Photoshop tutorial: Create surreal montages

Step 3
Now find some earthy textures and some landscape images that can be used for the backdrop – forests and paper textures work well. We are aiming to blend these images into one nice background, so play around with blending modes, and you may want to create a couple of adjustment layers.

For example, Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/ Saturation or Levels to get the desired look. After that, select a soft brush with size from 100300, create a new layer and add shadow underneath the elephant and around the feet.

Step 4
As a base for the lost continent, open the file camel.jpg and use the pen tool to cut around it. Then Right- click > Create Vector Mask and drag it into our main document. Flip the backpack horizontally and position it on the elephant’s back.

We need to do some colour correction on this to blend it in more, so go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/saturation and bring the saturation slider right down to almost black and white. Then select a combination of the dodge and burn tools with large soft brushes and highlight or darken areas for more realism.

Step 5
The next step is to add some greenery onto the backpack and on the elephant itself. Gather together some images of foliage, such as bushes and trees, and put them into the document. Now, for each layer go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All, and grab a soft brush with a flow of around 25 per cent.

Erase the parts you don’t want and blend them in as well as you can. Open moss.jpg and place it over the elephant’s stomach and face and use the same technique so it looks like moss is growing there.

Step 6
This piece includes a large water feature, so open the file waterfall.jpg and drag it into the document. Create a layer mask and begin carefully erasing parts until you are happy. You will need to use brush sizes from very small to about size 100, with varying hardness to achieve a decent integration with everything. You can also add some fish that appear to be jumping out of the water, so find an image, cut it out then position and rotate it down to the bottom of the waterfall.

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