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Photo Manipulate a Beautiful Sunrise Landscape

Final Image

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

Step 1

So let’s start with a new document of 2000 px width and 1600 px height at 300 resolutions. Actually size doesn’t matter here; you can keep any size according to your preferences.

Step 2

Press G to select gradient tool and choose color b91414 & ffc600.

Drag from top of document to centre. The result will be look like this.

Step 3

Now select gradient tool by pressing G and select white color and gradient type “Foreground to Transparent”.

Step 4

Now open the green crop image and remove the sky and clouds from image and name this layer “Crop”.

Step 5

Drag Crop layer to our main document. Press Ctrl + T to transform layer and increase its height according to scene.

Step 6

Now create a color balance adjustment layer and put these settings:

Midtone ; Cyan-Red = -43, Magenta-Green = +29, Yellow-Blue = 0.
Shadow; Cyan-Red = +10, Magenta-Green = 0, Yellow-Blue = -17.

Your result will look like this:

Step 7

Now open a forest image and hide its unwanted area to fit in our scene.

If everything goes well then result will be like this.

Step 8

Now open Hill layer and press P to select pen tool. Remove all the unwanted area from image.

Step 9

Drag this image to our scene and transform it to fit proportionally in our perspective.

Step 10

Open Tree image now if you’ll isolate it with pen toll then it will consume your too much time. So to save that time there is a short method of quickly isolating such images. To isolate tree go to channel palate and duplicate blue channel because in this channel, tree is darker and can be easily isolated. Rename it “Tree”. Now select “Tree” channel and press Ctrl + L to adjust level and put these settings; 0, 0.10, 255.

Ctrl + Click “Tree” channel and you’ll get a fine selection of tree to isolate.

Step 11

Now remove tree’s steam and keep only leaves to use it for grass near hill layer. Open another tree layer, isolate it same as in step 10 and name it Tree 2. Use its upper leafy part as grass near hill.

Step 12

Select a soft brush of size 30 px and color black. Paint the grass base from right to left to give it shadow.

Step 13

Now it’s time to add some tree in scene. Open Tree 2 file and drag isolated tree to scene. Transform and resize it to near hill perceptively. Hide the bottom part of tree and add shadow to give it natural look.

Step 14

Put few more trees to give it a more natural look. I want a red tree to enhance my scene for this open Tree 1 file and repeat step 13 to add another tree. Add Hue/Saturation adjustment layer of these values Hue -78, saturation 0, Lightness 0. Press Alt + click between Tree 1 layer and adjustment layer to clip mask it.

Step 15

Now open the background hill image and remove its sky. Drag it to our scene and place according to perspective. Create a color balance adjustment layer with these settings; Midtones -3, +62, +32, Shadows +7, +22, +15.

Your result will look like this.

Step 16

Now we need to add sun in our scene. Select a brush of size 250 px and 50% hardness. Click once to make soft circle, this is our basic shape of sun.

Step 17

Select another brush of size 400 px and 0% hardness. Click once on sun to give it a light glow.

Step 18

Select another brush of size 600 px with 0% hardness. Choose color fced9e and click once behind the sun to give it warm glow.

Step 19

Select light rays brush of size 1200 px with 80% opacity and create rays on left side near to hill.

Step 20

Select another ray brush of size 1200 px and create rays right side and middle part of crop.

Step 21

Select another brush of size 900 px with 48% opacity and create few more rays to sun. Mask unwanted area of rays to give it perfect natural look. Group all rays layer and sun layers and name group SUN.

Step 22

Now add some clouds from cloud brushes to give life to the sky. There are many websites where you can download free brushes.

Step 23

Looking good but need more touch up? Ok, give some lighting to the scene by adding some adjustment layers below sun layer group. Create a Selective color adjustment layer and apply these settings;

Step 24

Create a level adjustment layer with these settings:

Apply layer masking in this way to get desired effect.

Step 25

Now create a curve adjustment layer with these setting; and use same layer mask as in Step 24.

Step 26

Create a color balance adjustment layer and put these settings; Highlights +59, 0, -58.

Press Ctrl + I to hide all effect and select brush tool for masking. Select soft brush of white color and apply this layer mask.

Your result will look like this;

Step 27

We are nearly finished. Now duplicate all layers and merge them. Go to filter menu and apply lighting effects with these settings;
Intensity; Full 32
Focus : Wide 85

Gloss: 0
Material : Metallic 71
Exposure : 0
Ambience : Positive 10

Choose soft brush and apply layer mask like this:

And We’re Done!

That’s the tutorial finished! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and learnt something useful.

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Narendra is a freelance graphic designer specializing in the fields of corporate identity (logo) design, print design, advertising and web designs. I'm currently living in India. I design because it's my passion and I love to do it. To know more about me please visit to my online portfolio.

