PSY: Smoke art (I)

These past days I have being reviewing the old smoke pictures I did months ago, and as far as I love them, so much, and I realized that they’re not as good as they could be for the technical reasons I told you, like not having any flash lights. So I started playing around with them, and as I am trying also to understand how Photoshop works and what you can do with it, and how, I though, “hey! What if… I mix my smoke photos with some other photographs… and see what happens!?”

First of all, I also am a newbie while working with Photoshop, and I was thinking that some of you may be in the same panicking position where you see this amazing compositing pictures and then look at your Photoshop try outs and wonder why, why you can tell the difference so much!? I am still on that point, but I think this time things worked pretty well, and it was supersimple and easy so some of you could give it a try, and there’s a reason I am just working on black and white, as it made the whole process way easier… hey! Still learning, one trick at a time!

And I know my Photoshop is in Spanish, but the location of the buttons is exactly the same everywhere, so don’t worry about that. And in case you have ANY questions, don’t hesitate to ask, I’d like to help!

1st. THE picture + Smoke pictures

First thing we’d do is open up on a file the picture and the smoke pictures we want to use, or we think are going to be useful, and open them as layers.

Open your files as layers
Open your files as layers

2nd. Compositing

How do we do that? Basically, we choose a layer, and change the Blending mode at the right bottom of the screen, I used SCREEN, that looks nice and also it’ll let us to be able to see our smoke on top of our picture. Once we’ve done that, we’ll see the smoke and the picture, and we will move the smoke around till it fits where we wanted it to be (Ctr+T in Windows).

Smoking composition
Smoking composition

3rd. Coloring

If you’re feeling fancy, and you want to keep practicing and learning, you can color the smoke, and give it a fun way to go, or… you know, practice is always good! Why not!? What I did was create a Tone/Saturation mask and play around with the colors, I have a yellow one, and then a red one. As you can see the masks are not settled on 100%, because that looked more realistic, and it also has blending on the highlights.


The last kind of blending mode mentioned, is not done on the blending mode, but double clicking the layer. And you will see a screen like this, and moving the arrows to the right and the left it’ll blend with the layer before.

Blending layers
Blending layers

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand… voilá! Here’s the result! I think I like it better without the coloring, but… I am not sure, what do you think?

Which one do you like more?
Which one do you like more?

So, hope you take your smoke pictures, enjoy playing around with photoshop, and you tell me and share your results! And your tricks of course!!

PS. I am leaving you some smoke pictures so you can practice and do it yourself, in case you want to give it a try :)

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