Design a Fantasy Style Mountain River Scene in Photoshop

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In this tutorial, I will show you the processes I took to create this Fantasy Style Mountain River Scene in Photoshop. This is an intermediate level tutorial so some step can be tricky, but why not have a try!

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

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OK let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:

Beach

Mountain

Girl

Planet

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1400px * 800px, leave the background layer as white, load the “Beach” image into Photoshop. Copy and paste the entire image onto our document, resize it as shown below:

The reason we do is that we only want the sand portion of the image to show at this stage, and we will manipluate the cloud portion later on in the tutorial.

Name this layer as “beach”, add the following mask to hide the sky/cloud portion on this layer:

and here is the effect after applying this layer mask:

Add the following three adjustment layers on top of this “beach” layer:

Black and white

Set blending mode to “Soft Light” for this black and white adjustment layer.

Curves

Colour Balance

Here is the effect so far:

Step 2

Now we can tackle the sky/cloud portion of the image. We use the same texture as in the previous step, but this time we select a portion of the sky and paste it onto our canvas.

To add variartion to the image, I copy and paste two different portion of the sky onto our canvas: (One to the left, the other one to the right)

Use a soft brush to erase the edge of the sky to blending them together:

Add the following adjustmnet layer to the sky to the left:

I know when I add the mountain texture later on, the right side of the skpe will probably be covered be the mountain, the left side will therefore become a light source, so the adjustment layer is to emphasise this portion.

and here is the effect so far:

Step 3

Load the “Girl” texture into Photoshop, cut out the girl using whatever selection method you prefer (don’t worry about the edge) and paste it onto the canvas as shown below:

Create a new layer on top of the girl layer called “shadow”, set the blending mode to “Soft Light” and opacity to around 60%, use a soft brush with black colour  to paint some shadow under the girl and to the right, as shown below:

Add another layer on top of the shadow layer called “light”,set the blending mode to “soft light” and opacity to 60%, this time use a soft round brush with White Colour and do a single click in the position as shown below:

and here is the overall effect so far:

Step 4

Load the “Mountain” texture into Photoshop, select the mountain portion of the image as shown below: (I used the Quick Selction Tool)

Copy the selection and paste it onto our canvas, name this new layer as “mountain right”, erase the edges with a soft eraser, as shown below:

Add the following two adjustment layers to this mountain right layer, make sure to tick “use previous layer as clipping mask” option:

Curves

Colour Balance

add the following layer mask to the colour balance adjustment layer: (this will hide the rest the layer, and leave only the river portion)

Duplicate the “mountain right” layer once and drag it to the top, flip it horizontally and drag it to the left hand side of the canvas, erase the right and top edges as shown below:

Add the following two adjustment layers to this mountain right layer, make sure to tick “use previous layer as clipping mask” option:

Curves

here is the effect so far:

Step 5

Now we can do some tweaks so each of the objects blend together with each other. Add the following adjustment layers (and their relevant layers masks) on top of all layers:

Vibrance

Colour Balance

Mask:

Curves

Mask

Of course with the colour balance layer, you can try out your own colour combination and see what result that brings you.

Optionally, you can add one more colour balance layer on top and add some warm colours on the bottom. Here are my settings for the second colour adjustment layer:

Mask:

and here is the overall effect so far:

Step 6

Load the planet stock image into Photoshop, cut out the plaent and paste it onto our canvas in the position as shown below:

Apply the following mask to this planet layer:

Change the blending mode to “Soft Light” and reduce the opacity to 50%, you will have the following effect:

Step 7

We can add some misty/fog effect on the image – instead of using textures, we use this fractal brushset to paint some texture around the image, as shown below: (paint on a new layer, with soft light blending mode and a 30-50% opacity)

Hint: try to mix the Warp Tool (Ctrl + T and right-click to choose warp) and the fractal brushset for better effect:

Of course you’re free to experiement and paint those fogs in a different position :)

Step 8

Now we’re pretty much done! However we can add some final adjustments to the image.

We simply flatten the image, duplicate the background layer, and apply the following High Pass filter to the duplicated layer:

Change the blending mode to “Hard light”, you will find your effect become sharpened and clearer:

That’s it! I also tried to add some colour to the image by having one more Colour Balance adjustment layer, with the following settings:

Mask

You can also try out adding more adjustment layers such as Curves or Levels to add more lighting contrast.

and here is the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

That’s it for this tutorial! Hopefully you learn something out of it and find it inspirational!

Cheers and have a great day!

Categories: Photo Effect

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  • http://richworks.in Richie

    Cool tutorial, James. It looks like heaven. There are loads of tricks to learn here. It was really good.

  • Melody

    The lighting is a lil off on the girl, doesn’t mesh with the whole thing..

  • http://jesh.ru jesh!

    I think: exelent tutorial

  • http://www.psdbase.com/ Imon

    Awesome tutorial, thanks alot!

  • James Qu

    @Melody: interesting point :) I did think of taking the light off the girl but in the end decided to leave it on.

    I thought if the girl has some light around her (which comes out from her body) would make the image more fantasy like.

  • http://www.enemyrose.com/ Brad

    The lighting is a lil off on the girl, doesn’t mesh with the whole thing..

  • http://www.judgeroberts.com/ Steven

    […] 2010年03月08日 · コメント(0) · photoshop, チュートリアル photoshopのチュートリアルといえばどんどん新しい物が公開されていますが、そんな中でも今年(2010年)公開されたばかりの比較的新しいチュートリアルをご紹介します。 見逃したエントリなどもこの機会にチェックしてみてはいかがでしょうか?? Design A Fantasy Style Mountain River Scene In Photoshop […]

  • johannes

    fantastic toritorial photoshop :D
    thx a lot

  • Bob

    cool design

  • http://www.rajablog.com/ Ian

    Cool tutorial, James. It looks like heaven. There are loads of tricks to learn here. It was really good.

  • amazing!

    why can’t you make videos instead. It’s not easy to follow in this way for some people like me. =( Do you have youtube account?

  • http://aziz.or.id aziz

    cool!
    thx for tutorial..