Create Stunning 3D Text in a Grungy Landscape + Psd File

Create Stunning 3D Text in a Grungy Landscape + Psd File


The more you can learn about blending images and different elements together in Photoshop, the more freedom you will have in creating whatever pops up in your imagination. In this Photoshop tutorial, we are going to go over different digital-image-editing techniques in order to create a beautiful grungy and grainy composition that has 3D text (that we will make in Illustrator) as its centerpiece.

Author: Tyler Denis

Tyler Denis is a part-time freelance designer from Ashland, New Hampshire. He is also the creator/writer of the design blog Denis Designs/blog, a website dedicated to bringing quality tutorials and inspiration. You can follow him on Twitter or at his personal site, Denis Designs


Click on the image to see the final result in full scale.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Setting Up in Illustrator

We are going to start by opening up Adobe Illustrator and creating a new 1200×1200px document.

Setting Up in Illustrator

Next, download this Grass stock image and bring it into our Illustrator artboard. We are going to be using this photo simply as a reference for the 3D text we will be producing, so you could lock this layer to prevent us from accidentally moving it around. We will reuse this image in Photoshop, so keep it in a handy location.

Step 2: Create the Front of the 3D Text

Use the Type Tool (T) to write out the word “DESIGN” using Myriad Pro Black Condensed or a similar bold sans-serif font. So that our text block is easier to work with, we are going to go to Type > Create Outlines (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + O) to convert the text layer to vector paths.

Create the Front of the 3D Text

Step 3: Create the Back of the 3D Text

Duplicate the “DESIGN” object–select it with the Selection Tool, press Ctrl/Cmd + C to copy, then press Ctrl/Cmd + F to paste in front. Move the duplicate up to the horizon line of the grass image. Hold down Shift + Alt/Option, then click and drag one of the corners inward to shrink it down, while keeping its position in place.

Create the Front of the 3D Text

Step 4: Developing the 3D Text

First let’s change the fill color of the text in front to a shade of yellow (#FEC719). Let us also change the fill color of the text in the back to a darker, more muted shade of yellow (#CC9933).

Now we are ready to build our 3D text. First, ungroup our two “DESIGN” text objects (select them, and then press Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G or go to Object > Ungroup).

Let us start with the “D”: Click on the Pen Tool (P) in the Tools Panel, and then create a rectangular shape. Change the color of the rectangular shape to a shade of yellow (#E8DC86).

Developing the 3D Text

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to drag the corner anchor points so the ones on the left side align with the left corners of the “D” (use View > Smart Guides to have the box snap to the corners of the “D”). Make another rectangular shape that covers the middle part of the “D” as well.

Developing the 3D Text

Select all the vector shapes associated with the “D” and go to Object > Group to make our work more manageable and organized.

We are going to go through each of the letters and create rectangular shapes that connect the front letter to its back letter, just like we did with the “D”. To make the process easier, you can change the colors of the sides of the text to visually see them better (then we could just correct the colors later on).

Developing the 3D Text

Developing the 3D Text

Developing the 3D Text

Developing the 3D Text

Be sure to group the components of each letter together, just like with the letter “D”, or else our Illustrator document can become unwieldy.

Step 5: Create Gradient Swatches

Now that our 3D text is starting to take shape, we can start working on the colors we will be using. To do the shading of our text, we are going to create gradient swatches, which we will later use on subsequent steps. If the Gradient Panel isn’t already open, go to Window > Gradient.

Set your Fill color to a shade of yellow (#EDB329), drag it to the left side of our gradient in the Gradient Panel, switch your Fill color to a brown (#7E4920), and, again, drag it to the right side of our gradient. Drag the Gradient Fill we created from the Gradient Panel into the Swatches Panel to add it as a swatch–this will make it easier for us to use this gradient in our work (we merely have to click on it to fill the target objects).

We are also going to create a gradient with brown color (#B97E2E) on the left of the gradient and a darker brown (#7E4920) on the right. Drag this into the Swatches Panel also.

Create Gradient Swatches

Step 6: Connecting the 3D Text

We want to finish the back end of our text, starting with the “D”. Select the “D” group and then go to Object > Ungroup. Click on the top part of the text and, while holding Shift, click on the back “D” letter to select both of those vector objects. If you don’t already have the Pathfinder Panel open, go to Window > Pathfinder (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + F9). Alt/Option + click on the Unite Pathfinder icon, and then click on the Expand button.

Connecting the 3D Text

Select the “S”, press Ctrl/Cmd + C to copy, and then press Ctrl/Cmd + F to paste in front so that we end up with two small “S” shapes. Click on one of the “S” shapes and the top part of the “S”, Alt/Option + click on the Unite Pathfinder icon, and then click on the Expand button. This will add the two shapes together and add a little bump on the right side, which we need to get rid of. Click on the shape with the Selection Tool (V) and then switch to the Pen Tool (P). Click on the undesired anchor points to delete them. Take the other “S” shape and the darker bottom shape of the “S”, Alt/Option + click on the Unite Pathfinder icon, and then click on the Expand button.

With the “G”, just combine the two visible shapes by clicking on the Unite Pathfinder icon.

Connecting the 3D Text

Step 7: Adding Color Gradient

Next, we need to figure out where our light source is coming from so that we have consistent lighting. Let’s decide now that we are going to make the light come from the top of our composition.

So, with the light source in mind, we are going to start adding in our gradients by clicking each piece and adding in the light and dark gradients that we saved in our Swatches Panel. You can adjust the gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) in the Tools Panel after you have applied it. Afterwards, change the face of the letters to a muted yellow shade (#E8DC86).

Adding Color Gradient

Step 8: Creating the Second Line of Text

Use the Type Tool (T) to write out “INSTRUCT” with the font, Myriad Black Condensed (or your preferred bold, condensed, sans-serif font). Position it below our “DESIGN” text. Go to Type > Create Outlines. Then go to Effect > Warp > Arch and change the Vertical option to 10% to make the text appear as if it is laying on the ground.

Creating the Second Line of Text

Step 9: Enhancing the Grass in Photoshop

Open the Grass image again, but this time, in Photoshop. We are going to do some color adjustments to the grass so it looks a little greener.

Go to Image > Adjustment > Replace Color. Click on the green and brown/tan area (holding Shift and clicking on different areas of the image you want to sample from will add to the selection), and then adjust the hue to a stronger green color.

Enhancing the Grass in Photoshop

Step 10: Removing the Sky from the Grass Image

Open up Photoshop and create a new 1200×1200px document. This is the document where we will bring our composition together.

First, bring in the grass image that we just enhanced in the previous step, and then use Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to resize the image so that it is the same width as the document.

We are going to chop off the sky of the image. To do that, we are going to use the Pen Tool (P) to create a path that surrounds the sky part of the grass image. Go to the Paths Panel (Window > Paths) and Ctrl/Cmd + click on the path we just made to load a selection around the sky. Go back to the Layers Panel, click on the grass layer in the Layers Panel to make it the active layer, and then press Delete to remove the sky.

