What you’ll be creating

We’ll start this tutorial by creating a beautiful lake scene from a sky image. Then we’ll add nebula texture to increase fantasy effect for the scene. Later we’ll add clouds, paper boat, model, castle and blend them using adjustment layers, masking and brush. Then we’ll continue to build up the color and light of the image with light and nebula textures. Finally we’ll use an adjustment layer to enhance the final effect. I recommend you to use Photoshop CS3 or newer to follow this tutorial properly.

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Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the given settings:

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Step 2

Open the sky stock. Use the Retangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection of the sky part:

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Use the Move Too (V) to drag this selection onto the top of our white canvas:

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Name it “sky”.

Step 3

Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate this layer. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical, move it down then place this layer under the sky one.

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Go to Filter > Blur >Motion Blur and pick the settings below:

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Name this layer “lake”.

Step 4

To add some red and blue to the scene, I used an adjustment layer. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance:

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Step 5

I used a Curves adjustment layer to add some nice cyan tone to the picture:

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Step 6

To change the contrast of the pic, I used a Levels adjustment layer:

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On this Levels layer mask use a soft black brush with opacity from 20-25% to erase the center and right side of the pic. You can see how I did it on the layer mask and result on the picture:

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Step 7

To create more light for the sky I used a soft brush with color #f9e398 to paint over the right of the horizon. Change the mode to Overlay 100%:

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Click the second button at the bottom of the Layers Panel to add mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to reduce the light effect as the image below shows:

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Step 8

Place the nebula 1 image over the picture, then change the mode to Hard Light 100%:

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Add layer mask to this one. Use a soft brush to reduce the nebula effect in the sky and on the lake:

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Step 9

Duplicate this layer, flip it vertically and move it down to create reflection for this nebula effect:

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Apply Motion Blur to this layer:

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