Using 70-433 design guides and 70-294 design tutorials learn how to create user friendly web designs. Become expert with 642-373 web designing course.

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this Epic, Sci-Fi Sytle Urban City Scene (Montage) in Photoshop, by utilising a few simple photo manipulation tricks. Have a try!

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

PSD File Download

You can download the PSD File for this tutorial via the VIP Members Area for only $6.95/Month (or less)! You will not only get this PSD File, but also 70+ other PSD Files + Extra Goodies + Exclusive Photoshop tutorial there. Signup now and get exclusive :) Find out more about the VIP Members Areas


Ok let’s get started!

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

Ground

City

Cloud Right

Cloud Left

Cloud Overlay

Girl

Watercolor Brushes

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1200px * 1200px, fill the background layer with Black colour. Load the Ground stock image into Photoshop, select the lower half of the image with the Rectangular Marquee Tool, as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas, as shown below:

Erase the top edges of the texture, as shown below:

Name this layer as “Ground”, apply the following Black and White adjustment layer to it:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 2

Load the City texture into Photoshop, select the building portion of the image as shown below:

Don’t worry if the selection is not precise, this is not important in this tutorial.

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas, resize and position the new layer as shown below:

Now we want to hide certain portion of the city building. So we can add the following mask to this city building layer:

As you can see, here we not only used a soft round brush, but also the Watercolor Brushes we downloaded before for the edges of the building, plus a feathered rectangular marquee tool:

and here is the effect after the masking:

Name this layer as “City”, apply the following Black and White adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

and here is the effect so far:

Step 3

Load the Cloud Right stock image into Photoshop, copy the entire image, and paste it onto our canvas.

Put the new layer below the “City” layer, resize and position the new layer as shown below:

Add the following layer mask to this cloud layer:

Name this layer as “Cloud Right”, apply the following Black and White adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

Duplicate this cloud right layer once, apply the following motion blur to the duplicated layer:

This will smoothen the cloud and add a bit more motion into the image.

Apply the same black and white adjustment layer as depicted in the original cloud right layer to the duplicated layer, reduce the opacity of the duplicate to around 40%, you will have the following effect:

Step 4

Load the Cloud Left texture image into Photoshop. Select a portion of texture with Lasso Tool (50px feather) as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas, put the layer above the “Cloud Right” layer, but below the “City” layer, resize it as shown below:

Erase the excessive portion with a soft brush as shown below:

Name this layer as “Cloud Left”, apply the following Black and White adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

here is the effect so far:

Step 5

Load the Girl texture image into Photoshop. Use the Lasso Tool to make a selection around the girl and the snake, as shown below: (set feather to 40px)

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas, put the new layer above all other layers, resize and position it as shown below:

Name this layer as “Girl”, apply the following Black and White adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

and here is the effect so far:

Step 6

Load the Cloud Overlay texture image into Photoshop, copy and paste the entire image onto our canvas, as shown below:

Name this layer as “Cloud overlay”, apply the following Black and White adjustment layer to it: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)

Change the blending mode of this layer to “Screen” and opacity to 30%, you will have the following effect:

Cloud overlay is a perfect way to add lighting dynamics and increase the depth for your image. Experiment with it and you will find it very useful when it comes to add extra flavor to your design.

Step 7

Now we pretty much set the overall layout for this city scene. Now we add some more contrast and colour onto it to make it look sci-fi.

Add the following adjustment layers (and their relevant masks) on top of all layers:

Curves

Mask

Attention: for the following 2 colour balance adjustment layer, use the watercolour brushset on the mask for more painting and realistic effect.

Colour Balance Right (set blending mode to “soft light”)

Mask

Colour Balance Rest of the image

Mask

Levels

Mask

and here is the effect so far:

Step 8

We’re nearly finished! I decided to add more contrast to the left side of the image, especially on the left edge of the high-rise in the centre. So I further added the following two adjustment layers:

Hue and Saturation

Mask

Brightness and Contrast

Mask

and here is the effect so far:

You can see now the building is highlighted and as a result, the image has more lighting depth.

Step 9

I feel the right side of the image is a bit boring compare with the left. So I create a new layer on top the background layer, and use the water colour brush to paint some textures on the centre right portion, beneath the buildings:

And you will have the following effect as a result:

That’s it for this tutorial! I sharpen the image with the “Reduce Noise” filter and add some abstract lines on the girl, and here is my final result: (click to enlarge)

Lastly, I would like to stress that you will find the “Black and White” filter and the “Water Colour” style brushsets will be extremely useful when it comes to photo manipulation. Experiment with them :)

Till next time, have a great day!