How To Create A Surreal Digital Artwork In Photoshop

How To Create A Surreal Digital Artwork In Photoshop
How To Create A Surreal Digital Artwork In Photoshop

Creating digital artwork is a great way to express yourself and experiment with new ideas. With Photoshop, you can make something truly unique – surreal art! Surrealism has been around since the early 1900s and it’s still popular today. Whether you’re an artist or just getting started in photoshop, creating surreal digital artwork can be incredibly fun and rewarding. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create your own masterpiece using Photoshop. You’ll learn what tools you need, key techniques for success, and tips on how to get creative with your work. So let’s dive into the world of surreal digital artistry!

Understanding The Basics Of Photoshop

Creating a surreal digital artwork in Photoshop may seem like an impossible task, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s actually quite doable. To start your journey into this powerful piece of software, think about what you want to achieve: is it a photomontage? An abstract painting? A 3D animation? Once you have that idea in mind, let’s dive into understanding the basics of Photoshop!

To make complex artworks come alive with just a few clicks, one must first learn how to control the canvas environment. From controlling layers to creating dynamic lighting effects, mastering the fundamentals will give you complete control over every aspect of your design. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with common Photoshop tricks and tips can be invaluable when tinkering away on your masterpiece.

Not all tools are created equal – different jobs require different solutions. With such vast resources available at our fingertips today, selecting the proper tool for each job becomes paramount if we’re going to build something amazing. There are so many options out there – from free open-source programs to expensive professional suites – that choosing the right set of tools can become overwhelming very quickly.

The trick is finding a balance between cost and quality; while some more robust programs might take longer to master than others, they often provide far greater depth and complexity when crafting images or animations. Taking these points into consideration can save time and energy as well as money down the line; after all, having access to better tools allows us to create something truly unique without sacrificing usability or creativity. As we move forward towards choosing the appropriate tools for our project, let’s remember that ‘the devil is in the details’.

Choosing The Right Tools

When it comes to creating surreal digital artworks in Photoshop, having the right tools is essential. There are a few components needed for this task which can be broken down into three categories: software, hardware and technique.

Starting with software, you will need Adobe Photoshop as your primary editing tool. It’s important that you make sure to have an up-to-date version of the program so you don’t miss out on any features or tools for your artwork. Additionally, there are other programs such as Corel Painter or Krita that can help supplement some of the workflows not available in Photoshop.

For hardware, getting a good graphics tablet is key. Not only does it enable much more accurate drawing than using a mouse but also creates a more natural feel when making marks on the canvas. Furthermore, investing in a high quality display monitor helps ensure that all details are seen clearly while working on intricate pieces.

Finally, technique plays an important role in completing surreal artworks successfully in Photoshop. Developing good brush strokes and layering techniques can take practice but can open up new possibilities for creative expression once mastered. Knowing how to use filters and textures effectively is also beneficial for adding depth and movement to your works of art.

With these building blocks under your belt, you’re ready to begin developing concepts and bringing them to life!

Developing A Concept

Creating a concept for surreal digital artwork can be an intimidating endeavor. Before the brush ever touches pixels, the idea must be carefully crafted and fine-tuned to ensure that it will stand out from other works in its genre. Fortunately, with some forethought and creativity, any artist can come up with a unique vision of their own.
Fashioning fantastical ideas starts by harnessing imagination. Brainstorm different ways to blend reality with fantasy; perhaps juxtapose contrasting elements to get unexpected results or use symbols as metaphors for greater themes. If stuck on inspiration, seek outside sources such as historical art movements, dreams, mythology, music, literature—the possibilities are endless!
The next step is sketching out visuals and refining them into something tangible. This could mean working through several drafts before arriving at a satisfactory image that captures the desired feeling. The details should be meticulously considered: shapes, colors, textures…all these serve to either add or detract from the original concept’s impactful message.
Having established both concept and composition comes execution—translating all this onto canvas requires skill and attention to detail but also experimentation so don’t be afraid to try new techniques or switch things around if necessary. Making mistakes is part of learning after all; taking risks often pays off in surprising ways! And with that thought ready to transition into creating the background…

Creating The Background

Creating a surreal digital artwork in Photoshop can be an exciting, creative journey. With the right tools and techniques you can transform your ideas into one-of-a-kind art that stands out from the rest. To start off your project, you’ll need to create a background that sets the tone for your piece.

