Render a Far Cry 2 Inspired Golden Sunset Scene in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the processes I used to transform an avarage day photo into a really nice golden sunset scene in Photoshop. This tutorial is inspired by this magnificant work from the Ubisoft game Fry Cry 2.

Together we will explore techniques such as layer blending, image adjustments, non-destructive photo editing, use of pen tool and various image filters. It’s an easy tutorial, have a go!

Meanwhile, if you would like to find some more info about non-destructive photo editing, I have another post here:

Bring Colour and Light out of Ordinary Image

Or if you would like to find out some basic info about Pen Tool, I have another post here.

Here is a before and after preview of this tutorial:



An alternative Version

OK let’s get started!

Step 1

Download a copy of this image and load it into Photoshop. Duplicate the background layer Three Times as shown below:

Change the layer blending option for “Background copy”, “Background copy 2”, “Background copy 3” accordingly:

“Background copy” – Overlay

“Background copy” – Hard Light

“Background copy” – Color

And you will have the following image:

Step 2

Duplicate the Background once more and drag the duplicated layer on top of all other previous layers, apply the following Surfuce Blur settings to it:

Change the layer blending of this layer to “Screen” – this will add a glowing effect to the image.

Step 3

Now we will seperate the sky bit from rest of the image so that we could edit it without affecting other part of the image.

To do this, hide all previously duplicate layers and go back to the background layer, use the Pen Tool to create a path around the sky portion of the image:

Then right-click and choose Make Selection, choose 0 px feather and this will transform the path into a selection:

Then hit Ctrl + J to make a layer via copy, name it as “Sky” and Drag it above all other layers. (Optional: you can use the Clone Stamp Tool to refine the edges of the sky so it fits better with the landscape.)

Apply the following Channel Mixer image adjustment to the “Sky” layer:

And the effect so far will look like this:

Step 4

Now duplicate the “Sky” layer once, apply the following Gaussian Blur settings to the duplicate layer:

Change the layer blending option to “Overlay” and this will add some extra softness to the cloud:

Duplicate the “Sky” layer once more and drag this dupcliate layer on top of all other layers, load the selection of this layer by holding down Ctrl key + Left-click the thumbnail of this layer within the layer palette, fill it with colour shown below:

Change the layer blending mode to “color” and you will have the following effect:

Step 5

Now we add some colour for the grass and the landscape as well. To do this, create a Gradient Map on top of all layers:

and apply the following settings:

Change the layer blending mode of this adjustment layer to “Soft Light” and opacity to 80%. And you will have the following effect:

Step 6

If you would like to add some more lighting and reduce the amount of the brightness of the sky a bit, you can go back to the origianl “Sky” layer, use the Eraser Tool with a big round brush and 0% hardness, erase to the parts you want:

Here is the effect so far:

Ok that’s it for this tutorial! The rest is again left upon your own creativity :)

Below is my final image for this tutorial: (Click to Enlarge)

An alternative version:

If you have any questions, just drop me a comment :)

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

  • Smoq

    awesome effect, and nice tut.
    but i would welcome it if you would explain “the rest is upon your creativity” ;)
    cause your second photo looks best!

  • Loove IIIt

  • James, Thanks for the tutorial, Very nice overlay and layering effects the end product comes out very clean.

  • Ashley_A

    Wow! gotta love photoshop!

  • EndGrafix

    Thanks for Tutorial
    But I Need FraCry Text Effect..
    Help Me Please…

  • Dirnov

    Hi there,
    Great job. But not enought info. Where can i read more?

    Have a nice day

  • Very good tutorial

  • This was a nice tutorial. I’ve seen some of your better works though. Still a fun and informative tut nonetheless. Thanks for sharing this! Keep up the good work!

  • Rich Tinker

    nice colloorsss ooeh shiney

  • sam

    your work is amazing ,i wanted to follow your steps but as a beginer in photoshop you have one thing is missing for people like me ,your steps is not clear you dont name the layer i cdont know what layer you talking about and you dont show the steps of applying the effect ,you just say do this and that i love your work but please help us navigate around the tools step by step would be great .

  • admin

    @sam: thanks for your comment :) Although I’m not new to Photoshop however I’m very new to tutorial writing. I’m constantly trying to improve the quality of my tutorial each time and hopefully that would be sufficient.

  • sam

    sorry for the misunderstaning i meant me iam the beginer,
    your website is the only website i added to my fav , the farcry tutorial is the one where i dont know how to apply cartain effects and i did not know nor understood how to do the effects thats all but for future tutorials cuse i love to do photo effects if you can show the steps . i do after effects and i learned it from my friend andrew kramer
    thats me working with him on a new product anyway you are my next teacher now:)

  • admin

    @sam: some of the tutorials I have here are for intermediate – advance users and it will be difficult for a beginner to get a grip. I would suggest you read the basics of Photoshop (Tools, layer effect) via some beginner site, or try out some other easier tuts here on (I have a tag called “beginner” attached to those tutorials)

  • Great image manipulation great for some other images i’m gonna use

  • Ana

    Great Tutorial!
    Your site is an inspiration for me being a beginner in photoshop. Just want to know how did you change the grass color to gray at the bottom and also the sky.

  • jay @ work at home

    WOW! These renders of Far Cry is really amazing. I can tell you took your time on these.

  • Proeex


    thanks a lot!

  • taryarL

    i love this one too
    great effect
    how’s about ur alternative version?
    how did u do that?

  • tibet

    great job!
    a very inspiring tutorial, i like it!
    would you like to try another one , similar to far cry design?
    i´d like to make it by myself, but i have to learn alot.
    is there any way how to create like f.c. characters with your eg.friend´s pic?
    best of luck

  • Thanks James, Simple yet effective tutorial

  • ZonariAn

    Here is my outcome from this tutorial…I actually made this back when I was still huge into Farcry 2 and played it frequently, about a year ago. I just sifted through tons of abandoned photoshop projects and this was in there:

  • Bas

    Hey man,
    amazing tutorial. Still don’t get it, how did you create the last “alternative” version? Seems so you added a gradient map to it, with a lower opacity am I right?

    The link to the far 2 cry pic is also a nice example to create. That kind of matte painting that belongs to experienced level :-)

  • Murali


  • Daniel Boakye

    This tutorial is very clinical and nice

  • Majid

    It was nice, Thank you

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