This tutorial tells you how to create smoke (from
scratch) in adobe photoshop. To work through this tutorial I created
the following image by drawing an itty bitty boat onto a photograph.
I have decided to set this boat on fire.
Step 1 - Preparing to make the smoke
Create 2 new layers above the background
image, if you are a photoshop CS user you may widh to put these
into a new layer set named smoke.
Fill the lower of the 2 layers with black
and then hide it. In the upper layer paint a thick white mark where
you wish the smoke to eminate from, in this case the rear of the
Stage 2 - Making white smoke
Unhide the black layer so that you can
see the smoke you are forming better.
Using the smudge tool manipulate the
white mark until it begins to take on the appearence of a tendril
of smoke. At this point you can start to use the Liquify tools to
manipulate the tendril without losing opacity. Create a new layer
and repeat the process of manipulation.
Build up these layers until you have
the desired volume of smoke, then link all the layers of white smoke
together. Merge the linked layers, this will form the main body
of your smoke. Hide or delete the black layer.
Stage 3 - Adding detail
Create two duplicates of your white smoke layer and
name them Halo and Grey. Move both duplicates below the white smoke
Apply a 10 px gaussian blur to your halo layer. If
the layer is too light then duplicate it and set the layer blend
mode of the duplicate to screen.
Use the curves dialogue to partially invert the Grey
layer and change the blend mode of this layer to Multiply:
select the move tool and then use the cursor keys
to shift the grey layer down and too the right until the clouds
take on a 3D appearence.
Stage 4 - Making the smoke match
Use masks on the grey, white and halo
layers to create a more coherent stream of smoke. This means reducing
the halo around the boat and where the smoke meets the water. This
Helps to add realism.
Also, using a low opacity, feathered
brush on the masks reduce the amount of white in the smoke near
the boat and the amount of grey in the smoke further away from it.
Stage 5 - Subtle colour
The final stage in making the smoke is
to add a little subtle colour to match the sky.
Duplicate the white layer one more time
and name this layer Colour. Create a gradient to roughly match the
sky by selecting a pink colour from near the top of the smoke and
a blue colour from near the horizon. Ctrl-Click the new layer to
create a selection by alpha and then fill this selection with the
new gradient, dragging from horizon to the top of the cloud. Change
the layer blend mode of this layer to Overlay.
Whilst you are doing this you may also
wish to add a splash of colour at the base of the smoke to represent
Thats it, The finished effect. If you
wish to see my psd it is available here
(550Kb psd).There are probably other ways to achieve thse effects
but i like this technique. If you have any questions/suggestions
feel free to contact me.