Begin by selecting colors or textures that speak to you; they should reflect the mood of the image and evoke emotion. By adding multiple layers of paint strokes, shapes, lines and patterns, these elements will become part of the foundation on which you build upon. Pay close attention to details such as color saturation and contrast – this will give depth to your artwork and make it stand out from other pieces. Additionally, experiment with blending modes like multiply, overlay or soft light to add more complexity to your composition.

Once you’ve established a solid background for your work, it’s time to manipulate images within Photoshop. Using simple tasks such as cropping photos or applying filters can instantly alter how elements appear on screen – often giving them an abstract look that fits perfectly with a surreal theme. Moreover, take advantage of layer masks combined with brush tools to selectively reveal parts of each photo while also creating interesting shadows throughout the design.

Going further than just manipulating existing images is where things really get interesting! Incorporate typography using custom text styles or blend 3D objects together with photographs — both are great ways to bring life into your digital canvas without having any prior experience in graphic design. And remember: don’t hesitate when experimenting – some of the best results come from trying something unexpected! Transitioning now into another section… …of the presentation, let’s look at how we can use design to create a compelling visual story.

Manipulating Images

Transitioning from creating the background, manipulating images is an essential part of making surreal digital artwork in Photoshop. It enables you to combine multiple elements together and create something truly unique – a masterpiece that will blow away viewers! With advanced image manipulation techniques, you can take your art to new heights and make it stand out from the crowd.

To get started on manipulating images for surreal digital artwork, here are a few tips:

  • Utilize blending modes to layer two different images together seamlessly.
  • Take advantage of masking tools to add depth and detail to specific areas of your composition.
  • Use perspective transformation to give objects 3D dimensionality.
  • Experiment with color adjustments such as hue/saturation or vibrance/saturation for more vivid colors.

Once you have mastered these basics, challenge yourself by exploring additional tools like the warp tool and puppet warp tool which allows you to twist shapes around easily. You can also use liquify filter effects like bloat and twirl or pinch which adds dynamic movement to illustrations or photographs alike – perfect for giving life to otherwise static scenes! Try playing around with various filters until you find one that works best for your piece; this way, no two creations will be exactly the same!

By now, your work should look quite spectacular already but don’t stop there! Let’s move onto utilizing filters next – they provide endless possibilities in terms of adding texture, detail, mood and atmosphere into compositions while still keeping them looking realistic at the same time…

Utilizing Filters

Photoshop is a powerful tool for creating surreal digital art. Its filters offer endless possibilities to turn an ordinary image into something extraordinary. With the right combination of tools and effects, you can transform any photo or object into something visually stunning and memorable.

Motion BlurCreates blur in different directions at varying speeds with feathering optionsSkylines, blurred backgrounds, motion trails behind subjects moving quickly through the frame
Distort > Wave & RippleAdds wave-like distortions that vary based on settings entered by user such as length, amplitude and height of waves createdWater surfaces, reflective objects
Pixelate > Crystallize & MezzotintChanges pixels randomly or uniformly depending on user-selected options for crystallizing shapes or mezzotining edges of images respectivelyFractal patterns from photos/textures, abstracted collages from photographs/objects

Sharpen also helps enhance details in your artwork. It works best when used sparingly because too much sharpening will make your work look unnatural. Additionally, there are other features like Vibrance which adds more vibrancy to colors while keeping skin tones looking natural; Color Balance which makes adjustments to highlight, midtone and shadow color ranges; and Lens Correction which fixes distortion caused by camera lenses all come together to create surreal digital artworks that stand out from the crowd.

Using these filters allows users to explore various elements including light, color and texture combinations without taking time away from their creative vision. By combining them effectively with manipulation techniques like warping layers or adding textures one can create unique compositions that convey emotion and evoke a sense of mystery. Through trial and error and experimentation each artist can discover what works best for their style of creativity within Photoshop’s vast array of capabilities – leading us towards our next step: creating a focal point.

Creating A Focal Point

Creating a focal point in digital art can be an exciting challenge. Take the example of Pablo Picasso’s piece, “Girl before a Mirror”. The painting is composed of vivid colors and contrasting elements that draw attention to the subject matter, making it the main focus.

