I was editing a random little movie with my friends that we’d shot and I decided to output some random screenshots and this was one of them. I looked at it and thought, “Hey I bet Photoshop could help me make it look like a scene from “Heroes.” So, that’s what I did. Follow the tutorial to see how I distorted the image and give the girl an awesome super power.
The fireball was inspired by a post I saw on Abduzeedo.
Final Image Preview
Step 1 – Making the Selection
We’ll start by making a soft selection around the girl. Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to draw around the figure of the girl.
Go into “Edit in standard mode” and refine your selection with the Eraser Tool (E). Use a hard brush for the Eraser Tool (E). While using the Eraser Tool (E), black will add to the selection and white will subtract from the selection.
Exit out of “Edit in standard mode” but don’t deselect just yet. Go to Select > Modify > Contract. Enter 3px. Then go to Select > Modify > Feather. Enter 3px.
Step 2 – Separating the Girl
With the selection still selected. Hit command+C to copy and then command+V to paste the selection onto a new layer. Name the new layer “Girl”.
With the Background layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Apply the motion blur at 268px.
Use the Eraser Tool (E) to soften and blend some of the edges a bit on the Girl layer. Use a very soft, big brush and set the opacity to 30%.
Step 3 – Makin’ it Look Hot
With the Girl layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Adjust the curves as shown below.
With the Girl layer still selected in the Layers Palette, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Set the brightness to -47 and the contrast to 44.
With the Background layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and adjust the settings as I did below.
Unlock the Background layer by double-Clicking its lock icon in the Layer’s Palette. Then copy it by option-Clicking (alt-Click on a PC) and dragging the layer.
Next, use the Lasso Tool (L) with a 50% feather to make a selection around the girl like I did below.
Right-Click on the selection and hit “Select Inverse”. With the Background copy layer selected, hit delete on the keyboard. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and set it up like I have it below. Set the layer’s opacity to 50%.
Step 4 – Tilting and Re-shaping the Image
Put the Girl and Background layers in a folder together named “Main” in the Layers Palette. You do this by shift-Clicking the first layer in the Layers Palette and then shift-Clicking the last layer. Then hit command+G (ctrl+G on a PC). This will group the layers together. Double-Click on the name of the folder in the Layers Palette to change it.
With the Main folder selected in the Layers Palette, hit command+T (ctrl+T on a PC) to enter Free Transform mode. Rotate the group -15 degrees. Hit enter on the keyboard to exit Free Transform mode.
Crop the image so that there are no holes in the background. To do this, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to draw out a rectangle and ten go to Image > Crop.
Step 5 – Making Her Eyes Blue
Create a new layer above your Main group in the Layers Palette. Name it “Eyes”. Select a light blue for your foreground color (#94c4d4). Get a soft brush about the size of the brown in her eyes and paint over each eye as I did.
In the Layers Palette, set your Eyes layer to the Color blend mode.
Step 6 – Putting the Power in Her Hands
Create a new layer group in the Layer’s Palette above all of the layers. Name it “Glow”. All the layers you create in step six will be put into this folder. To create a new group, hit the Create a New Group button at the bottom of the Layers Palette.
Create a new layer in the Layers Palette in the Glow group. Draw a circle in the girl’s palm with the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M). Hold shift when you create the circle in order to keep it symmetrical. Set white as your foreground color and hit option+backspace (alt+backspace on PC) in order to fill the selection with white. Deselect the selection by hitting command+D (ctrl+D on a PC).
Set your white circle layer to 65% opacity. With the Eraser Tool (E), use a small, medium hardness brush. Erase away the parts of the white circle that cover the girl’s two outside fingers.
Set a blur to the white ball by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Gaussian Blur to 4px.
Earlier, you should have downloaded and installed some abstract light brushes. Create a new layer above your white circle layer. Set your foreground color to white. Select the Brush Tool (B), grab an abstract light brush, and throw down a light ray on this new layer that swirls around the white ball. Do a few more. Then hit command+F (ctrl+F on a PC) in order set a 4px Gaussian Blur on your light rays layer (command+F/ctrl+F simply repeats the last filter you did).
Now we can add some sparks to this fireball thingy we’re making. Let’s use Photoshop’s handy Brush Engine. Select the brush Tool (B). Open up the Brushes window (Window > Brushes). Set up your brush like I did below.
Create a new layer and paint some flares coming up from your white ball with the settings we just configured in the Brush Engine.
Change the blend mode on your entire Glow group in the Layers Palette to Color Dodge.
If you would like to download a large version of this image, click the image and you will be taken to our Flickr account where the photo is available at a 1024 x 576.