Making a Book of Magical Playground Scene

This tutorial will show how to create a fantasy book scene. We will be using various advanced Photoshop techniques to make the composition as realistic as possible.

Preview of Final Image

The texts and images are copyrighted to 10Steps.SG and their respective owners. You CANNOT copy the whole tutorial, either in English or translate to another language.

Create a new document of size 1200×600 pixels. Download “antique table in old grunge interior” from ShutterStock. Resize the image and position the manner as shown below.

I need a smoother wall, so I randomly downloaded a beautiful texture from Krakograff’s Gallery. Resize the texture and tile horizontally across to cover the original wall. Use the Eraser tool to reveal the round table.

Download "open book" from ShutterStock. Resize the book and position it to the center of the document. Extract the book from its white background using one of the extraction methods here. I am using Layer Masking for this tutorial.

Create a new layer below the book. Rename the new layer as Book Shadow. Using the Brush tool with black color, soft round type and 35pt size, paint shadows along bottom of the book.

Create a new layer above the rest. Rename the new layer as Gradient Overlay. Pick the Gradient tool to make a vertical gradient with top color #f19025 and bottom color #000000.

Then set the Blend Mode of Gradient Overlay layer to Soft Light. You will get a nice warm mood from the environment created so far.

Create a new layer above the rest. Rename the new layer as Black Border. Fill the entire space with black color on this layer.

Pick the Eraser tool with soft round type and 700pt size, click once or twice at the center of the document to reveal the book again.

Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer above all the other layers. Set the values to be 9, 0.60, 255.

Download "green field and blue sky" from ShutterStock. Resize the image so it only cover the left side of the book. Rename this layer as Grass.

Make a layer mask on the Grass layer. Using the paint brush with black (to hide) and white (to unhide) colors to show only the grasses. Right-click on the Grass layer and choose Blending Options. Select Drop Shadow, set its Angle to 35, Distance to 3, Size to 1 and leave the rest as default.

Repeat the same processes for the right side of the book, leaving a small gap at the middle for building a small river later on.

Download "pool pattern" from ShutterStock. Place and resize the image as shown below. Set the opacity of this Pool layer to 80%.

Using the Eraser tool, remove and leave only the part to cover the top perspective of the small river.

Repeat the same processes for the front perspective of the small river.

Select the top perspective layer, go to Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast. Set the the Brightness to 40 and hit OK.

Reorder all the grasses layers to be under Black Border layer. Create a new layer and rename it as Glow. Using the Brush tool, color white with soft round and size 500pt, paint a large dot at the center of document. Set the Blend Mode of this Glow layer to Soft Light.

Download "blue sky" from ShutterStock. Position and resize the image in the document as shown below. Set the Blend Mode of Sky layer to Screen and Opacity to 80%.

Using Eraser tool with large point size, remove some parts of the clouds.

Create a new layer and rename it as Lens Flare. Fill the layer with black color. Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Select the 50-300mm Zoom and set the Brightness as 100%.

Rotate the Lens Flare layer slightly and position it at the center of document.

Set the Blend Mode of Lens Flare layer to Screen. Duplicate this Lens Flare layer to make the effect brighter.

Download "collection of isolated summer tree" from ShutterStock. Extract one of the trees from its background and position it to left end of the grasses. Use the Dodge tool to brighten right side of the tree that is facing lens flare and use Burn tool to darken the opposite side.

Duplicate the tree and go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation. Set the Lightness to -100 to make the duplicated tree black. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical.

Go to Edit > Transform > Skew and push the bottom of duplicated tree to the left. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2px.

Repeat the processes for some more trees and rocks. Take note that the shadows has to face away from the center lens flare.

Download "blue waterfall illustration" from ShutterStock. Position and resize the image as shown in the diagram. Rename the layer as Waterfall. Go to Channels panel and press CTRL+left click on the blue channel to load selection. Go back to Layers panel then Select > Inverse to invert the selection. Press Delete.

Create a layer mask on the Waterfall layer and hide some unwanted parts of the waterfall.

Duplicate the Waterfall layer and set Blend Mode of duplicated copy to Screen. Now we have the basic environment all set up. Let us add some more subjects to the document!

I added some kids playing balloons and fishing on the right side.

Then some more flying kites on the other side.

Lastly add silhouettes of flying birds to finish the work. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have a nice day.

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122 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. sarit says:


  2. Leo Jar says:

    nice work. i love this

  3. Megan says:

    Amazing. I did this tutorial, learned a variety of techniques, and have applied them to a different project. Not only is this tutorial beautiful, but the approach is applicable in a variety of ways. Thanks!

  4. Terri says:

    Thanks for sharing, Johnson! I really like your tutorials, and this one is super!!!

  5. Jerry says:

    this is cool and exciting

  6. Ben says:

    WOW !
    I’m amazed. Really cool, very well done. Congrats.
    I can’t wait to try it.

  7. caleb says:

    are we actually ment to pay for these stock photos

  8. Neeri says:

    Stunning effects, Great work, All d best for more work….

