Design insights & tutorials.

Creating a Cloudy Dream Scene in Photoshop

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Sometimes real life can be boring so artists extend their imaginations and designs to extreme limits through dream scenes, fictional world, or surrealistic images. Today we’ll be creating a cloudy dream scene using Photoshop’s different tools and techniques.

Tutorial Details:

Program: Adobe Photoshop CS5

Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated Completion Time: 2 hours

Resources

Before we start, here are the stock images I used in creating the artwork. You can download the images for free. Just sign up to start downloading.

From CGtextures

Clouds

Rocky Mountain

Tower

Rock Arch

Final Image

Procedure

Step 1

To start our project, first create a file with a size of 1080×810 pixels. If you want to have a higher quality image, I recommend to increase the resolution up to 300ppi.

Step 2

Next, open the cloud.jpg and place it right in the centre of our workplace. The cloud.jpg image is a huge file so you should resize it just enough to occupy the same area of our image. You can do it by pressing Ctrl+T to activate the resizing handles. You can hold down the Shift key to resize the image without loosing its original proportions.

Step 3

Next, add a new layer just below the “cloud.jpg” layer and name it as “blue sky.” Now, by using the brush tool (B), set to a size of 175px and a hardness of 0%, brush the upper portions of our image with color #275488 going to a gradient, as shown below, of color #628eae.

Step 4

Next, go back to the “cloud.jpg” layer and erase the indicated areas shown in red below.

We did the previous processes to clear up the upper portions of our sky. The final effect should look like the one below.

Step 5

Next is to open the Tower.jpg. Then, by using the the Magic Wand tool (W), select the areas indicated in a . Next, click the Refine Edge button, b and follow the settings indicated in c then trace the outline of the tower.

Step 6

After refining the edges of the tower, place it somewhere in the center of the image. I erased some parts of the tower that I think are not important for the final effect.

Step 7

Next, a new layer. In this layer, using the Brush tool (B) set to a size of 45px and hardness of 0%, paint some grey (#262626) areas on the clouds just below the tower indicated by the arrows below. Make sure to activate the Tablet Pressure button and decrease the brush opacity to 64% prior to doing the shading.

Step 8

Next step is to add further shadings and highlights to the tower to enhance its depth. First use the Burn tool (O) with a soft brush to darken the areas indicated by the arrows in a. Then use the Dodge tool (O) with the same soft brush to lighten up the other side of the tower indicated by the arrows in b.

Step 9

Next step is to open the Rocky Mountain.jpg. Like what we did in Step 5, select the areas we don’t need by using the Magic Wand tool (W), a. Make sure to press the Shift key to add selections. Next press the Refine Edge button, b then, using the settings in c, trace the outline of the mountain. Finally, when your content with your selection, hit delete.

Step 10

Next is to add the waterfalls coming out of the rocky mountain. To do this, select the Brush tool (B) set to a size of 3px, hardness of 100% and opacity level of 100%, a. Make sure to activate the Tablet Pressure button prior to painting the falls. In painting the waterfalls, start with short lines rushing out of its source, b-1. Then, continue the process by painting longer lines that fades away at the buttom, b-2. Add more lines spiking out of the falls, b-3. Then finally, put some small amount of dots at the buttom of the falls to make an illusion of mist.

Step 11

Next, using the brush tool (B) set to a size of 20px and hardness of 7%, paint some shadings (Color #000000) on the areas indicated in red below.

Step 12

To add a misty and foggy effect at the buttom of the falls, use a soft brush, first in color #ffffff, set to an opacity of 46%, followed by color #000000 with an opacity of 15%.

Step 13

Next we’ll add the river flowing from the waterfalls down to “Earth.” Using a small brush, size 3-4px and hardness of 100%, follow the flow of the arrows indicated below. For the portion where the water is falling down to earth, use the same techniques we did in making the falls.

Step 14

Next we’ll add the “Energy Absorbing Cable” from the tower to the poor rocky mountain. To do this, use the Brush tool (B) set to a size of 3px and hardness of 100% and draw a thin simple line just like in a. Then add some highlights in the upper portions of the cable (Color #ffffff), b. Then add the primary vine creeping around the cable, c, followed by further detailing shown in d.

Step 15

Because we want to complete the “Old Natural” effect, we also added vines on some areas indicated below.

Step 16

Next open the RockArch.jpg. Press Ctrl+T to activate the resizing handles, a, then press right-click and select Flip Horizontal from the dropdown menu, b. Next, using the Magic Wand tool (W) select the areas shown in c. Next, use the Refine Edge button, just like what we did from the previous steps to further “refine” the selction then hit delete. Finally, adjust the color balance (Ctrl+B) to match the color tones of the final effect we want, d.

Step 17

Next, add a new layer and fill it with color #000000 using the Paint Bucket tool (G). Next, go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Finally change its Blend mode to overlay and decrease its opacity to 16%.

Step 18

As you can see we have to put something more in the tower to draw more attention to it. For this step, add a new layer and fill it with color #000000 using the Paint Bucket tool (G), a. Then go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare and follow the settings in b. After that change its Blend mode to Screen. The final effect is shown below, d.

