Learn how to create a beautiful landscape matte painting in Photoshop. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how you can merge mountains stock images and also how you can blend them to make a perfect composition. This tutorial will also guide you about complex masking, creating realistic effects and using the adjustment layer in an effective way.

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

Now place the mountain 1 image to the main document by selecting File > Place or Place Embedded (Photoshop CC 2014).


Step 3

Place the mountain 2 image to the main document and then move it under the mountain 1 layer.


Step 4

Add a layer mask to the mountain 1 layer by clicking on the second button on layer panel or select Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Use a soft round black brush with opacity and flow about 30% (recommended setting when masking an image) to mask the selected part of mountain 1 layer. Have some patience while masking.


Here are the results.


Step 5

As you can see that hiding the mountains 1 layer, we’ve blended the mountain 2 layer to the scene. But if you notice that right side tree parts of mountain 1 layer are incomplete. We need to fix it, to do this duplicate the mountain 1 layer (delete the existing layer mask) then move it a little bit above as shown in the below image so the tree parts of duplicated mountain 1 go over the original mountain 1 layer.


The goal behind duplicating the mountain 1 layer is to keep the tree parts of it. To hide the unwanted parts, add a layer mask to it. Activate the brush tool by pressing (B) on the keyboard and set it’s opacity and flow to 30%.


Then using a soft round black brush, hide all the parts except the selected tree parts as shown in the image above.


As you can see the tree parts are fixed.

Adding the Sky

Step 6

Now add the sky to the scene. Place the sky image under the mountain 2 layer.


To reveal the sky layer, we need to hide the parts of mountain 2 layer. So add a layer mask to mountain 2 layer and start hiding red
area of mountain 2 layer using soft round black brush.

Here are the results on layer mask.


You may notice that I’ve also erased the hard edges and also other parts of mountain 2 using very low opacity about 10% to 20%. I’ve done this deliberately because that will help me to blend the mountain 2 image with sky without getting any hard or sharp edges.

Otherwise, you’ll get sharp edges for mountain and anybody don’t want that. So whenever got a situation like this try hiding the mountain parts using very low opacity to soften edges of any mountains images. For those who are not good in masking, they can use the Blur tool to soften the edges. Here are the results with proper blending.


Step 7

Add a Curves adjustment layer ( go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) to the sky to lower the brightness of the sky. Reduce the opacity of Curves to 50%.


Step 8

Create a new layer by pressing (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + N) on keyboard and name it ‘Light 1’. Change your foreground color to #9d5530 and paint some lights on the sky parts using soft round brush tool.


Change the blend mode of light 1 layer to Linear Dodge and here are the results.


Step 9

Create a new layer again and name it ‘Light 2’. Using the same color in the previous step, make a stroke (use brush size around 1100 pixels) as shown in the image below.


Change the blend mode of ‘Light 2’ layer to Color Dodge. Here are the results.



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