Dark, Emotional Deer Photo Manipulation

Learn how to create a dark, emotional deer photo manipulation in Photoshop. In this tutorial you’ll learn how you can combine different stock images into a cohesive scene to create a magical and emotional forest scene for deer. You’ll also learn how you can practice adjustments layers, masking, creating light effects and shadows and much more.

Note: I am using Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 for this tutorial but you can use any version of Photoshop to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Setting up the Background

Step 1

Start by creating a new document by selecting File > New and set the setting as shown in the image below.


Step 2

Place the forest image to the main document by selecting File > Place Embedded or Place and then place it into the main document. Also, resize it a little bit so it resembles to below image.


Step 3

If you’ve read my Photoshop Filters tutorial then you’ll probably remember that I’ve said Gaussian Blur filter is also used to add depth to photos. We are accomplishing it right now by adding depth to forest image. To do this, convert the forest image into a smart object (right-click on it and choose to Convert to Smart Object) and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the radius value as shown in the image below.


Step 4

Activate the Brush tool by pressing (B) on the keyboard. Choose a soft round black brush. Set it’s opacity and flow about 30% then start hiding the selected effect by painting on the layer mask of Gaussian Blur filter.


Here we’ve depth added to the scene.


Step 5

Make a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment layers > Brightness/Contrast) to forest image as clipping mask (red one) to reduce brightness of forest.


Step 6

Use a Color Balance adjustment layer to add some blue tones to the forest.


Here are the results.


Step 7

Use the Selective Color adjustment layer to reduce yellow tones from the forest.


Here are the results.


Adding the Nebula

Step 8

Add the nebula image to the scene and resize it as shown in the image below so it can cover the entire canvas.


Set the blend mode of Nebula image to Screen and reduce the opacity to 33%. Here are the results and as you can see by adding the nebula image we’ve little bit magical effect added to the scene.


Step 9

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to match the color of nebula to the rest of the background.



  1. i got so many order from my clients to manipulate images like that, But unfortunately I had to cancel their cancel their order because I wasn’t much expert in this work. But this tutorial was really very helpful to learn this properly. Thanks a lot for an awesome tutorial like this.

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