How To Composite Smoke Overlays in Photoshop


What’s going on creative family it’s Dustin Valkema and welcome back to another video Today is all about smoke overlays and how we can use them in our composites in Photoshop to create a nice atmosphere fairly quickly So if you guys have not had a chance You have to check out my online stock store. You can do so at Gumroad.com/dustinvalkema I’ll leave a link in the description as well as the 20% Coupon that you guys can use and that will be active for the next say 7 days after this video is released so hopefully you guys can find something there that you can add to your libraries and Yeah, I’ll see you in Photoshop Alright guys here we are in Photoshop with a simple studio shot here of the Dark Knight himself and I have gone ahead and cut my subject out from the background and this is something that I do on nearly every composite whether it’s a very simple studio shot or it’s a Very involved composite. I always cut my subjects out just in case I need to have that alpha later. So we’ve also got a Very quick background composite here or just a backplate so that we can throw some smoke on that as well So what we can do here is ahead into bridge and I already have my smoked out pack selected here so that we can browse these I will head into at most two and this is basically just a collection of atmospheric smoke that I’d use most often really and what we can do is Let’s see here. We just go through and grab Something a little bit more full and atmospheric So let’s go ahead and take this one here. We can drag this into Photoshop now once I have my smoke assets in Photoshop, I Typically scale them especially for just a quick background composite I typically scale them to the size of my composite and that’s just pressing ctrl or command T to transform and then I Scale it up uniformly here So once we have our smoke asset in place the easy way to start the compositing process would be to use blend modes and so we can use screen or we can use linear dodge now linear dodge is very Quick to blow out the whites on Your underlying image which is something that I don’t typically like so much for smoke And so I’ll generally just go ahead and use the screen blending mode And then that will also keep our white set a nice value there So now that we have the two primary blend modes that we use with a screen and linear dodge It is good to note that in certain cases you can use say a multiply blend mode and then invert our Overlay here for the smoke and that will give us more of a black maybe like on building smoke or anything of that nature It just gives you you know, an inverted black smoke but the way that we can do This is just to start building a composite so we can set this back to normal now what I typically like to do is start off by bringing my initial smoke or you know heavy atmosphere layer underneath my subject and You can see that we already have a really nice base For the smoke that’s behind him now in this case, what we’ll do is give it a little bit of a depth of field and So we can blur it by just heading into blur gallery and then field blur then we can use this here to really decrease a lot of the details there that are happening in the smoke and Let’s say click OK To calculate here And so what’s that’s done you can see that now we just have a really nice Basic blur that’s happening. You can also use Gaussian blur I just like the effects that I get from field blur it makes it look a little bit more realistic in most cases But whatever you do to make your art look cool is up to you and I will not judge you for that so with this background smoke in we can head in and grab another overlay say for the right side of this here and we Can just work our way down I’ll just take this one And so then we can just rotate us into place And for this specific one I do want My say the hot spot of the smoke to be on the right side so we can make this much larger Right. Click flip horizontal And now we’re getting a nice light from this other side here Which I really actually enjoy this This look a little bit more because I like to keep my highlights a little bit more towards the side of the key light Rather than the rim light in the back So what we can do here just because I like it a little bit more We’ll just go ahead and delete that first layer that we did we can go up into filter and we can say blur gallery We’ll go to field blur and we’ll create a nice little field blur here on this layer I do like this overlay here a little bit better than the one that I had previously for the specific photo So go ahead and let that calculate and then at this point what I think we might want to do is say add just a little bit of color to this overlay and What I typically do for this is either use curves so if I head into curves What I like to do is just use my channels here and then you can play with these With the values of these channels and you can create some really cool looks But for the ease of use here, we can just go ahead right into our human saturation layer and flip on colorize we can create a nice cool blue and just desaturate that quite a bit a little bit further over And you can see what this did here was just give a little bit of color to our overlay there Now what we can do next is actually bring in a couple more layers of these overlays here to create more of a foreground atmosphere and what we can do is just head right back into the Atmos 2-pack and Let’s see, which overlay let’s just grab this guy here in the front looks pretty cool kind of like