Vanessa Rivera tells dreamy stories through photo composites. See how she brings an image into an underwater scene in Adobe Photoshop on her iPad.

Vanessa Rivera is a photographer and artist who merges photos of her family and objects from the real world to create fantastical compositions.

Add to the story

Rivera tapped the image icon and selected Files to import the fish photo.

Photoshop iPad UI shows image icon selected, transform boundaries around fish photo in the middle, and layers on the right.

Fit into the scene

Next, Rivera selected the Flip Horizontal icon and dragged the fish to the lower left corner. With the fish still selected, she used the transform options to rotate, scale, and position the fish, then pressed Done.

Photoshop transform tool options on left and top, fish photo in the middle, callout at lower right shows fish scaled down.

Direct the focus

To blend the color of the fish with the scene, Rivera made sure the fish layer was still selected and tapped the Layer Properties icon. She chose Add Clipped Adjustment, then Hue/Saturation.

Photoshop layers panel shows on right with Add Clipped Adjustment selected for fish image layer.

Blend color and tone

She then set Saturation to -65 to make the colors of the fish more subdued as if one were viewing it underwater.

Photoshop layer properties show Saturation set to -65, the color of the fish on the left is desaturated.

Add some light

The Hue/Saturation adjustment layer created a mask over the fish layer. To bring back some of the color dulled by the desaturation, Rivera tapped and held the Brush tool to select the Soft Round brush. She adjusted the brush size, hardness, and opacity, and set the color to black before brushing along the nose, eye, and orange spots on the adjustment layer hiding those parts of the mask to reveal areas of the original fish layer below it.

Desaturated fish on the left, brush tool selected and set to black, fish on the right shows color added back to spots.

Tell your story

Transform photos from the world you know to create inventive, fantastical stories. 

Final composite of the surreal underwater scene placed in frame on a wall adjoining a window with light shining through.

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.

09/02/2020

Artist: Vanessa Rivera

Adobe Stock contributor: McLittle Stock

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