Create a mysterious forest in Photoshop

?In this lesson, we will create a mysterious scene with a house in an enchanted forest in Photoshop. You will learn about the many tools that will help create this photo manipulation. You will also see how to create visual effects to convey the atmosphere of Halloween. So be prepared to add an atmosphere of horror and fear to an unusual house in the forest!

Final result

1. Preparing the House

Before you simply add the image of the house to the image of the forest, we need to make a small reconstruction. Of course, the house must look neglected and neglected. In addition, it must also fit into the environment we create.

Step 1

Open the stock image ‘Abandoned House” in Photoshop. Create a selection around the image of the house, while not highlighting the structure in the farthest left and right.

Step 2

Copy the selected image to a new layer, for this we go Layer – New – Copy to New Layer (Layer> New> Layer Via Copy (Ctrl + J)), then delete the original layer with the background. Thanks to the smart object, we did not lose the extra pixels. The result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 3

Create an active selection around the image of the front door, and then copy the selected image to a new layer. Next, go Editing – Transform – Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally), we will change the position of the door to close the first window on the left side of the house.

Step 4

The brilliance of the rest of the windows does not fit our dark forest scene. Temporarily hide the visibility of the layer with the door, and then select the upper part of the first window (the window that does not have any bright luster on the glass). Copy the selected part to the new layer by placing a duplicate of the upper part of the window on top of the upper part of the second window. Use Transformation Editing – Transformation – Distortion (Edit> Transform> Distort) so that the upper part goes to the window after moving. Double duplicate the layer with the top of the window to place duplicates on top of the other windows.

Step 5

We have completed basic training at home. Now we can add the image of the house to the enchanted forest. Turn on the visibility of the door layer, save the document on your computer in psd format. Name this document ‘House’ and then close the document.

2. Add a House to the Forest image.

The forest is a great piece of nature! The forest goes well with an unusual small house. Except, of course, dark and foggy night! That’s when he truly strikes the horror.

Step 1

Open stock image with a mysterious forest. Next, add the house image as a smart object, for this we go File – Post – Post Inline (File> Place> Place Embedded) and in the window that appears select the document Home.psd. Apply scaling to the house, and also position the house so that the forest path leads directly to the front door.

Step 2

Duplicate the forest image, go Layer – create duplicate layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer). Place a duplicate of the layer with the forest on top of the layer with the house so as to completely hide the image of the house. This duplicate layer will serve as the foreground with the forest.

Step 3

To create translucent areas with fog, you need to select light areas. To do this, go to the bookmark. Channels (Channels). Holding the key Ctrl + click on the channel Rgb, to load the highlights, as an active selection. Next, return to the bookmark. Layers (Layers) and hold (Alt) + Click on the “Add layer mask” icon. This action converts the active selection into a layer mask, and also inverts the selection!

Step 4

The trees in the foreground should be completely opaque, and at the moment, they are translucent. Make sure the layer mask is active, then go Image – Correction – Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels (Ctrl + L)). Pull the right slider to the center to increase the contrast until the house is partially covered with tree trunks.

Step 5

Some trunks of trees that must stand behind the house are vaguely visible before him. To fix this, you need a correction on the layer mask using a soft brush. When correcting, use a soft brush, the color of the brush is black, opacity (Opacity) brush 10%. With a few brush strokes, gently hide the tree trunks in front of the house so that they appear as if they are standing behind the house.

Translator’s Note: hide the trunks of the trees in front of the house to create the feeling that trees are growing behind the house.

Step 6

To enhance the effect, duplicate the duplicate layer with the forest. Change the blending mode for duplicate layer to Multiplication (Multiply) and also reduce opacity (Opacity) layer up to 66%. Next, with the help of a large soft brush, the color of the brush is black, process the area near the house on a layer mask to make the path a little more visible.

Step 7

Add an adjustment layer to create an atmosphere effect. Photo Filter (Photo Filter), set the filter Deep blue, and the meaning Density (Density) 33%

Step 8

Duplicate the adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo Filter). Change the blending mode for duplicate layer to Soft light (Soft Light), and also reduce the opacity of the layer to 36%. Next, apply Radial gradient (Radial Gradient) on the duplicate layer of the adjustment layer. Color gradient from black to transparent. Use a radial gradient to hide the foreground effect.

