Making a Book of Magical Playground Scene

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This tutorial will show how to create a fantasy book scene. We will be using various advanced Photoshop techniques to make the composition as realistic as possible.

Preview of Final Image

Create a new document of size 1200×600 pixels. Download “antique table in old grunge interior” from ShutterStock. Resize the image and position the manner as shown below.
I need a smoother wall, so I randomly downloaded a beautiful texture from Krakograff’s Gallery. Resize the texture and tile horizontally across to cover the original wall. Use the Eraser tool to reveal the round table.
Download "open book" from ShutterStock. Resize the book and position it to the center of the document. Extract the book from its white background using one of the extraction methods here. I am using Layer Masking for this tutorial.
Create a new layer below the book. Rename the new layer as Book Shadow. Using the Brush tool with black color, soft round type and 35pt size, paint shadows along bottom of the book.
Create a new layer above the rest. Rename the new layer as Gradient Overlay. Pick the Gradient tool to make a vertical gradient with top color #f19025 and bottom color #000000.
Then set the Blend Mode of Gradient Overlay layer to Soft Light. You will get a nice warm mood from the environment created so far.
Create a new layer above the rest. Rename the new layer as Black Border. Fill the entire space with black color on this layer.
Pick the Eraser tool with soft round type and 700pt size, click once or twice at the center of the document to reveal the book again.
Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer above all the other layers. Set the values to be 9, 0.60, 255.
Download "green field and blue sky" from ShutterStock. Resize the image so it only cover the left side of the book. Rename this layer as Grass.
Make a layer mask on the Grass layer. Using the paint brush with black (to hide) and white (to unhide) colors to show only the grasses. Right-click on the Grass layer and choose Blending Options. Select Drop Shadow, set its Angle to 35, Distance to 3, Size to 1 and leave the rest as default.
Repeat the same processes for the right side of the book, leaving a small gap at the middle for building a small river later on.
Download "pool pattern" from ShutterStock. Place and resize the image as shown below. Set the opacity of this Pool layer to 80%.
Using the Eraser tool, remove and leave only the part to cover the top perspective of the small river.
Repeat the same processes for the front perspective of the small river.
Select the top perspective layer, go to Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast. Set the the Brightness to 40 and hit OK.
Reorder all the grasses layers to be under Black Border layer. Create a new layer and rename it as Glow. Using the Brush tool, color white with soft round and size 500pt, paint a large dot at the center of document. Set the Blend Mode of this Glow layer to Soft Light.
Download "blue sky" from ShutterStock. Position and resize the image in the document as shown below. Set the Blend Mode of Sky layer to Screen and Opacity to 80%.
Using Eraser tool with large point size, remove some parts of the clouds.
Create a new layer and rename it as Lens Flare. Fill the layer with black color. Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Select the 50-300mm Zoom and set the Brightness as 100%.
Rotate the Lens Flare layer slightly and position it at the center of document.
Set the Blend Mode of Lens Flare layer to Screen. Duplicate this Lens Flare layer to make the effect brighter.
Download "collection of isolated summer tree" from ShutterStock. Extract one of the trees from its background and position it to left end of the grasses. Use the Dodge tool to brighten right side of the tree that is facing lens flare and use Burn tool to darken the opposite side.
Duplicate the tree and go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation. Set the Lightness to -100 to make the duplicated tree black. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical.
Go to Edit > Transform > Skew and push the bottom of duplicated tree to the left. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2px.
Repeat the processes for some more trees and rocks. Take note that the shadows has to face away from the center lens flare.
Download "blue waterfall illustration" from ShutterStock. Position and resize the image as shown in the diagram. Rename the layer as Waterfall. Go to Channels panel and press CTRL+left click on the blue channel to load selection. Go back to Layers panel then Select > Inverse to invert the selection. Press Delete.
Create a layer mask on the Waterfall layer and hide some unwanted parts of the waterfall.
Duplicate the Waterfall layer and set Blend Mode of duplicated copy to Screen. Now we have the basic environment all set up. Let us add some more subjects to the document!
I added some kids playing balloons and fishing on the right side.
Then some more flying kites on the other side.
Lastly add silhouettes of flying birds to finish the work. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have a nice day.

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