Dark Fantasy Art tutorial called  “Sleeping Sun” by Lorelei (me!) was originally posted on www.loreleiweb.com The tutorial remains a copyright property of Lorelei © 2009, however,  now it has moved to PSwish.com due to technical / server reasons. We invite all our LoreleiWeb community to subscribe to our feed and make sure you don’t miss any tutorial written by your favorite authors.

Despite been classed as fantasy art, this is mere photo manipulation – make a fairy and your own mystic scenery; creating a landscape from scrap is now possible! I was inspired by the huge success of my previous fantasy art tut, which I posted in this forum last week… I got quite a few emails thanking me for it and many PS blogs featured it, so I decided to give in to repeated requests from millions of loving fans and do one more fantasy/scenery tut…

This is basically a mix of whats we call “fantasy art” and “dark/ gothic art”

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

I want to mention in advance that this tutorial is mostly for more experienced users, here we will need to use a lot of “handwork” and common sense; you will be working with your own images and would need to adjust to the “needs” of your landscape.

So, let’s get started… make a new canvas – 600* 400.

Fill your background layer with any dark color, we chose to do it with blue, but you can use black as well.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Take a picture of a girl… we used this one, from Liam Stock, free photo resource.. ( http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/39058232/ <– Full resolution image)

This would depend on the image you use, but try to crop the figure accurately and remove the background.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Select the cropped girl from your canvas, and paste it unto the blue fantasy canvas we will create.

Place her in the middle, not to close to the edge, as she will be our leitmotif.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Next step, you will need different photos in order to combine a landscape.

First off, a photo of a shore. We took a pic offered free by ~gladly.


Press ctrl + a to select the entire waterscape, Ctrl + c to copy it, and then, when you go to the fantasy canvas – press Ctrl + V to paste it.

Be sure to place the waterscape layer UNDER the layer with the girl. This is important, we placed the girl first in order to be able to see what proportion are we creating with the landscape, however, remember, that she shall always be the top later.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Using the Eraser tool, with a soft edge, 40 or 50 px size, draw a line (horizon), which will be around the level of the main figure’s eyes. This is ideally, but if you use a taller person, or not a sitting figure, of course, you can draw the horizon wherever you wish.

In order to make sure that your line is straight, press the Shift button while pressing the mouth, this way, even if your hand will hove, the line will remain straight.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Now we need the sky. Don’t look for any spy picture, because we mostly need a horizon line (with mountains, or just a stroke of land) rather than mere clouds.

The hue of the picture is not important, all you need is a cloudy interface with a bit of land to symbolize the horizon.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Paste your clouds photo unto the fantasy canvas, UNDER the waterscape layer.

The horizon line of the water has to be a little darker, so u can go back to the background later (blue canvas) and brush it with black or a darker blue hue.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Create a new layer.

Select a Round Brush with a sharp edge (do not use a soft edge here!) and Make a stamp near the figure, as shown in the picture below.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Set the opacity of the layer to “soft”, to make it semi-transparent. Using the eraser tool with a sharp edge, remove all the remains, so that it will look as if this sun (or moon, if u wish) will create the illusion of setting behind the hills/landline of the horizon.

See the illustration to understand it better, and once you have finished erasing, don’t forget to set the blending options back to normal

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Go to Layer >>Layer Styles >> Blending options, and apply these settings for the outer glow effect. Don’t skip this step, this is necessary to make an effect of shine and glow.


Select the waterscape layer.

Go to Filter >> Renders >> Lightening Effect.

Make a light spot, exactly on the place where the sun is… this will lit the water in front of the setting sun.


This is what we got so far, beautiful water with a local lighting.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Select the layer with the cropped girl (main figure) and apply the same spot lightening effect.

Its important to use same location for the spot, as we only have one sun here!


Set the blending options of the layer with the girl to “Luminosity”, in order to give her the same hue as the layers underneath her.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

After the recent few steps, you canvas should look like this… If anything looks different – don’t worry, in the end you might get even a better result than the example in this tut.

Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap - Photoshop Tutorials Lorelei Web Design

Now, we are going to need wings to add to our girl and turn her into a fallen fairy.

