How to Create a Fantasy Dragon Scene With Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Fantasy Dragon Scene With Adobe Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a fantasy dragon scene using a variety of photo manipulation techniques.


You’ll learn how to combine several stock images, how to change the color, adjust lighting and atmosphere and more


Final Image

dragon


Tutorial Details

  • Program : Photoshop CS5+
  • Estimated Completion Time : 90 minutes
  • Difficulty : Intermediate

Resources


Step 1

Create a new 2000×1193 px document and fill it with white. Open the landscape image and drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) .

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Step 2

We need to remove the woman and her shadow so create a new layer and activate the Clone Tool (S) . Use this tool to clone over the woman and her shadow area.

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Step 3

The cloned area looks a bit blurred. To fix it, convert the cloning layer to a Smart Object . Go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask :

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Step 4

Open the sky image and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the sky only and place it onto the upper section of the main canvas.

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Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges to blend the sky with the existing one.

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Step 5

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 6 px :

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Step 6

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance (set as Clipping Mask ) and change the Midtones settings:

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Step 7

Make another Color Balance adjustment layer and later the Shadows and Highlights values. On this layer mask, use a soft black to erase the left side and leave the yellow light effect visible on the right.


dragon

dragon


Step 8

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten this sky.

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Step 9

Isolate the ruin and place it onto the top of the mountain. Use a layer mask to blend the ruin of the ground.

dragon

dragon


Step 10

To make shadow of the ruin on the ground, create a new layer below the ruin one. Hold the Control key and click the thumbnail of the ruin layer to load its selection.

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Press Ctrl+I to invert this selection. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to reduce the selection following the form of the visible ruin and press Ctrl+I again.

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Step 11

Fill this selection with the color #13100e and flip it vertically ( Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical ) . Move it down and use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to distort this shadow to fit the light direction.

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Step 12

Reduce the opacity of the shadow to 60% and apply a Gaussian Blur of 3 px to this layer.

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Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to reduce the opacity on the top and bottom of the shadow.

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Step 13

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer above the ruin layer (set as Clipping Mask ) and alter the Midtones and Highlights values.

dragon

dragon


Step 14

Create a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the contour of the ruin. On this layer mask, paint on the hidden/shadow areas of the ruin so they won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

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Step 15

Use a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to reduce the contrast of the ruin a bit to fit the atmosphere of the scene.

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Step 16

Open the dragon 1 image and use the Move Tool to place him to the left side of the canvas.

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Step 17

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the color of this dragon.

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Step 18

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the dragon. On this layer mask, paint on the shadow/hidden areas of the dragon to keep their contrast.

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Step 19

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray.

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Activate the Dodge Tool (O) with Midtones Range , Exposure about 10% to bring more light to some details of the dragon. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

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Step 20

Place the dragon 2 in the right side of the canvas.

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Step 21

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the color of the dragon.

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Step 22

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the dragon, especially the contour. The selected areas show where to paint on the layer mask.

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Step 23

Add a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light/shadow on the dragon.

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Step 24

Open the dragon 3 image. Select the dragon only and add him to the top of the ruin.

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Go to Edit > Puppet Warp to drag the right leg of the dragon onto the top of the ruin.

dragon

dragon


Step 25

Make a new layer below the dragon 3 one. Use a soft brush with the color #13100e , the opacity about 30% to paint shadow for this dragon on the ruin.

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Step 26

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to alter the color of the dragon.

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Step 27

Use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the dragon.

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Step 28

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to enhance to light and shadow of this dragon.

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Step 29

Come back to the dragon 3 image. Select the man to add to the front of the ruin 3, onto the top of the ruin. Add a mask to this layer to erase the sword inside his hand.

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Step 30

Use a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the color/light of the man.

dragon

dragon


Step 31

Add a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the man.

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Step 32

Create a new layer, use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light/shadow on the man.

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Step 33

Open the sword image and select the second one to add to the hand of the man. Use a layer mask to remove the part covering the hand.

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Step 34

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to alter the sword’s color.

dragon

dragon


Step 35

Open the light image and add it to the sword, change its mode to Linear Dodge 100% . Use Ctrl+T to transform the light.

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Step 36

Make a new layer, use a soft brush with the color #f9dab8 to paint over the dragon 3 and man. Lower the opacity of this layer to 20% to give this area some misty effect.

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Step 37

Make a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the color #10424b and #e5d07b . Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100% and on this layer mask, paint on the bottom of the both sides to reduce the effect there.

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Step 38

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to change the color of the whole scene. The selected areas show where to paint on the layer mask.

dragon

dragon

dragon


Step 39

Make a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to decrease the light/contrast of the scene.

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Step 40

Add a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the light on the bottom of the whole scene.

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And We’re Done!

I hope that you enjoyed this Photoshop tutorial.

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