Photo Manipulation

Create This Dark Matte Landscape Composite in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how you can create a dark, misty and ominous scene of a dark mountains by combining different stock images. We’ll create a misty scene of mountains and light from afar. You’ll also practice some essential manipulation, blending and lighting techniques.

What you’ll be creating

You will be creating dark landscape matte painting. I have used Photoshop version CC 2014 to create this work but you can use any version from CS onwards will be fine as well.


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document by selecting File > New. Set the setting as shown in the image below. You can also choose your own document size but make sure it should be wider enough to cover the mountains image.


Step 2

Now place the mountains image by selecting File > Place Embedded. I have scaled it little bit because I don’t want the bottom part of the mountains. You can scale it as you want but remember we don’t need the bottom parts.


Step 3

Add a layer mask to the mountains by selecting the second button of layer panel at bottom right side. Now activate the Gradient Tool by pressing (G) on the keyboard and choose a linear black/white gradient then holding the shift key apply the gradient vertically on the layer mask of mountains layer. Here are the results.


Step 4

Now place the sky image below the mountains layer. Scale the sky using Free Transform tool by pressing (CTRL + T) on keyboard so it can cover the entire mountains. Here are the results.


Step 5

To brighten the sky little I have added a Curves adjustment layer to the sky by clicking on the third button of layer panel (See the image below). Set the setting as shown in the image below.


Step 6

Now, back to the mountains layer then add a Brightness/Contrast and Gradient Map adjustment layer to the entire scene. Set the values as shown in the image.


Change the blend mode of gradient map to soft light and reduce the opacity to 55%. Here are the results


Step 7

Continue colouring by applying Color Balance adjustment layer to the entire scene.


Here are the results.


Step 8

Reduce the brightness of scene using a Brigthness/Contrast adjusment layer.


Step 9

Now add the waterfall image to the scene. Place it as shown in the image below.


Step 10

Using a layer mask with soft round basic black brush hide the unwanted part of waterfall to blend it properly to the scene. Here are the results. Note that this is a perfect example when you have proper stock images and it usually takes 1-2 minutes to blend the image to the scene. So, choosing the right stock gives you more realistic results and sometime even better.


Step 11

Now, we have blended the image to the scene but it’s colors are still not matching as well as the overall image. Here the comes the job for adjustments layer to adjust the image with existing scene. So, add a Hue/Saturation image to the waterfall as clipping mask because we don’t want to affect all the layer.step-011

Step 12

Continue blending the waterfall by applying a Brightness/Contrast and Photo Filter adjustment layer.


Here are the results.


Step 13

Add a Color Balance adjusments layer to the scene. See the image for setting.


Result should be similar to this.

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