Learn how to create photo manipulation of a house in a gloomy yet panoramic scene with Photoshop. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to turn ordinary house image into dreamy scene by adding some dramatic lightning and subtle rays of light. Throughout the tutorial, you’ll learn techniques that will help you create better photo manipulations.
On this tutorial we will create a gloomy scene of a house with dramatic lightning. We will use some essential techniques in doing photo manipulation. We will use masking, brush tool, some filter, color adjustments all through the steps in this tutorial. Use Adobe Photoshop CS3 or higher, don’t forget a glass of coffee and optionally a pack of cigarette for your companion. Ready..?
First of all, open the house image in photoshop. This image will be the background layer in the layer panel. Duplicate the house image (Ctrl+J) one time. Rename this duplicate layer house.
We can resize the document into smaller size by going to image > image size. Set the size as the one indicated in the screenshot below.
We will do some editing on the house by hiding some parts unnecessary like the twigs in front of the house. To do this purpose, we will cut out some part of the lawn and use the cut out to cover the front twigs. The screenshot below shows the part of the lawn to be cut out. It is indicated in red part.
Take the cutting tool that is familiar to you (I myself usually use the pen tool (P) to do this) and make selection to the part to be cut out. After selecting the part, duplicate (Ctrl+J) to cut out it into a new single layer.
Now give this cut out layer a layer mask by going to layer > layer mask > reveal all. Mask the edges of the layer to make it well blended. Use a very soft (0% hardness) round brush (B) with low opacity to do this purpose. Here is the result:
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) the cut out layer one time. Move the duplicate to the part where the twigs are still visible.
Mask some the edges of this layer to have the result as the one below:
Again cut out the other lawn on the house image.
Move the duplicate to the areas where needed.
Mask out some part of the cut out. Here is the result I created.
In the next few steps, we will proceed to clean up the twigs in front of the house. We just do repeating the same simple steps as in previous steps like cutting out some parts, moving and masking. This time we will cut out the terrace in front of the main door. Move the cut out to the front of the second door. Remember to mask some part where needed.
Do the same ways to cover the twigs in front of the wall. Cut out the brick of the wall. Use the cut out to cover the other brick where the twigs are visible. Mask some part of the cut out to make the transition of the images well blended.
Do the same way to cover the other brick.
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) the cut out and use the duplicate to cover twigs on the other bricks.
Proceed to clean the rest of the twigs in the second door. We can simply cut out the main door and use the cut out as the replacement of the second one.
Here is the result I created after cleaning the twigs on the roof, replacing the lower window with the upper one, adding some shadow on some areas where needed. To add some shadow, we can paint over the part where the shadow should fall. Follow the original house image to define it. Use black color stroked with a very soft round brush with low opacity of 10-15%. After finding desired result, select all the house layers and hit Ctrl+E to merge them into a single layer. Name the layer house.
Now we will add background for the scene. Firstly we should erase the cloud background of the original image as indicated in red lined part.
Again to do this purpose, take the pen tool (P). Select the mentioned part to be erased. After selecting the part, hit del on the keyboard to delete it. Here is the result for your inspiration.
We will give the house more sharpening look. To do this, give this layer some filter: unsharp mask. While being active on the house layer, go to filter > sharpen > unsharp mask. Set the filter as the one shown in the screenshot.
We have this result.
Proceed to add some cloud texture for the background of the scene. Open the cloud image in the document. Position the cloud layer below the house layer.
Take free transform tool (Ctrl+T). Scale the image to the size needed. We will take the brightest part of the cloud used as the cloud texture for the background. After scaling, place the brightest cloud in the upper position behind the left part of the roof’s house. Here is the result we have for inspiration.
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) the cloud layer. Move the duplicate to the position where the brightest cloud of the image is in the upper position behind the right part of the roof’s house.
Here is the result we should have:
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) the cloud layer once again and place the duplicate to cover the blank part with cloud texture. This is the result I created. Select all the cloud layers and hit Ctrl+G to group them into a folder. Name this folder/group cloud BG.
Next we will fix the tree beside the house. We will add leaves for the tree.
To add the leaves for the tree, we will paint them for it using brush (B) provided in photoshop. Take the brush tool (B) and open the brush panel to set the shape the brush shape. Follow the setting as below:
After setting the brush, set the foreground color to #006113 and the background to #174f01. Create a new layer by hitting Shift+Ctrl+N. Name this new layer leaves. On this layer, stroke the brush on parts where the leaves should be added. Try to vary the size of the brush to get desired result. Here is the result for inspiration.
Now we will set overall color for the scene. Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above all the layers. Fill the layer (by hitting Shift+F5) with solid color of #09425f. Name this layer blue.
Set this layer to soft light blending at 100% opacity.
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) this blue layer. Set the duplicate to color blending at 100% opacity. This will give the scene overall blue tone.
We should reveal the green color of the lawn and leaves a bit. To do this, we should give the duplicate layer a layer mask. Mask some part around the lawn and leaves.
Next duplicate the blue layer once again. Set this duplicate to linier light at about 60% opacity. This will give the scene stronger bluish tone. Actually, we don’t need the bluish tone this much. We will hide the bluish effect a bit more by masking some part around the house, lawn, leaves and cloud.
Give the duplicate layer a layer mask. With very soft round brush, mask some areas mentioned before. We should vary the brush stroke and size when we want to mask some part of the cloud using the setting as the ones below to define cloud texture. Here is the setting:
Here is the result of the layer mask should look like I created. The parts marked in lined red are the masked parts stroked with the brush set before. The other parts are the ones stroked with a very soft round brush with clear brush control.
