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After looking through different pictures of old Roman culture, I was inspired to create this design I call "Hail Caesar." I will instruct you on how to create this whole design including creating your own C4D render in Maxon C4D. Very simple techniques that all newcomers to Photoshop can understand will translate into an amazing design. So get inspired, open Photoshop and lets get started!
Final Image Preview
Take a look at the image we'll be creating. You can view the final image preview below.
Ok, our first step will consist of gathering all our possible stocks together. Even before that
I advise everybody to visualize how you want the design to come out. Usually it does not come out exactly how you wanted it to, but it is always good to know the direction you're heading. When I first thought of the idea I quickly grabbed some paper and a pencil and mapped out the basics. Now I am horrible at drawing so I just used stick figures and labels, but this still gave me a good idea of what I wanted to create.
Now on to our stocks. Once you know what you want to create you can start gathering your stocks. First,I advise you to check out Stock Xchng. They have a wide assortment of free images. Start by looking for your perfect stock. If that doesn't work out we can always edit the images and that is what I did. Now if you can not find what you are looking for on the free stock websites, then try Dreamstime, as they have high quality stocks for very low prices.
When I mapped out my design I had always imagined Caesar waiving his hand in the air. I couldn't find a full body statue with him doing that so I had to combine two stocks together: Caesar 1 and Caesar 2. You could see that in the second stock he had his hand in the exact position we need, but with no body; and in the first we have the body but no hand.
So now we will combine two of the stocks to make one statue that fits all our
requirements. Once you have the stocks downloaded open them in Photoshop. Now if a stock has a pure white background like we do now we can render it easily by using the Magic Wand Tool (W). If you have a more complicated background,
I suggest you render it out with the Pen Tool (P).
Once both images are rendered, we will then De-Saturate them, meaning take away all their color. Since this is a Black and White piece everything needs to be properly desaturated. To do this we select our Layer, and press Command + Shift + U.
Now since we need to put his hand in a new position, we'll cut out his original one. Grab the Pen Tool, and cut out his Right arm. To do this take the Pen Tool, make your path around the arm, Right-click inside the
selection and click Make Selection. Select OK and once you have the selection press Delete.
Now we have to extract our arm. Open the second Caesar stock where his arm is pointing upwards. After doing that desaturate it. Now take out our Pen Tool and trace around his arm. Once we are done with tracing, right-click again and select Make Selection. Press Command + C to copy it. Go over to the first Caesar stock and press Command + V to paste it. When cutting I also included a part of his armor, just so it can blend better.
Once done with cutting it out, press Command + T to place it at the correct angle, then enlarge or decrease its size so it will fit with the first statue. Place it over the first statue. Once it looks realistic, press Command + E to merge the two layers into one.
Also, if the colors of the arm and the body aren't harmonious you can always add Curves to either of them to edit their color. We'll be working with curves a lot throughout this illustration.
So we now have our main statue finished. We'll now move on to our actual canvas where we will do all our designing. My opinion is when making a design you should always make the design 2x bigger than what you want the for the final size. Then shrink it down by 50% once you're done. This works well for me, so I created a new document Command + N and made its size 1200 pixels by 2100 pixels. So when I save it the size comes out to be 600 pixels by 1050 pixels.
In my initial idea for this design, I wanted a starry galaxy background. So we'll now need to find a nice galaxy, or star stock. I used this one. You really
don't need to pay extra to get large sizes, especially with the background. I purchased the Medium size which is 2000px by 1499px.
So open your Galaxy stock and place it into your canvas. Then make a new layer and take the Paint Bucket Tool and fill the most bottom layer with black. After doing that desaturate it (Command + Shift + U). After this Duplicate that layer with Command + J. Do this about four to six times depending on how big the actual stock is. In this case my stock was initially small, but if yours is a lot bigger than your canvas, you can always just find a good spot and leave it.
Now you have the duplicates, pick one and press Command + T to rotate it and move over the empty parts of the canvas. Keep doing it until your background is fully covered in the starry galaxy. If you have edges popping out you can always use the Smudge Tool, or get a small Soft Brush and paint over it with a dark color.
