Create a surreal scene with a magical sky in Photoshop

In this lesson, I will show you how to create a surreal scene with a man who is watching something that looks like a magical portal to another world. In this tutorial, I will show you in detail the whole process of creating this scene. So … let’s go?

The final result:

Stages of the lesson

Despite the fact that this picture was created in the program Adobe Photoshop CC, you can perform this lesson in earlier versions of the program without problems. The basic techniques that we use in this lesson are working with masks and adjustment layers. Working with a mask is needed to select objects, and adjustment layers to merge all elements of the composition into one single scene.

Step 1

Let’s start by creating a new document. Install the following dimensions, which are shown in the screenshot below. Fill the background with black.

Step 2

The first thing we do is put a picture of a man, for this we go File – Post (File> Place). Position the image with a man, as shown in the screenshot below. Hold down (Shift) and drag the anchor point to zoom in. Using the key (Shift) will help you maintain the proportions of the image, and using the command File – Post (File> Place) automatically converts the original image into a smart object, this will allow to transform and apply filters without loss of pixels.

Step 3

Since we are going to create our own sky, then we will have to hide the existing sky in the image with a man. The trick I like to use is working with a layer mask. You may know about this technique, but perhaps not. First you need to select the area you are going to use, and then add a layer mask by pressing the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask) at the bottom of the layers panel. Selection can be created using tools Pen (Pen Tool (P)) or Lasso (Lasso Tool (L)).

Step 4

To make the edges of the image softer, we paint them with a soft black brush on the layer mask. This will help us to combine images.

Step 5

To the layer with the man, add three adjustment layers: Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), Curves (Curves) and Levels (Levels). To do this, click Create a new adjustment or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer), which is located next to the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask) and in the window that appears, select the desired adjustment layer. Set the following settings, which are shown in the screenshot below. To make the correction of the correction layers applicable only to the image with a man, for this, right-click on the adjustment layers and in the appeared menu select the option Create clipping mask (Create Clipping Mask).

Step 6

The result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 7

Next, place the original image with the mountains on our working paper. Place the layer with the mountains below the layer with the man in the layers palette. To the layer with mountains, add a layer mask and use a soft black brush to process the upper part of the image. You can use any image with mountains that you like.

Step 8

Add two adjustment layers: Curves (Curves) and Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 9

Result.

Step 10

Place the original starry image on our working paper. Place the star layer below the mountain layer in the layers palette. Change the blending mode for the star layer to Light replacement (Lighten)

Step 11

Next, put the original sky image on our working paper. Place this layer with the sky below the layer with the stars and above the layer with the background in the layers palette.

This layer does not require layer mask correction or correction by correction layers. Since we changed the blending mode for the star layer to Light replacement (Lighten), this will make the stars slightly noticeable.

Step 12

Next, add the original image with conical objects to our working paper. We need to get rid of the background, leaving only the image of the conical structures. One way to do this is to use a layer mask. Add a layer mask to the layer with conical objects, paint the entire image with a black brush on the layer mask, so you hide the entire image.

Now we only need to restore the image of objects, for this we need to turn off the layer mask. Right-click on the mask thumbnail and in the appeared window select the option Turn off layer mask (Disable Layer Mask). Now, all we need is to select the conic objects and paint them with a white brush, then right-click on the mask thumbnail and in the appeared window select the option Enable layer mask (Enable Layer Mask). Thus, our selected objects will become visible.

Step 13

Now we will place the conical objects throughout the landscape. The first location will be to the right of the man. To combine objects with the entire scene, reduce Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 65%, and then using a soft black brush, slightly paint over the bottom of the image of conical objects on the layer mask.

Step 14

Duplicate the layer with conical objects. Place duplicate objects somewhere to the left, reduce Opacity (Opacity) of this duplicate layer up to 50%. Since objects are located in the distance, then reduce their size.

Step 15

Add more conical objects, placing them somewhere in the middle. Decrease Opacity (Opacity) up to 25%. The result should be as in the screenshot below:

Step 16

Next, we will add lines emanating from the center of the sky using the tool Line (Line Tool (U)). So select the tool Line (Line Tool (U)), draw a few lines, color lines #db9da1.

Step 17

We got several layers with lines, now we need to merge all layers with lines, to do this, select all layers with drawn lines in the layers palette, then right-click on the selected layers and in the appeared window select the option Combine layers (Merge Shapes). Now add a layer mask to the merged layer and using a soft black brush, paint the tips of the lines.

Step 18

Repeat the process of creating lines, but this time the color of the lines will be white.

Step 19

So, the only thing left is to add balloons. Therefore, we continue further, add the original image with a balloon to our working paper. Remove the sky on this image using the technique we used earlier or use your technique with which you prefer to work.

Step 20

Let’s change the lighting of the balloon a little, for this, add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves).

Step 21

Add a second source image with a balloon to our working paper. Since This ball is located in the distance, then reduce its size accordingly. Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves), this time we will make the ball a little darker than the first ball.

Step 22

Repeat the whole process, adding two more balloons. The result should be as in the screenshot below:

Step 23

Finally, add Gradient map (Gradient Map), I added Gradient map (Gradient Map) through the tab Correction (Adjustment) Photoshop preset toolbar. Decrease Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 10%.

Step 24

Now we need to hide the effect. Gradient maps (Gradient Map) on the ground, as well as on the man, because the effect is too red, for this, go to the mask of the adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) and using a black brush, hide the effect of a gradient map over the ground and the man.

Step 25

And we have completed the lesson.

I hope that you liked this lesson, and you learned something new for yourself. Thank you for attending the lesson, and I wish you a good time at this lesson.

The final result:

PSD lesson

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