Create a surreal scene of a storm in Photoshop

Learn how to create a surreal storm scene with Photoshop. In this lesson you will learn how to create a mysterious landscape with an impending storm. The main technique here is mixing, as well as various tricks to make the scene more realistic and believable. As you progress through the lesson, you will learn several techniques that will help you to become better at working with photo manipulations.

Important: Lesson of medium difficulty. To complete the lesson will require Photoshop CS3 or newer.

1. Prepare the background

Step 1

Create a new document by going to the menu. File> New (File> New) and then enter the following settings or use your own.

Step 2

Insert a photo of the road into the main document by selecting File> Post (File> Place), then center it.

2. Add the sky, making the scene dark and stormy.

Step 1

Turn on Layer mask (Layer Mask) for the road by going to the menu Layer> Mask Layer> Show All (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All). Select Brush (Brush Tool) install it opacity (Opacity) and pressure (Flow) at 30%. Now hide the top section of the road by painting the layer mask with a soft black brush.

Place sky 1 in the main document. Use the tool Move (Move Tool) to drag it under the layer with the road.

Step 2

Now add to our document the sky 2, place it between two existing layers.

Install Blend mode (Blend Mode) layer with a stormy sky on Glow (Luminosity), cut Opacity (Opacity) up to 50%.

Step 3

The time has come to improve the parts of the sky scene with the help of a correction layer. Create Gradient map (Gradient Map) above the Sky 2 layer. Use color # 071625 to Of shadows (Shadows), and # 161830 for Glare (Highlights).

Set the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light).


Step 4

Create Color balance (Color Balance), adding the sky more color. Set the following settings:


Step 5

Create again Gradient map (Gradient Map). This time, specify the following settings:

Set the blending mode Colour (Color), cut Opacity (Opacity) up to 30%.

Step 6

Now select the layer with the road, create a correction layer Curves (Curves), reducing the brightness of the road, and also add Hue / saturation (Hue / Saturation) to reduce saturation. Do not forget to cut off (the button highlighted in red in the screenshot) these corrections so that they only affect the road.

Set Opacity Curves (Curves) at 80%. Here are the results:

Step 7

Continue staining with Color balance (Color Balance). Enter the following parameters:


Step 8

To create a focus in the middle of the background, let’s make the center section brighter. To do this, create a new layer by clicking Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N. Fill it with black with Alt + Backspace (make sure the background color is black. It can be set using the D key on the keyboard). Select white, then use a soft brush with opacity and press 70% to paint over the middle.

Set the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light), cut Opacity (Opacity) up to 30%.

3. Add the “No Road” sign.

Step 1

Open the photo of the road sign and remove the background with the selection tools.

You may notice that the bottom of the mark is cut off. To fix this, using the tool Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool) clone the bottom portion. Take your time and when you’re done, you should have this result.

Now insert a sign into the main document and place it to the left or right of the road.

Step 2

I used an adjustment layer Hue / saturation (Hue / Saturation), reducing the saturation and brightness of the mark.

Step 3

Add a Curves (Curves), further reducing the brightness.

It seems that the sign does not have a shadow, so let’s create a new layer below it. Use a soft round black brush to paint the shadow. See the screenshot below if you need an example.

Step 4

Select all the layers that are related to the sign (including corrective and shadow), and then duplicate them by clicking Ctrl + J. Now activate the tool Transformation (Transform Tool) with Ctrl + T. Reduce the sign and move it a little further from the previous one.

Step 5

Duplicate the sign again and move on.

4. Final Corrections

Step 1

The time has come for the final corrections. Add a Photo filter (Photo Filter), making the overall scene a little warmer. Remember to place a correction layer above all others.

Cut down Opacity (Opacity) up to 56%. Result:

Step 2

Hide Photo Filter effect on the road and signs. Use a soft round black brush to remove the effect applied in the selected area.

Results after applying this effect:

Step 3

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves), enhancing the brightness of the overall scene (mainly its bright areas).

Cut down Opacity (Opacity) up to 50%. Result:

Step 4

Now you just add Color balance (Color Balance), painting over the landscape.

This is the final result:


Thank you for taking this lesson, and I hope you discovered something new today. If you have any questions regarding the lesson, let me know in the comments – I will try to help!

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