In this comprehensive tutorial, I’ll show you how you can convert an ordinary forest into your own fantasy one. You’ll also learn how to achieve realistic light effects using basic to advanced lighting techniques. Moreover, this tutorial has extensive use of blend modes, layer masks, adjustments layers, and many more essential techniques in a great way. Read this tutorial and find out how easy it is!

What you’ll be creating

In this tutorial, we’ll start up by turning an ordinary forest into the fantasy one. Then the addition of the model takes place and you’ll learn how you can blend the model to your desired scene using blending techniques. We’ll also learn how to fix hair as well as taking care of minor details. After that, we’ll add a lamp to the scene and you’ll learn how to achieve the realistic light effect using basic to advanced lighting techniques. Finally, we’ll add more lighting effects and adjust the color of the whole scene. You’ll need Photoshop CS3 or newer to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Start by creating a new document by selecting File > New and then set the setting as shown in the image below or you can go for a higher setting if you want. step-001

Step 2

Now, place the forest image by selecting File > Place then select the forest image. step-002

Step 3

Now, add a layer mask to the forest layer by clicking the Add Layer Mask button (See the image below) in the layer panel at the bottom right corner. Activate the Gradient Tool by pressing (B) on the keyboard and choose a black to white linear gradient then holding the shift apply it vertically from top to bottom on the layer mask of the forest. You can see the overall result as well as on the layer mask.
step-003

Step 4

Now, place the nebula image below the forest layer as shown in the image below, and here are the results. step-004

Step 5

Now, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by clicking on the New Adjustment Layer button in layer palette (See the image below) and then set the setting as shown in the image to reduce the saturation of nebula image.
step-005

Step 6

Now, back to the forest layer and start coloring it with Photo Filter and Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Set the values as shown in the image below and don’t forget to clip it using a clipping mask (see the image below).
step-006
Here are the results.
step-006a

Step 7

On the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer mask I hided the selected part as shown in the image. You can see the overall as well as layer mask results. step-007 Here are the results so far.
step-007a

Step 8

Continue coloring the forest layer with the Color Balance Adjustment layer. Set the values as shown in the image below and I also changed the tone of shadow for Cyan/Red to 1 not too much just a bit.
step-008
Here are the results.
step-008a

Step 9

Now, add Gradient Map and Exposure Adjustment layer to the forest. Set the values as shown in the image below. step-009 On the layer mask of the Exposure Adjustment layer, I hid the selected part to darken the bottom right part (see the image) and I also changed the blend mode of the Gradient Map Adjustment layer to color dodge.
step-009a
Here are the result so far. step-009b

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