How to Create a Cinematic Snowy Mountain Crash Site Scene in Photoshop

How to Create a Cinematic Snowy Mountain Crash Site Scene in Photoshop
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By stacking the texture in sets of two, one being screen blending mode and the other being either overlay or soft light, then adjusting opacity, you can achieve some pretty great results! To simplify the masking process you'll want to group all your smoke layers together and then have all the fire textures clipping masked to that group, you can see an example of this below. Clean up your edges and your textures and we'll be ready to move forward!
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So this section really depends on the way you put this together. If, like me, you made it in a separate file then just follow along! If not then your smoke is already in the scene so just jump on ahead! For this part just grab all your layers and group them together (Control + G on PC and Command + G on Mac with all layers selected). Then we'll grab the tab and drag it out so we can see both windows at the same time (Works similar to how web browsers work) then just grab the group and just drag it in!
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Now that its in you can position it behind the rock arch but in front of the mountain. Now I turned mine into a smart object, which i found helped with performance on less powerful machines, also smart objects can be resized down and back up without loss of quality. However because we wont be doing too much of that here its just as well kept as a whole group.
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Lets go over blending our newly made smoke plume into the scene. Using clipping masks like before, we can bump up the vibrancy of your smart object or group (remember clipping masks work on groups as if they where one layer). We'll also light the smoke cloud. with the light source on the top right we can shade the underside with a clipping mask layer, using a black brush and overlay blending mode, adjust the opacity for a fit.
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You can then do the opposite to the top with a white brush to add not just a little brightness but also some atmosphere adding to depth and a sense of size.
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Heres a nice spot just for us to gather ourselves and clean up the document. Look for masking mistakes and the like. Also a good spot to group all our sections together and color code them like shown below. This really helps tweaking sections in a more organized way. Below is a image of what I have so far! As always feel free to experiment and try something different! When you're ready lets move forward!
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Moving forward we can start getting into some of the details. One of the main focuses of this piece is the arch in the middle ground, lets get the lighting right on it. Add one layer to its clipping mask line and draw in some orange, yellow, and red in varying opacities with an overlay blending mode. Adjust the opacity of the layer to get a nice result like the first picture below. Another problem I encountered was the little white line on the inside of the arch. I used the same pen tool cutout method I discussed earlier. I also cleaned up the line in the snow below it. I also added in the fire image on top of the clipping mask chain as color dodge and with a 72% opacity. Find a nice placement for it to give some nice lighting effects. I usually like using actual images to make lighting effects as oppose to painting them in, for me this give a more organic and natural look and not too stiff. Also to note as this is personal preference, I used the Burn Tool on Shadow Mode with about 10% Exposure on the arch itself to bring out some of the details.

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