Create a beautiful sunset in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a beautiful sunset in Photoshop. You will learn how to combine different images into a single composition, adjust colors and add lighting effects.

Note: version used to create this lesson
Photoshop CS5 +

Final image:

Lesson resources:

Step 1

Create a new document with a size of 1791 × 1188 pixels and fill it with white. Open the image of nature and instrument Move (Move Tool) (V) drag it into the document.

Step 2

In this step, we will remove some of the details of the landscape in the foreground and lower areas. Tool Lasso (Lasso Tool) select one of the areas indicated in the screenshot:

Apply the command Fill based on content (Edit – Fill – Fill based on content) (Edit> Fill> Content-Aware).

Step 3

Select the remaining areas and apply the same command to them.
Note: try to draw small selections, otherwise you can get unwanted details on large selected areas).

Step 4

Change the contrast and layer colors with nature using a layer style. Gradient Overlay (Gradient Overlay). Double click on the layer in the Layers palette and select this style:

Step 5

Add a correction layer to the nature layer. Color balance (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance) (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance).

Choose a tool Brush Tool (B). On the mask of the adjustment layer Color balance with a soft brush of black color with low opacity (about 10-15%), erase the lower part and a small area on the left side of the image of nature.

This is how the mask looks after applying the brush:

Step 6

Open the sky image and tool Rectangular Selection (Retangular Marquee Tool) select the part and transfer it to our document. Place this part of the sky at the top of the document. Now flip the layer with the sky part horizontally (Edit – Transform – Flip Horizontally) (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal).

Step 7

Add a layer mask to the layer with part of the sky. Wipe the edges of the sky with a soft black brush to blend them into the overall picture:

Step 8

Brighten the sky by adding a correction layer to the layer with it. Curves with clipping mask. (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves) (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves).

Step 9

Separate the waterfall image from the background and place it on the mountain:

Change the blending mode of the waterfall layer to Lighten (Screen).

Step 10

Darken the waterfall by adding a correction layer to the layer with it. Curves with clipping mask. (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves) (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves).

On the Curves adjustment mask mask, use a soft black brush to erase the left side of the waterfall so that the brightness matches the overall scene.

Step 11

Separate the image with the first branch from the background and place it in our document, placing it in the lower left part of it:

Step 12

Add a glow to the branch layer using the layer style Inner Shadow).

Step 13

To a layer with a branch, add a Gaussian Blur filter (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) (Filter> Blur> Gassian Blur). This will add depth to the image.

Step 14

Apply an adjustment layer to the layer with a branch. Color balance with clipping mask. (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance) (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance), to change its color.

Step 15

Also add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation.

Step 16

Dim the branch by adding an adjustment layer. Curves (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves) (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves).

Step 17

Separate the second branch from the background and place it in the lower right corner of the image:

Step 18

Add a hue / saturation adjustment layer to the second branch layerHue / Saturation), to reduce its color saturation.

Step 19

Dim the branch by adding an adjustment layer. Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves) (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves).

On the mask of this adjustment layer with a black brush reduce the blackening of some leaves.

Step 20

Add a layer style to the second branch layer Inner Shadow with a yellow tint:

Result:

Step 21

Add a filter Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a blur radius of 4 pixels.

Step 22

Add a third branch to the upper right corner of the image.

Step 23

Apply a correction layer to the third branch layer. Color balance (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance) (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance).

Step 24

Add layer style to third branch Inner Shadow):

Step 25

Apply filter Gaussian blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) to the third branch. Blur radius set 4 pixels.

Step 26

Open the image of the tower, select it and place it in the center of our image:

Edit the tower a bit with the tool. Puppet Warp (Edit> Puppet Warp) (Editing – Puppet Warp).

To the layer with the tower, add a mask and a black brush to mix the lower part of the tower with the ground:

Step 27

Add a smoke effect to the tower by adding a casting layer. Colour (Layer> New Fill Layer> Solid Color) (Layer – New filling layer – Color).

Reduce the opacity of this layer to 60%.

Step 28

Add adjustment layer Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves) (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves) to enhance the contrast of the tower:

On the mask of the adjustment layer Curves brush black erase the left side of the tower.

Step 29

Change the color of the tower by adding an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation.

Step 30

Create a new layer. (Shift + Ctrl + N) in overlay mode Overlay with an opacity of 100% and with a gray fill of 50%. Also, check the box to use the previous layer to create a clipping mask.

Tools Clarifier (Dodge tool) and Dimmer (Burn tool) in the Mid Tone range (Midtones Range), with Exposure (Exposure) about 10-15%, draw light and shadow on the tower.

Step 31

Add adjustment layer Channel Mixing (Channel mixer) above all layers.

Using a black brush on the mask of this adjustment layer, erase some parts, as shown in the screenshot:

Step 32

Above all layers add an adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map).

Reduce the opacity of this adjustment layer to 20%.

Step 33

Add adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo Filter) to add a bit of green to the image:

On the mask of this adjustment layer, erase the area shown in the screenshot:

Step 34

Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) with the same parameters as in step 30, just turn off the checkbox for adding a clipping mask. Tool Clarifier (Dodge tool) Draw a light line on the grass around the mountains.

Step 35

Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) above all layers and a brush with color # 3d1004 paint over the top of the image. Change the blending mode of this layer to Linear Dodge, 100% opacity and add a layer mask on which to erase this color from the top of the leaves and the ground:

Step 36

Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) and a brush with color # ef8f3a draw a spot in the left right corner of the image – this will be the sun). Change the blending mode of this layer to Linear Dodge (Linear dodge).

Step 37

Add adjustment layer Vibration (Vibrance) to enhance color and brightness.

Step 38

Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) under the turret layer. Hold down Ctrl, Click on the thumbnail of the turret layer to load the selection.

Fill this selection with black (Edit> Fill) (Shift + F5). Flip the shadow vertically (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical) (Editing – Transform – Flip Vertically) and place it under the lower part of the tower.

Reduce the opacity of the shadow layer to 30% and apply a filter to it. Gaussian blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 4 pixels.

Add a mask to this layer and erase the upper and lower parts of the shadow.

Final image:

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