Design a Dark Magical Scene with Nebula Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this Dark  Magical Scene with Nebula Effect in Photoshop. This is an intermediate level Photoshop tutorial so some steps can be a bit tricky, but why not have a try!

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Note: The Photoshop tutorial is done in CS6 – therefore some screenshot may have slighting different layout as in the earlier version.

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:

Model

Fire 1

Fire 2

Nebula Texture by Moonchilde-Stock

Explosion brush

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1400px * 800px with black background. Load the model image into Photoshop, select the model and the skull on the ground, cut them out and paste onto our document, resize and position the selection to the centre:

Use an soft eraser to erase the edges and fade it into the background, we will also want to completely erase the raising left arm as well for attaching the fire texture later on:

Add the following 3 adjustment layers as clipping mask to this model layer:

Black and White

Levels

Curves

and this is the effect so far:

Step 2

We will be adding some textures over the model. Load the Fire 1 Texture into Photoshop and use a quick selection tool to select a portion of it:

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, then Ctrl + Left click on the thumbnail image on the layer palette to select this layer, and press Ctrl + Alt + R to bring up the Refine Edge tool, apply the following settings:

Then press Ctrl + L to bring up the levels adjustment tool, apply the following settings:

You will have this similar effect for the fire texture:

Then we can apply some warp effect with the free transform tool warp option:

We can then duplicate this fire texture layer a few times, rotate and attach them to different parts of the body as shown below: (set the layer blending mode according to the screenshot below)

We can also put some fire texture under the body by having some duplicated fire texture layers beneath the model layer:

Step 3

We can add a fire pattern under the model by drawing a polygon shape with the polygon tool:

Set the side number to “5” from the tool options bar, draw a shape and use the free transform to distort/perspective it on the ground:

Then we use the line tool link each point as shown below to form a star shape:

Load the “Fire 2” image and select a portion of the fire as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, use the free transform tool to align it to the lines we drew before:

Repeat this process above and cover all lines with fire texture, then merge the fire line layers together, use the free transform too to  perspective it as shown below:

Use a soft brush to paint some ground texture, again we can use the free transform tool and a soft eraser to achieve the desire effect:

Step 4

We can load the nebula texture into Photoshop and select a piece with the Lasso Tool, copy and paste it onto our document above, and place it above all previous layers:

Use the Explosion brushset as and eraser, remove some parts of the nebula with it – this will add some cloudy effect onto the texture:

Apply the following image adjustment to this nebula layer:

Hue/Saturation

Levels

and you will have the following effect:

Duplicate this nebula layer and warp it with the free transform tool:

and you will have the following effect so far:

Step 5

We will add some aura effect to the image – firstly either paint or render some cloud on the image:

Go to Filter > Distort > Spherize to this cloud layer:

Repeat this filter around 10 times by pressing Ctrl + F, then free transform this layer:

Use a soft eraser to remove the edges, and here is the effect you will have:

We will add a colour balance adjustment on top of all previous layers:

and you will have the following effect so far:

Step 6

In the final step, we can flatten the image and duplicate the background layer, and apply some “Accented Edges” filter settings to the duplicate layer:

Add some layer mask effect so hide some parts of this layer, and here is the overall effect: (click to enlarge)

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! Till next time, have a great day!

Tags:

  • 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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