only on certain parts (i assume you already knew how to do masking with brush tool).
Copy-paste the water texture image once again, don’t forget to decrease its size. Make sure you place this new water texture layer on top of inside’s shape layer, then create a selection using Rectangular marquee tool. Now Inverse (press Shift+Ctrl+I) the selection, delete the selected area then deselect ( press Ctrl+D ). Still in the same layer, make it as clipping mask (press Ctrl+Alt+G) and then go to Edit > Transform > Distort. Distort the water texture until it the perspective’s feel right. Press Enter when you’re done.
Same as previous step, change layer blend mode to Multiply then apply Gaussian Blur filter. Later on, reduce the “inside” shape layer opacity to 70%.
Open and copy-paste the sand texture image into our working document. Place it on top of ‘bottom’ shape layer then decrease its size using the free transform command.
Transform the sand texture using Edit > Transform > Distort command, making the perspective view like shown below. Don’t forget to press Enter when you’re done transforming.
Next, make this layer as a clipping mask layer by pressing Alt+Ctrl+G then change the blend mode to Linear Light. This step also finish the ‘adding texture-part’ of this tutorial.
Create a new clipping mask layer between sand texture and ‘bottom’ layer, change the blend mode to Overlay then draw shadows using soft round Brush with low opacity. When using Brush tool, remember the light source we mention at the beginning as your reference where to put shadows.
Repeat creating shadows for each shape layers. But don’t change the blending mode, leave it normal instead. See image below if you need guidance.
Get back to sand texture layer, we need to sharpen it a bit by using Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask menu. Inside the Unsharp Mask dialog, adjust Amount and Radius value as seen below. Click OK to apply the filter.
I think we need to sharpen the top most wave layer to make it more convincing as real sea wave. Select the wave layer and repeat the Unsharp Mask filter, by simply pressing Ctrl+F. We need to tweak the wave color balance since I think more darker blue is better. To do that, we’re using Hue/Saturation ( press Ctrl+U ) and Levels ( press Ctrl+L ) command.
Select layer shape ‘bottom’, add a layer mask in this layer. Then using soft round Brush tool with low opacity, mask the shape’s edge ( the upper-right parts ). As you can see, the result does imitate ‘depth of field’ when you look something underwater.
To keep organize, put related layers inside a group/folder. This will bring out four different group which is named ‘top’, ‘inside’, ‘left’ and ‘bottom’. If you using Photoshop CS3 or the later version, you can do this step easily by Ctrl+Clicking related layers then press Ctrl+G.
Open the cruise image. Grab Pen tool from tool bar, then start creating selection path to isolate the cruise.
Go to Window > Paths or simply click the Paths tab to show the Paths panel. Now click the Load Path as Selection button to convert those paths into a selection marquee. Copy-paste the selected cruise into our working document.
Using free transform command, reduce the cruise’s size. Make sure you place this cruise layer on top of layer group ‘top’.
Go to Image > Adjustment > Color Balance or simply hit Ctrl+B to bring the Color Balance dialog. Adjust Color Levels value until the cruise color become more bluish, this will imitate the ambient color from the water texture, making the cruise color blend with the environment. Click OK to apply color balance command. Water reflect things, right? so we’ll need to create one for the ship, adding realism. First, you need to duplicate the cruise layer (Ctrl+J). Then drag down the cruise copy layer below the original one.
Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical to flip the ‘cruise copy’ image. Do some distortion here by using the Edit > Transform > Distort menu, hit Enter when your done. Now add a layer mask in this layer because we’ll going to hide half of the ‘cruise copy’ image using layer mask.
Grab the Gradient tool, and draw linear gradient vertically from white to black (make sure the layer mask is active when you did this). There you go, looks like a reflection isn’t? but we’re not finished yet, some shadows is needed for adding realism and depth.
Still in the same layer, add Color Overlay layer style. Choose a dark blue color, and reduce the opacity to get the semi-transparent color effect.
We need some minor tweak for the ship’s reflection. Click back the layer mask of ‘cruise copy’ layer. Use soft round Brush tool to mask shadow’s front and back edge (marked with red circle in the image below). That’s better!
Open the first iceberg stock image. Since the color between iceberg and ocean are contrast enough, you can easily create a selection using Magnetic Lasso tool. Copy-paste the selected iceberg into our working document.
Decrease iceberg size using free transform command. Make sure you put iceberg layer on top of cruise layer group (I’ve been grouping those layer before doing this step), name it ‘iceberg01’ since we’re gonna add second iceberg later.
