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

As I already said before it's all about making small changes that produce believable results.

Step 15 - Adding Details to Clouds

Right now there is very few details on the clouds and therefore they look quite uninteresting. To fix that grab the second photo of sky listed in the beginning of the tutorial and place it on the top of all layers and name it DETAILS IN SKY. Press Ctrl+T on your keyboard and resize on proper size. Press Enter. Right now the sky should look like the one below.


To blend the layer properly with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Soft Light and lower its Opacity on about 80%.


To blend the edges of this layer even better add layer mask. Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some soft round brush, set the Opacity on about 80% and pick black color. Then paint over the edges of this layer.


Step 16 - Adding Light Beam

In this step you'll add the main light source of the whole image - light beam coming from sky down on the man.

Add new empty layer on the top of all layers and name it LIGHT BEAM. Grab the Line Tool (U). Set the Weight on about 40px and pick some very light cyan color.


Draw the line coming from the upper right corner down on the man similarly as on the following picture.


Doesn't look like light, does it? :) To fix it go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the value Radius on 40 pixels. Press OK.


There is another problem - right now it looks like light is coming from somewhere above the sky which doesn't make sense. To make it realistic looking add layer mask to LIGHT BEAM. Drag the Brush Tool (B), set the Opacity on 40% and pick black color. Paint over the clouds to make that part of light disappear. On the following picture you see where to paint with black. It's highlighted with red color.


Step 17 - Adding Vignette

To create more depth you'll add one more vignette in this step.

Grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and select the central part of the image. You want to have smooth transition between dark edges and the rest of the images. To achieve that you need to feather the selection. Go to Selection>Modify>Feather or press Shift+F6 to activate the tool. Set the Feather Radius on 50 pixels and press OK.


Invert the selection by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I on your keyboard or go to Select>Inverse.

Now add new adjustment layer Levels on the top of all layers and set the Adjustment Levels on 0; 0,80; 255.


Thanks to active mask only edges of the photo manipulations are darker.

On the following picture you can see how you photo manipulation should look like.


Step 18 - Sharpening

Only one last step remains - sharpening. It helps to add couple more details to the image.

Press Ctrl+A on your keyboard to select the whole picture. Go to Edit>Copy Merged or press Ctrl+Shift+C on your keyboard to copy merged image (=not only the active layer but all the layers you're working with). Then go to Edit>Paste or press Ctrl+V to paste merged image. Place this new layer on the top of all layers and name it SHARPENING.

Go to Filter>Other>High Pass and set the value Radius on 0,5 pixels.


After pressing OK you should see grey image where only gentle edges of the picture are visible.

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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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