How to Create a Mountainous Matte Painting in Photoshop

How to Create a Mountainous Matte Painting in Photoshop
How to Create a Mountainous Matte Painting in Photoshop

Learn how to create this landscape matte painting with Photoshop! This tutorial will show you how create our own mountain scene by arranging multiple stocks together and blending them correctly using layer masks and adjustment layers. You will also learn effective techniques for adding waterfalls and mist.

Preview of Final Results


Create A Misty Landscape Matte Painting in Photoshop


Step 1

Create a new document and fill it with white or any light and bright colors. I choose the size with 1300x900 px. Open sky stock. Use Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection on sky part as shown below:


Then active Move Tool (V) and drag this selection into our white canvas:


Step 2

Open background mountain stock.Take the background with misty mountains only and place it at sky part (don't resize it):


Click the second button at the bottom of Layer Panel to add layer mask to this layer. Now use soft black brushes with large size (I use 250-260 px) to paint on the top of this background to reveal sky added in first step:

Step 3

To reduce saturation and increase brightness of the mountains to fit the sky, I use some adjustment layers with Clipping Mask. On background mountain layer, go to New Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Hue/Saturation:




Step 4

Open mid rocks stock. Extract them and locate them at the middle section of our picture. Right click this layer, choose Convert to Smart Object then use Cmd/Ctrl+T to resize it as shown below:


I want to remove the rock on the right so I add layer mask to this layer. Use Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make selections at the left corner and right rock:


Now on layer mask use black brush to remove selected areas:


Step 5

I create some adjustment layers to change color and darken the rocks.





Color Balance:


I use soft black brush with opacity about 40% to blur dark effect on the top of the rocks (they will get more light from sky so should be brighter than the rest):


Step 6

I add a new layer (Clipping Mask) to darken more the front of the rocks. Use soft brush with color #7a7e7e to paint over there avoiding the top and middle area then change the mode to Multiply 80%:


Step 7

Extract the right rock and position it at the right of our main picture after converting it to Smart Object and resizing. I set this layer under mid rocks one:


I use layer mask to remove a small white part of this rock:


Step 8

I make some adjustment layers (Clipping Mask) to blend the right rock:





Color Balance:


Step 9

I want to correct color in the front of this rock so I make a new layer (Clipping Mask) and choose color #a9a9ac (picked from the top of the rock) and paint on indicated area. I change the mode to Color 50%:


Step 10

I make a new layer and use brush with color #7a7e7e to paint on the right of this rock to darken it. Put the mode to Multiply 100%:

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22 comments on “How to Create a Mountainous Matte Painting in Photoshop”

  1. Очень замечательный урок!:) Делаю с огромным удовольствием!:) Правда остановился на 33 шаге, не могу сообразить где эта часть горы которую нужно вставить в правый угол на передний план. Уже измучился и не пойму как тут разобраться:) Просидел над этим куском горы уже весь день:)) Неужели тут придётся вырисовывать... так скажем проявить смекалку...)

    1. I don't understand where have you found (seen) the steps in this tut.?
      sorry, but I can't see them(
      hope you help me

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