Create a fragment of an epic scene of an alien invasion! In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a realistic landscape with the effects of battle and attacking aliens. You will learn interesting techniques, tricks and much more. So battle breaks out!
We will begin this photomanipulation with a realistic landscape. Add the main image and I will tell you how to make realistic foregrounds and sky. The next step is to add the aliens and work on their realism. The third step is to add the alien wreckage. The final step I worked lighting and add a few effects. You need attention, inspiration, good mood and any version of Photoshop. Have fun!
- Tartarus at War – cnquistador
- Sunset – LemnosExplorer
- Desert – HumbleBeez
- Blaze Package – resurgere
- Sparks – MariaSemelevich
- Shooting – MariaSemelevich
- Aliens PNG – MariaSemelevich
Let’s get started! After opening Photoshop, create a new document. Go to File > New or the short key Cmd /Ctrl+ N. A blank document with size of 3000 pixels wide and 2698 pixels high, resolution 200 Pixels/Inch, Background Contents: Other (color #898989).
Now I added in working document the main scene image to create perspective and atmosphere. Go to File > Place (Place Embedded) and select image “tartarus_at_war_by_cnquistador-d4ewfqq”. Flip horizontal this image (right click on image in Transform mode or Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). I use Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+T or Edit > Free Transform) to resize the image and place it in the top of working area, but not completely, leave a little free space in the upper part working area (for the sky).
While I left this image and proceeded to the foreground. Place (File > Place (Place Embedded)) in working document image “desert_stock_5_by_humblebeez-d32tmun”. As with the previous picture flip it horizontal (right click on image in Transform mode or Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) and resize (Ctrl/Cmd+ T or Edit > Free Transform) this picture as shown in image below. Arrange the picture to the mountains overlap (were above the edge) of the main image.
And now a very interesting step. Let’s just say, an exercise in mindfulness. In this step, we need to remove the sky, and most importantly, to make the transition from the first image for a second, but that was not visible seam. So, first select Magic Wand Tool (W) then select all sky (Hold Shift to add other colors to selection). Then Inverse selection (Select > Inverse or Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I).
When you finish select sky add Layer Mask to remove background, use button in Layers panel or by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection. Once duplicate this layer, because we will need it later. To do this, use Cmd/Ctrl + J or go to Layer > Duplicate Layer.
Use Brush Tool (B) with settings Size: 175px, Opacity: 20-65%, Hardness: 0%, Flow: 100%. On Layer Mask remove some of the mountains and texture from the first image to get a smooth transition of the landscape. Use different values brush Opacity to make the transition a realistic and correct. The most important thing that you could not see edge of the back image and texture of the first image exactly transitions to the second.
As can be seen from the previous picture, I remained almost invisible places on the seam of images, so I moved a copy of the desert under the previous layer (Cmd/Ctrl + [ ) and reduce the size of the texture (Ctrl/Cmd+T or Edit > Free Transform) to become more shallow ( only very little, it will create the effect of an inhomogeneous soil). Work on the two layer masks to get a smooth and harmonious landscape. Here’s what I got.
I was satisfied with the result and start colored ground to make same color as main image. For this I used two adjustment layers. But first, I have group with the soil layers into one group (Cmd/Ctrl + G or go to Layers > Group Layers) and applied the adjustment layers to it.
We now proceed to adjustment layers. Add first adjustment layer “Brightness/Contrast” (Layer > New Adjustment layer > Brightness/Contrast… or click on icon on a Layer panel). Set Brightness: -150, Contrast: 100. So I did the soil is very dark and you can now begin to color. Be sure to clip adjustment layer to lower group. Set Opacity: 77% to this layer.
And now I worked with ground color and add adjustment layer “Color Balance” (Layer > New Adjustment layer > Color Balance…). Set to Midtones and Shadows settings, like on image below. That ground is suitable shade, I made the shadows and midtones more purple.
Here’s a result I got. You should have about the same. It is very important to achieve the right shade to the picture became united, and all the rest can then be added.
