photoshop creative
Apr
13

Composite surreal landscapes

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
April 13, 2016

Create an incredible fantasy landscape using basic Photoshop tools

final

1. Set the stage

Step1

Go to File>New (Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Surreal Landscape. Set the Width to 460mm, the Height to 190mm, the Resolution to 300ppi, then click OK. Now that the stage is ready, let’s start by placing our chosen images.

2. Place the first image

Step2

Go to File>Place (Embedded) and add your sky. On the tool option bar, set the Width to 170%, align the image and hit Return/Enter. Now go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Levels. Set the Midtone Input Level to 0.70.

3. Work with masks

Step3

Now add a night sky for the other side of the image. Scale the image and hit Return/Enter. Go to Layer>Layer Mask> Reveal All. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a large, soft brush, set the Opacity to 20% and gently start painting to blend the image. Now set the layer’s Opacity to 80%.

4. Place the moon

Step4

Place a moon into the image. Resize it around 55% and hit Return/Enter. Change the blend mode to Screen and Fill to 60%. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Clip the layers (click on the first icon at the bottom of the Properties panel). Set the Input levels to 40, 1.20, 255.

5. Create the planet ring

Step5

Now add a ring image over the moon. On the tool option bar, set the Width to 50% and the Height to 5%, rotate the image around 45 degrees and then place over the moon. Now go to the blend modes and set it to Screen.

6. Add a layer mask

Step6

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input levels to 40, 1.10, 255 and clip the layer. Now create a layer mask. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a small, soft-tip brush and paint over the mask to hide part of the ring, to make it look like it surrounds the moon.

7. Refine edges

Step7

Next, place a landscape into the project. Grab the Quick Selection tool and select the mountains. Now go to Select>Refine Edge. Set Smooth to 25, Shift Edge to -100%. Choose ‘Output to layer mask’ and click OK.

8. Bring in more images

Step8

Now we’re going to place more mountains into the image to give a little more height. Grab the Lasso tool (L) and select around the mountain. Now create a layer mask and use a soft-tip brush (B) to brush away the hard edges.

9. Place a statue head

Step9

Place a statue head into the image. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the head. Create a layer mask and again use a soft-tip brush (B) to blend the hard edges with the mountain.

10. Correct the colour

Step10

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Set the Hue to 0, Saturation: -14 and Lightness: +9. Add a Levels adjustment layer and set the Input levels to 0, 1.00 and 211. Finally, add a Color Balance adjustment layer. Choose Tone: Midtones, Cyan/Red +38, Magenta/Green -14, Yellow/Blue -25 and check Preserve Luminosity.

11. Add another image

Step11

Place a river. Add a layer mask and brush away the hard edges, the sky and the mountains. Now let’s boost the colours. Go to Layer> New Adjustment Layer>Vibrance, clip the layer and set the Vibrance to +50.

12. Place the waterfall

Step12

Next place your waterfall into the image; grab the Lasso tool (L). Select the waterfall and create a layer mask. Drag the image to the bottom left. Now add a Levels adjustment layer, clip it and set the Input levels to 0, 1.25 and 230.

13. Bring in the columns

Step13

Insert the ancient-style columns into the image. Resize the image and then place it over the waterfall. Create a layer mask and then with a soft brush mask the bottom of each column to ensure it blends with the rocks.

14. Use shadows

Step14

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Fill. Set colour #796447 and click OK. Add a layer mask. Grab a small, soft brush and paint the top and the front area of each column. Add a Levels adjustment layer, clip the layer and set the Input levels to 0, 1.00 and 220.

15. Place a linked file

Step15

Find a tree on a white background and insert into your photo. Go to Window>Properties and choose Edit Content (the original image will open as a separate PSD file). Go to Window>Channel. Select the Blue channel and duplicate it by clicking and dragging over the Create New Channel icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

16. Adjust the channel

Step16

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to open the Levels. Set the Input levels to 172, 0.70, 247 and click OK. Press F7 and go to Select>Load Selection. Choose Channel: Blue copy, check Invert and click OK. Now add a layer mask and save the image (Cmd/Ctrl+S).

17. Free transform

Step17

Go back to the Surreal landscape file. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to open the Free Transform command. Scale the image, rotate and place over the waterfall. Add a layer mask and hide the tree base.

18. Make adjustments

Step18

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Set Hue: -30, Saturation: -46 and Lightness: +4. Add a Color Balance adjustment layer. Choose Tone: Midtones, Cyan/Red +25, Magenta/ Green -11, Yellow/Blue +5 and check Preserve Luminosity. Boost the colour using a Vibrance adjustment layer. Set Vibrance: +75 and Saturation: +14.

19. Create a light source

Step19

Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N) and name it Light. Grab the Paint Bucket tool (G) and fill it with black. Go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. Choose 105mm Prime, Brightness: 110% and hit OK. Go to Filter>Blur and apply a 50% Gaussian Blur. Change the blend mode to Screen.

20. Place more images

Step20

Add a rock to act as a ledge. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the rock. Add a layer mask and move the image to the bottom right. Now place subjects into the image on the rock, along with a tree and some birds.

21. Complete the landscape

Step21

Add a temple. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the temple. Add a layer mask and brush away the hard edges to blend with the trees. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set Hue to 0, Saturation to -25 and Lightness to +3.

22. Finishing touches

Step23

Create a new layer and use a soft white brush over the tree. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set Radius to 40 pixels and then change the layer’s Opacity to 70%. Now go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Lookup. Click Load Devicelink Profile and pick Smokey. Set the layer’s Fill to 60%.

  • eifion Hughes

    Is there a link to all the images. Apologies if I’ve missed them somewhere.