Breathtaking landscape

Create a breathtaking landscape by combining 2 photos and applying multiple photo effects. After passing this lesson, you will master the technique of masking and some effects.

The result of the lesson

Photos used for this lesson
For this tutorial, we used images from You can use your similar photos. It is recommended to use medium or large images.

Step 1 – Opening a landscape photo
Let’s start by opening the photos of the landscape in Photoshop

Step 2 – Place a photo of the seagulls
Put the picture with the seagulls in the photo. To do this, select File> Place (File> Place), select a file and click OK (Post). So we put the image in the current document with the tool activated. Transform as shown below. If necessary, you can resize the image, but better to do it later. Click Enter(Enter) on the keyboard to exit

Step 3 – Isolating Gulls
Use the tool Magic wand (Magic wand) or Quick selection (Quick selection) to highlight seagulls. Try to make the selection as accurate as possible. Gulls that are farther away are more blurred, so make sure that the selection includes blurry edges.

If you are using Photoshop CS3 or higher, you can use Refine edge Tool (Refine Edge) for detailing the edges of the selection. However, in this case we will not use this tool, as the gulls have different saturation of the edges of the images. Instead, we will have to clean the edges manually using a variety of tools, which you will learn about after the next step.

Step 4 – Convert the selection to the layer mask
Select the top layer with gulls, then on Layers Palette press the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask). Now you should have a layer mask like in the image below. Make sure the layer mask is selected before proceeding with the next steps. AT Layers Palette the thumbnail of the layer mask should have a white border as in the image below, this indicates that the layer mask is selected. If not, click on the thumbnail of the layer mask to activate it.

We have a mask, but it is not ready yet. There are three problems with the mask:
1) In gulls that far away, white outline.
2) There are rough edges in the foreground on the wings and head of the gull.
3) The edge of the front gull is too sharp and does not match the clarity of the landscape below.

Step 5 – Editing the Edge
We begin by correcting the sharpness of the edge of the gull in the foreground. At the moment, the edges look too sharp, so we will give them a slight blurriness using Gaussian Blur (Gaussian Blur).

Select Filter> Blur> GaussianBlur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), then adjust the radius settings so that the edge of the gull in the foreground is in harmony with the background. Do not worry about other gulls, because their edges are already blurred.

Below is what the edges should look like after using a Gaussian blur.

Step 6 – Fixing Rough Edges
If there are ugly edges on the image that need to be corrected, you can use Brush Tool (Brush) and Eraser Tool (eraser). First make the following settings for Brush Tool (brush), and then for Eraser Tool (eraser) if you plan on using it.

Mode(Mode): Normal (Normal)
Opacity(Opacity): 100%
Pressure (Flow): 100%
Airbrush function (Airbrush Capabilities): Off (Disabled)

Then open Brush Settings (Brush Settings) by clicking the right mouse button anywhere in the document window.
Master Diameter(Main diameter): If you change this value by more than 10 pixels, you will have to change settings. Stiffness (Hardness Setting).
Hardness: This setting shows how hard the edges will be.

Adjust this setting so that the rigidity of the edge of your brush matches the rigidity of the edge of the gull. If the stiffness is too high, then the edges of your retouching will be too sharp. If the brush is not hard enough, then the edges will be smeared.

We edit only the front gull, which is now in focus. Zoom in by approximately 500%, then use Brush Tool (brush) to fill the voids in the seagull’s head. If there are outstanding towards the edge, then you can use Eraser Tool(Eraser) with the same settings as the brush.

Step 7 – Mixing Blurry Edges
Now let’s work on cleaning the edges of gulls that are out of focus and are distant in the image. Now you will learn how to elementarily mask the edges of objects that are out of focus.

Let’s start by choosing Eraser tool (Eraser) from the toolbar. In the settings set the following values:
Mode(Mode): Normal (Normal)
Opacity(Opacity): 100%
Pressure (Flow): 100%
Airbrush function (Airbrush Capabilities): Off (Disabled)

Enlarge the image by approximately 300% of the edge of the gull in the background. Right-click anywhere in the document window to open. Brush settings (Brush Settings).
Master Diameter: Adjust the radius to match the thickness of the edge of the gull.
Hardness: 0%.

Selecting the desired brush size, we begin to wash the edges of the gull.

Repeat this step with the rest of the seagulls. Since at the moment the brush hardness is set to 0%, it is convenient to change the size of the brush by pressing the “[” or “]” on keyboard. Pressing [ to reduce brush size or ] for increase. This is what my image looks like after this.

Step 8 – Decorating Gulls
We finally made a mask and can go further, right after we eliminate the defects of the seagulls. At the moment, seagulls do not match the landscape, as they look gray.

Photoshop CS3 or latest: Add a brightness and contrast layer Layer>New adjustment layer > Brightness / Contrast(Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Brightness / Contrast). If you use Photoshop CS3, Click OK to exit the brightness / contrast settings.

If you use Photoshop CS4, Brightness / Contrast Settings (Brightness / Contrast setting) are in the adjustment panel Window>Adjustment (Window> Adjustments).

Photoshop CS2 or older: Add layer adjusting levels Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Levels (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Levels). HPress OK to exit Level Settings. (Levels Settings).
Put the adjustment layer on top.

After selecting the adjustment layer, click Layer> Create Clipping Mask(Layer> Create Clipping Mask). Your layer now uses the layer mask from the layer below and should look like the image below:

Depending on whether you added brightness / contrast (Brightness / Contrast) or Level adjustment layer, you will see the icon or in the layers palette. Double click on the icon for settings.

Photoshop CS3 or latest: Increase the brightness so that the seagulls turn white.

Photoshop CS2 or older: Move the white slider to the left to give the seagulls greater brightness.

Step 9 – Creating a Simple Solar Flare
Now we will create a solar flare using Gradient fill layer (Gradient Fill layer). Before you add Gradient fill layer (Gradient Fill layer), make sure that you have selected the top layer so that when adding a gradient layer, it will be in the top position. Select Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient (Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient).
In the settings of the gradient fill, bring the settings to the following view:

Apply the following settings:
Style (Style): Diamond (Diamond)
Angle (Angle): 45o
Scale (Scale): 130%

Click and drag a gradient in the document window and place it where the sun should be.

Step 10 – Adding a Warm Photo Effect
In this step, we will add warm colors to the image and increase the contrast. As in the previous step, make sure that you have selected the top layer, as when adding a new layer, it should become the top one. Select Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Photo Filter (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Photo Filter). Use the following settings:

Change Blend Mode (Blending Modea) adjustment layer on Soft light (Soft Light).

Here’s what the image looks like after adding a photo filter adjustment layer.

Step 11 – Adding a Glowing Effect
Perhaps someone will want to make the image even more spectacular. This step will show you how to add a simple soft glowing effect without losing detail in the shade. Here you will learn how to use the blending function, which will be useful if you do photo retouching.

Change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light). Immediately you will see that the contrast has increased so much that the effect is too sharp.

To soften the effect and give it a flash effect, we will give the object a blur using a filter Gaussian Blur.

Now the final picture looks soft and dreamy, but due to the high-contrast effect on the photo, some details in the shadow look black spots. To fix this, we will modify the layer overlay so that the layer does not affect those dark areas. Right-click on the current layer and select Blending Options.

Bottom window Blending Options You’ll find Impose if: (Blend if options). Hold key Alt and drag the right half of the black inner slider to the right until the shadows in the image are restored.

If your slider does not move, as indicated in the animation above, make sure that you click exactly on the right half and press Alt pressed.

Final result

Up to 11 steps

After applying step 11

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