I’d recommend using Photoshop brushes in the shape of wings, and not to crop wings from other photos, as we need high-quality transparent wings.

For this very tutorial, I used wings brushes downloaded free from Deviant art – http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/11925788/

Once you have installed the brushes, make a new layer (don’t forget) which will be placed BELOW the girl, and ABOVE the waterscape layer and the sky.

Use a size that will suit the size of your figure and canvas. We used wing brushes 185px, but this is individual.


Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscap

  1. wow thank you very much, i love these kind of tutorials, stuff like this is what makes people (think) about there designs and do there own creative work, thank you again

  2. @mystika_d
    Same here, but I didn’t really find any good pictures to work with.
    I’ll get back to this later when I’ve found some pictures.

    1. I don’t know if someone answered your question, but I think you need to remember to “feather” your selection. this keeps it from having a cut-out look. you do this by using: Select>Modify>Feather (usually only 1 or 2 pixels settings)

      this will make it blend into the background better. I hope this helps.

  3. ^^Thank you very much to both of you

    Ya i dont like “copying” tutorials exactly, i just pretty much read it over a few times, then close the page…and try to do my own design of it and see what happens… and thats what i came up with…

    P.S. Thank you for the compliment to about the shadow, i thought it brought out the “realness” of the picture alot better

  4. considering that there’s only 2 of us who posted our work, you’re then referring to me. Well moderator, if you are moderating you’ll see that I copy the work first to see if I can do it, then I post my own work later. If you check the previous Fantasy Art tutorial. Considering I did this at 2am, I didnt have time to do my own. so yeah.

  5. providence, if you read what he said , he said its the most original “So far”, which means there will probably be alot more designs and probably even better ones shown…so ya.. i wouldnt take offense to it, he didnt mean nethign bad buy it towards you or neone else…

    Good luck with the next project you plan on doing

  6. Providence,
    Let me apologize on moderators behalf, i dont think it was ment in that way, only the words sometimes look kinda harsh….
    It was for sure not a reference to your work, which looks good also…and I think Lorelei will agree with me on that.

  7. Yeah it’s v.good, but isn’t the shadow at the wrong side? The light is coming from the distance and the shadow is in the opposite side to where it should be? V.creative design just wondered if it’s only me that thinks that

  8. hmm, well i guess it could depend on the way you look at it…the sun could be really in straight but the angle of the picture it showing it from the side….or…and sun could be higher or lower also, making the shadow angle in many different ways though, lol…

    i dk, i personally thought it looked cool right there..

    thank you for the interest about it though, but ya, definitely just depends on the way you look at it…as you see, i never go buy what the eyes can see…

    i like to “manipualte it” even more…so that sun could be anywhere in the pic, but looking at in a different angle would make the shadow also seem in a different place..

    sry if i confused u, i just think differently than most people lol..

  9. Lol i wasn’t slating it as it’s better than what i can do i just thought i’d got the physics wrong, i’m attempting one now but can’t find good enough sources

  10. Since I enjoyed the other tutorial so much, I had to try this one out too.

    Not quite to the same standard as the tut but I’m pleased with the end result.

  11. Good evening, people. I just registered because I’m in theprocess of self-learning some Photoshop and I liked this page very much. I hope to learn a bit hehe.
    So, first try at tut! the result is here http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a10…Fairy-Moon.jpg
    (I didnt want to post the full sized one here in case it was too heavy, instead I linked to it)
    So, see you all around.

  12. Wow….Nighthawk….a really stunning result!!!

    And welcome here…hehe….hope to see more of your works!!

  13. MadMike from constanta (your sure it isnt constantza??…. )

    Great outcome…well i do have a comment on the right wing.
    I would place the girl a bit more to the left so that the wing is shown a bit better,but besides that great work!!!

    ps..if constantza…rumania…black sea…where you have to pay to get on the beach (at least that was 10 years ago)…

  14. I was just wondering;

    Where might I find the picture of the sky/horizon? I can’t seem to find one that will suffice anywhere.