Before we actually start placing the Caesar stock onto the canvas, I will take a small detour and explain how to make a C4D Abstract Render. Now I will come right out and say it, I am no master at creating C4D renders, but I will still explain how I made this one. We need to have Maxon Cinema 4D to create our render. If you
don't have it, you can always download a Demo.
If you absolutely can not create the render from my instructions, you can always download some free ones, from DeviantArt. The reason I made my own is because I knew exactly what I needed, and I figured it would be a lot easier to create my own. OK lets open up Maxon C4D! First thing we need to do is change our perspective.
Now start Drawing out our C4D render.
After you have your Freehand Tool selected, bring our cursor to the Top window. Hold down the left mouse button and draw a small part of how you want the C4D to look. Once you did that, select the Freehand Tool again and repeat with different shapes in the Right Window, and then again in the Front Window. This program is somewhat similar to Photoshop in terms of the layers window. On your left you will see your Splines. With each shape you make you'll have a spline in your layer window. I created about ten shapes.
We are now done with the Perspective windows, so click that Box we clicked on first, this will bring you back to the one window perspective.
Now we will add some shape to our C4D render. Next we'll go and click on the small Green Cube icon next to the Freehand Spline tool. Once you have found it, hold the left mouse button until a window comes up and select Loft NURBS. It will add a new icon onto your layers window.
Go to your layers window on the right side, left-click on the first Spline, hold Shift, then click on the last one. Now you have all your Splines selected at once. The next step is to hold the left mouse button and drag it under the Loft NURBS icon. Move the mouse around until you see an arrow pointing down, not inwards. Once you see it pointing down, let go and you should then see your Freehand drawing has been rendered.
Now I don't want to get to detailed because this is a Photoshop Tutorial. I will just tell you what
I did after this to kind of alter the shape. If you see on top where all the icons are you will see a Blue-ish shape. If you click on it, you'll find different types of distortions, like Bending and Twisting. My advice is to just experiment or find good C4D tutorials to practice with.
The last thing we'll do with C4D is give our design some nice color. To do this we need to add a "Material" on it. You can either experiment with making them, or just use mine. Download the Material. After doing that load it into the program.
Our next step is to save it and import it into Photoshop. This procedure is a bit tricky so read carefully. Once your C4D is finished click on the Render tab on top and it will open up a window for you. Find the Render Settings and another window will come up. Now on the left-hand side click on Save. Then above that you should see Output, which determines how big your render will be. I needed it big so I picked 2000px by 1125px.
After that just close that window, all the settings should automatically save. Now go back to your render and press Shift + R. This will bring up a window where your C4D is being rendered, don't touch it until it's fully done. After it is done on that same window go to File-Save Picture As. Name this what you wish. This will be the main render we'll be putting into Photoshop.
Once you have saved it, you can save the C4D file and close the program. We are now moving to Photoshop.
OK open the main C4D which is a .TGA file. You should have the C4D in all color but with a black background. Now we will get rid of it by doing the following. Select the Channels tab in our layers window. In our layers window, the Alpha layer will be invisible, we'll then Command-click on that layer, which will make a selection of the whole C4D. Once the selection is made, press Command + C to copy it. After doing that make a new document. The size should automatically be the same size as the C4D. Once you have it press Command + V to paste the C4D.
Now your C4D will be somewhat transparent. To fix that we just duplicate it Command +J four to six times
until it is fully there. After doing that we'll desaturate it.
So now we have our C4D! Save this and leave it until we will need it.
Now we will start on building our main attraction, this will be the focus point of the design. Since this design had a Roman theme I went to Dreamstime and typed in "Roman," which gave me some ideas. After looking through all the stocks, I figured I would put the Caesar statue on a pedestal. So
I found this stock which is a Roman Pedestal. After downloading it, I opened it in Photoshop. Since we have a straight white background on it we can easily render it by using the Magic Wand Tool.
