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Spotted Eagle Ray - making of

I was inspired by  a photo of beautiful eagle ray, and I wanted to create an artwork that includes the eagle ray underwater, and the sky above him, with stars shining. So, the artwork will include the following parts: - underwater; - sky with stars; - eagle ray. Let's start with the water. Set foreground color to saturated blue. Select Pen tool (P), and create a shape that fills bottom half of image, with wave on top, similar to shown here.

We need to add some depth to our water, and here is how. Create new layer, switch to Gradient tool (G), set background color to dark blue (almost black). In toolbar on top, switch to Radial gradient. Click-and drag the mouse from top-center of image to bottom-right (or bottom-left, does not matter). The result should look similar to this.

Create another new layer, switch to Linear gradient, and fill this new layer with gradient similar to this.

Now set this layer's opacity to 50%. Now, 2 gradients (radial and linear) are equally visible, and it adds nice depth to the image (not as primitive as only 1 gradient would look). Merge 2 layers with gradients into one (Ctrl-E).

Go to Layer menu - 'Create clipping mask' with previous (wave shape layer). You'll notice that selected layer now has an arrow pointing to the layer below. Now we have shape of water with nice gradient, but we need something more - light reflections. Let's do that!

Create new layer, set foreground color to white and background color to black (or vice versa). with Selection tool (M), select narrow horizontal area in the middle of the image (similar to shown here). Go  to Filter menu - Render - Clouds.

Transform selection (Ctrl-T or Edit menu - Transform), and scale it vertically, holding Alt key (so that it  is scaled up and down). Hit Enter to apply resizing.

I decided I want even more distortion so  I made selection again...

...and resized it again.

Go to Edit menu - Transform - Warp. In toolbar menu, open dropdown menu and select Arc. Next to it, there is Bend setting (50 by default). Change it  to -50 (or adjust to your liking) and hit Enter to apply changes.

Here is how the result should look.

Go to Layer menu - create clipping mask (this way we group 'rays of light' with shapee of water), set layer blend mode to Overlay and opacity to 5-10%. Woo-hoo! Our water looks very good now.

Let's create the sky now (maybe I should have done it first, because the sky is behind the water). Anyway, create new layer, and move it down the layer palette (so that it  is behind all other layers). Set foreground color or lighter blue, and background color to slightly darker blue. Select gradient tool (G), switch to Radial gradient, and fill layer with gradient, clicking-and-dragging your mouse from about middle of artwork to top-left or top-right edge.

Switch to Brush tool (B), select very large soft brush, set foreground to very dark blue, set Brush opacity (on top toolbar) to 10%, and with accurate long movements, fill top of layer with dark areas. You can also set forecolor to completely black and add a little of black to top edges of the image.

Create new layer, set forecolor to white, and back color to black. With Selection tool (M), create selection similar to shown here (narrow vertical area in the middle of image). Go  to Filter menu - Render - Clouds.

Similarly to what we did several steps before, resize layer (Ctrl-T, resize horizontally holding Alt).

Go to Edit menu - Transform - Warp, the dropdown menu will appear on toolbar. Open it, select Arch (not Arc :-) Set Bend to around 8-10, hit Enter to apply changes.

Finally, set layer's blend mode to Overlay, and opacity to 5-10%.

Now, both water and sky are good!

Let's draw the eagle ray now. I used the reference photo that I found in Internet (I removed parts of photo outside the eagle, so that they do not disturb me). Find the photo for reference (I encourage you to not copy my photo, I already copied it :-) Create new layer on top of layers palette. Paste the reference photo, resize and move as you wish.

set opacity of layer with reference photo to 20%. Create new layer 'under' (below) layer with reference photo (so that reference layer is  on very top). Set fore color to black, select Pen tool (P). Looking at the photo of eagle ray, notice how it can be 'divided' into 2 parts: top (black with white spots) and bottom (part of bottom is visible on left wing of the ray). We'll start with top (black) part. With accurate movements, create a silhouette of the ray. Working with Pen tool is the subject for separate tutorial. In short, you create a shape from 'anchor points', where each point is created by mouse click, and curve of shape around this point is created by dragging-and-releasing mouse after you clicked mouse to create a point. You'll need to practice a lot :-)

