Sure it is easy to create an explosion effect in Photoshop and even easier to create, for example, gunfire. But incorporating these effects properly into a scene can be difficult. This tutorial, using the example of a battle scene, will show a few ways to apply Photoshop effects to a scene for high-impact results.
We will be using an image from Mass Effect 2, cut by LEGOslayer from PlanetRenders.net V4.1
First we set up a banner (or wallpaper if you wish).
1. Drag the image into Photoshop. Select image (CTRL+A) and copy and paste it into a banner (CTRL+C) and (CTRL+V). The size of the banner is up to you, I used 400 wide by 200 high.
2. This is the current background - it is quite simple as much will be going on in the foreground.
3. Here is the render added to the background. Hide it for now (click the eye of the corresponding layer in the Layers window).
Now to create an explosion effect!
3. Now, I used one of my Fire brushes that I created in this particular tutorial
. Simply download them and follow the instructions to load them into Photoshop. Now, select the brush (B), make the brush white (X) and brush it on. Adjust size accordingly. You can use the Eraser Tool (E) with a Soft Round Brush to soften the sides of the explosion.
4. Lets give the explosion force! Go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur. Make the amount 30, Blur to be zoom, Quality Best. Apply.
5. You can add the same brush on top and work with the Eraser Tool (E) to get the desired effect.
Now to bring in the big guns.
6. Follow the first 12 steps of my Rain Tutorial
to create the brush that will be used for gun fire. The angle that you rotate the gun fire will need to be adjusted accordingly.
7. Place them on at different angles.
8. Now the gun-fire in front of the explosion would enhance the scene if it were distorted. Duplicate your gun-fire layer (right click and select duplicate layer). Go to Filter>Distort>Ripple. Select Amount 100% and size Medium. Adjust to how you see fit.
Lets add some flying turf.
9. With explosions and gun fire there is bound to be bits of dirt flying about. Using a Grunge brush, or even the default brushes No. 14, 24, 27, 39, 46, 59 to create some dirt clumps.
Add a colour balance
11. To do this go to the bottom of Layers and click the divided circle icon before selecting Colour Balance.
12. Adjust the colour balance as you wish.
Blending the image.
13. Working with the render. Here is the render in the scene but needs to blend further into the surroundings.
14. Duplicate the Render layer (right click, duplicate). Now, go to Filter>Distort>Ripple. It should look like this.
15. Now use the Eraser Tool (E) with a Soft Round Brush to remove all but the edges of the render.
16. Add some text that works with the dynamic of the Battle Scene. Talk to anyone working in graphic design and they will say that text is just as important as every other component of an image.
There we have it: a man charging through battle!
You can add many other effects but the principles remain the same. That is, find ways to combine several effects together to make the scene more cohesive and always blend the render into those effects for a winning image!