3D, Design

Design an Underwater Omega Code Poster

Omega Code is a band that ran a massive design contest to create interest in their music, by allowing designers to use their unique triangle logo and compete to win the contest.  Many of the Omega Code posters are masterful works of art, and range from steampunk to retro space.  One style that wasn’t seen, however, was an underwater take on the Omega Code.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn step by step how to create a brilliant 3D shatter triangle effect, and then combine it with a background and familiar underwater elements to create a brilliant finished work.  From polygons in 3D Studio Max, bombs to shatter the geometry, and incredible underwater creatures added in Photoshop, you’ll learn everything you need to create your own digital artworks.

Let’s get started!

Tools Used:

  • 3DS MAX
  • Photoshop
  • Various stocks

Final Image Preview:


Step 1: The Omega Code Render

So we will start off by opening up 3D MAX and creating a new scene. Once your new scene has been created we can begin creating a prism which will become the first triangle for the omega code logo, and all the triangles that follow.  So on the right hand side of 3ds we can select the sphere this is the create tab which houses all the basic objects you can create. After clicking the sphere we will go to the drop down menu placed directly beneath it and select ‘Extended primitives’ which will bring up a selection of possible objects which we can create. We will be clicking the prism button. When we have it clicked set your settings to the same as mine; the only thing we will change from the basic settings is the ‘segs’ towards the bottom. This is basically how many polygons per face the object will have. We want a large number of polygons per side since the quality of our outcome will directly depend on how many polygons are in our final render.

Now we can create the prism; click on the screen and you will see a 2D triangle appear. Once the first click has been made you will have begun the first of 3 steps required to make the prism, the first of which will be setting the ‘foundation’ or creating the base of the triangle. It’s important when doing this first step that we don’t create an acute triangle or anything strangely skewed, you can ease the this step by paying close attention to the top viewport which should be the viewport in the top left. Once you have finished your first step you can click a second time to begin step 2. The second step will be changing the alignment of the tip of your triangle.  This step should be essentially the same as the last step but is just as important, make sure your triangle is not skewed and then just click a third time. The last click will be the height or thickness of your triangle; get a decent thickness and click to finish your triangle. Your triangle should look similar to mine in the below screenshot but don’t worry about the color because we will be changing the color in the steps to come.

Alright so now that we have a triangle created we will start the real creation process of the omega code logo. We are going to be hollowing out our triangles in the steps to come but in order to do this we will need an object to hollow them out with. So click your triangle and then right click to select the scale tool; while holding shift click the triangle once more you will notice in your viewports that a second triangle is actually what you are scaling. You want to try and create a smaller triangle within the first triangle, so pay attention to your viewports while doing this, its important that you do not go to small otherwise our hollowed out section will have no purpose. So once you have created a triangle about 75% the size of the first click again, a new dialog box should appear asking us about the new triangle, leave all the settings as they are and select ok. Now we can right click again and select the move tool. We will be using the move tool along with the top viewport to ensure that our triangle is correctly aligned with the previous triangle. Once they have been lined up correctly (one inside the other) we can scale the triangle once again, this time select the inner triangle, right click and choose the scale tool again but this time select the small box to the side of the scale tool.

Once you have clicked the scale tool box a new dialog box will appear. This new dialog box will have an integer for X, Y and Z; we will be dealing only with Z value. So select the value in Z which should be 100, and change the value to around 150 and press enter. Your top and left viewports should look similar to mine in the below screenshot, essentially all we have done is made our triangle taller so that in goes through the outer triangle.

Now we can select the move tool and move our inner triangle, this part is very important we don’t want to move the inner triangle to the left or right, we only want to move it up and down. So pull your triangle down (or up depending upon your scene) so it is pushing through both sides of the triangle. If your inner triangle is not pushing through both sides don’t worry we can fix this by repeating the previous step. Once your triangle is going through the outer triangle your viewports should look similar to mine.

