Photoshop Tutorial: Making of “Color Combustion” a Photo Manipulation

In this Photoshop tutorial we’ll be walking through the making of a digital photo manipulation called Color Combustion. You’ll use a few simple techniques, and combine a whole heap of images together to make a wonderful creative collage.

Here is a preview of what we’ll be making:

Color Combustion Result Photoshop Tutorial

About the Author

This tutorial was written by Eduardo Nora, or Krinos from deviantART. He is a learning graphic designer and enjoys making photo manipulations.

Firstly I would create this piece for the art group The Luminarium, but I got as personal. I was couched in bed thinking on the theme “Color”, came unto me this idea.

Stock images used

Stock 01Stock 02Stock 03Stock 04
Stock 05Stock 06Stock 07Stock 08

Step 1

First we will choose the dimension of piece. I have used 1354 x 765 pixels in dimension.

Then we will create a concept for work, a basic idea, to start the piece. Then we shall start the piece, and I raised the stock of background.

Road Stock Image - Base Photo

Step 2

Now we will add a sky, to improve the environment. I used a cloud stock photo from the resurgere stock package. I then deleted some parts of the sky.

Color Adjustments to Stock Photo

Step 3

Blending the sky.

I create a layer on the layer of sky, with the blend mode in Color and Opacity 45% and Fill 100%. Then I use up the soft brush and started to paint the parties which were not combining with the stock, I have used the color #889bac.

Color Adjustments to Stock Photo 2

Step 4

Now I got a layer with blend mode in normal, and opacity in 37%. I used the color #e5e0c0 and painting on the road to improve the blending. After duplicate the layer and I change the blend mode in Overlay.

Paint Brush Background

Step 5

Now I have used techniques of paint. First pintei a land the background to improve the depth and the environment.

Paint some mountains to the background not remain very empty. I used a brush with the colors of sky, to draw the reflection of water.

Background Painting Changed

Step 6

I add alongside left piece a light to improve the illumination and the right hand I used a brush dark opacity with low for shade. Well, we will now begin to add some stocks in our piece.

First cut out all of the stocks, using the Pen tool.

After cut I always am Layer > Matting > Defringe. I used a setting of 1 px.

Now I added the stock of the kid, I made a treatment in stock to be equal to the colors of the environment to combine.

I used for the treatment, the options Color Balance, Hue saturation and Brightness/Contrast. (Image > Adjustments > Color Balance, or Hue Saturation or Brightness/Contrast)

To make the shadow of the child, I duplicate the layer of the child and press Ctrl+U (Image > Adjustments > Hue Saturation) and I put the Lightness -100, and resize the shadow side against light. To help to resize press Ctrl+T, click the button right the mouse in selection and go Distort.

Layer of shadow: 40% opacity and 100% fill, but can diversify the environment of the piece. A tip you watch the shadows which are already in stock of the background and try match the shadows that you create.

I also I used Burn/Dodge tool to guess the illumination of stocks.

Boy Stock Added to Image

Step 7

Repeat Step 6, I have used the same techniques in the other stocks.

Other Stock Images Cut out and Added

Step 8

The truck :D

We now add the stock of truck. I used the same technique of Step 6. In the shadow of truck I used the same technique, but you may delete where not is well positioned shadow.

For the cracks, I have used some simple Photoshop brushes that I found on deviantART. Find some crack brushes, add them in then use an opacity of 50-70%.

Truck Stock Added to Image

Step 9

The paint :P

Can now be the most boring the piece, but I like it.

I have used a Wacom Intuos 3 to make this paintings, but you can use the Pen tool or even the brush.

You don’t need be in a hurry, do so that it is good, then create shape with Pen tool, or paint you may use the tool Burn/Dodge tool to make a lighting and best in the paint. I used enough burn/dodge tool to remain very real paint.

To make the shadow you may paint, see the hand that the light is focusing and will try and create the shadow so that it is for the right.

Brushed Paint Added to Truck

Step 10

Now I duplicate the Background twice. For the first I put the blend mode on Color and opacity of 20% For the second layer I put the blend node on Soft Light and opacity 20%.

