How to create a beutiful sunset landscape in Photoshop

In today’s Photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a beautiful landscape matte painting in Photoshop. You’ll learn how to achieve vibrant and relaxing scene of the sunset using basic and advanced photo manipulation techniques.

Tutorial Resources

Preparing Background

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 900 document in Photoshop.
Use the following settings or feel free to choose your own:

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Step 2

Place the sky image to main document. Go to File > Place Embedded and place the sky image.

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Add the coast image to the main document and place it as shown below. Use the Transform Tool (CTRL + T) to position it as shown below. The aim here is to add the mountain from coast stock and this will also help us to blend the bush parts of the landscape which we are going to place later, in this tutorial.

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Step 3

Add a mask to coast image by clicking on the second button at the bottom of layer panel or go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Activate the Brush Tool (B). Using a soft round black brush mask the selected parts as shown below.

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Results:

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Results with 200% zoom:

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You can notice that I didn’t mask the sky parts of the coast completely because we’ll blend them using an adjustment layer with the existing scene. Just try to leave soft sky part of the coast. For better masking lower the brush opacity to 30%-40%.

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer for coast and set it as Clipping Mask (press the red icon). To add an adjustment layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves or click the third icon at the bottom of layer panel. Now use the Red and Green channel to match the color with the background.

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Also, use the RGB channel to reduce the brightness.

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Results:

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Step 5

On the layer mask of Curves, mask the effect on the front parts of the coast and leave the dark effect on the back parts. Use a soft, basic brush to mask the effect and mask it on the highlighted parts as shown below.

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Results with more light on front parts:

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Step 6

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to coast and match the colors with existing background. Only alter the values of Midtones and Highlights.

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Results:

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Step 7

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of all layers and don’t clip it to any layer as I want to affect all layers below it. Use it with following settings and enhance the colors of the whole scene.

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I am aiming to add golden sunset colors tones to the scene but if you need different colors then simply alter the values according to your way.
Results:

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Layer panel arranged so far:

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Step 8

Place the landscape to main document as shown below.

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Step 9

Give a layer mask to landscape image. Using a soft round black brush mask the selected effect as shown below. Use the Brush Tool (B) with opacity around 30%-40% for better masking results. As I said earlier that coast mountain parts will help us to easily blend the bushes parts of the landscape. So there should be not the problem for masking the bushes or the right side of the landscape.

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As you can see we’ve decent masking results and you can notice that I blended right part of the landscape with mountains of the coast. So the aim of adding mountain is completed and we got our landscape blended with our background.

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Results on layer mask:

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Step 10

On the left side of the landscape, there is house and we need to clean up these details. Create a new layer by pressing (CTRL + Shift + N) and check the ‘use previous layer as clipping mask’.

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Activate the Clone Stamp Tool (S) and now start cloning the house by sampling the bushes parts.

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Results after cloning:

sunset10a

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