Now that the inner triangle is the way we want it to look, we can use it along with the first triangle to create a Boolean object. To do this we will right click on the screen and click select; once you have clicked select you can select the outer triangle (the first triangle we created). Now we can click the sphere once again; this time we will click the drop down and go down to ‘Compound objects’. Once the new set of objects comes up we will select Boolean.

Once you have selected the Boolean button and the parameters come up we can select the ‘Pick operand b’ button. Choosing the operand b will subtract a portion of our triangle based off of what operand b is, so essentially once we have clicked this and selected our inner triangle it will delete the inner triangle from the outer triangle creating a hole. So click the choose operand button and select our inner triangle. The following screens will show what the Boolean settings look like and what your final Boolean triangle should look like. But do note that if your inner triangle is smaller the hole in the Boolean triangle will be thusly smaller, so if you don’t like the end result you can press ‘CTRL Z’ on your keyboard a few times and repeat the steps where we scaled the inner triangle and then make a Boolean object again.

Now that we have our first triangle we can work solely in the top viewport to make things easier. We will be duplicating our triangle 3 times and moving them to form the omega code logo, we will be working in the top viewport so we don’t move any of the triangles above or below the original, rather we will just be moving the triangles to the left and right. So right click on your screen and choose the move tool; once this is selected hold shift, click and drag the first triangle the right of it. Once you have done this you just need to repeat this process of holding shift and dragging until your series of triangles look like mine in the below screenshot, having created one more in the middle of the first two and one above all the others. This will make 4 triangles that all form one giant triangle.

Once your omega code logo is complete we will start blowing the omega code logo apart. To do this we will go back to the far right hand side and select the ‘space warp’ icon, this icon will look like a wave and will be 4 icons over from the sphere.

Once we have clicked the space warp icon we can click the ‘Forces’ toolbar and select ‘Geometric/Deformable’ from the selections. This will bring up all the deformers that 3DS has in its arsenal, for this project we can select the bomb button.

Now we can click on the screen to create our bomb; we will only create a single bomb and place it in the middle of all the triangles and just a tad above them. Once this is done we can right click and choose the select tool once again, this time we will select all of our triangles on the screen and press ‘M’ on our keyboards. Once we have pressed ‘M’ a new dialog box will appear, this is our material editor. Chose the same options I have in the below screenshot.

Now we can go to the “Bind to space warp” icon, this should be up in the top left.  The icon looks like a window, a wave and a red magnet.  Once you have selected this we need to click our bomb and drag it to each of our triangles. When you click and drag it will create a dashed line, make sure you drag until you get it to where it is hitting each triangle, if you stop short your triangle will not explode!

Now we need to click our bomb and choose the arc shaped tab on the right hand side entitled “Modify” this will allow us to change the settings for our bomb. Once you have selected this we can see all the parameters for our bomb. Set your parameters the same as mine in the below screenshot, if would like a more thorough explanation of how bombs work and what each parameter does check out my other tutorial on Creative fan: http://design.creativefan.com/create-a-stunning-3d-liquid-explosion-artwork/

Now that we have bound our bomb to the triangles and changed the bomb parameters not much has changed, in fact nothing has. This is due to the fact that our ‘Time stamp’ located at the bottom is still on 0, so essentially time has not moved! So we need to click the right side arrow on the time stamp to move time forward; we will be moving time to the seven and then we will stop. On our last step we edited the bombs parameters, when doing so we set the detonation for our bomb at time stamp 5, so by moving the time stamp over to the seven our bomb should have successfully exploded.

Remember that not all bombs explode in the same way (in real life or in graphic design) so if your logo does not look exactly like mine in the above screen shot it is no big deal! Don’t worry to much about it! Now we can move on to rendering, that’s right we are almost finished with the cumbersome 3ds work! To bring up the render settings we will press ‘F10’ on our keyboard, the new dialog box that appears will be the basic render parameters. If you are familiar with 3DS this screen is nothing new, if you’re not, don’t worry we will not be changing much out at all, just the size of our render. So adjust your output size to 4500 for both width and hight as I have in the below screenshot.

