Learn how to create this fantasy Christmas scene with Photoshop. You will use a variety of brushes and images in order to achieve a pleasant final result. Let’s start!

What you’ll be creating

In this tutorial you will create a winter fantasy scene. In order to follow this tutorial you will need Photoshop CS3 or newer.


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document 934 x 652 pixels. Fill the background layer with black (Set the foreground color to black and press Alt + Backspace).


Step 2

Open the file “Background”. Press Ctrl + A to select all and Ctrl + C to copy. Go back to our working scene and press Ctrl + V to paste. Press Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform. Resize and position the layer as indicated in the image below.


Step 3

Lower the opacity of the pasted layer to 57% and name it “Gradient”.


Step 4

Open the file “Nebula”. Select all, copy and paste into our scene. Use Free Transform to place the nebula as shown below. Right click the nebula layer and from the drop down menu choose “Convert To Smart Object”. Convert all future layers that we paste from other documents into smart objects (In order to be able to keep the original data when performing resizes and applying filters).


Step 5

Change the blending mode of the nebula to overlay and lower the Opacity 49%.


Step 6

Add a layer mask to the nebula layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All). Use the gradient tool in the layer mask to seamlessly blend the nebula into the scene.


Step 7

Use the Presets Manager window to import “Moon” brushes (Edit > Preset Manager. Press the Load button and select the brushes in the window that appears). Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N). Choose a half moon from the Brush Presets panel (Window > Brush Presets) and click once to create a white moon in the upper half area of our scene.


Step 8

Double click the Moon layer to open Advanced Blending window and add some Outer Glow to the moon.


Step 9

Import “Ribbon” brushes.  Create a new layer and draw a white ribbon near the moon as indicated below. Add a layer mask and hide away the hard edges. Lower the Opacity to 66%.


Step 10

Double click the ribbon layer to open Advanced Blending window. Add a subtle Outer Glow effect.


Step 11

Import “Christmas” brushes. Look out in the Brush Presets panel for the reindeers brush and draw some white reindeers over the ribbon. Add the standard Outer Glow effect (double click the reindeers layer to enter Advanced Blending window).


Step 12

Import “Fantasy Light” brushes.  In the Brush Presets panel select  the Glam brush. Create some sparks along the ribbon and below the reindeers.


Step 13

Open the file “Hand”. Use the Pen Tool to make a selection of the hand. Copy the selection and paste it in our scene. Place the hand like indicated in the image below.


Step 14

The hand looks way too detailed for our purposes so let’s correct that. Apply a Surface Blur (Filter > Blur > Surface Blur) to the hand in order to make it look smooth and clean.