Time to detail the tree. Because we’re using the tree as a framing device, it needs to stay relatively dark, so as not to compete with the main focal points. Use a hard-edge brush at varying levels of opacity to suggest the bumps of the bark, and the light softly hitting the right-hand-side of the tree. Then select the area and bring in a picture of tree bark with Edit > Paste Into and set the layer to Overlay at 32 per cent opacity to finish off the effect.
To detail the other framing branch, we need to consider that the image is further away, so a hard edge brush won’t cut it here. Instead, we’ll use a brush from my good friend Tom Scholes. Tom created this brush to draw hedges quickly in Photoshop, but we’re going to use it in a different way. Select the branch, pick a dark blue colour and use the top half of the brush to carefully add shading. One of the great things about Photoshop’s custom brushes is that you can use them in numerous ways, not just the one they were intended for, try to experiment with them whenever you can.
Create a new layer called ‘Above Lines’ (placing it above the ‘Lines’ layer) and use an airbrush at low opacity to add ground mist to add depth to the scene, varying the colours depending on where the mist is. Then start to tidy the overall shading with a hard-edge brush. Make some areas darker to help push the image contrast. When you’re happy with the shading, take the airbrush and add subtle light bloom by running along the border of the lighter areas with its respective colour; this will replicate the effect of light scattering.