The Making Of: Badlands

2 Sep

In this walkthrough I’ll show you how I created this alien desert landscape in Photoshop, by utilizing several stock photos blended together with layer masks, adjustment layers, and gradients.

As a base for the  image I used a desert stock photo downloaded here.

First of all I corrected the distorted horizon using the Warp tool.

The main feature I wanted to use was the mountains on the horizon, so I used the Quick Selection Tool and Refine Edge sliders to make a selection of the sky, and deleted it.

Below the mountains layer, I added a Gradient Fill adjustment layer, and created a suitable blue to white gradient to simulate the sky.

Next I added another stock photo that I would use for the ground texture. I added a layer mask, and used a white to black gradient to blend the ground with the texture below.

I reduced the Saturation and increased the Lightness using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with a Clipping Mask.

I then added a new layer above all the others, and used the Gradient Tool to create a horizontal white gradient across the horizon.

For the planets, I dropped two stock photos above the sky layer and set them to Screen mode and decreased their opacity.

The tree was cut out from anothter stock photo and dropped into the image. The shadow was created using a black oval shape with a horizontal Motion Blur, then set to Overlay, and duplicated once.

A Hue/Saturation layer with a clipping mask was used to increase the Lightness, and decrease the Saturation of the tree.

Next I took a stock photo of a white bison, and made a selection over its horn, then scaled it up.

To add stripes, I cut out a section of fur from a white tiger stock photo, and used the warp tool to shape it over the bison’s back.

I set the layer’s blending mode to Multiply, and took the Opacity down to 50%, I blended it in using a layer mask and a soft black brush.

I used a Curves adjustment layer to strengthen the contrast before copying the merged together image, and pasting it into my original image.

I blended in the feet a little with a layer mask, and used a subtle Inner Glow layer style to lighten the outer edge of the bison.

To create shadows around the bisons feet, I made a black oval for each foot, Motion Blurred them, and set them all to Overlay.

To simulate sunlight coming from the left of the image, I added a Gradient fill adjustment layer with a white to transparent gradient, and another Radial gradient using the Gradient Tool.

Lastly I added a cloud layer set to Screen and 5% Opacity, a lens flare layer set to Screen, a black to transparent radial gradient layer set to Overlay, a Curves layer, and a Photo Filter layer using the Underwater preset, and set to Soft Light at 30% Opacity.

And here’s the final outcome.

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Thanks for reading :)

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