Hanging Shoe Aquarium

A shoe and an Aquarium does not sound to be on the same track. Both are unrelated, but they can related with the doze of some creativity.

How about creating an Aquarium on a Hanging Shoe? In this tutorial we will learn how to convert a Shoe into an Amazing Hanging Shoe Aquarium. Its a perfect example of how creativity can turn a simple looking thing into a serene image. Checkout this astounding Shoe Aquarium with Rocks, Sand, Water and of course Fish.

Before and After


  • Software used: Adobe Photoshop CS3
  • Advanced
  • Time: 1- 2 hrs.


Shoe Image
Rocks and Sand
Rocks and Sand

STEP 1: Open Image

Open the shoe image in Photoshop and duplicate it ( Ctrl + J ). The resolution for this particular image is 800 x 533 pixels.

Open Image

STEP 2: Magic Wand Tool

We need to extract the shoe from the background. For that we will select the background with Magic Wand Tool ( W )as shown below. You may use any other tool selection tool to make the selection.

Magic Wand Tool

STEP 3: Alpha Channel

Now we need to make alpha channel in the Channels Palette with the selection as shown in the below image.

Alpha Channel

STEP 4: Paint Alpha

Now paint that alpha channel with the default black color selected such that the whole shoe except shadow should be of red color as shown below:

Paint Alpha

STEP 5: Select Alpha Channel

Ctrl +left click on the alpha channel to select the whole shoe as below:

Select Alpha Channel

STEP 6: Delete Background

Now delete the background by hitting the Delete key on your keyboard in the duplicate layer as shown below:

Delete Background

STEP 7: Magic Wand Tool

Duplicate the upper background layer and select the black portion of the shoe with the Magic Wand Tool ( W )as below:

Magic Wand Tool

STEP 8: Make Alpha channel

Now make the alpha channel with that selection as shown under:

Make Alpha channel

STEP 9: Paint Alpha

Paint the shoe except black portion like above:Keep in mind to zoom in the document while painting for best output

Paint Alpha

STEP 10: Delete Inner Part

With the upper background layer selected Delete the black portion like before.

Delete Inner Part

STEP 11: Delete Outer Part

Now duplicate the second background layer put it just above second background layer, Ctrl+ left click on the background layer above it and delete the rest of the shoe except black portion like below:

Delete Outer Part

STEP 12: Layer Styles

Now rename the layers from above like outer shoe, inner shoe. Duplicate the inner shoe layer and make Blending Option settings for the above inner shoe layer like below:

Layer Styles

Change Drop Shadow settings like below:

Layer Styles

Make Inner Shadow settings as below. We are trying to give it a glass look so keep it in mind and make changes according to your image don’t just copy my settings.

Layer Styles

Make Bevel and Emboss settings as below:

Layer Styles

Now change Contour settings like below:

Layer Styles

Make Satin settings as below:

Layer Styles

Finally give it a Stroke effect like below:

Layer Styles

STEP 13: Blending Options

Now select lower inner shoe layer and change Blending Option settings like below:

Blending Options

Now make Drop Shadow settings for this layer as shown below:

Blending Options

Change the Inner Shadow settings like below:

Blending Options

Finally make Bevel and Emboss settings like below:

Blending Options

STEP 14: Copies of Inner Shoe

Now make two copies of inner shoe 2 layer ( Ctrl + J ) like shown below:

Copies of inner shoe

STEP 15: Bevel and Emboss

Make a little change in inner shoe 3 layer’s Bevel and Emboss settings like below:

Bevel and Emboss

STEP 16: Bevel and Emboss

Finally, make some adjustments in Bevel and Emboss settings in inner shoe 4 layer to completely give it a glass look like below:

Bevel and Emboss

STEP 17: Go to Place

Your image should look like below up till now. Now its’ time for the real effect. Place File > Place ) some images to make the inner part of aquarium.