This is to improve the color a little bit.

Slight Color Changes

Step 11

Now I create a layer put the blend mode in Soft Light and opacity 50%. Then I seize up the Soft brush black in color and have used around the piece, in order to improve the depth and Soft Brush white in some parts.

Darker Color Changes

Step 12

For a little bit more treatment of colors, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance, and use these settings:

Midtones: +19 ; -9 ; -12
Shadows: -14 ; 0 ; -3
Highlights: 0 ; 0 ; -5

Color Changes Darker

Now for a gradient map, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and use a black to white gradient, set the layer mode to Luminosity and lower the opacity to around 75%.

Add a photo filter as well, with Deep Yellow preset, use about 16% opacity.

Selective Colors:

Red: -57 ; 0 ; 0 ; 0
Yellows: -23 ; 0 ; -31 ; 0
Blacks: -12 ; +9 ; -11 ; 0

Select Color Added

A few more simple visual treatments, and we’re done. You have to be creative here, add in as many color adjustment layers as you think is necessary.

Final Visual Treatments Added

You can see the finished piece on Krinos’ deviantART page.


We’re finished! I hope you enjoyed this walkthrough. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Also see: – online printing

Recommended for designers
  1. Rodrigo Francisco said at 4:06 pm on February 2, 2009

    nice tutorial

  2. Ben Lind said at 6:17 pm on February 2, 2009

    I like the paint hanging from the old car. Looks really great.

  3. Daniel said at 10:27 am on February 5, 2009

    it’s really good to increase our skills!

  4. Guilherme said at 12:02 am on February 7, 2009

    Nice tutorial. The atmosphere brought by Eduardo is great.

  5. MirazTutorials said at 7:25 pm on February 17, 2009

    Love the creativity of this one the kids seem to have crashed the party :) nice tutorial

  6. chris said at 9:18 am on March 1, 2009

    Damn I like it :)

  7. professional photo retouching said at 3:57 am on March 21, 2009

    really nice realistic result!

  8. huwaw69 said at 5:49 am on May 2, 2009

    wow cool effects, good color! nicely done

  9. DAVID said at 8:26 am on June 9, 2009


  10. lilola said at 10:02 pm on June 11, 2009

    keep it up. i like it. looking forward to make a piece like that. cheers

  11. photo retouching said at 8:50 pm on November 12, 2009

    i loved the pics , i think this kind of art not known or popular to me , but i really loved it , hope to see more of this art here , ill keep checking for new pics

  12. ram said at 9:04 am on December 2, 2009

    good job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Web Development Company said at 9:13 pm on December 14, 2009

    Great tutorial! A definite must read for any up and coming web designers. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  14. Andrew said at 10:48 pm on April 18, 2010

    Nice article!!I love photoshop!!

  15. PSDDude said at 9:59 pm on May 17, 2010

    Very nice tutorial! :) creative

  16. HotSexyGirlVideo said at 10:56 am on July 12, 2010

    Fist photo is very cool~

  17. VictorianStyleFurniture said at 5:03 am on July 15, 2010

    very, very nice tutorial!

  18. Doug said at 1:01 am on August 12, 2010

    how do you make the colourful liquid glossy?

  19. Catrinai said at 5:50 am on August 19, 2010

    I’m sorry, you just can’t say “And then paint some mountains into the background.” If I could have drawn, I wouldn’t be photoshopping using existing images…

    I’m guessing English isn’t your first language.

    I love the idea, it’s very creative, and it draws the eye. However, it’s a very difficult tutorial to get through. Thanks for the effort you put into it, but maybe next time have someone proof it, or have a friend try to get through it first.

    Sorry to be negative, but I’m a believer in constructive criticism.

  20. helltones said at 1:54 am on November 2, 2010

    good color.look a little fake hjhj ^^

  21. george said at 6:23 pm on November 18, 2010

    how to add stokes from other pictures?

  22. How to Photoshop a picture said at 12:12 am on March 3, 2011

    Looking at that picture I instantly get an idea of trying to create my own poster(s) :-)

Leave a Reply