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Create a Surreal Smoking Photo Manipulation

Create a Surreal Smoking Photo Manipulation

Difficulty Level

  • Beginner

Resources Used In This Tutorial

Final Image

Here is a preview of the image that we are going to be creating:

Step 1

Start by creating a new document (600X650px).

Create a new layer called ‘background gradient’. Fill your canvas with a radial gradient ranging from 003851 to 001a26.

Step 2

Now paste in your mountain range photo. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 8%, to add a subtle background texture.

Step 3

Now add a couple of adjustment layers (settings below). With each adjustment layer apply a clipping mask (layer>create clipping mask). This will ensure that your adjustments will only effect the layer beneath them, in this case your mountain range layer.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -100
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjsutment Layer Settings:

51 / 1.00 / 202

Step 4

Create a new layer called ‘green circle’. Use your elliptical marquee tool to create a medium sized circle in the right part of your canvas.

Fill this with a radial gradient ranging from 357211 to 2b560e.

Step 5

Paste in the cloud photo from the resources for this tutorial. position it over your green circle.

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. Then apply a clipping mask, and the clouds will mask off, to fit to the shape of your circle:

Now apply a levels adjustment layer. This will help add some extra contrast and intensity to your cloudy circle. Be sure to apply a clipping mask, so that your adjustments only effect your clouded circle, not your entire canvas.

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

15 / 1.00 / 219

Now return to your green circle layer. Apply an inner glow blending option to this layer, in order to give your circle more of an ‘orb’ appearance.

Inner Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 75%
Color: Black
Choke: 0%
Size: 51px

Now create a new layer called ‘circle highlight’. Drag out a radial gradient (white to transparent) over your green circle. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce the opacity to 40%. This should add a nice lighting effect to your cloudly circle:

Step 6

Now repeat Step 5, creating a smaller red cloudly circle in the left of your canvas:

Step 7

Now paste in your photo of the man in the suit.

Then apply a layer mask, and use a black paintbrush to mask off the photo’s background and the man’s head. Take your time with this step, as it’s beneficial to get a really accurate cut out.

Step 8

Now apply a hue/saturation, levels and color balance adjustment layers. With each adjustment layer apply a clipping mask.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -100
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings

5 / 0.86 / 215

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Strong: -4 / +6 / +8
Midtones: -1 / +2 / +15
Highlights: -2 / -1 / +5

Step 9

Now download some floral brush sets. Paste these onto a new layer called ‘lines over suit’ and position your various brushes over the body of your man. Make sure that you use a white paintbrush.

Now add a layer mask, and mask off the parts of your floral brushes that go outside of the area of your man’s suit.

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘color dodge’ and reduce it’s opacity to 30%.

Step 10

Now paste in your smoke photo beneath your suit layers, but above your main background layers.

You’ll notice that your smoke image has a plain black background. To hide this background, simply change your layer’s blend mode to ‘screen’. This will leave just your smoke showing.

Finally, apply a layer mask, and mask off the top/right parts of your smoke using a large, soft black paintbrush. This should leave a nice trail of smoke that appears to be trailing out from the neck of your man. Usually we would alter the color/tone of the smoke, but the blue smoke actually fits quite nicely with our overall composition:

Step 11

Now create a new layer called ‘smoke shadow’.

This layer should be above your smoke layer, but beneath your suit layer.

Use a soft black paintbrush to paint in a shadow where the man’s neck would be. This helps give the impression of depth.

Step 12

Cut out your bowler hat photo using the lasso tool or pen tool and paste it into your composition, above your suit.

Now apply a color balance adjustment layer (making sure that you also apply a clipping mask to this layer). These adjustments will help your hat blend in more smoothly with the rest of your composition:

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Shadows: -4 / 0 / +4
Midtones: -5 / 0 / +9
Highlights: -8 / 0 / +9

Step 13

Now duplicate your smoke layer, moving the duplicate above your bowler hat layer.

You want to reapply a layer mask, so delete your original layer mask, and then mask off most parts of the smoke, apart from the smoke going in front of your bowler hat.

Step 14

Now create a new layer called ‘yellow highlights’. Drag out a couple of radial gradients ranging from fbcf01 to transparent.

Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 15%.

Step 15

Now apply some white highlights and blue highlight layers. The images below give you an idea of where to position your highlights before you reduce the layer opacities and play with blending modes.

Step 16

Now create a new layer called ‘vignette’. Use a large, soft black paintbrush to brush round the corners and edges of your canvas.

Step 17

Now create a new layer called dodge/burn. Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray.

Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will hide your 50% gray fill, but will let you paint over your canvas, to act as a dodge/burn effect. Paint in your shadows using a soft black paintbrush and paint in highlights using a white paintbrush.

The images below show your dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode, and then ‘overlay’ blend mode:

Step 18

Now apply a final adjustment layer. With this adjustment layer DO NOT apply a clipping mask as you want it to effect your entire composition.

Select a purple to orange default adjustment layer, and then reduce this layer’s opacity to 13%.

And We’re Done!

You can view the final completed image below:

Download Source File for this Tutorial


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About the Author:

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.

Leave a comment

4 Comments:

  1. Bijutoha says:

    Really handsome tutorial, easy system is going to more attractive and doing value for all learner .
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Regan says:

    Gorgeous tutorial and result. If I may ask, where did you get your floral brushes?

  3. Ganessen Mauritius says:

    Have done 1 like zis wiz my own pic..its too gud..thanks for this tutorial

  4. Andreu says:

    Why is yout photos HD and mine just suck? I can’t even enlarge the man picture without ruining it.

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