This tutorial is going to make a Floating Sphere Effect – it is not meant to look real, just a bit arty.
Open your landscape picture. Here I am using my pic of the steps at Seaburn.
We want to put the ball in the middle of the image. This can easily be done using rulers, but as long as View>Snap to>Rulers is ticked we should be ok.
Make a New layer. Select the elliptical marquee tool. Hold down shift to make it a perfect circle and draw onto the landscape. With the move tool selected, drag the circle until both the horizontal and vertical purple lines show that it is in the middle of the image.
TIP: This can be done using Select-transform selection and move until the horizontal and vertical purple lines show.
Fill the circle with black. Edit>Fill and choose Black. Deselect (Cntl+D)
Make a copy of the background layer and drag this to the top of the layers stack. The circle should disappear.
Filter>distort>Spherize. Put the value to 100%.
Do this again. Don’t do this more than twice or the quality will become poor.
Select the Move tool or Cntl+T and hold down Shift while dragging the edges of the sphere until they ‘snap’ onto the circle. OK
To get rid of the corners, Cntl+click on the black circle layer to bring back the selection, then add a layer mask and the corners should be gone.
Switch off the visibility of the black circle layer to remove the slight black outline.
Now we are going to add one more distortion. Cntl+click on the top sphere mask to bring back the selection – this is important in this stage otherwise we will lose the orb shape.
Click on the picture icon, not the mask icon on the top layer.
Filter>Distort>Twirl and use 50%.
New layer. With a soft brush paint white along the side towards the sun. Paint black on the opposite side and the bottom of the sphere.
Blend with Soft light at about 40% opacity.
Now we are going to add a bit of glow.
Double click on the layer with the mask or select the layer and use the Fx at the bottom of the layers palette.
Choose Inner Glow. Set the colour to white, blending mode to Overlay, Choke to 0, opacity about 30% and then move the size until it looks about right.
Click back on the top layer. Add a new layer which should now be at the top. Paint a highlight inside the sphere, white, overlay or soft light and opacity about 50%.
Now for the shadow. Make another new layer.
With a black soft brush at 100% opacity click on the image somewhere where you can see it. Here I did it on the sky. Cntl+T to transform and drag the sides while holding down the Shift key to squash and squeeze it until it looks like a shadow shape. Place it under the orb and change the blending mode to multiply or linear burn. Reduce Opacity or Fill to finish.
Aside: Yes, I know that a circular orb would make the image upside down. Give it a go, but make sure the shading looks realistic.
It also doesn’t have to be on a landscape or in the middle of your picture. Have a play about and see which images it works for.