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Using Photoshop to Create a Magical Photo of a Man Rowing Into the Clouds

My name is Mohammed Sattar, and I’m a photographer and digital artist. My goal isn’t to capture reality — it’s to create dreams.

One of my most popular photos so far is called “The Escape.” In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you how I created the magical scene by combining two different photos in Photoshop.

Here are the two photos that were used to create “The Escape”:



First, make a new layer and “Fill” it with white color.


Then, go to “Filter” and choose “Filter Gallery,” “Halftone Pattern,” and adjust “Size” and “Contrast.”


Select and go to “Distort” and change the shape.


Make a “Duplicate Layer”.


And choose “New.”


Go to “Save As” and save the layer named “Waves” in PSD form. Then close the layer and head back to your main file.


Go to the background layer and apply a “Gaussian Blur” as shown below.


Then go to options and choose “Convert to Smart Object.”


Go to “Filter,” “Distort,” and “Displace,” and change the value as below.


Now go and open the “Wave PSD” we created earlier. You should get the result below:



Next, drop an original background layer on it and apply a bit of “Gaussian blur” just like we did before; then isolate the area shown in red from the original layer and you will get this:


Finally, go to the boat layer, extract the boat using “Pen Tool,” and “Paste” it on the final background layer. You should get the image below, and the time has come to move over to Lightroom.


In Lightroom, I first cropped the image to correct the position of the boat. Then I adjusted the Temperature, Tint, Contrast, and Split Toning. Finally, I used some masks to adjusted some specific spots on the background, leading to the final result.



About the author: Mohammed Sattar is a photographer born and raised in Brasra in the South of Iraq. He works as a professional fine art photographer and retoucher. You can connect with him and find more of his work on 500px, Facebook, and Instagram.

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