In this final part of Painting Landscapes in Photoshop. I’ll show you a step by step of how I painted Riverbank 1 and a few more brushes I created. I’ll also show the steps to creating clouds and the water.
First, here is the final painting.
When painting in Photoshop, I don’t take an existing photograph and manipulate it. I paint in the traditional way as though I was painting on canvas. My first step is to sketch it out.
I just need a general map of where the different elements go. This will be on a layer above all other layers to refer to when I need to.
On a new layer, I added a gradient from dark blue down to light blue. I don’t need to cover the entire page.
This is the brush I created for the clouds. I changed the color and size as I went. Occasionally using the smudge tool for a softer look.
On a separate layer above the sky, I start with a color almost the same as the sky but a bit more gray for the shadows.
I then chose a color slightly lighter with a little violet tapping this color here and there. I then give this step a very subtle motion blue to give the clouds movement.
I reduce the brush size and choose a lighter color. I have not used pure white in any of these steps.
The final step is the highlights. I used a near white with a hint of yellow. Then go back over it with a smudge brush to soften it all down.
The sky complete
On a new layer, I start creating the farthest hill. This required another type of brush. One that would give me the illusion of tree canopies.
The farthest hill complete
The trees on the next hill needed yet another type of brush
The next hill complete, now on to the trees on the right.
I used the same brush as above but changed the size, scatter and of course the colors.
Trees on the left used this brush
I used this in a variety of sizes and colors. These trees are closer and needed to more detail.
Here’s a close up of the trees on the left.
Painting the Water
After the top of the painting is done, I merge all the layers, copy it and turn it upside down then move it down, then move it up to match the shoreline.
Reflections are not always a perfect copy of the scene above. It depends on the angle of the viewer. So you may not see all of the sky or all of the trees. The reflection usually mirrors the distance and slowly gets darker as it comes closer. The reason for this is as it gets closer to the viewer, you can see more straight down to the bottom. So on a separate layer above, I need to add a gradient from transparent at the top to a darker color at the bottom. I then lower the opacity until it looks good.
I give the water a horizontal motion blue. How much depends on how glassy you want the water. Using the smudge brush, I pull the colors into each other here and there to create the ripples.
I add details with a tiny round brush for more ripples, then soften them a bit so they aren’t so harsh.
I hope you enjoyed this 4 part series and that it inspires you to try it. Once you understand the dynamics of creating brushes in Photoshop, the sky’s the limit and you can create anything from fur (another demo) to dragon scales.
If you have any questions about this blog or maybe I left a step out and you got lost, feel free to contact me and ask away. I’m always happy to help where I can.