Enhancing the Grass in Photoshop

Step 11: Bring in the 3D Text from Illustrator

Let’s go back to our Illustrator document and copy our “DESIGN” text, and then switch back to Photoshop and paste it on there. Do the same with our “INSTRUCT” text. Since we used the same document dimensions (and used the grass image as a reference for alignment), pasting it into Photoshop preserves the positions of our text. If this isn’t the case, just use the Move Tool (V) to move the text around so that they are positioned in the canvas properly.

Bring in the 3D Text from Illustrator

Step 12: Creating the Cliff

Let’s start working on the cliff that will be at the bottom of our composition. Go get the Cliff stock image I listed in the Tutorial Resources section above, and then bring it into our canvas. Rotate it 180o with Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and scale it down so that it is the same size as our canvas. Move it behind the grass layer.

Creating the Cliff

Step 13: Create a Grassy Edge Using a Photoshop Brush

To give the edge where our grass and cliff meets a more organic look, we’ll need to do some retouching. Select the grass layer, then go to Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to create a selection around the bottom part of the grass. I toggled off the visibility of my text layers temporarily so that I can focus on this part of the process.

Switch your Foreground Color to black (#000000), then hit Alt/Option + Backspace to fill the selected area with your Foreground Color. This should mask out the selected area (a refresher: When painting on layer masks–black hides, white reveals).

Now we are going to gradually fill back the hidden area using a Photoshop brush. First, switch to the Brush Tool (B). Then go to Window > Brushes (F5) and uncheck the Scattering, Color Dynamics, and Other Dynamics options.

Click on the Brush Tip Shape option, locate the Grass brush tip shape in the preview pane on the right, and change its angle to 180o.

Now we can start using our brush on the area we masked away. Select white (#FFFFFF) as our Foreground Color and drop the size of the brush down to around 60px Master Diameter. Start painting away some of the bottom edge of the grass to create a more natural boundary between the grass and the cliff.

Create a Grassy Edge Using a Photoshop Brush

Step 14: Enhancing the Cliff

Click on the cliff layer and go to Image > Adjustment > Levels to open up the Levels dialog window. Bring the left slider in a little bit to bring out more of the blacks and darken the image a little bit.

Enhancing the Cliff

Let’s add some shadows to the cliff. Pick a brownish greenish color (#1F1C09) for our Foreground Color. We choose this color because the green grass is going to cast a shadow on the brown cliff, so we want to show that in our color selections. Create a layer above the grass and the cliff. Use the Brush Tool (Hardness: 0%, Master Diameter: 20px) to paint on the top surfaces of the cliff. When finished, change the Blend Mode of the layer to Soft Light.

Create a new layer and use a bigger brush tip (Master Diameter: 100px) to paint just below the grass to give these areas a stronger shadow. Change the Blend Mode of the layer to Multiply and lower the Opacity to 50%.

Create another layer below the grass layer, and paint under the grass. Change the Blend Mode of this layer to Multiply.

Enhancing the Cliff

Step 15: Adding Highlights on the Grass

To give the grassy edge some nice highlighting, we are going to create a new layer and add a white-to-0%-opacity color gradient using the Gradient Tool. To do this, first, change your Foreground Color to white (#FFFFFF). Then switch to the Gradient Tool (G). In the Options Bar, click on the Gradient Editor and then choose the Foreground to Transparent gradient preset. Then create our gradient on the new layer, starting from the bottom of the canvas, and going towards the top.

Adding Highlights on the Grass

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Use a black brush–with 0% Hardness and about 125px Master Diameter–to paint away the cliff and some of the bottom portions of the grass.

Adding Highlights on the Grass

Change the Blend Mode of the layer to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 30%. This will give the grass a highlight as well as a shadow effect on the front of the grass.

Adding Highlights on the Grass

Step 16: Adding the Cityscape

Let’s go grab our Cityscape stock image and open it up in Photoshop. Isolate the buildings by using your favorite method (such as using the Pen Tool to draw around them and then copying the selection) and bring them into our canvas. Shrink down the cityscape with Free Transform and locate it on the horizon of the grass with the Move Tool (V). Duplicate the cityscape layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer), then go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontally.

Adding the Cityscape

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), take off the big building on the right side of the duplicate to create some variance between the left and right sides of our cityscape.

Adding the Cityscape

Step 17: Adding the Sky

Grab this Sky stock image and place it into our canvas. This layer should be behind the cityscape layers.

Adding the Sky

Step 18: Enhancing the Realism of the Grass around the Text

Select the grass layer and the white-to-transparent highlight layer that’s on top of it, then combine them by going to Layer > Merge Layers.

To work on the grass in front of the “DESIGN” text block, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to load a selection around the front of the text block, click on the grass layer in the Layers Panel to make sure it’s the active layer, then go to Layer > Duplicate Layer to place the selected area in a new layer.

Enhancing the Realism of the Grass around the Text

Move this layer above the 3D text, then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All.

We need to make the grass blend better with our text. Let’s use our Grass brush again with the same settings as before. Brush away the bottom part of the “DESIGN” text block until you get a satisfactory result.

Step 19: Adding Shadows to the Text

Now we are going to create a drop shadow under the text. Ctrl/Cmd + click on the text layer’s preview thumbnail in the Layers Panel to make a selection around our text. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer above the text layer and fill the area underneath the selection with black (#000000).

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer so you have two black text layers. Click on the first black layer in the Layers Panel to make it the active layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur (set the Radius to 4px), and run the filter on it.

Adding Shadows to the Text

Run the Gaussian Blur filter again on the second black layer, but this time, set the Radius of the filter to 10px.

We will have some excess shadows that we don’t want, so we’ll use a layer mask to get rid of those. Go to Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All to place a mask on the black text layers, and just start painting away the unwanted portions of the shadows.

Adding Shadows to the Text

Step 20: Adding Textures to the Scene

Time to “grungify” our piece, starting with our 3D text. To kick things off, download the Cracked Texture and theExperimental Texture, then open them in Photoshop.

Bring the Experimental texture into our main document and use Free Transform to size it so it fits over our text. Ctrl/Cmd + click on the text layer’s thumbnail in the Layers Panel to load a selection around it. You should still be on the Experimental texture layer (if not, switch back to it). Go to Select > Inverse and delete the selected area. Change the Blend Mode of the Experimental texture layer to Color Burn and lower its Opacity to 50%.

Adding Textures to the Scene

Now bring in the Cracked texture and do the same thing, except change the Blend Mode to Soft Light (instead of Color Burn).

Adding Textures to the Scene

Download this Film Texture and open it in Photoshop. Place it into our main document, making sure that it is covering the entire canvas. Change the Blend Mode of the Film texture layer to Soft Light.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and perform adjustments so as to lighten up the layer a bit so that it’s not too harsh.

