Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Create a Shattering Angel effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we'll be creating a highly dramatic scene with a disintegrating statue of an Angel. The end result would be an intense composition of the Angel seemingly coming to life as Gradients, blends, and a set of unique brushes are used to enhance the image of the Angel statue.

Step 1

We start off with a document size of 1200 x 900, a resolution of 140 dpi and a black background. Open and drag into the new document, a statue of an Angel. This one below can be downloaded from

Step 2

To extract the Statue from its background, we'll use the Magic Wand Tool(M) and click on the background sky. Hit Delete to clear each selection made. If you prefer, the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) can be used instead.

These result below:

Step 3

Use the Clone Stamp Tool to copy certain areas of statue and have them pasted over the an extension of the left wing of the Angel. Hold the ALT key when selecting plain area, then release and click on the wing to remove it.

Step 4

Press Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate the Statue and go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast and set the Contrast to 80.This in effect, defines a lot more the highlights and shadows.

Step 5

We'll now select the cross using the the Pen Tool (P). When done, right-click within the Pen outline and choose Make Selection. Press Ctrl+C to copy the selected cross and then, create a new layer. Hit Ctrl+V to paste the copied the selection into the new layer and name it 'cross.' Hide this layer for now.

Step 6

Select the Smudge Tool and set its Strength to about 50% to 65%. Use increased strengths (about 60%)for extensive

Step 7

This step I must say would take a little time and series of 'undo' to complete. You need to employ a good eye for details. For the Eraser Tool (E), select a Spatter brush and gnaw away carefully the smudges close to the edges of the statue itself. Try using different brush sizes as well – 14 px to 65 px.

Step 8

Next, go on further to modify the Spatter brush by bringing up the Brushes Palette (Go to Window>Brushes if not visible) and select Scattering Brush Preset. Set the Scatter to 475% to increase its randomness.

Step 9

Now, methodically erase away the edges of the smudges into something like shimmers. The final result should like the statue disintegrating from its edges as shown below:

Step 9

Create a new layer and select the Gradient Tool (G). Go to the Gradient's Options bar and select a Reflected Gradient and click the gradient to bring up the Gradient Editor. On the Gradient Presets, select Spectrum; Type as Noise; increase Roughness to 90% and check in Options, Restrict Colors/Add Transparency.

Step 10

Drag the Gradient Tool from the centre of the Angel Statue. Press Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate the Gradient effect.

Step 11

Lighten the rays a little using the Levels command (Ctrl+L) and add a Gaussian Blur with a Radius of 0.7px.

Step 12

On the 'rays' layer, set the Blend mode to Color Dodge.

Step 13

Make a new layer above the 'rays' layer and select a large Soft Round Brush (#cfd8f6). Follow up with a smaller white brush and paint over the previous one.

Step 14

Set the layer's Blend mode to Color Dodge.

Step 15

On the 'rays' layer, use the Eraser Tool at an opacity of 75% to erase round the rays.

Step 16

For the fun part (well, for me) download the set of Debris brushes from Paint in separate layers on the left, (Brushes – D11 and D14) and a right, (Brushes – D17 and D17). Erase or fade at your discretion excess debris paintings.

Step 17

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and on its Options bar, select 'Add to Selection' to make make multiple selections at points of the debris.

Step 18

Go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur and set the Amount to 5; the Method to Zoom; the Quality to Best.

Step 19

Create a new layer and paint more debris on both sides of the Statue and blur as in Step 18.

Step 20

Download the Odysee brushes by Axeraider from With a Foreground colour #92a0ea, select the the Odysee brush (Samplebrush 8). When painting a second 'ghostly wing', preferably in a new layer, press Ctrl+T to transform it; selecting Flip Horizontal make it face the opposite direction.

Step 21

In a new layer below all other layers but above the background layer, create clouds for it by going to Filter>Render>Clouds. Set the layer's Blend mode to Color Dodge.

Step 22

Erase the top and bottom areas of the clouds in a way that the remaining clouds appears as stretch of clouds. The eraser's opacity should be set at 70%.

Step 23

Set the foreground colour to #c0d5dd and select the Custom Shape Tool (U) from the Tools bar. On the Tool's Options bar, select 'Fill Pixels' and 'Circle Thin Frame' from the Shape drop-down menu. Draw the shape in a layer above the 'clouds' layer.

Step 24

Set the blend mode of the drawn shape to Vivid Light.

Step 25

In a new layer above the statute, use a white Soft Round brush to paint around the head of the statue.

Step 26

Set the layer's Blend mode Soft Light.

Step 27

Enable the 'cross' layer we hid earlier. Double-click the layer for a Layer Style. Adjust the values of the Color Overlay, Inner Glow, Outer Glow styles as shown below:

The result:

Step 28

We'll add smoke to the glowing cross using the Smoke Brushes I used a combination of two brushes and erased slightly the edges of the smoke.

Step 29

For the 'smoke' layer, add a Gradient Overlay Layer style. Edit the Gradient's Color Stops as shown below:

The resulting effects:

Step 30

Above the 'smoke' layer, paint over the smoke where top end of the cross is, with a white brush. Set this layer's opacity to Soft Light. This adds a highlight to the cross.

And there we have it! TheAngelos! In old Hebrew tradition, there's the belief, though referred to as unauthentic, of an Angel called Uriel that means 'fire of God.' In John Milton's epic poem, Uriel is being described as the 'Regent of the Sun.'

Below is a variation of the same composition.

By David Ella Ella

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