Create this magical twilight landscape with floating islands, a old sailboat, and a surreal moon background. This tutorial will teach you how to mix stock photos, apply filters to create a twilight scene, and even some matte painting basics!
Preview of Final Results
- Forest Mountain – Unrestricted – Cat-in-the-Stock
- Stars – paulinemoss
- Sky levels – TACLUDA – rgbstock
- Corner Leaves 2 – Evelivesey
- Belltower – Evelivesey
- Unusual Tree – Evelivesey
- Colonial Ship – Thy-Darkest-Hour
- Agglestone Rock, Dorset – rgbstock – Purplepic
- Colonial Ship – Elysawu
Let’s start! Create new file 1920×1080 size.
Choose Forest Mountain stock and place it:
Add new adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer) with Brightness/Contrast).
At adjustment layer make mask. Use big (ex. 200px) soft brush and draw:
Then, paste Sky levels stock as new layer. You should transform it, to fill canvas. Change blending mode to Multiply.
On this layer, use mask. Try to mask all the trees from the bottom side. you should use big, soft brush (ex. 300px or more). My masking results are below
Paste Stars stock, as new layer. Then add mask to this layer. Again use soft, big brush on contours of mountains.
Change blending mode of stars to Screen.
It’s time to paste moon stock on new layer. Place it as shown. Change blending mode to Screen
As you can see, moon is too big and the color doesn’t goes with this landscape. You should change that. First – mask. Use big, soft round brush (100-200px) and mask it on the bottom.
Now hue of the moon. Add adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation and create clipping mask (RMB>Create clipping mask).
You should make moon brighter. Compliment won’t work ;). Holding ctrl choose Moon and Hue layer. Duplicate it.
Add new layer. Choose Gradient Fill tool and #362f2d color. Arrow will guide you :)
Change blending mode of this gradient to overlay.
Add new layer. Choose soft, big (370px) brush, #6dcff6 color and set opacity to 70%. Draw gently glow around and near moon. I also draw a few spots on the edges of mountains.
Change glow layer blending mode to soft light.
Now you will know some matte painting techniques. Add new layer. Choose soft brush, 40px wide, #929397 color. Draw on the edges of the mountains/plants. This is very important step! It can appear like fog, and give mystic look!
Change blending mode to Soft light. Will be awesome! :)
Duplicate fog layer.
Create new layer. Now choose 100px wide brush, the same color. Draw delight on the depressions of landscape.
Change blending mode to Multiply (Suprise! :])
Okay! Keep up good work! Now add Adjustment layer with Selective color. Choose Reds from menu.
Now choose Greens from the same menu.
Step 24* – optional
Cool! Now select all and copy merged picture (Edit > Copy merged). Paste it as new layer.
Choose Filter > Filter Gallery > Glowing edges.
Then change blending mode to Color Dodge and opacity to 75%.
Step 25 – First Island
Create new folder (if you want). Add new layer. Set Hard Round Pressue Size brush, 42 px wide, black color. With strokes draw rocks shape on the bottom of island. You can, of course make your own shape. Play with it! :)
Add mask on this layer. Choose soft brush and draw on the top of island. I also cut out too long edges of rocks.
Paste Agglestone Rock stock. Transfotm it as shown and then, create clipping mask.
This stock is too saturated. You should change that. Add adjustment layer with Hue saturation. Then create clipping mask.
As you can see it’s also too bright. Add Adjustment layer with Brightness/contrast. Again, create a clipping mask.
Now you should choose soft, white, small (ex.30px) brush. Add new layer and create clipping mask. Draw, where should be lights!
Change opacity to 18%.
Add new layer – you should draw shadows on islnd. Create clipping mask. Choose the same brush, but dark-gray (#131312). Draw shadows on the left side of island.
Change blending mode to Multiply and opacity to 50%.
Add new layer and create clipping mask. Choose the same brush and draw harder shadows. This is important!
Add mask to your shadow, and fix too hard shadows, by using big (370px), soft brush.
Good job! Now you should change blending mode to Multiply and opacity to 80%.
Add adjustment layer with color/balance. Create clipping mask. Set adjustments:
Wow! A lot of work is already behind you! Now paste Belltower on new layer.
Add mask to this layer.
