Create a Scenic Matte Painting in Photoshop
In today’s premium tutorial we will learn how to use matte painting techniques to create a beautiful landscape from several stock photos using Photoshop. Let’s get started!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.
Create a new document, 1920 x 1200px at 72 dpi. Download the Sky image and place it on the canvas as shown below.
Now, burn the right side of the sky as shown below. Use the dodge tool on a low opacity to add a light source on the left.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance and apply the following settings.
Create a new layer and use the clone tool to add some water in the bottom-right area as shown in the selection below.
Add a Curves and Color Balance Adjustment (Layer > New Adjustment Layer), then go to the adjustment layers, right-click and choose "create clipping mask," so they will be applied only to the layer they are a clipping mask of.
In a new layer, paint in two boats, to add some detail.
Create a new layer and add this stock image as shown below. Extract it as shown below. I used a small eraser brush and placed it in the water.
Now apply a Levels (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels), Color Balance (Layer > New Adjustment Layer >Color Balance), and Brightness/Contrast (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast) Adjustment. Then use the dodge tool to softly highlight the left areas of the rock to add some light.
Create a new layer and use a Cloud Brush to paint in front of the mountains we just created.
Choose a hard brush and paint some lines as shown below on a new layer.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and adjust the settings until you have a result similar to that as shown below.
Grab this stock image, cut out an area as shown below and place it as shown. Then use the dodge and burn tools to add some shading.
Now apply a Levels, Color Balance, and Selective Color Adjustment as shown below.
Paint in some clouds again as shown to cover part of the mountain.
Download this stock image, extract it, and place it on your canvas, as shown. Use the dodge and burn tool to add some shading as shown.
Now apply the following adjustments.
Paint some new clouds on a new layer on the bottom-left.
Cut out the forest texture and place it into the image as shown. Burn the right side.
Apply the following adjustments to the forest texture.
Create a new layer, paint it with a green similar to the water's color, right click on layer and create a clipping mask, reduce the layer's opacity at 50%.
Now add some adjustments without using clipping masks, this means they will be applied to all layers below them. Here we used a Photo Filter, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Gradient Map, and Color Balance. Set the Gradient Map’s layer blending mode to soft light with an opacity of 87%.
Select all the adjustments by Cmd/Ctrl + Clicking on each one of them, right click after you selected them and choose "create group," rename it "adjustments,” click on it and reduce its opacity at 46%.
Let’s create some other adjustments over the group, use the following settings. Use Curves and Vibrance.
Make a new layer and choose Image > Apply Image, use Cmd/Ctrl + T and change the perspective as shown.
Use the clone tool again to fill in the empty areas, as shown.
Download this image and place it on the big mountain, erase the bottom part with a soft small brush so it will look like it's covered by plants.
Apply the following adjustments and use the dodge tool to apply highlights to the area as shown.
Download this image and add birds to the upper part of the nearest mountain.
Add more clouds in front of the mountains as shown.
Create a new layer, go to Image > Apply Image and burn the red selected parts of the water.
Make a selection with the rectangular selection tool, create a new layer and fill it with black or a dark blue.
Use curves to create a softer atmosphere (no clipping mask, we want to apply it to all layers).