This is my first attempt to do such a surreal effect photo manipulation which has long been delayed due to my hectic schedule. Fantasy and surreal effect really interest me so much. It has that strangeness and out-of-this world distinct beauty. Thus this tutorial. I hope you will like it.
This tutorial includes a lot of image adjustment tools, filters and blending modes applications. In one of the filters, I applied MasterBlaster from Cybia for the finishing touches. This plug-in only works with 32-bit host application.
Open the Misty Ocean image, double click this layer to unlock it, then rename it into Misty Ocean. Open Water Splash and do the same as the first one, rename it into Water Splash. So you have now 2 images open ready for editing.
Duplicate Misty Ocean then set blend mode to Soft Light. Rename this layer into softlight.
Open Raise Up stock photo. Make a selection on the image by using the Quick Selection Tool, copy, then paste it onto Misty Ocean layer, as shown below.
Erase the fingers left on the neck, then fix neck by using the Clone Tool. Apply Burn Tool to blend well with the skin, then soften the edges of the image by using the Blur Tool.
The next thing we will do is to make a motion effect on the man rising up.To do this we will apply Motion Blur (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur…) to the image, and it has to be upward direction (e.g. 90 degrees). Set the amount of blur to 5 pixels.
Make a selection out of the Water Splash stock photo, copy, and paste it onto the Misty Ocean layer. Use the Free Transform to resize and reposition it on the ocean. Set blend mode to Screen. It should look like the image below now.
Done with replacing the misty ocean into water splash, we can now proceed with the disintegration effect to the body of the man by using the same Water Splash stock photo. Select. copy, paste, resize and reposition (via Free Transform tool), and set blend mode to Lighten or Lighter Color. Do this 4 times to have the result as shown below.
Open the Flying Birds photo, select, copy, and paste it onto Misty Ocean layer. Set blending mode to Multiply.
Open the Moon stock photo, select, copy, and paste it onto Misty Ocean layer. Adding this along with the birds makes some dramatic effect to our work. Set blending mode this time to Linear Dodge, opacity 30.
Next that we’ll have to do is to blend the water with the rest of the overall image, especially the sky. To do this, apply Color Balance with the following settings:
Merge all visible layers now. Apply MasterBlaster. Set blue value to 100.
An alternative to the MasterBlaster (sans the convenience) to have a similar effect is the use of Variants under Image menu (Image>Adjustments>Variants…), then select More Blue or whatever color/hue you prefer. Or, you may want to use also the Color Balance if you want to. A lot of possibilities actually.