Learn how to create a dark, eerie forest scene in Photoshop. In this tutorial you’ll learn how you can create a dark, eerie and ominous forest. You’ll learn how subtle changes can make big differences in photo manipulation. You’ll also learn how to use adjustments layer, practice dodge & burn, using a layer mask, creating light effects and much more.

Tutorial Resources

Preparing the Background

Step 1

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


Step 2

Place the forest image to the main document by selecting File > Place and then place the forest image.


Step 3

Since we’re working on a dark photo manipulation, so obviously we should decrease the lightness of forest. To achieve this, add a Curves (select Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) and then reduce the lightness of forest. Here are the values.


Here are the results with decreased lightness.


Step 4

Now we’ll add dark blue tones to the forest using adjustment layers.
Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and choose the Cooling Filter (82) to add cool blue tones. You can also increase the density according to your needs but don’t increase it too much.


Here are the results.


Step 5

Continue adding colors to forest by using Color Balance adjustment layer. Only change the midtones and highlights value and here the values for Color Balance.


Results :


Creating Light Effects

Step 6

Now we’ll create light effects for the scene to make more focus at the middle of the forest. Create a new layer by pressing (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + N ) and name it ‘Light 1’. Change your foreground color to #134850 and activate the Brush tool by pressing (B) on the keyboard. Use a soft round brush to make a stroke as shown in the image below.


Change the blend mode of ‘Light 1’ layer to Linear Dodge and reduce the opacity to 71% (as always reducing the opacity depends on you as how much light you want to add).


Create more Focus

Step 7

We’ll create more focus at the center of the scene using a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layers. First add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and set the value as shown in the image below.


Here are the results.


Step 8

Make the center of the forest more brightner by hiding the Brightness/Contrast effect on the center.
So, on the Layer Mask of Brightness/Contrast hide the selected effect using soft round black brush. Here are the results on layer mask.


Here is the instruction where you should hide the effect.




Adding Model

Step 9

Isolate the model from its background using the selection tool and then place it into the main document. Take your time while making a selection and it took me 30 minutes to extract the model. Most difficult parts are chain parts so take your time and make the selection properly.

Here we have the model placed on the scene.


Step 10

Now we’ll adjust the color of the model with the background. First I reduced the yellow color from the model skin using Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Here are the setting and choose yellow colors on the Master drop down list then reduce the saturation to -100. Here are the results.


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