In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a landscape photo manipulation with blue water and sky. First, we’ll build the base scene using a sky and several landscape images. After that, we’ll add the mountains and other landscape images and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. Later, we’ll import the birds and paint the light and mist. We’ll use two adjustment layers to enhance the final effect.

Preview of The Final Result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 2500×1000 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white.  Open the landscape 2 image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).  Convert it to a Smart Object.

Step 2

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. On the layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a soft round one with black color. Use this brush to erase the left of the midground and foreground . 

Step 3

Hit Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Activate the Clone Tool (S)  to remove the shadow of some details in the middle as shown below.

Step 4

Go to Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance (set as Clipping Mask) and alter the Midtones settings:

Step 5

Make a Curves adjustment layer and increase the contrast. On this layer mask, use a soft round brush to erase the top of the mountains on the left, middle and on the right bottom.

Step 6

Add another Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the effect on the top middle of the scene.

Step 7

Drag the landscape 1 image into our main document and set this layer below the landscape 2 one. Convert this layer to a Smart Object. 

Step 8

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray:
Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 20% to brighten a part of the lakeside.

Step 9

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) and change the Yellows and Blues values:

Step 10

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer  and alter the Midtones settings:

Step 11

Add a Curves adjustment layer to increase the lightness and reduce the contrast.

Step 12

Place the landscape 3 image over the canvas and set this layer on top of the layers. Add a mask to this layer to remove most of this image, leaving the pond, mountains and some parts of the ground on the right visible only.

Step 13

Make a new layer (set as Clipping Mask)  and use the Clone Tool to remove the power lines on top of some mountains in the middle.

Step 14

Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #9d9f98 with the opacity about 30% to paint on the mountains in the middle. Change this layer mode to Overlay 100%.

Step 15

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to bring some yellow to the landscape 3 part.

Step 16

Add a Selective Color adjustment layer and alter the Whites settings to make the water become blue.
Make another Selective Color adjustment layer to add more saturation to the water. On this layer mask, paint on the parts besides the mountains so they won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

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