  9. Ganesh says:

    tnk uuuu πŸ™‚ really helpful..

  10. phabloIII says:

    totally amazing!!!!!!!!!!
    it totally rocks!!!!!!
    great done

  11. Johnson,

    Great Tutorial,

    Keep up with good work.

    Thanks for sharing, great job.

  12. sergio says:


    Anyone can send me all photo to my email, please?

  13. Cgbaran says:

    I love this tutorial. I’m going to try it in a couple of days. Grass on book and a stream passing nice idea;)

  14. alice says:

    This its amagazine !!!
    Pleaseee send me the photos to my email :)..


  15. ahm says:

    Very goog

  16. Vistoalupa says:

    WOWOOWOWWO Brutal…
    Anyone can send me the photos to my email? πŸ˜›

  17. BSDesigns says:

    Really Nice work..
    This tutorial is a great way to show the power of Photoshop with basic tools. But lets not forget that the high quality image are really important for great result.

  18. vijay says:

    wow nice design if u draw any things ithis work……………………………..

  19. Johnson this tutorial is fantastic, you really took the time to use quality images that made all the difference.

  20. Diego Santana says:

    Adorei !

  21. AmeliA says:

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial!! I did a flash version of this for school and they like it, gonna put onto their website πŸ˜€

  22. JR says:

    Great Inspiration!

    On thing that should be avoided is using the “mighty” eraser. Photoshop’s got layers and masks – they should be used instead to ensure 100% flexibility.

    Thanks for sharing, great job..

  23. edokoa says:


    I worked on the same concept early this year, but mine was an illustration (no photos), though is uploaded to dribble on June 4th is a work made around March-May

  24. Grass in a book! That’s a little crazy if anything but pretty cool^^
    nice job and thanks for the post, it was entertaining.

  25. Rose says:

    Beutiful image & great tutorial – thankyou

  26. John Adigue says:

    WOW! Amazing…Thank you for sharing this tutorial.

  27. Wow! Fantastic tutorial! It makes me want to open up Photoshop right now… πŸ™‚

  28. yudianto says:

    thanks for tutorial, i love your art work,, hope much more in the future..

  29. this is so so amazing tutorial !! like it bro !

  30. mahmoud says:

    wooow ITs Very Good JoB

  31. s1964 says:

    great tut !

    look my finish image πŸ˜‰

  32. karlos9005 says:


    ist Amazing…
    es muy buena esa edicion.
    isΒ΄t great.

  33. photo editor says:

    Freaky amazing. I can’t stop watchin’ it πŸ˜€

  34. photo editor says:

    Today, reading and watching that tutorial I shit my pants a lot. Daaaamn it’s too good for me πŸ˜›

  35. deden says:

    great tutorial…. it’s nice… i like it… thanks for share…

  36. Webdunyam says:

    Been Fine Thanks a lot Articles

    I share

  37. Mate, the single word that can describe this tutorial is “brilliant”!

    Thanks, keep up the good work.

  38. niyi okeowo says:

    very useful and wonderful tut thanks, will send u the link once i’m done

  39. wonderful πŸ˜‰

  40. Dawn Y. says:

    Very nice tutorial, here are my results – any advise on refining the image is appreciated, I used my own photos and did it differently using mostly the same or similar techniques.

    Great work and great blog, as always a good read!

  41. JohnyQuid says:

    I think this is very cool tutorial Johnson. Keep up with good work.

  42. Sung-Ho says:

    this is amazing! love it!

  43. will be working on designing the cover of ebook which i will be panning to launch on next month. Thanks for the nice tutorial it really helps me a lot

  44. Laira says:

    It is too good and fabulous tutorial Thanks sharing with us..

  45. Johnson Koh says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    For those without a ShutterStock account may surf at or for similar stock images. Have fun!

  46. budiman says:

    nice tutorial, but unfortunately, the source images from must pay before download. so i must search from another sources before can practice it.

  47. Richie says:

    Excellent concept, John. In my humble opinion, the lens flare is a bit disturbing, so maybe you can replace it with a more subtle light source..

    I like the concept and the result is really nice. A small addition in the end would be to try out some Solid Color adjustment layers, that would make the result look fantastic πŸ™‚

    Thanks and good job

    • Johnson Koh says:

      Hey you are back buddy. That lens flare is meant to simulate the sun actually, maybe it can be done better with other methods. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Richie says:

      Yeah, the idea of lens flare is right. But somehow it is attracting all attention towards itself. The other elements become unnoticed… thats what I feel but your approach may be different, so i maybe wrong πŸ™‚

  48. Artem says:

    Here i am going through my email log and a stuble on your post.. awsome.. this just made my night.. thanx man..i will spread the word bout your site..

  49. I was speechless with this work. I’ll try making one on my own. Thank you for imparting your knowledge on making a beautiful playground scene like this. I’m excited to work on this.

  50. Franco says:

    Amazing tutorial Johnson, a great effect. IΒ΄ll definitely bookmark this!

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