Here is the scene look like after masking.
Now give the scene new adjustment layers. Go to layer > new adjustment layer > brightness/contrast. Set this layer to normal at 60% opacity
Give another adjustment layer: Curves. Set this layer to normal blending at 100% opacity.
Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above all the other layers. Name this layer color. On this layer, paint color texture like the one below. This texture is combination of color dark blue #010b15 and greenish dark blue #041c28. Why do we choose this color combination? We will create gloomy misty nuance to the scene. This color combination will be a help to achieve this.
Set this layer to exclusion blending mode at 100% opacity.
Duplicate this layer two times. Set the first duplicate to exclusion blending at 100% opacity and the second one to multiply at 35% opacity. Give these two duplicates layer masks. Mask areas around the brightest cloud background and the top most part of the roof.
Proceed to give another new adjustment layer above all the other layers. Go again to layer > new adjustment layers > brightness/contrast. Set this layer to normal blending at 80% opacity.
In this step we will work on the cloud background. We should alter some cloud that looks uniform as indicated in the screenshot.
Open the cloud BG folder and create a new layer above all the other layer within the folder. Take soft round brush tool (B) and set the setting of the brush stroke as the ones done in previous step 11. With color of #fcdgb1, paint the cloud as indicated in the screenshot.
We can lower the opacity of this layer if we stroke the cloud too strong.
Now we will give some color adjustment to the house layer. Select the house layer to be active on it. Go to layer > new adjustment layers > brightness/contrast. Give this adjustment layer a clipping mask.
Give this layer a layer mask and mask a little bit areas around the brightest cloud, cloud and windows. Finally set it to normal at about 54% opacity.
Give another adjustment layer with a clipping mask to the house. This time we will give it Hue/saturation layer.
Set this adjustment layer to normal at about 60% opacity.
Finally, create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) with a clipping mask above the two adjustment layers. Take a very soft round brush. Set this brush to about 10-15% opacity and then paint soft white color on the edges of the upper roof to give it some highlight.
Now we will work on the upper window of the house. We will add some light coming from the window. To do this, firstly create a new layer above the house layer. On this layer, create square selection and fill (Shift+F5} the selection with white color. Name this layer white.
Next go to filter > blur > Gaussian blur to give this white square more subtle white.
Finally create a new layer above the white layer. On this layer paint the frame for the window.
Here is the result of the scene with gloomy and misty nuance in it.
For the next last steps we will give some contrast to the gloomy scene by adding light coming from the window and do some tweak on lightning for the whole scene. Firstly, we should reduce the gloomy effect a bit. To do this, go select the brightness/contrast layer created in previous step 12. Give this adjustment layer a layer mask. With a very soft round brush, mask areas around the brightest cloud, window, and lawn under the window as indicated in red spot in the screenshot below:
Here is the result.
Start to add light coming from the window. Create a new layer above all the other layers. Name this layer light. Take a very soft round brush set to low opacity of about 5-15%. With orange color, paint the light around the window. We can lessen the light by reducing the opacity of this layer if we paint too strong.
Create another new layer above the light layer. Fill this layer with black and set its blending to color dodge. On this layer, paint yellow color around the window. Use a very soft round brush set to a very low opacity of about 3-5%. Stroke yellow color gently to the part where needed. Here is the result of this layer in normal blending.
Here is the effect of this layer after set to color dodge. We can lessen the effect by reducing the opacity if we stroke too strong.
Proceed to create a window with light to the scene. This process is repeating steps like the ones done in previous steps to create the light on the main window. Firstly, create new layer above all the other layers. On this layer, make square selection filled with white. Then give this layer Gaussian set to around 3-4 % radius.
Next, on a new layer, paint the frame for the window.
After that, create another new layer on which we will paint a very soft orange color on the window.
Finally again on a new layer filled with black and set to color blending, paint a very soft yellow on the window. Select all the window layers, hit Ctrl+G to group them in a folder. Name this group window.
Duplicate the window folder four times. Move the duplicates to the parts where needed to add more windows for the house.
In this step we will add some highlight to some parts where needed. Create a new layer on the topmost position in the layer panel. Fill this new layer with 50% grey (#808080). Set this layer to over lay. On this layer, paint a very soft yellowish orange color around the bricks around the main window. Here the normal blending of this layer I created.
The result should be like this in overlay blending. We can reduce the opacity of this layer to lessen the effect in case of stroking the color too much.
Proceed to give more highlight to the areas around the roof and bricks.
Here is the result.
Is it done? I am afraid it is not yet.
But don’t worry, the next few steps will be the last and most interesting ones after doing much cutting out and masking here and there, I take it as guarantee :). We will add subtle light rays to the scene. What we should do first is create a new adjustment layer on the topmost position in the layer panel. Go for the last one to layer > new adjustment layers > selective color. Set the value as below:
Here is the result of the adjustment layer. The scene is covered in subtle misty white.
We don’t need the whole effect of the selective color layer. So we will hide the effect. Make sure we are active on the mask thumbnail of this layer. Hit ctrl+I to invert the mask meaning that the mask is fully filled with black to hide the effect. We will reveal the effect of this layer to some areas where the light rays will be added. To do this, take a very soft round brush set to low opacity of about 10%. With white color, stroke gently the areas where the light rays should be smoothly visible.
Here the result for inspiration.
We can reduce the orange color of the light if we feel it too much. Go to each window folder, reduce the opacity of them to about 55-60%.
Here optional result for inspiration.