  15. or you could might as well go to google>images and search…”sky” ocean horizont” ”clouds” ”sea”….stuff like that

  16. Kangarooster…..
    Looks very nice, and very sharp too….keep up the good work, hope to see more of your works!!

  17. Hm where all of you geting girls foto?
    I only can make them self, canot find any photo storage…
    Also i used diferent levels, and diferent methids, And i realy like this sun, so ty. Realy useful tut.

  18. That’s a really cool tut. I love the lighting effects, they’re haunting, and just from what was a simple white circle. Nice!

  19. Props to nighthawk and Gvinpins, your results are FANTASTIC….. everyone elses I also saw are really great also…

    But im my humble opinion, gvinpins has the most creativity out of all these, i like it alot,

  20. Another great tutorial Lorelei I must say you have a talent for capturing ideas, I will try this one also see if my daughter will like herself like this

  21. i have a question:

    how do you make the wings not transparent? I mean it looks good see through, but i want to make it look more solid…

  22. pls pls pls help me. how do i erase the background of a cropped pic? i thought i did exactly what the tutorial says. crop the picture (i’m using different pic) erase the background. but it would’t erase anything. i tried to paste the cropped picture unto the new canvas created, but the erased area is white. it is now 11:35 here. and i’m just about blind. i’m going to bed, hopefully tomorrow i get a response from any good samaritan. i would really appreciate any help. i was successful on the other tutorial.

  23. can someone please show me how to add the wings??? I just Downloaded the brush, but i do not know how to add it to the picture..


  24. DemoniWaari,
    I really like your outcome….only one little point of critic: Looks like you have done something or maybe forget something with the head of the girl….dunno, in my eyes it looks different then the rest of the image…..

    But besides that little point (my personal opinion)…good job!!….hope you will share more with us!!

  25. DemoniWaari, it’s very original, i like the idea of girl with the wings holding a sword and the sun behind her… my only comment is that the image is bright. i mean real bright… aint it? maybe i have a too bright screen though..

  26. this tutorial was great! heres my attempt at creating something similiar, using a picture of myself though. i think it came out alright, i might be able to blend myself in a little better but thats another time., (also the shoreline could be better but this was the best picture i could find, otherwise the waters horizon would be further off)

    heres a lighter and darker version

  27. First of all Lorelei u’r great! Saw this tutorial on a homepage, and decided to join this world.

    Im a newb I made one of thus images too, but the part with the sun went wrong in somehow!

  28. Hi Devilsh, thanks for your complement!! I absolutely love your image, it has this mysterious fog effect that no one made so far! i wouldnt say that the sun is wrong, apart from been not lit… when u applied the light spot, was it exactly on the sun, or has it gone on the waves, near the girl? (because it looks like it did). seems to me the light spot is on her left wing, not the sun…

  29. I had a go too, lol. I enjoyed doing this one. Going to fid somewhere to use it.
    The symbol in the moon is a Valknut/valknot the symbol of the slain who gave their lives to Odin in Norse mythology. The girl holds a Viking sword, and with her wings resembles a Valkyrie.

    Valkyries swooped down on the battle field and took the Einherjar, or fallen warriors, (only some, the bravest, were chosen) and carried them off to Valhalla, the Norse heaven.

    Any comments are greatly appreciated.

  30. Duplicate the layer with the girl and put it under the original girl, now create a motion blur with settings of you choice in the girls center(!)
    At last reduce the occapacity (right this way? ^^) of the new layer.

    Edit/Delete Message

  31. I really enjoyed this tut lorelei, nice work. And great job everyone on your results. When I saw this the other day I decided to use a few aspects of it to create a football signature I was working on.

  32. Oh my god, this is a very great tutorial!! It was very useful for me! Thanks…
    I was kind of searching for something like this.

  33. This was a vary easly tutorial! I will show my pic as soon as I get it posted onto photobucket! Thanks Lorelie!

  34. Here’s my try at it… Its my first try at something big in photoshop, never actually learnt photoshop, only fiddled with the filters and tried to make display pictures with em, so here goes…

    Damn. Its too large. It can be viewed at 147.photobucket.com/albums/f163/gswrulez/FantasyWork.jpg , though. Comments and tips and advice and stuff will be appreciated. Criticisms too, preferably constructive.