I decided to add lighting to the ground. Use Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N to create new layer with neutral color. Set Mode: Overlay, check box on “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)”. Neutral color – the color that doesn’t change the image in that blending mode (Overlay). So, it will help to make the desired effect without causing damage to the image.
Use the Burn Tool (O) for create shadow and Dodge Tool (O) to create a light and shadow. Set the settings to each tool like shown in the image below.
Draw light and shadow, based on sunset light from the main picture. Do not do a contrasting shade too, otherwise texture will be strongly emphasized. Blue shows where to draw the shade, and red – the light. On Layer panel set Opacity: 77%.
I painted places where should be the color of a sunset, to hide some place and associate the foreground with the main image. I create a new layer above adjustment layers, set Blending Mode “Color” and Opacity: 48%, then used Brush Tool (B) (Size: 250px, Opacity: 45%, Hardness: 0%) and Eyedropper Tool (I) (or hold Opt/Alt when use Brush Tool) I took the colors of the sky and the ground of the main image and painted over desert texture, but only on the seam line.
When the ground is ready, I started to manipulate with sky. It was important to find the appropriate resource of sky to made realistic artwork and I could mix it with the main image. Go to File > Place (Place Embedded) and select image “Sunset_s4__Stock_Image_by_LemnosExplorer”. Increase the sky, so it was a bit more working area and place it in line with the skyline of the main image. To accurately do this simply associate the sea and the mountains in main image, so that they were roughly on the same line. (you can change the opacity to make it easier to work).
Move the layer with the sky under the main image. To blend the sky add a layer mask to the main image. I will remove part of sky from main image to prevailed realistic pictures, not an artificial landscape. Take a Brush Tool (B) (Size: 450px, Opacity: 20-65%, Hardness: 0%) and carefully on layer mask remove the upper part of the image to get a smooth transition. Then try to leave and will integrate the cloud, which harmonize with the sky. The main thing is a smooth transition. Remove or leave but completely some yellow clouds and use the opacity to make the transition shades.
Remained the final touch is to add the flying missiles and explosions. Place image (File > Place) “shooting_by_mariasemelevich-d826nte”. Set Blending Mode “Screen”, resize it on working area and place this image that smoke corresponded to smoke on main image (it was the basis and continuation) and to skyline. Try to keep the explosions do not touch the ground much, but a little, picture was applied to the distant mountains.
As can be seen from the previous image, I have united the whole landscape into one group (Cmd/Ctrl + G). Working with landscape over and you can start to add aliens. In this part of tutorial, I added an aliens and effects for them. Open image (Cmd/Ctrl + O) “aliens_png_by_mariasemelevich-d826naw”. In this step everything easy, select Lasso Tool (L), select the first group of aliens (where they 4 subjects and doesn’t necessarily add to selection another piece of aliens:)). Hold Cmd/Ctrl (switch on Move Tool (V)) and move it into working document.
In working document resize them (Cmd/Ctrl + T) and put it in the right place. I placed them on the right side of the image, so that they went out from the ruined buildings. Do the same with the rest of aliens, but do not touch the flying ships yet, I added them later. Be sure to place aliens layers over a group with a landscape.
Try to stick to the proportions as the size of the aliens, so they were not too big and stand out from the landscape. Just try to choose for them interesting and appropriate landscape (if you look at the movement of the first aliens, you will see that they are standing on a rock, which is absurd, but I will fix it, using smoke). If you have a situation arises, try to disguise this place, using objects or other aliens. To little hide the legs a alien, I added a layer mask and removed part of the legs on the rock (for aliens from the previous image).
When I am located all the aliens in the right places, I went to work with shadows. It’s a bit tedious process, but believe me, it is very useful. Thus, hold Cmd/Ctrl and click on aliens layer thumbnail, create a new layer and fill selection black color (press D then X and use Cmd/Ctrl + Del or Edit > Fill…).
