Create Moody Composite Images in Photoshop (PHOTO MANIPULATION)

Learn how to create cool moody composite images in this Photoshop tutorial. We’ll talk about masking, Camera RAW, Smart Objects and Filters, blending images together, Select and Mask, and a ton more!

Download sheep stock photo here.

Download the wolf/husky stock photo here.

Download the fog Photoshop brushes here.

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Recording notes:

  • Open sheep photo
  • Duplicate the background and convert to a Smart Object and enter Camera Raw editing for that layer
  • Reduce: exposure -1, highlights -70, whites -70, dehaze -100, vib -40
  • Increase: shadows +10, blacks +10
  • Flatten curve white point by one grid square and boost black point by half a grid square
  • Show the fog brushes and use one or two to mask away the Camera Raw’d background from the foreground sheep
  • Add a Curves layer just above the bottom (colorful) sheep and reduce contrast
  • Add a Levels adjustment above that and open the darker tones a bit
  • Add a Virbance layer above that and reduce vibrance -100 and saturation -40
  • Create  dodge/burn layer and darken the light streak on the pasture hill
  • Add a Curves adjustment layer and flatten the white point a bit and use this to top off the blending for that lighter area of the pasture
  • Cut out the Husky and drag him into the image
  • Mask him into place around the hills
  • Clip a Levels layer to him and reduce the brightness and contrast big time on him (use the black and white layer trick to get him looking about right
  • Build up the shadow on the side of the husky, the hill and near the edge of the hill/beginning of his fur using Dodge/Burn and Levels and masking and also using feathered selections filled with black to transparent gradients
  • Create a 50% gray layer set to Luminosity to check on color differences between the sky and foreground and add a Color Balance layer to adjust. Mask this layer to the sky area.
  • Sample a very light gray/green color from the sheep or sky and create a gray to transparent gradient in front of the husky to create the first bit of the fog
  • Mask that fog into place
  • Add a few layers of fog with the fog brushes and tweak and erase until they look good
  • Create a Levels adjustment layer above this all and use this to create another shadowing to the left side of the husky. Mask and tweak until it looks perfect
  • Merge all layers to a new layer, convert to Smart Object and enter Camera RAW again
  • Boost Temp and Tiny +20
  • Reduce exposure -0.30
  • Boost contrast +30, clarity +75, dehaze +30
  • Use Curves to add some red and some yellow
  • Reduce saturation of the Yellow and Green channels a little bit
  • Reduce this layer’s opacity to 55%
  • Create a new layer and use the Pen Tool to draw shapes for the husky’s eyes.
  • Duplicate the eye shapes and blur 10px at a time until they look nice and blurred.
  • Merge the stack of eye shapes and add an outer glow of Normal 100%, 150px size and the color of #b9ffa4
  • Add a Teal to green LUT at 40% opacity above this all and a grain layer to finish blending
  • Tweak the camera RAW layer for final bits