Learn how to create this amazing photo manipulation by Andrea García! This tutorial starts by compositing the city landscape using several stock photos then moves on to adding fire and flame. After that, you’ll learn how to add a gas mask to a model and finish up with a warm color effect and a few additional details.
Preview of Final Results
Step 1 – Size
Go to the menu File – Open. The file has to be Width200px. Height 1700px.
Step 2 – Base
You have to star with a base image, this is the one is going to be at the bottom of everything, you can use a texture and add a Gaussian blur (Filter –Blur – Gaussian blur) to have something like this:
Step 3 – Wall
Let’s start with the wall, place the image of the street and add a layer mask, You can find the layer mask option at the bottom of the layers menu.
Step 4 – Hide
Paint over the layer mask with the black brush until you have something like this, remember to make the edges of the wall, don’t worry if is not perfect is just to have the idea.
Step 5 – City
Open the image of the city and place it like this:
Step 6 – Blending
Repeat the process you did before, create a layer mask and hide everything except the buildings, you can make the selection with lasso tool and then pass the black brush to hide the undesired parts.
Step 7 – Multiply
Change layer mode from normal to the option multiply.
Step 8 – Sky
Place (Menu File – Place) the image of the sky above the other images.
Step 9 – Soft Light
Change layer mode to soft light.
Step 10 – Dark
In a new layer ( Ctrl+Shift+N) Pick a soft round brush (black) and paint around the buildings and sky, all the upper part of the image, use the layer in soft light mode. You can set the opacity of the brush to pen pressure if you have a tablet, if you don’t you can use 40% of opacity.
Step 11 -Fire
Like you did before place the layer of the fire
Then change the layer mode to soft light and change the opacity to: 60% and the fill to 50%.
Step 12 – Gaussian Blur
You can add some Gaussian blur to this image, because right now this layer is going to create the lighting of the flames, So go to Filter- Blur- Gaussian Blur.
Apply 50px of radius.
Step 13 – More Fire
Now add more fire, place another image of the fire and add a layer mask like you did before, so you can hide the edges and make a better blending of the image.
Tip: Is important that all you elements or at least most of them, are Smart Objects because you can always go back if you make a mistake, is a lot easier to fix it.
Step 14 – Layer mode
Change layer mode to screen and reduce the opacity of the layer to 50% and the fill to 80%
Step 15 – Fire
Add another layer with the fire and repeat the process add a layer mask to it and hide the edges to blend the image.
Step 16 – Screen
Change layer mode to screen
Step 17 – Duplicate
Duplicate the layer and rotate the image, to make the fire from behind the building
Step 18 – Reduce Opacity
Change the opacity of the layer to 55%
Step 19 – Decay
Add some texture to the buildings, for this you can use images or brushes or also mix both. For the front wall you can use an image, place the image and reduce the opacity so you can see underneath that layer.
Then create a layer mask and hide most of the layer just leaving some of those holes in the wall like this:
Change the layer to soft light and reduce the opacity to 70%
Step 20 – Cracks
For the city buildings far away you can use crack brushes with a layer in soft light mode, you can change the opacity of the layer and also of the brush to get better results.
Step 21 – Fog
You can add some dark fog in the bottom of the buildings to blend the image. The brush can be set at 40% of opacity. Also you can change the opacity of the layer to 70% or 60% if you think is too strong.
Step 22 – Painting fire
Now paint some flames on the top of the buildings, use orange and yellow tones to create the flames, you can start making some lines like that
Create a new layer and create bigger flames and with less opacity, you can set your brush to pen pressure or use it at 30% use a soft round brush
Now pass the blur tool to it, to the first ones you made also you can use the smudge tool
Add more blur and also create a new layer and paint more around the flames, reduce the opacity of the layers to 60% and you will have something like this:
Step 23 – Shadow
Add a new layer and paint with a soft round brush to paint at the bottom of the buildings.
Also add shadows over the buildings too.
Step 24 – Reflection
Now pick a yellow tone and a fine brush can be 5px and paint in the edge of the wall to create the reflection from the fire behind
Step 25- The model
Place the model at the image and select all with the magic wand tool or the lasso tool
Step 26 – Layer mask
After you have the selection create a layer mask and instantly you will have only the model without the background
Step 27 – Gas Mask
Repeat the process before to cut the gas mask, press ctrl+ T to change the size of the mask to fit the model.