Step 9

The house is a bit out of color in the rest of the forest scene. Therefore, add a correction layer to the house layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask. Value Color tone (Hue) leave at 0, and the value Saturation (Saturation) decrease to -27, and the value Brightness (Lightness) to -21.

Step 10

Even with such thick fog, the house seems a bit too blurry. Strengthen the contrast with a correction layer. Curves (Curves). Add this adjustment layer on top of the house layer as a clipping mask. Next, set the curve as shown in the screenshot below. Be careful not to increase the glow of the house, just move the anchor points down from the original curve to make the overall effect darker.

3. Add Effects

Fog darkens visual objects, making the atmosphere ominous. The basic idea is that there are some elements in the forest that we cannot see. We always assume that they can see us, despite the fog. Can vampires have “special vision” to see through the fog?

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of the adjustment layers that we added to the house layer. Name this layer ‘Fog Gradient’. Install Linear gradient (Linear Gradient), the color of the gradient from foreground color to transparent. Set the foreground color to # 756860, and then drag the gradient from the bottom edge of the scene. Since This layer is located below the layers with trees in the foreground, the gradient will not be visible along the forest path, but will mostly be visible at the base of the house.

Step 2

The fog is too smooth and perfect, we need to create a more realistic effect. Let’s go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Install amount of noise (Amount) 10%.

Step 3

Go to the layer with the image of the house. Create an active selection around the top window image. Next, go Layer – New – Copy to New Layer (Layer> New> Layer Via Copy (Ctrl + J)) to copy the selected window image to a new layer. Move the window layer to the top, placing it on top of the ‘Fog layer. Gradient’.

Step 4

Add a correction layer to the layer with the selected part of the window. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask to add a strange yellow glow. Tick ​​in the box Toning (Colorize), and also set the value Color tone (Hue) 55, Saturation (Saturation) 100, Brightness (Lightness) -21.

Step 5

To the yellow window you need to add a mysterious glow. Create a new layer on top of the layer with the selected part of the window, name this layer ‘Glow the window’. Create a rough selection around the window frame image, and then fill the active area with a bright yellow tint # ebe47a. Cancel active selection, for this we go Selection – Deselect Selection (Select> Deselect (Ctrl + D)), then change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening (Screen). Next, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), set a blur radius of 20px.

Step 6

Light from the window will fall on the visible area in front of the house. Create a new layer, name this layer ‘Glow from the window’. Next, with the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (L)), create an active selection, shaped like a beam of light falling from a window. Choose a tool Radial gradient (Radial Gradient), the color of the gradient, from the same yellow tint # ebe47a to transparent. Start at the top by pulling the gradient from the window down to the bottom of the selected area of ​​the light beam.

Step 7

Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light), and also reduce opacity layer (Opacity) up to 60%. Next, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), apply a blur radius of 5px.

Step 8

The incident beam of light should be more expressive against the background of the appearance of the house. Hold the key (Ctrl) + click on the ‘Glow from the’ window to load the active selection, then add an adjustment layer Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast). The active selection will automatically be reflected on the layer mask of this adjustment layer. Set the value Brightness (Brightness) 33, and the value The contrast (Contrast) -50.

Step 9

When the light is refracted, the fog must be represented by a special texture. So let’s create the fog texture for yourself! First create a new layer, name this layer “Fog Texture”. Next, press the key (D) to set the default colors to black and white. Next, go Filter – Rendering – Clouds (Filter> Render> Clouds) to fill the layer with a cloud texture.

Next, go Filter – Filter Gallery (Filter> Filter Gallery) and select the filter Chromium (Chrome) from folder Sketch (Sketch). Set the value Details (Detail) to 0, value Softening (Smoothness) at 10.

Next, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), apply a blur radius of 10px.

