How to Create a Mountainous Matte Painting in Photoshop


I use soft black brush and paint on the left of a tree as it should get some light from sky:


Step 23

Open arch 1 stock. Take the part of the arch and place it at the middle part of mid rocks after converting it to Smart Object, flipping horizontally and transforming it using Cmd/Ctrl+T. I use layer mask to remove the sides of it and make it blended with the rocks:


Step 24

I use Hue/Saturation and Color Balance layers (Clipping Mask) to change color of this arch.



Step 25

Isolate ruin 1 and locate it at the top of the mid rocks. As usual, I convert it to Smart Object and downsize it to fit:



Step 26

I add three new adjustment layers (Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Curves) to change color and darken this ruin:


After darkening with Curves I use soft black brush to erase the left side as it gets more light than the right:


Step 27

Open ruin 2 stock. I take only the right part and place it on the top of mid rocks, beside the ruin 1 and remove the bottom with layer mask:



Step 28

To change color and brightness of this ruin, I use Hue/Saturation, Color Balance and Curves:


Erase the left side on Curves layer mask to make this brighter than the right:


Step 29

Do the same with ruin 3. I place it at the top left of mid rocks:




Step 30

Make a new layer with same settings in step 12. I use Burn Tool to darken the right side a little:


Step 31

I extract a part from arch 2 stock, convert to Smart Object and position it beside the ruin 3. I set this layer under ruin 3 one. Then I use Warp Tool to bend it as shown below and use layer mask to remove unwanted parts



Because it’s converted to Smart Object so you can tweak it freely without losing quality and even can turn it into original form later.

Create some adjustment layers for this arch:



Step 32

Create a new layer on the top. Change brush to mist ones and set foreground to #e9eded. I choose the brush below to paint at the bottom of our picture:


Lower opacity to 80% and use layer mask to reduce mist intensity between the rocks. You can see how I masked it on layer mask:



Duplicate this layer and lower opacity to 50%. Mask it to get the result below:


Step 33

Extract bottom right rock and add it to the right edge of foreground after making it as a Smart Object:


Use layer mask to remove a small tree on the top of this rock:


Step 34

I use two adjustment layers to revise color and darken this rock:






Step 35

To create some depth for our picture, on this rock layer, go to Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur and apply radius as 2,5 px:


Step 36

Extract tree 2 stock and put it into the hole of left rock:


Now use layer mask to remove its bottom and create a look of the tree growing from the hole:


I use Curves to darken the tree:


Step 37

Open tree 3 stock. Isolate the tree at the bottom right and position it at the bottom left of our main document and don’t forget to convert it to Smart Object:



Darken and change color of it with Curves and blur with Gaussian Blur filter (2,5 px):

20 thoughts on “How to Create a Mountainous Matte Painting in Photoshop”

  1. Очень замечательный урок!:) Делаю с огромным удовольствием!:) Правда остановился на 33 шаге, не могу сообразить где эта часть горы которую нужно вставить в правый угол на передний план. Уже измучился и не пойму как тут разобраться:) Просидел над этим куском горы уже весь день:)) Неужели тут придётся вырисовывать… так скажем проявить смекалку…)

    1. I don’t understand where have you found (seen) the steps in this tut.?
      sorry, but I can’t see them(
      hope you help me

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