Adding Textures to the Scene

Adding Textures to the Scene

Step 21: Adjusting the Scene’s Colors

We are going to adjust the color of our scene now, just to try and tie everything together better.

First, we will use a Gradient Map adjustment layer; go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to add one on top of all the layers. Change the Blend Mode of the Gradient Map layer to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 40%.

Adjusting the Scene's Colors

We’ll add another adjustment layer; Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. Change the Saturation option to about -70. This should dramatically change our composition’s colors so that it has this sort of faded, retro/vintage look to it.

Adjusting the Scene's Colors

Step 22: Softening the Edges of the Canvas

Let’s soften up the edges of the piece a bit so that we draw better attention to our centerpiece. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to place a selection around the canvas–but ever so slightly smaller than it–adjust the Feather option to 60px in the Options Bar, go to Select > Inverse (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + I), and fill the inverted selection with black. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay afterwards.

Softening the Edges of the Canvas

Step 23: Final Adjustments and Enhancements

It’s best to save your work before doing this step so that you can go back to your work and modify it later on.

Go to Layer > Flatten Image to combine all of our layers into one layer. Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer to duplicate our flattened layer, then Filter > Other > High Pass (set the Radius at about 4.3px before your execute the filter).

Final Adjustments and Enhancements

Change the Blend Mode of the layer to Soft Light.

Flatten the image again. Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) with Feather at 60px to make a circle in the middle of the canvas that covers the text. Go to Select > Inverse. Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with the Radius set at about 1.8px.

Final Adjustments and Enhancements

This should slightly blur the areas around the text to give our centerpiece a better focal point as well as enhance our depth of field.

Tutorial Summary

In this tutorial, we used Illustrator to produce some interesting 3D text. We then built our composition in Photoshop using various techniques such as smooth-blending edges using layer masks and a Photoshop brush, applying image adjustments, using adjustment layers to control the scene’s colors, and more.

Here is what I came up with; make sure to link to your version in the comments (and add it to our Flickr group)!

Download Source Files

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How to retouch photos pro techniques in 10 easy steps

How to retouch photos on photoshop – pro techniques in 10 easy steps

With fashion and portrait retouching, the devil really is in the detail; you might want to enlarge the eyes a little, remove a few spots, lighten the skin, or even reduce the size of the feet! It’s all work that requires you to get up close and personal, not something you can accomplish with a quick sweep of the brush at 50% zoom. And this is what makes the use of layers and layer masks crucial when you retouch photos: if you make a mistake, you can easily delete or edit the layer and have another go.

Do that same work on the original background layer and you might find, 20 minutes down the line, that you’ve got a wonky arm, one eye bigger than the other and skin that looks like a Botox accident.

It’s not until you see all the elements working together that you can really decide whether something looks right or needs a little tweak here and there – which is easily done when everything sits on separate layers.

In this Photoshop tutorial we’ll cover subtle body slimming and reshaping, skin smoothing and colouration, and background lightening, all on different layers, as well as hopefully give you some new Photoshop tips along the way. All you’ll need for this project is Photoshop CS or above and about 30 minutes.

Our start image

1 Start Instant slimming
We’re going to start with an old trick to slim our model a touch – not that she needs it, but just to show you how it’s done. Open your start image and duplicate the original Background layer by pressing Ctrl-J.

How to retouch photos like a professional: step 1

Next press Ctrl-T to initiate a Free Transform. In the options bar at the top of the screen type 97% in the Width box and hit Enter twice.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 2

2 Crop out the left edge
We need to crop out the left edge of the shot, where the chair now looks skewed – the right side is fine because it’s just white background. Press C for the Crop Tool, zoom in using Ctrl and + and line up the bottom-left edge so you don’t lose more than you have to before extending the crop around the picture. When you’re happy, hit Return.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 3

3 Select the rear
Next we’ll slim down a part of the model’s body. Switch to the Lasso Tool (L) and draw a rough selection freehand around her back and bum, as shown. Float this selection to a new layer by pressing Ctrl-J and then go to Filter > Liquify. Adjust the brush size until it’s about one-sixth of the size of the selection.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 4

4 Liquify the body
Now carefully work down the edge of the dress, using your mouse to drag inwards from the very edge of the clothing towards the body. Try to get the back looking straight and uniform, switching to a smaller brush to iron out little kinks if required. Hit Enter when you’re happy.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 5

5 Check the joins
Zoom in close to check that any reshaped fabric creases and patterns line up with any areas of the dress that we didn’t liquify. You can blend those that don’t by adding a layer mask, clicking it to target the mask and brushing over the join with a soft-edge black brush. Next zoom in to 200% and hold down to the spacebar to drag over to the face. Add a new layer (Layer > New > Layer).


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 6

6 Clean up the skin
Switch to the Spot Healing Brush (J), and make sure the tool is set to Sample All Layers in the options bar at the top. Now work around the face clicking on blemishes, using a brush size just slightly bigger than the blemish at hand in each case. Switch to the Clone Stamp Tool when near edges of the mouth and nose to avoid blurring the features. In the options bar, set the Sample menu to Current And Below.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 7

7 Smooth out rough areas
Add a Curves adjustment layer and drag a point in the shadows sector upwards to lighten the shadows on the skin. Click OK, target the layer’s mask and press Ctrl-I to hide the effect. Tap D, then X if need be to set the foreground colour set to white, and use a soft brush to paint over the neck to lighten the shadows.

To smooth the skin a touch, target Layer 3, then press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E to create a new layer that merges all of the existing layers. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set Radius to 3 pixels. Hit OK, then add a mask to this layer by clicking the “Add layer mask” button at the foot of the Layers palette.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 8

8 Paint in this smoothing
To turn the mask black and hence mask out your new blurred layer, click the mask thumbnail to target the mask and then press Ctrl-I. Now tap X if need be to set the foreground colour to white. Using a soft-edged brush of around 50 pixels in size, paint onto areas of the skin that look a little rough, to effectively cut a hole in the black mask and reveal the smoothed skin, avoiding facial features or areas of detail.


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 9

9 Lighten the skin
We want to tone down the model’s tan too, so add another Curves adjustment layer, then reshape the curve roughly as shown above. Click OK, target the mask and then press Ctrl-I to conceal this adjustment. With the foreground colour set to white, use a soft-edged brush to paint over the skin, cutting a hole in the mask to apply the Curves adjustment to these areas. Avoid painting over the red dress!


How to retouch photos like a professional: step 10

10 Finish Adjusting skin colour
Holding down the Ctrl key, click the Curves layer’s mask to load it as a selection. With the selection active, add a Selective Color adjustment layer: the layer’s effect will be limited to the same areas. Choose Yellows from the dialog’s Colors menu and set Yellow to –100% and Black to +100%. Click OK and save the image as a PSD to preserve all the layers so you can revisit them later if you want to tweak them.


