Create this awesome sci-fi photo manipulation in Photoshop! You will learn how to combine stock photos and apply sci-fi lighting effects to create this artwork. This tutorial is recommended for intermediate-expert Photoshop users.
Preview of Final Results
- Man – sunshine114
- Sky – Photoxpress
- Background – sxc.hu
- Explosion – sxc.hu
- Fireball – sxc.hu
- Crack – sxc.hu
- Rocks – Creativetuts
Create a new document and fill it with white. You can choose the size you want but in this tutorial I choose the width larger than the height.
Open background stock. Press C to active Crop Tool and make selection of background as shown below:
Right click this selection, choose Crop to complete this action:
Use Move Tool ( V) to drag it into white canvas, remember to resize to fit the background:
Name it as “land”.
I want to remove the pile on the right side so on land layer, use Polygonal Lasso Tool ( hit L to active it) to make a selection on the left side with feather = 20:
Right click this selection, choose Layer via Copy and we have it on a new layer. Go to Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal then move it to right side to hide the pile:
Hide background layer ( white canvas) then press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E) to merge all visible layers ( “land” and “remove pile” layers). Call the new layer as “land 1” or whatever you want.
Open sky stock. You can use another image if you can’t download this sky from Photoxpress but a dark one with dramatic look is a good choice.
Use Retangular Marquee Tool to make a selection for the part you want and set feather as 20 ( depends on the size of your picture):
Use Move Tool to drag it into our document, downsize and place this layer under “land 1” layer but above “land” and “remove pile” one. Name it as “sky 1”:
On land 1 layer, add layer mask and use soft black brush to remove sky part of land:
Duplicate sky 1 layer, apply Flip Horizontal for it then move it to the right like the image below shows:
Name it “sky 2”. Add layer mask to remove some parts to make this sky blend better with background:
To make color of the land fit sky, I use a new adjustment layer for land 1 layer with Clipping Mask. On land 1 layer, go to Layer-New adjustment layer-Hue/Saturation:
In this step I do a bit retouch for background. Create a new layer on the top. Use soft brush with color #373939 and paint on some parts of sky. I vary opacity of brush as shown below:
Change the mode to Multipy 80%:
Make a new layer ( Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N) and I use brush with color #9f9e99. Painting on the left side of sky and some parts of background to brighten them. Set the mode of this layer to Soft light 100%:
To darken another parts of sky I use brush and color #373939. On a new layer, use this brush and paint on sky center. Put the mode as Multipy 50%:
Open explosion stock. Use Move Tool to drag it into our canvas. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to scale it down and transform it as shown below:
Change the mode to Screen 100% and add layer mask for this layer. Use soft black brush to remove the rough edges and the part within this explosion:
Name this layer as “burning circle”.
I use a layer with Clipping Mask to brighten this circle. Take soft brush with color #fda25c. Painting around this circle and change the mode to Hard Light 100%:
On circle layer, use Lasso Tool to make a selection on the left side of it. Press Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy it. Make a new layer on the top. Press Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste copied part into it. Apply Flip Horizontal and move to the right. Use layer mask to remove rough edges:
I want to make glowing light for this circle. Create 3 new layers under this circle. On each layer I use brush with color #fda25c painting on different parts outside it and put the mode to Soft light and Overlay with different opacities.
In this step we will make the light coming up from circle. Duplicate this circle layer. Move under layer to the top:
Go to Filter-Blur-Motion Blur:
Duplicate this layer and use Move Tool to move two these layers up. Name them as “light 1”, “light 2”:
You can erase any parts you don’t like on layer mask of these light layers.
On burning circle layer, use Lasso Tool to make a selection with feather=15 as shown below then copy it ( Cmd/Ctrl+C):
Make a new layer on the top. Press Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste copied part onto this new layer ( as we did in step 7).
Name it as “ground” or whatever you like.
Add layer mask to erase the outside part of this ground to make it look like being inside the circle actually:
Change the mode to Multipy 70%:
Open crack stock. Move it, resize and transform as we usually do in previous steps:
Change the mode of this layer to Soft light 100%. Add layer mask to clear rough edges:
In this step I want to add some tiny burning effects on the cracked ground. Make a new layer which is set on the top. Take brush with color #fbe29d with very small size ( I use 2-3 px) and paint inside cracked parts. Set the mode to Overlay 100%:
You may not see a very obvious change after this step but don’t worry. We will make it look more visible right now.
