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Photoshop Tutorials For The Brainy Beginner. Step 9: How to add smoke in an image. Most of what you already know in practice. How to control precisely and independently the texture and the color of a layer.

Photoshop Tutorials For The Brainy Beginner.

 

 

“Watching Yoda with his light saber is like watching John Smith with his Photoshop” (One of my former students).

 

Step 9: How to add smoke in an image. Most of what you already know in practice. How to control precisely and independently the texture and the color of a layer.

 

In this tutorial you’ll put into practice some of the things you already know in a real situation. At the end you’ll see a way to finely tune both the “texture” or rather “density” of a layer and its color separately.

 

First thing first, I’d like to give may thanks to Suzanne who modeled and brought her costume and Iva Jam who did the makeup.

 

Here are their contacts:

 

Model :                    Susanne Slavik

Makeup artist:         Iva Jam 

1) Go to this link and download the image. Save it and open it. It’s rather heavy because it’s a 16bits/pixel image. You can tune it down to 8 bits (untested) but don’t change the size.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/emf269ix2nmeuel/Model_Suzanne-01.psd?dl=0

 

2) Open the smoke you’ve done during step 8.

Activate the layer containing your smoke, CTRL+A, CTRL+C to copy the smoke alone in the clipboard. Activate the Model-Suzanne image (CTRL+TAB). Paste the clipboard (CTRL+V). Make a copy of this layer (CTRL+J) and name it Smoke_original. Hide it. Activate Layer 1, name it Bottom.

 

3) Menu → Edition → Transformation Manuelle (pardon my French) or more conveniently hit CTRL+T. In the option box type 400% for both width and height. With the Move tool (V) drag the smoke to the bottom of the screen like this.

The smoke is alredy blurred from next step.

The smoke is alredy blurred from next step.

4) The smoke is a bit grainy so blur it by 5 pixels (Filter Blur→ Gaussian blur choose 5). Set the opacity to 30% (V, numpad 3). Duplicate this layer. It’s not that bad but for a more realistic effect we want to give the impression that the smoke surrounds Suzanne. In order to do that we are going to take some smoke of on both smoke layers with 2 layer masks. The problem comes from the smoke over Suzanne right arm (on the left of the image). There is an ugly unrealistic gob of smoke there.

 

5) Choose a 100px feathered Lasso (L, enter 100, enter) and select roughly around the arm. Activate Bottom and subtract this from the layer with CRTL+F3 (if this means nothing to you, you just need to do the previous tutorials).

 

6) Duplicate the mask into the Bottom copy layer. To do this, you click on the Bottom mask Icon and drag the mask into the “ Bottom copy” line.

 

 

7) Adjust the mask by using a soft large brush (200px) at 100 opacity and paint inside the masks with black to subtract or white to add. You can vary the sizes (hitting the keys : or !) and opacity (numpad number) of the brush. It is much easier to have 2 layers with separate masks than one because then it’s easier to adjust and avoid the horrible halos nobody likes. Note the 3D effect. In any case, if you keep those 2 layers and their masks you will be able to edit when the image is done. I do recommend this way. 

Here are my 2 masks and the image. In red are the areas I erased on Bottom and Bottom copy through the masks. 

 

The 2 masks and the resulting image.
The 2 masks and the resulting image.
The 2 masks and the resulting image.

The 2 masks and the resulting image.

8) Now you have 3 layers in the layers panel: Background, Bottom, and Bottom copy.

 

9) You should be able to paste the original smoke by CTRL+V but if not, activate the smoke_original layer, duplicate it and make the copy visible. Then make a vertical flip (Edition → Transformation → Vertical flip) and enlarge by 400% width and height. Name this layer “Top”. Set the opacity to 70%. Drag the layer to the top of the image like this:

Photoshop Tutorials For The Brainy Beginner. Step 9:  How to add smoke in an image. Most of what you already know in practice. How to control precisely and independently the texture and the color of a layer.

10) Duplicate the Smoke_original once more and once more enlarge by 400%. Set the opacity to 100%. Name it “Middle” We got this image.

Photoshop Tutorials For The Brainy Beginner. Step 9:  How to add smoke in an image. Most of what you already know in practice. How to control precisely and independently the texture and the color of a layer.

11) Select the Crop tool (C) and drag over the entire image, starting from above the top left corner and ending under the righ bottom corner. Zoom out if needed to have the whole image on screen with room around it (CTR+numpad 0, then CTRL+-). This will eliminate all the smoke outside the frame. Failing this your machine will slow down. Now there is too much smoke over the face.

Add a layer mask to both “Head” and “Middle” by hitting F3. Using a large soft brush (600px) at 10% paint inside each mask with black, going back to white when you took too much off till you are happy with the result. Use D and X to have white or black as a foreground color. Something like this is OK for me.

The smokes have been blurred. You can do this at the end if you didn't, yet.

The smokes have been blurred. You can do this at the end if you didn't, yet.

12) Now is the moment to go kitsch and add color to the smoke. Once you have added the color layers over each smoke layer it's artistry so you have to play by hear till you like the results. 

Activate the Bottom Layer. Create a new Layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N) making sure that the first checkbox is checked. Fill this layer with a nice yellow. Do the same thing for all the smoke layers with whatever colors you like. I chose the same color for Bottom and Bottom copy. Edit the opacity of each layer by hitting CTRL+2,V and then numpad and/or by painting inside their mask (CTRL+&,B, D or X, :or!, numpad). Since we forgot to blur the Top and Middle layers, some grain might appear. We can blur them now. Of course it’s the layers we must blur not the masks.

 

13) Save the image. Play more with each layer opacity (V then numpad) and their mask (B, numpad for opacity, : or ! for size, D or X to have white or black as a foreground color).

 

14) If you know how you can add some contrast as I did with a Curves layer on top of everything. I’ll give a tutorial on the Curves layers in another tutorial.

 

Here is my final image. I saved it.

Photoshop Tutorials For The Brainy Beginner. Step 9:  How to add smoke in an image. Most of what you already know in practice. How to control precisely and independently the texture and the color of a layer.
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