To create your own powerful focal point, consider these steps:

  • Use interesting shapes or patterns as background elements
  • Incorporate shadows and highlights for extra depth
  • Add details such as intricate textures or geometric lines
  • Utilize contrast through color theory to add emphasis

By taking these steps, you can make sure that the viewers’ eyes are drawn towards what matters most in your artwork – creating a memorable impression with lasting impact.

From here, we move on to adding color and texture to bring our surreal digital masterpiece alive. With careful planning and some artistic flair, you’ll soon have a finished product that stands out from all others!

Adding Color And Texture

Adding color and texture to a surreal digital artwork in Photoshop can be an exciting creative endeavor. It’s important to think about what your image needs before you start applying different textures, colors, or effects. Different pieces of art require different approaches; some may need more subtle gradients while others might call for bolder hues.

Gradient MapsBrushesLighting Filters
Selective ColoringLayer MasksBlurs & Glows
Adjustment LayersTextures OverlaysDistortions & Warps

To begin adding color, try starting with a gradient map layer. This is great for giving the whole canvas a unified tone that you can later adjust if needed. For example, playing around with hue/saturation adjustment layers will give you much more control over how each element within the artwork looks after coloring has been applied. When it comes to textures, there are many useful brushes available online as well as built-in brush sets on Photoshop itself. Using these will add depth and interest to your piece without overwhelming the viewer’s eye. Finally, using various filters such as blurs and glows will help tie together any loose ends in your composition when added sparingly throughout the work.

With careful consideration of which tools to use, one can create an aesthetically pleasing image full of vibrant colors and interesting textures that draws attention from viewers near and far! Now let’s explore how text and effects play into this process – both of which provide yet another opportunity to make unique works of art!

Adding Text And Effects

Creating surreal digital artwork in Photoshop can be a fun, innovative process. To get started, let’s dive into adding text and effects to our masterpiece!

First of all, choose the font that best fits your project by exploring the range of options available. To make it easier for you to find the perfect typeface, try experimenting with different sizes and styles until you’ve found something that brings out the desired feel in your work. Once you have settled on the right font, start introducing various effects such as outlines, shadows or noise to help bring it alive. You may even want to experiment with more complex elements such as gradient overlays or textures – just remember not to overdo it!

Next up is layer management: once you are happy with how each of your layers looks individually, combine them together using blend modes like multiply or overlay – this will give you greater control over their visual appearance when merged. Adjusting opacity levels is also a great way to create depth while helping keep things light-weight too! Finally, if needed add any final touches through additional filters and adjustments so everything looks exactly how you envision it should before saving your file.

Now we’re ready to move onto working with shapes and lines…

Working With Shapes And Lines

Surreal digital artwork is created through a combination of shapes and lines. With Photoshop, you can create these elements with the brush tools and vector shape layers. To begin creating your surreal artwork, start by selecting a foreground color or pattern to make your art stand out from the background. Create simple geometric shapes like circles, squares, triangles, hexagons, etc., using either brushes or paths to give it an abstract look. Once you have built up the basic structure of your composition, experiment with different colors and textures to add more depth to your design. Get creative with layer blending modes and opacity settings to bring out certain aspects in the piece. Through this process, you will be able to craft something unique and visually pleasing that has never been seen before! Transforming this 2D image into a 3D space requires some extra steps such as adding shadows and highlights around objects for added realism. It also helps to blur out parts of the picture so that viewers focus on specific areas within the frame. Next step: Creating a foreground that stands out from its surroundings.

Creating A Foreground

Creating a surreal digital artwork in Photoshop is not only an exciting artistic journey, but also requires skill and innovation. It starts with creating the perfect foreground to bring your ideas to life. You can create incredible effects by using layers of textures, shapes, colors and various objects that are layered on top of each other – all this creates an abstract yet captivating visual story!

To make sure that your surreal digital art stands out from the crowd, you need to take it up a notch. Start by exaggerating certain elements: add more vibrant colors, sharper lines, higher contrast levels; use bolder shapes and larger sizes for objects like buildings or characters. This will give your work a distinctive look and help draw attention to its unique features.

The next step is to compose the scene according to your vision. Place different elements at specific angles and distances so they catch the eye just right – experiment until you’ve achieved the desired effect! When you’re done with this part, apply some finishing touches such as blurring particular areas or highlights here-and-there – these little details can really do wonders for bringing out interesting nuances in your artwork.