Use Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+ T) to Flip Vertical and connect shadow with alien’s legs. Select Distort Tool in transform mode and move the shadow a little closer to the alien (for pulling the mid-point of the upper horizontal frame) so that it was shorter and tilt it to match the light source (basically move the shadow slightly to the right). Change Opacity to 35%. And so it must be repeated for every alien. I understand that it is a bit tedious, but for a realistic picture of the shadows are very important.
If you are satisfied with the position of shadows then combine them in a single layer (Cmd/Ctrl + E or right click on selected layers, from the drop-down list, select “Merge Layers”). Add filter Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur), set Radius: 15.0px. Shadows are ready! Also merge layers with aliens (Cmd/Ctrl + E) to make it convenient to work with it.
Stay flying ships of aliens. As in the previous steps select all and move flying aliens in the working document. Place them just above the missiles. Add a layer mask and use Brush tool (B) with very small Opacity: 15-30% (Size: 150px, Hardness: 0%), remove some parts to create visibility of the flight in the clouds. Try to remove the part of the ship on which the sun shines and the tentacles, because they are thin and not likely to look much clearer.
Now with the same brush, but at a new layer draw a small haze on ships. Select colors, used Eyedropper Tool (I) from places near the ships to accurately observe the gamut. Do not paint over the ships fully or you’ll lose the realism. Make this layer as Clipping Mask (Cmd/Ctrl + Opt/Alt + G).
It remains to add the haze on the aliens. But first, let me do a brush like smoke. I modified the standard “Per Smoke Brightness Variance” Photoshop brush. Select brush “Per Smoke Brightness Variance” and press F5 to move in Brush settings. Increase the size to 500px, set Spacing to 80% and go to “Shape Dynamics”. There do brush of different sizes (Size Jitter: 100%) and add it to the rotation (Angle Jitter: 40%). It remains to give a little volume to brush, because when use in drawing it was not linear. On tab “Scattering” set Scatter: 75% and Count: 1. Save this brush because it will need us at the end of this tutorial.
Create a new layer, set color #a09081 and brush Opacity: 40%, use created brush to draw fog on the alien’s legs and a little around. With the weather or situational effects can be achieved by masking the unpleasant parts or hiding unwanted elements. With skillful use of surrounding opportunities as possible to achieve realism, but only when you know the limit :).
The resulting color of smoke seemed to me too bright and I added an adjustment layer “Hue/Saturation” to the fog combined with the colors of image. In “Hue/Saturation” set Hue: -9, Saturation: +11, Lightness: -11 and applied this layer to fog layer.
Here is my result. Layers with aliens, I also combined into one group “Aliens” (Cmd/Ctrl + G). Next all following layers should be higher than the two groups with the scenery and aliens.
Proceed to part with addition of fire and pieces of dead aliens. I decided to add these pieces to convey a sense of the battle. As with the aliens, and their parts move them to a working document (Step 17). Place the parts in the right places. In resource image only two pieces, but experiment with the rotation – connection of both and you will get more (use Transform Tool (Cmd/Ctrl + T)). In this way I made the third part. When you are satisfied with the arrangement of the parts, merge all layers with pieces in one layer (Cmd/Ctrl + E).
To create a shadow under these parts I used style “Drop Shadow” (Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow… or icon on Layer panel). Set Opacity: 100%, Angle: 151 degrees and set checkbox on “Use Global Light”, Distance: 33px, Spread: 0%, Size: 100px. When you are finished, press OK.
Color of aliens items are not combined with the general atmosphere, so I will change this by using adjustment layers. The first layer is “Brightness/Contrast”. Set Brightness: -92, Contrast: 46. So I darkened the parts to prepare them for the imposition of the desired shade.
Now color. Next adjustment layer is “Color Balance”. Set for Midtones: Cyan-Red: +16, Magenta-Green: -16, Yellow-Blue: -26; for Shadows: Cyan-Red: +6, Magenta-Green: +9, Yellow-Blue: -10. Since in the original form of these cases were much brighter, then tab “Highlights” a don’t use. Now all the parts are harmoniously combined with the color gamut.
