Create an epic scene in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to combine several images in order to create an epic battlefield in Photoshop.

Final result

Starting materials

Step 1. Create a new document (Ctrl + N). For my document, I set the parameters to a width of 1280px and a height of 800px. Open the lock image. Move the image of the castle to our new document. Using “Free Transformation” Free Transform (Ctrl + T), resize the image. Name this layer “bg”.

Step 2. Duplicate the “bg” layer using hotkeys (Ctrl + J) and name the new layer “land”. Add a layer mask for this layer. “Layer-Layer Mask-Show All” (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All) and using “Black brush” black brush (B) erase the upper part of the image (sky and castle). See the example in the figure below. Next, hide the “bg” layer.

If you have never worked with masks in Photoshop before, let me explain how they work. If you already know how to work with masks, you can skip this paragraph. When you create a mask, you can paint over parts of the mask with a brush (or any other drawing tool) in order to hide / show the different parts of the layer to which you applied the mask. When you work on the mask with a black brush, the shaded area will disappear from the corresponding layer. The white area of ​​the mask will represent the visible part of the layer to which the mask has been applied, and the gray color means transparency. Why we use masks instead of tools “Eraser” (Eraser Tool)? The fact is that, using masks, we can always go back and change the visible / invisible part of the layer by simply painting in black or white. And the changes made by the tool “Eraser” (Eraser Tool (E)) are final.

Step 3. The trees, which are located on the right side of the image, spoil the view and we will need to get rid of them. I will show you how to do this.
First, use the tool “Rectangular area” (Rectangular Marquee Tool (M)) in order to make a selection, as shown in the image below. Next, make sure that you are standing on the “land” layer (land), simultaneously press the Ctrl + J keys. You will copy the selection of the “land” layer (land) to a new layer. Name the new layer “land 2? (land 2).

Being on a new layer “land 2? (land 2), go to “Edit- Transform- Flip Horizontal” (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal). Using the tool “Move” (Move Tool (V)), move the layer “land 2? (land 2) to the right side of our document.

Translator’s Note: don’t worry if a lock appears on the new layer, but it isn’t in the screenshot, you will delete it in step 4.

Step 4. Now we will create a mask layer to our layer “land 2? (“Land 2”) to erase the protruding part on the right side of this layer.
Go in “Layer-Layer Mask-Show All” (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All). Next, select the soft black brush (black soft brush (B), make sure you are on the layer mask, paint over the protruding part. Select our two land layers and press the Ctrl + G keys to group them. Name the group “land”.

Step 5. Open image with sky. Next, using the tool “Rectangular area” (Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), select the sky. Press Ctrl + C to copy the selection, then go back to our first document and press Ctrl + V to paste the selection. Next, go to “Editing – Free Transform” Edit> Free Transform (or you can use the Ctrl + T hotkeys to quickly trigger a “free transform”). Holding down the Shift key, you can resize the image.
Name this layer “sky”, create a new group Ctrl + G) and place the layer “sky” (sky) in the created group. Group also name “sky”. Next, place the “sky” group under the “land” group.

Step 6. And now we need to make some changes in the “sky” layer. Make sure you are on the “sky” layer. Next, go to Layer– New Corrective layer Color balance Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance, when the window pops up, check the box Use previous layer for create clipping masks “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.

Step 7. Next we go “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation” Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation, tick the “Use the Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.

Step 8. Download brushes of stars and planets and install them into Photoshop. Set the foreground color to white, create a new layer, select one of the brushes you have loaded, and draw stars. Continue adding stars and planets to your sky. For each brush of stars, create a separate new layer. Next, group all of these layers and name the group “stars” (stars). Set the opacity for each layer to 70-90%.
In the figure below, you can see that I positioned the planet in the center, and in a circle arranged the stars to create a surreal look.

Step 9. Download and open the lock image. Next, with the tool “Pen” (Pen Tool (P) scroll lock. Move the selected lock with the tool “Moving” (Move Tool (V) on our document. Using “Free Transform” (Free Transform (Ctrl + T) resize the lock. Next, place the castle in the middle of our image on top of the mountain. Name this layer “castle” (lock), press Ctrl + G to create a new group, place a castle in our new group and name the group “castle” (castle).

Step 10. Add a mask to the “castle” layer. We go “Layer-Layer Mask-Show All” (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All). Next, choose a hard black brush (B) and start erasing the lower part of the lock, so that it looks like the lock was there. Also remove the part of the lock that covers the front rocks (boulders).

Step 11. Download and open the image of the girl. Next, with the tool “Pen” (Pen Tool (P) highlight the girl. Move the selected girl with the tool “Move” (Move Tool (V) on our document. Using “Free Transform” (Free Transform (Ctrl + T), resize the girl and rotate the girl horizontally. We will try to position the girl in such a way as to give the impression that she is floating through the air.
Name this layer “girl” (left-click), double-click on this layer to bring up “Layer styles”, set the settings “External glow” (Outer Glow) as shown below. Create a new group and place a girl in this group. Name the group “girl”.

Step 12. Next we go “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance) when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.

Step 13. Create a new layer. Then, choose a small white soft brush and draw a few lines, as shown in the image below. Name this layer “lights”. Right-click on this layer and apply the function “Convert to smart object” (Convert to Smart Object).
Next we go “Filter-Blur- Radial Blur” (Filter> Blur> Radial Blur) and set the settings as shown in the figure below. Set the blending mode to “Overlap” (Overlay). You can also add a layer mask and clean up some parts of the world if you think this is necessary.

Step 14. And now we will use the panel Brushes (Brushes panel) to create a new brush. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B) and choose a small soft brush. Further in the top panel open Window Brushes (Window> Brushes) and apply the settings as shown in the image below. Save your brush, click on the window “Create a new brush” (Create new brush) in the bottom panel.