The tail of the ray is easier to do. Select Rounded rectangle tool (hit U, then select Rounded rectangle from toolbar on top). Create long and very narrow rectangle (a 'line'). Switch to Path selection tool (A), select the shape you just created, go  to Edit menu - Transform - Warp, then select Arc from dropdown list. Set Bend to 8-10, hit Enter to apply changes.

Transform shape (Ctrl-T) to move and rotate as necessary.

The top part of eagle ray is almost entirely black, except there is  a little highlight going through the middle of ray's body. Here is how to  do it: create new layer, set forecolor to grey, switch to Pen tool, and create a shape similar to shown here (only top part of shape is important, other sides will be clipped).

Go to Layer menu - Create clipping mask.

To to Layer menu - Layer mask - Hide all. You'll notice that 'mask' icon was added to selected layer in layers palette. Switch to Brush tool, select small soft brush, set fore color to white, and with gentle movements, draw where you want grey highlight to appear.

Now let's complete the ray's shape by adding 'bottom' part of its left wing. Create new layer, set fore color to bright blue, switch to Pen tool and create a shape similar to that (you can show and hide reference layer to make sure you match the shape of actual ray).

Create another new layer, switch to Brush (B), add white highlights (smaller brush) and black shadows (larger brush).

Go to Layer menu - create clipping mask, set layer's blend mode to Overlay. Bingo!

Creating spots is very easy but a bit monotonous. Create new layer, switch to very small hard brush, set fore color to light-greyish-blue, and draw spots. Don't forget to turn on reference layer, it will help you.

Here is how it looks with spots.

Now we need to add some little details to the border between water and air (You know, when you look at the photos taken half-underwater, the water border is not a plain line, it always has some twirls and bubbles). I decided to  go quick way :-) and simply add some minimalistic curves. Before starting, switch to Path selection tool (A), select the shape of water that you created in the beginning, and copy it  to clipboard (Ctrl-C).

Create new layer, set forecolor to white, switch to Pen (P), and create a shape similar to shown here (only top curve will remain visible).

Paste path from clipboard into this layer (Ctrl-V). Change this path mode to 'Substract' (second button in the row of 4 buttons in toolbar).

Set layer's blend mode to Overlay, and layer's opacity to 10-30%. What we just did looks almost invisible, but...

make another 'wave' (overlapping with previous), then again and again, until entire water line is filled with little waves on top of it.

The final touch is the stars. They are very easy to do. The main trick is setting of Brush tool. As always, create new layer. Set fore color to very light blue (almost white), and back color to darker blue. Select Brush tool (B), open Brush settings (Window menu - Brushes). Click Brush Tip Shape section, select 9px (or 13px) preset. Now, modify the following settings: - spacing: 1000 (maximum); - click Shape dynamics; - set Size Jitter = 100%, minimum diameter = 50%; - click Color dynamics; - set Foreground/Background jitter to 100%. Now, simply click randomly on top of image, and you will see how stars of various size and colors are added!


Once again, here is the final image.

← Design a colorful Northern Lights landscape Lion - making of →

Kommentare 112

Speedy · 14 November 2009
You'r the man! Thanks for sharing!

Dibakar Jana · 17 November 2009

soukaina · 20 November 2009

Anita · 22 November 2009

Lea · 29 November 2009
wow.. really like the colors, water and stars! - and that's kind of it all :D Love it :P

爱在下雪时 · 2 Dezember 2009
it's good !I like it!

the69geeks · 3 Dezember 2009
Just awesome!! U make me ur follower... I always wondered how these cool wall papers are created.

tashinorden · 5 Dezember 2009
this is a great tutorial.thank you for sharing!

omega palguno · 7 Dezember 2009

ااااااااا · 13 Dezember 2009

Maheshkannan.S · 13 Dezember 2009

Katie · 16 Dezember 2009
Wow, that's amazing! As you said, using the Pen tool would need a separate tutorial...I'd like to see that tutorial! I just can't seem to get the hang of it. Could you help?