Using Layers

Because using Adjustment Layers and layer masks is so crucial to advanced portrait retouching, we created this handy cheat sheet to better illustrated what we did and how all the layers fit together when you retouch photos.

Click on the infographic to see the larger version, or drag and drop it to your desktop to download it. And if you find this useful, you might like some of the other infographics in our ongoing photography cheat sheet series.

How to retouch photos like a professional: a quick and easy 10-step Photoshop tutorial

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Make a Vintage Planetary Landscape Poster-Photoshop Tutorial

In this Photoshop tutorial, we’re going to take some different space elements, as well as some earthly landscape elements, and put them all together to create a faded, vintage-like poster.


Click the image below to see the final result in full scale.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Create the Photoshop Document

In Photoshop, press Ctrl/Cmd + N or go to File > New, which will open a dialog window. Create a 1200×1600px Photoshop document.

After creating the new document, fill the Background layer with black (#000000).

Step 2: Adding the Stars

We’ll just use and process a stock image to add stars to the scene. To start, download and open the Capodimonte Deep Field image from Wikimedia Commons; the photo is by the European Southern Observatory.

Use Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to resize the stock image so that it fits within our canvas.

Tip: Alternately, if you’d like to challenge yourself and learn a new technique, you can create the stars from scratch by following along another one of my tutorials.

Now that we have our stars in place, we can edit them a little bit. First, choose Image > Adjustment > Curves to darken the image and to make the actual stars stand out more.

We also want to drop down the color, so go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation and then lower the Saturation down to -50.

Step 3: Add a Gradient to the Scene

To get the faded, vintage look that we’re going for, one of the things we can do is to add a color gradient. Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + N). Double-click on the new layer to open up the Layer Style dialog window. Add a Gradient Overlay using the Yellow, Magenta, Teal gradient preset (as shown below).

Afterwards, drop the layer’s Opacity down to about 15%.

Step 4: Creating the Landscape

Now we’re going to create the bottom part of our composition. So first, download the Badlands image and then open it up in Photoshop.

Using the Pen Tool (P) with the Paths option selected (found in the Options Bar), trace around the rocky landscape, making sure to exclude the sky portion of the image. Then right-click on the path created by the Pen Tool and choose Make Selection from the contextual menu that appears. Copy and paste the selected area into our main Photoshop document.

Use Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to scale down the image so that it fits at the bottom of our canvas.

We are going to carry out some slight adjusting and tweaking to our landscape image. First, choose Image > Adjustment > Curves and make the Curves image adjustment shown below.

Next, choose Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation and adjust the Saturation to about -40.

Afterwards, in the Layers Panel, move the landscape layer just below the gradient layer.

Step 5: Add Clouds

For our clouds, we’ll use the Sweden 3 stock image; go ahead and download it and open it up in Photoshop.

Go to Image > Adjustment > Levels. First, set the black point by clicking on the black eyedropper icon (it’s the one on the farthest left out of the three eyedropper icons) and then clicking on the darkest part of the clouds image in the canvas. Next, set the white point by clicking on the white eyedropper icon (it’s the rightmost eyedropper) and then click on the lightest part of the image. This Levels image adjustment will lighten up the bright areas and darken up the dark areas, giving the image a nice contrast.

We’re just interested in the clouds portion of the image (the upper part of the image), so use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select around the sky of the image and then crop the image (Image > Crop).

Now we want select just the clouds; we’re not interested in the blue areas of the sky. To do this, go to Select > Color Range and, in the dialog window, make sure that the Eyedropper Tool is selected (it’s the one without the plus (+) or minus (-) symbol, and is the one on the left out of the three eyedropper icons you’ll see in the dialog window).

In our canvas, click on the blue area and then, in the dialog window, change the Fuziness option to around 115 so that we’re selecting various hues of blue. Tweak this value if you’re unable to select the blue areas. When you’re set, press OK to make the selection.

We want to select the clouds, not the blue areas, so go to Select > Inverse to invert the selection.

Then choose Layer > New > Layer via Copy — this will create a new layer with just the selected clouds.

Then, go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation and drop the Saturation down to -100.

Bring the clouds layer into our main Photoshop document by right-clicking on the layer, choosing Duplicate Layer in the contextual menu that appears (which will open a dialog window), and then picking our main Photoshop document in the Document dropdown menu.

Switch back to our main Photoshop document.

Using Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T), reduce the size of the clouds to fit the scale of our composition.

Now let’s mask away some of the clouds to make it blend better with our scene. Make sure that the clouds layer is the active layer.

Next, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. This will create a vector mask on the layer.

Switch to the Brush Tool (B) and select a black brush with 0% Hardness. Start painting away at the top and bottom of the cloud image so we end up with more natural-looking clouds.

Now we need to fade the clouds into the background. Start by choosing the Gradient Tool (G) from the Tools Panel and setting your Foreground color to white (#ffffff). In the Options Bar, set the Gradient Tool to the Foreground to Transparent gradient preset and also choose the Reflected Gradient option.

Once the Gradient Tool is ready to go, make a gradient from the bottom of the clouds, towards the top.

Step 6: Creating the Planet

Next, we are going to add a planet to our composition, which we’re going to make from a texture. Download the Grab Bag Texture, then open it in Photoshop.

Tip: Feel free to experiment with the texture. For example, check out free textures here on Design Instruct.

Choose the Elliptical Marquee Tool, hold down Shift to make a perfectly round circle, then create a circular selection on the texture. Copy the selected area by going to Layer > Layer via Copy. We can now hide the original layer.

Now, we’re going to give our planet a little character by adding some subtle stripes to it. Create a new layer, and then use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to make a few random rectangles that go across the planet. Fill the selections with black (#000000) using Edit > Fill.

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, set the Radius option to 20px, then just press OK to apply the filter. The filter will give the stripes a softer and more natural feel.

To get rid of the stripes that aren’t within the planet, we’re going to go to Select > Load Selection, choose the Invert option, and then press OK. Make sure you are on the stripe layer and then just hit Delete to remove the unwanted parts of the stripes.

Now we’re going to get rid of some the colors of the planet because most of our color will come from filters that we’ll be applying later on. Just go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation, and then drop the Saturation to -100

Let’s now give the planet a more, shall we say, planetary look. Click on the planet layer to make it the active layer, go to Select > Load Selection (which will make a selection around the planet), and then go to Filter > Distort > Spherize. Change the Amount to 50%, and click OK to apply the filter.

With the circle still selected, repeat the filter on the stripes layer by clicking on the stripes layer and then pressing Ctrl/Cmd + F (shortcut for applying the previous filter you’ve used).

Change the Opacity of the stripes layer to 80%.

Hide the Background layer (if you have one) and then go to Layer > Merge Visible.

Afterwards, bring the planet into our main Photoshop document, resize it to match the scale of our scene, and then put it behind the clouds layer.

Step 7: Shading, Highlighting and Enhancing the Planet

First, we are going to add a glow to the planet. With the planet layer selected, go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.

