Keep up-to-date with Free tutorials!!


Sign up to our twice-monthly newsletter today for the latest tutorials, interviews and product information.

Sign me up to receive third-party emails from 3dtotal's partners, too!

- Latest news
- Exclusive Shop Offers
- Preview early content
- Plus much more


Not Ready to take that step? OK, Why not just Subscribe to the RSS Feed

submit tutorial
Create moody fantasy concepts in Photoshop

| Your Rating:
rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star half
(Score 4.25 out of 5 after 4 Votes)
| Comments 1
Date Added: 15th September 2014
Software used:

Massimo Porcella reveals his techniques to create quick atmospheric fantasy scenes, as he shares the process he used to create his image, Maleficent's lair.

A simple Idea

The very first step is sketching: quickly sketch your idea on the canvas with a soft edge brush, then, when you're starting to see the general composition and structure of the painting, use a hard edge brush with a flat point to define the shapes.

I first create a background using a soft brush

Shapes and a little texturing

Once the first sketch is complete, I start to build and place the scenario's elements using shapes (tree shapes in this case). To help visualize the final image I also use sky textures in Softlight and put some ruin shapes here and there to create a solid base to work on and also to have a first glimpse of mood.

I begin to build up the shapes

Lights and mood

Here's the point where I start to work massively on the concept: I add in many details to define all the materials and structures that form the whole scene.

Using Photoshop blending layer set to Color Dodge, I begin painting all the zones that are lightened, creating a sort of luminous glow. Once I am done with it, I desaturate and uniform all the midtones of the painting to define the general mood using the Curves tool.

I use the Curve tool to create mood

More lights, contrast and balancing the scene

Now it's time to accentuate the lights and to add further contrast to the painting to give it a darker look. I also add elements into the foreground to balance the whole composition and give more depth.

Balancing out the composition

Final Touches

Let's move on to the creation of the character (Maleficent in this case), I painted in the shape at the centre of the image, with surrounding elements such as the crow and some flying leaves.

I want Maleficent to be the main focal point of the scene, so I create a spotlight that hits and lightens her, like it would be in a theatre. This helps to define the character's silhouette and to give it more body I paint in some backlight.

At this final point, I just check if the whole scene is well balanced, and I add some darker tree branches in the foreground, this helps add depth and frame the image.

Final image

Related links

Check out Massimo Porcello's portfolio
Download Photoshop
Try our helpful Photoshop guides, Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

Related Tutorials

The making of ‘NortWinder’

by Massimo Porcella
published on 2017-09-29

Keywords: Photoshop, SketchUp, environment

rating star nonerating star nonerating star nonerating star nonerating star none (0)
Comments 0 Views 3312

Making Of 'Old Lamp'

by Andrey Zhelem
published on 2009-12-09

Keywords: scene, object, window, lamp, curtain,

rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star full (11)
Comments 1 Views 90154

Texturing a Temple with the Total Textures

by Richard Tilbury
published on 2009-12-09

Keywords: texturing, temple, scene, max,

rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star full (2)
Comments 0 Views 20796

Making of 'A Walther P99'

by Jean-Marc Labal
published on 2009-12-09

Keywords: object, gun, weapon, scene, table,

rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star half (7)
Comments 3 Views 84941
Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Rajni Setia on Thu, 02 October 2014 8:05am
Amazing tutorial, we have featured it here :
Add Your Comment..