Now click the render button, be when doing so make sure your viewport is set to perspective. But do note that if your perspective viewport is not as mine is the 2nd screenshot above it needs to be. So if your viewport is not use the arc rotate tool in the bottom right and rotate the viewport until the logo is straight up and down.
Once your render is finished save it as a png and save it somewhere you will remember it, we will save it as a png so that when we open it in Photoshop we will not have to worry about isolating the render from the background.

Now we will create a second render, this time we will click the time stamp and place it back at 0. This time we will be creating a wire frame render. To do this we will press ‘F10’ on the keyboard once again, when the render settings come up we will leave everything the same as before but we will click the ‘Renderer’ toolbar at the top. This will show all of our more advanced render settings, select the checkbox entitled ‘Force wireframe’ and press render. We will then save this render as a png as we did in the previous step.

Now we can create the final render, so click the time stamp tool again at the bottom and drag it all the way over to 56. This should cause a drastic explosion sending pieces of our triangles all over the place.

Once we have moved it over to cause a catastrophic sized explosion we will press ‘F10’ on the keyboard a final time; this time we will go back and deselect the ‘Force wireframe’ checkbox. Now we can press the render button to render our final image. We will save this render as a png once again now we can finally close 3DS and begin the post work!

Step 2: Creating a Background and Manipulation of the Render

We can begin this new section of the tutorial by opening up Photoshop and creating a new scene by pressing ‘CTRL N’ on the keyboard. You want to set the width and height of our scene to 1800*2700 as I have in the following screenshot, once that is done click the ok button to create the document.

Now, find a nice water background to use on your favorite stock image site.  Save it to your computer and then open the background image in Photoshop and drag it to the newly created scene. You will see that our document is smaller than the background image and that’s fine, we don’t need the whole image anyway. So now we will be moving the background around in the new document so that the top is just barely showing; this can be done by pressing ‘v’ on the keyboard to initiate the move tool. With the move tool enabled just move the background so it looks similar to mine in the below screenshot, keep in mind that we don’t want to much of the top showing though.

This step is optional but I would recommend it; we will now remove the ‘floor’ or the ground out of our background. This is fairly easy to do and can be accomplished with the stamp tool. So press ‘S’ on your keyboard to grab the stamp tool; once you have the stamp tool selected right click and set your brush up as mine is in the below screenshot.

Now we can hold down the ‘ALT’ key on our keyboard to select where we want to begin stamping from, we will be choosing the area right above the ground. Once you have selected where you want to stamp from press ‘CTRL SHIFT N’ on your keyboard and stamp away! You will notice that you might hit some of the edges which is fine; we are not looking for anything great or beautiful at all, just something to fill the space. Once you have stamped away the majority of the background we can go to the filter drop down located at the top of your screen and select ‘filter’>’blur’>’Gaussian blur’. Set your filter up as mine is in the below screenshot, we will not be trying to retain any quality we are just creating a nice feathered cover for the ground.

Once you have applied the filter go ahead and duplicate your layer, to do this right click on the layer and select duplicate layer. Once you have duplicated the layer move it so it covers up the remaining ground, depending upon how much you clone stamped you may need to duplicate this layer more than once. I duplicated mine twice and looks like the below screenshot.

Now we will open our first render (the logo), once you have opened it drag it into our document. We will notice that this too is to large for our document, that is fine we will fix this by free transforming the render. To enable the free transform tool we will press ‘CTRL T’ on the keyboard; we can now see a box has appeared around our render with boxes located on the sides and corners of the render. We will ignore all of these boxes and just work strictly with the tool settings located at the top of the screen. Now we can set our height and width to 56.2 however depending upon how your render came out you may want to adjust the size and height differently than mine, but just try and make sure your triangle is set in the center of the document and fits similar to the way mine does.

Now we can drag the third render in, this one should be the intense explosion of the tree triangles. This time even though it is extremely large and we have tiny particles everywhere we will not be free transforming the render.

