Mountains, Trees and Clouds Background using Brushes

    ●   Create a Background with Gradients and Brushes in Photoshop.

    ●   Then Place the Background behind your Outline in Illustrator .

Learn About:

Pen Tool Download and Install Brushes
Blending Modes Gradients Embed Documents

  •   This tutorial is part of the Monster Mesh Movie Poster and We Can Be Heroes Projects.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.



Step #1: Open Photoshop ~

Open a new document in Photoshop the size of the background or your current project, probably 18 x 24 inches:

Step #2: Pick your Colors ~

Double-Click your colors …

Foreground color picker

… and set the color to whatever you want.

Set the other color too to another color that matches, just change them both …

Step #3: Gradient Tool ~

Select the Gradient Tool which is behind the Paint Bucket

… select Linear Gradient on the menu bar …

linear gradient menu bar

… then click the Gradient Picker arrow and select the Foreground to Background gradient.

Step #4: Drag the Gradient Tool Across the Screen ~

Drag the cursor across the screen to create the sky.

Step #5: New Layer ~

Then go to: Layer > New > Layer or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd (⌘)+ Shift (⇧) +N

+ +

… call the layer "grass" or "ground" or whatever and hit OK.

hit OK

Step #6: The Ground ~

Using the Pen Tool, create a simple curve and close the shape.

Right-Click and choose Make Selection and then select New Selection

make selection

… and fill it with green or whatever colors you want in your foreground, in this case it's green like grass.

Step #7: Gradient ~

With the new "grass" layer selected …

… go to: Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options

blending option

… click on Gradient Overlay

… and set the blend mode to "Soft Light."

Try other Gradient settings - Customize your work!

Step #8: Download PhotoShop Brushes ~

Right-Click this => Landcape Brush. and hit "Save Link as …"

… and save the file to your Destop.

Step #9: Expand ~

Go to your Desktop expand the file it by Double-Clicking it (the file is "zipped").


Step #10: Brushes ~

Now, go back to PhotoShop, click the Brush Tool or hit the keybord shortcut letter (B) …


…click the Brush Preset Picker in the Menu Bar …

… click on the little image in the upper right and click on Load Brushes.

Find the EXPANDED file and install hit Load …

downloads brush

Step #11: Pick the Mountain Brush ~

Scroll to bottom of the brushes and pick one:

Step #12: Make Another New Layer ~

Go to: Layer > New > Layer

+ +


… drag the layer Between the other layers in the middle and call it "Mountains."

Step #13: Adjust the Brush ~

You may need to raise or lower the Brush Size (if necessary) …

… change the color (if necessary) …

… and paint.

Step #14: Clouds ~

Make another New Layer: Layer > New > Layer

+ +


… get the Cloud Brush …

… and, using different sizes and colors, do something extraordinary!

Step #15: Trees ~

Make some trees on a New Layer too …

Step #16: .psd to .ai ~

Save it as a Photoshop .psd document.

Now move to Adobe Illustrator.


Open your Adobe Illustrator project and make a New Layer:


If you're working on the Movie Poster - open your outline drawing:


OR - open your Heroes project, …


Whatever project you're working on, drag the New Layer down below the other layers & lock everything else.

Step #17: Place your .psd doc ~

In Adobe Illustrator, go to: File > Place …




Find the .psd file you just saved and place it behind your outline:


Step #18: Embed the File ~

With the background selected, hit the Embed button so the Photoshop document is permanently "embedded" into Illustrator :

If you don't Embed the Photoshop image, it wont be there when you send it in!

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

Save your work as -]

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.

  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.