Now that everything’s set up perfectly, you can begin adding shadows and lighting effects which will determine how realistic or dreamlike your composition looks. Play around with different color palettes and blend them together until you achieve a harmonious balance between lightness and darkness – getting this right can be tricky but it’ll pay off once you see the results! From here onwards, feel free to explore further options as creativity knows no bounds when it comes to digital artworks. Moving onto composing the scene…

Composing The Scene

Now that you’ve created your surreal digital artwork in Photoshop, it’s time to compose the scene. Start by choosing a background for your work. Whether you want an abstract design or something more realistic, make sure the colors and textures are compatible with the content of your piece.

Next, create layers within the canvas so each element stands out clearly. This makes adjusting individual elements easier while also allowing you to adjust their placement without having to start from scratch. Once all pieces have been placed in their desired locations, use blending modes and opacity settings to further enhance them.

To complete the composition, consider adding subtle effects such as lighting or blurring certain sections of the canvas. You may even find yourself wanting to add additional elements like shapes or imagery—it’s up to you! Just remember: less is often more when creating art digitally.

With everything laid out on-screen before you, now comes the exciting part: bringing it all together into one cohesive image. As you tinker away at details, be mindful not only of how they impact other components but also how they affect the overall feeling of your artwork.

Finalizing Your Work

Once you have completed your surreal digital artwork in Photoshop, it’s time to bring the project to its conclusion. Here are three key steps to take:

  1. Review and adjust – Take a few minutes away from your work and come back with fresh eyes. Check for any details that need additional adjustments or tweaks before you finalize the image.
  2. Add finishing touches – Give yourself some satisfaction by adding subtle effects such as sharpening, blurring, and vignettes that will give your artwork an extra layer of depth and character.
  3. Save multiple copies – You never know when you’ll need another version of your artwork; save multiple versions in various formats so you can easily access them if needed at a later date.
    Take care while executing these tasks- they’re crucial for getting the most out of your hard work! With the right attention to detail, all the pieces should fall into place and create something truly unique and captivating for viewers. From here, get ready to share your creation with the world by exporting it properly for different uses.

Exporting Your Artwork

Once you’re satisfied with your surreal digital artwork in Photoshop, it’s time to export it. Exporting is the process of getting your art out from within Photoshop and into a file format that can be shared or printed.

In this section, we’ll go over how to properly save, compress and export your work for different uses:

File FormatDescription
JPEGBest option for web use
PNGHigh quality but large files
PSDHighest quality but big files

The most common image formats are JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics). These two formats provide good balance between image fidelity & size when saving images for web usage. JPEGs have lower file sizes compared to PNGs because they are compressed more heavily which reduces their color depth & resolution slightly – making them perfect for websites where page load times matter. Meanwhile, PNGs offer higher quality as they tend to retain more visual information than other similar formats such as GIF or BMP; however, these come at the expense of larger file sizes. Additionally, don’t forget about the PSD (Photoshop Document) file type which is native to Adobe Photoshop and preserves layers along with all other available elements present within an image – resulting in very high-quality output though much bigger files too!

To ensure compatibility across multiple devices and platforms, it’s recommended that you convert any non-standard vectors used in your project before exporting – especially if graphics heavy projects such as logos or typography designs need to be exported. With vector objects like illustrations or icons, always make sure they get converted into rasterized versions before being saved as either JPG or PNG since vector paths cannot exist outside of programs like Illustrator or Inkscape without losing data integrity. And lastly check that your final piece looks exactly like what you intended by using a dedicated tool such as ImageOptim. It helps optimize images by removing unnecessary bytes so that the same level of quality is retained while reducing the overall size of your digital artwork – ensuring its compatibility across various mediums with no loss in quality whatsoever!


The surreal artwork I have created is a symbolic representation of my imaginative journey. It has taken me deep into the depths of my subconscious and enabled me to explore my creative potential. Through this process, I have developed an appreciation for the power and beauty found in digital art. This experience has been both challenging and rewarding and has ultimately given me a greater understanding of Photoshop as well as myself. Now, with confidence, I can continue to use it to create stunning works that are unique expressions of my innermost thoughts and feelings.



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