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:

sunset1

Step 2

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

sunset2

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.

sunset2a

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.

sunset3

Results:

sunset3a

Results with 200% zoom:

sunset3b

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.

sunset4

Also, use the RGB channel to reduce the brightness.

sunset4a

Results:

sunset4b

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.

sunset5

Results with more light on front parts:

sunset5a

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.

sunset6

Results:

sunset6a

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.

sunset7

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:

sunset7a

Layer panel arranged so far:

sunset7b

Step 8

Place the landscape to main document as shown below.

sunset8

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.

sunset9

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.

sunset9a

Results on layer mask:

sunset9b

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’.

sunset10

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

sunset10

Results after cloning:

sunset10a

Step 11

Add a Selective Color adjustment layer to landscape. Now reduce the yellow colors from the landscape using the following settings.

sunset11

Reduce the opacity to 76%.

sunset11a

Step 12

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the red colors from the landscape.

sunset12

Results:

sunset12a

Step 13

Add Color Balance adjustment layer and match the color with the rest of the background.

sunset13

Results:

sunset13a

Step 14

Isolate the tree from its background and place it at the top right corner.

sunset14

Step 15

Now we’ll turn the green colors of tree into yellow using Selective Color adjustment layer. So add a Selective Color adjustment layer to tree and use it with following settings :

sunset15

Reduce the opacity to 71%.

sunset15a

Step 16

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to tree. Now reduce the brightness by dragging the brightness slider down to -76.

sunset16

On the layer mask of Brightness/Contrast, hide the effect on the front parts to maintain light there and bring more shade to back parts. Use a soft round basic black brush for masking.

sunset17

Results:

sunset17a

Step 18

Continue coloring the tree using Color Balance adjustment layer.

sunset18

Results:

sunset18a

Layer panel arranged so fa :

sunset18b

Step 19

Extract the model from the background and don’t forget to leave some area around the dress. This will help us to blend the model with the landscape.

sunset19

Now add her to main document:

sunset19a

Step 20

Make a Curves adjustment layer for model. Increase the contrast using the following settings:

sunset20

Results:

sunset20a

Step 21

Mask the effect of Curves on the dress and keep it visible on the hair. Use a soft round black brush for masking. Mask the effect on the highlighted parts as shown below.

sunset21

Results:

sunset21a

Step 22

Make another Curves adjustment layer for model and reduce the brightness.

sunset22

On the layer mask of Curves, hide the effect on the front parts as shown below. Use a soft, basic black brush for masking.

sunset22a

Results:

sunset22b

Step 23

Continue coloring the model using Color Balance adjustment layer and match the color with background.

sunset23

Results:

sunset23a

Step 24

Create a new layer and paint some birds using birds brushes. Feel free to paint them wherever you want to.

sunset24

Step 25

Create new layer and name it ‘light’. Set your foreground color to #543619. Use a soft round brush to paint the light as shown below.

sunset25

Change the blending mode to Linear Dodge and reduce the opacity to 81%.

sunset25a

Final Adjustments

Step 26

It’s time for final adjustments. Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer (top of all layers) and use the Warming Filter (85) with density 25%.

sunset26

On the layer mask of Photo Filter, mask the effect on the highlighted middle parts of the background.

sunset26a

Results:

sunset26b

Step 27

Finally, make a Color Balance adjustment layer and colorize the whole scene using the following settings. I am aiming to achieve golden sunset effect.

sunset27

Results:

sunset27a

Layer panel arranged:

sunset27b

Conclusion

Thanks for following the tutorial. Hope you enjoyed and feel free to let me know if need any help. Have a great day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *