In this Photoshop tutorial you will learn in easy and simple steps how to create a surreal environment. We’ll cover techniques such as blending elements together with non-destructive techniques, using blur to create distance between the objects, and much more.
Preview of Final Results
Note: A long time has past since this tutorial was first written. Because of this, some of the free images below may not be available anymore. Please use the Alternative link instead.
- Model – TwilitesMuse
- Image Base – Cat-in-the-stock (Alternative)
- Mountains in the background – Lyfiar
- Mountain in the right – Castock
- Mountain in the left – Burtn
- River – Faestock
- Sky – Austriaangloalliance
- Tower – Divsm-stock
- Castle – Lilystox
Step 1 – New File
Open a new file, with 1311px of Width and 100px of Height
Step 2 – Gradient Background
Before you add any image, create a gradient to be the base of the image.
Step 3 – Place
To place a image go to the menu File in the option Place.
Step 4 – River
Resize the image of the river like this:
Step 5 – Less Opacity
Reduce the layer opacity to 80% and add a layer mask
Step 6 – Hiding
In the layer mask paint with a black brush to hide parts of the image in this case are the clouds the one’s you need to hide. Select the layer mask in the layer thumbs and with a black brush with 50% of opacity paint over the clouds.
Like you did before Place the other image of the mountains and resize it. Pick ONE of the corners and press shift to change the the resolution of the image without distortions.
Step 8 – Changing color
Double click in the image thumb, then you will see this window, press ok.
You can also duplicate the layer to have the original.
Then press Ctrl + U and press the option colorize, and just reduce the saturation to 12. Now save the image Ctrl + S, now the color will change in your mountains.
Step 9 – Layer mask
Once again add a layer mask and with a soft round black brush paint to make the mountains look like they are part of the image. Reduce the opacity of the layer to 70% so you can see the background.
Step 10 – Layers
Change layer’s order, move the one with the river and set it over the one with the mountains like this:
Step 11 – Details
Now do the same with other details of the image like the castle, Place the image, then resize it and with a layer mask hide the undesired parts of the image, also you can use help from the Magic Wand tool or another selection tool of your choice.
In the image above you can see that using the Magic Wand tool the blue parts of the image are selected.
Pass the black brush over the selected area and the result will be this one:
After that change the size of the image.
Step 12 – layer opacity
Change the castle layer to 25% of opacity and hide some other parts
Step 13 – Tower
Repeat the process you made before with the tower. The opacity of the layer is 30%
Step 14 – Mountains
To add some more mountains to the image place a new layer.
Step 15 – Layer mask
You only need the big mountain, so select it with layer mask like before.
Step 16 – Size
Press Ctrl+T to change the size of the mountain to fit the image. Also you can use the black brush to fix some details
Do the same with the other mountain, but this time reduce the opacity of the layer to 80%
Step 17 – place Sky
Place the layer of the sky
Step 18 – Hard light
Use the layer in hard light mode, reduce the opacity to 75%. Also add a layer mask to the image and hide some parts.
Step 19 – orange
To give more intensity to the sunset paint with a soft round orange brush in the sky. Use the layer in soft light mode. You can set the opacity to the pressure of your tablet, or if you don’t have a tablet the opacity can be 30%.
Step 20 – The Model
Place the model and like you did before select her using a layer mask.
Step 21 – Hair
Select only the hair and press Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer.
Step 22 – Change color
Press Ctrl+U to change the color of the model’s hair. You have a menu, select the option Colorize and then use the option Hue in 9, the option Saturation at 25 and the option Lightness in -30.
Step 23 – The Hair
To paint the hair you will need a tablet to get better results, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it with you mouse. To star pick the same color of the hair with the eyedropper tool, after that paint some hairs not too big not too small. Use a soft round brush 2px.