clouds We would just place that bring that above our subject Press ctrl or command T to transform that we can rotate it And let’s see where this works best so in this case here what we can do is Double click and use our blend if options Now blend if is one of the most powerful masking Tools in Photoshop and it’s really nice because it works on a grayscale value of either this layer Which is your selected layer or the underlying layer, which is all of the layers that are beneath your current selected layer And so if we grab this black point here and we bring that to the right You can see that all of the the black value started to diminish fairly quickly But if we press alt or option and we can break that handle now we get a really nice Full smoke without having to use screen or a linear dodge operation so now if we reset that and you can see that the underlying layer here is basically pulling the smoke and it’s just removing it from any of the dark areas in our scene here and If we break this with alter option and then just dragging the slider you can see that it’s just starting to go through and Remove from all of the highlighted areas and our composite So what we’ll do for this one here is actually use this layer and we’ll just remove all of the darker black values That are going on in this overlay. We can click okay? Then we can layer these up a little bit and so we can go and grab another Another overlay here from the pack Let’s see if we can find something that’s a little bit more directional I’ll say to the left side here first So we can go ahead and grab this one That end we can rotate it into place right click flip horizontal and then just scale this up to the size I generally like to go slightly larger than in the document size and that’s just so that we don’t have any weird lines or masking issues that happen now and then You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve done this before or you may find out the hard way When you finish a composite and you’ve got weird lines all over the place, it happens to the best of us so I will for this layer here we can go ahead and use a screen blend mode and You can see that that adds a really nice pop of a foreground atmosphere here now What I want to do is remove This effect or this overlay here just a little bit from some of the shadows that are actually happening here in the scene looking for a little bit more of say just a backlit smoke rather than an ambient lit smoke head into our blend if and For this one we won’t be using This layer we’ll be using the underlying layer. So I’ll press alter option and Just remove that just a little bit there So with that in place, we can go ahead and take this down just a little bit here. This is the underlying one What we can do is I will just put a layer mask on that because I like the Little bit of smoke here that it’s happening on the right side, but not so much on the left and so I will switch to a black foreground color and grab our gradient tool and We can just use this to create a gradient here on the layer mask Which is essentially just going to get rid of the smoke there in that area and just leave it here on the lower right side Now moving along here. We can go back into our smoked out pack and See what else we want to use I have a quite a few variations of smoke here, but we can head into the depth-of-field smoke overlay pack and I like these because they add a really nice bit of details, but Generally have a nice depth of field overall so most of the time when I’m using these it’s really on something with a heavy depth of field that I don’t have to really Fiddle with too much when I get it into comp but in this case here, I’ll just scale that to the size of my cop up horizontal and What we can do is just use a screen blend mode for these ones Screen linear nudge, I will say screen And then we can see that the details are actually covering our model’s face and so what we can do is just add a layer mask here and then paint black with this layer mask and Remove them directly from the models face. And now that adds a little bit of a nice detail there up in the corner. I Feel that it’s a little bit large so we can just press ctrl or command T We can scale that down a little ways And just put that right back up there in the corner And now this is a really good example here guys of what you can run into if you’re using smoke overlays especially Ones that I’ve shot here in these packs. I loved a little bit more dynamic range in these and I wanted when I shot them for the work that I do I Would typically like to have as much value to play with as possible And so I really didn’t crunch them too much at all to where I would start losing a lot of the details here And so that’s why we have a little bit of a gray edge So all you need to do is just on this layer mask here you can go in with a soft round brush and You can paint out some of the details that are happening there if you don’t want them so let’s go ahead and grab another overlay here and what I think we want is I will go to the Atmos one, which is the first atmospheric pack and I want to add another bit of atmosphere to the background And let’s say this overlay here that has a really nice depth of field in it already and so we will just rotate it this way right click flip vertical and Then we can place this right up in this corner here Press okay, and then we can let’s try screen here. So I like the way that that works with a screen blend mode and You can see here that I didn’t scale it all the way again. So I’ll just press