Create a Dark Photo Manipulation of Lost Ship in Photoshop

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Learn how to create a Dark Photo Manipulation of lost ship in Photoshop. In this Photoshop tutorial you’ll learn how to achieve a dark, misty and mysterious scene of lost ship using the range of photo manipulation techniques. You’ll also learn how to use adjustment layers, layer mask, blend modes and layer opacity to make the scene more believable and realistic.

Tutorial Resources

Preparing Background

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with height 900px and width of 1500px by selecting File > New .


Adding Lake

Step 2

Place the lake to main document by selecting File > Place Embedded. Also, enlarge it using Transform Tool (CTRL + T) to make it fit for our canvas. You can see the below image for reference.


Results so far :


Adding Sky to Make the Scene Misty

Step 3

You can notice that to achieve a misty and dark scene, we need to use the sky image which should be misty and suitable for dark background as the existing sky doesn’t seems to be okay. To achieve this, we need to hide the sky parts of lake. Now add Layer Mask (click on second button at bottom of layer panel) and activate the Brush Tool (B). Using a soft round black brush, mask the selected sky parts of lake.


Results :


Step 4

Now open the sky image in Photoshop. Drag it into our main document using Move Tool (V) and place the sky layer under the lake.


Instead of this process, you can also place the sky layer under the lake, first and then you can use a layer mask to reveal the sky layer. So do it in which way you like most.

Step 5

Everyone can clearly notice that colors of sky not matching with the rest. To fix this, make a Hue/Saturation (click the third button at bottom of layer panel) adjustment layer and reduce the saturation of sky. Set the Saturation slider to -100.


Results :


Step 6

Make a Curves adjustment layer to sky and reduce its brightness little bit. Use the following settings :


Results :


Creating Mist

Step 7

To add some mist to scene, create a new layer between sky and lake then name it ‘mist’. Set your foreground color to #b7b1b1. Use a soft round brush to paint some misty as shown below.


Add a Layer Mask to misty layer. Now go to Filter > Render > Clouds (make sure you’ve selected the layer mask of mist layer. Also, make sure that your foreground and background set to black and white) and apply the cloud filter on the layer mask of mist layer. Here are the results:


Step 8

Now head back to lake layer and make a Curves adjustment layer to the lake as clipping mask (click the red button as shown below). Simply reduce its brightness as it looks too bright at the moment.


Reduce the opacity of Curves to 33%. Results :


Adding Moon

Step 9

Add the moon to our main scene and place it at top left corner as shown below.


Step 10

Add a Layer Mask to moon layer. Now use a soft round black brush to hide the hard edges of the moon. Remember you need paint on the layer mask of the moon in order to hide its parts.


Step 11

You can notice the noise on moon and we need to reduce it to make the moon smooth. To do this, go to Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches and use it with following. Remember always apply the Filters with Smart Objects.

Results :


Step 12

Change the blend mode of moon layer to Screen.


Step 13

Reduce the saturation of moon using Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.


Results so far :


Step 14

Using Screen blend mode we’ve some parts of the sky which are overlapping moon. Especially, you can notice that these parts are reducing the brightness of the moon. I don’t want that and we need to make the moon brighter and shiny. To fix this, create a new layer and use a soft round white brush to paint some lights on the moon. You can see the below image for before and after results.


Adding Ship

Step 15

Place the ship to main document. You need to extract it from its background and in order to extract it, you might need the Calculations and Channel techniques. You can read this tutorial Top 3 Selections Techniques in Photoshop for detail explanation on selection techniques in Photoshop.


Step 16

Make a Curves adjustment layer to sky. Reduce the brightness and add Cyan tones to ship using Red Channel.


Reduce the opacity of Curves to 80%. Results :


Step 17

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to ship. Only change the setting of Midtones and enhance the color of ship.


Results :


Step 18

Last time we created the mist for the sky and this time we’ll make the misty or fog on the lake. To do this, you can repeat the process of creating misty or simply duplicate the mist layer and drag it over the ship layer. You can duplicate the mist layer by pressing CTRL + J on the keyboard. If needed enlarge it shown below to subtle the effect of mist using Transform Tool.


Step 19

Colorize this mist layer using Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.


Results :


Adding Tree

Step 20

Isolate the tree from its background and place it at bottom right corner of scene.


Step 21

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius slider to 4.1px.


Here are the results with added depth to scene :


Step 22

Make a Curves adjustment layer to tree layer and increase the highlights on its parts. This will increase the brightness on those parts of tree which will be illuminated by the light source. Also, reduce the opacity of Curves to 81%.


Step 23

Create a new layer and paint some birds using birds brushes.


Final Adjustments

Step 24

It’s time for final adjustment. Make a Curves adjustment layer (above all layers) and add Cyan color tones to entire scene.


Results :


Step 25

Continue finalizing the whole scene using Color Balance adjustment layer.


Results :


Step 26

Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Use the color #031c22 for Shadows and for Highlights use #061636.


Set the blend mode of Gradient Map to Soft Light and reduce its opacity to 80%.


Step 27

Make a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the brightness of entire scene.


Results :


Step 28

On the layer mask of Curves, hide the selected effect to maintain some light there.


Results :


Step 29

To make the right upper parts little bit brighter, create a new layer and set your foreground color to #1a2737. Use a soft round brush to paint a brush stroke as shown below.


Set the blend mode of this layer to Screen and reduce its opacity to 38%.



Thanks for following the tutorial. I hope you’ve learned something new today and feel free to let me know if need any help. Have a great day!

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