Create a Flat Earth Waterfall in Photoshop

From time-to-time, we like to feature the work of artists that we think are doing a fantastic job in their field. Recently, we introduced you to the work of Garrigosa Studio.

One work in particular from their portfolio attracted quite a bit of attention from readers wanting to know if we could show them how to produce something similar. Your feedback is important to us, so we decided to give it a shot. In this reader-inspired tutorial we will explain how to create a flat Earth waterfall in Photoshop using a handful of stock images. Let’s get started!

Tutorial Details
  • Applications Used: Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Estimated Completion Time: 3h +

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Final Product What You’ll Be Creating

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

Step 1 – Waterfall images setup

We will go to a process of setting up our materials to make sure all images work well, so we will roughly mask and position the layers to make sure of this. OK first of all let’s start by setting up our document size. Create a new document and set the size as follows.

Now open up these images here, and copy and paste them on the main document in a new layer for each.

We should have our images as shown here in layers, so let’s treat each one separately.

Select this layer shown here first.

We will first flip this one horizontally, since we need the waterfall looking the other way.

And then let’s use the move tool to reposition as shown here.

OK now let’s go to our other image layer shown here.

And first off let’s use the scale command to reduce its size as shown below.

OK easy enough, now go back to the other image and be sure to drag it on top of the stack.

Now we will need yet another waterfall image so go ahead and open this one.

Copy and paste it on to a new layer, plus also scale it down as shown here.

Then we need to position it as shown here, where we want to build up the continuity of the waterfall.

Perfect, so now we have these three layers of waterfalls to work with, let’s go to the bottom one and make a layer mask for it. Also to see things better you can hide or disable the other layers on top.

Let’s now choose the paintbrush tool, while our new mask is selected and be sure you have black as your foreground color.

And then select a nice soft brush such as this one and set its size as shown.

Easy enough now just brush around as shown here to mask off all the image information we don’t need right now.

Let’s now go to the top layer and also make a mask for it.

And with the same brush, mask off softly what we don’t need of this image.

Now we will use even another image, so go ahead and open up this other waterfall stock image.

Copy and paste the image on to a new layer.

We need to flip it horizontally, so access that command on the edit menu.

We will now drag this new image all the way to the bottom.

And also let’s flip this one horizontally.

Now drag the image into position as shown here.

Easy enough, now let’s go back to this layer here.

With the same soft brush we where using let’s mask off as shown here.

Perfect, now let’s go to the bottom image layer, and create a mask for it too.

And continue using the soft brush to mask off as indicated here.

Then move that layer into position as shown here. And that is it for this step we have finalized the step with a solid base of waterfall layers to work with.

Step 2 – City

Now we will go through the same process to establish the base for our city with some images, so first off let’s open up this image here.

Copy and paste it on to a new layer on top.

Great, now we need to scale it down into position as shown below.

Then go to your tools and select the magic wand to make a quick rough selection of the sky as shown below.

Once you have the selection, inverse it as shown here in the select menu.

Now click on the layer mask icon as shown here, to get an instant mask.

Now to mask of the rest just go to your bush again with black selected.

And mask off the bottom as shown here.

Now let’s use the scale command again to setup the city as shown below.

OK great, we will need one more image for our city so open up the one shown here.

And of course copy and paste it on to a new layer.

OK now we need to scale and position this part of the city as shown below.

Yet we also need to flip it so the light comes from the right.

Once again use the magic wand to make a quick selection of the sky.

And repeat the process, invert and make a layer mask.

Next up select the lasso tool.

Make a selection ever what might have been left behind by the magic wand tool, to be sure we mask out the whole sky.

Then we go back to our soft brush and mask of the bottom as shown below.

Then go to the scale command and re size the image as shown.

Next we will make a levels layer for this part of the city and make a clipping mask for it.

And adjust the levels as shown here, so we bring down the shading in the image just a bit.

Now introduce a color balance layer and adjust as shown here, We are doing this for this layer first because we need to see if the image has the color depth needed to make it fit with the rest of the images. And that is it for this step we have our city layers setup and looking good enough to work with.

…and that’s the end of the preview!

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