Add Adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. Create clipping mask. Set it:
Add Adjustment layer with Color balance. Of course create also clipping mask:
You should create lights on belltower. Add new adjustment layer with brightness/contrast and create clipping mask.
Add mask to this layer. Light source will guide you.
Place at new layer Unsual tree, as is shown:
Mask it as shown:
On this Unsual tree create Adjustment Layer. Choose Hue/saturation. After you set it, create clipping mask.
Add new layer and create clipping mask. Choose 100 px soft round brush #1e373b color. Draw gently shadows on the tree.
Change blending mode to Multiply and opacity to 80%.
Add new Adjustment layer – Color balance. Create clipping mask, and set it:
As you can see, tree is to bright in some places. You should fix it by masking :).
Then you should make lights on the tree. Add adjustment layer with color/balance and create clipping mask.
Mask it baby! :) Use soft, big brush.
Set blending mode to Screen, opacity to 67%.
Cool! Now add adjustment layer with brightness/contrast. Set it as shown below:
Create new layer. (Hey! Without making clipping mask :]) Choose spatter 59 px brush #baf3f0 color. Draw on the edges of trees.
Add new layer, choose 1 px soft brush, the same color. Draw contour of rocks, belltower and trees.
Step 57 – Second island – abstract
I used the same techniques on second island. You can just read again from 25 step, leave only one island, or do as many as you wish! :) But I’ll remind you about this! Start from black base. Brown color is for depth of field.
On clipping mask, you should paste rocks, try to place another part of stock image! :)
Change saturation by adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation.
With soft brushes draw shadows (change blending mode to Multiply) and lights (leave blending mode – Normal).
Again draw shadows and lights with smaller brush.
Set brightness/contrast of second island (clipping mask)
Change color balance. (clipping mask)
With soft, big (300px) black brush on new layer (clipping mask) draw stroke on the top. It will be shadow of tree.
Paste Unsual tree.
Set color/balance of the tree. Create clipping mask.
Add adjustment layer with brightness/contrast. (clipping mask) Set it:
With soft brush, #4081b7 color, on new layer draw shadows on tree. Set blending mode to Multiply. (clipping mask)
With the same brush on new layer draw lights on the tree. Change opacity to 26%.(clipping mask)
Create new layer. Choose spatter 59 px brush #baf3f0 color. Draw on the edges of trees. (clipping mask) Then change blending mode to Soft Light.
Then with 1px soft brush, the same color, draw light contours. I also prepared some contours of hanging plants :).
Step 73 – Making Plants
Create new folder. With soft 1px brush #4c7373 color draw long stroke, under the light countour.
Now with the same brush draw lianas. Arrows will guide you :)
Make the same with lower plants.
On the lowest parts of plants use the same technique.
Step 77 – ship
Paste ship png.
Reduce saturation with Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Then create clipping mask! :)
Add color/balance layer (clipping mask). Set it as shown below. Then set blending mode to Screen – it will look like lights from the moon!.
Mask this layer.
Then add Brightness/Contrast layer (create clipping mask).
Mask layer. It will look like shadow :).
Again adjustment layer with Brightness/contrast. Also clipping.
Then set color/balance with clipping mask.
Add new layer. Here you should set 1px soft light-blue brush. Draw gently contours of the ship and fix ropes.
Step 86 – corner leaves
In the left corner of picture, paste Corner leaves.
From menu Filter choose blur > Gaussian blur. Set it as shown below:
Add adjustment layer with hue/saturation. (Clipping mask).
Now, holding ctrl, choose Leaves and Hue/Saturation layers. Duplicate it.
Then transform it (ctrl +T, or Free transform from “Edit” menu). I flipped it horizontally and changed position.
Wow! You are on good way! Add layer. Now with 300 px soft #6dcff6 color brush, draw as shown. It will be glow.
Next, you should choose from menu Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur.
Change blending mode to Soft light and opacity to 41%.
Now you should add new layer. Choose big (800px) soft, white brush. Draw large dot on the moon. Then change blending mode to Soft Light.
Step 95 – final colors!
It’s time to fix colors. Now colors are unsaturated, too light. Let’s fix that! Create brightness/contrast layer. Change opacity of it to 70%.
Now create color balance layer, for standarizing colors.
Again add brightness/contrast layer. It’s necessary :)
Now hue/saturation layer. You will sharpen greens :)
This is last step! Add color/balance for really magical look!