Photoshop Tutorial: How To Create A Fantasy Flower Creature

In this fantasy tutorial, we are going to create a cool flower creature. I will show you exactly how to do it! We will be using Photoshop CS3 to create this image.

A few of the tools/techniques we will need to use throughout this tutorial: radial gradient layer effects, adjustment layers, dodge, burn, sharpen, gradient tool, layer masks, warp, and clone.

At the end of this tutorial, we will have a creepy, snail-like creature, with a whole bunch of cool tentacles, resting on a woman's hand! Alright, let's get started!

End result:
How To Create A Fantasy Flower Creature Final Image

avatar braska

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Practice tutorial


Step 1

First we will create a new document that is 1200 X 1600.

Step 2

We will begin by creating our background. In my opinion it is almost always good practice to establish what background you are going to use first, because blending all the images will be easier to do as we go along, rather than changing all of the blending at the end to fit with the background.

Create a rectangle shape layer that is the size of your document, it doesn’t matter what color you use. Go into the blending options of the new layer and select Gradient Overlay. When you initially create a radial gradient, you can check the ‘reverse’ option immediately to change black to your outside color. Change your gradient settings to match the image below.

Step 3

You should now have this.

Step 4

Duplicate the shape layer that you’ve just created and go to: Blending Options>Gradient Overlay and change the blend mode to Color Dodge as shown below. Also change the layer style to Color Dodge and adjust the layer opacity to 34%.

Step 5

Duplicate the last shape layer you've created, but right click on the duplicated layer and select ‘Clear Layer Style'.

Make sure that white is your foreground color, and black is your background color. Select Filter>Render>Difference Clouds. Change the blending mode of this layer to Multiply.

Optional: Duplicate the cloud layer once and lower opacity.

Step 6

You can find the arm image we will use here: The author requests that you send her a note on DA before you use this image.

I am not going into masking objects in this tutorial, I will take for granted that you already know how to mask or are perfectly capable of finding one of the hundreds of masking tutorials that are out there. If you do not know, type into Google: “photoshop tutorial masking with pen tool”. That should send you on the right track :) Begin by masking the arm and hand from the background.

Step 7

Bring the arm onto the background you’ve just created and place it as shown below. Make sure the arm layer is selected and go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Checkmark the option ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’. Use the settings shown below and click OK. Select the arm layer again and repeat the same steps, but this time choose Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Create as clipping mask again and use the settings shown below to change the levels of the arm.

When using adjustment layers that you want linked directly to one layer, it is a smart practice to keep them sorted in folders. Select the arm layer and the two adjustment layers we have just created (do this by holding down the CTRL key and selecting the layers). When all three layers are selected go to: Layer>New>Group from Layers. Name it whatever you want, but arm might work ;)

Step 8

You can get the next photo we will use here: thanks to RDS from flickr.

Mask the tree from its background.

Step 9

Now we will follow the same steps we did while creating adjustment layers for the arm, but this time for the tree. Create two adjustment layers for the tree layer using the settings you see below. Place the two adjustment layers and tree layer in their own folder.

Use the burn tool at the settings shown below and burn out some of the hard highlights that are on the tree.

Now use the sharpen tool at the settings shown below and sharpen the base of the tree and some of the larger branches that are sticking out front.

Step 10

This will be the hardest part of the tutorial. It took me several tries to get my finished result, don’t give up if you mess up the first time.

We need to create the effect that the tree is resting on the top of her hand. Therefore we need some branches to be wrapped around the front of her hand, while other branches are still hanging in between her fingers, and yet others behind her hand.

To create this effect we are going to be using the brush tool to mask out parts of the hand. Begin by making sure that the arm layer is below the tree layer. Next we need to create a layer mask for the hand layer. We will be working on this layer mask the entire time. Make sure that black is your foreground color and choose the brush tool. Use a brush size that is small enough that you can paint over even some of the smallest branches in the image. Now begin to paint over the branches that you wish to be IN FRONT of the hand and fingers. If you would like any of the branches to be behind her hand, you will not brush over those parts of the tree.

Hint: Place the hand layer above the tree layer occasionally to see how your results are coming along.

Step 11

You can find the image of the flower we will be using here: thanks to Chausinho from flickr.

Mask the flower from its background.

Step 12

Now you will use the clone tool to remove unnecessary highlights. Choose the clone tool and while holding down the alt key, click on your clone source. Now you can click on what you would like to be cloned out. You may also remove the thing sticking out of the mouth of the flower, but that’s up to you. Definitely remove the harsh highlights that are pointed at in the example.

