STEP BY STEP / All smoke and no mir­rors

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Make a new doc­u­ment

Go to File>New and set the Size drop-down menu to A4. Go to the Back­ground Con­tents op­tion, set the colour to black, click OK. Grab the Move tool from the Tools panel. Go to the Op­tions bar at the top and check Show Trans­form Con­trols and Auto-Select Layer.

2 Add the dancer

Open dancer.jpg and select the Move tool. Click the im­age and drag it up to the tab of your new black im­age, then down into the im­age win­dow to copy the im­age over. Po­si­tion it cen­trally, then go to the Lay­ers panel and lower the layer opac­ity un­til the dancer is only just vis­i­ble.

3 Select the smoke

Open Smoke08.jpg. Grab the Lasso tool. Look for ar­eas of smoke that match the shape you want to make. Here’s a part that looks like a head, so drag around it to make a rough se­lec­tion. Grab the Move tool. Drag the se­lected area to the tab of the main im­age, then down in to copy it.

4 Blend and po­si­tion

Go to the Lay­ers panel, drag smoke layer be­low the dancer layer, then change the blend­ing mode to Screen. Next, click the bound­ing box that sur­rounds the smoke layer to trans­form it. Ro­tate the layer to fit the shape of the dancer, us­ing the other layer as a vis­ual guide.

5 Warp the shape

Right-click and choose the Warp trans­form op­tion, then drag the grid to warp the layer so that the smoke fol­lows the shape of the body. Press En­ter to ap­ply. Open other smoke images and look for parts of the smoke that will roughly match the body, arms and limbs.

6 Make a dress

The shape of smoke03 looks like a frilly dress, so use the Lasso tool to make a se­lec­tion around the area. Use the Move tool to drag it into the main im­age, then set the Screen blend­ing mode and use the trans­form con­trols to re­po­si­tion, ro­tate and re­shape it. Press En­ter to ap­ply.

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