Design an Awesome Fantasy Floating Mountain Scene in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the processes I used to create this really cool, fantasy style floating Mountain Scene in Photoshop. This is an intermediate level tutorial and some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try!

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Here is a a preview of the final effect: (click to enlarge)

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OK let’s get started!

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

Grass Hilltop

Sky 1

Sky 2




Ok let’s get started!

Step 1

create a new document sized 1000px * 1500px, leave the background layer colour as white. Load the Grass Hilltopinto Photoshop, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select a portion of the image – when you make the selection, make sure you select a piece where it contain both sky and the grass, as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our docuemnt, name this layer as “Grass land” and resize it to fit the width of our document, with roughly about half of the height:

As you can see we leave a large portion the upper area for the sky, personally I think this will help later on when we add more objects on the sky and make the image look deeper.

Add the following two adjustment layer on top the grass land layer:



Black and White (Set blending mode to “Hard Light”)

and you will have the following effect so far:

Step 2

Load the “River” stock image into Photoshop, use the the Lasso tool with a 20px feather, cut out the river portion of the image, and paste it on to our document to the position as shown below:

Hint: use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl + T) to resize and distort the image if necessary. Use the eraser tool with a soft brush tip to erase the edges so it blends into the image with the grass background.

Name this layer as “river”, add the following Curves adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

Here is the effect so far:

You can see by adding a simple adjustment layer, we make the river portion blend into the grass texture and as a result, it would be easier for us to edit the image later on when needed.

Step 3

Load the Sky 1 image into Photoshop, select the upper portion the image and copy it onto our document, name this new layer as “sky 1”:

Use the Warp Tool (Ctrl + T, then right-click to choose Warp) to drag the right bottom edge lower so it links with the grass texture:

Add the following mask to this Sky 1 layer:

and you will have the following effect:

As you can see, I dug a hole on the sky so that I can add the mountain texture under it.

Load the Sky 2 texture into Photoshop, copy and paste the entire image onto our document and put this layer above the previous Sky 1 layer. Resize and position it as shown below:

Rename this layer as “Sky 2” and right-click the layer on the layer palette, choose “create clipping mask”, also erase the bottom edge on this sky 2 layer so it blends with the Sky 1 layer:

add the following 3 adjustment layers on top of the Sky 2 layer (make sure to tick “use previous layer as clipping mask” option):


Black and White (blend mode set to “Hard Light”, opacity to 40%)

Color Balance

and you will have the following effect:

Step 4

Load the “mountain” texture into Photoshop, select the lower portion of the image, copy and paste onto our document. Name the layer as “mountain” and put this layer under the “Sky 1” layer: (Resize the layer to a smaller size)

As you can see, because we previously added the mask on the Sky 1 layer, this mountain layer will therefore be visible. You can of course reveal a different portion of the mountain by simply moving the mountain layer left or right, that’s totally up to you.

Add the following two adjustment layer to this mountain layer:


Colour Balance

and you will have the following effect:

Step 5

I feel the bottom part of the image looks a bit dark and boring, so I decided to add a thin layer of fog/air flow to it.

To do this, we simply use the “Sky 1” image, select a portion of the image as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, name this new layer as “fog” and put it above all previous layers, desaturate it and apply the following motion blur to it:

Position this layer on top of the grass and river section of the image:

erase the top edge with a soft brush, change the blending mode to “Vivid Light”. Duplicate this layer once and change the blending mode of the duplicated layer to “Screen”, opcacity to 30%, you will have the following effect:

Step 6

Load the “Lady” image into Photoshop, cut out the girl image from the background with whatever method you prefer (I used the Quick Selection Tool here, with a 3px brush tip), paste it onto our document.

Name this layer as “Girl” and put it above all previous layer, resize and position it as shown below:

Create a new layer under the girl layer, use a very small soft brush (3px), paint some shadow under the girl and slighly to the left:

Add the following two adjustment layer on top of the girl layer:

Color Balance


By doing so we adjust the lighting of the girl to be similar to her surrounding:

Also we can create a new layer on top of all other layers, grab an abstract/fractal brushset from or, paint around the mountain to create some misty effect: (adjust the layer opacity to around 30%)

and you will have this overall effect so far:

Step 7

OK we’re almost there! There is one more trick I would like to show you here. You might remeber on the preview I have a abstract line bursting from the top of the mountain. Here I will show you how I did this effect.

We flatten the image, duplicate the background layer once, find the Twirl Filter under the Filter menu and apply the following settings:

Hit Ctrl + F 2 or 3 more times, you will have the following effect:

Use a big soft brush to erase the bottom portion of the duplicated twirl layer and leave only the top bits, as shown below: (Drop the layer opacity to 70%)

That’s pretty much it for this tutorial! I further adjusted the color balance a bit and sharpen the image, and here is my final effect:

Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful! Thanks and have a great day!


  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

  • Show Comments

  • wow nice tutorial! thank you :))

  • Inderjit

    Very nice work

  • Pix

    Very good tut

  • Photoshop Tutorials Blog

    Wow, great results! I linked this page from my blog too! Great post!

  • thanks for this, Its a really nice tutorial with a great end result
    Great work!

  • Mino BuG’

    impression tutorial, thanks

  • I always love the colors and contrast you used in your works. Nice job pal ;)

  • tony

    What a fantastic tutorial!! Loving this one much. =)

  • N1m

    Woah! Great tutorial M8! Also u inspired me :)

  • Vanna

    Great tutorial!!! :) Easy to follow with great ending results!

  • 来过,踩下,博主思想不错,哈哈!~

  • James Qu

    thanks guys! appreciate your comments and support!

  • Very cool result and detailed tutorial, thanks for sharing.

  • linosch


  • Sanath

    what version of photoshop did you use?.

  • This really looks beautiful ! Great final result !

  • This is a really great tutorial, keep them comming! :)

  • ngoc

    for some reason i don’t know how to use the mask

  • Taimur

    added to my site
    thanks james

  • mohsen

    بسیار عالی بود

  • Awesome!! please keep them coming.its really helpful :)

  • SUJI


  • Great tutorial!

  • Tasha

    I’m having problems understanding the make sure to tick “use previous layer as clipping mask” option part, Any help on it? i can’t seem to understand it >.<

  • rocky


  • Lim

    “Amazing ? Wow ?” Are you kidding ?

    Stocks don’t fit, blending is botched and dirty and what about saturation, tonality, lighting, shading ? In the end, the whole scene is not convincing, stocks don’t fit, there is no harmony, no scene.

  • 邱靓

    真的很不错 顶

  • B

    I have problem with the last step-twirl filter
    When I duplicate the background layer(which is white-first step in this tutorial) nothing happens, have no effect on my picture. What am I doing wrong? Plaese help


    very impressive

  • mark

    wow this tutorial is very impressive… this my first time here in this site… i hope i learn a lot here to enhance my skills in photo editing… tnx for your tutorials… +10…

  • sajana

    how to do mask in step 1

  • This is an amazing tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

  • Diego

    A bit hard to follow, and its a tutorial so no parts should be skipped, everything should be showed. Overall i give it a 3.5

  • Mina

    it’s ……it’s its…..
    i’m spechless

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