Creating Smoke : Photoshop Path

I had previously thought about what would be the best way to create smoke in photoshop, and I’ve read some tutorials online and watched some episodes of the amazing pixelPerfect podcast, to find a good and easy solution for the matter at hand.

Actually it was easier than I had expected.

1 - Create some Shapes: I created some random shapes.
Start Photoshop > File > New > Widhth: 5 Inch, Height : 5 Inch, Resolution: 300pixel/inch > Ok

> Select Pen Tool (P) > Select Path layers > Let's Draw !

Create some random shapes

2 - Apply a Gaussian blur on each shape
> Select the layer path that will modify > at menu select Filter > Blur > Gausian Blur, so you can execute until the result like this
Create some random shapes

3 - Using the liquify filter
> Filter > Liquify (Shift+Ctrl+x), Set the Setting until look like this
Create some random shapes

4 - Positioning the shapes

Create some random shapes

5 - Adding some colors
> In menu you choose Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation, and then set like this.. > ok

Use the Hue/Saturation with the colorize selected to add some colors
Add a background color on the layer of the shape, otherwise the Hue/Saturation won't work

6 - Creating a cloud behind the smoke
> Filter > Render > Clouds > Set like this

Creating the cloud
Set a feather with a high value, like 40 to 80, and after that apply the hue/saturation on the cloud too

7 - Adding a gradient to create an atmosphere
> At Menu Choose Layer > Layer Style > Blending Option > Gradient Overlay, and set the color > Ok

Create some random shapes
The gradient will give a atmosphere and more depth to the image

Final Result

Create some random shapes

The whole process took me about 30 to 40 minutes tops, it’s pretty simple, although it can be quite hard to create a natural smoke with the liquify filter, the best thing to do is to play with the brushes and with the tools to achieve the desired effect.

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