This tutorial was originally published in April 2010. Although this tutorial does not use the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, its techniques and process are still relevant.
If you're looking to create a really nice photo manipulation, often you will have to combine several photos and apply a few effects to get your desired look. In today's tutorial I decided to combine a few photos that I took while I was traveling to create a devastating tornado consuming everything in its path. Okay, let's get started!
1. Prepare Your Canvas and Gather Resources
To create images like this, I recommend that you gain a bit of knowledge of perspective, focal point, vanishing point, etc. It helps a lot while bringing together various images into one final composition.
First, create a new document in Photoshop and name it tornado. Create a layer and fill it with some color, and come up with a rough sketch of your composition.
Download the following images, and open them up in Photoshop. Use the upper image for the sky and the lower one for the land.
2. Construct the Twister From Clouds
With the help of the Lasso Tool and a 20 px feather, cut out the sky and paste it into your tornado document.
Now that the sky is ready, our next job is to make the sky look cloudy.
Make some adjustments the image's Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation.
Use the Clone Stamp Tool to help spread out the sky.
Use the Clone Stamp Tool to change the shade of the clouds.
Open the second image and select some portions of the grass and vegetation using the Lasso Tool (5 px feather). I used multiple selections of the ground for my image.
Now paste the vegetation fragments of my image, and then bring them together. Use the Lasso Tool to spread the vegetation across your canvas.
Start selecting portions of the sky, and play around with the brightness and contrast just to give it some variation.
Use the same technique with other parts of the image as per my sketch and change the shade of the clouds in those areas.
At this point it's time to start laying out the tornado.
Use the Clone Stamp Tool to spread the tornado out in the selected area of the drawing.
Repeat the same process for the other selected areas.
The dust can be created by cloning portions of the sky and by changing its shade.
Use the Clone Stamp Tool to create a smooth transition between the various elements in the composition.
3. Add the Finishing Touches
To enhance our image, we now need to create a new adjustment layer with a black to transparent gradient. Set the Blend Mode of this layer to Soft Light.
The purpose of this step is to enhance our image so that the upper edges look darker and that the viewer's focus is directed to the center. Repeat this step in one more layer if you want more variation in shading.
Now it is time to shade the outer areas of the composition. Do this by drawing a rectangle with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (with 0 px feather) in a new layer and fill it with black color. Use the Lasso Tool to cut the layer as shown.
After this, set the layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light. The purpose of this step is to darken some areas of the image to shift the focus towards the center.
Now let's play around with some color variations. Make sure that you do it in adjustment layers, so that if you don't like it you can just delete the layer.
Time to Go to Oz!
That's it. I hope that this tutorial helped you learn a little about photo manipulation techniques. Good luck!