Step 19

Next is to add more details to our image. First add a new layer and name it as “Bridge.” Now, using the Paint Brush tool (B), we’ll add a bridge connecting the tower and the rock arch. To do this, use a small brush with a size of 3-4px and hardness of 100% and make a Primary line for our bridge, a. Then add some shadings, making sure to follow the source of light, and add some more details. I added the railings for the bridge to add a realistic effect, b. Complete the effect with an “Old Nature” theme with the use of vines, c. I added further more details shown in d like the vines creeping across the rock and a small opening on the tower for the bridge.

Step 20

Next add a new layer and name it as Greenish tint and fill the entire selection with color #2d4a3f then change its Layer settings indicated in a. Next, add a new layer and name it as Sepia Tint and fill the entire selection with color #ad7a02 then change its Layer setting indicated in b. Finally, add another new layer and fill the entire selection with color #000000. Next go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and set it to 16%. Finally, change its Layer settings indicated in c.

Step 21

Next is to add the border shadings. To do this, add a new layer and name it as “Border” then using the paint Bucket tool (G) fill the entire layer with color #000000. Next, using the Eraser tool (E), erase the the areas indicated in red below. Finally, decrease its Opacity level to 20%.

Step 22

The next step is to add a blur effect to complete the “dream scene.” To do this, select all the layers in the Layers tab by Shift+clicking the first and last layers then press right-click and choose Merge Layers from the dropdown menu, a. After merging the layers, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and change its settings indicated in b.

Step 23

The last step is to erase the area indicated in red below using the Eraser tool (E) set to a size of 1000px and hardness of 0%.

Conclusion

That’s it, we’re done. The final product is shown below. Hope you had fun working on this project! Thanks for reading.

About the Author, PatrickLopez

Hi, my name is Patrick Lopez and I'm a freelance artist here in the Philippines. I have joined some online tutorials online like PSDtuts because I like to share and also learn new things about Photoshop.
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Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • http://www.otadesigns.com Hawaii Web Design

    Cool write up. Good to know the tricks of the trade ;]

  • http://www.otadesigns.com Hawaii Web Design

    Cool write up. Good to know the tricks of the trade ;]

  • http://simonh.me Simon H.

    Neat!

  • Simon

    Is there no end to your skill? This is superb, thanks :o)

  • http://www.childmonster.com Childmonster

    Well, i want to say it s really great.

  • http://twitter.com/pixelBender67 Tony Brown

    nice effect, I have to get down with the CS5 !

  • http://www.craigfordham.net Lisa Thomason

    Excellent tutorial, have just read it through, and will try it later, love the finished cloudy dream scene! LT

  • Afzaal

    superb post .. nice work ..

  • http://www.securityking.com Craig

    Great tutorial, Thanks for sharing and the resources that you provide are very useful too!

  • Mlanter

    Amazing job on this piece. I followed the steps almost directly to the ‘T’ but there were a few that I had to tiptoe around to get the results that I wanted. Excellent outcome though! Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.havalimanirentacar.com Rent A Car

    Wooww… Nicee work..

  • http://twitter.com/jaykiKK Jonathan Sing Key

    beautiful mate, thanks for all the amazing tutorials :)
    the tints are a bit harsh but unlike many other tuts, gomedia teaches you something beyond the final result and changes the way you see design

    Props

  • Jonna Lopez

    nice work…

  • http://www.oyunuoyna.org/ Oyunu Oyna

    superb post .. nice work ..

  • Tutorial Lounge

    beautiful result.

  • Larry Joyner

    Kick ass. even though im still working on it . I also know that your instructions are vague like the tower and the edge define tool . It took me 3 days to figure it out ,And known im looking for a water fall picture .. The over I’m learning so that’s a good thing. It also teaches me to go out and find pictures as well . Ty,

  • Info

    Amazing how you can turn an ugly building into a beautiful scene… great work

  • http://twitter.com/_spaceandtime Space & Time Design

    Amazing how you can turn an ugly building into a beautiful scene… great work

  • andy

    i like it….

  • clippingdesign

    Really eye-touching tutorial. Keep going. Thanks for sharing… :)

  • lig durumu

    Next is to add more details to our image. First add a new layer and name it as “Bridge.” Now, using the Paint Brush tool (B), we’ll add a bridge connecting the tower and the rock arch. To do this, use a small brush with a size of 3-4px and hardness of 100% and make a Primary line for our bridge, a. Then add some shadings, making sure to follow the source of light, and add some more details. I added the railings for the bridge to add a realistic effect, b. Complete the effect with an “Old Nature” theme with the use of vines, c. I added further more details shown in d like the vines creeping across the rock and a small opening on the tower for the bridge.

  • http://www.tutuneson.web.tr tütüne son

    Kick ass. even though im still working on it . I also know that your instructions are vague like the tower and the edge define tool . It took me 3 days to figure it out ,And known im looking for a water fall picture .. The over I’m learning so that’s a good thing. It also teaches me to go out and find pictures as well . Ty,

  • Anonymous

     This is a jaw dropping tutorial. From a simple tower to a magnificent view and structure. I love the waterfall from the rock flowing down.

  • Dustin

    Awesome. Thank you!!!

  • Dustin

    Awesome! I’ve finished this one and it is awesome! I never thought I would do anything this gorgeous but here I am! Thank you so very much!

  • lena

    cool , super,very well!!!