Underwater Scene in Pixelmator
In this tutorial, I will show you how to create an underwater scene as inspired by the opening titles of I, Robot, the movie. We will create a brush that will be used to add the bubbles and explore a technique to make your scenes look more realistic. The whole process is quite simple, and it takes less than 1 hour to go through all the steps.
Open Pixelmator and create a new document, the one I’m using is 1440×900 pixels. After that, fill the background layer with black.?
Add a new layer and fill it with a dark green (#12241f).
Go to Layer>Add Layer Mask. After that, select the thumb of the mask in the Layer Palette and go to Filter>Generator>Clouds. Use black and white for the colors and apply the clouds on the layer mask.?
With the layer mask still selected, go to Filter>Blur>Zoom Blur. Move the controller point to the bottom center of the image and use 60 for the amount. This will create a really nice effect.
Add another layer and then with the Brush Tool (B) select a red/pink color (#941433). Then, paint a large spot in the bottom and center of the design like I did in the image below.?
Repeat steps 3 and 4 and then apply the render filter to the mask and the zoom blur, respectively.
Add a new layer on top of the others and fill it in with black. Change the Blending to Color Dodge, and then with the Brush Tool (B) and a soft brush with white, paint a little white spot at the bottom and center of the design. Then, repeat the previous step for the mask.?
Reduce the opacity to 80% if your light effect gets too bright.
Add another layer, then, using the Brush Tool (B) again, select a large soft brush and dark blue to paint some blue spots right on and above the red/pink light. This blue layer has to be very subtle; I used the brush with 25% only. After that, you can apply the Zoom Blur again with the same amount as we did in the previous steps, 60.
To create the bubbles, I used a stock photo courtesy of Shutterstock. You can find it at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-31147426/stock-photo-beautiful-abstract-background-of-soap-bubbles-on-black.html. I used the guides for reference and then with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), change the option to Ellipse and select the bubble you want to use for your brush. Copy and paste it to a new layer, and then go to Image > Desaturate, then Image > Invert.?
Creating the brush is pretty simple; just drag the layer from the Layer Palette to the Brushes Palette. Pixelmator will automatically create the new brush. Double click on it to edit, and then change the Spacing to 200% and the Scatter to 65%. Over the Shape Jitter options, change the Size to 100% and the stroke to 7%.?
Add a new layer and fill it with black using the Paint Bucket Tool (N). Change the Blending to Color Dodge. Select the Brush Tool (B) and the brush you created in the previous step. Paint some bubbles onto your design using white.?
Select the Blur Tool (R) and a big soft brush. Start making some bubbles blurrier than the others to add some depth to your design.?
Add another layer on top of the others, and using the Paint Bucket Tool (N), fill it with black. Change the Blending to Color Dodge, and then use the Brush Tool (B) and the bubble brush we created to paint some big bubbles, much larger than the previous one. I used 700 for the brush size this time and 300 for the previous one.?
Now, import another photo to add more realism to the composition. I’m using another image from Shutterstock, which you can find here at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-24003511/stock-photo-water-splashing-forming-air-bubbles-over-a-black-background.html.?
With the image in your document, first, go to Image > Desaturate, and then change the Blending to Color Dodge. You will also have to resize and position the image to how you want it. I flipped the image I used vertically.?
Select all layers and duplicate them. Merge all duplicated layers and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Use 20 for the blur amount.?
Change the Blending to Screen and the Opacity to 50%.?
Duplicate the blurry layer and then change the Blending to Overlay, while keeping the Opacity at 50%.?
Now, just add your logo and the scene is practically done. If you want, you can add another layer on top and fill it with the Stripes filter. Then, rotate it to get some horizontal lines to simulate those scan lines from old TVs, but that is another story for another tutorial.