Go to Place

STEP 18: Rasterize Image

I have used this particular image’s link : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobile_gnome/5834864792/sizes/o/in/photostream/ You can use any other image of your choice also. After placing it we have to Rasterize it ( Right click on the layer you want to Rasterize )to work on that image freely. Without rasterizing we cannot freely work on any image like we cannot give layer styles to it.

Rasterize Image

STEP 19: Duplicate Image

Now place your image correctly in the shoe and Duplicate ( Ctrl + J ) it like below:

Duplicate Image

STEP 20: Clone Edges of Images

Now what I am going to do is duplicate this image several times and obviously you can use different images to give it more reality like I have used rocks and sand images. Finally you have to merge all the layers and clone their edges neatly where they are meeting together so that it should look like one whole image like below.

Clone Edges of Images

STEP 21: Ctrl+Click alpha 2

Now Ctrl+click the alpha layer of the whole shoe in the channel palette to create the selection.

Ctrl+Click alpha 2

STEP 22: Delete Extra Image

By selecting the image layer, Invert your selection ( Ctrl+Shift+I ) and Delete the extra image parts like shown below:

Delete Extra Image

STEP 23: Paint Water Bubbles

Now, after making a new layer paint water bubbles with the white color selected with the bubble brush.

Paint water bubbles

STEP 24: Paint Water Level

Make some more layers for making water with the water brush selected to give the water level in the aquarium like below:

Paint Water Level

STEP 25: Masking Fish

What an aquarium without a fish… So, its’ time to place a fish image and lets mask it out with the Pen tool ( P ).

Masking  Fish

STEP 26: Hue and Saturation

After masking out fish make some color correction to it by hue/saturation ( Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation )

Hue and Saturation

STEP 27: Hue and saturation settings

Place the fish in the correct position change color of the fish according to your wish which suits your image like below:

Hue and saturation settings

STEP 28: Adding other Fishes

Make some more fishes for your aquarium and change their colors according to your choice to give more realism to it. I have simply Duplicated ( Ctrl + J ) the image of fish which we have take in Step 25 and simply changed their colors as we have done in the above Step. I have also used Transform Tool ( T ) in order to change their sizes and places.

Adding other Fishes

STEP 29: Merge layers

Now Merge all the layers by hitting Ctrl + E until all the layers get merged and Transform( T ) it according to your canvas.

Merge layers

STEP 30: Pen Tool

Make a new layer and with the Pen Tool ( P ) make a path like shown below but don’t close that path because we have to make a shoe lace.

Pen Tool

STEP 31: Stroke Path

After making the path, right click on that path and choose Stroke Path.

Stroke Path

STEP 32: Simulate Pressure

In the stroke path window choose brush option and check the Simulate Pressure check box like below:

Simulate Pressure

STEP 33: Bevel and Emboss

After giving stroke path to it give Bevel and Emboss effect to it to give it a depth.

Bevel and Emboss

STEP 34: Place Background

Its’ time to add some background to our effect. Place a grungy texture in the background.

Place Background

STEP 35: Magic Wand Tool

Delete the white portion in the image, by selecting it through Magic Wand Tool ( W ) and Delete it.

Magic Wand Tool

STEP 36: Curves

Now, we are going to change its look and make it more attractive by curves. Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves like below:


STEP 37: Curves Settings

Make the curves settings as shown in the image below:

Curves Settings

STEP 38: New Black Layer

Make a new layer at the bottom and fill it with default black color by hitting alt + backspace on the keyboard.

New Black Layer

STEP 39: Hue and saturation adjustment layer

You can change the background color according to your choice by hue and saturation adjustment layer as shown below :

Hue and saturation adjustment layer

STEP 40: Hue and saturation settings

These are the settings of my choice, you can make your own settings.

Hue and saturation settings

STEP 41: Brightness and contrast settings

If the image is looking little dull, then you can make Brightness and Contrast adjustment layer ( Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast ) at the top, with your own settings. That’s it, you are done.

Brightness and contrast settings

Final Image Preview



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