Learn how to create a dark mysterious hideout in a rocky mountainous place in Photoshop. How will we find this tutorial useful? Well, I won’t brag about this tutorial, so I have to tell you that I won’t promise you special or sophisticated techniques used in this tutorial. However, by reading and following this tutorial, you will be amazed on how simple and essential techniques like blending, masking, color adjustments, basic painting and some others can be easily applied to create a nice scenic panorama.
The idea of this tutorial is just simple is that creating dramatic scene featuring rocky mountainous place set in dark scenic atmosphere which people may assume (just like I do hehehee…) to be a hideout where vampires, ghost or sorts of reside. So get yourself ready with your Photoshop CS3 or newer, a glass of tea or coffee and….. a pack of cigarette will be good companions. Let’s start!
- Rocky Mountain – Pixabay
- Rocky cliff – Pixabay
- Rock Texture – Cgtextures
- Waterfall – Pixabay
- Castle – Pixabay
- Cloud and Moon – Pixabay
- Tree – Pixabay
- Tree – cgtextures
- Bridge – Pixabay
- Fairy House – mysticmorning
- frida4STOCK – fridagb
Open Photoshop and start creating a new document in it by hitting Ctrl+N. Set the size of the document like the one shown in the screenshot below:
Firstly, I tried to map what I had in mind by creating gradual scratches about the scene I am going to create. Here it is:.
Well, make sure that we have downloaded all stocks in the stock list and save them in our computer. In this kind of photo manipulation, finding good stocks will be essential. Good and suitable stocks really will help us to execute the idea we have. In this early step we will create the right composition of our scene. Open the stock image. Take lasso tool in the tool panel and cut out the rock highlighted in red. I named this cut out rock 1
Add the cut out to the main document. Take free transform tool (Ctrl+T) and then scale its size. Place it in left part of document. Here is the screenshot for your inspiration.
Duplicate the rock 1 layer (Ctrl+J) and place the duplicate where needed as shown in the screenshot. Select all the rock layers and group them in one folder. I named this folder rock.
Proceed to add another rock to fill the composition on the left of the scene. Open the other rock image and cut out the red highlighted part. I named this cut out left rock..
Add the left rock to the main scene. Make sure to position this left rock layer above the rock folder. Take free transform tool. With the tool scale its size to the one needed. We need to alter the perspective of this rock, to do this right click on the document when the free transform tool still activated to show up free transform option. Choose perspective. Drag the anchor point to the direction shown in the screenshot to alter the perspective of the rock:
Duplicate the left rock layer and move the duplicate to the right side to place it in front of the rock created in previous step 3. I named this duplicate right rock. Take the free transform tool and alter the shape of this right rock by warping it.
In this step we will add waterfalls to the scene. Open the waterfall image and cut out the part needed.
Add the waterfall to the main scene. Scale its size and place it between the right and left rock. Flip it horizontally and alter the perspective to have the one like this:
Here is what we should have so far….
We need to hide some unneeded parts of the waterfall layer. I think we know what to do to execute this purpose, don’t we? Yes…..! We use layer mask…! Give this waterfall layer a layer mask and mask parts unneeded as highlighted in red to hide them. Use a very soft round brush to mask them.
Here is the result I created after being masked.
Next, duplicate the waterfall layer and move the duplicate to the right a bit to have the result like the one below. Don’t be panic if you do not get the exact result like the one I created, you can compose your own waterfall composition like you prefer. It’s not a big deal, is it? So can we go on now?
Ok, let’s go to the next process. Select the right rock layer again to be active on it. Give this layer a layer mask. Mask some areas where needed as highlighted in red. The main purpose of this masking is to blend the layer to the rock behind it. Use a very soft brush to do this. To alter the shape of the rock edges we can mask them as well, we should use chalk brush taken in the brush preset to this purpose.
Proceed to add another object in the scene. Place the castle image in the main document. Scale its size and position it behind the rock folder created in previous step 3.
Hide the background of this image by masking it.
We need the other stock image to be added to the scene. We use this image for this purpose. Cut out the some part of the rock in the image.
Add the cut out in the document. Scale it size and place it in front of the right rock layer. Rotate its position to have the one like I did:
Mask parts unneeded.
Now add the bridge to the scene. Scale its size to the one we need. Position this layer in front of the waterfall between the right and left rock.
In this step we will add tunnels or caves ( I am not sure myself what they are….LOL)in the scene. We use this image to fulfill this purpose. Cut out the part needed.
Add the cut out to scene. To blend it to the rock behind, mask the edge of the cut out. I named this cut out left cave.
Duplicate the cave layer. Flip the duplicate horizontally, scale the size and place it in front of the rock on the right. Mask areas where needed.
Finally we will add cloud and moon as the background for the scene. Place the cloud image in the scene. Make sure to position this layer behind all the other layers. The moon will give dramatic nuance to the scene, so it will something fantastic if we position the moon right behind the castle. Don’t you agree? So be it…..!
We need to fill the blank part of the background. We do this just simply by duplicate the cloud layer. Scale the size of the duplicate to the one needed and move it to the left to cover the blank. Where is the moon? The moon is now covered by the cloud.
Give the duplicate layer mask and mask areas round the moon to reveal it. Here it is now:
I decided to hide some areas on the rock 2 layer by masking them. So go to rock folder created in previous step 3. Open the folder and select the rock 2 layer. Give this layer a layer mask and mask some areas around it as indicated in red color.
This is what I did as the result:
We need to alter the shape of this rock a bit. To do this, we will get ride some upper part of the rock.
Give the rock folder a layer mask and mask the upper part of the rock.
So far we have almost finished the composition of the scene. However referring to the moon as the main light source, the front sides of the right and left rock are too bright while the moon is in upper position behind them. The moon light does not shine that much on the areas. We will fix this in the following step.
To fix the bright parts, we will give them the other rock texture. Open the rock image and cut out the part used to be texture:
Scale the size of the texture and place it in front of the left rock to cover the bright part of it.
Then give this texture a clipping mask.
Finally mask some parts of this texture where needed.
Duplicate the texture layer. Move the duplicate downward to cover the rest of the bright parts of the rock. Here is the result I created for our inspiration. Select the left rock and texture layers and hit Ctrl+G to group them in a folder. I named the folder left rock.
Do the same ways to cover the bright parts of the right rock by giving them the same rock textures.
Now we will fix the castle. We will get rid of the people seen in the image, we do not need the people. There should be vampires or Dracula living there instead…. LOL.
To get rid of the people we can do this by painting over them, using clone stamp tool or patch tool. On my own, I used simple way to do this purpose. Cut out the nearest wall and use the cut out to cover the people. Make sure to give the cut out layer a clipping mask.
Mask the edges of the cut out to blend them well to the main wall.
Do the same ways to cover the other parts of the image.
Proceed to add tree behind the castle. Place the tree image in the main document. Scale the size as needed. Position the tree layer under the castle layer. Set this layer to multiply blending at about 50% opacity. Mask the edges of the image where needed.
With the same ways place more other trees behind the rock on the left and right sides.
Well here is the complete composition of the scene we have created so far. Next following step, we will do color adjustments to every object in the scene. We will use the color tone and mode of the background (cloud image) as reference of the color adjustment.
Let’ set the color adjustment for the rock layers within the rock folder. Open the rock folder and select the first rock layer to be active on it. Go to layer > adjustment layer > hue/saturation. Make sure to give this hue/saturation layer a clipping mask.
Set the values of this layer as indicated in the screenshot.
Give this layer another new adjustment layer with a clipping mask. This time choose color balance and set the values as the one below.
Then we need to add some highlight to the upper edges of the rock. To do this, create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) with a clipping mask. Take a very soft round brush set to about 30 px size at 20% opacity. With color of #c3dbe8, paint the edges of the rock to give them some highlight.
Do color adjustment layers to the second rock. Firstly give it hue/saturation layer with the same values as the one used for the first one. Then give the second rock brightness/contrast adjustment layer with values indicated below.
Finally, give the second rock color balance adjustment layer with the same values used for the first rock. Here is the result:
Proceed to give color adjustment layers to the left rock layer. Give these new adjustment layers clipping masks. Make sure to position the layers above the texture layers within the left rock folder. Here are the adjustment layers to be given:
Make sure to hide the effect of the brightness/contrast layer by masking on some areas as pointed by red arrows. This will bring back the original brightness of the image. The areas are parts where the moon light is supposed to be more casted. So we should reveal them.
Finally, create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) with a clipping mask. On this layer, paint soft dark blue color on lower areas around the left rock.
With the same techniques, set color adjustment to the right rock.
Mask the brightness/contrast layer on areas pointed by red arrows.