Step 10

Create a rectangular selection on top of the fog texture, and then copy the selection to a new layer. For this we go Layer – New – copy to new layer (Layer> New> Layer Via Copy). Name this layer ‘Glow Texture from the’ window. Turn off the visibility of the layer with the original fog texture, and then transform the layer ‘Glow texture from the window’ so that the texture approximately matches the light from the window. Add brightness to the texture, for this we go Image – Correction – Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels (Ctrl + L)), move the right slider to the left, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 11

Change the blending mode for the ‘Glow Texture layer from the’ window to Overlap (Overlay) and also reduce opacity layer (Opacity) up to 80%. Next, hold the key (Ctrl) + click on the ‘Glow layer’ layer to create an active selection and add a layer mask.

At the moment, the result should be as in the screenshot below. The surrounding atmosphere is starting to get really creepy! And then it will be even worse!

4. Add Light Effects

The fog beats chiaroscuro in interesting ways. Let’s add another subtle touch that will give mystery to our scene, this concerns the dispersion of light in the fog.

Step 1

Create a new layer, name this layer ‘Fog Blackout’. Change the blending mode for this layer to Hard light (Hard Light), and also reduce the opacity of the layer (Opacity) up to 62%. Hold the key (Ctrl) + click on the layer with the house to load the active selection, then go Selection – Inversion (Select> Inverse) to highlight the area outside the contour of the house. Choose a large soft brush with an opacity of about 15%. Hold the (Alt) + key and select a dark color sample from the fog. Next, carefully paint around the roof of the house, obscuring these areas.

Step 2

Cancel active selection, for this we go Selection – Deselect Selection (Select> Deselect (Ctrl + D). Create a new layer below the layer ‘Glow from the window’, name this layer ‘Shade at home’. Change the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply), and also set the default foreground color to black. Using the same soft brush, draw shadows on the house. Focus on creating shadows under the roof canopy, as well as inside the entrance door. If the shadows seem too saturated, then lower the layer opacity.

Step 3

Create a new layer on top of the ‘Shadow of the House’ layer, name this layer ‘Yellow Glow’. Change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening basics (Color Dodge). Next, go to the bookmark Channels (Channel). To select the light areas on the image, hold down the key (Ctrl) + click on the RGB channel thumbnail. Next, use the created selection on the layer mask of the ‘Yellow glow’ layer.

Step 4

Make sure the ‘Yellow glow’ layer is active, not the layer mask (translator’s note: just click on the thumbnail of the ‘Yellow Glow’ layer). Using a soft brush, paint highlights of yellow light (the color of the brush is # bbb84e) along the forest path and along the inner edges of the trees. The mask with the glow will allow to paint only the selected areas, which greatly simplifies this step!

5. Mysterious Figure in the Dark

To make the scene truly terrible, you need to add a few hidden surprises to it. A bright window always attracts the eye, but when the observer starts to study the whole scene, he will see someone else’s presence, let us frighten him, so that the goosebumps go over his skin!

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of the ‘Yellow Glow’ layer, name this layer ‘Silhouette’. Hold the (Alt) + key and take a dark gray sample from the trunk of one of the trees. Using a soft brush, draw a blurred human figure in the background on the right side next to a tree.

Step 2

Let’s turn the shadow into a vampire. Let’s go Editing – Post (Edit> Place) and in the window that appears, select the stock image of the skull. Change the blending mode for the skull layer to Lightening basics (Color Dodge), and also reduce opacity layer (Opacity) up to 20%. Reduce the scale of the skull, placing the skull in the area of ​​the head of our mystical figure. Next, go Filter – Blur – Blur Gaussian (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), blur radius 1.0 px.

Step 3

Open the stock image with the cat, the image name is cat-174526.jpg. (This is the name of the file, because I have big doubts that this is the name of the cat). Using tool Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool), highlight the cat’s eyes. Next, go Editing – Copy (Edit> Copy (Ctrl + C).

Step 4

We return to our working paper and on, we go Editing – Paste (Edit> Paste (Ctrl + V) to paste the cat’s eyes onto a new layer. Change the blending mode for the cat’s eyes layer to Lightening (Screen), thus, only bright yellow-green eyes will be visible. Zoom out the eyes to the desired size, and then hide them in a dark forest. Add a small touch, for this we go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), blur radius 1.0 px. Blur radius will help to align the eyes with the surrounding atmosphere.

