Learn how to create this photo manipulation of a dark queen in a dark cemetery with Photoshop. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create spooky dark atmospheric. Throughout the tutorial, you’ll learn how to use dodge and burn tool to do basic and simple painting, smudging, masking, color adjustment, lightning and some more.

What you’ll be creating

In this tutorial we will create a dark dreamscape of a spooky figure using some image stocks. We will use some essential techniques in applying dodge and burn tool and smudging as well. We will use masking, brush tool, some filter, color adjustments all through the steps in this tutorial. Use Adobe Photoshop CS3 or higher. Get ready to have fun following this tutorial so why don’t you serve yourself a glass or more glasses of coffee and optionally a pack of cigarette for your companion;-) Let’s start….!

final result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1 (Preparing stock)

Before starting this tutorial, make sure that we have downloaded all the stock images provided. In early steps we will create a figure of a dark queen. Let’s start by opening the statue image from which we will create and manipulate the figure.


Now extract the statue form its background. We can use one of the extracting tools in Photoshop that is familiar with us. I myself used pen tool for this purpose. I assumed that we have familiar with this tool so I won’t explain about how to use it. Here is the extracted statue I created.


Step 2 (A new document for the figure)

Now we will start manipulating the statue into a dark queen figure. We will do this in a new document (canvas), so create a new document by hitting Ctrl+N to open the new document option box. Here is the size of the document:


Next place the extracted statue in the new document. Hit Ctrl+T to activate free transform tool. Alter the shape of the statue by warping it a bit.


We will hide lower part of this statue. To do this, we will give this layer a layer mask. Make sure we are active on the statue layer, then click the layer mask icon located in the bottom of the layer panel to give this layer a layer mask. The layer mask is indicated by a white thumbnail next to the layer.


Take a very soft round brush (0 opacity) and set the foreground color to black. Now with black color, stroke the brush on the lower part of the statue to hide it. The part is highlighted by red. There is black spot in the white mask thumbnail as indication of masking.


Now we have the lower part of the statue is masked.


Step 3 (Manipulating the stock)

Firstly we will manipulate the cloth in the hands of the figure. We will try to add torn cloth on them. To find out what it will look like, here is the scratch for reference.


Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) below the statue layer. Take pen tool and create a torn cloth like shape on this new layer. Fill it with color #504e4e. I named this layer left cloth.


On a new layer create similar shape for the right hand. I named this layer right cloth.



Step 4 (Defining details)

Next we will start defining the detail of the both cloth. We just simply do this with combination use of dodge and burn tool. Open the tool in the tool panel. Set its setting to the values given below. We can change the values accordingly later.




Details on right hand cloth

We will start defining the details on the right cloth. Go select again the right cloth layer. Start stroking the dodge and burn tool on areas where needed to give it some worn and crumpled parts on the cloth.


Keep on applying the combination of the both tool to give more details. We can change both the size of the brush or exposure accordingly depending on the areas to be stroked. We also can choose highlight for its range.


After finding desired result, we can duplicate the layer (Ctrl+J) and set its duplicate to soft light blending at desired opacity of about 80-100%. This will give more brightness and contrast to the layer.



  1. Wow great tutorial. I am too a Photoshop artist, but i am only 17 years old and don’t have so much skills. On my Website are projects from me (jan.leibacher.ch) its on german, but it have possibilty to translate the site :)