This won’t be a tutorial, but I will will show you how I made “Troubled Road” by doing a walk thru. This image is part of “The Road” project. A project where I will make use of a piece of road and tell a couple of stories that take place on that road.

The road itself is a photo I downloaded from A really great website for getting images you can use in your own projects. You can find the photo here.
Also the power poles and the Ford Mustang came from that website.
The sky (also used for the mist) and both models I photographed in the studio.
troubled road blog sky

First of I started work on the road. Adjusted the contrast and made the concrete a lot darker.
Troubled Road Blog RoadThe next step was adding the mist. I used the sky photo for this by duplicating the layer a few times and flipping it both horizontal as vertical. Put the blend mode on screen on all the layers. This way only the lighter parts of the sky photo will be visible. I finetuned this part by drawing with a soft brush and low opacity with a white color on the parts where I wanted the mist to be a little thicker.
Troubled Road Blog MistThis will not be all the mist, because I will be adding more mist later on that needs to be on top of the layers with the car and the power poles and cables.
Next I added two layers withe the sky image. One of those layers is flipped, just to add some extra highlighted areas in the image. I adjusted the color balance to add a bit of blue in the whole image and added some more mist/fog by adjusting the exposure of the mist.
troubled road blog sky addedBy now the background is done, so let start adding some of the foreground parts by starting with the Ford Mustang. I manually added the part of the hood that is missing in the source photo, adjusted the size, made a cut-out and placed it in the left corner of the image.
troubled road blog white mustangNext I changed the color of the car with a gradient map on the color blend mode and made the orange a bit deeper by using an exposure adjustment layer. Also I painted a bit of the same orange color on the road as a very light reflection with a low opacity soft brush.
troubled road blog mustang orangeNext I added the pwerpoles on the right on blend mode “darken” to only use the dark parts with an hue/saturation adjustment layer set to desaturate to loose all the color. I made a few copies of the layer for the second and third pole and used different parts of the layer by masking the rest out. The cabled where drawn by hand by clicking with a hard brush set to black on the first pole then while holding the shift key clicking on the second pole to create a straight line. With the warp tool I pulled the cables a bit down in the middle and with the perspective tool I made the cables thinner in the distant. Also I adjusted the opacity in the distance to make the cables and poles a bit more realistic in the mist.
troubled road blog power poles

Next I hand drawn the power cables and used blending option bevel and emboss to give them a 3d look. Also I added some more mist but this time allowing it in front of the poles and the car to give the mist some more depth.
troubled road blog start cables

Now we need some models to let the scene come to life! So let’s start with adding Nick in the image. I already did all the retouching and the cut-out on Nick before bringing him over to this image. I added lot’s of detail to him, cleaned up the skin and used dodge & burning to highlight his muscles, eyes, etc.
troubled road blog NickNext I want to jumpstart cabled to spark. I did that with a custum brush and added some flares and light effects on an overlay blend mode.
troubled road blog sparks

Next I added the other model Kimberley. I also did all the retouching and the cutout before bringing her over to this image. Sadly Kimberley did not fit the height of the car So I used the puppet warp tool to make her lean onto the car as you can read in my previous blog post.
troubled road blog KimberleyNow all the parts are in place, so let’s start with the final part of the composite by doing the final touches. I added some tonal contrast (plug in), darkened the whole image with an exposure adjustment layer, added a gradient map (blue orange) on multiply blend mode to give the color an overall mood. This also helps to get all the pieces glued together better. And finally I added some vignette to the image

The final result:

[singlepic id=227 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Hope you liked seeing my workflow on an image like this. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or leave a reply on this page.