DazzleArt · 26 Dezember 2009
Thanks...wish I could save the tutorial. I am new to zazzle and have not the technical skills, but am trying to fix my store. Your input and designs are not only an inspiration but a great help to those who are less computer savy. Thanks again.

Jayesh Joshi · 7 Januar 2010
Good Vlad, I liked it.

· 9 Januar 2010
mola un huevo

Nico · 17 Januar 2010
Wow..That's Cool Man. Cheers.

Wad!e · 25 Januar 2010
Awesome !! Thanks.

\"\"DJ SAMIZzzZZZ...\"\" · 31 Januar 2010

qkr helen · 4 Februar 2010
oh good

Vlad Gerasimov · 6 Februar 2010
Random hero: because I use Photoshop.

naji · 10 Februar 2010
wow. great

Varsh · 19 Februar 2010
Awesome... really thnks

ninja · 24 Februar 2010
OMG wow soo good :D love the effects with the water, light shining through...

Andrew · 1 April 2010
Descomunal... wow

floriano · 14 April 2010
this is the wallpaper in my working pc

marg · 20 April 2010
Fantastico, mil gracias

jessi · 22 April 2010
that look sooo nice, this is my first time using photoshop,, i will try to make this ,,

· 26 April 2010
I like very much!

abhijeet · 4 Mai 2010

Thomas Gao · 15 Mai 2010
Photoshop has never inspired me much until I read your writing!!!

antonio flores · 1 Juni 2010
que bueno chaval esres una maquina

Daryl Benson · 6 Juni 2010
Hi Didn't know Transform>Warp had that Custom feature. Been working wiht Photoshop since version 3.0, learned something new today. Thanks! Daryl

Suraj · 29 Juni 2010
great again... as always

Gail · 6 Juli 2010
Thanks very much for sharing this. Really helpful.

Kiran Kakadiya · 26 August 2010
Realy nice Thanks a lot

Wisdom · 4 September 2010
Hi, your tutorials are great, and the banners you made for phpBB are awesome, hope to see more tutorials from you ! Cheers :)

Miele · 24 September 2010
Ficou muito bom!!!

Amr Elshamy · 3 Oktober 2010
Amazing :)

FOX · 8 Oktober 2010
i wish i have the talent in making art in computer. this is an awesome hobby !

· 19 November 2010
No comments !.... you the best.

kaann · 23 November 2010

Shiba · 24 November 2010

· 5 Dezember 2010

فرتو فرت · 13 Dezember 2010
کيرم تو کونتون عجب آموزش باحالی بود :D

uncle Ё · 4 Januar 2011
открывай школу для освоения PS

· 6 Februar 2011

MARTIN · 26 Februar 2011

Thomas · 7 März 2011
Wow great.

ms · 18 März 2011
niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeee keep up the gr8 work!

sturat · 11 Mai 2011

awsome · 18 Mai 2011

Kaustav · 13 Juli 2011
Simply cool.....I'm really grateful to you, for the knowledge u shared,.....I'm working in Photoshop for years.....yet i didnt know many a facts i found in these tutorials.....thanks sir.

yeşim · 9 April 2012

aiqinhai · 4 September 2012
very beautiful,thanks.

MARCELLINO P RUSCA · 5 Oktober 2014
Outstanding !

Mohan · 20 Dezember 2014
Thank u, Very Excellent Art work and useful for me.

Demetris · 14 November 2009
thx a lot man for sharing this one small but useful tutorial :D

august · 18 November 2009

Megan · 20 November 2009

Ratnadeep · 24 November 2009
You are so Handy..........Lotz of Thanks from India

Lickle · 28 November 2009
Awesome very good. :)

· 30 November 2009
Great work man. Respect.