Once you have dragged the third render into the scene we can press ‘E’ on our keyboards to initiate the eraser tool; we will be using a very large    soft edged eraser to clear out the majority of our particles so they do not seem to cluster the main render up too much.  So one you have pressed ‘E’ on the keyboard set your eraser tools up as I have mine in the below screenshot.

Now just simply erase away all of those unwanted particles! Try and keep around 90% of the ones atop and inside of our logo, but take out about 80% of the ones outside the render. You really want to remove the cluster here since we will soon be filling the document with all new kinds of goodies! Try and keep a few particles floating up as if they were buoyant and some falling down below the render as if they were extremely heavy. This will add to the dynamics of the final image. Your document should look similar to mine below, but keep in mind that this depends on your first and second render as well as how you erased your particles; anything will look great as long as it doesn’t look like the above screenshot!

Now that its all cleared up we will go over to our layer tool bar so was can link and then merge down the two renders into one. To do this we will stay on the third render layer and then click the checkbox located next to the eye on our first layer. Once you have clicked this checkbox a chain icon should appear in its place, this is to show that we have linked the layers. Once the layers have been linked we can press ‘CTRL E’ on the keyboard to merge these two linked layers into one layer. Be sure that when doing this you do not link the background layer in this is very important because we want to be able to edit the render without doing any damage to our background.
Once we have merged the two renders into one layer we can start the blending of the scene. We will do this by using the dodge and burn tools. We can start by pressing ‘O’ on your keyboard and insuring that we have the dodge tool selected. With the dodge tool selected you will want to set your brush and settings for the dodge tool up as mine are in the below screenshot, keep in mind that you will need to switch between ‘Midtones’ and ‘Highlights’ in order to get the desired effect, but to start out we can just use the have the dodge tool set to highlights.

Now we can start dodging! You want to start at the very tip of your triangle and sort of work your way down, slowly decreasing the amount you dodge based on how far away it is from the light source (the top beams of light). Its also very important not to leave the particles floating around undodged, they should be getting hit by some light as well. Once you have effectively dodged the render we can change the dodge tool to the burn tool. We can do this by clicking and holding the dodge tool icon in the tools toolbar, the dodge tool icon looks similar to a microphone for some reason, essentially just a stick with a ball on the end. Once we have clicked and held down this icon a box should appear with a few more icons on them, we will be selecting the one that looks like a fist, this is the burn tool.  With the burn tool selected we will leave our brush settings alone but change the burn tool settings so that they are as follows:
Range: Midtones
Exposure: 18%
With the burn tool set up we can repeat the process this time going from bottom to top, darkening the base of our logo and slowly working our way up. Keep in mind we don’t want to burn any of our previously dodged sections just burn everything that seems like it should be out of the light. Once you’re happy with the result your render should look similar to mine below.

Now that our renders light scheme blends with the background we need to get the colors to have a similar effect. To do this we will hold down the ‘ALT’ key on our keyboards and click the render layer on the layer toolbar. This should make a selection around our render which should look like the below screenshot.

Now with this selection active we can go down to the back ground layer and press ‘CTRL C’ on the keyboard. This will copy the current selection (our render) of the background. Once we have copied the selection we can go back to the render layer and press ‘CTRL V’ on the keyboard to paste it. If your pasted background copy is not directly over the render then press ‘V’ on the keyboard to grab the move tool and just simply move it over the render.
Once it is atop the render we will hold down the ‘ALT’ key once more and click the render layer again, this time remain on the newly copied layer though. With the selection up we can now apply another Gaussian blur, this time we only want to have the radius set at about 4.5 pixels. Once that is done we can press ‘enter ‘on the keyboard or select the enter button to apply the blur. Once the filter is applied we can press ‘CTRL D’ to deselect our selection and then set this layer as a color layer at 100% opacity.

