Step 1: Create Document
The first step is to create your document. I have chosen 11x17 and 150 dpi. This will allow for sharp edges if this was to be printed, with a minimum of pixelation.
Step 2: Create Background
We are going to use a gradient as the base of our background. Set the foreground color to a dark gray (i used #2c3233) and your background to black. Using the gradient tool , draw a linear gradient with the top being gray and the bottom being black.
Go to http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/221816 and download the image of the moon. Open the file in Photoshop and use your magic wand tool to select the black around the moon. Hit Shift+Ctrl+I or go to Select>Inverse to switch the selection to just the moon. Copy this selection and paste it into our main file.
Once pasted, adjust the moons size with Ctrl+T until you get it to the size you like. Have some of the moon go off the top end of the canvas.
Right now it is much too bright so we are going to knock that down some. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast and lower the Brightness option to -50.
The moon is looking good, but is missing its natural glow. Set the Foreground color to a light gray (#d0d0d0). Create a new layer (Ctrl + N ) and place it below the moon’s layer. Ctrl + click on the moon layer’s thumbnail to load a selection around the moon. Fill the selection with the gray color and then deselect. Hide the moon layer so we can see what we are doing to the glow that is behind it. Apply a Gaussian Blur fliter with a Radius of 15px, then lower the Opacity of the layer to 50%. Now turn the moon layer back on and move the glow layer until it looks good to you. I put mine so it only shows on the right side of the moon.
To finish off the moon, we need to add a shadow on top of it. The full moon looks great, but will look more natural and spooky if it has a shadow on it. Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of the moon layer to load a selection of it. Create a new layer and, on this new layer, fill the selection with black (#000000). Deselect and apply the Gaussian Blur filter with a Radius of 100px. Move the shadow around until you are happy with how it looks.
Step 4: Add the Castle
Go to http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/20063 and download the castle image. Use a selection tool (I used the magnetic lasso) to outline the castle. Copy it and paste it into our composition.
Use Ctrl+T to size the castle to an appropriate size.
Now desaturate it using Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. Then lower the layer’s Opacity to 35%.
The castle looks good, but still needs a little work. Ctrl + click on the castle layer’s thumbnail to create a selection around it. Create new layer above the castle layer, and fill this new layer with black. This next part will vary with everyone because of image size. Use my numbers as a reference, but remember that yours will probably be different. Select the eraser tool and pick a round brush with a 75 pixel radius and a opacity of 85. Hit the corners of the castle where the moonlight will hit it. I like to do just the very edges of the building. Still with the eraser tool selected, pick a round brush with a 100 pixel radius and an opacity of 50. Do it again with a radius of 150 and opacity of 25 and one more time with a radius of 200 and an opacity of 15. Each pass should get wider and wider until the whole castle is exposed, with the places that are farthest from the moon being the faintest.
first pass 76 round, 85 opacity
100 round, 50 opacity
Step 5: Create Fog
Now we are going to add some fog to reinforce the eeriness of the scene.
Set your foreground color to black and your background color to white. Then go to Filter > Render > Clouds . Change the Blending Mode for this layer to Screen and lower the Opacity to 15%.
Select your eraser tool and use a brush with a 0 Hardness to erase the clouds from the bottom part of the composition and from on top of the castle. Duplicate this layer and change the blending mode to multiply . This helps the clouds to blend a little better.
Step 6: Accent Light
We want to add a little more mystery to the scene. We are going to add a little lighting accent.
Create a new layer, select the Brush tool (B), select a green color (#49a65d), and, with a large, soft brush (I used around 950 pixels) paint a big spot close to the moon. Apply the motion blur filter with an angle of 90 degrees and a distance of 950 pixels. Change the layer blending mode to screen and the opacity to 50%.
Step 7: Add Trees
Open the Join me in the abyss… stock photo, desaturate it (Ctrl + U) and, with the Rectangular Marquee Tool, create a selection around the trees.
Copy and paste the selection into our scene. Flip the trees horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal ).
Next, adjust the levels to render the sky white (Image > Adjustment > Levels ).
To blend the trees layer with the layers behind it and to hide the white areas, change the Blend Mode to Multiply .
Step 8: Add Figure
Get the image at http://wallpaper-s.org/72_~_Hugo_Weaving%2C_V_for_Vendetta.htm . We will use this as a silhouette.
Open this and use a selection tool to select the figure.
Paste it into our composition. Open the Layer Style dialog window and apply a black Color Overlay to the layer. Soften the silhouette with Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur ) and then lower the Opacity of the layer to 80%.
Create a new layer below the silhouette layer. Switch your Foreground color to gray (#7a8384). Create a light spot behind the silhouette using the Brush Tool with a large, soft brush (500px ). Lower the layer’s Opacity to 60%. Apply the motion blur filter at an angle of 90 degrees and a distance of 950 pixels.
Click on the silhouette layer to make it the active layer, duplicate it (Ctrl + J ), then press Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform mode. Hold down Ctrl and pull the center-top transform control straight down until the duplicate silhouette is flipped vertically. This will become the silhouette’s shadow.
Move this shadow layer below the silhouette layer, apply Gaussian Blur with a 6px Radius, and then set the layer’s Opacity to 60% afterwards.
Step 9: Add Embellishment
In this step, we will add bats to the scene. First, download and install these Halloween Vectors Photoshop & GIMP Brushes . Create a new layer above the fog/clouds layer.
Set the Foreground color to black (#000000), switch to the Brush Tool (B), choose one of the bat brushes, and start adding bats. I suggest that each bat should have its own layer. I know we will end up with a bunch of layers if we were to have one bat per layer, but it gives us freedom to adjust and modify each of them individually.
Reduce the Opacity of the bat layers so that bats father away into the distance are fainter.
Step 10: Add Texture
Dowload any texture. I used First, Texture No.14 and place it on top of our composition.
Desaturate the texture (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate ) to remove its colors, then set the layer’s Blend Mode to Multiply at 70% Opacity.
Step 11: Finished!
We are done! Insert some text or leave it as it is.