To start off, let us gather some of the stock images to be used.
I used the following for this image:
It can be found in this URL: http://momotte2stocks.deviantart.com/art/Mountain-69-ruins-102160697
Now let’s open Photoshop. I used Photoshop CS2 for this one. But don’t worry the techniques used here are also available in CS3 and CS4.
Okay, first things first: Create a new layer. I used 2000x2000 pixels on this one. Set the resolution to 300pixels/inch and the background contents should be set to transparent.
Let’s open the first picture. Go to file>open>directory where you’ve saved it then select the first picture. Press “v” or the move tool and then click on the opened image and drag it to our 2000x2000 layer.
Click the lasso tool. I prefer using the magnetic lasso tool or polygonal lasso tool. Our goal here is to remove the sky and the mountain which is quite hazy. Click on the mountain then use the magnetic lasso tool and drag it along the mountain edges. Do this until you’ve covered all of the sky until you’ve reached the first dot you’ve made. Now hit delete to erase that sky. Then just erase parts of the sky which were not removed by the lasso tools. Now let’s transform it, press “ctrl-T” to transform our picture to make it look like the image below. It should look like this:
Now let’s open the second picture. Click “v” once again and drag it to the 2000x2000 layer. Put it below our first image just like the image below:
It already looks good doesn’t it? But we’ll add some effects to make it look more dramatic, shall we?
Before we add the color let’s add a little effect to make the sides darker, thus focusing the viewer on the ruined outpost. Let’s make a vignette .
Do it like this: Click File>New> Set it to 2000x2000 pixels once again and the background contents should be white. When it is open, click on Filter>Distort>Lens Correction. As soon as it is open, look for the setting “Vignette”, set its amount to -100 and then hit “OK”. Click on the layer, go to its layers (beside “Channels” in our work area) and then set it to “Multiply”. It should look like the image below:
Now, let’s apply it to our image. I set my vignette’s opacity to 45%. You can set yours to the amount of your choice. Put it on top of Picture#1 and it should look like this:
But notice the light on the bottom right part side of the sky, it looks awkward doesn’t it? Click the eraser tool and then press “enter” and set it to 100%. Erase that part of the sky and you would have a result like this:
Now, that that’s done. It’s time for my favorite part: painting light.
Create a new layer (name it light1). You can press “ctrl+shift+N” to automatically create a new layer. And now that’s done. Click the brush tool, then click the foreground color which is located below the magnifying lens and above the Quick Mask mode. When you open the foreground color a tab saying: “Color picker would open” as it opens find “#” and then insert these values: fffbb8.
On the open layer, click your brush tool and set it to 5% and the brush size should be 2500. Now use the brush tool once on the image. Just like this:
Create a new layer and put it below “light1” then name this new layer “white”. Then hit “B” for the brush tool and then set its opacity to 5% and the brush size to 900 and then hit it on the image as shown below.
NOTE: Hit it only once.
Now it’s time we create the door.
Create a new layer again and name it “door”.
Hit “B” then set the brush to an opacity level of 100% and the brush size should be 150. Now use the brush on the center of the ruined outpost. Then use the eraser tool “E” to smoothen the edges to make it look like a rectangle.
Hit B again, set the brush opacity to 15% and brush size still should be 15, then use the brush on the side of the building to create a bit of a shadowy effect. Just like this:
Okay, now that that’s over with, let’s do the finishing touches; the colors. Put these layers above the light layers (light1 and white) and the door layer.
1.Click on Layer>New Fill layer>Solid color or simply click the button that looks like a yin-yang sign (black and white circle beside the folder button) then hit solid color. Then enter these values in “#”:06001f. Set the blending mode to “exclusion” and the opacity to 60%.
2. Now repeat step 1 but enter these values: 473725. Then set the blending mode to “soft light” and the opacity to 40%.
3. Click solid color once again and use these values: da800c. Blending mode to “soft light” and the opacity: 20%.
4. Click on Layer>New Fill layer>Gradient Map or simply click the button that looks like a yin-yang sign (black and white circle beside the folder button) then hit gradient map. When it opens click the pull down button (it's an arrow) then choose the black and white gradient map.
Set its blending mode to luminosity, 100%.
5. Click on Layer>New Adjustment layer>Curves or simply click the button that looks like a sheet of paper then choose curves. I t is located beside the trash can. Then as it opens hit the gray dropper tool located between the black and white dropper tools.
Click on any dark part of the image to produce this result:
The image should be looking like this:
6. Click on Layer>New Adjustment layer>Levels or simply click the button that looks like a sheet of paper then choose levels. Click on the RGB pull down menu then choose red. Then in the input levels, use this value on the first box: 15. Now click on the RGB pull down menu again and then choose blue. Then in the input levels, insert 15 on the first box. Now that’s done set the opacity level to 30%.
7. Click on Layer>New Adjustment layer>Color Balance or simply click the button that looks like a sheet of paper then choose color balance. Put the following values in the midtone section: -5, 0,-5.
8. Click on Image>Brightness/Contrast and set the brightness to -2.
1. Click on any of the layers and right click on it and hit flatten image.
2. Click ctrl+J to duplicate the layer. In the menu toolbar, click on Layer (In between select and view) Then click on sharpen>smart sharpen> Set values to Amount: 100%, Radius: 1.0, Remove: Gaussian Blur. Then press OK.
3. In the menu toolbar again, click on Layer>sharpen>Unsharp mask. This will totally remove the haziness and make your image sharper. Use the following values: Amount: 20%, Radius: 50.0, Threshold: 1.0 You can reduce the amount if 20% doesn't suit your taste.
Now it’s all done! :)
Play around with the filters and the gray point (marker) of the curves tool and you could come up with something like this:
NOTE: Try using the cool filters in the photo filters in the adjustment layers.