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.

Step 1

Open Pixelmator and create a new document, the one I’m using is 1440×900 pixels. After that, fill the background layer with black.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 2

Add a new layer and fill it with a dark green (#12241f).

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 3

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 4

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.

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 5

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.?

Step 6

Repeat steps 3 and 4 and then apply the render filter to the mask and the zoom blur, respectively.

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 7

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 8

Reduce the opacity to 80% if your light effect gets too bright.

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 9

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.

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 10

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 11

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%.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 12

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 13

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 14

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 15

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 16

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.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 17

Select all layers and duplicate them. Merge all duplicated layers and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Use 20 for the blur amount.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 18

Change the Blending to Screen and the Opacity to 50%.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Step 19

Duplicate the blurry layer and then change the Blending to Overlay, while keeping the Opacity at 50%.?

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Conclusion

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.

Underwater Scene in Pixelmator

Download the Pixelmator File

Click here to download the Pixelmator file used for this tutorial

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.