Create “City in Flame” Digital Montage in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I used to create this “City in Flame” Digital Montage in Photoshop. We will mix several objects such as city buildings, solider, vintage car, plane and flame in order to the achieve the final result. Have a try!

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This is an intermediate level tutorial and prior knowledge of layers, image adjustments, masks are required.

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)

city-in-flame-final-psdvault

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OK Let’s get started!

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

Soldier

City building

Vintage Car

Plane

Flame

Step 1

Create a new document sized 900px * 1200px with black background. Load the vintage car stock image into Photoshop and select the following piece from the ground:

1-sek

Copy and paste the selection to our document, place it at the bottom of the canvas and use a soft eraser to fade the top edge as shown below:

1-erase

Apply the following black and white adjustment to this ground layer:

1-bw

Use a cloud/smoke brush (plenty of these over the web) to paint some smoke effect above the ground. Here is the effect so far:

1-cloud

Step 2

Load the soldier stock into Photoshop and cut out the solider. Place it to the following position on our canvas. Use a soft eraser to fade the following edges of the model so it blends into the background:

2-paste-erase

Apply the following image adjustment layers to this model layer:

Black and White

2-bw

Levels

2-lvs

Mask on the levels adjustment layer:

2-lv-mask

Curves

2-curves

Mask on the curves adjustment layer:

2-curves-mask

And here is the effect so far:

2-effect

Step 3

Load the building stock into Photoshop and select the right portion of the building:

3-sel

Copy and paste the selection to our canvas and place it to the right side of the solider. Move this new building layer below the solider layer.

3-paste

Use a crack brush to add some cracks to the building:

3-erase

Apply the following adjustment layers for this building layer:

Black & White

3-bw

Levels

3-lvs

and here is the effect so far:

3-effect-2

Step 4

Load the flame stock image into Photoshop, and use the Lasso Tool with 40px feather to select the following portion:

4-sel

Attach the flame to the building and set its blend mode to “Screen”:

4-paste-screen

and here is the effect so far:

4-effect

Add a couple more buildings to the following portions with the same process. Adjust the opacity of the buildings so they are slightly darker than the first building.

Also make sure to reduce the size of these 2 buildings you added:

4-more

Step 5

Load the vintage car stock image into Photoshop and select the car:

5-car

Place the selection to the following position, fade the bottom of the car with a soft eraser:

5-paste-erase

Apply the following black and white adjustments to the car layer:

5-bw

Go to the flame stock into the select the following portion of the flame:

5-sel

Attach the fire to the car and set its blending mode to “Screen”. You may need to adjust the size of the fire to fit the car:

5-screen

Add some fire to the ground as well using the same process:

5-more-fire

Step 6

Load the plane stock image into Photoshop, select the plane and place it to our document. Use the free transform tool to flip the plane horizontally:

6-plane

Apply the following Levels adjustment to the plane layer:

6-lv

Select the following portion of the flame stock

6-sel

Attach the selection to the place and set its blending mode to “Screen”:

6-plane-fire

And here is the overall effect so far:

6-cloud

I further adjusted its colours with a couple of colour balance adjustment layers. This is my final result: (click to enlarge)

city-in-flame-final-psdvault

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!

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  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

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