Create a new file with a Width of 1000px and a Height of 1500px at 72 dpi (Dots Per Inch)
We are going to use the following picture: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1165462
Just copy it to your Photoshop file and name the layer Balloon.
Credits go to jlacy304 for this awesome picture.
Now we are going to erase the sky behind the balloon. There are a lot of different ways to cut or delete things in Photoshop. But for this one we are going to use Color Range. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and right click on the image. A drop down list should pop up now, select Color Range. Uncheck Localized Color Cluster and put the Fuzziness to 100. Then click in the left bottom corner of the picture and hit OK. You will notice that the sky is now selected, just hit Delete and head on to the next step.
In this step we are going to cut the basket of the balloon. For this step I used the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), see picture for reference.
We don’t need the whole balloon, so we’re going to cut the top off. This time I used the Pen Tool (P), because it has the possibility to make nice curves. If you have problems with this step, try to use the Convert Point Tool (P), which can be found in the same place as the pen tool. When you put your mouse on a pin-point and hold Alt and then drag you will notice that your curve will change. Just play around with it till you get something like the following picture.
Link the two pinpoints together until the top part of the balloon is in the path. Right click with your mouse and Make Selection. Use 0px as Feather and hit OK, after that you can just delete that section of the balloon.
Now the balloon is just a hard and straight line, but we’re going to change that. Open up the Liquefy (Shift + Ctrl + X) window and use the following settings:
Brush Size: 136
Brush Density: 86
Brush Pressure: 87
Then you just pull up the highlighted areas.
We are now going to put some grass on it. First off we start to make a new layer, calling it Grass and set it under the Balloon layer. Second of all we make a background color for the grass. Pick a Soft Brush with a Size of 50pxHardness of 0% and use #618407 as color. With that set you paint a little bit above our balloon. Look at the picture for references.
Now we are going to paint the grass on using a standard brush in Photoshop called: Dune Grass. If you can’t find it try to open Preset Manager under the tab Edit.
Click the little arrow on the right and select Reset Brushes then hit OK and there should your brush appear. Now set as your First Color #618407 and your Second #80ac0a. And brush away, I used for the Size 20px close to the sides and a Size of 30px in the middle. Try to make something that looks like the image.
To make the grass look a little bit more realistic we are going to use the Dodge (O) and Burn (O) tool. Set the Range to Highlights and the Exposure around the 70%. Dodge some parts on the top and burn the parts close to the balloon, you can also play a little bit with the setting and the places where you use the dodge and where burn.
For the next step in this tutorial we are going to use a tree. After some searching I found this picture: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=854281
Download and open this file in Photoshop.
Credits go to TouTouke for this amazing picture.
Just like the balloon we are going to cut the tree out of the picture. First we go to Window and then Channels then select the Blue Channel. If you did this correct your image is now black and white. Grab the Quick Selection Tool (W) and drag a straight line on the right and the left side of the tree. Then go back to the RGB Channel and hit Delete. See the image for reference.
You will notice that there is still some blue around and in the tree, we are going to delete that using Color Range. So grab your Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) right click on the image and select Color Range. Use the same settings as we used in Step 3, find a nice blue spot and click on it. When you hit OK you will see that the blue areas of the tree are selected. If you can’t get the selection right because Color Range selects too much try to click on the spot at the left bottom of the tree.
Now that we have the sky deleted it is time to get rid of the landscape. Grab the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and select the landscape, it doesn’t have to be very precise. Look at the image for reference.
Select the tree and copy it to our main file. Name the layer Tree and put it behind the Balloon and Grass layer. Rotate and scale it a bit using Transform (Ctrl + T).
We are going to scale it all down it a bit. Go to Window and then Layers (F7). Select the first layer, Hold Shift and select the last layer. Go to Edit > Free Transform (Ctrl + T) and scale it down, I also moved it a little bit down to the left bottom corner
Now we are going to work on the background. Get your Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the Background layer with #6d98bd.
I looked at the balloon and I thought that it could use some more color. So we got to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and use the following settings:
In this step we will create our own brush. Open a New Window with a Width of 50px and a Height of 50px.
Grab the Custom Shape Tool (U) right click on the image and select the Circle Thin Frame.
Make a nice circle with it, but make sure you hold Shift when doing this. Stay a little bit away from the edges just like the following image.
