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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photo Manipulation
Design

How to Create an Apocalypse Angel Photo Manipulation Scene With Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:AdvancedLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create an apocalypse scene with a dark angel. You'll learn how to create a decay/destruction scene by combining several stock images, make dark wings, create a sublime sword, adjust color, enhance the light/shadow, and more.

Tutorial Assets

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

Some of the images are from 3D renders on Envato Elements and you'll need to download specific angles:

Specific 3D angles

1. How to Build the Background

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

new file

Step 2

Open the sky image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) and place it in the upper half.

add sky

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and reduce the Saturation value to -62:

sky hue saturation

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness.

sky curves

Step 5

Open the background image. Isolate the landscape with the dead trees only using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and place it in the lower half of the canvas.

add background

Step 6

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to -95.

background hue saturation

Step 7

The trees look too obvious, so duplicate the sky layer and move it on top of the other layers. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 50% and move it downward a bit.

create mist using sky

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to erase the top and leave the misty effect visible on the bottom half, covering the trees on the right.

mist masking

2. How to Make the Decayed Ground

Step 1

Cut out the scrap 1 from the background and add it to the lower half of the image.

add scrap 1

Step 2

Duplicate this layer and move it a bit to the right.

duplicate scrap 1

Add a mask to this layer and use a hard black brush to erase the lower area and leave the top middle visible only. The aim is to create a proper standing location for the angel in the next stages.

duplication masking

Step 3

To make a shadow for one of the iron sticks on the ground, create a new layer above the scrap layers. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select that stick and fill it with black (no need to be so precise).

select iron stick

Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to rotate it toward the right side (to fit the light source—the bright area in the sky) and lower its Opacity to 40%.

stick shadow

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2 px to soften the shadow.

stick shadow gaussian blur

Step 4

Select all the scrap layers and hit Control-G to make a group for them. Change this group mode to Normal 100%. Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to -86.

scrap 1 hue saturation

Step 5

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the lower part of the ground. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the upper part where it should be brighter.

scrap1 curves

Step 6

Open the scrap 2 image. Use the Lasso Tool to select the scrap only and place it over the ground. Use a layer mask to blend it with the existing scrap area.

add scrap 2
scrap 2 masking

Step 7

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -87:

scrap 2 hue saturation

Step 8

Use a Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness. Now it looks completely blended with the existing ground.

scrap 2 curves

Step 9

Open the rubble 1 and 2 images. Drag the areas of rubble into the ground area using the Move Tool. Place one on the left and another on the right, remembering to position their bright side towards the light source.

add rubbles

Add a mask to each of these layers and use a soft black brush to soften their edges.

rubbles masking

Step 10

Make a group for the rubble layers and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate them.

rubbles hue saturation

Step 11

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the rubble. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with the Opacity about 30-35% to reduce the effect on the left piece of rubble as it's in the higher position and towards the light.

rubbles curves

3. How to Create the Ruined Buildings

Step 1

Open the building images. Use the Move Tool to place building 1 on the left side of the ground and building 2 on the right. Use Control-T to make them lean.

add buildings

 Use a layer mask to blend the buildings with the decayed ground.

buildings masking

Step 2

Make a group for the building layers and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Change the Saturation value to -69:

buildings hue saturation

Step 3

Isolate scrap 3 from the background and add it to the right building.

add scrap 3

Use a layer mask to remove the part outside the building and leave it visible mostly on the upper section.

scrap 3 masking

Step 4

Duplicate this layer and move it to the left. Flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal, and make it smaller using Control-T.

duplicate scrap 3

Use a layer mask to blend the scrap with the building.

scrap 3 duplication masking

Step 5

Create a group for the scrap layers and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

scrap 3 hue saturation

Step 6

Use a Curves adjustment layer to match the lightness of the scrap with the buildings.

scrap 3 curves

4. How to Add the Model

Step 1

Cut out the model from the background and place her in the top middle of the ground.

add model

Step 2

The bottom of the model does not really fit the ground. To fix this, go to Edit > Puppet Warp and add points to the bottom to drag the foot and the tail of the dress upward a little.

model puppet warp

Step 3

Make a shadow for the model the same way as you did with the iron stick.

model shadow

Step 4

Make a new layer and use a hard brush with the color #be9b6a, the size about 2-3 px to paint more hair for the model.

paint model hair

Step 5

Make a group for the model and the hair ones. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -78:

model hue saturation

Step 6

Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the bright side (right) of the model. This step is to brighten the left and reduce the contrast on both sides.

model curves

5. How to Import the Wings

Step 1

Cut out the right wing from the eagle image and place it on the right side of the model. Use Control-T with Warp mode to bend the wing, especially dragging down the bottom feathers to give it a dark feel. Place this layer under the model's group.

add right wing

Step 2

Duplicate this layer and move it to the left after flipping it horizontally. Use Control-T to make it shorter and a bit higher to fit the model's perspective.

add left wing

Step 3

Make a group for the wing layers and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Bring the Saturation value down to -83:

wings hue saturation

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the contrast of the wings. Paint on the upper areas to keep them brighter than the lower ones.

wings curves

Step 5

Use another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the upper part to fit the light source. Paint on the lower part so it will not be affected by this adjustment layer.

wings curves 2

6. How to Make the Sublime Sword

Step 1

Cut out the sword with a curvy blade and add it to the darker arm of the model. Use Control-T to fix its perspective a bit. Use a layer mask to erase a part of the grip to make it look as if it's in the model's hand.

add sword
sword masking

Step 2

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and change the Saturation values:

sword hue saturation

Step 3

Create a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the lightness.

sword curves

Step 4

Make a new layer, and load the sword's selection by holding Control and clicking its thumbnail layer. Fill this selection with the color #fd83df.

sword fill 1

Use a layer mask to soften the edges and change this layer mode to Overlay 100%.

sword fill 1 masking

Step 5

Double click this layer, and choose Outer Glow. Pick the color of glow to #fd83df. Name this layer "light 1".

sword fill 1 outer glow
fill 1 outer glow result

Step 6

Make a new layer under the light 1 one. Load the sword's selection again and expand the selection by going to Select > Modify > Expand. Set Expand By to 1 and then fill the selection with the color #c2f1f2. Activate Control-T with Warp mode to bend the sword a bit. Use a layer mask to make the effect visible very subtly on the lower part of the blade.

expand sword selection
sword fill 2
fill 2 bending
fill 2 masking

Step 7

Apply the Outer Glow effect and set the color of the glow to #f5bbe3.

fill 2 outer glow
fill 2 outer glow result

Step 8

Create a new layer under these two light layers. Use a soft brush with the color #fd83df and the Opacity and Flow about 10% to paint a subtle pink glow around the middle of the sword. You can use a layer mask if there are any overdone details.

glowing light 1

Step 9

Make a new layer and change the mode to Soft Light 100%. Use a soft brush with the color #c2f1f2 to paint a more glowing effect for the sword.

glowing light 2

7. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the colors #e10019 and #00601b. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

whole scene gradient map

Step 2

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:

whole scene color balance 1 midtones
whole scene color balance 1 highlights

Step 3

Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #009cec:

whole scene photo filter 1

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the lightness a bit. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the ground, the left building, and the long feathers of the wings.

whole scene curves 1

Step 5

Use another Curves adjustment layer to reduce the lightness considerably. Paint on the bright area of the sky and the front of some details on the top of the ground and the buildings to make some light reflections on there.

whole scene curves 2

Step 6

In this step we'll add light to the area around the sword. Make a new layer and use a medium-hard brush with the color #d6bcd6 to paint on the lower dark area of the model, the left wing, and the front of some sticks and other details. Change this layer mode to Overlay 100%.

reflected light 1

Step 7

On a new layer, use a lighter brush (#ffeaff) to paint highlight for the indicated details in the previous step. Use a layer mask if there are any overdone details.

reflected light 2

Step 8

Create a Selective Color adjustment layer and change the Cyans and Magentas values.

whole scene selective color cyans
whole scene selective color magentas

Step 9

Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #000bec.

whole scene photo filter 2

Step 10

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings. On this layer mask, paint around the sword area so it will not become so blue.

whole scene color balance 2

Step 11

Use a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect.

whole scene vibrance

Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you've enjoyed my tutorial and learned something new. Feel free to share your ideas or comments in the box below—I'd love to see them. Enjoy Photoshopping!

final result
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