Now add an Inner Shadow and use the settings shown below.

Add a Color Overlay to give our planet a slight hue of red.

Add a Gradient Overlay to give the planet some shading.

Here’s what our planet should look like:

Step 8: Add a Lens Flare

To go with our planet glow, we’re going to add a lens flare into our scene. Create a new layer, fill it with black (#000000), and then go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Change the Lens Type to Movie Prime and make sure the Brightness option is set to 100%.

Next, change the Blend Mode of the layer to Screen and position the lens flare so that it’s right at the edge of the planet and in the middle of the planet glow; this may take a few tries before you can get it to line right up.

Step 9: Adding a Glow to the Landscape

Create a new layer just above the stars layer. Set your Foreground color to pink (#cc0033), switch to the Gradient Tool, choose the Foreground to Transparent gradient preset, choose the Radial Gradient option, and then create a radial gradient starting from the bottom to the top of the planet.

Afterwards, drop the layer’s Opacity down to about 60%.

This will give our landscape a kind of subtle glowing light.

Step 10: Give the Scene a Glowing Hue

To give the entire composition a glowing hue, we are going to go to Layer > Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to add an adjustment layer at the very top of the Layers Panel. Choose a purple to yellow gradient for the Gradient Map adjustment layer. Afterwards, drop the layer’s Opacity to 15%.

Step 11: Adding the Text

Now that we have our design elements put together, as our final step, we’ll add some text.

First, we’ll start with the “Design Instruct” headline. For this part, we’re simply going to type out the text using the Horizontal Type Tool (T). The font I’m using is Garamond, but pretty much any font that you think would look good will work. I varied the size of the two words, then centered them horizontally on the canvas.

For our subtitle: we want to put it in a circle and center it on the canvas. So click on the Background layer to make it the active layer and then make sure Window > Snap is enabled. Create a vertical guide right in the middle of the canvas; the Snap option will make the guide snap into place.

Now that we have our guide in place, we can put in our subtitle: “FOR ALL THINGS DESIGN” (I used a free open source font called League Gothic).

Let’s put our text in a circle. Using the Ellipse Tool (U), create a circle in the middle of the canvas, making sure that it’s larger than the text. Fill the circle with white (#ffffff).

Make sure you have the circle layer selected, then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Click on the subtitle text layer to make it the active layer, and then go to Select > Load Selection. Click on the circle layer mask and fill it with black (#000000). Hide the text layer. This will mask out the text within the circle and make the background show through.

Tutorial Summary

In this tutorial, we created a fictional planetary landscape with outer space as its backdrop. We used various design elements such as stock photos and textures to create our composition. We relied on simple but powerful Photoshop tools such as layer styles, layer masks, Free Transform, filters, and more. The final result is below.

Download Source Files

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Create Flat 3D-Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial you will learn how to create some Flat 3D using only Photoshops Brushtool. In the past I used to use just an action to duplicate and move but this way is much more easier and give you more flexibility.


Step 1

Open up Photoshop and create a New Document. I created a document that is 1280 x 720 at 300 ppi and named it style.


Step 2

Let’s change the background color to a nice mild blue. On the menu bar choose Edit > Fill. In the dialog box change the Use dropdown to Color… Choose #d0e4ed

Step 3

Create a New Layer (Layer > New > Layer) and name it Original Text

Step 4

Choose the Horizontal Type Tool (T) and type in the text ‘style’. I used Helvetica Neue LT at 27pt. If you don’t have that font, use something like Arial. Make sure the color of the text is black (#000000)

Step 5

We are now going to create a brush out of this text. Choose Select > Load Selection. Make sure the Channel is set to Original Text Transparency and click OK. This will make a marquee around your text. Note: Your document name might be different.

Step 6

Now go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and click on OK

Step 7

Create a New Layer and name it Stroke. Deselect everything by going to Select > Deselect. Choose the Brush Tool (B) and in the Brush Options toolbar click on the drop down triangle and find the brush you just created and select it.

Step 8

Open the Brushes Panel (F5 or Window > Brushes). Click on Brush Tip Shape options. Change the Spacing to 1%.

Step 9

Now for the fun part! Change the Foreground Color to a nice eye popping pink – #fd2f84 by double clicking on the foreground color in the toolbar. Make sure you are still on the Stroke layer and with the brush held down make a nice swoop like stroke.

Step 10

Inside of the Layers (F7) Panel, drag the Original Text layer above the Stroke layer Then using the Move tool (V), move it over the swoop you just made.


Step 11

Double click on the Stroke layer in the layers panel. Click on the Stroke checkbox and set it to have a 7 px Size Stroke of White.

Step 12

Using the Brush tool is fun and all, but sometimes you might want a cleaner look. We can accomplish this by using the Pen tool.

Click on the Pen (P) tool and draw a line or curve. Something like this:

Step 13

Change the Foreground Color to Black (#000000). Create a New Layer and name it Stroke 2. Open the Paths panel (Window > Paths) and click on the Work Path you just created with the pen tool. Now click back on the brush tool. Click on the Stroke path with brush button at the bottom of the Paths Panel. You should now have a black 3D style. See how that looks a lot cleaner? Note: You can delete the Work Path to get rid of the Pen line.

Step 14

Now Duplicate the Original Text layer by selecting the layer and going to Layer > Duplicate Layer. Click on the Horizontal Type Tool and change the color of the text to the pink color (#fd2f84) in the Type Options Toolbar. Move it into position above the Stroke 2 layer.

Step 15

Now Right Click on the Stroke layer and choose Copy Layer Style. Then Right Click on the Stroke 2 layer and choose Paste Layer Style. This will create the stroke so that it is exactly how the other one was.

Step 16

Let’s create some more! Using the same techniques as above, create some more stokes and text layers. Try experimenting with the size of the brush as well as moving around the elements and layer stacking. I decided to crop mine a little bit. Here is what I came up with:

Step 17

We are going to add a lot of style text behind everything. Create a New Layer and name it Lots of Styles. Make sure this layer is just above the background layer in the layer stack. Open up the Brushes Panel and in the Brush Tip Shape options, change the Spacing to 416%. Check the Shape Dynamics option, and change the Size Jitter to 100%, Minimum Diameter to 9%, and the Angle Jitter to 55%

Step 18

Now choose a slighly darker blue Foreground Color I used #6dbbde. With the Brush tool selected, hold down the mouse, move around and it will randomly place the text everywhere on your document.

Step 19

Choose the Gradient Tool (G) and select Linear Gradient. Open the Gradient Editor by clicking on the gradient. I choose the colors #6dbbde and #d0e4ed. Click OK. With the gradient tool setill selected, select the Background layer and drag from left to right across your project to create the very nice subtle gradient.

Step 20

Open up the lines.eps from the Support files and copy and paste the lines into the right hand side of the document. You might need to Transform and Rotate it so it fills the whole area. Make sure the layer is just above the Background gradient layer. Change the Opacity of this layer to 71%. Now change the Layer Blending mode to Overlay.

