Photoshop Fog

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

Written by Tim on . Posted in Post-Processing

Honestly, the first version of this tutorial was horrible.  Thankfully, I was able to find an easy way to create a foggy atmosphere in photoshop.  Basically this is a revision of my first tutorial on how to make fog in photoshop.  I decided to make this tutorial and photoshop action since I got some good feedback from a couple users on my previous and quick post entitled “Gloomy Mist Photoshop Effect: Adding Atmosphere“.

Before we start, there are two files you need to download.  One is a Photoshop Action I made in Photoshop CS5 and the other is a brush pack I used to create the fog/mist:

Once you download these two files, you can start the tutorial below. 

1. Load the Action

Open up the image of your choice in Photoshop, and load my Photoshop action you just downloaded.  Please note, however, that this action is best used on photos taken from 8MP cameras or more because some of the filters I used look best on larger photos.

2. Use the Action

Once you load the action, use it.  If your Actions window isn’t open already, go to “Window > Actions” on the menu bar.  You should see my action inside the list. Simple enough How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

3. Before and After the Action

Your photo should have gone from something like this:

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

To this:

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

As you may have noticed, the action creates a few adjustment layers that you can tweak to your likings.  I have tried this effect on a few different photos, with the best results coming from photos taken in harsh sunlight, believe it or not.  You will definitely have to change a few settings here and there to get this effect to look the absolute best, because every photo will most likely be different.

It’s Foggy Out Here!

4. Flatten the Image

Flatten your image by going to “Layer > Flatten Image”  on the menu bar

5. Create a New Layer

To add the fog, we will create a new layer.  We will use this layer to paint on the fog effect. Go to “Layer > New Layer” on top menu bar.  Name the layer “Fog”

6. Load the Brushes

Load the Tranquility Fog Brushes you downloaded earlier

7. Select the Sky Brush

Once the brushes are loaded, select the “sky” brush in the collection

8. Painting With Fog

With the sky brush loaded, set white as your foreground color and start selectively painting over the bottom half of your image where you want the fog to reside.  You may want to increase your brush size depending on the size of your photo.  Don’t go all out with the fog, as too much will take away from the misty fog effect and reduce the impact. If the fog seems too thick and heavy, reduce the opacity on the fog layer until you’re happy with the result. Take a look at how I applied the effect to my photo:

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

And here’s the fog effect on black so you can see how I applied it more clearly:

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

Make The Photo Moody

My particular photo is still too bright.  And to let you know, that will usually be a side effect of adding fog.  Since we’re painting white on top of our image, it will obviously get brighter.  But there’s always a solution to everything now, isn’t there?

9. New Levels Adjustment Layer

Make a new Levels Adjustment Layer by going to “Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels” on the menu bar

10. Adjust Midtone Level

In the Levels panel on the right hand side, adjust the “Midtone Input Level” until the photo gets reasonably darker, like so:

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

11. Select Levels Layer Mask

Select the Levels Layer Mask by clicking on it in the layers panel

12. Final Step

With the layer mask still selected, use a large, soft edged black brush with an opacity of between 30-45% and paint the key areas of the photo you want to brighten up, or otherwise attract the view to.  Here’s my final result:

How To Create Fog in Photoshop: Gloomy Photoshop Action Included

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