This photo manipulation tutorial will give you an idea of how you can turn any photo into a catastrophe. This tutorial is good as an inspiration for ideas about how to manipulate your own photo in Photoshop.

Warzone Photo Manipulation Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial i will explain step by step how to turn a regular photograph in to a warzone. I used my own photograph as original, taken on my holiday in Copenhagen:

Step 1 – Duplicate the background layer.

First I used a photo of clouds. Open the photo into Photoshop then then converted it to black and white with the Black and White tool (Image > Adjustments > Black and White). You can also use the Hue/Saturation or Channel mixer tool if you do not have the Black and White tool.

Step 2 – Paste the clouds picture into the main document

Choose Select > All then Edit > Copy to copy the picture of the clouds into your clipboard. Open the photo that you like to turn into a warzone then choose Edit > Paste. Select the background layer then choose Edit > Duplicate to duplicate the layer. Now we have a backup copy of the background layer.

Step 3 – Remove the sky

Now we’ll remove the sky of the original image. Start by hiding the top layer with the clouds and the background layer. Use the Magic Wand tool (W) or Quick Selection tool to create a selection of the sky. Once you have the selection of the sky created, hit the delete key or choose Edit > Clear to remove it. Now move the clouds layer below the background copy layer then enable back the visibility of the clouds layer.

Step 4 – Clone out the people and cars

In the Background copy layer, use the Clone Stamp tool (S) to remove unnecessary objects such as people and cars. To use the Clone Stamp tool, hold the Alt key and click to pickup a pattern/texture that can be placed over the objects you will need to clone out. Then, click on the object where you like to clone and it will start to disappear. If this is your first time using the Clone Stamp tool, it may take a few tries for you to understand how it works. Below is an example of cloning in action.

Step 5 – Create a second clouds layer

To keep our layers organized, start by renaming the following:

  • Rename Background Copy to Original
  • Rename the layer with the clouds to Clouds

Duplicate the clouds layer then use the Transform tool (Ctrl + T or Edit > Free Transform) to resize the new clouds layer so that it fills the frame. Change the blending mode of the Clouds copy layer to 70 and set the blending mode to Lighten. Complete this step by using the Eraser tool to erase the clouds from the ground and bottom of the building like shown in the screenshot below.

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