Now that we have it cut out, we'll import it into our main canvas. I used Command + T to size it down a bit and place it in the middle of the canvas. After doing that I wanted to make it look a bit weathered and old so
I took the Pen Tool and traced out little cracks on the Pedestal. After doing that, I made the Selection and deleted it. This left some nice looking cracks on the pedestal. Now open up our C4D and cut out a random part of it to place behind our pedestal under the cracks.
Ok so our next step will be to shade the pedestal so it can blend more with the background and the other objects that will be placed in the canvas. Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves, once the window comes up just press OK. Do not change anything. Once it pops up on your layers make sure it is on top of your Pedestal and right-click on the curves layer and select Create Clipping Mask. This just makes that curves layer effects specific to the
Now copy the settings I have on mine, but it will not always fit yours so I suggest you play around with them. Once you have added the curves layer, we'll add some more shading. This one will be a Gradient Map. Go to your layers window and on the bottom you should see a circle that is half white and half back. Click on it and select Gradient Map. Use the default Black to White gradient and select OK. Now make sure this gradient is above your "curves" and your "pedestal" layer's. Right-click on it and select Create Clipping Mask once again. After doing so I set mine to Color Burn at 47%, so try to experiment with yours until you get something that you like.
The next thing I did was build up the background for where the Caesar statue was going to be. I then went to the toolbar and selected the Custom Shape Tool. I went through the default shapes and picked a Triangle. Right now the color does not matter so just select the triangle shape and make a new layer over everything.
Next, just drag out a fairly big triangle. Duplicate it by pressing Command + T and rotate the second triangle to make the shape a diamond. Now merge the two triangles together, and after that press Command + T again and rotate the diamond a bit. Place it where your statue will be.
What we need to do now is get rid of the middle of the diamond and leave a nice border around it. Before doing that lets just duplicate the diamond and leave it in the position it is in. Make the duplicate invisible because we we'll need it later for cutting off what will be inside of it.
So select the layer where your diamond is, Command-click on it and make sure it makes the selection. Then go to Select > Modify > Contract and put in 5. After it makes the contraction press Delete and you will be left with a border. The white border stands out too much so we'll need to blend it, but for now we will hide it and make it
Now make a new layer over the invisible border and go to Image > Apply Image. It should just copy what you have so far on a new layer, so just select that layer, right click, and make a clipping mask. You can now Unhide the border. Then go back to the Apply Image and take the Move Tool and move around the image. You will see it inside the border. This made my border which was pure white blend more with the starry background. If it still doesn't blend too much you can add a layer of curves to it.
Now get your statue and place it into your canvas, do what you need to do in terms of the size and shading. After you have everything done place it on top of the pedestal. Now place that statue so some of it will be coming out of your Diamond border. Cut it out and leave the statue only inside of the diamond border.
Once the statue is properly positioned we will select that Hidden diamond layer I told you about. It should be that first whole diamond I told you to leave. We'll unhide it and Command-click on it, then go to Select > Inverse. Next, click on your "statue" layer and press Delete. This should delete everything outside of the diamond.
Next thing I did was to make a foggy effect around the statue with the use of star stocks. I found another Space Stock. I then opened it in Photoshop and did the same things to this one as the "background" space stock.
Next, I placed it on the canvas over the statue. Then I made it a clipping mask so the star stock only appears inside of the statue. After doing that, grab a soft eraser brush and erase around the star stock until it looks like black fog around the statue.
Now repeat the step but this time use another star stock. I just re-used the background star stock. Once that is done redo that step again with the same stock and set it to Screen at 36%. You'll have three Star stocks now and make sure they are all clipped to your statue.
Now sticking to the technique with using the star stock, we'll take it and place it on top of the canvas again. Take the soft brush again and erase around it leaving small parts. This time put it around the pedestal and the bottom of the canvas.
Even though we erased all parts of the statue outside of our diamond I went back to the original statue that we made and cut out the hand. After that I placed it outside of the diamond. Now some emphasis is needed for this hand so we will use some Thunder Brushes to add a nice effect that will bring some attention to it as well as lighten it.
