Just Like the Movies

I confess that I don’t spend that much time in Lightroom and I hear about how good it is, but I’m from the old school and having been an active user of Photoshop for over 20 years you tend to stick with what you know
Recently I mocked up- a tongue in “cheek” movie style poster for a couple of friends of mine. They are gamers and love the dark and dingy worlds of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
With my theme of choice already picked I then looked through my photo library for a suitable image.
It’s important to note that colour toning does suit particular composed photos. Ideally landscapes or interior buildings are perfect; however you can still do this on Portraits depending on what you want.

I found a photo I took recently of the two candidates preparing for a stroll around a nature park the day was slightly overcast but lacking real texture in the sky.   
Original Image
First thing was to undertake a bit of digital wizardry to extend the image left and right
Firstly I duplicated the main image and created a mask to separate the current skyline from the foreground. Then using a variety of cloning brush sizes and varied opacity and hardness, I cloned the additional grass areas and extend the paths out to the horizon.
So as not to create too much of pattern I imported some elements from another photo taken in the same area. This gave me the Water trough (right) and allowed a bit more randomness across the field.
To ensure the paths looked natural I used the menu Edit-Transform on an isolated layer and used the perspective and Distort tools to adjust the flow.
Next I duplicated the completed extended layer and created a mask around the two subjects.
Next I picked a photo of some clouds from my ever growing texture library and after some further cloning and duplication, I used this to represent the fog bank.
Cloud Source Photo

Using a layer mask I blended the clouds on top of the main image and again used the Transform tool to apply a little bit of perspective to it.
Next I added the adjustment layers.

Gradient Maps.
These are great to use when colour toning your image as they are none destructive and they can easily be edited and adjusted. You can also use Layer blending modes and control opacity and finally add custom masks.
Photoshop comes with a series of Photo toning pre-sets.
Gradient Map Menu - Photoshop
I used the Photographic set which give me access to Sepia style effects for the foreground grass, but  I opted to create a custom black and white gradient tone for the sky.
For the ground the layer blend was set to Hue. The sky I set to Darken but pulled back on the opacity. The good thing about the gradient maps is that you can adjust the brightness sliders so that you have full control over light, middle and dark.
All the text elements where created in Illustrator and imported across for the final composition.

After a few extra tweaks and reviews I settled for the result you see here. I saved the master file as a layered PSD, then flattened and exported to JPEG for web
Gradient Maps to create Movie Poster effects
 Lots of fun and easy to do. Pop over to Adobe’s learning centre and review some of their tutorials.