Learn how to create a fantasy landscape matte painting named “Bridge to Mountains”. In this tutorial you’ll learn how you can combine different stock images into a cohesive scene. You’ll also learn how to manage color and atmosphere to achieve a beautiful and colorful result. Follow the tutorial and find out more to enhance your photo manipulation skills.
Preparing a Background for Fantasy Matte Painting
Create a new document in Photoshop by selecting File > New and use the following settings. Feel free to choose your own setting but make sure it should be wider enough for the scene.
Place the mountain 1 image to the main document by selecting File > Place Embedded or Place . Keep the some space from top of the document.
Place the sky to the main document and place it under the mountain 1 layer. Use the Transform Tool (CTRL + T) to resize the sky as shown in the image below.
I also erased the mountain 1 layer so you can clearly see how I placed it.
Here are the results :
Now place the bridge image to the scene and place it above all layers.
Add a Layer Mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All) to bridge layer. Activate the Brush Tool (B) and set its opacity and flow about 30%. Use a soft round black brush to hide the selected sky part of bridge by painting on the layer mask with black color.
Results after masking :
Now select the mountain 1 layer and add a Layer Mask to it. Hide out the selected parts of mountain 1 layer using a soft round brush with the same setting as in the previous step. Don’t worry about the edges of mountains 1 layer and don’t make the selection (instead of this try to hide it using layer mask) of mountains 1 layer otherwise you’ll get sharp edges. Also, try to leave some parts of it for better blending and later we’ll blend them using Adjustment Layers .
Now add the mountain 2 image to the main document and place it below the bridge layer but above the mountain 1 layer.
Add a Layer Mask to mountain 2 layer and use the layer mask to hide out the selected parts of mountain 2.
Here is the process so far.
Adjusting the Color of Landscape
It’s time to adjust the color of all manipulated images so far using Adjustment Layers . We’ll start with sky layer, so add Color Balance (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance) adjustment layer to sky and only change the values of Midtones .
Results with added Magenta Tones to sky.
Select the mountain 1 layer and add a Color Balance and Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to it as clipping mask (press the red button for clipping mask).
Here are the results with matched colors of mountain 1 with the background.
Mountain 2 layer seems darker as compared to the background. To fix this, use a Curves adjustment layer for mountain 2 to increase the lightness and to add red color tones to it. Here are the values for Curves .
Add a Color Balance to mountain 2 to match its color with background. Only change the setting of Midtones .