Step 21

Open spraypaint.png and place this layer into your project. Double click on the spraypaint layer to bring up the Layer Styles. Choose the Color Overlay option and change the color to the same pink color (#fd2f84). Position the layer so it looks good. You might need to transform it a little.

Step 22

Open star.eps and create a brush using the same settings like we did in Step 17. Change the Foreground color to white and brush some stars into your document. That’s it we are all done!

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Design a Paint Splashing Effect Into Your Image-Photoshop Tutorial


Artist: Heinritzh Sales

Time: 1-2 Hours

Software Required: Photoshop

Resources Used

Base Photo
Courtesy of Ms.Camille Cordero
(Must be used for non-commercial purposes only)
Additional Credits:
Model: Yas Neri
Make-up and Styling: Jaime Bautista-Garcia, Pearl Romano, Rem Lucio
Hair: Jay Wee

Paint Tossing Pack by Media Militia

*I will be using PC here, so just change all Ctrl to Command and Alt to Option if your using a mac.

Final Preview

Part 1

Open the “base-image_by-camille-cordero.jpg” image and name this layer “Base Image”.

Part 2: Body Painting

Create a new layer (Shift Ctrl+N) and name it “Body Paint”.  Set the Layer Blend Mode to “Multiply”

We are going to start off by using a brush to paint the face and the left arm of the base image.

First select the brush tool and choose a soft rounded brush. Make the size according to your preference.

After that change the foreground color to #fff200.

Now we are ready to paint. Start off with the face and the neck first. In this step feel free to zoom in and zoom out and change the brush size according to your needs.

Note: Keyboard shortcuts are very handy in this step. The keyboard shortcut for zooming in is Ctrl+ and zooming out is Ctrl -.  To change the brush size, you can use right bracket sign “]” to increase your brush size and left bracket sign “[“ to make it smaller.

Now we are going to do the left arm but first change the foreground color to “#ec008c”

Choose the Pen tool and trace around her arm.

After you are done tracing, press Ctrl+Enter, this will make a selection. The blinking dashed-lines (marching ants)
will appear.

From the menu bar, choose Select>Modify>Feather and choose 0.5, then click OK. (if your using CS3 click Ctrl+Alt+D to show feather option.)

Now choose the paint bucket tool (G) and click on the selected area then press Ctrl+D to deselect.

Part 3: Adding the Paint Toss

Now lets get wet and toss her the paints! (Please remember this part since we will use this technique in the succeeding part).

Open number nine paint toss from the media militia paint tossing pack. Drag this to you working document. Use the magic wand to select the black in this image. Press delete to remove the background.

Press CTRL+D to deselect the selection. Name this layer “face toss” and position the orientation of the paint (ctrl+T) like shown below:

Now we will blend this paint to the color of her face.
a. first select the eyedropper tool (I).
b. then click the area of the face shown below:

Create a new layer (shift+ctrl+N) and name it “face toss color”, check the “use previous layer to create clipping mask” and change the blending mode to “color”.

Now while your still in the “face toss color” layer, use the paint bucket tool (g) and click it into the artboard to recolor the paint toss so we can match it on the color of the face.

Now, we will erase some parts to complete the blending of the paint to its face.

Go to the “face toss” layer, then click the “add vector mask icon”, then change your foreground color to “black”.

Then using a soft brush tool, (while the vector mask is selected) paint over the area you want to erase, to achieve similar result like the one below:

Now, with the same process, do this on the left arm using the file “paint toss no.16“

Now use the “paint toss no.7“ for the clothes. we need to adjust the brightness of the paint for about -92 to blend in with the clothes (Image>adjustment>Brightness/Contrast).

Lets add some flat black paint toss in the part of the hair. I used “paint toss no.9“

Then go to Layer>Layer Style>Color Overlay then choose the color “Black”.

Erase some parts, using vector mask or simply use the Eraser tool. I just preferred erasing parts using vector mask so I can revert in back at anytime.

So here is the result so far:

Part 4: Adding Shape Cut-Outs

Now let’s add some shape cut-outs. To do this we must first select all the layers, duplicate them, then merge them into one.

Go to Custom Shape tool and select the outlined triangle shown below:

Then while holding shift, create a triangle, you can move your triangle
by using “path selection tool (A). Feel free to position your triangle wherever you want.

Then press Ctrl+Enter , then press Ctrl+j to duplicate, then move it to the right, then press Ctrl+D to deselect.

Do another triangle from the merged layer using the same steps and overlap it to the first triangle.

Then lets interlocked the two triangles, first while holding ctrl key, click the left triangle, a marching ant should appear. then go to Select>modify>expand then set it to 15px. then you should have a result similar below:

After that, select the right triangle layer, using the eraser tool, erase the part shown below:

Using the same technique, do this again, but you will start on the right triangle, then vice versa.

So here is what we have so far:

To finish things up, I just add some additional shapes using the same technique:

Download the PSD

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Graphic Novel Effect-Photoshop Tutorial

You can actually achieve an authentic graphic novel style effect quite easily, by using a few simple photo-editing techniques. Give it a try now.

The stock image used for this tutorial can be downloaded here.

First, use the Quick Selection tool to select the whole body of the woman…

…and use the Refine Edge settings to tidy up the selection.

Create two new layers, and paste a copy of the woman in each one.

First select the top layer, which will be used to create the outlines for the woman.

Desaturate it, then bring up the Brightness and Contrast.

Next open the Filter Gallery, and choose the Poster Edges filter.

Set the Edge Thickness to maximum, the Edge Intensity to 6, and the Posterization to 6.

Click OK, then go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold, and set it to 1.

Now open the Filter Gallery again, and choose Cutout.

Set the Number of Levels to 2, Edge Simplicity to 6, and Edge Fidelity to 1.

Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and use the colour picker tools to choose the areas that you want to be completely white (eg. shirt), and completely black.

Change the outlines layer to Multiply, so the white areas become transparent.

Next select the second woman layer, and desaturate it.

We will use this layer to create the shadows inner of the woman.

Set it to Cutout in the filter gallery.

We want the shadows to be as simple as possible, without distorting the facial features, so find the right balance as shown above.

Once you’ve applied the Cutout filter, bring the contrast way up, so the shirt is completely white.

Now we want to get rid of any grey areas so that our image is made entirely of black or white shapes.

Use the paint bucket tool to fill all the grey shadows on the face and shirt with black.

Use an eraser to erase the hair in the shadow layer, leaving just the outlines layer visible above it.

And use the paint bucket tool to fill any grey areas of the boots with white.

Bring the contrast up to 100 to ensure there are no grey areas left.

And that completes the woman.

Next we will work on the background.

Select the fence, create a new layer, then with the new layer selected, fill the selection with white.

Below the fence layer, add a black Color Fill adjustment layer, or create a new layer and fill it with black.

For the cigarette end just create a red oval shape.