  35. REALLY LIKE UR WORK lorelei..

    hey here i tried 2 work wid the same image but used a diff background…, in this the mountain , the sea ,the shore,& the small house r diff images merged.. sowy guyz the image wudnt b tht gud cause had 2 sav it wid low resolution 2 upload it…


  36. This would have to be the best tutorial that i have found so far (i ve turened both my girls into dark fairies then used the vampire tut as well)one question though what settings colour levels should you use for a firey sunset as most of my photos are of this sort of nature. thanks again for a great tutorial nice to have one that does the whole picture

    Cheers R@ngi

  37. thanks for this tutorial, its awesome.
    im a beginner and i found this very helpful.

    i gave it ago with my dog instead!
    thanks alot again

  38. Thanks for the brush and pic links they will come in very handy Ive never tried fantasy so I thought this would be a good tut to start with. I went with different pics but the idea is still similar…….

  39. Sylvesterin, you have incredible colors in your composition, its sooo neatly done, i absolutely love it. may i ask what clouds did u use and what seashore? jeee, how did u achieve such a colours scheme?

    sexyposh, glad u liked the tut and thanks for sharing ur result! i like what u did tho i think u should crop the images more carefully, on pars like hair u can always go over the edge with eraser tool with soft edge to avoid pixelated edges…

  40. the tut was great, i haven’t been able to see the settings clearly.. i only saw a little image and i can’t quite finish what i’ ve started without having full knowledge of the original settings. thanks!

  41. I think if you have the opacity on the wings just a little bit higher I think it will be a bit better. But I love that picture! That girl is very very pretty =)

  42. this is a really cool tut. thew possibilitys of me useing actually are kinda low lol. im not much of a fairy person. but i admire the work 🙂

  43. yeah, the second one is good, but the figure wasnt cut properly, and i feel it let me down, but thanks anywhay

  44. thanks…it is people like you who have so much talent that you are not afraid to give away the world…
    I have an old adobe set about 5 years old…the whole kit. I am looking at paintshop pro, but I only have a trial…what do you suggest…should I buy a new photoshop, or would I be able to get downloads off of cnet and so forth?
    thanks for this great tutorial. I will have to attempt it. I do faerie spells and I like as much faerie grafix as I can get….thanks again, and if I get into this, I will be sure to pay you first. Love your giving nature.

  45. thanx…. can i ask you on question where are you from… i mean where were you borne????….
    becouse on a picture you have there are russian words why is that…. are you from Russia or somthing….

  46. Hi all….well I signed up about 10 hours ago and then took my whirl at this fabulous tutorial. I had bookmarked it about a week ago but needed some practice before diving into this one. I played around for awhile and below is my final version. Thanks so much for the instructions; the tut has inspired my mind with further visions…great, I’m already a black belt in insomnia. :big: Hahaha! Wishing you all the best,

    Rob del Arsante’


    Credit to: Tut by Lorelei
    *Clouds from* FreeFoto.com
    *Stock model* Liam….liam-stock.deviantart.com
    *Grunge frame* Tackybrush……tackybrush.deviantart.com

  47. Thank you for publishing this, I am very new to this type of art, and I enjoyed the challange. I am pleased with my result I used all my own pictures, now I will try again in my own style. I will look out for more of your tutorials

    Thank you again


  48. nice tutorial…and easy to follow..thanks!really liked it…tried some for my pictures and it really is great!

  49. Nice but not easy and might have a good idea. I am collecting likewise lessons. Have a nice day!

  50. This is another excellent tutorial and makes use of a range of effects that are powerful but take time to master. The lighting effects tool can be used very effectively if done correctly, as in this case.

    The layer tools seem to have an infinite number of uses, and the outer glow methods as illustrated here certainly show their power. Using these and combining them with other effects such as levels and shadows can create stunning results.

    I would like to see more tutorials like this, may be some that concentrate on using certain tools of Photoshop. Thanks for another useful tutorial!

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  53. Lot of Photoshop tutorials I have read on photo manipulation. I am really impressed with this tutorial. Dark Fantasy Art Photoshop tutorial – Fairy and Sunset Landscape. Thank you

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