PSDFan Extra

Create a Surreal Floating Landscape

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Create a new document (1000X650px).

Paste in this great photo of a Arizona landscape. Call this layer ‘landscape’.

Step 2

Duplicate your ‘landscape’ layer and call this duplicate layer ‘landscape blur’.

Go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply a 2px blur.

Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 30%. This should give your image a soft appearance.

Step 3

Cut out the rock in this image: rock photo.

Then paste it over your landscape multiple times. Each time be sure to resize your rock, and rotate it. You want to give the impression of multiple rocks floating in the air.

Step 4

Now use your gaussian blur tool to blur some of your larger floating rocks. This should help give the impression of perspective.

Then merge all of these rock layers together, and rename your merged layer as ‘floating rocks’.

Step 5

Now repeat this blurring technique but using some much larger rocks in the top corners of your image. This should help create a great foreground effect:

Step 6

Now we want to apply some adjustment layers that will effect our landscape and rock formation layers (settings below):

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -90
Lightness: 0

Channels Adjustment Layer:

Settings shown below.

Photo Filter Adjustment Layer:

Filter: Sepia
Density: 90%
(Preserve Luminosity)

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer:

Gradient Ranging from 290a59 to ff7c00
Layer Opacity: 25%

Step 7

Now paste in the main rock that you’ll be using for the center of your composition.

In order to make it have a softer feel, remember to duplicate your rock layer, apply a 2px gaussian blur to the duplicate, and reduce the opacity of your duplicate rock layer to 30%.

Then merge these two rock layers together, and call this merged layer ‘rock’.

Step 8

Now duplicate your ‘rock’ layer and move the duplicate beneath the original in your layers palette. Rename this duplicate layer ‘motion blur rock’. Then go to filter>blur>motion blur and apply a motion blur at 90 degrees, 250px strength.

Step 9

Now use your eraser tool to erase the part of the blur that extends above your rock. This should only leave the area beneath your rock as a blur. Now we want to distort this area to give the impression of perspective.

Go to edit>transform>distort, and distort your blurred area to match the image below:

Step 10

Now apply some adjustment layers to your ‘rock’ layer. With each adjustment layer be sure to go to layer>apply clipping mask so that the adjustments will only effect your rock layer, and not your entire image.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -50
Lightness: 0

Curves Adjustment Layer:

Settings below:

Photo Filter Adjustment Layer:

Filter: Sepia
Density: 90%
(Preserve Luminosity)

Gradient Overlay Adjustment Layer:

Gradient ranging from 290a59 to ff7c00.
Layer Opacity: 20%


Step 11

Now cut out and paste in this image of a climber:

Climber Photo. Resize and position it so that you climber appears to be scaling the side of your main rock:

Step 12

Now duplicate your ‘climber’ layer and move the duplicate beneath the original. Call this layer ‘climber shadow’. Move your duplicate climber a few pixels to the left of your original. Then apply a black color overlay blending option. This should give the impression of a shadow being cast against your rock by your climber. Be sure to use your eraser tool to erase any areas of shadow that are unrealistic (i.e.: outside the edges of your rock shape).

Step 13

Now go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply a 6px gaussian blur effect to your ‘climber shadow’ layer. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 40%.

Step 14

Now apply three adjustment layers, being sure to create a clipping mask for each, so that they only effect your ‘climber’ layer:

Curves Adjustment Layer

(settings below)

Photo Filter Adjustment Layer:

Filter: Sepia
Density: 90%

Gradient Overlay Adjustment Layer

Gradient ranging from 290a59 to ff7c00
Layer opacity: 20%

Step 15

Now use the same technique that you used to create your climber shadow to create shadows on the ground, cast by the floating rocks. Remember, duplicate your original rocks, and then apply a black color overlay to each duplicate. Then gaussian blur each layer, and reduce the layer opacity to 20%.

Step 16

Now create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’.

Go to edit>fill and fill your layer with 50% gray. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. Use a soft black paintbrush to paint in your ‘burn’ marks and a soft white brush to paint in your ‘dodge’ areas. Try to consider your main light source when dodging/burning, and be sure to go over the details in your image for the greatest effect.

The images below show your dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode and then ‘overlay’. blend mode:

Step 17

Now apply 3 final adjustment layers to enhance your final image. This time do not apply a clipping mask to these layers, as you want them to effect your entire canvas:

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer

Gradient ranging from 290a59 to ff7c00
Layer opacity: 5%

Levels Adjustment Layer

12 / 0.94 / 241

Curves Adjustment Layer

(settings shown below):

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome. Click the image below for a full-sized version:

Download Source File for this Tutorial


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About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment

15 Comments:

  1. nice effect though Tom, coincidently I’ve also created an flying land will show you via mail. Great image.

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks buddy! :) I look forward to seeing your concept.

  3. Great tut!!! thanks for sharing…

  4. Mark T says:

    Whoa, that image messes with my head slightly. I like it. :)
    Tom, you’re so good with your composition and gradient overlays – it’s great to learn from. Thanks.

  5. Great work :)

    Step 16 is an often-overlooked one, I find. Let’s hope that some will take note and we’ll see some even better images around the web. :)

  6. Eric Vasquez says:

    Awesome work – the end result looks sharp and all of the steps are explained very well.

  7. Ben Sky says:

    Yo Tom, loving this… colours have a tad of retro in them, going to use some of these gradients and colours in a project I’ve got on! Thanks!

  8. DTpl says:

    Good tutorial, thanks for shearing. I like the wa you mixed the colors.

  9. Thanks for sharing. Great tutorial as always.

  10. PsdDude says:

    it looks good , nice work!

  11. easy way of learning you sharing. thanks

  12. Great creativity. This is an easy learning and a wonderful tutorial.

  13. Jay says:

    awesome work pal 7*

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