The stock for the cigarette smoke can be downloaded here.

Place it into your image, and resize it.

Go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold to reduce the smoke to a basic, but recognisable, shape.

Then change the layers blending mode to Screen.

The rain is made up of paint splatters that can be downloaded as a great brush set here.

Paint them in a new layer above the woman, and set it’s blending mode to Difference.

Back in the fence layer, use the Polygonal Lasso tool to select and delete areas of the fence to give the effect of shadows.

And use the Line Tool set to 4px to create white lines, illustrating the wooden planks that our character is standing on.

Add some more paint splatters to indicate where raindrops have fallen.

The stock photo for the revolver can be downloaded here.

As with the woman, desaturate the gun, and increase the Brightness and Contrast by about 25.

Use the Threshold slider to quickly boost the contrast to maximum…

…then apply a Cutout filter.

Place the gun into your image, then rotate and resize it.

Either use an eraser or create a layer mask to erase the area of the gun that should be overlapped by the woman’s hand.

Create a new layer above the gun layer, and give it a clipping mask.

In the new layer, use a small eraser to add an outline around the barrel of the gun so that it stands out against the woman’s black trousers.

And use a black paintbrush around the handle of the gun so it stands out from the white shirt.

And finally create a couple of white rectangles to contain some text.

The comic style font can be downloaded here.

Credit to:

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Create Artificial Headlights-Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial you will learn how to turn a daylight scene into a dramatic night time scene, and how to create artificial light beams and lens flare.

First we will need to darken the image to give the effect that it is nighttime.

To do this we will create a Levels adjustment layer by first clicking on the adjustment layer button…

…then choosing Levels.

In the Levels box you will see three colour picker buttons, one black, one grey, one white.

First choose the black colour picker and click on the area of the image that you want to turn completely black (the ground behind the car, or a tree branch).

Then choose the white colour picker and click on the whitest area like the white part of the headlights.

Now we will give the image a blue tint.

Choose Photo Filter from the adjustment layer list, then click on the Color box.

Use the colour ’00eaff’.

We will be using this colour again later, so click Add To Swatches.

Give it a suitable name and click OK.

Back in the Photo Filter box, change it’s Density to 60%.

Now that our image has a night time appearance, we can add our headlights.

First use the oval selection tool to select one of the right headlights.

Then hold down the shift key and select the other light.

Next go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast and bring the Brightness up to 100.

We will now add the glow of the headlights, but first we’ll need to expand the selection so go to Select>Modify>Expand, and expand the selection by 12 pixels.

The glow will have three coloured layers.

So click the new layer button three times.

Name top layer ‘white’, middle layer ‘blue’, and bottom layer ‘dark blue’.

With the ‘white’ layer selected, go to Edit>Fill…

Choose White and click OK.

Next select the ‘blue’ layer and choose Colour…

Use the same blue that you saved as a swatch earlier.

Then for the ‘dark blue’ layer use the colour 3600ff.

We will now blur each of these layers seperately.

With the ‘dark blue’ layer still selected, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set it to 60 pixels.

Next select the ‘blue’ layer and Gaussian blur it to 40 pixels.

Lastly, Gaussian blur the ‘white’ layer to 20 pixels.

Now select all three layers and drag them down to the Group Layers button.

Name the group ‘right headlights’ then duplicate the group by dragging it down to the New Layer button.

Name the copied group ‘right headlights flare’.

In this group you can delete the ‘white’ layer because it wont be used.

First click on the ‘dark blue’ layer then go to Edit>Transform>Scale.

Scale the glow down vertically, as shown above.

Next go Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, and keep the Angle at 0, then set the distance to maximum.

Then Motion Blur again using the same settings, so that the dark blue glow has been motion blurred twice.

Duplicate this layer once to strengthen the effect, then select the ‘blue’ layer.

Do the same again for the ‘blue’ layer, scale down vertically, motion blur twice, and duplicate once.

Now duplicate the whole group to strengthen the lens flare even more.

Now you can either copy these groups and move them over to the left headlight, or repeat these processes again for the left side.

Next we will create some circular gradients to add more glow around the headlights.

First create a new layer above all the flare layers, then click on the Gradient tool.

Choose a 2 colour gradient using the blue from earlier fading to transparent, and click on the radial button.

Click in the centre of the headlights to determine the centre of the gradient, then click again at the top of the image to determine where it ends.

In the same layer, create another gradient over the other headlights, then reduce the opacity of the layer to 50%.

Create another layer above all the headlights layers and create two more gradients as before but this time white.

Change the layer’s blending mode to Overlay, and it’s opacity to 50%.

Finally we will add some headlight beams.

Create a new layer above the white gradients layer, and call it ‘right headlight beam’.

With the layer selected, use the Polygonal Lasso tool to draw a shape like the one above.

Fill the selection with white.

And then Gaussian blur it by 25 pixels.

Do the same for the left headlights in a new layer, then duplicate both layers.

Give each of the duplicated layers a layer mask by selecting the layer and clicking on the layer mask button.

Select one of the layer masks and go to Filter>Render>Clouds, then do the same in the other layer mask.

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The Police Officer – Photoshop Tutorial

. In this tutorial I will show you how to make a fresh abstract and cool looking piece of artwork using Photoshop. If you want to follow this tutorial you need to have at least intermediate skills. I will explain in detail everything I did but it’s impossible to illustrate everything (that’s why you need some basic skills). Hope you enjoy this.

Preview of the final result

Resources needed


Police woman:

Water splash:

Colorful vector:

Star badge:



Police man hat:

Sparklies brushes:

Setting up the canvas

The first thing you need to do is to create your basic work space. I used a higher resolution because I think it’s better. So, power up Photoshop and let’s start

Step 1

Create a new document 1920 pixels wide and 2400 pixels high. Next create a Gradient Fill layer and use a Radial type gradient. Set the colors to a light gray and a darker gray. See image below for more details.

I used a gradient fill because I want to be able to change the position or the tone later if needed. After creating the gradient right click on it and choose Convert to Smart Object. That will allow you to apply filters to it non destructively. Now go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and choose 2% Gaussian, Monochromatic. A new smart filter layer will appear on the palette. You can modify the settings of this filter whenever you want.

Adding the main elements

Now that the canvas is ready, start adding the car and the woman. Keep a realistic size proportion between the car and the woman. The best way of doing that is after you isolate the objects, convert both of them into smart objects and then resize them until you have it right.

Step 2

Open the car stock image an use the Pen Tool and carefully draw a Path along it’s contour.


If you cannot see the edges, add a Curves or Levels adjustment layer to temporarily light up darken areas if you cannot distinguish the contour from the shadows.

When you have the car isolated from it’s background, copy it and paste it on your canvas without resizing it. Transform it into a smart object and then resize it to 85%. Name this layer “car“.

