Blend images to create a story
AFLOATING MAN may be pretty impressive in real life, but it takes quite a bit more than basic levitation to pass for a superhero these days. With this in mind, we’re going to add some fiery wings to make our model really look the part. Although it may sound extremely difficult to achieve, it’s a very simple effect, and can be accomplished with a stock photo and the Screen Blending mode. While you may not have a lot of images of fireballs at your disposal, you can easily shoot fireworks or sparklers against a dark sky to get the same effect, then you can use this simple technique to give your hero some fiery abilities of their very own.
1 Import your ‘special effects’ shot
We have this shot of three fireballs, which we’re bringing into the document by clicking File>Place. Once in, duplicate the Layer and hide the original by de-clicking the tick to the right of its Layer. We will need this Layer later on.
2 Add your fiery wings
Use the Eraser Tool ‘E’ to delete all but one fireball. Once you have your single flame, use the Move Tool to put it into place, and change the Blending Mode to Screen, which will hide any black in the image making it invisible.
3 Make the effect even brighter
The Screen Blending Mode can cause transparency. To get around this, duplicate your Layer for a better effect. Once you’re happy, hold Ctrl and click every fire Layer to select them. Press Ctrl+G to put them all into a single group.
4 Mask out the front of the flames
Create a Layer mask for the new Group. Choose the Paint Brush Tool ‘B’ and set hardness to 50%. Select black as the foreground colour and brush where you don’t want the flames visible, which is the chest and arms.
5 Repeat for the other wing
Take the flame Layer we hid earlier and make it visible. Now repeat the process, but when you’re using the Move Tool to place it, right-click and choose Transform>Flip Horizontal. Now put it in place and mask it out, as per the previous step.
6 Paint in the flames’ reflection
Flames will create a colour cast, so we need to add that. Create a new Pixel Layer and use the Paint Brush Tool. Set Flow to 10% and the Foreground Colour to Orange. Paint where the light should fall and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light.
7 Add some movement to your model
Click back to your model Layer and create a Live Filter Motion Blur. Set the rotation to 90% (or to suit your pose) and Radius to 30px, which should create a sense of motion. Unfortunately, it’s blurred the whole model Layer...
8 Mask off the Motion Blur effect
Click on the Motion Blur Layer, which includes its own Layer Mask. Now use a black Paint Brush Tool to brush out the blur effect over the model’s face and torso. You can always paint it back in by switching from black to white. 9 Add your final adjustments Click on your top Layer and create a Curves Adjustment. Add an ‘S’ curve, which looks like the example above, to add additional contrast. You can now also add any additional adjustments that you may have learned from previous tutorials.
Above The ability to use multiple Layers and Masks is a must for anybody who is creating composite images.