Name this layer “burning effect”. On this layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+G to make group for it. Change the mode of this layer from Pass Through ( default mode for group) to Color Dodge 100%:
You can see a big change after this step:
Right click burning effect layer, choose Blending options:
Rename this group as “burning effect”.
Open man stock. Extract him with method you’re familiar with, resize and place him into our main document:
To change color of the man I use a Hue/Saturation layer with Clipping Mask:
To add glowing effect for the man, make a new layer on the top. On man layer, hold Cmd/Ctrl while clicking man thumbnail layer to load its selection:
Set feather for it as 1. Go to Edit-Stroke and use color #fceaa4:
Change the mode to Overlay 50%:
Name it as “glowing stroke 1”.
Create a new layer, and use brush with color #ef8d0e. Press F5 to make settings for this brush:
Paint carefully along the bottom of man’s legs:
To make this effect more visible, right click this layer, choose Blending options:
Name it as “glowing stroke 2”.
Make a new layer and use soft brush with color #fbcb9c. Increase the size of brush to paint on model as the screenshot below shows:
Change the mode to Overlay 100%:
Call it “glowing light”.
Duplicate burning circle layer then delete its layer mask of under layer( right click layer mask, choose Delete Layer Mask). Move under one above the top. Name it “light 3”
Apply Motion Blur with same settings in step 9:
Move this light up :
Add layer mask and use soft brush with opacity and flow 30% to blur light effect on some parts:
Duplicate this layer and move it down. Name it “light 4”. Use layer mask with brush 100% opacity to clear its top:
Open rock stock pack, you can choose the one you like. I choose this one:
Go to Edit-Define Brush Preset and name it whatever you like:
Come back to our main document. Create a new layer and position it on the top. Choose brush tool and find the new brush we’ve just created. Set foreground color to black.
Press F5 to change settings for rock brush:
Paint inside the lights:
Duplicate this layer and we have:
Add layer mask for each rock brush blur the top of them as the top get less light then the rest so less visible:
To make these small rocks get 3D effect, add layer style for them. Right click each rock layer, choose Blending options:
Choose Direction as Down because these rocks get light from underground.
Open fireball image. Move it into our document, resize it as shown below:
Move it onto a rock and change the mode to Screen 100%. Add layer mask to erase around it:
Duplicate this layer:
Choose two these layers, hit Cmd/Ctrl+G to make group for them. Name this group as “fireball 1”. Right click this group, choose Duplicate Group. Right click duplicated group, choose Merge Group. We have this merged group as a normal layer and remember to change the mode of it to Screen 100% :
Duplicate it many times and place it onto the rocks randomly. Also place them onto man’s hands. Remember to resize them to fit the size of the rocks. I use 23 layers for this effect and call them from “fireball 1” to “fireball 23”, make group for them to be easier to manage:
To change the focus of this picture, I use Gradient effect. Make a new layer on the top. Hit G to active Gradient Tool. Choose Radial Gradient Tool with default color ( black and white). Drag a line from center to bottom:
Change the mode to Soft light 100%. Add layer mask to remove contrasted part on the top left and blur around burning circle:
To make the lights of picture brighter and more visible, I use Dodge Tool. To do it in non-destructive way, make a new layer, set to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray:
Take Dodge Tool with Highlights Range and Exposure from 20 to 80% to brighten the lights, burning effect. Vary brush size and Exposure, and you can see how I applied this tool on the pic with Normal mode ( there are some parts that are brighter – bigger Exposure and another less:)
To change color of picture, I use some adjustment layers. Go to Layer-New adjustment layer-Gradient Map:
Set this Gradient Map layer to Soft light 100%.
Layer-New Fill Layer-Solid Color:
Put this Color Fill layer to Color 20%.
To make picture get more contrasted, especially the light, I use a Levels layer. Go to Layer-New adjustment layers-Levels:
In final step, I use Gradient again. Make a new layer and take Radiant Gradient as we did in step 21. Change the mode of this layer to Soft light 80%:
Add layer mask and use brush with opacity and flow 100% to erase the man and about 30-40% to blur some parts as shown below: