In this intermediate difficulty tutorial we will create a manipulation with some interesting effects of light and color to create a dramatic sunset that I hope you will like.The photos used in this tutorial are from totally free sites like unsplash o pixabay. Below you will find links to the pictures I’ve used.
Final result of the tutorial
Photos used on this tutorial
Dramatic sunset step by step
In this brief article I will illustrate the most important steps to create this dramatic sunset effect in Photoshop. For more details please look for the video version of this tutorial at the bottom of this article.
Step 1 – The background
I created the background merging both background layers with the help of layer masks and the Gradient Tool and then adjusting both images to make a perfect match. I also use d a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to reduce the color of the most saturated image to -64.
Step 2 – The sky
Put the sky stock image bellow the two background images and make it big enough so that the orange light sits more or less on the center of the image. Use layer masks to remove the sky of the background layers.
In order to make the rhino and the girl stand out a little more, I blurred the background image as shown on the image below. I used the Iris blur but you can use other blurring filters if you want. Check the video version for more details.
Step 3 – The animal
Extract the background of the rhino. I used the Pen Tool but you can use any tool you want. You can use the default grass brush that comes with Photoshop to blend de the rhino’s feet with the grass.
Use a copy of the animal’s layer and reduce the lightness of it so you get a silhouette, flip it and blur it to make a softer shadow. Use layer masks to fade the shadow and also paint some shadows over the animal’s body itself.
Step 4 – The girl
Extract the girl from the original background using any technique that you like and place her on top of the animal and keep a realistic scale. Create a few soft shadows expecially on the right side of the girl and under the dress.
I smoothed the skin of the girl with the Mixer Brush Tool and I painted the missing hair using a simple technique and a custom brush and made some basic makeup using the Overlay blend mode. Check the video for more details.
Step 5 – Adjustments for the final look
Once everything is ready and in place, create a few adjustment layers on top of everything to give the final color and contrast look. I used Gradient Maps and some Color Lookup layers to get the color tones I was looking for. Check the last part of the video to see which adjustments and blend modes exactly I used.