In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a winter rural scene.
First we'll build the base scene using a sky image and two landscape images. After that we'll add the trees, fence and wagon and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes.
Later we'll paint the snow and mist, and we'll also import the crows. We'll use several adjustment layers and enhance the depth of the whole scene using a Gaussian Blur filter to complete the final effect.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
- Landscape 1
- Landscape 2
- Crow 1
- Crow 2
- Crow 3
- Crow 4
- Snow brushes by Obsidian Dawn
1. How to Build the Base Scene
Create a new 2000 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:
Open the sky image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).
Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to flip the sky to fit the light source. We're aiming to add the light from right to left (as you'll see in the next steps).
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and reduce the Saturation value to -16:
Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the sky a little. On the Curves layer mask, select a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to erase the effect on the right edge.
Open the landscape 1 image. Place this image over the canvas and flip it horizontally to fit the light source.
Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove the trees on the horizon and reveal the sky.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set it as a Clipping Mask. Bring the Saturation value down to -52:
Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings.
Use a Curves adjustment layer to increase the lightness and lighten the hard shadow of the ground a bit.
Import the landscape 2 image in our main document. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to rotate the landscape to match the horizon's perspective with the existing one.
a layer mask to remove its sky and blend the landscape with the
existing one. Lower the brush's opacity when brushing over the ground to keep the details of the landscape 2 image.
The second landscape has some unwanted details such as traces and trees. Make a new layer (set as Clipping Mask) and activate the Clone Tool (S). Use this tool to remove the indicated details.
Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to match the color of the landscape 2 image with the first one. Alter the Midtones settings.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to increase the light for landscape 2. Paint along the horizon's area so it will not be too bright.
2. How to Add the Trees
Open the tree images. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the trees and mountain and place them on the horizon. Place this layer under the landscape ones.
Use a layer mask to blend this part with the existing background. You
can lower the brush opacity while painting over the trees and mountain so they appear to fade into the sky.
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the mountain a little. Decrease the Saturation to -15:
Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten this area. Use a soft black brush to paint over the upper and left sections to make them blend well with the sky.
3. How to Add the Fences
Open the fence image. Cut out the fence using the Polygonal Lasso Tool and place it on the left of the landscape. You must be quite patient to remove all of the background, but it will be helpful for the next steps. Use Control-T to change the perspective of the fence to fit the landscape and create depth of field.
Duplicate this layer and flip it horizontally. Change its perspective using Control-T.
To make a shadow for the right fence, hold Control and click the fence thumbnail layer to load its selection.
Fill this selection with a similar color of the ground's shadow
#8096b7). Flip it vertically and use Control-T to change its form.
Lower the Opacity to 60% and apply a Gaussian Blur of 1.5 px (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).
The shadow does not really match the fence, especially the bars. To fix
it, go to Edit > Puppet Warp and add points for the bottom of the
bars. Drag the points to fit the bottom of the bars.
Make a shadow for the left fence using the same technique, but choose a
darker color as it will be in the darker area (
#6980a4), so it would be more
Select the fence layers and press Control-G to make a group for them. Change this group mode to Normal 100%. Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the fences. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the right of the left fence and the left of the right fence, the parts which are exposed under the light.
Make a new layer above the right fence layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray.
Select the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range and Exposure about 20-25% to brighten the left and darken the right of the right fence. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.
4. How to Import the Wagon
Isolate the wagon from the background and place it in the middle section between the fences.
Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -82:
Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings:
The wagon looks too dark, so create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten it. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the details hidden from the light and add some necessary shadows on the wagon.
new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use
the Dodge and Burn Tool to increase the light on the wagon and the
goods inside it.
Make a shadow for the wagon as we did with the fences.
Create a new layer and use a medium-soft brush with the color
paint shadow for the falling tongue of the wagon and strengthen the
shadow under its body. Change this layer mode to Multiply 60%.
5. How to Paint the Snow
Make a new layer on top of the layers and activate the snow brushes.
Change the foreground to
#e8edf7 and select the one numbered 2000 to make spots on the picture.
Use a layer mask to reduce the snow's intensity.
Create a new layer and select a small hard brush with the same color. Use this brush to spot randomly over the scene to make plenty of big snowflakes. Apply masking on some snowflakes to make them fade into the background—it helps to increase the realism and the depth of field.
6. How to Add the Crows
Isolate the crow 1 and add it above one bar of the right fence towards the wagon.
Make its shadow on the ground in the same way as we did with the other elements.
Use a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings:
Add a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the lower left of the crow, which should not be too bright.
other crows in the sky area. To make them blend better with the
background, lower the opacity of the left one to 40%, the right to 30%, and the middle to 20%.
7. How to Make the Final Adjustments
Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color
#c7d0de and Opacity about 20-25% to paint some mist on the trees and bushes. Use a
layer mask if needed to fix any parts that are overdone. You can see the scene before and after adding the mist.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to -36:
Add a Color Fill layer and pick the color
#3b1001. Change this layer mode to Exclusion 100%.
Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the scene, especially on the left. Paint on the right to reveal the light there.
Make another Curves adjustment layer to increase the scene's contrast. Apply masking to the following areas:
Use a Vibrance adjustment layer and increase the Vibrance value to 38:
This step is optional: Hit Control-Shift-Alt-E to merge all the current
layers into a new one and convert it to a Smart Object. Apply a Gaussian
Blur of 4 px to this layer.
On this filter mask, use a soft black brush to erase the blur effect on the midground where the wagon and crow are located. Leave the effect visible on the foreground and background to make the midground stand out more.
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!
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