Once we have applied the layer as a color layer we can then press ‘O’ on the keyboard to bring up the dodge and burn tools again. With the burn and dodge tools enabled we will just repeat the process we did with the render but now on our color layer, this time however we will not be so drastic with the tools, rather just a light dodging and burning.
Now that we have burnt and dodged the layer we can now duplicate it twice, the first duplication should be left as color at 100% and the second should be set as a soft light at 84% opacity. Your layers should look something like mine in the below screenshot.

Once we have successfully completed the above we are done with step 2! Your final document should look something like mine in the below screenshot.

Step 3: Jellyfish Galore!

Now that we have created the basic layout for our scene we need to start building it up and what better way than with a few jelly fishes? So we can now go head over to Sxc (you will need an account, but its free so sign up!) to grab the first jelly fish stock http://www.sxc.hu/photo/843107 Now just copy this jellyfish into our document in Photoshop so we can begin editing it into our piece.

We will begin our editing process by performing an auto level adjustment. This will adjust the brightness, darkness and contrast based upon the scene. Once this has been done your jellyfish should look similar to mine (minus the white backdrop).

Now we can press ‘E’ on the keyboard to grab the eraser tool; we will then right click and grab the standard 300px soft brush, we want to change the hardness to 100% rather than 0. Once we have our brush set up we will just quickly erase all the debris that are floating around in there with him. Try and get the strange over saturated red patches as well as all the little floating things.  Once you have erased all you can see your image should look like mine below.

Now to further enhance the jellyfish we will be doing a manual edit of the levels. To do this we will need to pres ‘CTRL L’ on the keyboard, we will be moving the far left triangle over to the right a little bit and then pressing ok or ‘ENTER’ on the keyboard. Doing the manual adjustment will darken all the blacks in the scene and cause the grays to become pitch black which is a very good thing.

Once the levels are fully adjusted we can then change the blending mode for this layer to screen, this blending mode doesn’t  allow any black to be shown which means we are done with our isolation of the jellyfish!

So to finish him off completely we will just press ‘CTRL T’ on the keyboard to enable the free transform tool; with the free transform tool we can size him down to something nice so that he is not a giant jellyfish. Placement of the jellyfish as well as the fish to come, is solely dependent on what you like, there’s no right place to put the jellyfish. However you don’t want to cluster them all atop each other, they should be swimming freely so space them out!

For our next jellyfish we will go back to Sxc and grab this stock http://www.sxc.hu/pic/l/z/ze/zenpixel/927132_58102185.jpg We will copy and paste this stock the same way we did with our previous jellyfish into the Photoshop document.

Once the jellyfish is in our document we will start the editing process by desaturating the stock and then applying a manual level adjustment. We can do this by pressing ‘CTRL SHIFT U’ followed by ‘CTRL SHIFT L’. Now our jellyfish should be black and white and should have brightened up quite a bit.

To further edit him we can now apply a similar manual adjustment to the jellyfish as we have done to the previous one. This time however we will be slightly moving the middle triangle as well as the first triangle. So press ‘CTRL L’ on your keyboard to bring up the manual level adjustment menu and set your as mine are in the below screenshot.

Now we can press ‘E’ on the keyboard once more to bring up the eraser tool, this time however we will be erasing all the tiny strange pixie dust that seems to be floating in our friends tank. We will not be changing any of the eraser settings or brush settings from the previous jellyfish. Once you have erased all you can and gotten as close as you think you can get to the jellyfish without going inside of him then your image should look similar to mine in the below screenshot.

Now we have a nicely isolated jellyfish, but shouldn’t he have a little color? We can manually add some color to our jellyfish by pressing ‘CTRL U’ on the keyboard this will bring up the hue and saturation editor. Since we have already desaturated the image we will need to click the check box that says ‘colorize’ before we make any adjustments. Once you have clicked the colorize checkbox just set your settings up as mine are below, keep in mind if you want to play with these settings that’s fine but be careful with how much you increase the saturation otherwise you will wind up with a very over saturated jellyfish.

Now just like the last jellyfish we can set this jellyfish up as a screen layer and then just free transform and place him!

