Create a sci-fi style landscape in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a sci-fi scene with stars and planets in Photoshop. You will learn how to combine several different stock images, we will also create a planet and add lighting effects.

Details the lesson
Program: Photoshop CS3 +
Estimated time to complete this lesson: 60 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Final result

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop. Install the following dimensions:

Step 2

Open the original image with the landscape. Using any selection tool you prefer to work with, separate the landscape from the background and then use the tool Move (Move Tool (V), move the selected image of the landscape to our working document. This layer with the landscape Convert to Smart Object (Convert to a Smart Object).

Step 3

Let’s go Filter – Blur – Blur by Gauss(Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Set a blur radius of 8 px:

Next, go to the smart filter mask and use a soft black brush to hide the blur effect in the background so that the blur effect is visible only in the foreground.

Thus, we will add a depth of field to the landscape image.

Step 4

Next, move the original sky image to our working paper. Place the sky layer below the landscape layer. Reduce the sky opacity to 50%.

Step 5

Add a correction layer to the sky layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the sky. After darkening, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, hide the correction curves in the center of the image, since we plan to locate the main light here.

Step 6

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the left side of the sky. After darkening, also go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, hide the correction curves in the right part of the image:

Step 7

To further darken the left side of the sky, create a new layer and using a soft brush, brush color # 90949e, paint over the left side of the image with a brush. Change the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply), layer opacity is 100%.

Step 8

We return to the layer with the landscape. To remove unwanted parts on the ground, create a new layer on top of the landscape layer as a clipping mask.

Choose a tool Stamp (Clone Tool (S) and using this tool, delete the specified image detail.

Step 9

Next, add a correction layer to the landscape layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask. Reduce value Saturation(Saturation).

Step 10

Next, add an adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) to add blue / blue hues to the landscape to match the sky color.

Step 11

Next, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the landscape. After darkening, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, hide the correction curves in the center of the image closer to the effects of lighting in the background.

Step 12

Create a new layer, change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay) 100%, and also tick the box Fill in the neutral color of the “Overlap” mode (gray 50%) (fill with 50% gray).

Choose a tool Dimmer ( Burn Tool (O), in the settings of this tool set Range (Range) on Mid tones (Midtones), and the value Exposure (Exposure) approximately 10-15%. With this tool, darken the left edge of the landscape. You can see the areas where I darkened under the mode Normal (Normal), as well as the result when Overlap (Overlay):

Step 13

Open the image with the texture of the planet. Create a new layer and use the tool Stamp (Clone Tool), remove the four black lines located on top of the image.

Step 14

Press the keys (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E) to create a merged layer from all visible layers. Next, being on the merged layer, draw a circle using the tool Oval area (Elliptical Marquee Tool (M):

Next, go Filter – Distortion – Spherization (Filter> Distort> Spherize):

Right-click on the selected area and in the window that appears, select the option To copy on new layer(Layer via Copy). Thus, we get the image of the planet on a transparent layer.

Step 15

Move the image of the created planet to our working paper. Position the planet as shown in the screenshot below.

Double click on the planet layer to add layer styles. Inner shadow (Inner Shadow) and External glow (Outer Glow):

Step 16

Add another planet to our working paper, reduce the scale of this planet. Next, duplicate this little planet. Place the planets near the big planet.

Step 17

To layers with small planets, add layer masks and using a soft black brush, process the planets to create a feeling as if they are gradually disappearing in the sky.

Step 18

Select all the layers with planets, and then press the keys (Ctrl + G) to group them in one group. Change the blending mode for the layer with the group from the mode Skip (Pass Through (group default mode) to mode Normal (Normal), 100%. Next, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) inside the created group to discolor the planets.

Step 19

Add adjustment layer Color Balance (Color Balance) to change the color of the planets.

Step 20

Next, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the planets. After darkening, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, hide the correction curves in the lower part of the planets, since These are illuminated areas of the planets.

Step 21

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to enhance the light reflections on the planets. Next, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and with the help of a soft black brush, hide the correction curves to save the shading.

Step 22

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to add a magical glow to the planets. Next, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, reduce the glow in the following areas:

Step 23

Open the original image with nebula. Move this image to our working paper. Change the blending mode for the nebula layer to Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge), 100%.

To the layer with the image of the nebula, add a layer mask and using a soft black brush, process the central part of the nebula.

Step 24

To the nebula layer, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to discolor the nebula effect.

Step 25

Next, add an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) to darken the effect:

Step 26

Next, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers. Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below. Next, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, hide the correction curves around the central part of the image to make this part of the scene brighter.

Translator’s Note: 1. The author hides the correction over the entire scene except for the central part 2. The author also carries out a general correction of the scene, therefore, the adjustment layers will NOT be used as clipping masks.

Step 27

Next, add another adjustment layer. Curves(Curves) to darken the whole scene a little. Now, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and using a soft black brush, process the areas that are highlighted in the screenshot below:

Step 28

Next, add an adjustment layer. Photo Filter (Photo Filter) to change the color of the scene.

Step 29

Now, add an adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) to further enhance the color.

Next, go to the mask of this adjustment layer and use a soft black brush with an opacity of about 30%, hide the color balance correction over the landscape in the foreground, because I don’t want the earth to be blue – it will look unnatural.

Step 30

Create a new layer. Choose a tool Line (Line Tool (U). Draw a line with a thickness of 4 px, line color #bbccee. Draw a line between a large planet and the top of the middle mountain.

To the layer with the line, add a layer mask and using a soft black brush, create a little shading at the bottom of the line.

Step 31

Double click on the layer with the line to apply the layer styles. External glow (Outer Glow) and Internal glow (Inner Glow):

Step 32

To add more light to the scene, create a new layer and using a soft brush, brush color # f1f3f6, paint over the bright part of the scene. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), 100%.

Step 33

To add a glow, create a new layer and using a soft brush, brush the same color, paint over the light beam. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light), 100%.

And we have completed the lesson!

You can see the final result in the screenshot below. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Final result

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