Photo Manipulation Photoshop Tutorial (URBAN AIRPLANE EFFECT)


(magical jingle) Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome into this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, brought to you, as always, by tutvid.com. Today, I’ve got a pretty special request. Somebody found some cool looking artwork online, and we’re going to be taking a look at how to create this really neat image manipulation. The building manipulation effect here in Photoshop, just from stock photos. If you’re interested in following along, well, check it out there in the description. There are links for the three stock photos that I’m using. They’re free. They’re from unsplash.com, and as it would be, I think I found the exact stock photo of the buildings that was used in the original artwork. Crazy, right? If you do enjoy this tutorial, hey, subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss any Photoshop tutorials in the future. Let’s jump in and check this thing out. Well, alright, alright, here we are in Photoshop. And the first thing that I want to do, is duplicate my background layer by hitting CMD/CTRL+J. Then I’m going to come over here to my channels panel, and I’m going to duplicate my red channel here. Just because there’s the most contrast between my buildings and the sky. Can you see? the buildings are the darkest there. Drag this down onto the new channel icon there, and then hit CMD/CTRL+L. What that’s going to do is open up the levels adjustment here, and I’m going to play with levels adjustment. In this case, I really want to try to make the buildings – I basically want to get them as close to solid black as possible. While making the sky pretty much as solid white as possible. So, something like that I think will work pretty well. Maybe it can darken the buildings up even more. Something like that looks good. I’ll hit OK. And to just pump this effect even, I’m going to grab my brush tool. I’m going to set the blend mode of the brush to soft light, and I’m just going to paint with some large, soft or hard edge brush, doesn’t matter. I’m painting with the color black, and I’m going to paint over the buildings. So, this is going to take the dark pixels and make them even darker, and help cover up some of this stuff even more, without necessarily damaging the sky. So, I can just brush over this real fast. And you can even flip your foreground and background colors by hitting the letter ‘x’ and go through and paint the sky white a little bit, if you felt the need to do that. But, I think for my purposes, this selection is good enough, and you’ll see we’re going to change the sky and everything; so I think it’ll work well. Alright, I’m going to hit the little eyeball icon here to turn my composite RGB layer back on, and then shut our little red copy channel off, and then I’ll make sure I select my composite RGB layer, as well. So we’re working on the good stuff here that we should be working on. So, the first thing I want to do here, is split this layer in two. So, this duplicated layer. I’m going to do that by grabbing my rectangular marquis tool and dragging a selection roughly over half the image, it doesn’t have to be perfect. And then we’ll go Layer>New, we’re going to say New Layer Via Cut. That’s going to – see, split our layer just like that. Now what we can do, is go Select. And I can say, hey, look, load selection. And we’re going to say, yeah, that red copy channel that we created? Use that as our selection. You can see, it’s selecting all our white pixels in that channel. All that center area; the sky. And we’re going to mask that away on this layer two. Doesn’t look very different. It’s not going to look any different because all the image underneath is going to show through, but just hang with me here. Hold down ALT/OPT and hit the new layer icon at the bottom of your layers panel. It’s going to apply a layer mask, and then we just want to duplicate this layer mask down to the layer beneath it. We do that easily. Again, holding down the ALT/OPT key and just drag that layer down and drop it on the bottom layer. You can see, it doesn’t look like anything changed, but if we shut off the background layer, we now have these buildings isolated. Now, I want to select both these layers by SHIFT clicking them, and then we’re going to go Edit, we’re going to choose Free Transform here, and I want to rotate these guys upright. So, I’m going to hold down SHIFT, find the little rotate-y roo arrow, and just rotate them upright, just like that. Very cool. And now that I’ve done this, I’m going to look for an area where they conjoin together. So, I’m going to select just the buildings here on the bottom. You can see, these are the bottom buildings. In fact, to keep it simple, I’ll drag it below. So, we can see, here are the bottom buildings. And I’ll grab my move tool right here, and then I can just simply use my arrow keys and nudge until the building looks like it’s where it should be. I think what I’m going to try to do is line these corners up, and that would mean that this corner needs to line up over here as well. So, I’m going to nudge this up, and maybe I’ll bump it over to the left a bit and then I’m going to hit CMD/TRL+T to load in free transform again, and I’m just going to straight up drag it over to the left. Maybe I’ll overcompensate a bit and then shift it back over to make sure that everything lines up. Something just like that, I think, will work. Maybe I’ll stretch it a little bit further on both sides, like that. I think that’s good. We’re going to mask it all to make it look right in a minute. Let’s go up to the building on top and I’ll do something similar