Once you have done the above just repeat the process a few more times with the below jellyfish stocks, try and vary your size and colors (not to crazy though) to fight against any uniformity.

  • http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=523037
  • http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=234636
  • http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=644793
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1103345
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/927134

After repeating the above steps my document now looks like the below screenshot. You can see that I have created some extremely small jellyfish as well as kept the big ones floating in there.

Step 4: Finding Nemo

Since we know there is not only jellyfish in the ocean we can now start to do the same process of isolating out stocks but this time with fish! So to start off the fish isolation we will head over to Sxc once again and grab this stock http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=226753

Once you have copied our fish into our Photoshop documents we can then press ‘CTRL SHIFT L’ to apply a level adjustment. However for these fish this step is optional, as you can see by my screen shot the fish only truly is adjusted on his bottom side, so it’s a personal taste, one I prefer but you may not.

Now we need to cut that fish out of the white background, and theres a lot of possible ways to go about doing this. For example:

  • We could paint over him with a layer mask
  • Use the pen tool
  • Use the magic eraser

But there is no reason to further complicate things, so for this isolation we can just use the magic wand tool. To enable the magic wand tool press ‘W’ on your keyboard; once the tool is enabled go ahead and set your tolerance to 31% and then just click away. You will see it really only takes one click to isolate the little fish. Once you have grabbed it with the magic wand we can press the ‘DELETE’ key on our keyboard to erase that selection out.

Now we can free transform and place our little nemo friend, simple enough wasn’t it!

For a different look we could go back a step to right before we place him and adjust his hue. To do this we would press ‘CTRL U’ on the keyboard and just move it around till you get something similar to a darker goldfish.  Since this fish’s hue adjustment comes out so nice he was the primary fish for my piece. I just kept changing his size and hue again and again to prevent any uniformity.

Now we can move on to another fish, this one however is not a real stock photograph, rather a render of one provided as stock. So head over to DA and grab this stock image http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs11/i/2006/248/7/9/Fish_Stock_1_by_Shoofly_Stock.jpg
We will paste this image into our document and then move on with the isolation process.

We will go about this fish or series of fishes in a very similar way, this time we will select one of the fishes with our marquee tool (which is ‘M’ on your keyboard) and then press ‘CTRL C’ followed by ‘CTRL V’ on the keyboard to copy and paste him.

Now all we need to do is press ‘W’ on the keyboard to grab the wand tool again and just click and press ‘DEL’ once more. Now he has been isolated, as I said this fish really isn’t that much different than any of the other fish we have done prior.

Now to free transform (‘CTRL T’) him and place him about!

Since this stock image offers various ‘poses’ its very easy to use this fish a multitude of different ways, however unlike our last aquatic friend this one doesn’t take very well to any hue adjustments so stray away from the hue and saturation adjustments otherwise you will wind up with some strange other worldly looking fish.
Now all we need to do is repeat this process just as we did with our jellyfish, and keep in mind that just as with our jelly fish there is no need to jam them together, however if you wanted to make a school of fish, just copy and paste the same fish a repeated number of times a make a V pattern out of them.
The below fish stocks are the fish I used in the creation of the final image

  • http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs11/i/2006/248/7/d/Fish_Stock_2_by_Shoofly_Stock.jpg
  • http://www.sxc.hu/pic/l/t/tu/tuareq/792375_27502743.jpg
  • http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=857013

And finally http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1049674 This stock however is different than all the previous, it’s a sword fish that’s been stuffed. It has strange reflections and is odd looking at best. I would be very careful when using him In the final image. I isolated him the same way we did all the other fish however I placed him way up at the tip top so all that you can see is his fins.
My image after all the fishes had been thrown about looked like the below screenshot.

Step 5: Bubbles!

Air that’s right we need some bubbles. How to do this? Well I painted the majority of my large scale bubbles but what was not painted on will be described below.
The first large bubble that was not painted on is a stock image of some water, you just need to isolate out the water droplet just as we have done the jellyfish and apply it as a screen layer at different size, I placed it around 5 times in my image.

