The Photoshop legend himself returned to our Design Cuts Live event and we were thrilled. Colin Smith, best selling author and award-winning digital artist really is a celebrity in design.
Whether you're a Cyberpunk fan or not, it doesn't really matter. The techniques Colin taught in this session offered real value!
Use Photoshop 2021 and the color wheel to begin. The color wheel consists of complementary colors as well as opposites, making it easier to choose from an array of colors.
Use Unsplash to download photos and drag the first image on Photoshop. See the images below for reference.
Drag all the other images from Bridge to Photoshop on the composition. These will automatically convert into smart objects once transferred. With all the layers being dropped in, the smart objects lay on top of the other.
Build a Background
Building a background serves two purposes, one of them being that it gives a neon interest in the area. Take the layer, drag it over and hit Command + T on Mac. This will give a free transformation.
Match the first area to get a perspective by looking at the straight lines. Follow the window line in order to get the right perspective.
Pick the holographic image and fix it on the wall, giving it a futuristic outlook.
Pro tip: Name these window layers so you can use them later.
Pick the photograph with the two people and cut their background. You can use the Magic Wand Tool for this. Turn on the mask and position the image.
Add the car image and choose the object selection to cut the background. Use the Option key to remove it from the selection. Adobe AI will automatically detect edges and shadows. Use Command + T to scale the car.
Use the Object Selection Tool and place the car behind the white object.
Pro tip: Build a scene and tell a story, rather than focusing on perfect cutouts and color correction.
Use the Vanishing Point Tool, to work in a three-dimensional space. Define the plane area and surface at angles. Draw vertical lines at 90 degrees and follow the lines of the windows.
Grab the Constant Tool and with the Clone Stamp, hold down the Option key. This would create a sample. Paint over the sample. Paint half of the windows and make sure to blend it in.
Add a Neon Font
Create a Layer Mask and clean using the Selection Tool. Fill this with black, giving it a straight edge. Add a neon font using Design Cut’s Ultimate Neon Kit. Type ‘Hotel’ and let it float in the air next to the windows. See the image below for reference.
Rasterize and resize the font. Convert it to a smart object and press Control + T. This will help deconstruct the font and reshape it.
Use guides and check for perspective. You can also duplicate the font, resize it and re-use it.
Add a Neon Color
Select the layer styles, add an inner glow and an outer glow. Select a neon color and use the blend mode. Alternatively, you can also click on styles and select any of the styles from Design Cuts.
Blend the face image using the blending mode. Get rid of the sharp edge and apply a layer mask. Use the hard edge brush and gently get rid of the hard edges.
Add Lighting and Color
Create a new layer and rename it to ‘color’. Add everything to this group. Add another layer and rename it to ‘blue’. Add pink color falling in from the left and blue falling from the right.
Choose a Linear Gradient and pick foreground to transparent to avoid blending two-color. Click on the blue and release the color from the right.
Choose a pink color and repeat the process from the left side.
Use the blend mode to blend the background with the color. Apply a soft light effect giving it a hue.
Add lighting and color to images by setting a hue saturation. Blend the color in the window and bring the saturation down, allowing ambient color to come through.
Add the same effect on the two people in the image as well as the color. Duplicate the effect by duplicating the layer. Use the saturation mode and use the color rise.
Add color to the pictures by turning on the palette. Create a new pink layer. Grab the brush and the pink out of the option key. Click for a matte palette. Use the selections and start painting pink from the left. Use low pressure and opacity and brush the pink color in the composition.
Create lighting by holding down the Command + D. Try different blending modes and pick what fits best.
Create a new layer and add lighting to the car. Color the car with the brush swiftly and add bouncing light on top of the surface. Add a pink color on the left and blue color on the right.
Use the blending mode and settle the colors of the cars. Add a soft overlay to the layer.
Add an Atmosphere
Select an image from the Light Bundle and drag it to the composition. Cut the image from the background and blend it on the top of the composition.
Similarly, add this on the other side and flip it horizontally. Add a few more images and blend them in the background. See the images below for reference.
Add color and an atmospheric haze to the composition. Use the Low Flow Brush to do this and add color around the areas. Play with the contrast and lighting and adjust accordingly.
Congratulations, you have successfully learned how to make a cyberpunk scene in Photoshop.