just to get it lined up. Alrighty, I think that looks pretty good. Now what I’m going to do, I’ll select both these layers and we’re going to hit CMD/CTRL+E to merge them together. I’m going to select the background layer. We’ll hit the little lock icon to unlock it, and then we can go back to our channels panel, and you can just CMD/CTRL+CLICK on this little channel, as well. So, we’ll load that as a selection again, and we want to knock the middle of this sky out. And we’re going to do that with the mask again. Hold down ALT/OPT, click add a new layer mask. And boom, we’ve knocked out the sky. Now, the buildings don’t look perfect because we haven’t meshed them together yet. But let’s start to build our sky and then we’ll correct everything as we go here. So, I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to create a new layer. But I want to create a new layer below the old background layer. So, I’m going to hold down CMD/CTRL and hit new layer icon. And we’ll name this “grad sky base,” or something like that, because we’re going to grab our gradient tool, and I’m going to go with just a straight black to white gradient. Hit OK. And I’m going to zoom out a little bit. Maybe I’ll start with black way down here. Hold down SHIFT, drag straight up to right there. And you can see, we just have a nice, what’s going to be the base, for our sky. And now that we’ve done that, I’m going to go ahead and load this as a selection. So, I’m going to CMD/CTRL click right on that mask. Now, all the areas that are selected, we actually want to delete these parts of the top and bottom buildings, right? So, in order to do that, we want to ALT/OPT click the new layer mask icon. It’s going to fill those areas with black, and it’s going to splice our buildings together. Now, we do have some issues right? It’s not perfect along there. I think that’ll actually be fine, because we’re going to colorize this in a moment. But down here at the bottom – this needs some help. This does not look very good at all. So, what I think we’ll do here, is we’ll go ahead, and take our polygonal lasso tool, and I’m just going to say, look, I’m going to draw a line right off that corner of the building. Let’s just draw something down, sort of like this. Maybe let’s zoom out a little bit here. I’ll draw something down, sort of kind of maybe right there. And then I’ll take my selection right back around just like that. And then what I want to do, is fill this with white, because we want to reveal the bit of building to cover that weird, funky – this weird scaffold stuff there, and just get rid of all of that. So, we want to fill with white. So, I’m going to make sure I hit the little arrows. Make white my foreground color, and then use the hotkey OPT+DEL, that’s ALT+BACKSPACE, to fill that with white, and then CMD/CTRL+D to deselect. Looks a lot more natural now. Alright, we’ll do the same thing on the other side. It looks, you know, as natural as this type of effect will look. Alright, so we’ll go ahead and select this little bit here. Come right through here. Boom! and again, we’ll fill that with white, and we’re working here on the layer mask. So, I’m filling with white on that layer mask; and you can see now, it looks pretty seamless. It looks pretty natural. Things are looking up for us. We have a pretty glaring problem… and that is, if we zoom in, we have all this nasty, grungey fringing. I don’t mind all the speckley stuff in the windows. Of course, if you really wanted to clean that up, you could go into the layer mask and you could do that by ALT clicking on the layer mask and just painting white over all of this. And if you’re doing this job for a client, you probably should. But for this tutorial, we’re going to pretend like that doesn’t exist. But, what we can’t pretend doesn’t exist is this nasty fringing, because that’s going to be really, really noticeable. So, what we’ll do, is we’re going to apply these layer masks. I’ll right click on the layer mask, and choose apply layer mask, and you can see, it just essentially, destructively erases all those pixels on the layer. I’m going to right click on this one, and say apply that layer mask as well, and I am going to apply a defringe. So, I’m going to go Layer and I’m going to choose Matting, and I’m going to choose Defringe, and watch these edges on the buildings on both sides. And we’ll defringe this, I don’t know, let’s go two pixels. Hit OK, and you can see, boom! Look at that. Just took it right away. We’re going to take the buildings on the top and bottom now. Let me zoom out just a touch, and we’ll do the same thing. We will go Layer, we’ll go Matting, and we’ll go Defringe, and I’ll say, yeah, let’s do two pixels. That worked pretty well before. Boom. It’s not perfect, but I think it’ll be good enough for what we need to do for our effect here. So, we’ve cleaned up our selection. We’ve created the basis of our optical illusion. It’s the time to begin adding some other visual elements. And the first step that we’ll do, is add a layer above our grad sky base, by hitting the new layer icon. And we’re going to throw some clouds in here to add some texture to our sky. It looks too perfect, too smooth. We’ll go Filter>Render, and choose clouds. And our foreground and background color is black and white. So we’re going to get some black and white, poofy clouds. Sort of digital clouds. And then we’ll go Filter>Blur and choose Motion Blur. And I want to apply a pretty aggressive motion blur here. We’ll go with an angle of 90 degrees, just straight up and down. And a distance of 100 pixels is looking good. And then we’ll just set the opacity simply to 20%. And you