ctrl or command T. I Can just scale that guy up a little bit you And now we will just bring this down to our background or underneath our subject And we can drop the fill on that just a little bit It’s really just making sure that we get a little a little hint of Smoke there in the upper right corner that we weren’t really getting before So, yeah, I’m pretty happy with that so I think at this point We’ll probably want to see if we can find some really cool smoke here For the foreground to maybe pull a little bit more of a focus to the face. So We can head into the pecs here And I know that I have a few that I like to use often Those ones will usually be right in this range here. And so if we pull this guy in Rotate this into place Actually, let’s flip that there we go bring that into place here on the bottom we can scale that down a little bit Then we place it come on Photoshop. There we go So once we get it placed in we can go ahead and use screen again Actually, let’s try to go ahead I don’t know if it’ll actually work for this one because there’s not a ton of value in this specific overlay Let’s see if we can pull out some of the grades. Yeah, that’s not working, too Well, so I’ll go ahead we can put this one on screen And then what I generally like to do especially you just to pull focus normally is grab a curves layer And we can set this to luminosity and then you can go ahead and just drop the mid-tones and a really nice way there and We can go ahead and Use our gradient to also we press G on Our keyboard or you can press shift G if you need to cycle through your layers here but with our gradient tool what we can do is use this black to transparent gradient and we can just work so it will say three-quarter or just you know halfway down whatever works and This is going to just darken everything that’s underneath that there And then another way that I actually like to do that since we’re talking about this now is headed into the gradient tool And we can just grab this Black and white gradient and we’ll say make the opacity of that Zero so essentially what we’re doing is we’re just creating the black to transparent gradient You can click OK and then we can set this to soft light and we’re getting a fairly similar result But you can see how that’s working there and then we can drag that right underneath our foreground smoke layer And that gives us a really nice bit of an atmospheric pop to it We do have a little bit of a line here that’s happening. I don’t know if you guys can see that there on your screens It’s cutting right through the middle of the face of Batman here. And so we can just grab a layer mask This is something that you actually do quite often when you’re building effects is you just start to Run into say masking issues or you know the edges of overlays and you need to paint those out and so it’s really not uncommon to have to do so and so at this point this is really What I would consider Fairly close to done just for a basic studio composite and the biggest step left is really to do some kind of a color grading to this and I generally use curves for that so I can just show you how that is really quick because color grading is where you really get Some cool looks because it brings everything together in a bit more cohesive So if we just head down into our blue channel And we can remove our Blues here from some of the lower mid-tones which will create a little bit more of a yellow hue I’ll say going to red. I’ll pull our Reds out a little bit there so we can get some a little bit more green and Then we can go into our green and then we can add just a little bit C and just add a little bit more magenta here And so at this point even with a very slight grade you can see that it it really gives a nice pop and it kind of makes everything cohesive and I mean, this is something that I go through quite often and I personally like a heavy grading style and so I may go through and Create quite a bit of chaos here with the color and then tone it down later really all depends on what your specific Style is and how you like to do things but in this case Or for this example, this might be where I’ll stop When it gives you a really nice feel and overall look at How to build up composites fairly quickly and you guys can get into doing this in just a matter of minutes I know that normally a composite like this would take me 15 or 20 minutes now that’s without retouching, you know, any of my character but Yeah, it’s a pretty good process and hopefully you guys learned something alright guys So that wraps up this tutorial on how to use smoke overlays to create atmospheric composites fairly quickly in Photoshop as stated before feel free to use that coupon code for the next seven days on my stock store and Hopefully you guys find something that you can implement into your library and start using as always guys Just remember to create more say less and stay creative. I’ll see you in the next video You

One Reply to “How To Composite Smoke Overlays in Photoshop”

  1. Hey everyone! Thanks for checking out the video! Stock libraries are a huge part of being a composite artist. Feel free to check out my library on gumroad! As always ideas for new content and stock is appreciated!

    Check out my stock store here 👇

    https://www.gumroad.com/dustinvalkema

    Use Coupon Code: GIMMEPIXELS for 20% off the entire store. SALE ENDS 8/27/19 at 11:59pm EST.

    I'm thinking we can do a random stock pack giveaway at 1k subs, what do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *