Create a fragment of an epic scene of an alien invasion! In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a realistic landscape with the effects of battle and attacking aliens. You will learn interesting techniques, tricks and much more. So battle breaks out!
We will begin this photomanipulation with a realistic landscape. Add the main image and I will tell you how to make realistic foregrounds and sky. The next step is to add the aliens and work on their realism. The third step is to add the alien wreckage. The final step I worked lighting and add a few effects. You need attention, inspiration, good mood and any version of Photoshop. Have fun!
- Tartarus at War – cnquistador
- Sunset – LemnosExplorer
- Desert – HumbleBeez
- Blaze Package – resurgere
- Sparks – MariaSemelevich
- Shooting – MariaSemelevich
- Aliens PNG – MariaSemelevich
Let’s get started! After opening Photoshop, create a new document. Go to File > New or the short key Cmd /Ctrl+ N. A blank document with size of 3000 pixels wide and 2698 pixels high, resolution 200 Pixels/Inch, Background Contents: Other (color #898989).
Now I added in working document the main scene image to create perspective and atmosphere. Go to File > Place (Place Embedded) and select image “tartarus_at_war_by_cnquistador-d4ewfqq”. Flip horizontal this image (right click on image in Transform mode or Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). I use Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+T or Edit > Free Transform) to resize the image and place it in the top of working area, but not completely, leave a little free space in the upper part working area (for the sky).
While I left this image and proceeded to the foreground. Place (File > Place (Place Embedded)) in working document image “desert_stock_5_by_humblebeez-d32tmun”. As with the previous picture flip it horizontal (right click on image in Transform mode or Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) and resize (Ctrl/Cmd+ T or Edit > Free Transform) this picture as shown in image below. Arrange the picture to the mountains overlap (were above the edge) of the main image.
And now a very interesting step. Let’s just say, an exercise in mindfulness. In this step, we need to remove the sky, and most importantly, to make the transition from the first image for a second, but that was not visible seam. So, first select Magic Wand Tool (W) then select all sky (Hold Shift to add other colors to selection). Then Inverse selection (Select > Inverse or Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I).
When you finish select sky add Layer Mask to remove background, use button in Layers panel or by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection. Once duplicate this layer, because we will need it later. To do this, use Cmd/Ctrl + J or go to Layer > Duplicate Layer.
Use Brush Tool (B) with settings Size: 175px, Opacity: 20-65%, Hardness: 0%, Flow: 100%. On Layer Mask remove some of the mountains and texture from the first image to get a smooth transition of the landscape. Use different values brush Opacity to make the transition a realistic and correct. The most important thing that you could not see edge of the back image and texture of the first image exactly transitions to the second.
As can be seen from the previous picture, I remained almost invisible places on the seam of images, so I moved a copy of the desert under the previous layer (Cmd/Ctrl + [ ) and reduce the size of the texture (Ctrl/Cmd+T or Edit > Free Transform) to become more shallow ( only very little, it will create the effect of an inhomogeneous soil). Work on the two layer masks to get a smooth and harmonious landscape. Here’s what I got.
I was satisfied with the result and start colored ground to make same color as main image. For this I used two adjustment layers. But first, I have group with the soil layers into one group (Cmd/Ctrl + G or go to Layers > Group Layers) and applied the adjustment layers to it.
We now proceed to adjustment layers. Add first adjustment layer “Brightness/Contrast” (Layer > New Adjustment layer > Brightness/Contrast… or click on icon on a Layer panel). Set Brightness: -150, Contrast: 100. So I did the soil is very dark and you can now begin to color. Be sure to clip adjustment layer to lower group. Set Opacity: 77% to this layer.
And now I worked with ground color and add adjustment layer “Color Balance” (Layer > New Adjustment layer > Color Balance…). Set to Midtones and Shadows settings, like on image below. That ground is suitable shade, I made the shadows and midtones more purple.
Here’s a result I got. You should have about the same. It is very important to achieve the right shade to the picture became united, and all the rest can then be added.
I decided to add lighting to the ground. Use Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N to create new layer with neutral color. Set Mode: Overlay, check box on “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)”. Neutral color – the color that doesn’t change the image in that blending mode (Overlay). So, it will help to make the desired effect without causing damage to the image.
Use the Burn Tool (O) for create shadow and Dodge Tool (O) to create a light and shadow. Set the settings to each tool like shown in the image below.
Draw light and shadow, based on sunset light from the main picture. Do not do a contrasting shade too, otherwise texture will be strongly emphasized. Blue shows where to draw the shade, and red – the light. On Layer panel set Opacity: 77%.
