Photo ManipulationPhotoshop Tutorials

How to Create a Sci-Fi Lighting Scene with Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a sci-fi lighting scene . First we’ll create the base scene using a desert image and a space background. After that, we’ll import the hole and use several ways to make the light. Later, we’ll add the man and enhance the light effect to complete the final result. 

Preview of the Final Result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 1500×1200 px document in Phottoshop and fill it with white. Open the ground image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).

Step 2

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer .  Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to select the sky area and on this layer mask, turn the foreground to white.  Click Delete to remove the sky and reveal the white background.

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and set it as Clipping Mask . Bring the Saturation values down to -90.

Step 4

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) and change the Midtones settings to give the ground some blue/cyan .

Step 5

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the ground. On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a soft round one with black color to erase the midground and foreground to keep its lightness as we aim to add the main light there.

Step 6

Place the space background in the white canvas and set this layer below the ground one. There is an unwanted light area on the lower right of the background. To fix it, duplicate this layer and move it to the indicated area. Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges around and cover the indicated light part. 

Step 7

Make a new layer and activate the Clone Tool (S) and use this brush to hide the light detail on the top middle as it will affect the main light effect on this place (we’ll see in the next steps). 

Step 8

Select the space and cloning layers and hit Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change the group’s mode to Normal 100% and make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the background. Bring the Saturation values down to maximum.

Step 9

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the background layer. Alter the Midtones settings:

Step 10

Add a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the left side of the background. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the right to keep its lightness.

Step 11

Open the hole image and use the Quick Selection Tool (W) to take the fountain to place it in the midground. Add a mask to this layer to erase the bottom of the fountain and leave the surface visible only. 

Step 12

Make a new layer below the hole one and use a soft black brush to paint shadow for the hole. Use a layer mask if needed to remove any unwanted details. 

Step 13

Create a new layer above the hole one (set as Clipping Mask) and use the Clone Tool (S) to remove the unwanted detail below:

Step 14

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the part inside the hole. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the dark effect on the surface of the ground. 
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