Monday, February 16, 2009

Creating an Disaster environment with PS

Quick before and after:

Here's my starting image, you can grab it from the URL above:

First thing, as always, Duplicate the image, either by dragging it to the 'new layer' icon, or by going to Layer -> Duplicate Layer. Now we're going to add the cloud stock, scaled in the upper corner:

Next, duplicate your original layer above the cloud layer, select your magic wand, adjust teh tolerance to about 55-60, and select the skyline:

Just tap Delete, or go to Edit -> Clear. It's not perfect, but it doesn't matter right now. Go ahead and merge this layer down with the cloud one, by hitting CTRL + E, or going to Layer -> Merge Down

Now go to Select -> Color Range, and from the drop down, select Highlights:

Create anew layer, and fill your selection with pure white. Then head to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur, and use a radius of about 1.5 Pixels:

Merge this layer down like before, then head back up to Select -> Color Range, and from the drop down, select Shadows. Now go to Filter -> Noise -> Add Noise, check Monochromatic on Uniform, and set the Amount to about 1.8-2.0%:

Alright, now we need to start darkening the photo. Set your foreground color to #2b352d and your background color to #314446. Now go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Gradient Map, and accept the default options, then change the map's blending mode to Color, with opacity of 85%:

Now on a new layer, Filter -> Render -> Clouds, with the same colors, but set this layer's blending mode to Screen, with around 50% opacity:

Alright, go back to your base (after merging the cloud layers/noise) ad duplicate it on top of all other layers. Give it a nice Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur of around 2 pixels. Set it to Soft Light:

I was hoping the layer effects would buff out that line between the original photo and the clouds.. but it didn't. So time for some brushing. Using the same two colors, alternating with a soft 45px brush, I'm jsut going to paint around the back of the photo:

Now I'm going to set it to Multiply, and on a new layer, start brushing the stubborn areas with a mixture of #565042 and #1e190d:

Set that sucker to multiply. I'm going to start a new layer (again), and with a soft brush, paint #f7b500 over all the light sources:

Now we're going to give it a HUGE Gaussian blur of 10px, and set it to soft light:

Lets do some last adjustments before we start the snow effects. Create a new layer, and go to Image -> Apply Image, use the default settings. Now give this layer a Gaussian blur of around 1px. Take a soft eraser, and take the blur out of the foreground, leaving only the background, shadows, etc blurred:

Alright, now we'll start the snow. Set your colors to default (D), or jsut reselect Black and White. On a new layer, Render clouds, then Render Difference Clouds, this will reduce the amount of white:

Now go to Filter -> Pixelate -> Mezzotint, and select Coarse Dots. Now go to Select as usual, then Color Range, and pick shadows again. Now hit Select -> Modify -> Expand, and use 1px. Fill with Black (Ctrl + Backspace), then Gaussian blur this layer by 1px again:

Now the trick here is the blending mode Linear Dodge. LD completely ignores black, leaving only the whites of the layer to shine through. Change the snow's blending mode to Linear Dodge. I'm also going to erase large chunks of 'snow':

Now I'm going to scale this layer down by about 60, and move it towards the back. I think it's best to use multiple layers of snow to give it the depth we need. Once it's scaled, erase parts that overlay the buildings:

Now create a new layer, and render some clouds with white and #f7b500. Go to Layer -> Create Clipping Mask, and change the layer's blending mode to Color Burn. I'm going to erase random bits of it, to let more white through:

Rinse and repeat, about 2 more times, so you have 3 different scaled snow layers:

Alright, so on another new layer, paint teh ground with black:

Change it's blending more to Linear Dodge so it's invisible, and create a new layer. with Black and White, yep, you guessed it.. render some clouds, then render difference clouds. Add considerable noise, about 10% then use out favorite, Gaussian Blur, at around 7px:

Scale it down to the lower point of ground you painted:

Now Layer -> Create Clipping mask. This will leave a snowy effect on the ground:

One last touch for the snow. go to each of you Linear Dodge Snow masks (the B&W ones, and use Filter -> Distort -> Shear, or Filter -> Distort -> Ripple, with varying settings. Careful not to overdo them though, remember, Undo + experimenting is your friend:

Now I'm going to fill a new layer with white, and paint Orange onto it:

Then I'll blur this layer by about 10px again, and set it to Overlay at around 50% opacity:

Lets do one laaast gradient map, with #2a5160 as your foreground, and white a your background. Set this map to soft light, at about 50-60% opacity:

Now I'm going to take the crows from the third stock photo, delete the blue background, and set them to overlay in the background, and throw in some text in Impact, 26pt:

Now a comparison!


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