|In this Photoshop tutorial we're going to create exploding clouds or whatever you want to call it. The strength of this tutorial is that the effects are easily adjustable and this Photoshop technique is also well suited to create animated explosion effects in ImageReady. Let's start.|
1. Prepare the background
Press the letter D on your keyboard, which makes the foreground color white and the background color black.
Now grab the Paint Bucket tool from
the toolbar and fill the background with black.
Go to the layers palette and click on the Create a New Layer icon to add a new layer.
2. Change the foreground color to red
In my case I selected the color in the upper right corner (A) which has the value FF0000 (B).
3. Select the proper brush
The size of the brush depends a bit on the size of the image you started with.
4. Paint the basic shape
First we start with red and paint a random shape. Make sure that it does look random, so don't paint a circle or square. Don't paint just an outline, but paint inside of the shape too. (although it's fun to experiment with shapes that only show an outline, but for now we stick to a filled shape).
After we're done with this we select a yellow color, I selected #FFFC00.
This time paint inside the red, but not too close to the border. Consider to one or two (or more) separate yellow areas, as long as they are inside the red shape. If the brush is too big, then just go back to the options bar to select a smaller size or press [ a few times on your keyboard. Press ] to make the brush bigger. Again, try to draw a shape (or shapes) that's quite random.
The last color that we select is white (#FFFFFF). This time paint inside the yellow shapes, again not too close to the border and resize your brush if you have to.
Here's an example of what it might look like:
In the red shape we have two yellow shapes and inside them two white shapes. Not all that random, but this will do for now.
5. Blur the clouds and add a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer
Now click on the Create an Adjustment
Layer icon in
the layers palette and select Hue/Saturation... and
We now have a Hue & Saturation Adjustment Layer and we're going to change it to a Clipping Layer on top of our layer with the blurred shape by pressing Ctrl + G(Command + G on the Mac) or Ctrl + Alt + G (Command + Option + G on the Mac) if you use Photoshop CS2.
By turning it into a clipping layer we're making sure that the Hue & Saturation
will only affect the layer underneath (that's
What is the function of this Hue & Saturation layer? I'll explain later. For now leave the default settings of this adjustment layer the way they are.
6. Add a 'Clouds' layer
Like in step #1, we're going to change the fore- and background colors again; press the letter D on your keyboard, which makes the foreground color black and the background color white.
Now we fill the layer with black (the color doesn't really matter) using the Paint Bucket tool in the tool bar .
Now go to the menu and select Filter/Render/Clouds.
The result is a random result. If you don't like the generated 'clouds' then just press Ctrl + F (Command + F on the Mac) until you see something you like. You can repeat this as often as you like.
Set the blending mode of this layer to Color Dodge.
7. Add a levels adjustment layer
8. Select the proper brush
And here we have the final result. Yours will look slightly different, but like I said earlier; experiment with all the settings.
In this example I used 4 colors; I started with blue, followed by red, yellow and white.
I had to go back to the clouds layer a few times in this last example to get the effect that I wanted. So again remember; if you don't like the final result, consider to go back to the clouds layer and press Ctrl + F (Command + F on the Mac) a few times, play with the gray slider of the Levels adjustment or paint different shapes.
careful with Ctrl + F, because you have to be
sure that the last effect you used was Render/Clouds.
All Ctrl + F does is repeating the last effect that was used. If you hit Ctrl+F and something goes wrong, then just undo by pressing Ctrl + Z (Command + Z on the Mac) and go back to the menu and select Filter/Render/Clouds again. After that you can use Ctrl+F again.
And what about the Hue & Saturation adjustment layer we added earlier?
Open the Hue & Saturation Adjustment Layer by double clicking on its icon in the layers palette.
Now use the Hue slider to change the colors of the clouds or use the Saturation slider to change the saturation.
To summarize all 5 major steps:
There are a few things in this tutorial that make it easier to use the effect for an animation and that's because of the following variable adjustments:
Because of this it's easy to create the frames that can be used in a program like ImageReady.
Since levels adjustment layers are not supported in ImageReady (what a shame!), we'll have to export every frame to a separate file. It's a good idea to export all files (frames) to a dedicated directory and give each file a number. It's advised to to use numbers like 9,10,11, etc, but please include all preceding zeros, so in my example the numbers should be 09,10,11, etc. This avoids that files are sorted in the wrong way.
Open ImageReady and select in the menu File/Import/Folder as Frames... and the program will convert all your files as frames. How you go from there is all up to you and a detailed description of how to adjust or expand the animation in Imageready is beyond the scope of this tutorial. I can tell you the results can be quite spectacular, depending on how you created your frames in Photoshop to begin with and how many frames you used.
Here's a very basic example with only six frames in slow-motion
Again, like always; have fun!
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