How to Create a Fairy Effect in Photoshop


Learn to use Photoshop to create impossible scenes and tell a story. Follow along as we take you through the creation of a fantasy composite, from choosing images and blending them together to adding brilliant light and color effects.


  • 18 Sample Images
  • 1 Photoshop Brush


Table of Contents

Night Fairy
  • 01 - Complete Fantasy Composite in Photoshop

Learn Conceptual Compositing.

Create the Ultimate Composite

When creating a multiple image composite, you may encounter areas of your photo that require some special attention. Learn how to complete a complicated task by breaking it into smaller, more familiar tasks.

Build Depth

Take your images further by learning how to split them into multiple layers and add atmospheric elements in front of some areas and behind others. By adding layers and effects you will
achieve more realistic depth in your images.

Composite a Fairy

In order to create the fairy in this image, several photos need to be composited together. Use a butterfly’s wings to let the fairy fly. Learn how to combine different images together to create a realistic composite.

Make Fairy Dust

Create amazing fairy dust with thousands of specks, each unique to the next. See how we take the difficult work out of the equation and create awesome effects much quicker than you ever thought possible.

The Night Fairy

Compositing, special effects, color, and light. This tutorial has it all. Get hands-on compositing practice as we walk you through creating this image from scratch.

Create Reflections

Creating reflections in Photoshop varies depending on the surface that reflects your subject. Reflections might need to be smooth and clear, or other times blurry and distorted. Learn how to make reflections that apply to different types of images.

Distortion Mapping

Adding a reflection to water can be really challenging. Learn advanced techniques to create waves and ripples in the water. Then, create a reflection that matches your subject and scene perfectly.

Create Fog

With the included Phlearn Custom Fog Brush you can create fog and add atmosphere in any image. Learn the best ways to paint and edit to achieve the best results possible.

Create Blurs

Use a creative blur to help draw attention to specific parts of your images. In this tutorial, you will learn the most important parts of using a blur and how to make it look as though it is a part of the original photo.


  1. I’m a proud PHLEARN subscriber…. it’s the best money I have spent this year!! I started playing around in Photoshop earlier in the year and when ever I get a chance I do some tutorials. I have learnt so much and I am stoked where I getting too… I always wanted to learn composites because I love fantasy. When I first started this tutorial I thought I had bitten off more then I could chew. But I find Aaron describes and communicates things in a way that is easy to understand and it just makes sense. Sure I had to go back and forth a bunch of times and I spent most of my day doing this. But I learnt so much and I am so stoked with how my image turned out for this one…. I went with slightly different colouring and I am really happy with it. I actually get the opposite feelings from jackiecrossley…. To me I like to see the process and learn everything that is involved with it. The process is what it’s all about in my eyes and if mistakes and experiments were edited out then it would just appear as though Aaron makes perfect choices all the time. I think it communicates the fact that even the most talented make mistakes and experiment to see what works. It also shows how much variety there is on how you can do something in Photoshop and the fact there is no right or wrong way. It’s about experimenting with your knowledge. Everyone is different and it’s impossible to please everyone… but I think Aaron’s tutorials are extremely educational and informative and I am going to continue watching him for a very long time!! There is just soooooo much to learn. Bring on more fantasy composites for sure!! hahaha Good vibes, Nate

  2. Hmmm, a bit torn with this one. I’ve done a few of the Pro tutorials now, and this one wasn’t as good as others. I’m by no means an expert, but have been using photoshop for a few years now, and love digital art. I loved the whole idea of the night fairy in the wood, and the reflection, and there were some GREAT tips, I loved the reflection, using the glass filter and the displacement map. However, I found the whole thing waffled on too long, and going off on a tangent. And a bit too much, “Oh, no, that doesn’t work….erm…ooo, yes. No, not that. ” And clicking from one layer to another too quick. Don’t get me wrong, this sometimes works, as sometimes you have to try something to see if it works or not, but sometimes this was really irritating. I ended up using other stock resources (which I often do anyway). Now I’m not saying I could do any better, I couldn’t, and if I chose to do a tutorial, mine would be far worse. But this is a review, and I’m being honest. Mine is quite different, and parts of the tutorial I liked, but other parts irritated me. Sorry. Thanks, anyway, for the tutorial.

  3. It probably took me 10 hours to get to the end of this really cool project…but I enjoyed every minute ! I love the way Aaron explains to us, with such a good vibe, how to overpass the complexity of Photoshop. With the Night Fairy, you’ll learn a bunch of things . No waste of time, I can assure you that!

    PHLEARN Staff
    Yay! You did it! Yes, this challenging and fun tutorial that is certain to reveal at least a few new techniques to any student.
    • Yay! You did it! Yes, this challenging and fun tutorial that is certain to reveal at least a few new techniques to any student.

  4. Enjoyed it very much, added my image. It’s not the best. I’m no where near the pro level of this tuturial, but I had fun and learned many new things. Thanks Aaron

  5. (verified owner)

    Not for the faint hearted this one, wow what a challenge but the rewards have exceeded all exceptions!

    If you are serious about wanting to learn how to composite, this is a definite buy; just watching Aaron do his thing is rewarding enough! Make sure you have your finger over that pause button and take lots of notes on this one!

  6. (verified owner)

    Thank you Aaron!!!
    Without you I would not be able to create composite!
    I have now many skills with photoshop and it is all thanks to you!
    Phlearn is the best thing that has happened to me you really make a difference!

  7. (verified owner)

    All I can say is wow. 5 stars. I ended up taking 4 pages of notes to go a long with this! This was SO much fun. I counted over 100 layers in my final image. This is definitely for advanced advanced advanced Photoshop users, and it is WELL worth every penny. You get into distortion maps, channel mixing, advanced color grading. AWESOME 🙂

  8. (verified owner)

    Great tutorial!

    I needed some serious help with a composite I was working on for a friend’s birthday present. I was doing a completely different picture, but the techniques taught here helped me so many times throughout the process.

    Thanks again Aaron!

  9. (verified owner)

    Never used so many layers in an image in my life! phlearnt loads. it’s long but Aaron makes it fun enough to follow through. Thank you and hope I didn’t make you cringe with my image 😉

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