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.

The PSD file of this tutorial is available to buy on PSD Vault Shop, or via the PSD Vault VIP members area.

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!


  • 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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