In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a surreal scene featuring a crescent moon. First, we’ll build the background using three images of a sky, desert and mountains. Later, we’ll make the crescent moon and add some glow to it. After that, we’ll import the child and blend her with the background using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. We’ll use several adjustment layers and do some retouch to enhance the final effect.

Preview of the Final Result:

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 2000×1333 pxdocument in Photoshop and fill it with white or any colors you like. Open the sky image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) and place it in the upper half.

Step 2

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curvesand decrease the lightness.

Step 3

Open the desert image and place it over the canvasand use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T)to resize it to fit the size of the document.

Step 4

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Hit Bto activate the Brush Tool and select a soft round one with black color to remove the sky and the hard edges of the horizon.

Step 5

Create a Hue/Saturationadjustment layer above the desert layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Bring the Saturationvalues down to -78:

Step 6

Make a Color Balanceadjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) and change the Midtonessettings:

Step 7

Add a Curves adjustment layer to darken the desert. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with the opacity about 20%to reduce the darkness on both sides and the soft brush with 100%opacity to paint on the middle section as we aim to add the moon and the main light there.

Step 8

Open the mountainimage and place it onto the main canvas and convert it to a Smart Object. Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove most of the ground and a part of the sky.

Step 9

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blurand set the radius to 6 px.On this filter mask, use a soft black brush to remove the blur effect on most of the background , leaving it visible on both sides of the ground only.

Step 10

Create a Curves adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to darken the background. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with a lowered opacity (about 5-10%)to reduce the dark effect on some parts of both sides and the mountains.

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