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This is the final image that we’ll be creating in this tutorial. This tutorial was inspired by the awesome work of Barton Damer, whose work I suggest you check out.
The following images were used in making this tutorial:
Open up a new document (600X600px) and create a new layer called ‘gradient background’. Select the radial gradient tool and apply a gradient ranging from 493B24 to 000000.
Now paste in a photo of a wooden texture onto a new top layer, and called this layer ‘wood texture’. Then change the layer blend mode to ‘soft light’ and reduce the layer opacity to 65%.
Now with your wood texture layer selected, go to image>adjustments>levels and apply the settings shown below:
Now paste in a photo of an old boot. I cut out this image from it’s original background using the lasso tool, but you may prefer to use the pen tool. For tips on how to master the pen tool you can read our article Become a Master of the Pen Tool in Under 30 Minutes
For tips on how to easily select objects check out our article: Master Photoshops Selection Tools in Under 30 Minutes
After pasting in my boot image I resized and rotated it to fit nicely in my canvas.
Now go to image>adjustments>levels and apply the settings shown below. This should give your boot image far more intensity.
I also chose to increase the opacity of my ‘wood texture’ layer to 100% as this fitted better with my more intense boot.
Now go to the blending options for your boot layer and apply a drop shadow (settings below):
Now paste in a photo of a wing. Again, you can cut this out from its original background using the lasso or pen tool.
Then go to edit>transform>flip horizontal to flip your image. Then resize your wing, and rotate it to fit to the top of your boot. Finally, go to edit>transform>distort to make the shape of the wing fit more with the angle of the boot.
Now use a medium sized eraser brush to blend where area where the wing joins the boot.
Go to image>adjustments>color balance and apply the settings shown below:
Now go to image>adjustments>levels and apply the settings below to your wing layer:
Now duplicate your wing layer, and move the duplicate wing below your ‘boot’ layer. Go to edit>transform>distort and distort your second wing to fit with the perspective of the boot.
Create a new layer above your ‘boot’ layer but below your ‘wing 1′ layer. Call this layer ‘wing shadow’. Use a 10px very soft black paintbrush at around 10% opacity to brush in a subtle shadow being cast by the larger wing against the boot.
I have noticed a faint white outline around my wings, left from the original selection. To fix this, grab your magic wand tool, and set the tolerance to around 30. Then select a wing layer, and click anywhere outside of the wing shape. This should select the entire area around your wing. Then go to select>modify>expand and expand your selection by 1px. Hit delete, and your outline should be gone.
Now to add some crazy lighting effects. Duplicate your ‘boot’ layer, and then right click on it in the layers palette and click ‘clear layer styles’. This will get rid of your drop shadow effect on the duplicated boot.
Now go to filter>render>lens flare and apply the settings shown below. Be sure to add your lens flare on the duplicate boot, and in the hollow area of the boot, as if light is emerging from the inside of it.
Now you want to make the lens flare truly appear to be coming from inside of the boot, not being on top of it. To do this, have your duplicate boot layer selected and go to layer>apply layer mask>reveal all. Then you can mask off all areas of the boot where you don’t want your lens flare to be so intense.
To do this, grab a large, soft black paintbrush and simply brush over all of the areas of the boot, apart from the area where you want to keep the light effect. So, brush over the outside of the boot, but leave the inner area in tact. The softness of the paintbrush should allow you to create a gradual fade between these areas.
Finally, after masking off my lens flare, it didn’t seem intense enough. To fix this, I duplicated my masked duplicate boot layer twice. Due to the layer mask, the only area getting more intense will be the inner area of the boot.
Now select your wood texture layer and apply a lens flare to it (settings below):
Now select a paintbrush (color: FCA93D). Then go to brush settings and apply the settings shown below. Then apply some scatters of brush marks on a new layer called ‘light sparks’. Try to make the ‘sparks’ emerge from the light source of your boot.
Finally, reduce the opacity of this layer to 50%, as these will be the larger ‘sparks’ that are fizzling out.
Now reduce your brush diameter to 2px, and change the color to FFD555. Create a new top layer called ‘light sparks smaller’, and paint in these smaller, lighter markings in a random pattern of the original larger ones.
Now go to blending options for this layer and apply an outer glow effect (settings below). This should give your smaller light sparks a subtle glow.
Now create a new top layer and add some more, smaller, lighter brush marks, this time overlapping other parts of your boot. Right click on your previous layer in your layers palette and click ‘copy layer styles’, then right click on your new top layer and click ‘paste layer styles’. This will apply the same outer glow to your latest layer.
Now select your ‘wood texture’ layer. Select one of the wooden ‘panels’ and then copy/paste it onto a new layer. Call this layer ‘wood panel 1′.
Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘color dodge’. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 50%.
Now go to blending options for this layer and apply the drop shadow settings shown below. This should make your wood panel appear to be in front of your main wooden texture background.
Then, use a large, soft eraser brush at a low opacity to erase away the left and right edges of your wooden panel, fading it gradually into your wooden background.
I repeated this technique to create a second wooden panel higher up. To repeat the same drop shadow effect I simply copied the layer style from the previous wooden panel layer. This panel didn’t stand out enough at first, so I duplicated the layer to make it more obvious.
Now grab your smudge tool. Return to your ‘boot’ layer, and use the smudge brush at 100% strength to extend out the boots laces into abstract wave lines.
Now select your larger wing layer. Duplicate it, and call the duplicate ‘wing 1 blur’. Then go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply a blur of 2.0 pixels strength.
Move this duplicate layer beneath your original wing layer. Then with your original wing layer selected go to layer>apply layer mask>reveal all. Hide the top edge of the wing using a large, soft black paintbrush to mask off this area.
This should create the impression of the wing blurring as it gets further away from us, creating perspective and movement. Repeat these steps on the smaller wing.
Select your boot layer, and use a large, soft eraser brush at a low opacity to erase away the edges of your extended abstract boot-lace lines, fading them into the black at the edges of your background.
Now add a new adjustment layer>gradient map. Apply the gradient map shown below.
Now reduce this adjustment layer’s opacity to 10% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’.
I really hope that you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I enjoyed writing it, and as always would really appreciate your comments and feedback.
Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.
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