Step 3

Open the police woman image and repeat the process explained on the previous step to isolate the woman. Subtracting the elements from their background took me a while because I used the old fashion method of the Pen Tool. You can use other techniques if you want. In order to isolate the hair, I used the Color Range tool (Select/Color Range). Once you subtracted the woman, paste it on you canvas, turn it into a smart object and resize it down to 65%. Rename this layer to “woman“.

Enhancing the main elements

Enhancing the elements of your canvas will be one of the most important tasks. Increasing saturation, contrast and things like that will give your artwork a touch of originality and quality.

Step 4

Hide the woman for now because we are now going to work on the car. Create a new layer under it and use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to draw a shape like in the image below. After that add some Gaussian Blur and reduce the opacity to approx. 80%. I also created a few “contact shadows” under the wheels using the brush tool.

Step 5

Open the layer styles and apply Inner Shadow with the settings shown in the image below.

Step 6

I changed the color of the car slightly using the Red channel of a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I also increased the brightness of it using Curves.

Group all layers related to the car and name the group “car”

Step 7

Now you must also make adjustments to the woman so unhide the layer and start working on it. Use the healing spot brush tool to clear skin flaws.

These are the adjustments that I made. I used a Color Balance adjustment layer (as clipping mask) and I reduced the amount of yellow on all three channels and I increased a little the Cyan and Blue color.

After that I increased the saturation using the Vibrance adjustment Layer. The most important of all is the contrast. I corrected it with the Curves adjustment layer. See image below. Group all layers related to the woman on a new group and name it “woman”.

Add a bit more realism to the scene by creating some shadows with the brush tool.

Adding more details

Step 8

Add the first details to your artwork. Open the water splash stock image and resize it, put it behind the car and change the blend mode to Darken.

The scattered circles were made with a custom brush. You can create a scattered brush presets from the Brushes window (F5). You can randomly set the opacity of each circle from the Other Dynamics option.

Step 9

Open the colorful vector file in Photoshop (set the width to 1000px when importing) place it behind the car and set the blend mode to Darken. If the edges are still visible, use Levels to reduce blacks and increase highlights or simply erase the edges with a soft brush.

Step 10

Open the star badge image, subtract it from the background with the Magic Wand tool. Paste it on a new layer. I created a group where I put all related layers that contain the star light effects.

Scale the star down like in the image below and use Levels to increase highlights and shadows.

Your next job is to make that golden star shiny and nice looking. Create a new layer above it and get the Brush Tool and paint a few strokes with the color #f3da9f set the blend mode to Overlay and set Opacity to 55%.

Now create the glow effect on a new layer and Screen blend mode. The color used was #ac8d43. After that, get the spark brushes and paint a couple of white sparks.

I also added a Bevel Emboss effect to the star to make it even brighter. See images below.

Bevel and Levels

Glow effect

As you can see on the image above, I placed all layers related to the badge on a group for organization purposes and also to reduce the number of layers on the palette. Repeat the step to make the second badge. I used the Distort and Perspective tools to change the angle of the second star badge.

Step 11

Add the police man hat and create a soft shadow under it with the brush tool. Create a motion effect if you want using the Motion Blur filter.

Step 12

I took advantage of the fact that I have the extended version of CS4 and I created a few basic 3D shapes and added to the scene. I you don’t have the extended version (which is quite more expensive), don’t worry, I will give them to you, click here to download the 3D shapes.

I placed all 3D objects on their own group. The arrangement on the palette and how you distribute the objects on the scene is up to you.

Step 13

Those 3D objects by themselves are too dull. I wanted them to be shiny and glossy. The best and easiest way I found to achieve that was using Layer Styles. I used slightly different styles on each object but basically the same technique. I created the glossiness with Bevel&Emboss changing both colors to Overlay. I also added a black to white Gradient Overlay set to Soft Light to increase contrast. Try adding Satin and play with different Gloss Contours when you’re on Bevel&Emboss.

Adding more glamour

On the following steps I will show you how to further improve the look of this artwork using the dodge and burn technique.

Step 14

This is in my opinion the most important step on the entire tutorial so pay attention because what you will do on this step, can greatly enhance the look of the final result.

I use the Dodge/Burn technique (which I mentioned on so many of my tutorials) to enhance the shadows and highlights of all the elements on the canvas. The technique consist on using the Dodge Tool with a Strength of about 20% and brushing over all the highlights of all the objects on the scene (mainly the woman and the car) to enhance them. Wherever you see a small highlight brush it, and the same for the shadows.

After that, you do the same with the Burn Tool but brushing the shadows. Doing this is less annoying than using the Pen Tool to draw paths around objects but it takes more time if you go over all the details. It took me about an hour to go over all the details. Take you’re time, it’s rally worth it.

In order to make this technique non destructive, you should use the Dodge and Burn tools on a separate layer rather than on the object itself. So create a new layer above all the other layers, set it’s blend mode to Overlay and go to Edit>Fill and select 50% Gray from the drop-down list.

Now you can safely use the Dodge and Burn tools on this layer. Unlike on the other tutorials, on this one the effect is more extreme. I used a strength of 30% instead of 20%. Adjust the brush size to the details you’re working on.

This is the before and after the dodge/burn process. Hover over the image and wait until it loads.

For a stronger effect I duplicated the layer and reduced the opacity a bit. This is the “burned map” of the places that I burned and dodged. White areas is where I used the Dodge Tool and Black areas is where I used the Burn Tool.

Step 15

I enhanced the highlights of the woman’s hair even more using the Brush Tool. Create a new layer above the other layers and the color #27231d. Paint single strokes on the highlights of the hair. See image below for the result. Hover over the image and wait until it loads.

Final touches

You’re almost done, all that’s left to do is add some last details which are also important.

Step 16

Use the sparklies brush set to add sparkles on shiny surfaces of the car and other elements.

Step 17

Isolate the feathers and the green leaf and add them to the scene. You can isolate the leaf using the Magic Wand Tool. To extract the feathers, the easiest and quickest way of doing it is using channels. Duplicate the Gray channel by dragging it on top of the new layer icon on the layers palette and invert it with CTRL+I. Get rid of the white dots by painting with black and when your done CTRL +Click the channel’s thumbnail to select all the white areas (the feathers).

With the selection loaded, go back to the layers and press the layer mask icon. Apply the layer mask (right click and choose Apply layer mask) and copy/paste the feathers on your scene. Actually this takes longer to explain than to execute.

When you have the feathers and the green leaf on your artwork canvas, apply some Lens Blur to them. Try to avoid Gaussian Blur in this case because it also removes the details.

Step 18

As a final step I created a stamp with CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E and using Curves I increased the overall luminosity. Remember to add some Sharpening to the final version, it looks a lot better.

Hope you liked this tutorial. Writing tutorials is not as enjoyable as creating the artwork. It’s time consuming, It took me several hours to write, take screenshots and put it all together. The only thing I ask in exchange is to share this article on stumbleupon, twitter, facebook, etc. See you on the next tut.

Final result. Click for full view

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