Create Surreal Environment Inspired by the “Inception” Movie in Photoshop

Recently I went and saw the movie “Inception” and thought it was really awesome. That’s why I thought I can probably try and create a similar effect using Photoshop and make a tutorial of it for you guys :)

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this Surreal/Sci-fi Environment Inspired by the “Inception” Movie in Photoshop. Some steps can be a little tricky, but why not have a try!


Here is a preview of the final effect we will be aiming to achieve: (click to enlarge)

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You will need the following stock to complete this tutorial:

Ocean

Sky

Building

Wave

Girl

OK let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a new document sized 900 * 1300px, fill the background layer with black colour. Load the “Ocean” stock image into Photoshop, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select a portion of it, paste it onto our document. Name this layer as “Ocean”:

Duplicate this ocean layer once and apply the following “Reduce Noise” filter once:

As you can see, the ocean looks a lot smoother and calmer then before:

Duplicate the original ocean once more and drag it to the top, chnage the blending mode of this second duplicated layer to “color doge”. You will have the following effect:

Add a Levels adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

Add a Black and White adjustment layer on top of all layers, this time DO NOT tick the “”use previous layer as clipping mask” option:

You will have the following effect:

Use a big soft brush to the erase top edge of the ocean as shown below:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 2

Load the “Sky” image into Photoshop, select a portion of it with the rectangular marquee tool, copy and paste the selection onto our document, resize and position it as shown below:

Erase the bottom edge with soft brush:

Add a black and white adjustment layer with the following settings on it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

and here is the effect so far:

Step 3

Load the “Building” image into Phtooshop, use the quick selection tool to select any one of the highrises: (I use the one on the right)

Paste the selection onto our canvas, use a soft brush to erase the top and left edge of the layer:

Make sure you erase the bottom left edge of the building so it fades into the cloud:

Black and white

Levels

Mask on the levels adjustment layer:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 4

Now let’s add some splashing wave to the bottom of the building. Load the “Wave” stock image into Photoshop, cut a piece of the wave and paste it onto our document, resize and position it to the bottom of the building, as shown below:

Erase the edges with soft brush:

Black and white:

Levels

and here is the effect so far:

Step 5

Now make a layer group and put all the layers links to the building on the right under it, duplicate this layer group once, and hit Ctrl + T and right-click, choose “Flip Horizontal”:

Then move this duplicated group to the left side of the image, as shown below:

Load the “Girl” Stock image into Photoshop, cut out the girl and paste it onto our document, name the new layer as “girl”:

Erase the erase of the girl as shown below so she blending it with the surroundings:

Create a new layer called “glow” and use a soft white brush, paint around the girl to create some glow effect:

Create a new layer called “splash” under the girl layer, grab some waves from the “Wave” stock image and paste it onto it, reduce the layer opacity to low level around 20%, also perspective it a bit so it looks more realistic:

Add the following three adjustment layers on top of the girl layer (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

Curves

Black and White

and here is the effect so far:

Step 6

Now let’s add some textures over the image. You can use any grunge or abstract brushset and paint on a  new layer, set the layer opacity to around 50%. Here is my effect after the painting:

Add a new Curve image adjustment layer on top of all layers with the following settings:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 7

Now let’s fill the empty sky portion within some surreal effect. I thought of using the polar coordinates filter to add a few black holes on it.

So let’s flatten the iamge, and duplicate the background layer once and apply the following Polar Coordinates Filter to it: (Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates)

and you will have the following effect:

Resize this layer to the small size, then distort it and a bit and use a soft brush to erase the edges, as shwon below:

Duplicate this layer a few times, rotate, resize each of the duplicated layer, move them to the position shown below to create some variety:

Once you’re done, sharpen the background layer a bit and here is the final effect: (click to enlarge)

That’s it for this Photoshop tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful. Until next time, have a great day!

Categories: Photo Effect

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  • http://designmodo.com Adrian

    thery good job!

  • Web 3.0 Textures

    Nice tutorial, thanks for sharing!

  • sopon supamangmee

    Great tutorial. Love the result. Thank you for sharing.

  • sunny

    i did mine in color cauz i cant find the black and white :(

  • http://www.webestools.com Webestools

    Excellent tutorial! Thanks!

  • Googa

    New Adjustment Levels layer is too dark, are they both clipped to the building layer or is the black &white clipped and the levels layer not?

  • hamee

    excelent,, great works……….

  • Liam

    Wooow .. SO coool .. Keep the work up :)

  • Ali

    Excellent mirror Effect

  • http://www.cgbaran.com Cgbaran

    Great tutorial thanks

  • joanne

    this tutorial teaches me such tricks i really want to learn!!:)

  • Isaiah

    Very inspiring 

  • AGA

    THX GAN TUTORNYA