Now we go to File > Define Brush Preset. Just give it a nice name. If you can’t click on Define Brush Preset go to your Layers panel and deselect your layer, that should do the trick.
Now that we have the brush we go back to our main file. Select the Brush Tool (B) right click on the image and select the brush we just made. Leave the Master Diameter on 45px and set White as Color.
Make a New Layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) name it Air and brush away! Create a few rings under the balloon, use different diameters, I used the diameters from 2px to 45px. Make it look like the image below
You will notice that there is a ring that is actually on the balloon. We are going to make it look like as if the rings come out of the balloon. First grab your Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and delete that part that is on the top part of the balloon.
Now we use our Burn Tool (O) use the following settings and burn the top of the half-circle.
We now got the following layers: Air, Balloon, Grass and Tree. Select them all and make a Group (Ctrl + G) of it. Name that group Part 1.
Right click on the Part 1 group and select Duplicate Group. Select the group and Transform (Ctrl + T) it, scale it a bit down and move it to the right top corner.
Now the second part is just a copy of the first one, but we don’t want to look it that way so we are going to do some adjustments. First we go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.
Select the Part 1 Copy group and hit Ctrl + E. When you do this Photoshop will merge all the layers that are inside that group. Now we can use adjustments on it.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Ctrl + U), we want this part a little bit more gray so we reduce the Saturation with 15.
Now there are two balloons in the image, but we want to connect them with each other. To do that we are going to use a rainbow. First get the Gradient Tool (G) go to the top left of the screen you see a little colored bar. Click on it, now the Gradient Editor should pop up. Select the Rainbow and leave the settings as they are.
Draw a straight line above the empty part of the balloon. Name the layer Rainbow. See the picture for reference.
Transform (Ctrl + T) the rainbow. Scale the height down a bit, the right click on the rainbow and select Distort. Hold Shift and Alt while dragging the top right corner to the middle, create something like the picture below.
This could be a little bit a difficult step. If you don’t get the result that you want just try again and again and again till you found the right way to do it. Again go to Transform (Ctrl + T) this time we right click and select Warp and try to make it look like that the rainbow is jumping from the one to the other balloon. When you have the result that you wanted place the Rainbow layer behind the Part 1 group.
Duplicate (Ctrl + J) the Rainbow layer and apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur…) of 35px.
Grab a Brush (B) with a Size of 300px and a Hardness of 0%. Set your color to White and click twice on the beginning of the rainbow. Name the layer White Glow.
Pick the Line Tool (U) set the Weight (in the top bar) to 1px, use a White color as front color. Now drag two diagonal line’s trough the glow.
Repeat Step 36 and Step 37 for the smaller balloon.
We are going to adjust the background a bit. So go to your Layers panel and create a layer called Overlap Background, set your colors to the basics ones: Black and White (D). Go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Set the layer to Luminosity.
The clouds look terrible now, so we are going to put a Gaussian Blur over it. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur… use a Radius of 125px.
Now we are going to make some clouds as a finishing touch. Create a New Layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) above the Balloon Layer and name it Clouds. Open up your Brush Panel (F5 or Window > Brushes) and use the following settings for the brush.
Brush a cloud in the bottom left corner and one above the first balloon. If you don’t get the result you wanted just delete it and try again.
Create a New Layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) beneath our Clouds layer. Name this one Clouds 2. Brush a big cloud in front of our first balloon. Try to click with your brush instead of dragging the cloud. This way you achieve your goal sooner.
Copy (Ctrl + J) the Clouds 2 layer and place it beneath the Clouds 2 layer. We want to have a nice shadow from the cloud on our balloon so we are going to make the Clouds 2 Copy black. Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert (Ctrl + I). Drag the layer a little bit down to make it look more realistic.
Our Clouds 2 Copy isn’t a real shadow yet. We have to make sure that the layer is only visible on the balloon layer. So we are going to create a Clipping Mask go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask (Ctrl + Alt + G). Now you notice that the shadow is only visible on the balloon. Now Reduce the Opacity of the layer by 20%.
Create a New Layer beneath the Part 1 Copy, call it Cloud Tree. As you probably have guessed we are going to make a cloud behind the tree. So grab your brush and brush away.
Last but not least, we Create a New Layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) above the Part 1 Copy and paint a little cloud in front of the balloon.
And here is our finale image! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have a nice result :D
If you got stuck, just ask.