This iceberg need reflection, so first thing is to duplicate iceberg01 layer then drag down the iceberg01 copy layer below it. Then go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical to flip the ‘iceberg01 copy’ vertically. Use Move tool to drag down iceberg01 copy image, you’ll see it’s rather difficult to create reflection if the image has this kind of perspective.
Lets begin with the left part of iceberg reflection, create a simple selection using Lasso tool. Press Ctrl+J to copy selected areas into a new layer, then use free transform command to rotate it clockwise. Try matching the upper edge part with the original iceberg above it, press Enter when done.
Go back to ‘iceberg01 copy’ layer and rotate it counter clockwise, it will not perfect but try to align the upper edge with the original iceberg above it. And yes, you probably want to stretch it a bit like I did ( shown in the image below )
Erase the excessive iceberg reflection using Eraser tool, see image below for guidance when erasing.
To make the reflection color becomes darker, add Color Overlay layer style for each iceberg copy. Pick a dark blue color with low opacity.
A reflection usually faded, right? so, add layer mask for each ‘iceberg copy’ layer and then mask it using linear Gradient tool until you get this result ( see image below ).
Notice the excessive part from the ‘iceberg copy’ layer, we didn’t want that annoying part. Click the thumbnail of layer ‘iceberg copy’, and then erase the annoying part using Eraser tool. See image below for guidance when erasing.
Create a new layer between iceberg01 layer and its reflection layer. Then load a selection by Ctrl+Clicking the thumbnail of iceberg01 layer. Press Shift+F5 to bring the Fill dialog box, select black and reduce Opacity to40%. Click OK to fill the selection with low opacity black.
Press Ctrl+D to deselect. Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur menu, adjust Radius value: 5px. Click OK to apply Gaussian Blur filter, now you got shadows surrounding the iceberg. We didn’t need shadows on the upper part of the iceberg, so just delete it using Eraser tool.
Create another new layer on top the previous layer, change the blend mode to Soft Light. Ctrl+Click on the iceberg01 layer thumbnail to load selection, then Fill it with 100% black. Using move tool, drag the new iceberg shadow to left like shown in the image below.
Still in the same layer, add a layer mask into it. Mask certain parts using Brush tool to hide unwanted shadow areas. See image below for guidance.
Open whale image, create selection of the whale using any selection tool you like ( I’m using Magnetic Lasso tool ). As usual, copy-paste the selected whale into our working document. Place it between layer group ‘cruise’ and ‘iceberg01’, lets call this layer ‘whale’.
Adjust whale size using free transform command, and then go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to flip it.Create a new layer, name it ‘splash’ because we’re gonna draw some water splash in this layer. Grab Brush tool from the toolbar, pick a spatter brush and lower the opacity to 50%. Choose white as brush color then click several times ( don’t click and drag, the result will be different ) in certain areas where water splash should appear, use your imagination.
Open the second whale image. Select the whale silhouette (I’m using magic wand tool to select it), then copy-paste selected image into our working document.
Place whale silhouette layer below whale layer, rename its layer to ‘shadows’. Flip whale silhouette horizontally then resize until it fits the whale body. Erase unwanted shadows parts using hard round Eraser tool, see below image for guidance.
Now we need to fake the ‘deep underwater’ blurry effect, using Blur tool with 50% strength (see below image for guidance). Add layer mask, then using the soft round Brush tool with 25% opacity, mask whale’s shadow to create the semi-transparent look.
Add a new layer between whale and shadow layer, we’re gonna add more shadows in this layer. Ctrl+Click on the layer whale thumbnail to load a selection, then go to Edit > Fill menu. Inside the Fill dialog, choose 100% Black and then click OK to fill the selection. You won’t see the result since it covered by the whale layer.
Rotate whale’s shadow to left, erase unwanted parts using hard round Eraser tool with 100% Opacity.
Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 75%. As usual, keep organize by grouping the whale-related layers into one folder.
Open shark image, create selection for the shark ( I’m using Pen tool to do it ). As usual, copy-paste the selected shark into our working document.
Place shark layer between ‘inside’ and ‘left’ group. Change the blend mode to Luminosity and adjust shark size and position like shown in the below image.
Go to Image > Adjustment > Shadows/Hightlights menu, adjust shadows amount to 50% then click OK to apply. Shark image will be much brighter then before.
Create a new layer below shark layer, we call it ‘shadows’ because shark’s shadow will be drawn here. Load shark selection by Ctrl+Clicking the shark layer thumbnail. Press Shift+F5 to bring up the Fill dialog and choose50% gray to fill the selection.