Step 15. Create a new layer and name it “sparks” (sparks). Set the foreground color to white and using the brush you created in the previous step, draw sparks around the girl. Create a new group and place a layer with sparks there. Name the created group “sparks” (sparks).

Step 16. We will now add some trees around the castle. Download and open the tree image. Next we go “Highlight – color range” (Select> Color Range), click on the white background of the image, and then click OK. This will highlight the white background. However, we only need a tree, so we invert the selection. Let’s go Allotment -Inversion(Select> Inverse). Next, copy the tree Ctrl + C, go back to our first document and paste the tree image.
Name this layer “tree” using “Free Transform” (Free Transform (Ctrl + T) resize the tree. Press Ctrl + G to create a new group, place a tree in our new group layer and name the group as “tree”. Add a layer mask to the “tree” tree layer and use the black soft brush to paint the bottom near the tree.

Step 17. We need to conduct color correction. We go “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance) when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.
Next we go “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation” Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation, tick the “Use the Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.
Next we go “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Brightness / Contrast” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Brightness / Contrast), when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.

Step 18. Add more trees to your image, change the size of the trees and their location. For example, the figure below.

Step 19. Download and install the fog brush. Set the foreground color to white, create a new layer and draw a light haze on the new layer. Name this “fog”, set the layer opacity to 10% and place it in a separate group. New group name “fog” (fog).

Step 20. Download and open the image of the knight. Next, with the tool “Pen” (Pen Tool (P) scroll knight. Move the selected knight with the tool “Moving” (Move Tool (V) on our document. Using Free Transform“(Free Transform (Ctrl + T), resize the knight
Name this layer “knight” (knight), add a mask layer and use a black brush (B) to correct some parts of the layer, for example, near the horse’s hooves and at the top of the spear. Create a new group and place a layer with a knight in this group. New group name “knight” (knight).

Step 21 Make sure you are on the “knight” layer (knight). Next, go to “Layer – New Adjustment Layer Color Balance” Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance, when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.

Step 22 And now we will add a shadow to our knight. Hold Ctrl + click on the window with the knight to select the knight. Next, create a new layer with Ctrl + J, without removing the selection, go “Editing – Fill” (Edit-make fill), fill with black. After you have filled with black color, deselect the selection with the Ctrl + D keys.

Name the layer “shadow” (shadow), right-click on the layer with the shadow and select “Convert to smart object” (Convert to Smart Object). Next we go “Editing – Free Transformation” (Edit> Free Transform (Ctrl + T), holding the Ctrl + left mouse button you can transform the shadow, as shown in the figure below. Apply a 2px blur filter to this layer “Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur” (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) and set the layer opacity to 35%.

Step 23 Download and open the rider image. Next, with the tool “Pen” (Pen Tool (P) scroll knight. Move the selected knight with the tool “Moving” (Move Tool (V) on our document. Using “Free Transform” (Free Transform (Ctrl + T), resize the knight
Create a new group Ctrl + G and place the layer with the rider in this group. New group name “horse rider” (rider).

Step 24 Choose a tool “Dimmer” (Burn Tool) and using the settings as shown in the picture below darken some areas of the rider and horse. Next, select the tool “Clarifier” (Dodge Tool) and lighten up some areas of the rider and horse.

Step 25. Add a mask to the “horse rider” layer (rider) and use the black soft brush to correct the areas around the horse’s hooves.

Step 26. Make sure you are on the “horse rider” layer. Next, go to “Layer – New Adjustment Layer Color Balance” Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance, when the window pops up, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”, click OK and apply the settings as in the figure below.

Step 27. Add a shadow from the rider using the same process that you applied to the knight.

Step 28. And now we need to apply color correction to make our image more expressive. You can experiment with the settings yourself or you can exactly repeat my settings that I applied.

You can add adjustment layers through the menu. “Layer – New Adjustment Layer” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer) or in the bottom toolbar, you can click on the window “Create New Adjustment Layer” ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ (icon in the form of a black and white circle).
Create a new group “Layer – New – Group” (Layer> New> Group) and call this group “correction.” Next we go “” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient Map) and set the settings as shown in the figure below. I used the colors # 2288ae and # dcb620 to create the gradient. Set the blending mode “Overlap” (Overlay). The opacity of the layer is 10%.

Translator’s Note: when you create new adjustment layers, check the box “Use previous layer to create clipping mask”Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask ”do not set.

Step 29. Add a new adjustment layer “Layer- New Adjustment Layer- Selective Light Correction” (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Selective Color Adjustment), make the same settings as shown in the figure below. Set the layer opacity to 60%.

Step 30. Add a new adjustment layer “MapGradient “ (Gradient Map adjustment layer) and apply the settings as shown in the figure below. Set the blending mode to “Soft light” (Soft Light). The opacity of the layer is 60%. I used the colors # 320958 and # eeb814 to create the gradient.

Step 31 We go “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance) and apply the settings as shown in the figure below. Reduce the opacity of the layer to 60%.

Step 32 Add a new adjustment layer “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black and White” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Black White) and apply the tincture shown in the figure below. Set the blending mode for this layer. “Soft light” (Soft Light). The opacity of the layer is 30%.

Step 33 Add a new adjustment layer “Layer- New Adjustment Layer- Selective Light Correction” (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Selective Color Adjustment), make the same settings as shown in the figure below.

Step 34 Add a new adjustment layer “Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance) and set the settings as shown in the figure below. Set the layer opacity to 50%.

Step 35 Add a new adjustment layer “Layer-New Corrective Layer – Hue / Saturation” (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation) and increase saturation by +15.

Final result

Author: Razvan

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