I painted places where should be the color of a sunset, to hide some place and associate the foreground with the main image. I create a new layer above adjustment layers, set Blending Mode “Color” and Opacity: 48%, then used Brush Tool (B) (Size: 250px, Opacity: 45%, Hardness: 0%) and Eyedropper Tool (I) (or hold Opt/Alt when use Brush Tool) I took the colors of the sky and the ground of the main image and painted over desert texture, but only on the seam line.
When the ground is ready, I started to manipulate with sky. It was important to find the appropriate resource of sky to made realistic artwork and I could mix it with the main image. Go to File > Place (Place Embedded) and select image “Sunset_s4__Stock_Image_by_LemnosExplorer”. Increase the sky, so it was a bit more working area and place it in line with the skyline of the main image. To accurately do this simply associate the sea and the mountains in main image, so that they were roughly on the same line. (you can change the opacity to make it easier to work).
Move the layer with the sky under the main image. To blend the sky add a layer mask to the main image. I will remove part of sky from main image to prevailed realistic pictures, not an artificial landscape. Take a Brush Tool (B) (Size: 450px, Opacity: 20-65%, Hardness: 0%) and carefully on layer mask remove the upper part of the image to get a smooth transition. Then try to leave and will integrate the cloud, which harmonize with the sky. The main thing is a smooth transition. Remove or leave but completely some yellow clouds and use the opacity to make the transition shades.
Remained the final touch is to add the flying missiles and explosions. Place image (File > Place) “shooting_by_mariasemelevich-d826nte”. Set Blending Mode “Screen”, resize it on working area and place this image that smoke corresponded to smoke on main image (it was the basis and continuation) and to skyline. Try to keep the explosions do not touch the ground much, but a little, picture was applied to the distant mountains.
As can be seen from the previous image, I have united the whole landscape into one group (Cmd/Ctrl + G). Working with landscape over and you can start to add aliens. In this part of tutorial, I added an aliens and effects for them. Open image (Cmd/Ctrl + O) “aliens_png_by_mariasemelevich-d826naw”. In this step everything easy, select Lasso Tool (L), select the first group of aliens (where they 4 subjects and doesn’t necessarily add to selection another piece of aliens:)). Hold Cmd/Ctrl (switch on Move Tool (V)) and move it into working document.
In working document resize them (Cmd/Ctrl + T) and put it in the right place. I placed them on the right side of the image, so that they went out from the ruined buildings. Do the same with the rest of aliens, but do not touch the flying ships yet, I added them later. Be sure to place aliens layers over a group with a landscape.
Try to stick to the proportions as the size of the aliens, so they were not too big and stand out from the landscape. Just try to choose for them interesting and appropriate landscape (if you look at the movement of the first aliens, you will see that they are standing on a rock, which is absurd, but I will fix it, using smoke). If you have a situation arises, try to disguise this place, using objects or other aliens. To little hide the legs a alien, I added a layer mask and removed part of the legs on the rock (for aliens from the previous image).
When I am located all the aliens in the right places, I went to work with shadows. It’s a bit tedious process, but believe me, it is very useful. Thus, hold Cmd/Ctrl and click on aliens layer thumbnail, create a new layer and fill selection black color (press D then X and use Cmd/Ctrl + Del or Edit > Fill…).
Use Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+ T) to Flip Vertical and connect shadow with alien’s legs. Select Distort Tool in transform mode and move the shadow a little closer to the alien (for pulling the mid-point of the upper horizontal frame) so that it was shorter and tilt it to match the light source (basically move the shadow slightly to the right). Change Opacity to 35%. And so it must be repeated for every alien. I understand that it is a bit tedious, but for a realistic picture of the shadows are very important.
If you are satisfied with the position of shadows then combine them in a single layer (Cmd/Ctrl + E or right click on selected layers, from the drop-down list, select “Merge Layers”). Add filter Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur), set Radius: 15.0px. Shadows are ready! Also merge layers with aliens (Cmd/Ctrl + E) to make it convenient to work with it.
Stay flying ships of aliens. As in the previous steps select all and move flying aliens in the working document. Place them just above the missiles. Add a layer mask and use Brush tool (B) with very small Opacity: 15-30% (Size: 150px, Hardness: 0%), remove some parts to create visibility of the flight in the clouds. Try to remove the part of the ship on which the sun shines and the tentacles, because they are thin and not likely to look much clearer.
Now with the same brush, but at a new layer draw a small haze on ships. Select colors, used Eyedropper Tool (I) from places near the ships to accurately observe the gamut. Do not paint over the ships fully or you’ll lose the realism. Make this layer as Clipping Mask (Cmd/Ctrl + Opt/Alt + G).