Step 5

Duplicate the cat’s eyes layer by placing duplicate layers in other dark areas of the forest. The idea is to create the feeling that the observer may be surrounded by invisible nocturnal creatures!

Step 6

Next, we will add a mist texture to the forest path by duplicating the тум Mist texture ’layer. With the help of Perspective, transform the texture so that it fits the perspective of the forest path, let’s go Editing – Transformation – Perspective (Edit> Transform> Perspective tool). Change the blending mode to duplicate the fog texture layer to Overlap (Overlay) and also reduce opacity layer (Opacity) up to 29%. If hard edges are visible, then with the tool Eraser (Eraser (E)), in the settings, specify a soft brush, hide the hard edges.

Step 7

Turn on the visibility of the original layer тум Fog texture ‘. Change the blending mode for this fog texture layer to Overlap (Overlay) and also reduce opacity layer (Opacity) up to 27%. Add a layer mask to the fog texture layer. Choose a tool Gradient (Gradient) type gradient Linear (Linear), the color of the gradient from black to white. Apply a gradient on the layer’s layer mask to hide the texture at the top of the scene.

6. Final Effects

To complete the picture, let’s apply a technique that will create the feeling that even the trees are trying to reach us!

Step 1

Hold the (Alt) + go Join visible (Layer> Merge Visible) to create a merged layer on top of all layers. Next, go Filter – Camera Raw (Filter> Camera Raw). In the filter settings, set the value Transparency (Clarity) at 100, and the value Vibrations (Vibrance) at 5.

After applying the Camera Raw filter, the result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 2

Create a new layer on top of the merged layer, name this layer ‘Fade’. Let’s go Editing – Run Fill (Edit> Fill) and in the window that appears, select the option 50% gray (50% Gray), and then click OK. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay) in this way, the gray fill will become completely invisible. Next, using a soft brush, the color of the brush is black, carefully darken the main dark areas.

In the screenshot below, you can see the areas that I darkened.

Step 3

Create a new layer on top of the ‘Fade’ layer, name this layer ‘Brighten’. Let’s go Editing – Run Fill (Edit> Fill) and in the window that appears, select the option 50% gray (50% Gray), and then click OK. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay). This time, we use a white brush to accent the light highlights of the glowing window, as well as the reflection of light along the path.

In the screenshot below, you can see the areas where I added light highlights.

Step 4

Hold the (Alt) + go Join visible (Layer> Merge Visible) to create another merged layer.

Step 5

Next, go Filter – Camera Raw (Filter> Camera Raw). In the filter settings, set the value The contrast (Contrast) at +42, and the value Transparency (Clarity) at +39.

In the settings panel switch to the bookmark. Correction of Distortion (Lens Corrections), set the value Distortion (Distortion) at -25, and the value Vertically (Vertical) on +10. This action will create a gentle distortion effect, in which it will seem that the trees seem to be bent inward, which adds a discouraging look to the scene.

Next, in the settings panel, switch to the tab Effects (Effects), install Grain (Grain Amount) at 30, the size (Size) 25, and also set the value Roughness (Roughness) at 50. This action creates the effect of film grain and adds a total eeriness to the scene.

Translator’s Note: who has an earlier version of Photoshop, you can experiment with the filter Grain film (film Grain), go Filter – Imitation – Film grain (Filter – Artistic – Film Grain).

Step 6

As a final touch, we will add a blurred vignette effect to reduce the sharpness of the image at the edges and focus on the center of the composition. For this we go Filter – Filter Gallery – Aperture Blur (Filter> Blur Gallery> Iris Blur). Set degree Blur (Blur) 15 px, and also stretch the blur ellipse to the edges of the document.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and you enjoyed it just as much as I did. I like to find new ways to convey mood and visual expression. We used a wide range of Photoshop tools to create this effect. Throughout the lesson, we used gentle visual effects to convey the desired mood. This lesson focuses on the details so that the picture looks perfect. Therefore, at the end we have detailed the details, added live colors, which ultimately made the picture more interesting.

Final result

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