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How to make atmosphere in Photoshop – History Brush version

Use the History Brush to paint in atmosphere in Photoshop

If you look at the real world, you will notice that things look different the further away they get. Distant mountains look distant. Why? You will notice they become less saturated in color a less contrast. You may call this haze, or pollution. The technical name is atmospheric perspective. While there are many ways this could be done (I’m sure I’ll make more tutorials showing alternative methods), I wanted to share this method with you. This technique uses the history brush and history panel to make a “multiple-effect layer”. The advantage of this, is that you can forget about all the technical side, put on your artist’s hat and paint on all the effects at once, with the ease of a brush. While it may not be obvious at first, this is a non destructive way of working, just not the type that most people are used to.

I also wanted to show you how to use the history brush. It’s one of those little gems in Photoshop, that a lot of people aren’t aware of. The more ways you know how to work in Photoshop, the faster you will work and options are always a good thing. Don’t be locked into only one way of working. I hope you find this useful.

Quick reference

In case you forget, here are the basic steps.

  • Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur
  • Edit>Fade
  • Change to Overlay (or soft light) blending mode
  • Make a snapshot in the history panel
  • Choose original state from history panel
  • Create new Layer
  • Grab history brush and select the snapshot in the History panel
  • Paint away and mask if you need to

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5 responses to “How to make atmosphere in Photoshop – History Brush version”

  1. What a fun way to create a quick editing. Never thought of using the history brush to paint in/out effects. Will be trying this out.

  2. So glad to find out what the history brush does. I’ve accidentally selected the tool and had error messages pop up at me, but I just said “screw that,” and escaped it. Now I might actually use the tool on purpose!

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