The Creation of “Imminent Danger” Digital Art in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps of The Creation of “Imminent Danger” Digital Art in Photoshop, with elements such as urban building, grunge brushset and surreal lighting effect.

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

The aim of this tutorial to show you the methods you can use to mix grunge brushsets and stock image to create a unique environment, as well as the use of image adjustment layers to manipulate photos.

This is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try!

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

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 by ~tigersgirl


City Building

Grunge Brush

Cloud Brush

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1290px * 700px with black background. Create a new layer and use the grunge brushset you downloaded, paint some subtle grunge texture over the background:

1 bg texture

Load the model image into Photoshop, and select the model as shown below with Quick Selection tool:

1 sel

Copy and paste the selection into our document, resize it as shown below:

1 paste

We want to sharpen the image a little bit, so go ahead and use Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask with the following settings:

1 unsharp mask

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

Black and White

1 bw

Layer mask on this black and white adjustment layer: (achieved with the grunge brushset)

1 bw mask


1 lvs


1 curves

As you can see, the layer mask on the black and white adjustment layer did much work for us and created this dirty texture, and here is the effect so far:

1 effect

Step 2

We can add attach a flag to the model for some extra flavour. Load this flag image into Photoshop and select the flag portion:

2 sel

Copy and paste the flag over to our document, place it below the model layer, and use the grunge brush as eraser to remove parts of flag as shown below:

2 erase

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

Black and white

2 bw


2 lvs


2 curves

and here is the effect so far:

2 effect

We want to group these flag layers into a folder, then duplicate this folder twice and attached them to the position shown below. This creates an impression that the flag is flying behind the model:

2 dup

Step 3

We can add the building to our image now. Load the building stock into Photoshop and select the following portion:

3 sel

Copy and paste the selection over to our document, place it below the model layer but above the flag layer groups, resize and position it as shown below:

3 paste

Optionally you can duplicate this building layer and flip it vertically, attach the duplicate layer to the position below:

3 paste 2

Use the grunge brushset, erase some parts of the building as shown below:

3 erase

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

Black and White

3 bw


3 lvs


3 curves

and here is the effect so far:

3 effect

Step 4

We will want to add some supernatural lighting effect around the image. Grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool and set its Feather to 20px:

4 mar

Draw a selection and fill it with colour as shown below:

4 fill

Load the cloud brush into Photoshop, and select one of them as eraser:

4 xpl

Remove the edges with this cloud brush:

4 erase

Duplicate this layer once, and apply the following Hue/Saturation settings to the duplicated layer:

4 dup hue

Compress the duplicated layer with free transform tool as shown below:

4 compress

Merge the two layers and set a perspective to the merged layer as shown below:

4 persp

Duplicate the selected layer a few times, adjust the size of each layer and the effect is shown below:

4 effect

Step 5

We’re almost done! To add some extra effects, we can use the cloud brush and paint some subtle cloud effect to the image:

5 cloud

I further adjusted the colour with a colour balance adjustment layer: (Settings are as below)

5 col sha

5 col mid

5 col hig


Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful. Drop me a comment below if you have any question.

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.

  • Show Comments

  • Louie

    ahm do you have any tutorial regarding on how to make your photo like a terminator???

  • 雨 林

    很好的教程,另外 人物照片找不到了。

  • 雨 林

    我错了,图还在,是我点错链接了、 。。。。。

  • utkarsh2point0

    Good article!

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