Create an Epic Battle Zone Montage Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the process I took to Create an Epic Battle Zone Montage Effect in Photoshop. 

This is a intermediate level difficulty tutorial and can be a bit tricky to complete, but why not have a try!

Note: The Photoshop tutorial is done in Photoshop CC – therefore some screenshot may have slighting different layout as in the earlier version. Some brushes are exclusive to Photoshop CS6 or above.

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)


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OK Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:


Solider by PhelanDavion

Crowd walking in city



Crack Brushes

Debris Brushes

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1440px *780px with black background. Use the cloud filter or a smoke/cloud brush, add some smoke and cloud effect onto the background. Bear in mind the location of the building and the soldier we will be placing later:

1 paint

After some painting this is my background effect:

1 cloud

Step 2

We will work on creating a severely damaged building in this step. Load the building stock image into Photoshop and select this following portion of the image:

2 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, tidy up its edge so it blends into the background. Use the crack brush to add a few cracks to the building:

2 crack brush

2 crack

2 crack 2

Apply the following image adjustments as clipping masks to the building layer:

Black and White

2 bw


2 lvs

and here is the effect so far:

2 effect

I also added another building on the bottom right with low opacity:

2 more building


Step 3

We will add crowd into our image in this step. Load the crowd stock image into Photoshop and select the bottom left part of the image:

3 crowd

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, use a soft eraser to fade its edge:

3 paste

Apply the following image adjustments to this crowd layer:

Black and White

3 bw


3 lvs

and here is the effect so far:

3 effect


Step 4

We will add some fire the building. Load the fire stock into Photoshop and use the Lasso Tool with 40px feather, select a small portion of the fire:

4 fire

Copy and paste the selection to our document, change the layer blend mode of the new fire layer to “Screen”:

4 screen

Repeat this process and add a few of the fire effect around the building:

4 fire 2

Step 5

Load the solider stock into Photoshop and cut out the solider, paste it into the following position of our document. Use a soft eraser to fade the edge into the background smoke:

5 paste

Apply the following image adjustment layers as clipping mask to the soldier layer:

Black and White

5 bw


5 lvs

Layer mask on the above levels adjustment layer:

5 lvs mask


5 curves

and this is the effect so far:

5 effect

I added some fiery effect around the helmet using the same method as described in Step 4:

5 fire

Step 6

Load the spaceship stock into Photoshop and select it:

6 space

Copy and paste the spaceship into our document and reduce its size:

6 resize

Apply the following image adjustments to the spaceship layer:

Black and White

6 bw


6 lvs

Add a few more spaceships around the canvas, make sure you adjust their size:

6 more

Step 7

We will add some engine light to the spaceships. Use a small soft brush like this:

7 bru

Paint a dot to one of the spaceships:

7 paint

Duplicate this dot layer, and free transform it as shown below:

7 free

and here is the effect you will have:

7 effect

Apply this to all spaceships on our canvas:

7 effect 2

Step 8

We’re almost done! To spice up the effect I added some more fire effect to the building top:

8 more fire

Also added some debris around the canvas with the debris brush:

8 particles

I then flattened the image, duplicate the background layer and apply the following “Film Grain” filter to the duplicated layer:

8 film grain

You will see the image become slightly grainy:

8 grain

I added some colour with a couple of colour balance adjustment layers. I won’t show the exact adjustment layers here, and would like you to experiment with different colour schemes and form your own design.

Here is the final effect I have: (click to enlarge)


That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! If you have any questions about the steps, please contact me or leave a comment below. I will try my best to answer them.

Till next time, have a great day!

Categories: Photo Effect

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  • 毕朝杰