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Apocalyptic City Explosion Photoshop Tutorial
Tutorials Photo Manipulation 35574 Views November 12th, 2014

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a city explosion in Photoshop using just a few simple blending techniques. You will also learn how to add cinematic movie effects to your photos with gradient maps and other color adjustments. This apocalyptic building explosion was made with explosion brushes, fire and smoke effects. Hope you will enjoy reading this new tutorial written by Dwight Daley from psdtuts4u


This is a guest tutorial made by Dwight Daley a full time graphic designer, illustrator, multimedia designer and photographer. Her runs a blog with Easy to follow Photoshop Tutorials and also Free Flyers and Photoshop Brushes .

In this tutorial you'll learn how to create an explosion on a city skyscraper. You will learn how to use brushes and the cloud render filter to achieve these effect. These are the stocks we used.

You can download the stocks from the links below:

OK let's begin.

Create a new Photoshop document at 1200x625. Fill the background with black. Load your City stock and remove the the sky area away from it as shown below


Take the Rectangular marquee tool, select a portion of the bottom half of the city and hit delete on your keyboard.

Click and drag the city stock over to your working document. Size and position it as shown below. Quick Hit: Don't close your city stock document; we are going to use it again later.

Add the following Adjustments via clipping mask respectively to the city stock.

Load your Sky stock into Photoshop. Take the Rectangle Marquee tool and select the top portion of sky.

Copy and paste it onto your working document. Place it below your city stock layer then size and position it as shown below.

Apply the following adjustment layers via clipping mask respectively to the sky stock.

Load your Helicopter stock, take the Magic Wand tool, select the background of the helicopter you don't want and hit delete on your keyboard. Quick hint: To select more than one area at the same time with the Magic Wand tool, hold shift on your keyboard and click on areas you want to select simultaneously.

Click and drag your helicopter stock over to your working document. Size and position it as shown below.

Apply the following Adjustments via clipping mask to the helicopter.

Create a Building Explosion in Photoshop

Now for the explosion on the building, first we are going to create some faint smoke. Create new layer above all previous layers. Go Filter > Render > Clouds. Set the blend mode of the cloud filter layer to screen and reduce the opacity to 29%.

Now with a soft eraser at 0% hardness erase most of the cloud effect leaving just a small portion on the area of the building where the explosion will take place near the helicopter.

We are now going to add some explosion debris. Go back to your city stock document I told you to keep open in Step 2. Take your Ellipse Marquee tool and select a portion of the main skyscraper of the city.

Right click and from the drop down menu select Layer Via Copy. This will create a duplicate of the selected portion of the skyscraper onto a new layer.

You can turn off the original city layer below to focus on the copied Ellipse layer. With the Ellipse layer selected, left click on the bounding box edge then right click and from the drop down menu select wrap. Move around randomly each point of the wrap to create to distort the shape as shown below.

Part 1Part 2Part 3

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4 comment(s) for "Apocalyptic City Explosion Photoshop Tutorial"

12:02 AM Thursday, November 20, 2014
Thanks John. Love the Cinematic effect reply
Big Papa
Big Papa
3:49 AM Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Thanks dude really enjoyed the cintematic effects, i cant wait to show my grandpa from baltimore reply
Joynul Abedin
1:38 AM Tuesday, April 12, 2016
I enjoyed this tutorial thanks for share this technique . reply
7:38 AM Sunday, March 26, 2017
Who reads Photoshop tutorials at 3:00 am? reply

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