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Creating a Smoke Shaped Image in Photoshop

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This Photoshop tutorial is a photo manipulation that shows you how to create a smoke shaped image.

Final Image Preview

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image

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Step 1

Start by downloading all photos that we will need for this tutorial. Open photos in Photoshop. Copy smoke 1 photo to portrait canvas and position smoke photo like i did below.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 1

Step 2

Desaturate smoke image by selecting smoke layer and going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift+Ctrl+U).

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 2

Step 3

Set layer opacity for this layer to 70%.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 3

Step 4

Rotate smoke by going to Edit > Transform > Rotate.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 4

Step 5

Copy smoke 2 to our main canvas.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 5

Repeat same actions with this smoke layer like you did with first one: desaturate it and set layer opacity to 70%.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 6

Finally rotate this layer a bit by using Edit > Transform > Rotate.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 7

Step 6

Apply Edit > Transform > Warp to replicate face shape.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 8

Regarding face, try to shape it as similar as possible.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 9

Step 7

Select Smudge Tool with soft-edged brush (Strength: 50%) to improve contour.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 10

In the end we should have something like this:

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 11

Step 8

In order to depict the photo exactly, we should use several images of smoke as a rule. In this tutorial I used only three images of smoke. As layers will overlay each other sometimes, it’s worth using the Eraser Tool to remove unnecessary parts from the layers (always select soft-edged brush). On this step it’s also worth clearing the upper edge of the layer we’ve just worked with, as this edge overlays the lower layer.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 12

Step 9

Go to third smoke image and select part of the smoke using Polygonal Lasso Tool.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 13

Copy selected area to the main canvas and place it as shown on screenshot below.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 14

Desaturate this layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift+Ctrl+U) and set layer opacity for this layer to 70%. Then move it to the right edge of the canvas.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 15

Select Eraser Tool with soft-edged brush and erase edges on this layer.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 16

Step 10

Update all layers opacity back to 100%.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 17

Create a new layer right above background layer with portrait. Fill it with black color (#000000).

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 18

Merge all layers except background layer (portrait) by selecting layers and pressing Ctrl+E. We now have only two layers: portrait layer and smoke layer. Set layer opacity of smore layer to 50-70% and adjust contour by using Smudge Tool.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 19

Step 11

Go back to third smoke image. Make a new selection of smoke using Polygonal Lasso Tool.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 20

Copy selection to main canvas.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 21

Desaturate this layer by and going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift+Ctrl+U) and set layer opacity for this layer to 70%. Transform it by using Ctrl+T and position selection like i did.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 22

Edit layer edges using Eraser Tool.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 23

Set layer opacity back to 100%.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 24

Step 12

Merge all layers except background layer with portrait. Right now looking at image it seems girl has one too long neck. We can fix this by adding more smoke. Repeat same process we did before (select from smoke 3 a bit of smoke, copy it to our main canvas, desaturate and reduce layer opacity so you can clear edges of layer. In the end you should have something like i have below.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 25

Once you are happy with result, merge all layers except background layer with portrait. We have only two layers: portrait layer and smoke layer.


Step 13

With smoke layer selected, apply Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 26
Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 27

Step 14

Duplicate layer with portrait using Ctrl+J and place it above smoke layer. Select the violin using the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 28

Invert selection using Select > Inverse and remove everything inside the selection by using Delete button.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 29

Make a new selection in the shape of violin using Polygonal Lasso Tool and remove unnecessary background using Delete button again. Deselect selection using Ctrl+D.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 30

If you still have some problem areas with the remains of the background, they can be erased by using Eraser Tool with a soft-edged brush and opacity set to 30-50%.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 31

Step 15

Duplicate layer with violin using Ctrl+J and apply Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 32
Creating a Smoke Shaped Image 33

Change layer blending mode to Soft Light for this layer and this tutorial is now complete.


Final Image

Creating a Smoke Shaped Image
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  • http://www.objectsynergy.com/ Object Synergy

    This is inspirational post,I really like the tutorials,

    Thank you for posting such a detailed tutorial, very helpful.

  • http://www.embraceillumination.com Bryan Lean

    I think it will look more realistic if the smoke fade out a little bit. Very inspiring outcome by the way.

  • Hentom

    ths z a grt tutorial i rilly lyk t thnkx.

  • Manal Raafat

    Thanks for this very nice and useful tutorial.

  • cruz

    good ,was useful

  • Satya

    It is awesome.Thankz 2 the whole teem members

  • Satya

    It’s most useful for every one

  • Anna

    hi im thinking of using your smoke effect for a school project with a different image of a girl but im still going to use your smoke pictures i was just wondering if this was alright with you? Thank you

  • Gyu

    I don’t understand how to realize this step: Create a new layer right above background layer with portrait. Fill it with black color (#000000).

    thank you for this very interesting tutorial.

  • sowmyavarma

    Nice…. it was useful for me

  • Bayley

    there was a problem with the desaturate step. it wouldn’t let me click the button. any help?