volcano-scene-final

Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to transform an ordinary mountain image into a realistic volcano eruption scene with lava effect in Photoshop.

The techniques I used in this tutorial include various image adjustment tools, a number of filters, layer blending options and some basic selection skills. This is a very simple tutorial with just 4 steps, however you will be amazed with the end result. Have a try :)

Here is a before and after preview:

Before

mountain scene 499x308 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

After (click to enlarge)

volcano scene final 499x308 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Ok let’s get started!

Step 1

Download a copy of this image and load it into Photoshop. This image is of my own stock and you can use it for any purpose.

Firstly we can make the image a bit darker. To do this, duplicate the background layer once. On the duplicated layer hit Ctrl + M to bring up the Curves Adjustment Tool, apply the following settings:

1 curve1 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Then hit Ctrl + L and bring up the Levels Adjustments Tool, apply the following settings:

1 level Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Change the layer blending mode of this duplicated layer to “Multiply”. Duplicate this layer a few times, by doing so it will further darken the image.

The effect so far will look like this:

1 effect1 500x308 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Merge the duplicated layer together once you’re satisfy with the result. Name the merged layer as “Darken Colour” and keep its layer blending mode as “Multiply”.

Step 2

Duplicate the “Darken Colour” layer once and name the duplicated layer as “colour overlay”, then go to Image > Adjustment > Channel Mixer and apply the following settings:

2 channel mixer 500x407 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Then go to Image > Adjustment > Color Balance and apply the following settings:

Midtones

2 colour bal 500x384 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Shadows

2 colour bal 2 500x372 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Then hit Ctrl + M and apply the following Curves Adjustments:

2 curve2 500x433 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

After applying those image adjustments, change the layer blending options to “Color” and you should have the following effect:

2 effect7 500x299 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Step 3

Create a new layer called “Lava” and use the Lasso Tool with a 40px feather to draw a selection as shown below:

3 lasso 500x390 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Then go to Filter > Render > Cloud and render some cloud inside the selection: (Make sure you set black as background colour and white as foreground colour)

3 cloud 500x368 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Then go to Filter > Render > Difference Cloud and apply this filter 4-5 times: (Please note your cloud effect would be slightly different from mine)

3 diiff cloud 500x386 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

The use the Levels Adjustment Tool and apply settings similar to the following ones:

3 level 500x401 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Then apply the following Colour Balance Settings:

Midtones

3 colour 500x347 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Shadows

3 colour shadow 500x333 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

To add a bit more fluid effect onto the lava, we can go to Filter > Artistic > Plastic Wrap and apply the following settings:

3 plastic 500x350 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Change the layer blending mode of this “Lava” layer to “Screen” and you should have the following effect:

3 effect8 499x343 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Step 4

Download a copy of this fire image (image 3) and load it into Photoshop. Press Ctrl + A to select the whole image, copy and paste the selection to our document.

Name this layer as “Explosion” and put it below the “Lava” layer.

Use the Eraser Tool to get rid of the edges and leave the burning fire bits, resize the layer by hitting the Ctrl + T free transformation Tool and move it on top of the mountain.

See Below screenshot for detailed fire position:

4 fire move 500x280 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Duplicate the “Explosion” Layer a couple of times, resize and rotate the duplicated layers so to make some dynamic explosion effect: (Use the Levels or Curves Tool where necessary)

4 duplicate Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Here is the effect so far:

4 effect7 500x309 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

Ok that’s it for this tutorial! Although it’s a short one, I hope you find it useful and inspirational!

Below is my final image result: (Click to enlarge)

volcano scene final 499x308 Create a Realistic Volcano Eruption Scene with Lava Effect in Photoshop

As usual If you have any questions, just drop me a comment :)

Cheers and have a nice day!