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Creating Fantasy Landscapes

Lesson 1 of 8

Class Introduction

Bret Malley

Creating Fantasy Landscapes

Bret Malley

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

at one point. I mean, you've taken pictures of landscapes, and I bet you have Ah, whole archive somewhere and some of your hard drives, and it's it's amazing what you can do with them. So I'm gonna be talking about how you can take pictures for fantasy landscapes or just use the ones that you have and go through on do something entirely new and imaginative. So with that in general, your mind is the camera, right? I talked about this in another class, right with levitating objects and people. But in general, this is really true with fantasy landscapes because you were looking at the environment. Everything around you, all the places that inspire you that just hit that nerve like this is amazing. You're using that, channeling it into a creative way. So for me, you know, I think I grew up just outside of Yosemite National Park. So I'm thinking Yosemite and this little town out there, you know, we take trips to the Grand Canyon, you know, any trip just so inspiring? I'm always thinking I a...

lways have that lens on Is what else could this be like? I mean, it's amazing, but how do we communicate what I'm feeling or another world are you know, so many different ways you can take it. Eso This one is a fun one. So basically your mind is the camera, right? How do you use it? How do you look to that viewfinder? If you will, Eso won get inspired. So again, coming from Yosemite that's sort of my place of based inspiration Mountains. But now we live in Corvallis with my wife and son that they're watching here on courthouse were about 45 to 50 minutes in the ocean. So the ocean is a big feature is what we really love. So you'll see some of this play out in today's composite, which is really fun. Eso combining mountains with ocean, Right? We'll see what else we can do is so those or someone thinks And also, you know, it was just had a big, beautiful spring here in the Northwest. So, you know, things as mundane is your flower shots. Anybody ever taken a picture? If I don't know, I'm sure that doesn't happen. No, that's too lowbrow. Uh, so you know all these flower shots? You can actually use these in other ways. right, changing colors and whatnot. So imagine something. And, you know, look, look at it for what it could be. Not just what it currently is, right? Always look at it for the potential of what you could turn it into. And that's hard. That takes practice, right? That takes repetition and really seeing things. So it's not just about what something literally is. If you see a really cool tree, imagine what could be around that, right? Look beyond it. Take pictures of it, right? Always do that. Uh, but always imagine what else it could be. So, you know, instead of imagine, you know what could be really, really sort of get keyed in tow What you can you can turn it into their let's see, so have ah, story. So that's another component is when you're going about your in your landscapes and just getting inspired. It's also really fun to create. Near it is right. Oh, what if there was another planet? Their gravity was sort of, you know, inverted. And things sort of floated differently. Or what if clouds with their two light sources, right, sons, or what it is a blue planet sort of foreshadowing a little bit with what we're gonna be doing. Anything is possible, right? So you can really just get inspired and have a story, and that will sort of dictate what you might create. So get involved with narrative, get inspired on, then see what comes out of those mention my previous class, where we talk about levitating people. If one like that out, the sketch process itself is really important, at least to my workflow as well. Eso making sketches even if it's just sort of ah, on idea that you're more or less, you know, figuring out that could be really helpful. You don't always have imagery to match it. Uh, sometimes you know, there's a place for stock imagery. I try to shoot all my own, but I have, you know, here's a four terabyte that's almost filled up with just some images here. But you know anything that you have right? It's really helpful to have a sketch, at least a game plan going forward. Think that as your your blueprint for the sort of structural elements you want to play, so it's really helpful to have a sketch. So in looking at some fantasy landscapes I've done in the past. This is a fun one. They did. But for Lucy advanced Photoshopped magazine. Back when I was in graduate school. It took the summer and did a lot of fantasy landscapes during summer, just just for funds. This one had a narrative four tiers of victory. So in this way, had just got married. My wife and I, Aaron on. We took a honeymoon trip to Europe and we went to specifically to the Swiss Alps. So these great pictures of the Swiss Alps that were just monstrous. Before that we had gone to the Grand Canyon, right? So, ahead of these Grand Canyon shots, then I'm always on the lookout for clouds, right, Because they're just so interesting. So I just have this huge archive of these images that I don't know what a museum for, but it's gonna be something epic, right? So this was for creating fantasy landscapes on, then just fusing altogether and having some sort of narrative. So that's lady Nike there. This one is over 200 layers. Piece it all together with, you know, again, I come from Yosemite, so I have lots of waterfalls. We did a graduate work at Syracuse University, where it's next to Ithaca and lots of really cool waterfalls there. So just, you know, taking everything I've been collecting. Combining it's something new, the nuclear sky with those things I always want to do now that I see it. But you know, there's, ah, tree in like OK, if I'm shooting down Oh, I can shoot that tree from a hill, Right? So looking at what