Thanks go out to Maxime Quoilin for this Photoshop tutorial. See more of his work at www.remainsteadfast.net. See part 1 here!
Step 9: Masking Parts
Once you’re satisfied with the result, use a layer mask on the sphere layer, and erase the upper parts behind the mountains. Then, on the mountain layer, use a layer mask, and erase anything in the lower part that lies ‘outside’ of the sphere layer with a soft black brush. As mentioned earlier, there’s no precise theory, just experiment until it feels right.
Step 10: Blending in
To blend the mountains in the sphere, open up the Brushes palette, take a default organic Photoshop brush with 50% spacing. Use 100% Size jitter, 100% Angle jitter, 1000% Scattering and activate Other Dynamics. Then, with a black foreground and a grey (#8d8d8d) background, start brushing out some of the mountain so it really blends into the sphere.
Step 11: Continue to home levels
For the mountains to fit perfectly with the sphere, you’ll need the snow to have more or less the same colour as the sphere behind. To achieve this, you need to play around with the Levels tool (Ctrl+L) and make the grey lighter or darker as to your needs. You can also add an adjustment layer ¬– this way you’ll be able to use the layer mask and have better overall control.
Step 12: More contrast
If you haven’t already done, put all the mountain/sphere layers into a group, and duplicate it. Then merge the group and put the resulting layer in Overlay blending mode. This will increase the contrast of the group underneath. Use the Levels tool to obtain different results and contrasts.
Step 13: More mountains
Feel free to repeat the process to create different spheres. Perhaps use stock images with more snow, like we did. Add further blank spheres, which you saved at Step 5, in various sizes to create a decent composition. Don’t hesitate to add a slight Gaussian Blur to some of these spheres. This will give more movement to the piece.
Step 14: Texturing spheres
Create a new group of layers and using the Clone Stamp tool, with the same brush as in Step 10, start cloning some interesting elements of the rocks onto the blank spheres.
Step 15: Adding details
You can add some more details like circles and lines to perfect the composition. Here we created some light blue (#209cc8) circles with a very low Opacity. We also added some 2px white lines.
Step 16: Final touch
On top of the layer stack, create a 50% grey (#808080) layer with an Overlay blending mode. Then use the Lighting Effects filter and add some lighting from the upper right corner. Reduce the Opacity of the layer until you have a satisfying result. Finally, add a 50% Opacity Levels adjustment layer and move the Midtones slider slightly toward the white. This will give the final piece some more contrast.