In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a desolate landscape photo manipulation using Adobe Photoshop.
First, we'll build the basic scene using a sky and a road images. Later, we'll add the cracks, the car, and the signs using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. After that, we'll add some birds and make the main light source. Finally, we'll use several adjustment layers to complete the final result.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. Build the Environment
Create a new 2000 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:
Open the sky image. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the sky only and drag this part into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V):
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and decrease the lightness:
On this layer mask, select a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to reveal the light at the bottom of the sky where we aim to add the main light source.
Open the road image. First use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) or any tools
you're familiar with to isolate the road from the background. Create a
new layer above the isolated road layer and set it as Clipping Mask.
Activate the Clone Tool (S) to remove the electric poles and small roads
on the sides, as well as the separating strip and any traces of the life
Hide the background layer and hit Control-Shift-Alt-E to merge the isolated road layer and the clone one into a new layer. Place it in the bottom of the working document and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). Rotate it a little using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) :
Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush with the opacity about 30-35% to make the edges of the landscape, especially the left, fade into the horizon. It aims to add some depth to the scene.
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) and bring the Saturation value down to -59:
Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the landscape.
2. Add the Cracks
Open the crack 1 image. Select the crack area only using the Rectangular
Marquee Tool and drag it onto the bottom of the road surface. Use Control-T to change its perspective to fit the
Change this layer mode to Overlay 100% and use a layer mask to remove the hard edges and blend the crack with the road:
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the road and change its lightness:
Add the crack 2 image to the right edge of the road and alter its mode to Overlay 100%:
Blend the crack with the road using a layer mask:
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation and Lightness values. The effect looks much better now.
Add the crack 3 image to the middle of the road. Duplicate it and move
the crack to the right edge a bit and make it larger as it's nearer the foreground than the first.
Change the mode of these layers to Overlay 100% and apply brushing on
their layer masks and make the
effect appear more subtle and natural.
Select the crack 3 layers and hit Control-G to make a group for them. Change this group mode to Overlay 100%. Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and change the Saturation and Lightness settings:
Add the crack 4 image as done with the other crack layers.
3. Add the Car
Open the car image. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select the car with the ground and move it to the middle of the road:
Add a mask to this layer and hide most of the ground:
Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the car. We aim to add the light to the left horizon, below the dark clouds, so on this layer mask, paint on the front of the car to reveal the light there:
Make a new layer above the car one and use a medium-soft black brush to paint a long shadow for the car. The nearer the car, the darker the shadow.
4. Add the Signs
Open the sign 1 image and isolate it from the background. Add it to the right side of the road:
Go to Edit > Puppet Warp and make the right of the sign board twisted by moving the points there. Move the higher point down and the lower point up.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the sign. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to reveal the light on the curve of the board and the iron sticks.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -33:
Add the sign 2 after cutting it out from the background. Place it on the left of the grassy edge after flipping it horizontally.
Create a new layer and use the Clone Tool to erase most of the letters on the sign board. Leave some letters visible and blur some to increase its old, abandoned effect.
Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to -78:
Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the sign. Paint on the top front and the iron stick so that they're not affected by this adjustment layer.
To make a shadow for this sign, make a new layer under the sign one and use a medium-soft black brush to paint on the left edge of the grassy ground. Lower the opacity of this layer to 50%:
5. Add the Birds
This step is quite easy. Create
several layers on top of the layers and change the foreground to black.
Choose the bird brushes and paint some flying birds on the horizon.
6. Create the Light
Make a new layer and use a soft brush with the color
#231201 to paint on
the horizon. Change this layer mode to Linear Dodge 100%:
Make another layer and alter its mode to Overlay 100%. Use a soft brush
with the color
#e69c61 to paint on the light area and the signs.
Create a new layer and use a lighter brush color (
#fff7d6) to paint
highlight on the horizon, road and the sign 1. Change this layer mode to
Continue using the same brush to make the highlight on the horizon stronger. The layer mode is Overlay 100% again.
7. The Final Adjustment
Create a Color Fill layer on top of the layers and pick the color
#3b1915. Change this layer mode to Exclusion 100%.
Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:
Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color
Add a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the scene. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to paint over the picture except both edges to make them darker after this step.
Use a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect:
Congratulations, You're Done!
I hope that you've enjoyed my tutorial and learned something new. Feel free to share your ideas or comments in the box below—I'd love to see them. Enjoy Photoshopping!