This tutorial will explain how to create an effect involving gigantic twisters (as seen in the film, "The Day After Tomorrow"), and a dissolve effect that goes along with it. You will learn to take a normal city on a nice day and turn it into a havoc and wreaked scene with terrible storms and destroyed buildings.
Twister in the City Photoshop Tutorial
This tutorial is very customizable, and you can end up with totally different results from what you see here. This tutorial is to show you how to achieve the effect, and perhaps to give you an idea of how it can look, but you should think of the final image that I will create as more of an inspiration than a rule. In other words, learn the concepts, but experiment and try to make it your own as well. Secondly, because this is my first tutorial ever written, it may be a bit different from what you are used to. The steps for example, are quite thorough (sometimes multiple tasks per step) so they are kind of like chapters. Also, this tutorial might be geared more towards intermediate/advanced photoshoppers, but even if you are brand new to the software, you should be able to follow along (I have tried to be as detailed as possible in the procedure. For example: mapping out how to create a new layer).
Preview of Final Results
Here is the stock photo used for this tutorial. You can download the image through Dreamstime by clicking on the image below. We used the highest resolution (unscaled) images available to write this tutorial. If you would like to follow this tutorial using the same settings we used, download the highest resolution (unscaled) images available.
When working with any image in Photoshop, always play things on the cautious side and make new layers for everything. This way, if you make a mistake, you won't have to start all over, but you might just have to re-do one layer, possibly saving you hours of work. Everything in this tutorial should be done on separate layers.
Step 1 – Open the image of the city
Lets get started! Load the image of the model into Photoshop. To do this, choose File > Open, browse for the file, then click OK. For this tutorial, I just decided that I wanted to leave out some of the city, because it was a really big image. So, in the picture below, you can see that I selected a portion of the city to use in the rest of the tutorial using the marquee tool.
Step 2 - Scale the image selection that you chose in step 1
Alright, so with that selected, copy it (control/command + C) and paste it into a new document (File > New). The default settings will be fine, and click OK. At this point, you will want to resize the document to a smaller scale (or keep it huge, but the tutorial will work with smaller units, so you will have to adjust everything if you keep the image really big). I rescaled the image to a width of 1200 px (Image > Image Size...) put 1200 in for the width, and the height will scale appropriately, automatically. Before you go any further, name this layer "city".
Step 3 - Select the sky
The next thing to do is to select the sky. There are lots of ways to do this, but for this tutorial, I wanted to be quick, so I just grabbed the quick selection (or magic wand) tool "w", and painted the sky until I had it selected. The pen tool will give you more exact results, but you probably won't notice small mistakes further on because of the clouds that we will add later. Just try to get a good selection.