How to Create Dramatic Sci-Fi Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

How to Create Dramatic Sci-Fi Photo Manipulation in Photoshop
In this tutorial you'll learn how to use different blending modes to professionally blend images, you'll see different ways of adding lights and shadows and discover the way how you can add realistic fire to your pictures. Let's get started!

Preview of Final Results

final-results[6]

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Dramatic Sci-Fi Photo Manipulation Photoshop Tutorial


Resources


Step 1 - Preparing Background

Download the picture of background and open it in Photoshop. Double click on the name of the layer and rename it to BACKGROUND. It's a good habit to name all your layers properly because it's easier to orient in them later. Let's make the very first adjustment. Right now the picture has very low contrast. To fix it add new adjustment layer Levels. You can find the button Add new fill or adjustment layer in the bottom part of the palette Layers. If you don't see this palette go to Window > Layers or simply press F7 on your keyboard.
01_1[4]
Set the Input Levels on 43; 0,80; 216.
01_2[4]
Your image should look like the one below so far.
01_3[4]

Step 2 - Cleaning Foreground

In this step you'll remove roofs in the trees in foreground because they're quite disturbing. Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. CLEANING FOREGROUND. Grab the Stamp Tool (S), select some soft round brush and set the Opacity on 100%. Remove the roofs which are circled in the picture below.
02_1[4]
If you're not familiar with how to use the Stamp Tool (S) I recommend you to read some tutorials about this excellent tool. Time spent with learning about this tool is definitely worth it. Be careful to not to use the same source spot all the time to avoid the repetitive pattern you could get. Below you can see the example of correct and wrong cloning.
02_2[4]

Step 3 - Adding Sky

Download the picture of sky and drag it into your photo manipulation. Place it on the top of all layers and name it SKY. To blend the layer with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Multiply and lower its Opacity on 70%. You can find both these options in the upper part of the palette Layers.
03_1[4]
As you can see on the following picture the upper part of the sky is blended properly. But the bottom part needs some adjusting. You'll fix it in the following step.
03_2[4]

Step 4 - Blending the Bottom Part of Sky

As I already said the bottom part of the sky needs to be blended better. Right now it causes that the city on the horizon is too dark which doesn't look believable. There is also very sharp transition between the added sky and the rest of the image. You'll fix both in this step. You could use the Eraser Tool (E) to give away the unwanted parts of the sky but I would recommend you to avoid this solution. If you use the Eraser Tool (E), the erased parts are lost for good and you can't let them reappear if you need. I've got better solution for you - layer masks. If you use them you don't erase or delete some parts, you just hide them and you can let them reappear any time you want, which is very practical. Especially for photo manipulators. Make sure that the SKY layer is active - just click on it. And then add layer mask by clicking on the button Add layer mask in the bottom part of the palette layers.

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5 comments on “How to Create Dramatic Sci-Fi Photo Manipulation in Photoshop”

  1. Amazing photo manipulation tutorial in Photoshop. Local adjustment, global adjustment, fire and light effects are raeally art work.

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