Finally give color balance layer with the same values used in the left rock. Here is the result:
Do the same ways to set color adjustments to the caves or tunnels. After that, create a new layer with a clipping mask. On this layer, paint some white lines around the tunnel and some dark blue color inside it.
In next following steps we still set color adjustments to the other objects in the scene. What we do here is just repeating techniques we did in previous steps. We just apply three adjustment layers to the other objects like we have done to the previous objects. Play around at hue/saturation, brightness/contrast and color balance to find desired result of each object. Here is what I did for the rock in front of the left rock.
Do the same ways to the waterfalls.
And finally here is the result after setting color adjustments to the bridge and castle. Just play around at the three adjustment layers mentioned before. Make sure to give a clipping mask for each.
Now we will set overall color and mode for the entire scene. To do this purpose, make sure the adjustment layers we are going to create are placed in topmost position in the document. Go to layer > adjustment layer > selective colors. Set the values as given in screenshot. Set this layer to normal at about 15-20% opacity.
Give another adjustment layer: gradient map. Set this layer to normal at 100% opacity.
Here is the result so far.
As we can see, the gradient map layer has made the scene a bit darker. We should hide the effect of this layer a bit to certain areas around the moon and sky, top of the left rock, waterfall and right rock, and anywhere else where needed.
Here is the result after doing masking on the gradient map.
Give the scene another adjustment layer: color balance set in normal blending at 100% opacity.
More adjustment layer: brightness/contrast
Mask the brightness/contrast layer to hide its effect to areas indicated by red color.
Duplicate the brightness/contrast layer. Set the original layer to normal at 100% opacity and the duplicate set to normal blending at about 50% opacity
The last overall adjustment layer: selective colors. Set this layer to normal at about 70% opacity. Select all the adjustment layers and group them in a folder. I named this folder general adjustments.
Proceed to add some light to the tunnel. Open the nebula image in the document. Scale the size and place it above the left tunnel. Set the blending of this layer to screen at about 85% opacity. With free transform tool, warp the image to alter its shape. Mask some areas where needed.
Here is the result after giving light to the other tunnel.
Now we will add more illumination inside the two tunnels. To do this, create a new layer above the general adjustments folder. Fill (Shift+F5) this new layer with black and set its blending mode to color dodge at 100% opacity. Take a very soft brush set to 20-30% px size at 3-5% opacity. With white color, stroke the brush on areas where needed to illuminate them. Here is the look of the layer in normal blending for your inspiration.
The result should be like this:
To give a nuance of life in the scene, I decided to add a figure in it. I used this model as the figure.
Here is the figure will look like after I did some retouching on it
Add the figure to the main scene. Place this figure layer on the bridge. Scale its size to proper one.
Finally, we will add some light on the hand of the figure. Create a new layer above the general adjustments folder created in previous step 20. Set this layer to hard light blending at 100% opacity. Take soft round brush set to about 10 px size at 100% opacity. On this new layer, click the brush with color of #fe7303 on the right hand of the figure, this will give an orange spot on it. Now set the brush to smaller size at about 8-9 px. With white color, click the brush once again on the orange spot. This will give nice brightness on it.
Finally, we will do last adjustments to some objects in the scene. Create another new layer above all the other layers and folders. Set this layer to hard light blending at 100% opacity. On this new layer we will do final touch to the screen. Take a very soft round brush set to about 15-20% opacity. On this layer, paint some soft dark blue color on certain areas around the upper, lower, left and right edges of the scene. Then, take white color to paint some more highlight on the upper edges of the rocks and waterfall. Use small soft round brush to do this. I also painted some contour inside the right tunnel. For our inspiration here the layer I created look:
And here is the result.
Proceed to do some adjustments on the bridge. Go select the bridge folder. Create a new layer with a clipping mask within the folder. On this folder we will create some highlight on the upper part and some shading on the lower part of it. Take soft round brush and paint the highlight on the upper part of the bridge with color of #eaf5fe. Then paint shading on the lower part with dark blue color.
Now open the castle folder. We will do the same ways to add highlight and shading on the castle. On the new layer, paint soft color of #eaf5fe on edges of the castle where the moon light is much casted. Then, with dark blue color, paint some shading on the wall of the castle where the moon light is not much exposed.
Download the PSD
Tutorial by Dek Wid
Thank you for following my tutorial. Hope that you’ll learn something important for your works and happy photoshopping.
– Dek Wid