One last adjustment layer is “Hue/Saturation”. Set Hue: -35, Saturation: -36, Lightness: -31. Now a bit of balancing the color and saturation for realism. I specifically decided to write you this color scheme if you want to add other objects and implement them in this atmosphere.
Now add a fire. Place (File > Place) image “sidestreet-stock (5)” in folder “Package Fire_stock_by_sidestreet_stock”. Change Blending Mode to “Screen”. When you are dealing with a variety of effects (fire, fireworks, lights, etc.), or something on a black background, then most convenient method of applying this it’s change blending mode to “Screen” or “Lighten”. Change the size of the fire (Cmd/Ctrl + T), that it was not a huge fire and was proportionate to the location where you place it.
I’ll show you how to add fire and the rest fire images you can add yourself. I used fire images “sidestreet-stock (3)”, “sidestreet-stock (5)”, “sidestreet-stock (10)”, “sidestreet-stock (12)”. After end of the work with all fire images, I have merge them into one layer (Cmd/Ctrl + E) and change the Blending Mode to “Screen”. If the fire seems too bright, use the adjustment “Hue/Saturation” (Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation…), reduce the brightness and saturation of the layer.
Now add the glow from the fire, so that it was realistic. I know of many techniques, but here is my version of the superposition of light. So, create a new layer and set color #e9b22d. For this layer, we need a light tone (usually I take the color from the flame using Eyedropper Tool (I) to observe the correct tone). Using Brush Tool (B) (Size: 400px, Opacity: 65%, Hardness:0%) draw near fires and debris, as shown in image below. Set for layer Opacity: 30% and Blending Mode “Overlay”.
Now the main glowing color. Repeat previous step, but set brush color to #e6e03d and change layer Opacity to 59%. Duplicate this layer (Cmd/Ctrl + J) and set Blending Mode “Linear Burn” and Opacity: 100%.
I darkened the fires in the foreground. I create a new layer “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)”, (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N and be sure to set “Overlay” blending mode). Settings for Burn Tool (O) in step 12. A little darkened fire in the foreground, that parts of alien to not stand out.
Add some flying sparks. Place image “sparks_2_by_mariasemelevich-d826onj” (File > Place). Resize that they were a bit larger than fire size, set Blending Mode to “Screen”. Duplicate this texture 2 times (Cmd/Ctrl + J) and place on the remaining two fires. I merge layers with sparks in a single layer (Cmd/Ctrl + E) and remove some extreme sparks using a layer mask. That texture seemed more natural.
So, one last part of this tutorial is to add the final details. At first I thought a little bit to adjust light and shadow to enhance the shadows and light in some places. Create “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)” layer, Use Dodge and Burn Tools (O) to add some light on fires and a bit of space around them and strengthen the shadows of aliens. Also highlighted the armor by aliens in accordance with the main light source.
Now it’s time to brush from step 25. Create a new layer, set color #a5a5a5 and brush Opacity: 30%, then draw smoke in foreground of image. If you do not like some parts of it, you can remove it using Eraser Tool (E) but use brush form, which you makes smoke. For layer make Opacity: 86%.
The last step is to add sparks. Place sparks image in working document and make sparks bigger (Cmd/Ctrl + T), place them on the front of the image. Set Blending Mode “Screen”. Add a layer mask and remove some of sparks from the edges and top of the image (you can remove some of the places where the texture seems too dense) and you’re done this image! Congratulations!
Tutorial by Maria Semelevich
Thank you very much for taking the time to study this tutorial! I hope you benefited it! I wish all lucked in your future achievements! I thank the authors of resources for their excellent work and good quality! Thank you very much! If you have questions or need help, please contact me. I look forward to your feedback and creative works! You can contact me by e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook Deviantart Behance. I am open to suggestions and cooperation! With best wishes!
– Maria Semelevich.