If you don't already have a set of thunder brushes download them here. After that zoom into the hand and set your main color to white, then select a thunder brush and size it down until you can trace the fingers with the brushes themselves. Make a new layer and trace around the hand with the thunder brushes, after doing that lets add a small outer glow to them and also to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.
The next step is to use our C4D to decorate the pedestal and create the illusion of an arm for the statue. First we will decorate the pedestal. Grab your C4D and Command + T to size it down to a very small size that is a lot smaller than our pedestal. After that duplicate it about 3 times and Ctrl+T again to rotate it around and place it down one of the sides of the pedestal. After that just merge all of them and once merged duplicate them and do Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and put it on the other side of the pedestal.
Take out the C4D again in full size and place it on the canvas. This will be our arm that will go under the hand. Take out the Pen Tool and trace out a long arm shape. It doesn't have to be detailed at all. It can be a thin rectangle, which is what I did. Just make it the correct size. Mine went from the hand to the shoulder of the statue.
When tracing out the shape try and use a cool part of the C4D with some interesting patterns. Once the C4D was in place add a layer of Curves, and don't forget to add the clipping mask so it does not affect the rest of the design.
Now we'll go into adding a couple of extra things over that C4D arm we just added. The first thing we will add is some smoke in the shape of an arm. I used this stock. I brought it into Photoshop, sized it down and rotated it into position. After that, erase the parts you don't need, and just find one line of smoke that looks good to you, then set that layer to Lighten.
To finish it off take another thunder brush and size it down to about 20px, then make a new layer and just make a stroke with that brush going downward in the motion of the arm. Next, make a new layer and take another thunder brush and make some lightning come out from the top finger of the hand. You can apply the same outer glow as we applied to the first set of thunder brushes.
This step requires some cloud and smoke brushes. You can download this and this brush set. If you prefer to use stocks you can, but in this design I mostly used brushes. Once you have the brushes loaded, select one of the cloud brushes, make a new layer and select the color white. Now we'll go back to that original diamond and Command-click it just so our brush can be directly inside the diamond and not outside.
Once the selection around the diamond is made, you can go back to that new layer and brush a small cloud over the statue on both the right and left side. After doing that lower the Opacity to something that looks good to you. Mine were lowered to 50-70%. Then if they still look too cloudy and not foggy enough, you can grab the smudge tool, select a soft brush, and kind of smudge the clouds around to get a softer foggy feel to it.
Now at this point our design is looking a tad bit empty so we'll now add our first animal into it. I took this stock of a tiger and opened it in Photoshop. Then I just cut out the head, desaturated it and brought it into our design. Next thing to do is find a good spot for it, and on our left side inside the diamond was empty so we'll place it there. Use Command + T to size it down to a reasonably small size and leave it there.
Next we take the Elliptical Marquee tool and make a layer under the tiger head. Then make a circle just bigger than the head and fill it with any color. Next, make a layer above that circle and do Image > Apply Image and create a clipping mask. Then move it around until you have another part of the design inside that circle.
Merge it with Command + E. Once you do that, make a new layer over the tiger and make a border. I won't explain how to make it again because we went through this with the Diamond, so just repeat the steps and switch out the diamond shape with a circle. So the layers will end up looking like: "Circle Border, "Tiger Head," then "Circle Background."
This step we will start adding some nice effects to our tiger head. First thing we'll do is add some thunder around the tiger head. Do exactly the same thing we did with the hand. Open up your thunder brushes and pick a small size and brush around the tiger head with the color white. I didn't need to use an outer glow here but you can if you see fit.
Bring in your C4D again and place it over your tiger head, then Command-click on your tiger head and do Select-Inverse and press delete while the C4D Layer is selected. Now set the C4D layer to Screen. We repeat the step but this time it's with a different part of the C4D. Once that's done go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.
Now, the last couple of things we'll do is color his eyes white. I did this by just zooming into the tiger making a new layer and using the Pen Tool, and painting a nice gradient over his eyes. The last thing we will do is add some smoke coming out of his mouth. Make a new layer and get your smoke brushes, size them down to a realistic size, and brush them coming out of his mouth. You can edit them by smudging and lowering opacity until you get a result you like.
