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on 08-09-2008

Preparations:
We will need a close up image of a model, and also the awesome Smoke Brushes Set 1 designed by Falln-Stock. Click here to download the brushes. Click here to download the model image. All rights of these resources belong to their respective owners.

Step 1 - Setting Up Environment:


Create a document of size 750 by 550px. Use Gradient tool with foreground color #2B2B2B and background #000000, start a linear gradient from the bottomleft.

Step 2 - Adding Clouds:


Create a new layer on top of the Background. Set the foreground color to #000000 and background to #FFFFFF. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Set the blending mode of this layer to Color Dodge. Use Soft Eraser tool of size 300px, remove some parts of the clouds as shown in the diagram.

Step 3 - Cropping the Model:


Crop your model out with Pen tool and place it close to the clouds on the left. Click here to view more methods for extraction.

Step 4a - Creating Smoke:


Duplicate the model layer and use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select the right half of the duplicated model. Go to Edit > Free Transform and stretch the half of models face to the right as shown in the diagram. Use Soft Eraser tool of size 300px, fade off the right part of the stretched image.

Step 4b - Creating Smoke:


Go to Filter > Distort > Wave. Set the Generators to 5, Type to Sine, Min Wavelength to 10, Max Wavelength to 120, Min Amplitude to 5, Max Amplitude to 35 and both Scale to 100%. Select Repeat Edge Pixels under Undefined Areas.

Step 4c - Creating Smoke:


Hide the wavy model for the time being and create a new layer on top of it. Paint a large smoke with color #FFFFFF on the new layer. Position it near to the face as shown in the diagram.

Step 4d - Creating Smoke:


On the same layer, paint in more smoke of various shapes and sizes. Note that the smoke has to be connected or close to the skin for better results.

Step 4e - Creating Smoke:


Ctrl+left click on the smoke layer to load selection on its luminosity. Unhide the wavy model and apply a layer mask on it with the selection. Delete the smoke layer once the layer mask is created.

See the layer shown in the diagram.

Step 5a - Fading Model:


Create a new layer above the original model. Use Smoke Brushes of color #FFFFFF, paint in large smokes on the face of the model on the new layer.

Step 5b - Fading Model:


Ctrl+left click on the new smoke layer to load selection on its luminosity. Select the original model layer and apply a layer mask on it with the selection. Delete the smoke layer once the layer mask is created. See the layer shown in the diagram.

Step 6 - Apply Outer Glow:


Right-click on the original model layer and choose Blending Options. Activate Outer Glow and set the color to #FFFFFF, mode to Color Dodge and size to 5px. You can see a nice glowing border around the edge of the face blending with the clouds at the background.

Step 7 - Adjusting Colors:


Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer at the topmost and key in the values 40, 0.75, 255. Create another Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer above the Levels. Key in the Hue as 190, Saturation as 25 and Lightness as 0.

Optional:
You can paint the eyes white to achieve a more mystery feel. Lastly, add some texts to complete the design! Video tutorial is posted at Vimeo Click here to view the final image.