In this tutorial we are going to create a fantasy scene where flying ships arrive for refuelling and a passenger will be waiting with his luggage for his transport to arrive at the Ship Stop.
With this tutorial we will cover some advanced topics of Matte Painting, Lighting, Creating custom brushes and much more interesting stuff related photo-manipulation.
Before we dive in we’ll need many resources and images. The list is below:
mountains 1, mountains 2, mountains 3, mountains 4, mountains 5, mountains 6, mountains 7, mountains 8, mountains 9, mountain trees, snow ground, winter tree, birds brushes, ship, model, light house, ship 2, ship 3, balloon, radio tower, refinery, worker 1, worker 2, worker 3, worker 4, worker 5, worker 6, pipes, crane, sign board, clouds brushes 1, clouds brushes 2, clouds brushes 3, small boat, luggage
Open a new canvas in Photoshop with the dimensions Width=2560px and Height=1440px.
Now using the Brush Tool Sketch a rough outline of the concept. Once the sketching is done it would become easy for us to list out the properties required for the scene.
We will start creating the scene from the mountains.
The most important principle that we have to consider while doing this step is the Lighting. In this scene we will assume that the light is casting from the left side.
Import the image of the first mountain and place it on the left side of the canvas as shown. Then similarly import multiple images of the Snow Mountains and place them as shown. To merge them together erase the edges using the Soft Eraser.
In this step we are going to create the sky for the scene.
Import the image of the sky with distant mountains onto the canvas and place it as shown behind the previously created mountains. Then duplicate the sky image and place it side by side as shown to get a natural looking sky.
In this step we are going to create a ground covered with snow on which our character will be standing.
Cut the image of the snow covered land and import it onto the working canvas and place it as shown. Now duplicate the image and move it to the either side to complete the ground.
As we can see that the color of the ground doesn’t match with the color of the environment, hence we are going to color correct the ground in this step.
Merge the ground layer together before color starting the color correction process.
With the ground layer selected go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to -46. Now by using the Curves set the RGB Curves as shown to Blend with the environment. Using the Brightness/Contrast Increase the Brightness of the ground to 23 and set the Contrast to 17.
This is the most important step where it requires maximum concentration to achieve the desired output.
Zoom in to the area where we want to create a uniquely shaped mountain that matches our fantasy scene. To create the hill in the shape we designed, cut different areas of the original snow mountains and arrange the layer in the desired shape using the Move Tool (V). The below image shows the procedural steps of the process.
In this step we will be creating the inner side of the mountain, which doesn’t receive direct sunlight. Cut the inner side of the original mountain into a separate layer and transform it into the desired shape using the Move Tool (V).
Then by using the Lasso Tool (L) cut the layer as per the design we sketched. Similarly following the previous steps complete the rest of the hill.
As we are creating a fantasy scene where ships float in the air, we need to create a lighthouse that directs the ships.
Cut the image of the lighthouse from the original image using the Magic Wand Tool (W). As we can observe the light focus on the lighthouse is in the opposite direction with the light in our scene. Hence flip the lighthouse Horizontally using the Move Tool and scale down the size of the lighthouse to make it appear as if it is resting on the top of the hill.
A lighthouse is never complete without the light, hence in this step we are going to create a lens flare to illuminate the light from the lighthouse.
Import the image of the lens flare onto the working canvas and place it on the lighthouse and set the Blending Mode of the layer to Screen.
In this step we are going to convert a normal wind sail ship into a flying fantasy ship.
Create a mask around the ship using the Magic Wand Tool and separate it into a new layer. We don’t require the ship to very long. Hence cut the rear part of the ship and move it towards the right as shown. Since this ship floats in the air we need to create a tail for navigating purpose.
Select a mask in the shape of the rear wind screen and duplicate it into a new layer and flip it vertically and place it as shown. Then erase the mast pointing down wards.
In this step we are going to create the base for the ship. Using the Brush Tool paint the blue colored strip at the bottom of the ship as shown. Then paint the small flipper which every sail has.
1) Now import the ship onto the working canvas and place it as shown.
2) Since it is located far from the scene it should appear a bit blurred. Hence we need to add a Gaussian Blur of Radius=0.5px to the ship.
In this step we are going to create a re-fuel station floating in the mid air where all the ships come for refuelling with gas. Mask out the fuel tanks from the original image and import it on to the working canvas and place it as shown.
In this step we are going to give the re-fuel station a proper station and make it fit the prospective of the scene.
Erase the side grill and the unwanted rods at the bottom. In this step we will be creating a base for the black fuel tank. Cut a part of the black fuel tank in semi-circle shape using the Pen Tool (P).
Then place the semi-circle shape at the bottom of the tank as shown. Now cut the conical base of the white tank and place it as shown to represent the base of the rear tank, which we previously erased to remove the unwanted rods.
