How to Create a Stunning Surreal Landscape

How to Create a Stunning Surreal Landscape
How to Create a Stunning Surreal Landscape

In this Photoshop tutorial you will learn in easy and simple steps how to create a surreal environment. We’ll cover techniques such as blending elements together with non-destructive techniques, using blur to create distance between the objects, and much more.

Preview of Final Results


Tutorial Resources

Note: A long time has past since this tutorial was first written. Because of this, some of the free images below may not be available anymore. Please use the Alternative link instead.

  1. ModelTwilitesMuse
  2. Image BaseCat-in-the-stock (Alternative)
  3. Mountains in the backgroundLyfiar
  4. Mountain in the right - Castock
  5. Mountain in the left - Burtn
  6. River - Faestock
  7. Sky - Austriaangloalliance
  8. Tower - Divsm-stock
  9. CastleLilystox

Step 1 – New File

Open a new file, with 1311px of Width and 100px of Height

Step 2 – Gradient Background

Before you add any image, create a gradient to be the base of the image.

Step 3 - Place

To place a image go to the menu File in the option Place.

Step 4 - River

Resize the image of the river like this:

Step 5 – Less Opacity

Reduce the layer opacity to 80% and add a layer mask

Step 6 - Hiding

In the layer mask paint with a black brush to hide parts of the image in this case are the clouds the one’s you need to hide. Select the layer mask in the layer thumbs and with a black brush with 50% of opacity paint over the clouds.

Step 7

Like you did before Place the other image of the mountains and resize it. Pick ONE of the corners and press shift to change the the resolution of the image without distortions.

Step 8 – Changing color

Double click in the image thumb, then you will see this window, press ok.

You can also  duplicate the layer to have the original.

Then  press Ctrl + U and press the option colorize, and just reduce the saturation to 12. Now save the image Ctrl + S, now the color will change in your mountains.

Step 9 – Layer mask

Once again add a layer mask and with a soft round black brush paint to make the mountains look like they are part of the image. Reduce the opacity of the layer to 70% so you can see the background.

Step 10 - Layers

Change layer’s order, move the one with the river and set it over the one with the mountains like this:

Step 11 - Details

Now do the same with other details of the image like the castle, Place the image, then resize it and with a layer mask hide the undesired parts of the image, also you can use help from the Magic Wand tool or another selection tool of your choice.

In the image above you can see that using the Magic Wand tool the blue parts of the image are selected.

Pass the black brush over the selected area and the result will be this one:

After that change the size of the image.

Step 12 – layer opacity

Change the castle layer to 25% of opacity and hide some other parts

Step 13 – Tower

Repeat the process you made before with the tower. The opacity of the layer is 30%

Step 14 - Mountains

To add some more mountains to the image place a new layer.

Step 15 – Layer mask

You only need the big mountain, so select it with layer mask like before.

Step 16 - Size

Press Ctrl+T to change the size of the mountain to fit the image. Also you can use the black brush to fix some details

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37 comments on “How to Create a Stunning Surreal Landscape”

  1. VERY IMPORTANT: Anytime you use stock materials from DeviantArt, it's vital to take note of the poster's rules regarding use of their stock. Some freely provide it for use however you see fit; others want only credit of some kind; still others restrict permission to DeviantArt account holders and specify that the result can be posted only to DeviantArt.

  2. I did in the past some of your tutorials here:
    But we can't see the tutorials on photoshop-tutorials anymore. :(
    I tried to contact them, but it doesn't operate. :(
    Please, do you know if we have to pay something, of everything else we can do? I loved to do the tutorials I found here and I often give the link to photoshop-tutorials to beginners, so it is quite ennoying. Thank you.

  3. Thanks so much for a great tutorial. There were some aspects I had to guess, and I believe one of the mountain images had to be flipped before it could be used, but for a newbie in photo-manipulation, this was fantastic.

  4. What am I doing wrong?! I am doing everything step by step but when I add the 2nd picture and try to meld it into to the background it doesn't work. It still looks like I would've glued another photo on top of the other one even though I've done everything on the tutorial. Yep they share the same color however the 2nd pictures outlines are still visible (the square lines) I am terrible with explaining :D

  5. Hey, awesome tutorial!!
    I'm not that good with photoshop, I only got it for two months :)
    But this is still worth a try, will be fun I guess :)

  6. Very awesome tutorial. This is just amazing, way beyond my skill level, but it has certainly opened up my eyes to what can be done with Photoshop. Thanks,

  7. there are repeated photos in the tutorial... :( find some of the steps interesting but wrong photo makes the tutorial somewhat bad... :( although the concept is awesome... but the flow is altered... i rate it 3.5 out of 5... but the steps deserve 5 out of 5... :)

    1. Where to get the picture in step 4 river? I've been looking at the user Faestock and can not find or rather, does not exist.
      Thank you very much.

    1. Thanks! We don't know what happened but the images have been fixed :)

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