in Design

Tutorial: How To Create Blast In The City Effect In Photoshop

This is our first Photoshop tutorial from an upcoming series of exclusive lessons related to this amazing software. In this tutorial you will learn how to create a war scene which contains some fighter planes and a big explosion. This step-by-step tutorial is also available for download so you can save it on your computer for later usage.

Ok, let’s begin.

Final image

Tutorial Details

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Difficulty: Advanced
Completion Time: 1 hour

Step 1

Find the images required to create the effect.

1. An image of a city. It’s good to find a city image taken from above;
2. Two or three fighter plane images taken from different angles;
3. Two or three cloud images. Find good cloud images as clouds are used to create the fire or the blast effect.


Create a new document with the following size: width: 1500px and height: 1125px. The resolution is your choice. If you are making it for print purpose, you should choose it over 300 dpi.  For web, 72 dpi is a good choice.

Step 3

Insert your city image where you’d like to create the blast on a new layer.

Step 4

Insert the image of a cloud on a new layer above the city image layout. Make sure the cloud is big enough to cover the entire document.

Step 5

With the cloud layer selected press CTRL+U to open the hue/saturation window and perform the below steps.
•Check colorize option on bottom right, just above the “Preview” check box.
•Set hue value to 30 or you can set your own hue value. The idea is to give a red hue to the clouds.

Step 6

With the cloud layer selected, perform the below steps:

• Press Ctrl+J to create a duplicate layer of the cloud;
• Press CTRL+T to transform it;
• Right click and press flip horizontally.


After transforming it, change that layer mode to overlay and merge both the original and duplicated cloud layers by pressing Ctrl+ E.


Change the layer mode to Linear Dodge (Add).


Your effect should look like the in image below. It looks like there is fire all over the city.

Step 10

Choose Eraser(E) tool from the tools window and erase the parts from the image where you don’t want the fire effect.


Now find an image of the sky and insert it on a new layer on top. Perform the steps below:

• Erase the bottom part of the sky;
• Decrease its opacity to 66%;
• Change the layer mode to luminosity.


Now here is the interesting part, where the cloud collection comes into play. This is the most important part of the fire effect. One step which is repeating in my tutorial is to insert a cloud and then colorize it into red and change its mode to overlay or Color Dodge. My advice is that you should not go with my mode option. Try your own modes. Play with some modes and maybe you can make a more realistic effect.

•Insert a cloud image
•Erase hard edges


Press Ctrl + U, check the colorize option (don’t change the color mode for the first cloud layer).

Step 14

Insert more clouds, erase hard edges and press CTRL+U. Colorize and hue values should be 30. Change color mode to overlay.

Step 15

Insert another cloud in and erase hard edges. Press CTRL + U, colorize and hue values should be 30, color mode Overlay.

Step 16

Change its color mode to overlay.

Step 17

Create a blank layer, color it red and change its mode to screen, layer opacity 54%.

Step 18

Insert more clouds, erase hard edges and press CTRL+U, colorize and hue values should be 30. Change color mode to hard light.

Step 19

Now insert your image with the fighter plane and erase the background. Just click on the pen tool, trace your image and then use Ctrl + Enter and CTRL+ SHIFT+ I to delete the background.

Step 20

Insert two small aircrafts and change their color mode to luminosity, to match with the background.

Step 21

Insert a big aircraft. To make it in motion, go to  Filter- blur –radial blur (amount= 3, blur method =zoom , quality =good, and make your own angle).

Step 22

Now make a solid layer with color. Color: #51301c mode: color opacity:28%.


Now make another a solid layer with color. Color: # 6c0202 mode: Overlay opacity: 28%.


Make another  solid layer with color  Color: # 710802 mode: SoftLight opacity: 14%.

Step 25

Now make a curve adjustment; make a S shape curve and opacity: 52%.



That’s it, I hope you enjoyed it. Below you can find the download link for the pack( .psd file and images).

Download tutorial


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.