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In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to design this cool-looking, urban city photo-montage in Ph0toshop. You will learn how to combine several stock images together to achieve surreal photo effect.

This tutorial involves techniques such as layer blending options, image adjustments, transformation techniques, filter effects and lighting effect rendering. The tutorial itself is quite simple but the end result looks good in my opinion, have a go!

Here is a preview of the final results:

urban-city-montage-final-5

urban-city-montage-final-4

Black and White version:

urban-city-montage-final-3

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OK let’s get started!

Step 1

We start off by download the following four stock images from stockvault.net and cgtexture.com:

City Image

High-rise Image

Little Girl Image

Grunge Splatter

Load the “Grunge Splatter” image into Photoshop, duplicate the Background layer once and set the blending mode to “Overlay”:

1-duplicate1

Save this document to a new psd file and name it “urban city”.

Step 2

Load the “City Image” into Photoshop, drag the entire image onto the “urban city” document, use the free transform tool (Ctrl + T) to resize it until it fits the canvas size:

2-transform

Name this layer as “city” and change the layer blending option to “vivid light”. You will have the following effect:

2-effect4

Step 3

On the “City” layer, hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+B and bring up the Black and White adjustment tool (for those who don’t have CS3, try use the Channel Mixer with Monochrome option enabled), apply the following settings:

3-bw

Then hit Ctrl + M and bring up the Curves tool, adjust the Red channel a bit:

3-curve-red

And here is the effect so far:

3-effect4

Step 4

Duplicate the “city” layer once, apply the following Gaussian Blur Setting to the duplicated layer:

4-gau-blur

Duplicate this layer once more and merge them together, then change the blending mode of the merged layer to “Darken”. You will have the following effect:

4-effect5

Step 5

Load the “high-rise image” into the Photoshop, drag the entire image onto our canvas, resize and erase (with a big soft brush) the cloud/sky + bottom part of the image. (please also note that you can use layer mask to achieve this) Name this layer as “high-rise”.

Again we apply the black and white adjustments to this layer using the same settings as in the previous layer: (Make sure you set the whole document as RGB color mode)

5-bw

And the effect so far should look like this:

5-effect6

Step 6

Change blending mode of the “high-rise” layer to “overlay” and you should see the high-rise image blend into the grunge texture:

6-blend

To add some shape dynamics and depth onto the image, we can duplicate the high-rise layer a few more times, resize and position the duplicated layers as shown below:

6-duplicate

Step 7

Load the “Little Girl” image into Photoshop. Again we drag the entire image onto our canvas, but this time we don’t resize it. Instead, we move the image to the position as shown below: (where we see only the girl and the sky)

7-drag

Erase the sky portion as well as the build to right using a soft brush, and change the layer blending option to “Hard Light”.

The effect so far will look like this:

7-effect-22

Name this layer as “little girl” and duplicate this layer once, set the blending mode of the duplicate layer to “overlay” and you will have the following effect:

7-effect4

Step 8

Lastly we can add a bit of shining effect to the image so it won’t look boring. To do this, create a new layer called “lighting effect”, use the Lasso Tool with a 40px feather, draw a selection in any area (I chose a place where it meets with the direction the girl is looking towards) and render some cloud and lens flare in:

8-cloud

Change the layer blending mode to “Color Dodge” and apply the following gaussian blur settings:

8-gau-blur

You will have the following effect:

8-effect2

Duplicate the layer a few more times and drag them in areas you would like to lightup, and you will have this result image:

urban-city-montage-final

Ok that’s it for this tutorial! I further adjusted the image hue/satuation a bit and here is my final result: (click to enlarge)

urban-city-montage-final-4

Black and White version: (click to enlarge)

urban-city-montage-final-3

You can of course further enhance this text effect by applying some more filter effects, or combining it with some background texture, that’s totally up to you :)

Hope you enjoy this tutorial, drop me a comment if you have any question, I will try my best to help you out.

Cheers and have a nice day!