can see what this is going to do. It’s a very subtle effect. But it just adds that little bit of realism we need to our sky. And one of the other stock photos you’ll download is this airplane. Now, if you don’t know how to use the pen tool, you can really use any selection tool that you want. But, what I’m basically going to do is select half the airplane, and duplicate it, and flip it, and create a new airplane. And you’ll see exactly what I’m going to do. I’m just going to loop a quick pen tool selection around this. I’m drawing with the pen tool to make a path, and I’m going to just draw my selection real, real quick here. And the quick hotkey to convert a path like this to a selection is CMD+RETURN, or CTRL+ENTER on the PC. You can see we’ve got a nice selection. Here with the background, we’re going to do that same new layer via copy trick. Layer>New>New Layer Via Cut. Did I say copy? I meant cut. Well, I guess you could do copy. What am I saying? But here we go, we’ve got our half airplane. We’re going to duplicate this up to a new layer. CMD/CTRL+J, we’re going to hit CMD/CTRL+T to free transform, and we’re going to set our anchor point to the center right, just like that. Then I’m going to right click on the selected airplane and I’m going to say, hey, flip this horizontal, just like that. Commit the change. And we’ve got this little one or two pixel line down the middle of the airplane. Just nudge with your left arrow key until that’s together and we’ve got one solid airplane. Select both layers by SHIFT clicking them, and hit CMD/CTRL+E to merge them together. And look at that, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a beautiful, little airplane that we can now drag over to our other image, and drop it in place. Once I’ve done that, I am going to right click on this layer and choose to convert it to a new smart object, and I’m going to name this “airplane.” I’m just converting it to a smart object because I’m going to throw some adjustments on it that I want to be editable. And I also want to be able to resize the airplane back to the original size, if need be. CMD/CTRL+T and we’re going to hold down SHIFT+OPT, and I’m going to make this airplane pretty small. So, I’m going to just zoom it way down, and obviously it looks pretty fake because it looks so bright and blue and everything like that. So, the first we’ll do, is go Image>Adjustments, and I’m going to choose Hue/Saturation, and I’m just going to desaturate. Just like that. Now, these adjustments, because we’re applying them to a smart object, they’re just going to stay there. They’re non-destructive. And we’ll also go Image>Adjustments>Levels and basically, I’m going to drag the white point down to really darken the airplane up, and also reduce contrast. And then, I’m going to open up the shadows. So, I want the airplane to be really, really dark, and I really want to do away with just about all of the detail on the bottom of the plane. If there’s a little tiny bit left, that’s fine. But I want it to be very, very difficult to distinguish detail on the bottom of the airplane. Just like that. I’m loving it. And now that we have that, it’s time to add another visual element, and that would be the moon. So, let’s just drag this over; and this is going to be pretty simple to mask out. It’s huge. What I’ll do, is I’ll hit CMD/CTRL+T, and let’s just hold down SHIFT+OPT again. Scale this way down. We’re going to have a nice, little moon. I’m going to rotate it over like that, so the moon looks straight. As if the airplane is flying into the moon. Use your arrow keys to nudge into place. ENTER/RETURN to commit that. And this is going to be pretty easy here. I’m just going to rename the layer real quick. I’m going to set this to the blend mode of screen; and it does a pretty flawless job of doing all the masking work for us. So, I kind of like that. Let’s add some trails to the plane. Some would say chem-trails, Alex Jones. But let’s add some trails to the plane here by creating a new layer beneath the airplane layer, by hitting new layer. And we’re going to call this “stuff,” because hey, who knows what it is. Let’s go ahead here, and drag out a narrow selection. Kind of like this; and I’m dragging it out nice and long, so it even would go behind the buildings here, and I’m going to fill this with white. So, let’s go Edit, let’s choose Fill, and from the dropdown menu, I’m just going to choose white. I’m going to hit OK. And then CMD/CTRL+D to deselect. I’m going to grab my selection tool and just nudge this over. Place it right behind the engine. Just like that. Let’s blur this first, because it’ll change the way the effect looks. Let’s go Filter, I’m going to say, hey, Blur. And I’m going to go Gaussian Blur, and ten pixels is perfect. Let’s go ten pixels. Hit OK. And now hit CMD/CTRL+T, right click, choose perspective, and let’s pinch together the top. So, we’re going to really pinch it fine and then we’ll widen up the base quite a bit. Whoop! we don’t want to move it, we just want to widen the base. There we go. Something like that. I like it. And then I’ll probably move this down a little bit. Just like that. Just so it’s, you know, coming out of that airplane’s engine, and looking the way it should be. Let’s add a layer mask to this layer by hitting the new layer mask icon; and I’m going to grab my gradient tool. We’re going to use the black to white gradient, and I’m just going to, essentially, darken up, and make some of those trails disappear right as they come out of the plane. If you’ve ever seen a place, the trails don’t appear right away, because the heat and everything coming out – I don’t know, I’m not