Leave a comment


  1. Grafpedia says:

    Nice tut. Keep up the good work

  2. Vim says:

    Wow great post, i like tutorials that’s detailed just like this one, it shows that a lot of time and effort went into this which resulted in a great outcome.

  3. designvore says:

    Nice tutorial. But I would just say that there is a problem of shadows and light especially with the left mountain. Shadows on it aren’t coherent with the light coming from the middle. Maybe you should have tried to find another stock image that could fit this use.
    Still, very nice tutorial. Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks designvore for pointing on that problem. I tried to put another image but there was an issue that the source of light is from back of mountain in that case whole mountain were darkened and details were missing. If I change the light on mountain according to sun light then whole mountain were getting dark. To avoid this I used this image having different source of light to balance and highlight mountain equally.

  5. Grafpedia, Tom,

    Thanks for appreciating my work. I’m always keen to work with such supporting guys like you.

    Thanks again.

  6. Tom says:

    Narendra: For the shadows on the left mountain you might have been able to create a new layer and just applied them using a low opacity black paintbrush. This wouldn’t interfere with your mask layers and would allow you to gradually build up shadow.

  7. PM Faisal says:

    Nice effects yaar…… u r master in photoshop

  8. raj patel says:

    Nice tut. Keep up the good work
    Thanks to Narendra for writing yet another great tutorial!

  9. shailu says:

    The image isn’t shown original nature…. Because the sun poison … when the sun on full face that time sky is show bright or ice blue…..
    Well lesson is excellent…keep it up…

  10. Dzinepress says:

    really beautiful tutorial with best techniques and anyone can learn and understand about photoshop tool tips.

  11. Wow… it’s amazing what PSD can do ad manipulate. I’m really impressed… Would love to try out an image like this. Thanks for the tutorial, very easy to follow.

  12. oes tsetnoc says:

    very easy to follow tutorial to make a great work. this is suitable to all those new in the design field so they can learn very quickly.

  13. Edwin says:

    I didn’t follow the tutorial all the way, but I read it. I used some of your techniques to make my very first photo manipulation!

    This is the outcome:

  14. Dejo says:

    Good article! Thanks

  15. Ahsan Altaf says:

    Nice tutorial.
    However i would have liked some blue in the sky gradient :)

  16. Georg says:

    Maybe the next step would be to add the shadows, created from the sun to get a more realistic effect.

  17. Tom says:

    Thanks for so many great comments everyone! Keep them coming :)

    Edwin: That’s really good for your first manip. I think there are some issues with shadowing/perspective, but I love how the soft eraser seemed to create a highlight on the lion’s mane cast from the sun, it’s got a really nice, soft feeling to it.

  18. Veerababu says:

    These designs are every extraordinary……….
    I learn some thing professional skill from this………

    I am Photoshop Designer at present

    thank you
    AP India

  19. Nina says:

    Greats Tutorial for sharing! it’s make me so easy to learn Manipulating Photo.. :)

  20. ajir says:

    very nice, you finished it by very awesome steps! i like your idea..

  21. bharat says:

    very nice, i like your idea..

  22. Line Cross says:


  23. Mustafa says:

    Thanks You

  24. Tree Survey says:

    Looks like a cool tutorial, definitely going to try it when i get a chance!

  25. kapil says:

    its very good tut. very nice

  26. Web Design says:

    These designs are amazing thank you

  27. oklis says:

    what’s name of the brush?

  28. The brush name was “SS-light-beams” but I forgot the source from where I downloaded it.

  29. Carlos Cabanillas says:

    excellent tutorial, but I want to know where I can get brushes that show in your image, you could tell me or enjoy myself

  30. Dennis Wolfe says:

    Is this something I can do in Corel Draw Graphics Suite X5 or in Photo Shop Elements 9?
    I am just a beginner and can’t afford $500+ for Photoshop software.

  31. It’s a useful tutorial. As above, echoing some comments, how can we do this in X5 or Photoshop?

  32. LjM says:

    Such a beautiful imagery result. Another very well written and… able to follow along tutorial. Bravo!

  33. Sava says:

    Thank you for this tutoriell, it’s very nice!

  34. Chris says:

    Amazing final result! I love seeing these totally different pieces come together to make a completely new and beautiful landscape.

  35. peter says:

    where the resource??

  36. Thanks for the tutorial.. I appreciate that it was done step by step. I never thought that there be so much work for the sunrise effect and the result is really nice. Really capture the essence! Love the keen details too!

  37. Hi. Thank you for the sunrise effect tut. It’s got a lot of GD applications and is an easy fix for a great result!

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