Introduction: Photoshop Tutorial: Clocks Are Ticking, Time Is Passing

About: Just a college student, interested in almost all DIY ideas. I especially love arts, technology and traveling.

This is a tutorial for rather advanced Photoshop users. Therefore, time needed to complete it depends on how well you know Photoshop and how good are your source pictures. If everything goes well it should take around an hour or two.

If you have any questions - feel free to comment and I will try to answer.

Step 1: What Are We Going to Use + Starting Pictures

What are we going to use:

  1. Clipping Masks
  2. Layer overlay settings
  3. Dry media brushes
  4. Copy/cut to get the parts ready

Pictures you will need to complete this picture:

  • skyscrapers (view from above)
  • clouds
  • photograph of a person (see picture for example)
  • grass (preferably looking the same as the one person is standing on)
  • clock photograph

Good luck!

Step 2: Background: Skyscrapers and Clouds

First part:

  • Open an empty document
  • Create a black and white radial gradient, with white space in the middle. (Go to Gradient tool. On vertical bar make sure you select "radial" and "reverse"


  • Find a picture of clouds, and put it on top of the gradient layer. I had played with Image > Adjustments to get an effect of bright clouds as seen on the preview picture
  • Set the layer setting to "Overlay". Now you should have a nice depth to you picture.
  • Add a new adjustment layer - Black and White. Set the opacity to ~65%. To get adjustment layer settings you can go Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black and White.


  • Take a skyscrapers photograph. Use a soft eraser to remove the sky. Now, a fun part: drag your skyscrapers layer to the clouds, position where it should be. Obviuosly, it won't look that good.
    • Set the overlay settings for the skyscrapers to "Darken"
    • Create a layer between clouds and skyscrapers
    • Take a soft brush, set color to white and draw a background behind the skyscrapers. You should install see the change and follow it. Smooth the border between skyscrapers and clouds by lowering the transparency value for the brush.

      If you get lost refer to the print screens provided above

Step 3: Adding an Island

Note - it is most convenient to do this in a separate document and then drag onto the desired background

  • Using Ellipse tool draw an ellipse. Make it some dark color. Now draw another ellipse of top of the other, some distance apart (refer to the preview pictures). Make the color of this ellipse lighter.
  • Now, select the bottom ellipse, make sure that you have a Move Tool selected on the panel, press Alt + Up arrow until you get a feeling of a 3D shape (refer to the picture). Now, merge the many shapes you got.
  • Take a picture of the growing or sand, put it into the file, between the two shapes. Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
  • Drag a picture that has some kind of grass over the ellipse, position it on top of all layers. Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask. This would leave visible only the part that is on top of the ellipse.
  • At this point you should have something like what's shown on the above picture.

Now, we need to create edges and add depth to the island. There're two ways to do this. One - to use textures of the actual borders between grass and ground. But these are hard to find unsell you go and take pictures yourself. Thus, here is brief outline of the other method:

  1. Change your eraser and brush to dry media brushes
  2. Rasterize both of your shapes
  3. On top layer: erase the borders along full circumference unison of the dry media brushes. You will get a nice teared up edge. *You will probably have a bottom layer show up when you erase upped part of the island. Don't worry, just go to the bottom and erase it too.
  4. Now, add a new layer on top of grass, make it a clipping mask. Using dry media brushes add realistic shadows. You can play with opacity to get it done.
  5. Do the steps 3-4 on the down layer. If you "ground" is not well textured, try drawing texture on new layers.

Paste in a person. Since I was taking all pictures myself I had conveniently used the grass photograph to be the same color/texture/style as the one around persons feet. Then I did not need to take care of the grass really much. Use soft eraser if you need to smooth out borders.

Step 4: Adding Clock

This includes playing with layers, erasing things and using overlay settings a lot.

You can see clock face I used. Now, drag it into our picture.

Here, I will list different ways to put it in:

1. Easy and fast, but not always applicable

Set the clock layer setting to "Lighten". That's it. There will be a position around the clouds that will work.

Generally this is not a best solution, since it does not look very realistic. But that's good! You can see how it looks on the preview picture.

2. Longer but more universal

Duplicate layer with clock. Set the bottom one to "Lighten". Set the upper layer to "Normal" (where it should be) and opacity to 68%.

Use a soft eraser to erase the part that should be under cloud. Now you will have the same style clock as in 1.

Consult pictures if you get lost.

Of cause, there are other ways to do it! Here I listed the ones I thought are the easiest. If you have some other ideas feel free to comment :)

Step 5: You Have Your Amazing Picture Ready!

Of cause, you can add some minor variations to change color settings, but this depends on your taste.

You have your amazing picture ready!!! Congrats!

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