Thursday, April 7, 2011

Creating Smoke or Mist

A simple yet very realistic tutorial for adding smoke or mist in your images in Photoshop. Also, a real world example of this technique on the pages of Harpers Bazaar China, by photographer Benjamin Kanarek.
First of all, open the file you want to add the smoke/mist effect to.

Next, you will need a smoke file shot in 'black' or very dark  background. You can either buy such a file from stock or shoot your own. See how to capture smoke here. Drag or paste the layer of the smoke file on the image.

Change the blend mode of this layer to screen as shown below.

If your smoke file is small, simply transform the size to cover the entire image the way you want.

If you see any pixelation, use gaussian blur to smooth it out. The smoke will still look as natural as ever. Next create a mask as shown below from the red squared icon.

With a soft black brush, paint on this mask to remove smoke from important areas like face etc. to give final touches. See the painted mask and final image below.

Mist is the same as smoke, but requires a high key image to make it look like mist rather than smoke.

Lets start with this image below.

It requires a little bit of brightening to make the mist effect look natural. So we run the 'vibrant glow' action with low opacity, from the Pro Photoshop Actions set.

Next we add the same smoke layer from the above tutorial in the exact same way. Only here, it looks more like mist.

You can see this effect in the fashion spread of Harpers Bazaar by photographer Benjamin Kanarek here.

Some more images with the smoke screen added.

The image below looks more like fog rather than smoke...

This last image was treated with 'Rays of Light' action first, and then added with the masked smoke screen layer.

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