How to Turn an Ordinary Landscape into a Dramatic Moonscape

How to Turn an Ordinary Landscape into a Dramatic Moonscape
How to Turn an Ordinary Landscape into a Dramatic Moonscape

Create this dramatic moonscape in Photoshop! In this tutorial you’ll learn how to transform ordinary photo into a dramatic landscape by adding different light sources, creating depth and changing color schemes. Let’s get started.

Preview of Final Results


Tutorial Resources

Step 1 - Preparing Sky

Download all the images listed as Tutorial Resources. Create a new document in Photoshop and drag a photo of "sky 1" into it. Place it in the top left corner and name in LEFT SKY.

Note: I really recommend to name all the layers in your photo manipulations. It makes the orientation easier and quicker. You'll know once you have to work with 50+ layers!

Right click on LEFT SKY and duplicate the layer. Name the new layer RIGHT SKY and move it to the top right corner. You should get something similar to the picture below.


Now you need to blend these two layers together. Add a layer mask to RIGHT SKY. You can find the button "Add layer mask" on the bottom part of your Layers palette (if you don't see this palette simply press F7 on your keyboard and it will appear). You can see the button on the picture below.


Grab the Brush Tool (B), pick black color and set the Opacity on 100%. Make sure the layer mask is active - just click on it.


Paint over the left edge of RIGHT SKY with the black brush to blend the layers together.

Note: You can get similar effect with the Eraser Tool (E) by simply erasing all the necessary parts. But beauty of using layer masks lies in fact that the edit is nondestructive and you can always go back and adjust whatever you want. It's a good practice and made doing photo manipulations lot easier!

Step 2 - Adding Ground

Drag a photo of the ground into your new photo manipulation and place the layer on the top of all layers. Name this new layer GROUND and resize it if necessary.

As you can see there is no visible sky which you've added in previous step. You'll fix it by adding layer mask to the GROUND. The process is exactly the same as in the previous step.Grab the Brush Tool (B). Set its Hardness on 0%, Opacity on 100% and pick black color. Paint over the upper part where sky should be visible. On the picture below you can see what area I mean. It's highlighted with red color.


To add a bit magical atmosphere lower Opacity of you brush on about 35% and with black color gently paint over the mountains. Thanks to it it will look like they disappear in the thick clouds. You can get the idea of what I mean on the following picture: Paint over the areas highlighted with red color.


After this step your photo manipulation should be similar to the photo below.


Step 3 - Cleaning the Ground

There are some distracting elements on the ground and mountains. You'll get rid off them in this step. You can see them on the picture below.


Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it CLEANING. Grab the Stamp Tool (S) and start removing the unwanted objects. Use different cloning sources to avoid repetitive patter to get the most realistic result.

Note: You could start cloning on the GROUND layer directly. But if you add new empty layer above you'll always be able to change or hide anything on that layer. It's the same "non destructive" philosophy as using layer masks instead of the Eraser Tool (E).

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16 comments on “How to Turn an Ordinary Landscape into a Dramatic Moonscape”

  1. Las imagenes para poder seguir el tutorial son muy pequeñas

    The images to follow the tutorial are very small

  2. I every time spent my half an hour to read this website's
    articles daily along with a cup of coffee.

  3. Excellent site you have here.. It's hard to find good quality writing like yours these days.

    I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  4. please i need more of your tutorial to be sent to my email please am need of it i beg you in the name of god

  5. Very good! The technique is applicable to many arraignments I have and will be very useful! I believe this to be an art onto itself. For some very, very, strange reason, there are people, (like my sister-in-law), who believe this is “cheating”. I reply with “Cheating what?!”

    I am always left dumbfounded as to what people are thinking when they say something like that. I have asked them if they would own/hang the art if the place in question did exist and was photographed in one shutter release?

    They actually say they would!! So what part of “art” don’t they understand? Lol It’s very frustrating to argue such an obvious point but trust me when I say that there are people out there that are very confused when it comes to this kind of work.
    Thanks for the tip!

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