As for the tiny bubbles this can be easily made using a custom brush set up the way I have in the below screenshot

With the above brush it selected you will scatter tiny particles that will be very hard to see, play with your brush opacity and your layer settings when doing this. Setting your layer up as a color dodge or using a Gaussian blur is a very good idea to create some nice effects. Experiment with these settings and layer styles and you can have a ton of little tiny bubbles flying around in no time!
If your having trouble painting any large scale brushes there are a lot of free resources out there to aid you! Below are some bubble stocks and brushes you can use to create the same effects I have done in my final image.

  • http://cindre.deviantart.com/art/Bubble-brush-139878058
  • http://russ1337.deviantart.com/art/Bubble-brushes-63951941
  • http://wyckedbrush.deviantart.com/art/Bubble-Brushes-27283942
  • http://tinklestock.deviantart.com/art/Stock-Bubble-3236854
  • http://pepstock.deviantart.com/art/Soap-bubble-19418239
  • http://angelinecstatic.deviantart.com/art/Blur-Bubble-146715330

Remember when doing this process that you don’t need 20000 bubbles. Try to keep them random and vary there placement. These above resources should help out a lot if you cant get your bubbles to look right but remember to experiment with your blending modes and try out some blurring. Its also a good idea to throw some around the jellyfish, so it appears as if there movement is causing bubbles to form.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

We will start off the closing of the piece by heading over to Sxc for one final image this one being of a star fish at http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=204974
We will isolate our star fish the same way we have isolated everything out up until this point, using the magic wand tool (‘W’ on your keyboard) with a tolerance set at 31. We will isolate him out and find a nice cluster of polygons or pieces of the triangle for him to sit on. You may need to tweak him just a tad with the blur tool which is ‘R’ on your keyboard. Once you find a spot press ‘CTRL T’ to free transform him down my result came out looking like the below screenshot.

Now we can go back and grab out last unused render, the wireframe render and place it into the document. Once it is placed into the document you will need to do a manual level adjustment in order to remove the black (majority of it that is). To do this we will press ‘CTRL L’ on the keyboard and then go ahead and move the far right triangle all the way over to the left.

Now we need to free transform our newly adjusted render so it’s the same size as the main render; we can do this by pressing ‘CTRL T’ on the keyboard and using the height and size boxes as before. Once it has been sized we need to move the layer down below the main render layer so the exploding triangles are sitting on the wires like in the screen shot below.

Now to finish this bad boy! We will save the document one last time by pressing ‘CTRL S’ on the keyboard. Once that is done we can merge the entire document by pressing ‘CTRL SHIFT E’ on the keyboard and then we will apply a Gaussian blur at 5% radius just like before. Once the filter has been applied we will press ‘CTRL SHIFT F’ on the keyboard; this will bring up the fade filter dialog box. We will set the blending mode to lighten and the percentage to 50%. Now we can repeat this step by pressing ‘CTRL F’ followed by ‘CTRL SHIFT F’ however this time we will set the blending mode to screen. And for a final time we will do the above step but this time the blending mode will be set to soft light. Once this is done we can apply a ‘Filter’ > ‘Sharpen’>’Sharpen’ twice and then size it down to 800*1200 by going to the image drop down and selecting image size. Once we have sized it down we will apply a final sharpen filter and we are done!

My final image came out looking like the below image, but keep in mind that it would be extremely hard to get the exact look as mine because it depends on stock placement, the colors you chose, the way your triangle exploded and much more such as bubbles. But as long as you learned one or two things, had fun and made something that you like then that’s all that matters.



  1. …. I really like the tutorial about underwater design, the “Omega Code” poster…. but truthfully I’ve not heard of the band before…. as far as I can remember !! I guess I better go to “e-music” and see if I can find them for a listen of their music too !! Thanks Eric for this great tutorial at your other home…. “Design.CreativeFan” !!

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