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  2. Photo Manipulation

How to Create a Power Scene Photo Manipulation With Adobe Photoshop

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I'll show you how to use Adobe Photoshop to create a power scene using a variety of photo manipulation techniques. 

First, we'll build the base environment using images of the sky and buildings. After that, we'll add the flying rocks and lightning and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. Later, we'll paint the light and particles. We'll use several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.

Tutorial Assets

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

1. How to Make the Base Environment

Step 1

Create a new 2000 x 1333 px document with the given settings:

new filenew filenew file

Step 2

Open the sky image. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the sky only and add it to the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).

add skyadd skyadd sky

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and bring the Saturation value down to -100:

sky hue saturationsky hue saturationsky hue saturation

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light, especially the top left of the sky where the main light will be located. On the layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) to paint over the lower section to reduce the effect there.

sky curvessky curvessky curves

Step 5

Cut out the buildings and add them to the main document.

add buildingsadd buildingsadd buildings

Step 6

Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the building on the top right and then hit Control-J to paste the selected one into a new layer. Flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Move it to the top left to fill in this corner and resize it to be a bit smaller.

select right towersselect right towersselect right towers
add to the leftadd to the leftadd to the left

Step 7

Copy the building in the lower right of the canvas and add it to the top left corner where we've added a small building in the previous step.

add more toweradd more toweradd more tower

Step 8

The buildings look a bit darker than the sky. On each of the building layers, create a new layer (set as Clipping Mask), change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray.

DB new fileDB new fileDB new file

Use the Dodge Tool (O) with Highlight Range and Exposure about 50-60% and the Burn Tool with Midtones Range to bring more light and details to the buildings. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

DB normal modeDB normal modeDB normal mode
DB overlay modeDB overlay modeDB overlay mode

Step 9

Select all the building layers and Dodge/Burn ones and press Control-G to create a group for them. Change this group's mode to Normal 100% and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer within the group. Bring the Cyans value down to -51:

buildings hue saturationbuildings hue saturationbuildings hue saturation

Step 10

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the buildings more. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase some corners of the buildings as they shouldn't get much light on there.

buildings curves 1buildings curves 1buildings curves 1

Step 11

Make a Levels adjustment layer to decrease the dark contrast in the corners of the buildings. Paint on the rest of the buildings so that they won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

buildings levelsbuildings levelsbuildings levels

Step 12

Create a new layer and use a soft white brush to paint on the top of the building to brighten these areas more. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.

building light building light building light
building light resultbuilding light resultbuilding light result

2. How to Add the Rocks

Step 1

Open the rock images pack. Browse the meteor10 folder and grab the one you like and place it in the middle of the space between the buildings. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to move the top of the rock towards the sky to fit the angle of the buildings.

add big rockadd big rockadd big rock

Duplicate this layer and move the bright side of the rock towards the light. Use Control-T with the Warp mode to bend it until you get a result like the one below:

big rock duplicatedbig rock duplicatedbig rock duplicated

Step 2

Use a layer mask to blend this rock with the existing one.

rocks blendingrocks blendingrocks blending

Step 3

Add several rocks to both sides of the scene by duplicating this layer or selecting others from the folders. Use the Warp Tool to tweak and bend the rocks so they appear different.

add more rocksadd more rocksadd more rocks

Step 4

Add more rocks around the buildings and make them in different sizes using Control-T with the Warp mode. Place some bigger ones on the edges of the canvas. On each of these layers, go to Filter > Motion Blur and apply similar settings to the ones below. Depending on the size, angle and distance of the rock, you can change the settings to get your desired result.

more rocks with motion blur settings 1more rocks with motion blur settings 1more rocks with motion blur settings 1
rocks with motion blur settings 2rocks with motion blur settings 2rocks with motion blur settings 2
rocks with motion blur settings 3rocks with motion blur settings 3rocks with motion blur settings 3

Step 5

Create a group for all the rock layers and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer within the group. Bring the Saturation value down to the minimum.

rocks hue saturationrocks hue saturationrocks hue saturation

Step 6

Use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the rocks. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the shadow side of the rocks so they won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

rocks curvesrocks curvesrocks curves
rocks curves maskingrocks curves maskingrocks curves masking

3. How to Add the Lightning

Step 1

Open the lightning 1 image. Isolate the lightning using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and add it to the bottom of the biggest rock (middle one) so it looks as if it's coming down from the rock. Use Control-T to change its perspective and make the top much smaller and the bottom much bigger.

add  lightning 1add  lightning 1add  lightning 1

Step 2

Select two details of the original image and add them to the big fork of lightning.

select two details from lightning 1select two details from lightning 1select two details from lightning 1
add more details to lightning 1add more details to lightning 1add more details to lightning 1

Step 3

Create a group for the lightning layers and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the effect's color.

lightning 1 hue saturationlightning 1 hue saturationlightning 1 hue saturation

Step 4

Open the lightning 2 image. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the big fork and add it to the bottom of the middle rock. Use Control-T to make it connected to one of the falling rocks on the right.

select lightning 2select lightning 2select lightning 2
add lightning 2add lightning 2add lightning 2

Change this layer mode to Screen 100% and use a layer mask to remove the edges around the fork.

lightning 2 screen modelightning 2 screen modelightning 2 screen mode

Step 5

Add other forks of lightning from the original image and connect them to three rocks on the left and the top sides.

add more rays from lightning 2add more rays from lightning 2add more rays from lightning 2

Step 6

Make a group for these layers and alter the group's mode to Screen 100%. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -100:

lightning 2 hue saturationlightning 2 hue saturationlightning 2 hue saturation

Step 7

Create a Levels adjustment layer to remove the white edges completely.

lightning 2 levelslightning 2 levelslightning 2 levels

4. How to Paint the Light and Particles

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of the layers and use a soft white brush to spot on the area between the rock and the big fork of lightning to make a light hole.

paint light holepaint light holepaint light hole

Step 2

Make a new layer and change the mode to Overlay 100%. Use a soft white brush with a lowered opacity (about 50%) to paint glow around the light hole and on the two forks below.

paint more light glowpaint more light glowpaint more light glow

Step 3

Make a new layer and turn the foreground to black. Press F5 to change the setting of this brush. After that, use this brush to paint tiny particles around the rocks area.

particles brush settings 1particles brush settings 1particles brush settings 1
particles brush settings 2particles brush settings 2particles brush settings 2
particles brush settings 3particles brush settings 3particles brush settings 3
particles brush settings 4particles brush settings 4particles brush settings 4
particles resultparticles resultparticles result

5. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Create a Curves adjustment layer on top of the layers and decrease the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to paint on the middle of the space between the buildings and the top of them to keep their brightness.

whole scene curves 1whole scene curves 1whole scene curves 1
whole scene curves 1 maskingwhole scene curves 1 maskingwhole scene curves 1 masking
whole scene curves 1 masking resultwhole scene curves 1 masking resultwhole scene curves 1 masking result

Step 2

Make another Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the space between the buildings. Paint on the rest of the scene so it won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

whole scene curves 2whole scene curves 2whole scene curves 2

Step 3

Use a Color Balance adjustment layer to complete the final effect.

whole scene color balancewhole scene color balancewhole scene color balance

Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you've enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new for your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!

final resultfinal resultfinal result
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