How to Drastically Change the Mood and Colour Tone of Your Image in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the method I use to drastically change the Mood and Colour Tones for your photo via Adobe Photoshop . Along the way, I will also demonstrate an interesting method of adding misty effect to your image.

This mood/colour tones changing method can be particularly useful for images that are reletively dark and lack of colour depth. We will be using a lof image adjustment tool, masking techniques and layer blending options. Have a go!

Here is a previous of the before and after effect:





And alternative version with reduced colour saturation:


Ok let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will the following stock:


Cloud Brush

Step 1

Load the “Mountain” image into Photoshop, duplicate the background layer once.

Now we can see there are some hard rock/stone on the left bottom corner. Because the overall effect we would like to achieve for the final image is a soft, misty mountain scene,  we should first tackle this particular area of the photo.

So on the duplicated layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, apply the following settings:


Stay on the duplicated layer, add a layer mask onto it and on the mask, grab the Eraser Tool with a soft round brush setting, gently eraser the following area:


Drop the layer opacity of this duplicated layer to 55%, you can see the left bottom cornor because softer:


Step 2

Duplicate the background layer three times and drag all three duplicated layers above the previous blurred layer.

From bottom to top, change the blending mode of the first duplicated layer to “Color Dodge” and you will have the following effect:


Change the blending mode the second duplicate layer to “Multiply” and you will have the following effect:


On the third duplicated layer, change the blending mode to “Screen” and apply the following Gaussian Blur settings:


Again we add a layer mask to it, and use the Eraser Tool with a soft round brushset to erase the following area:


Drop the layer opacity to 75% and you will have the following effect so far:


You can see now the overall image is much softer than the original and this is exactly what we want.

Step 3

Now we’re onto the interesting part of this tutorial – adding the Mist! The method I use here is simply the Gradient Fill tool :)

So we go to Layer > New Fill layer > Gradient Fill and add a new gradient fill layer with the following settings on top of all other layers:


Duplicate this Gradient Fill layer Three Times.

On the first duplicated layer, apply the following layer mask:


Change the blending mode of this layer to “Screen” and drop its opacity to 35%, you will have the following effect:


On the second duplicated layer, apply the following layer mask:


Change its blending mode to “Color Dodge” and opacity to 60%, you will have the following effect:


On the third duplicated layer, apply the following layer mask: (Use the Cloud Brush we downloaded for some fine-tuning and create uneven effect)


Change the layer blending mode to “Screen” and drop the opacity to around 70%, you will have the following effect:


You will see now we have created some very realstic misty effect for our image.

Step 4

To add more depths to the image, we can add a new Curve Adjusment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and apply the following settings:


Here is the effect after applying the Curves adjustment:


Optional: I feel the bottom part of the image is a bit dark, so I apply the following mask to this Curves adjustment layer:


And here is the effect so far:


Step 5

You may now think: umm, the top left part of the sky looks a bit empty! No problem, we can easily fix this by using the Cloud Brushes we download and add some cloud over there.

Use the Eyedropper Tool (I) and left-click the following spot:


And grab any of those cloud brushsets you like and drop its opacity to 50% and flow to 50%, create a new layer and simply paint over the empty portion of the sky:


We can further adjust the colour balance of the image a bit. So go ahead and add a new Color Balance adjustment layer (Layer > Adjustment layer > Color balance) and apply the following settings:







And here is 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 contrast and add some more cloudy effect ) – Click to enlarge:


And alternative version with reduced colour saturation:


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!


  • 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

  • Jesus

    Thats very cool, thanks for sharing. I’ll try it tomorrow

  • up1x

    I Love this tut

  • Question:
    How can you make it foggy?

  • WC

    Forgive me, I totally lost you after you said apply the following layer mask. My image doesn’t look like yours at all and I also have no idea what the radial gradient fill is. I’d be very appreciative if you could clarify that for stupid me, this is a really cool effect and I really wish to be able to do it.

  • psaddict

    Nice Job!

    Published at

  • admin

    @WC: there is no stupid question :) with gradient fill, if you go to Layer > New fill layer > Gradient Fill and you will find that option there. If you’re a beginner in terms of layer mask, you may want to google some tutorial that specifically show you how to do so.

  • Jim

    Nothing happens when i use the Eraser Tool at a layer mask at is shows at Step 1. Help me please

  • Michael

    ya i have the same problem as “Jim” (the one above me) it doesen’t look the same at all

  • Eugenio

    Awesome, I got the effect just like I wanted. Thanks, this’ll come in handy when dealing with other pictures with low contrast and bland colors.

  • Eunice

    nothing happened with the eraser tool. I tried to do it but nothing happened. Help me please!

  • Eunice

    I’ve got one more thing. After the gradient layer, I couldn’t follow. It was at the adding of a layer mask. I’m totally lost! XP

  • soraya talismail

    I love what Annie Leibowitz did with her picture for the Disney Campaign. Can you share some tips with us? I really like the Peter Pan (Barisnikov) and Cinderella. It looked like airbrushed.

  • Awesome! Very surreal.

  • henry schilitzar

    Thanks for the excellent photoshop tutorial your 3d effects graphics and colors just make it jump right out of the page 10/10 hand down.

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