Now we'll just add a final touch to our middle diamond. Make a new layer under the statue. Take the cloud brush, but do not size it down now, as we want full clouds. Command-click on our original diamond to get the trace around the diamond. Go back to that new layer you made and brush enough clouds to fill up the background. If the clouds are too strong, you can lower the opacity. I lowered mine to about 78%.
Now we'll add a small circular design and place it behind our statue. Now make a new layer, take the Elliptical Marquee Tool and make a small circle. Then while it is selected go to Edit > Stroke and make it 1px with the color as white. Duplicate it and move it to the side a bit. Leave some space in between the two circles where they overlap. Make another layer and make another circle in the overlapping space, then fill this circle with anything. Now bring in your C4D and add a Clipping Mask to that circle. Merge everything and there you have it.
We will now be adding our second and final animal into this design. I wanted to find a very ferocious looking lion and I found this one. I put it into Photoshop, cropped the head out and desaturated it. Then before bringing it into the canvas I first put it in our C4D File.
Put the lion head over the C4D and make sure the C4D covers all of the lion. Command-click the lions head and go to Select > Inverse and press Delete. You will have a C4D layer that is the same shape as your lions head. Put that over your lion and set it to Screen, then merge the layers. After doing that you can bring it into your canvas and position it on the side of the diamond.
Now let's adorn the lion with some C4D. Take out small pieces of your C4D and place them over parts of the lion, and try to have them flow. For example, I placed some sharp diagonal C4D bits over the lions teeth. Do this about four times. Next set all the C4D parts to Screen and Sharpen them all when you are done.
All you need to do after this is make a new layer and use the smoke brush to have some smoke coming out of the lions mouth and nostrils. If needed you can also add some shading to the lion.
So at this point our sides are looking empty, so we'll now make two more diamond borders. Put one on the right and one on the left side. Just repeat the earlier steps on how to create that border. After doing that take out your cloud brushes and brush a couple of clouds to fill up about 85% of each diamond. We'll fill up the rest with some cool shapes.
Now we'll make shapes to fill up some empty spots in the layout. Let's start with the orbs. Make a new layer under the clouds, get out the Elliptical Marquee Tool and make one circle. Once the selection is made, select the Gradient Tool and select the second type of Gradient. Using a black to white gradient, drag from the middle up until you get a nice orb look.
Now duplicate the layer two more times. Use Command + T to resize the orbs and place them in the empty spots. Next, merge them all and go to the "Cloud" layer. Command-click on that layer to select the clouds you made. Take a soft brush Eraser Tool.
If you used the correct cloud brushes, you'll have them be slightly transparent so the orbs will be seen even under the clouds. So while the selection is made, we'll go back to our orbs and lightly just stroke the eraser brush over all the orbs at once.
Now on to the triangles. This is a simple technique that resembled how we made the diamond border. We'll make a new layer under the clouds again and select the Custom Shape Tool. Find the triangle shape and make a small triangle. Once you have it, Command-click the layer and Select > Modify > Contract at 5, then press delete. You now have a border.
Make a new layer over it and go to Image > Apply Image and create a clipping mask. Next, make a new layer over the triangle and use the thunder brushes to decorate them. Now duplicate, rotate, and place them around the diamond, then erase just like I explained with the orbs.
To finish off, we need to add some text at the bottom of our design. Once you know what you want to write you'll need to find a font that matches your design. Since my theme is Roman, I used this Roman font.
Once we have the font, we'll start by adding a cushion for our font. This cushion will be some more clouds. Grab your cloud brush and make a new layer. Depending on how much room you have, pick a nice sized cloud and brush it. Then on a new layer add another cloud, but this time lower its Opacity to about 38%. The next thing we do is add the lettering over the clouds. If you want you can add the C4D over them and make a clipping mask. Once that is done bring out your star stock, place it over the lettering, and set it to screen.
Now to end it we'll add a layer of Levels.
Our last step is to make a new layer and go to Image > Apply Image. Then apply Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen. We're now done!