you could potentially shoot for a composite he may not have. So sometimes you'll have mostly ingredients, but also looking to see what else you can shoot in keeping eye out for that on some of the detail work here took a trip to Peru, so we had a a lot of the terraces. And so this was piece together, stone by stone through all the terrorists. Amazing work from the terraces that they did their on then thatch also from thatched roof and just sort of piece it all together. Upstate New York had lots of really great sunflower, uh, you know, just for miles and miles along some flyers. So, you know, did a fund photo shoot with that and really than in waterfalls and rainbows from, uh, Yosemite and other places that that swan right? This is an interesting That's a black and white photograph from my high school when it's taking black white photography. So save everything. I would just scan and collect. I have my old archive images. You never know when you might need a swan, right, and you have your very own. I don't have to do any stock or anything like that for for some things. The water wheels made it of to board textures and took a picture of boards. And you can move it around, paint your own shadows. We'll talk about clipping layers and doing all that. So anyways, we're not gonna clearly get into how to do something like this, but you can see some of the from the detail work for that. Ah, this is the shout out to Jason Crump photographer that work within in Portland, who's, ah, lighting jet. I hear we did. This is a collaboration where you know some sort of narrative where this travelers being hunted. So this one's fun because see that moon that's made out of a cookie sheet. I will show you how to make a moon out of a cookie sheet, and just regular objects have about you to take pictures off and then turn into other things. So this one, sometimes you're putting a subject in there, right? So fantasy lens capes don't necessarily need to be just about the landscape itself. Sometimes the backdrop for something else. You're compositing, so you can also imagine that on. Imagine the narratives that come out of there, this one. Lets see that. Yeah, embarrassingly believe that's Ah, that's me in graduate school, on for the light source. It was grad school, so we just had a little lamp and just got that light. And then I used my wife's hair is hair extensions and never get on. The beast was terrified with kitten, for it was just a statue on. Then you take, you know, even pictures of kittens for, and you can composite it on. Um, listen, and then we went to Canyonlands. You can't really see the on the TV screen. There's a big volcano in the back, but just pictures of clouds could do a whole lot with suggesting things. This one's a little more recent in working with, with craft seen some of the images that I had in just showing how how images could be composited even when they're not meant to be. But, you know, again, Yosemite is an awesome one. This is that same model. This is one that we did for the the book Advanced Comprising and Photo Shop. This is ah, fun one from Craftsy, where we shot a child model and put it all together there. But, you know, imagine what could be what narratives this one's called Floating journey and just sort of thes Barnes. That's a four hour radius of all the barns I could shoot in and around Corvallis just drove around on shot all these barns. So again, looking what you can do. And I got inspired by that background image, which was a shot from Smith Rock in Oregon. And it was just, you know, nice, beautiful time of day. And like all this has potential. I held onto it for about three years before he did something with it. So again doesn't have to be something immediate. Sometimes it just hasn't happened yet, and then, as far as what we're doing today, this is the idea that we're gonna do today. Hopefully, it's manageable on containable this sort of blue planet again, taking advantage of sort of all my inspirations. Yosemite. So we see bridal veil falls there, flipped around in case my mom's watching this like Okay, no bridal Veil Falls has come from that way. It's flipped on, then the ocean, right, always getting inspired by the ocean and combining them together and had this just epic and surreal sort of look to it. And then doing this blue cast again, I can show. I'll show you how toe to make a, ah, a couple moons there as we go forward, but that's the idea.

Class Description

Most photographers have a ton of landscape images stashed away on various hard drives from vacations, hikes, or from actually pursuing landscape photography. These images are just a starting palette for our own imagination as we composite the impossible in Photoshop. Bret Malley will show how you can evolve landscape images into a new fantasy landscape of your making using custom brushes, textures and, other tools within this magical program.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Bret Malley - final image for Creating Fantasy Landscapes

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Timary Lee

This is a great class. Bret is a terrific teacher and speaker. This is fast paced, however, and he does move quickly through things but that is actually a pro instead of a con to me. I absolutely loved his thoughts about creating your own gallery of 'stock' images, background and textures. I feel inspired by this class and capable of creating my own fantasy landscapes. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Very clear, practical and easy to understand tips that make significant and amazing changes in what otherwise will be regarded as a normal photograph - he brings normal to extraordinaire in a very clear and organized set of steps. Very well organized workflow. I loved this class.


This was very good. I know Bret knew what he was doing when he was zooming through his layers, but I found it very hard to follow and really understand everything he was doing. I nice chap and good class.