As we can see that the pipe in the bottom seems to end nowhere. Hence we are going to extend the pipe and join the end to the bottom of the black fuel tank.
Select a mask in the shape of the pipe using the Pen Tool (P) and separate the selection into a new layer and place it as shown. Then repeat the procedure multiple times to complete the shape of the pipe.
Now by using the soft brush paint the shadow on the end, which we created.
In this step we are going to create a light glow effect on the front fuel tank. Create a mask in the shape of the tank using the Pen Tool (P), then by using the soft brush paint the sun shine with white color on the tank as shown.
In this step we will be creating some random pipes on the white tank.
Mask out the image of the pipes and the round grill into a new layer and import it on to the working canvas and place the pipes on the white tank as shown.
Duplicate the pipes layer and convert the layer into silhouette using the Levels. Then place the silhouette layer under the main pipes layer and move it slightly towards the right to match the shadow to the direction of the sun light.
Then add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 1.2px to the shadow layer. Then lower the Opacity of the shadow layer to 71%.
Since the Re-fuel station is located in the mid air we need to create a radio receiver through which the station get the data and the information of the traffic. Mask out the radio tower from the image and import it on to the working canvas and place it at the bottom of the Fuel Station as shown.
In this step we will be creating the indicator light at the tip of the radio receiver.
Place the image of the lens flare on the tip of the radio receiver and change the color of the lens flare to red color by changing the Saturation level to 88 using the Hue/Saturation. Then change the Blending Mode of the layer to Screen.
A fuel station is never complete without the workers working on it. Hence we are going to add some workers working on the fuel station.
Cut the image of the worker from the original image and import it on to the working canvas and place him on the fuel station as shown. Similarly add few more workers working on the fuel station.
In this step we are going to create a worker operating the crane to inspect the hot air balloon. (Hot air balloon will be added in the step20.).
Mask out the image of the crane and place it on the fuel station as shown. Then mask out the crane operator using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and place it at the end of the crane as shown.
1) Merge all the layers of the work station and the workers and color correct the whole work station using the Curves to blend with the environment we are creating.
2) Since the fuel station is situated far from the scene we need to add a Gaussian Blur of Radius=0.5px.
In this step we are going to create the hot air balloon that keeps the fuel station floating in the air.
Import the image of the hot air balloon and place it over the fuel station as shown. Now we need to color correct the balloon to blend with the environment.
With the balloon layer selected go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and set the Hue=196 and Saturation=12.
Now by using the Curves elevate the blue color and reduce the green and red curves.
Now again open the Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to -45.
Now by using the Exposure set the Exposure=0.14, Offset=0.0061 and Gamma Correction=1.16.
Now with the fuel station layer selected change the Exposure settings to Offset=0.0184 and Gamma Correction=1.00.
Using the Times New Roman font type “REFUEL” on the black fuel tank and reduce the Opacity=40%.
In this step we are going to create a man waiting by the Stop waiting with his luggage for the ship to arrive.
Import the image of the man on to the canvas and place him on the right side as shown.
Now create a shadow of the man casting on the ground as shown, to create a natural depth.
Now import the image of the luggage and place it near the man as shown and cut the base of the luggage as shown to make it look as if it is placed behind the small rocks covered with snow.
In this step we are going to add few tree branches covered with snow.
Also assume that these branches are located close to the scene, because this assumption will create a clear idea in mind while working on the Depth Of Field (DOF).
Cut the snow-covered branches from the image and place them on the working canvas as shown. Since we assumed that the branches are close to the scene we need to add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 2.4px.
We need to create more traffic to make the scene look busy with heavy air ship traffic. Hence using the Magic Wand Tool cut the image of the ship and place it on the right side bottom corner of the scene as shown.
In this step we are going to create a distant ship.
Usually when something is seen from a very long distance the object seems to be dissolved with the color of the surroundings.
Import the image of the ship and minimize it and place it behind the hills as shown. Then select a mask around the ship and fill in the color #a2c8dd, then reduce the Opacity of the layer to 65%.
Now add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 0.7px to the ship to maintain the DOF.
Now by using the Cloud brush paint few clouds in the scene to make it look like the scene is shot in a high altitude.
Now paint some birds flying by the mountains and the balloon as shown.
In this step we are going to create a signboard. Since the mode of transport here are the flying ships we will name the signboard as “SHIP STOP”.
Import the image of the signboard and place it as shown on the working canvas. Now to create some rugged surface near the base of the signboard cut the stones covered with snow from the land layer and place it by the base of the signboard as shown. Now by using the Times New Roman font type “SHIP STOP” using orange color.
In this step we are going to create some snow flying by the scene. For this we are going to create our own custom brush for the snow.
First select soft round brush of size 18. Then open the Brush properties and change the settings as shown.
Then paint some snow as shown using the white color.
Then add a Motion Blur with Angle= -11 and Distance=33px to illustrate the motion of the snow particles.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.