Rosen Dukov is a Fine Arts graduate, based in Bulgaria. His creative experience includes digital photomanipulations, graphic and web design and special effects photography.
Rosen Dukov created this image for the annual iStockphoto.com Battle Royale contest. He explains: “I’ve always wanted to produce a split screen over- and underwater scene. It’s a tough challenge, needing perfect equilibrium to look realistic.”
Dukov combated problems with the intuitive power of Photoshop’s paint tools and adjustment options. “I always start by isolating objects from photos where needed, then arrange them in a common composition,” he says. “Sometimes I use Match Color, more often [the] Burn and Dodge tools, but the final impact comes mostly from Gradient Map adjustments.”
Ten adjustment layers in total were used, including Gradient Map and Levels. “Color Balance is [also] very important,” he explains. “Objects underwater have specific blue tones, but I still had to keep the original colours reflected by the sun on top of the water.”
This image presents almost two separate pieces; the generic underwater environment gave Dukov the freedom to design flora and fauna with the single purpose to poise the final design.
Rotate, flip and scale all stock until you are happy with the orientation. I use paths and masks to isolate images. I keep almost everything in separate layers, sometimes with a total layer count of over 300. This may seem excessive, but it really helps keep things organised and efficient.
I used a few flat colour layers to adjust individual areas of the model, namely the snorkel, underwater goggles and multiple water areas, applying 10% smoke-shaped brushes, some on individual layers to create depth. I also applied a low opacity Render>Cloud layer for atmosphere.