Create Powerful Ancient Warrior Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the process I took to create this powerful ancient warrior photo manipulation in Photoshop. We will use several objects such as mountain, castle, fire to form the backdrop, and manipulate a warrior stock image to form the final effect.

This is an intermediate level difficulty tutorial and some steps can be tricky. 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:

Sky by resurgere

Mountain by FairieGoodMother

Castle by Castlemoor-stock

Warrior by PhelanDavion


Fractal Brushes by above-and-beyond

Grunge Brushes (Pick One from the list)

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1440px* 800px with black background. In the Sky stock image pack, choose the follow stock and select a portion of it as shown below:

1 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, apply the following image adjustment layers on top of this sky layer:

Black and White (Set this adjustment layer opacity to 80%)

1 bw


1 lvs

Re-size the sky layer as shown below, this will form our background:

1 paste

1 effect

Step 2

Load the mountain stock image into Photoshop. Select the following portion of the image, copy and paste the selection onto our document:

2 sel

Apply the following image adjustment for this new mountain layer:

Black and White

2 bw

Use a soft eraser to fade the edge of the mountain into the background:

2 erase

and here is the effect so far:

2 effect

Step 3

Load the castle stock image into Photoshop. Select the castle portion:

3 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, apply the following image adjustments to this new castle layer:

Black and White

3 bw


3 lvs

Place the castle into the following position:

3 resize

Use a soft eraser to fade the bottom of the castle so it blends into the mountain:

3 fade

Repeat the above process, add a few more castles around the canvas. Make sure you vary their layer opacity so there is more depth to our design:

3 more

Step 4

Load the warrior stock image into Photoshop and select the warrior portion, copy and paste the selection onto our canvas, place it to the bottom right position:

4 place

Add the following adjustment layers as clipping masks to this warrior layer:

Black and White

4 bw


4 lvs


4 curves


and here is the effect so far:

4 effect

Step 5

Use a grunge brush to paint some red grunge effect over the warrior:

5 grunge

This will give the warrior some blood and stain effect as shown below:

5 red

Apply some fractal brush paints around the warrior:

5 fra

5 paint

Step 6

Load the fire spark image into Photoshop and select the sparks as shown below:

6 sel

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, resize it to a smaller scale:

6 resize

Use a soft eraser to fade the tail as shown below:

6 erase

Use the Warp option of the free transform tool to warp it as shown below:

6 warp

Change the layer blend mode of this fire sparks layer “Screen”:

6 screen

Apply this effect around the warrior as shown below:

6 fire line

Step 7

Use the Lasso tool with 40px feather to select the following area of the fire sparks image:

7 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, change the new layer’s blend mode to “Screen”, attach it to the castle:

7 paste 2

7 paste

Step 8

We’re almost done! For final touches, I applied some cloud filter effect around the canvas:

8 cloud

Paint some abstract patterns with the grunge brushes you download around the warrior:

8 grunge

Optional: use a particle brush to paint some particles around the canvas:

8 part

and here is the effect so far:

8 effect

I further applied a couple of image adjustment layers (colour balance, hue/saturation) to add some colours to our design. This is my final effect: (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

Tags: ,

  • Andrew Hess

    Did I miss the link to the castle image..?

  • Sorry Andrew, castle image link added.

  • Andrew Hess

    That’s fine: it forced me to look for another castle on DeviantArt, which means I can use 2 different castles for more variation in the illustration. Thanks!