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Creating Fantasy Landscapes

Lesson 3 of 8

Establishing a Workflow

Bret Malley

Creating Fantasy Landscapes

Bret Malley

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Lesson Info

3. Establishing a Workflow

Lesson Info

Establishing a Workflow

in general work flow. I use Adobe Bridge and then bring things into Photoshopped that way, so bridges really great again. If you don't know if you just tuned in. Bridge is basically a browser, just like Firefox or chrome is for the Internet only. It browses images on your computer, which is also awesome because you can sort them. You can move them around. You can filter. So just show me the J pig or just show me the raw. But also you can star them. So when we get into the computer, I'll show you that as well. So in general I do. Ah, adobe bridge and collections. There's a section on there that'll show you where you can drop things into various collections. So, such as I can go to my water collections and see ripples of water, shallow water over granite. And that's really good for some kind of texture or mountains or trees. So anyways, textures on and creating your own palette is really awesome. So sometimes when I do, uh, you know these big epic collages. I do work where I have a bunch...

of images. Let's say a whole palette of trees. I'll just copy and paste them on. This huge file that way can say, OK, this branches really need Oh, and I love the lighting on these leaves, and I can literally use it as, ah, you know, Painter might have their own palette next to it again. Again. Channel your inner Bob Ross right painting. You're just perfect. Happy trees, Happy Bush A Z. You go along, and that way you know it's a great work full for me. I don't always do it every single one, but sometimes that can really help things that keep in mind. Always look at the lighting right direction of lighting, the quality of lighting, the focus, especially when you're starting piecing things together. We'll show the as an example. I did two different images. One. We have the shot with waterfalls in Yosemite, another with the coast, completely different lighting. But who's to say that this plan doesn't have two different light sources? Right When you're working with fantasy landscapes, you can get away with a lot more you can. Your mind is whatever that that image is gonna be, so there's more sort of leeway doesn't have to be literal, but it's good toe to pay attention to. Or if you have something that has very specific light, that's just awesome from that angle. Maybe you want to shoot other images that are like that, so pay attention to the point of view. But again, for me, it starts with a sketch, right? So things I'm looking for in a sketch, you know, I want to make sure that the image has some sort of narrative, potentially get inspired by something. You know something usually if it has wow factor you. Somebody always has, well, factor. Even if you've been there a 1,000,000 times, that's just awesome. The ocean has wow factor that Smith rock, right? All these places with views, you know, something that already has impact. That's a great starting point to move forward and then add other things to it, because then it's sort of given you that sort of latitude Teoh improve on it, things to keep in mind again. Direction, quality of light, the time of day scale. So you know, sometimes you'll find these really great locations, and that's when you'll be shooting, perhaps with family. But it's not the perfect lighting for another element that you want that they could just really make it. So don't be afraid to to use all your archive images as that was just location scouting for the rial. Shoot, right? So it's good to combine whatever you can dio. But that's also just potential research for all right. I know what that was at that time A day. Oh, with shadows coming over here, that would be perfect, right? That's the one eso to then go in and shoot those locations. Eso always keep that in mind with this. So here's little graphic So things that also keep in mind texture right? Just because an image you may not use it for the snow maybe has a really great rock texture you can add on to something has other details. Always think of the point of view and how you're matching point of view what scale it has, right? Take everything into consideration. A Z you're shooting again for that. That one with the lady Nike there with a sketch, you know, So not only are you taking these things into consideration of what you currently have and sort of getting inspired by it, but also sketching based on that. So I know I had shots of the Grand Canyon. I know. I had these epic mountains right from the Swiss Alps on, I know had this statue of Lady Nike, um, on there. So I wanted to create some sort of narrative that something happened in this past world. I don't know that created these ponds and, you know, lava. So I did three variations of the sketch. So the idea is, your 1st 1 may not always be your the one they actually choose. Sometimes it is, but usually it's your 3rd 1 right? In this case, it was kind of that that 2nd 1 but is although it would be nice to this 3rd 1 actually on there now that I look at it. But that's the ideas. Create some variety on to see what what you might actually do might come of it. So your first idea, not always on the best one to go with this is another sort of version of sketching it out and playing with it. Uh, and here you can see how is sort of piecing it together. So here's sort of in the in progress and things that I wanted to dio, and this is a lot of eyeballing it. And it's a lot of training for your I accept. First, you know, things will like, look good. You'll say, Yeah, that works really well, then you come back the next day I got this terrible. That's another thing I fatigue. When you're doing this kind of work, make sure you take breaks. It's kind of like music. Any time you're in the recording studio too long, you stop hearing objectively, so give your eyes a break. Get them refreshed Flipper image over. Change it up in some way. Get some sleep. It's a suggestion, but for creatives may not work. But you know, that way you can look at it fresh and you can sort of see what needs changing. So that's that's the idea. I knew I had a slope. You can sort of see the pieces that I wanted to getting the composition ready on. Then it just turned into this, that's all. It just went from 12 next, Um, but that's the idea, piecing it together and really just sort of playing with it. I think I worked on this one off and on for about a month. So when you're looking at all the little pieces again, also probably over 200 layers. So some of them are really epic. This one took two hours, right? Maybe not even that. Just sort of playing around one night. Um, you know, with some things, you know that it doesn't take necessarily forever to do so It depends on the scale of what you want, how much time you have and how involved you want. Todo actually get with it. So, yeah, that's the idea for for that one. So we can't really see the sketch. There is kind of all blowing out. But this was the general sketch. Can you kind of see it? So, you know, the idea was that had some flowers in the foreground, had some ocean, and then a little bit of the waterfall there. And we can't really see the moon, but keep going. So that was the idea that I sketched out. And then it was just a matter of taking pictures. Oh, yeah. Look, there were done. That's it. That's all you need. Composite finished eso these air, the set ingredients that I was gonna play with to create this fantasy landscape combined it all together. So we have the typical right Yosemite shut the sea with El Capitan and half doing the back some textures. So this is really cool things with with that And they just some flowers from my yard right there. Just beautiful rhododendrons that just, you know, exploded in a week. Like all got to put that in composite. This is great. So take all the things that inspire you in the moment. You know, it doesn't necessarily have to be a far destination. You can take things close by, Um, and yet we're gonna make a selection, even with things next to grass, where there's not a lot of contrast.

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.