an aviation engineer. This is my theory. They don’t appear right away when they come out of the motor – that, I know that. So I’m going to select this layer. CMD/CTRL+J to duplicate it. Grab your move tool, and just slide this right over to create the trails for the second engine of the airplane. And there we go, we have those nice trails for the plane. You can select both these layers, you can reduce the opacity a little bit, if you feel the need. Maybe the better way to go would be to set these to the blend mode of something like soft light. There we go. I think I might roll with that. I kind of dig it. And once we’ve done that, it’s just going to be all about colorization and making this look the way you want it to look. So, here’s what I’m going to go with, I’m going to open up my adjustments panel, and let’s kick it off with a curves adjustment. Let’s boost our shadows by dragging the black points straight up, and dull our highlights by dragging the white point down. Essentially, we’ve just reduced the contrast of the image; and then I’m just going to darken the darker parts of the image, kind of like that. I like that. Let’s go ahead and add a LUT. So, I’m going to do a color lookup table, and I’m going to go with 3D LUT here. I’m going to go with one of Adobe’s defaults. That’s the teal orange plus contrast. I think I kind of dig that. That’s neat looking. And lastly, I think I will go with a color balance adjustment layer. By the way, you can see, the tops of these buildings they’re just a little bit too bright. There’s a little bit of fringey stuff we left in there. So, that’s the kind of thing you’ll want to go over, and you’ll just want to really focus on knocking that stuff out. But we’re not going to do that right now. I’m going to throw some more blue in here. Let’s make this more of some kind of blueish night, as I add a little bit of red to counterbalance some of that. Let’s go with the highlights. Do we want to add blue to the highlights, or yellow to the highlights? Maybe we’ll do yellow to the highlights; and just a touch of green. Am I thinking red, or am I thinking cyan? I’m thinking maybe a little cyan in the highlights; and then for the shadows, let’s pump some blue into the shadows. Pump a little magenta. Maybe not quite so much blue. And then what looks better, red? – Whoa, red really darkens things for us. Let’s go with cyan, just like that. That’s cool. I think something like that is interesting. Something like that is kind of neat. And then lastly, let’s do two things. Let’s add some finishing grain. So, we’ll add a new layer, and I’m going to fill it with 50% gray. So, I’m going to go Edit>Fill, and I’m going to say, hey, look, give me the 50% gray. And before I add any grain, I’m going to duplicate this layer. In fact, I’ll name it “grain,” and then hit CMD/CTRL+J. And I’m going to name this new layer “vig,” for vignette. We’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s go with the grain here. And I’m going to go Filter>Camera Raw Filter, and what we’ll do here in the camera raw filter is choose the FX tab, and I’m just going to throw some grain in here. I’m going to go pretty heavy with the grain, because I can always tone it back a little in Photoshop by reducing the opacity. Hit OK here, and let’s say, hey, set this to the soft light blend mode. I’m going to zoom in a little bit. You can see, there’s just too much grain. That’s fine. Let’s tone back the opacity a little. Maybe take it back to 60-ish percent. And let’s go ahead with the vignette layer. I’m going to select this, and once more, we will go Filter>Camera Raw Filter, and here in the camera raw filter, again, we’ll go to the FX tab and I’m going to use the post crop vignetting. I’m going to make a pretty heavy vignette. I’m going to reduce the mid point. I’m going to reduce the roundness, and I’m going to increase the feather of it. Something like that. And hit OK, and all I have to do here is set this to the blend mode of soft light. It’s going to knock out all of that 50% gray, as well. You can see the before and after for that. Now, I’m looking at it, there’s a little bit too much blue. So, I could go into the color balance later and tweak that. But I think what I’m going to do instead, is just say, hey, let’s go with a gradient map of black to white gradient map. Very high contrast, and then just reduce the opacity of it and get the color that we’re looking for in terms of just knocking down some of those blues. Maybe something a little bit like that; and if it really bugs you, you want to make it a little warmer, you can go to the curves adjustment layer, go to the blue channel and just suck some blue out of the image and make it more of a warm. More of a warm brown type thing. Maybe push some reds into it, as well, by boosting the reds in the red channel. Something like that. And you can see, you can totally change the way the image looks just like that. Well, there you have it. That’s the final, finished, completed effect done right there in Photoshop. If you enjoyed it, make sure you follow me over on Instagram, you get a whole different side of everything that goes on here at tutvid.com over on the Instagram channel. That’s @tutvid, you can follow with all the other people that are following there, as well. So, for this tutorial, using channels to create masks; and all kinds of different adjustment layers; defringing; and just all the little things we covered here in this tutorial, today. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s it! Get it? Got it? Good! Nathaniel Dodson, tutvid.com, I’ll catch you in the next one.

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