Step 28 – Helmet
Pick the same color of the helmet pressing ctrl+ I and then in a new layer paint over the star and reflections of the helmet.
Step 29 – Radioactive
In the model’s weapon paint with a brush a radioactive symbol, use layer in overlay mode.
Duplicate the symbol and put it in the model’s shoulder change the layer mode to divide.
Step 30 – Bullets
Add some bullets repeat the process you did with the mask and duplicate the layer ( ctrl+J) to have 2 bullets.
Step 31 – Dirt
Create a new layer and with a chalmy brush paint over the model’s skin with a dark brown tone to create dirt. Go to the brush menu and click the option shape dynamics, use size jitter in 10% and Angle jitter in 82% Also use the spacing in 90%
You are ready to paint.
Step 32 – Suit
Change the tone to a gray tone and paint in the model’s suit . Use the same configuration of the brush
Step 33 – Blood and Cuts
Create some cuts and blood in the model, to do this pick a soft round brush with 3px or 2px and paint.
Step 34 – Shadow
Make the shadow of the model in a new layer with a soft round black brush use 150px size and 50% of opacity
Step 35 – Light
Paint with a soft round brush over the model’s suit.
Then reduce the opacity of the layer to 80% and change the mode to color dodge
Step 36 – Ground
Repeat that process on the ground near the model, to make the effect that the ground is reflecting the light from the fire of the scene. Use a orange tone and layer mode in color dodge also the opacity can be 40%
Step 37 – City Strokes
With a soft round orange brush (2px size) make strokes over the top of the buildings to create lighting
Step 38 – Model Light
With the same orange tone paint over the model to create the lighting, you can also add some Gaussian blur(Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur) to give a softer look, add 15% of radius in the Gaussian Blur
Step 39 – Radioactive Sign
Place the radioactive sign and select the sign and add a layer mask to hide the rest. Press Ctrl+T to change the size
Step 40 – Metal
Then add the metal stick for the sign from another sign, repeat the process: select the metal part with lasso tool, add layer mask and resize it (ctrl+t) to fit the sign
Duplicate (ctrl+J) the stick layer and use the layer in multiply mode, then reduce the opacity to 70 from the sign and the stick
Step 41 – Cracks
With the same brushes as before in color black make some cracks over the sign
Step 42 – Details
With a soft round brush (2px size) with orange tone make strokes to the sign and to the model’s weapon, you can make them softer by passing the blur tool over them.
Step 43 – Fire
Add fire close to the sign, erase the edges with a layer mask and use the layer in screen mode with 90% of opacity
Step 44 – Fire Reflection
Duplicate the fire layer (Ctrl+J) and then with Ctrl+T modify the position in the top of the menu of transform you have to add an (-100) at the option H:. This will rotate the image to look like a reflection.
Step 45 – Details
Reduce the opacity to 55% and hide the part that are far from the original fire, the closest reflection is stronger and the one that is farthest is going to be softer.
Step 46 – Light
Below the model’s layer create a new layer and paint around her with an orange tone, use the layer in soft light mode with 70% of opacity
Step 47 – Color
In a new layer paint with a dark brown tone and with some other lighter tones. When you need a lighter tone go to the color picker, see the image below.
Paint something like this:
Then apply a Gaussian blur to blend about 50 of radius
Step 48 – Layer mode
Change layer mode to soft light and reduce the opacity to 60%
Step 49 – Orange
Add a new layer and with an orange tone fill the layer with the Paint bucket tool.
Use the layer in soft light mode with 65% of opacity
Step 51 – Color Lookup
Go to the menu create new fill or adjustment layer on the bottom of the layer’s and then select the option “color Lookup” select the option film stock reduce the opacity to 25% and the fill to 65%
Color Lookup is only available at the cs6 or cc version of Photoshop.
Then use another color lookup this time tealorangepluscontrast. With 50% of opacity and 50% of fill.
Step 52 – Curves
If you don’t have that version of Photoshop you can use curves, the result is very similar. And that’s it.