In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create a fantasy photo manipulation featuring a wonderland with giant mushrooms and butterflies. First, we'll build the base scene using a sky and ground images. Later, we'll add the trees, road, castle and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. After that, we'll add the model, mushrooms, and butterflies. We'll use several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.
Create a new 2000x1333 px document and fill it with white. Open the ground image and use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to isolate the mossy green and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Place it in the bottom half of the canvas and convert it to a Smart Object.
Duplicate this layer and set it below the first one. Move it to the right and use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to distort this part as shown below.
On each of the ground layers, click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to these layers. Activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a hard round one with black color. Use this brush to erase some of details of the ground .
On the first ground layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 6 px. On the filter mask, use a soft black brush to erase the softness on the background and midground, leaving the blur effect visible on the foreground.
On each of the ground layers, make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill it with 50% gray.
Activate the Dodge Tool (O with Midtones Range, Exposure about 20-25% to brighten the details on the contour of the ground parts to fit the light on the background (we'll add it in the next steps). You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.
Select the ground layers and the dodge ones and hit Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change the group mode to Normal 100% and on top of the layers within this group, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and decrease the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the dark effect on the right of the background and midground to reveal the lightness there.
Open the road image and use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to take the road part only and place it above the ground. Flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) and move it to the right of the ground. Use Ctrl+T to transform the road part a bit.
Add a mask to this layer and use a hard black brush to remove the hard part of the bottom of the road and leave the top visible on the right, also use a medium-hard brush to blend the road with the ground.
The road looks too dark compared with the background so create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten it. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the highlight on top of the road so it won't become too bright.
Make another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the part near the middle section of the ground a bit. On the layer mask , paint on the rest so it won't be affected by this adjustment layer.