Urgarth · 3 Dezember 2009
hmmm, very interesting =)

JP · 4 Dezember 2009

chaitanya varma · 6 Dezember 2009
Thanks Vlad...wonderfully explained!!

Kathleen Sullivan · 11 Dezember 2009
Am just learning photoshop. Your beautiful art piece, perfectly explained, was a treasure find for me. THANKS

Mark · 13 Dezember 2009
Tbis looks really ugly because i don't understand a thing from the final picture, and it sure doesn't look like a Spotted Eagle Ray. You have other great designs but this one...sorry to say but it sucks.

misulkaaaa:D · 18 Dezember 2009

Bambi Corro III · 28 Dezember 2009
i love the ray of light and sky effect! great tutorial man! thanks!

lili · 1 Januar 2010
SUPER merci

suresh · 9 Januar 2010

· 11 Januar 2010
wow.. really like the colors, water and stars! - and that's kind of it all. KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK! THANKS....

Brasileiro · 26 Januar 2010
oww, you have, sorry you made a good! work! you conquest my respect

awesome · 29 Januar 2010
you're awesome. i want to meet you.

· 5 Februar 2010
its cool yaar.......

Random hero · 6 Februar 2010
hi, why you don't use GIMP?

bushidogurl · 10 Februar 2010
Simply wonderful! Luvin' it! *blows kiss to Vlad*

Rana Amjad Ali · 16 Februar 2010
that's cool baby

Manuel Bec · 8 März 2010
You are the best!!!! =O

ak.29 · 23 März 2010
thanks for showing this.... it's amazing

nnn · 4 April 2010

tarun · 17 April 2010
fantastic man

Fabrizio · 21 April 2010
...I'm the last one to come here, but wanted to say once more.... THIS IS MINDBLOWING!!!!!!!!!

imorteza · 22 April 2010

kelvin · 30 April 2010
i completely luv it!!!!!

santhosh · 13 Mai 2010
enaku ipavey kanna kattudhey

:) · 27 Mai 2010

vijay · 5 Juni 2010
very nice creative

jordan · 7 Juni 2010
that was awstruck

imazing · 16 Juni 2010
wow. Thank's so much

kapeng · 16 Juni 2010
awesome! 5/5 love it

Светльо · 31 Juli 2010
Доста интересно!

otsen7 · 4 August 2010
okay I apreciated (sp) you before, but know I really appreciate you. this stuff looks so hard

crazy_99 · 3 September 2010

강동원 · 13 September 2010
감사합니다.^^ 잘쓰겠습니다.

millie · 30 September 2010
This is beautifull Vlad...Thank you for everything! I do adore your work

lila · 4 Oktober 2010
krasan dizajn. thanks from croatia.

Lera · 7 November 2010

Yoochi · 20 November 2010
Awesome!!! I wanna do this well.

Rei · 23 November 2010
Beautiful yet easy! aweeesoooome!

Clear · 24 November 2010

Pathan Mastan · 6 Dezember 2010
Its awesome... My comment is too late. Just wana say From today I am the biggest follower to you dude.

atom k · 7 Januar 2011
thanks for sharing,peace!!!

kIcKy · 15 Januar 2011
You have a great gift. I RESPECT U AND UR CREATION DUDE

Yuriy · 27 Februar 2011
Следовало бы немного лучше описать создание работы Пятнистый орляк. Так как это урок Photoshop. И с первого раза сложно самому сделать что-то похожее используя этот урок.

Narend · 23 März 2011
Thanks for the awesome explanation :)

veve · 3 April 2011

loreutopia · 12 Juni 2011
THanks! your work is incredible!

wwwowww · 15 Juni 2011

pottigi · 22 September 2011

rashmi · 11 Juli 2012

Tesseca · 6 April 2013
How wonderfully amazing. I love your work. I thought I was the only one who had a mind that worked this way. :)

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