Awesome Fantasy Style Castle Scene Creation in Photoshop

The testking offers online training for designers/developers to help them become artful at web design. Learn how to create effective web designs using 642-661 tutorials and 646-230 study guide.

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)


PSD File Download

You can download the PSD File for this tutorial via the VIP Members Area for only $6.95/Month (or less)! You will not only get this PSD File, but also 70+ other PSD Files + Extra Goodies + Exclusive Photoshop tutorial there. Signup now and get exclusive :) Find out more about the VIP Members Areas

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!

Categories: Photo Effect

Tags: ,,,,,,,

  • CjFOR

    WoW … James , this awesome …
    well ^_^

  • Buntyamara

    Well Done Thanks Man

  • Qbrushes

    Really nice outcome! keep up the good work.

  • admin

    Thank you all so much for the support!!

  • joyoge designers’ bookmark

    great fantasy tutorial thanks..

  • psaddict
  • Selcuq

    Wow…..Good work.

  • Wojtek

    Beautiful XD Excellent tutorial. Thanks :D



    I really like your ps Style, keep it up

  • lola

    -First of all the lasso tool with 50% feather doesn’t work properly. *The render clouds go all over the picture, not only over the selected area.
    *If I duplicate second layer and blend it to colour dodge the selected area doesnt change and the side that wasnt selected gets all the blending.

    -Second of all you don’t say how to change the size of castle on other layer (when I change the size of a castle all of the layers become smaller i.e not only the castle) so….

    further then the “mist” clouds I didn’t even go… sadly. If you could answer to my problems how to solve them I would be really thankfull. But still I learned a at least something. So thankyou.

  • Simsage

    WOW!!!! Now this is what I am talking about!!!!!
    Awesome!!! thanks for sharing you’re da BOSS!!!!

  • Simsage

    I only have Elements 6 so I do not think I can do this but I sure am going to try!!!!!!

  • Brochures

    I love the final image, it looks amazing! You really know your stuff. Thanks for this with us! I can’t wait to try this!

  • btorbo

    Very nice indeed, but the (semi-) fresh grass in front of the castle walls look a little out of place, like there should be some ice and snow there as well. If not, maybe it would make the sense of “fantasy” somewhat stronger if you went the other way and bumped up the fresh green grass to a full-blown summer look instead. Just a suggestion, though. Good work!

  • admin

    @btorbo: thank you so much for your input! very good points indeed, I will certainly have a go and see what the result turns out.
    yeah my orginal thought was to create a scene which is surreal by having two distinct object (summer/spring green and winter white) together to create a visual impact :)

  • admin

    @lola: with Lasso Tool, try to draw a bigger selection and see if that will help. and you have to render the cloud within the selection, not without.
    To change the size of the castle, you must only select the castle layer, then use Ctrl + T to resize it.

    Hope this helps!

  • dragyn

    so gorgeous, I cannot wait to try it out

  • matt

    me again, glad to see that if your at least not going to mix up your tutorials, your at least going to do a quality job on them ;)

    you have a very strong outcome in this one, but I think that you could make your colors a little more consistant (i.e the green grass is really out of place and the blues are a little offcolor in contrast to the whole image).

    Lastly I think that the image you used is perfect for this, and the rocks in the foreground provide a PERFECT oppurtunity to put somebody sitting and gazing out at the castle, or some other object that can take hold of somebodies eye on the foregroun. With the castle background, the vibrant sky, and an object in the forground, you would create a triangle of focus points that would draw the eyes into the image and would ultimately make for a much stronger result :)

    -Overall very well done =D

  • admin

    @Matt: glad you like this tutorial! and thank you for your constructive comment!

  • admin

    To everyone: thank you very much for the support! I really appreciate them

  • moih60

    thanx for that tutorial ..the final result look great really
    added to my blog ..


    Really awesome fantasy style! Helped me alot thanks!

  • Heights

    Nice tut! Thanks! BTW, I see you love the grunge style. Almost all your tutorials have that dark, grungy feeling to it.

  • admin

    @Heigths: yes I do love grungy style :) and just did a new tut of similar style. Perhaps I should try something brighter next time!

  • starshaiNe

    What version of photoshop do you use cause when i press CTRL ALT R it dosent show up anything. I got Adobe Photoshop CS2

  • photo retouching

    What a great piece of photo retouching , I really enjoy browsing this website for inspiration!

  • huwaw69

    This looked like a prison hahaha but very good image man! great effect, and image combinations!

  • rendra

    really nice tutor..

  • veryrandom

    Hey i love these tutorials and i reeeeeally want to do this one as the final result looks amazing, unfortunelty i got stuck after step 2 – step 4, partiularly the vector masks and gradient tool, would you be able to baby step me through these steps as id love to finish this cuz it looks so good and cuz i just really hate leaving thng unfinished.

    Its a great tutorials though! And certainly got me experimenting with PS!

  • Casper

    Help me! Stap 2 and than the gradient i don’t know how you do that?

  • taryarL

    this is a very great tutorial
    thank a lot man..
    u made my day :D

  • ArkyMark

    Seems that the “Icy Background” file has been removed from it’s host…
    … any idea where to get a replacement?

  • PSDDude

    Very nice result! I love fairy tales!

  • Flo

    I can’t get the vector mask and the gradient tool to work. I don’t know how to get a gradient like that! Help!

  • Vanessa

    And another amazing tutorial!!! You really got me into the color balance thing. It is very handy and so easy to use. This tutorial is explained very well. It was easy to follow and the results are stunning! Thanks a ton!

  • Pradeep Singh

    I really thankfull for this tutorial but there is many obstacles occured during making of this tutorial.

  • Photo Retouching and Digital Photo Retouching

    I am new to photoshop and am considering getting the program. At the same time capture one is also attracting my attention, so I am a little unsure as which application to choose. One thing that is leaning me in favour of lightroom is the really handy and informative forums and help articles that are regularly published.

  • chai

    wow that great tutorial, i want make something like this, thanks very much for the tutorial

  • Kojeje

    Woww wowww…
    Awesome done…!
    Really inspiring to do so :)

  • How to Start Online Business

    I likes Your New style boy

  • Leeanna Gaito

    wow this is really good site . i love to comment here . Thank you dude

  • Lubos

    I dont know, how to use the Gradient tool in Step 2

  • cabal18

    totly enjoy that got confuse but got back on track

    wll done good job .