Create a Glowing, Sci-Fi, Line Art Collage


When you’re creating a composition, often you will need to combine stock images with vector line art. In today’s premium tutorial we will juxtapose various resources using straightforward techniques and subtle photo manipulation to create a dense sci-fi image. Let’s get started!

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

Author's Note: The original image sources that were used in this piece ARE NOT allowed for commercial use/redistribrution. Therefore, comparable stock photo replacements have been included in your resource folder. Follow the links above to purchase each of these stocks accordingly.

Step 1

Open up the "baseilly.psd file that you downloaded along with this tutorial. There you'll see the base illustration that you will be working on.

Step 2

Open "starfield.jpg". Press Command/Ctrl + A to select image and copy (Command/Ctrl + C) and paste(Command/Ctrl + V) it into the psd. Reorder layer to the back ( Shift + Command/Ctrl + [ ).

Step 3

Now, let's open the "horizon.jpg" file. Repeat Step 2 to bring file into the psd. Rename its layer "clouds". Place it roughly in the center of the canvas as shown.

Step 4

Click on the layer mask icon in the LAYERS tab to apply a new mask on the "clouds" layer. Click on the layer mask and then choose the gradient tool. Make sure it is set to black/white gradient and click and drag within the canvas to fade the top part of the sky.

Step 5

Click on the ADJUSTMENT LAYER icon in the layer tab and choose gradient map. Select the Black/White gradient. Be sure that throughout the entire tutorial process, that this gradient map layer remains the top layer!

Step 6

Select the 'VERTICALS, FILLS, and SHIP layers and press Command/Ctrl + G to group them. Rename the group layer "SPACESHIP". Select the "fills" and "ship" layers and make a second group. Add another black and white Gradient Adjustment Layer and place it above the "ship" layer. With the new gradient layer selected, press ALT + Command/Ctrl + G which will clip mask it to the "ship" layer.

Step 7

Select the "fills" layer. Press Command/Ctrl + I to invert.

Step 8

Open the "rock_texture.jpg" file. Command/Ctrl + A to select the whole canvas and then Command/Ctrl + C to copy the image. In your psd file, Command/Ctrl + V (paste) the jpg and rename the layer TEXTURE. Now group BASE, WHITEGRID, and TEXTURE layers and rename the group FLOOR. With the TEXTURE layer selected, press Command/Ctrl + T to get into transform mode and then Command/Ctrl + Click the anchor points to begin to skew the rock texture into perspective.

Step 9

Continue to skew until you have a result that is similar to the one below.

Step 10

Now we will mirror the rock texture. With the TEXTURE layer still selected, press Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer. Command/Ctrl + T the duplicated layer to bring up the transform box. Right click, select Flip Horizontal, and press Enter. Position the flipped layer to the right as shown below.

Step 11

Merge the rock texture layers and apply a layer mask to remove any excess overlapping the horizon. Set the layer's Master Opacity setting to "Overlay".

Step 12

Add a Levels Adjustment Layer above the texture layer and clip mask it (ALT + Command/Ctrl + G). Adjust the settings of the Levels as shown below.

Step 13

Apply a White to Black Gradient Map Adjustment Layer which should invert the canvas. Clip mask it to the texture layer.

Step 14

Add a second Levels Adjustment Layer and clip mask it. Adjust the output levels by dragging the white slider to the left until it reads '68' or so. Use a black to white gradient using the Gradient Tool to mask the Levels as shown.

Step 15

Apply an outer glow to the white grid layer and adjust the settings as shown. Out glow color is pure white (#0000).

Step 16

Apply and Inverted Layer Mask to the white grid layer (Alt + click on the layer mask button). This will make the mask all black, which will hide everything in that layer. Use a soft white brush of varying sizes to reveal parts of the grid as show below.

Step 17

Create a new layer and name it (Outline). Alt and click the texture layer to create a marquee selection (marching ants) around the parameter of the text layer. Now, with the marquee tool selected, right click in side the marquee selection and click on Stroke. Apply a stroke that has about a 3px thickness on center.

Step 18

Repeat steps 15 and 16 to get a similar result, shown below.

Step 19

Create a new subgroup within the "spaceship" group and name it "escalators". Place the "verticals" layer in it.

Step 20

Apply a clip masked Levels adjustment to the "verticals" layer. Copy the settings below and erase in the layer with a soft black brush.

Step 21

Create a highlight layer under the "escalator" group. Set the brush color to white and mimic the brush settings below. Apply some white brushing at the top of each vertical as show below.

Step 22

Repeat steps 15 and 16 to get a similar result, shown below.

Step 23

Create a new layer named "outline". Command/Ctrl + Click the "verticals" layer to make a marquee selection around it.

Step 24

Apply a 2px stroke.

Step 25

Apply a white outer glow. Copy the settings shown below.

Step 26

Apply a white outer glow to the "fills" layer under the Group 1 sub folder in the "spaceship" group.

