How to Create an Odd Looking Cityscape in Photoshop

How to Create an Odd Looking Cityscape in Photoshop
This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to create a surreal image of a girl on top of oddly stacked buildings. You'll learn how to create an illusion of depth with the Blur tool and apply ambient lighting effects using adjustment layers.

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Preview of Final Results

Odd Looking Cityscape Photoshop Tutorial

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Create a New Photoshop Image File

Now, let's start by creating a new image file, go to the Menu bar and click File > New, and then input the following values on their respective fields:
  • Preset: Custom
  • Width: 3000 pixels
  • Height: 3000 pixels
  • Resolution: 300 pixels/inch
  • Color Mode: RGB Color; 8 bit
  • Background Contents: Transparent

Step 2: Create a city as seen from above

We will start off by creating a city from aerial view. To start, let's open "Looking down on Ulm" by Zhonk. Once the stock image is open, activate the Move tool by pressing V on your keyboard and left-click on the image and drag it to our 3000x3000px canvas. Once on the canvas, position it as shown below:

Step 3

Next, rename this layer to "city". To rename a layer, simply double-click on the words: "layer 1" (you can find that on the layer window) to prompt a text box to appear.

Step 4

Next, we will resize the city. To do that, activate the Transform tool by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + T and then resize the city layer as shown below:

Step 5

Now that we had resized the city layer, it is now time to give it motion blur effect, to give the viewer the illusion that this city is actually moving. To do that, left-click on the "city" layer and then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Once activated, input the following:
  • Angle: 0'
  • Distance: 30pixels
The result should be similar to the following:

Step 6

Next, we will create a glary haze over the city layer to produce the illusion that it is far away. To start, let's create a new layer over the "city" layer, by left-clicking on the "city" layer and pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N. Doing this will automatically create a new layer over our "city" layer and a box will appear asking several details, but the only important thing is to give it a name. Input "haze" on the name field.

Step 7

Now, that that's done, we will now activate the Brush tool (B) but then let's make sure that the active Brushes are the default brushes. The default Photoshop brushes are shown on the image below, if that's not what you see, then follow the instructions below:
Right click the canvas while a layer is selected and while the Brush tool (B) is activated and then click on the button highlighted below:
Then click on "Reset Brushes" from the contextual menu.
Now, that that is done input the following settings for our Brush tool (B):
  • Brush size: 2200px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: ffffff
Note: The #: ffffff is the color of the brush. To change it to that, simply do the following:
Once the Color Picker box opens, input the following on the # box:
Now, we're all set to paint, use the brush as shown on the image below:

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