Change blend mode to Multiply and reduce Opacity to 75%. Use Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with radius: 5pxto blur the shadows. After that, use Edit > Transform > Distort command to adjust shadow size and distortion.
Go back to shark layer, blur certain parts of the shark using Blur tool with 50% strength, faking the depth of field effect.
Still in the same layer, press Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate shark’s color. We also need to fake the lens distortion effect, first thing to do is create a selection in the tail area using Rectangular Marquee tool. Second, activate the Move tool and then nudge the selected area by pressing the Up Arrow several times. Deselect by pressing Ctrl+D.
Open the second iceberg stock. As usual, create a selection around the iceberg (Magnetic Lasso tool is quite good enough). Copy-paste the selected iceberg into our working document.
Place the second iceberg layer below iceberg01 folder. Using free transform command, adjust its size like shown in the below image. Press Enter when you’re done.
Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the current layer. Get back to iceberg2 layer to change its blend mode to Luminosity.
Hide layer ‘iceberg2 copy’, then add layer mask for iceberg2 layer. Hide the upper part of iceberg2 using black soft round Brush tool with 100% opacity, the result can be seen in the below image.
Show the ‘iceberg2 copy’ layer again then add a layer mask in that layer.This time, use black soft round Brush tool to mask (hide) the lower part of iceberg2 image. As you can see now, the iceberg2 lower part seems submerged under water.
Click on the iceberg2 layer thumbnail (this is to make sure you’re the one we’re editing now is the layer’s content, not the layer mask). Use soft round Blur tool with 50% Strength to blur some parts of the iceberg2, see image below for guidance.
Create a new layer, name it ‘splash’ because we’re gonna add water splash there. Use white spatter brush with50% opacity to draw some water splash. Click several times until you satisfied with the result (don’t click and drag, because the result will be different). If you unhappy with the water splash result, delete unwanted parts or just transform it like I did.
Create a new layer below iceberg2 layer, we call this layer ‘shadows’. Draw a selection using Lasso tool (just a simple silhouette of the iceberg2, no need to imitate the iceberg2 shape precisely). Fill the selection with 100% Black.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur menu to blur the shadows around 25px radius. Click OK to apply blur filter.
Add layer mask for the current shadows layer. Mask the shadows using soft round Brush tool with 15% opacity, see image below for guidance. This also ends the ‘adding iceberg’ part in this tutorial.
With the same technique when you submerge half of iceberg2, add another submerge object. For example, I’m sinking the cruise (you can use anything, be creative!). Don’t forget to group related layers, keep organized!
On the top most of layer groups, add Vibrance layer adjustment (just go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance). Click OK, then increase the value until we get more vibrance blue/teal color for the entire image ( in my experiment, the value for vibrance is +49 while saturation value is +17 ).
Add another layer adjustment, which is Color Balance (found in Layer > New Layer Adjustment > Color Balance). Adjust Color balance value until the illustration become a bit greenish (in my experiment, the value for midtones color balance is: -8, +15, +1)
Hide background layer and all other layer group except the top, inside, left, bottom and two adjustment layer on top (see below image to be certain). Select the top most layer (color balance layer) and then press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E to merge all visible image into a new layer.
Unhide layers we’ve been hide in the previous step, then drag layer 11 ( the merged layer ) below layer group ‘bottom’. Load a selection by Ctrl+Clicking this layer thumbnail, and then save the selection via Select > Save selection menu. You can give any name for the selection (in this example, I name it alpha-1), click OK to save it.
Still in the same layer, go to Edit > Transform > Distort and try to align the merged layer so it look like a reflection. Use the Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All, which is will add layer mask filled with black, completely hiding layer 11 content’s.
Now grab the soft round Brush tool with low opacity ( 25% ), make sure you choose white for brush color. Slowly using brush tool in the below part to create reflections. See image below for guidance.
Make sure we’re still in the layer mask, then go to Select > Load Selection menu. Inside the load selection dialog, choose alpha-1 channel and then click OK to load the selection. Fill this selection with 100% black.Don’t deselect, yet!.
Add a new layer on top of current layer, name it ‘shadows’ since here we gonna add shadows for the ocean-pie piece. Fill the selection with 100% black, then deselect it by pressing Ctrl+D.
We need to see a bit of the shadows, so nudge it down using the Move tool as seen in the below image. Use Gaussian Blur filter with 10px radius to blur the shadows.
We just need shadows for the downside part, so we’ll need to erase unwanted shadows using Eraser tool like shown in the below image. And that’s it, we are done!
Download the PSD
Piece of Arctic.zip | 14 MB