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In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to design this awesome Fantasy style Castle Scene with icy background texture, space and debris brushsets.

Together we will be using a variety of Photoshop techqinues such as layer blending mode, selection methods, filter effects, masking technqiues and image adjustments. Again this is an intermediate tutorial so some of the steps can be a bit tricky, but it doesn’t hurt to have a try!

Here is a preview of my final result for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)


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To complete this tutorial, you will need to the following textures:


Icy Background

And these two brushsets:

Space Brushset

Debris Brushset

Step 1

Firstly let’s prepare our background texture. Load the “Icy Background” texture into Photoshop, duplicate the background layer once and set the blending mode of the duplicated layer to “soft light”.

Go to Layer > New adjustment layer > Curves and apply the following settings:


Set the blending mode the adjustment layer to “Multiply” and you will have the following effect:


Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Colour Balance and apply the following settings:



Change the blending mode of the newly created colour balance adjustment layer to “soft light” and you will have the following effect:


You can see now the image has more colour depth and much more eye-catching than the original one.

Step 2

Now let’a add an ancient castle in. Load the “Castle” image into Photoshop, use the Magic Wand tool to select the sky portion of the image: (Hint: hold down “Shift” Key to add onto the existing selection)


Then press Shift + Ctrl + I to do an inverse selection, then grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool and hold down the Alt key and make a selection of the bottom part of the image.

This will substract the bottom part of the selection off , as shown below:


After the substraction, press Ctrl + Alt + R to bring up the Refine Edge Tool, apply the following settings:


After the edge-refinemetn, copy and paste the selection on to our document, resize and position it as shown below:


Name this layer as “Castle” and change its blending mode to “Hard Light”.

Add a vector mask onto this layer, grab the Gradient Tool (G) and set the foreground colour to “Black” and background colour Transparent, apply the following gradient effect on the mask:


And you will see the untidy bit on the left side of the castle disappeared:


Step 3

Duplicate the “Castle” layer once, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply the following settings:


Keep the Blending mode of the duplicated layer as “Hard Light”, however drop the opacity to 70%, and you will have the following effect:


Now go back to the orginal castle layer and make a duplicate of it once more, drag the duplicated layer above all other layers, go Edit > Tranform > Flip Horizontal and flip this layer horizontally once, set the blending mode of this layer to “overlay” and opacity 65%.

You will have the followinge effect: (This add a bit more depth to the image)


Step 4

Now let’s add some mist/fog around the castle and add a bit of distant feeling to it. Create a new layer named “Mist”, grab the Lasso Tool with 50px feather, draw a selection as shown below:


Go to Filter > Render > Cloud and render some cloud  inside it (White as Foreground Colour, Black and background colour),  set the blending mode of this layer to “Screen” with 70% opacity:


Then duplicate the “Mist” layer once, put the duplicated layer below the orginal Mist layer and change its blending mode to “Color Dodge” , you will see now we also have some shining effect for the castle and this make the image more vibrant:


Step 5

Now load the “Debris Brushset” into Photoshop. Create a new layer and grab a brush of your choice from the set, paint over the newly created layer as shown below:


Change the blending mode of this layer to “Soft Light” and drop the opacity to 40%, you will have the following effect:


Then load the “Space Brushset” into Photoshop, create a new layer with “overlay” blending mode on top of every other layer, simply paint over the layer with any brush you like from the set:


Step 6

Now you may feel the left side of the image looks a bit empty. To fill this, I simply duplicate the background layer once more, flip the duplicated layer horizontally once and change its blending mode to “Darker Color”:


Add the followinge vector mask to the duplicated layer to add some lighting dynamics to the image:


You will have the final effect:


Ok that’s it for this tutorial! You can of course add some of your own texture or filter effect and see what the end results are!

Here is my final image for this tutorial: (I slightly adjusted the colour balance and add a few Pen Tool lins in the background) – Click to enlarge:


Also if you like to have some extra practices of making those Pen Tool lines, you can take a look at my other post here.

Hope you enjoy this tutorial, drop me a comment if you have any question, I will try my best to help you out.

Cheers and have a nice day!

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