Step 13

Use the same exact process we used before on the arm and tree to create two adjustment layers for the flower.

Step 14

Position the flower close to the position shown below. Make sure the right edge of the flower is lined up with the right side of the tree. Use the warp tool to stretch the left base of the flower to the left side of the tree: Edit>Transform>Warp. After warping, your end result should have the outer right and left side of the flower lined up with the outer right and left side of the tree.

Step 15

With the flower layer selected, use the sharpen filter one time: Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen. This will repair some of the stretching we have done with warping.

Step 16

Make sure the flower layer is under the tree layer. Black should be your foreground color. Select your gradient tool. Select a black to transparent gradient from the dropdown menu, use the settings shown in the image below. With the tree layer selected, create a new layer mask. While working on the layer mask, drag your gradient tool from just above the top of the tree to just below the top of the tree as shown in the example below.

Tip: Do this several times at different angles, for example, if you are taking away from the left side of the tree, start your gradient from upper left and move at an angle towards bottom right. Also, shorten the distance of your gradient strokes as you get closer to finishing up.

Step 17

Use the burn tool at low settings to add depth and shadows where the tree meets the flower.

Step 18

The general direction of light in this image is coming from the top right. So we need to make a few adjustments, as shown in the next step.

Step 19

Use the dodge and burn tool at LOW settings to achieve results. I always use very low settings with dodge and burn, because I can go over the object multiple times if I want more dramatic results.

Step 20

Here is the end result. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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avatar Ory
Ory says:

A very good tutorial, really nice, well done

(5 years and 2325 days ago)
avatar Lodd
Lodd says:

Some cool techniques here

(5 years and 2325 days ago)
avatar gopankarichal

very nice tutorial, good result

(5 years and 2324 days ago)
avatar DigitalDreamer


(5 years and 2324 days ago)
avatar vinshine
vinshine says:

Nice tut

(5 years and 2323 days ago)
avatar vinshine
vinshine says:

Nice tut

(5 years and 2323 days ago)
avatar arkncheeze

Well I am kinda bored of fantasy this, fantasy that.. But I do like the tut you have written... Really nice technique... I always read tut for techniques, not the end result...

Also I liked the way you went for background first... I am bad at backgrounds... Will have to keep that in mind...

Anyway nice tuts...

(5 years and 2323 days ago)
avatar bartman
bartman says:

Wow. Tks
Great tut

(5 years and 2322 days ago)
avatar Akassa
Akassa says:

Sweet manipulation, well done author.

(5 years and 2313 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:


(5 years and 2278 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Hello Friend How r u ? I m ur new friend.I don't no properly about photoshop, So, this tutorial help me.

(5 years and 2275 days ago)
avatar devangel
devangel says:

cery nice tut

(5 years and 2270 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Very cool. Reminds me of "The Flood" from halo!

(5 years and 2259 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

WOW VERY COOL but u could have used better montage pics for that hah???

(5 years and 2256 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Nice technique...

(5 years and 2154 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

WOW!! District #9 arm

(5 years and 2074 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Nice tutorial...
Thanks for sharing this

(5 years and 2069 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Fun stuff. I always love learning something new about photoshop. Thanks!

(5 years and 2026 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

two thumbs for you
it's great

(5 years and 1976 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Realy you are amazing one go ahead
finally thanks a lot for this tutorial

(5 years and 1944 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

i swear i though it was a squid lol

(5 years and 1815 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

that is not a flower thing, that's a squid.

(5 years and 1760 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:


(5 years and 1542 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

There are many ways of creating a soft, dark (or any color) edge.1. For a relaly soft black edge, look for Correct Camera Distortion in the Filter Menu and play with the Vignette controls.2. Create a new layer above the photo's layer, fill it with black, add a layer mask to this layer, click on the mask to highlight it, press D on the keyboard to reset the foreground/background colors to black and white and use a fairly large, soft (fuzzy) brush to remove the black from the parts of the photo you want to show leaving a black edge. Change Blend Mode to Overlay.3. Same first steps as in #2 above but instead of using a brush to remove black, use the Rectangular or Ellipical selection tool with a lot of feathering (80 pxs) to create a selection on the Mask be sure to click on the mask to highlight it before drawing the selection. Use the Paintbucket to fill the selection with Black and change the Blend Mode to Overlay.Oh, if you prefer a slightly darker edge, instead of changing the Blend Mode to Overlay, just tweak the Opacity of the mask. (Click on the Mask to highlight it, then use the Opacity slider.)

(5 years and 1218 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

The Awesome ART

(5 years and 1169 days ago)

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