I made this tutorial over a year ago, but for some reason never got to publish it and now with the major revamp of loreleiwebdesign.com I decided it’s high time to get back to this effect. I know this is maybe a bit old but since it has never been published before I do hope you will find this to be useful. We are going to design a dark, surrealistic and maybe also unrealistic “Forest Tale” scene in Photoshop. This tutorial was made in CS2 so anyone who uses an old version of Adobe — don’t worry, this tutorial will work for you, moreover we don’t have that many complex effects here that would require a higher version.

You will need a few stock photos for this tutorial:


Take the layer with the forest scene and the water scape (you can use practically any image you like. Since this tutorial was made over a year ago, I can’t recall anymore who’s images has been used so if you have an idea, please do let me know. The woman’s image however is taken from Liam Stock at Deviantart.com

So, we take the waterscape and apply it unto the forest image. Set the opacity of water to semi transparent,  so that you will be able to see the trees, and using the eraser tool remove water from the trees..

In a way that will allow you to see the trees standing in the water itself.

While the layer with the trees is selected, go to Image >> Adjustments >> Match Color and match the color of water scape with the forest, this way you will get an organically blended colors scheme to start with.

This is what you should see on your screen after following the previous 2 steps. The key to success here is to use a small eraser tool with soft edge, when removing bits and pieces of water from the layer. if you did it right, you should see a real flood on your forest canvas.

Nest, crop the girl’s image and place it unto the screen. We are considering the cropping technique to be rather basic and therefore won’t go step by step explaining how to do that. Roughly speaking, use Magnetic Lasso Tool or a Pen Tool with magnetic option, whoever works for you will be fine as long as the image is somewhat cropped.

Get back to the water image and using the Burn Tool, burn the edges of water layer just near the trees, to create an illusion of the trees really standing inside the water, and if they did, the area at the bottom would have been slightly darker.

Now we are going to match the color again, this time for our female figure, and we will match colors between her and the water scape, since its’ lighter and will not effect the overall color of her layer. Set “fade” to about 7 or so, if you overdo it, you will have an extremely bluish layer, so not only it will look monotone and not very organic, it also not going to be beautiful.

here is how it’s supposed to look with the layer of teh gild been matched to the color of the water:

Just like with the trees, we want to make her look as if she is standing (or even drowning) in the water. The best way to do that is take an Eraser tool and remove a part of her skirt, let us say about 1/3 and when you do that, make sure you don’t just cut a straight horizontal line, it has to be curved around her body to complement the illusion of her actually standing inside the water.

Get back to the Burn tool, and using a soft brush with parameters as below…


Design a Surreal Fantasy Art Forest Flood Tale

  1. I like how you constructed the background, but the female figures look pretty strange tbh. I’m not sure why one woman is submerged and the other isn’t at all?

    1. I totally agree, I don’t like the result myself, but this tut was ready laying in my harddisk and gathering dust, so I thought I will publish it, who knows, some less experienced users might like it.
      By the way, I still didn’t thank you I think, it was me who emailed you about the members script — after I had seen how much amember costs I decided to give up on the idea LOL

      Thanks anyway for your comment and info!

  2. Nice tutorial , though I have to say it doesn’t look very realistic. The front characters are in high contrast compared to the background image.

  3. oh man!!! can u c that a girl it’s taller than the other :))) on has 3 m and the other 1,5 m :))))))) cool i made this mistake when i was 14 years old :))) keep on tryin…..

  4. you guys are amazing artist..I just use one of the trick and got appreciated by client.thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.smith

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