Step 27

Let's add a little reflective texture to the spaceship. Duplicate the star field layer and reorder layer above the ship layer's Gradient Map under the Group 1 subfolder.

Step 28

Now Clip Mask (ALT + Command/Ctrl + G) the star field copy layer to the ship layer.

Step 29

Apply a layer mask and use a soft black brush to remove certain areas as shown below.

Step 30

Now give the layer a Normal Master Opacity of 66% percent or so.

Step 31

Go to your resources and open the outline.PSD file. Copy and paste that to your working psd file and name the layer "gridglow".

Step 32

Use Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) to invert the layer to pure white. Set the black Output Levels to 255 as shown below.

Step 33

Give it a white outer glow and copy the settings as shown below.

Step 34

Give it a white outer glow and copy the settings as shown below.

Step 35

Let's create a couple of portals that the escalators ascend to. Create a new layer under the escalators subfolder and name it "portals". With the Polygon Lasso Tool make a couple of rectangle shapes as shown below. Remember to hold SHIFT to make multiple closed shapes.

Step 36

With the lasso tool still selected, right click right click or Command/Ctrl + Click and select Fill. Fill the marquee shapes with white.

Step 37

Apply a white outer glow.

Step 38

Let's backtrack a bit and complete the outline of the escalators. Return to the Outline layer and select the Line tool (U) and set its thickness to 2 px. Close off the edges of the front left escalator show below.

Step 39

Create a new layer. With the Line tool still selected, trace the inner edges of the escalators.

Step 40

Now use a soft eraser to fade the bottom ends.

Step 41

Apply and outer glow.

Step 42

Create a "water" subfolder under the "spaceship" group. Place it directly above Group 1. Open the waves.jpg from your resources and copy and paste the image in the new subfolder.

Step 43

Select the Elliptical Marquee tool. Hold ALT + SHIFT and from the center of the spaceship sphere create a circular marquee shape over part of the waves image. Press Command/Ctrl + J and rename the new layer "waves". Delete the previous layer (Layer 2).

Step 44

Command/Ctrl click on the waves layer to create a new marquee selection. Now from the top menu go to Filter - Distort - Spherize. Set the amount between 70% - 100%. Hit Command/Ctrl + D to deselect.

Step 45

Give the waves layer an Inner Glow. Copy the settings below.

Step 46

Create a new layer in the water subfolder and name it "outline". Command/Ctrl + Click the waves layer to bring back the marquee selection. Select the marquee tool and right click in the canvas, choose stroke. Give it a 1 px stroke on center.

Step 47

Give the outline an outer glow.

Step 48

Now we'll omit some areas of the water sphere so that it looks like it's embedded in the spaceship design. Add a layer mask to the water group. With the pen tool, create some general orthogonal shapes over the areas shown below. *Highlighted in red for visibility*

Step 49

Now with the Converter tool (under the Pen Tool Sub-menu) Click and drag the anchor points so that the shapes follow the ships curves. *highlighted red*

Step 50

With the Converter tool still selected click anywhere in the canvas outside of the pen shapes. Right click and select 'Fill Path'. Fill the shapes with black.

Step 51

Add a clip masked Levels Adjustment layer to the waves layer. Follow the settings shown below. With a soft black brush remove the levels adjustment within the area indicated by the red circle shown below.

Step 52

Let's try and make the sky a bit more dramatic. Add a clip masked BW gradient map Adjustment Layer to the 'clouds' layer.

Step 53

Add a Clip Masked Levels adjustment layer to the clouds layer and copy the settings shown below.

Step 54

We're almost there. It's now time to populate this scene with people. Open up the nudes files. Copy and paste a figure into the working file. Use Command/Ctrl + T to bring up the transform box and SHIFT + Drag the anchor boxes to scale the figure down a bit.

Step 55

Repeat step 53 until you've populated the escalators as shown below. Select all the nude figure layers and (SHIFT + Click from bottom layer, up or from top layer, down.) Press Command/Ctrl + E to merge layers.

Step 56

Add a Clip Masked Levels adjustment layer and mask away with a soft black brush to emphasize atmospheric lighting.

Step 57

Repeat what has been done in steps 45-46 to give the nude figures an outer glow.

Step 58

Add an inverted layer mask to the outline layer (ALT + Click the layer mask icon) and with a white soft brush begin to reveal the outlines to further emphasize lighting.

Step 59

Open the Crowd1.jpg in your resources folder and copy/paste it into your working psd file.

Step 60

Use the Pen Tool/Converter tool to make a shape around the background content of the photo. Once you make the desired pen shape around what you wish to remove, just right click is select "Make Selection", click OK, and then hit the Delete key. Press Command/Ctrl + D to deselect once done.

Step 61

Repeat what has been done in steps 45-46 to provide a glowing outline. Add an inverted layer mask and go over with a soft white brush to subtly reveal the effect.

Step 62

Repeat steps 58 - 60 for the other crowd jpegs so that you end with something like what is shown below.

Final Image

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