How to Turn an Ordinary Landscape into a Dramatic Moonscape

Download all the images listed as Tutorial Resources. Create a new document in Photoshop and drag a photo of “sky 1” into it. Place it in the top left corner and name in LEFT SKY.

Note: I really recommend to name all the layers in your photo manipulations. It makes the orientation easier and quicker. You’ll know once you have to work with 50+ layers!

Right click on LEFT SKY and duplicate the layer. Name the new layer RIGHT SKY and move it to the top right corner. You should get something similar to the picture below.


Now you need to blend these two layers together. Add a layer mask to RIGHT SKY. You can find the button “Add layer mask” on the bottom part of your Layers palette (if you don’t see this palette simply press F7 on your keyboard and it will appear). You can see the button on the picture below.


Grab the Brush Tool (B), pick black color and set the Opacity on 100%. Make sure the layer mask is active – just click on it.


Paint over the left edge of RIGHT SKY with the black brush to blend the layers together.

Note: You can get similar effect with the Eraser Tool (E) by simply erasing all the necessary parts. But beauty of using layer masks lies in fact that the edit is nondestructive and you can always go back and adjust whatever you want. It’s a good practice and made doing photo manipulations lot easier!

Step 2 – Adding Ground

Drag a photo of the ground into your new photo manipulation and place the layer on the top of all layers. Name this new layer GROUND and resize it if necessary.

As you can see there is no visible sky which you’ve added in previous step. You’ll fix it by adding layer mask to the GROUND. The process is exactly the same as in the previous step.Grab the Brush Tool (B). Set its Hardness on 0%, Opacity on 100% and pick black color. Paint over the upper part where sky should be visible. On the picture below you can see what area I mean. It’s highlighted with red color.


To add a bit magical atmosphere lower Opacity of you brush on about 35% and with black color gently paint over the mountains. Thanks to it it will look like they disappear in the thick clouds. You can get the idea of what I mean on the following picture: Paint over the areas highlighted with red color.


After this step your photo manipulation should be similar to the photo below.


Step 3 – Cleaning the Ground

There are some distracting elements on the ground and mountains. You’ll get rid off them in this step. You can see them on the picture below.


Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it CLEANING. Grab the Stamp Tool (S) and start removing the unwanted objects. Use different cloning sources to avoid repetitive patter to get the most realistic result.

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