This tutorial shows how to create fantastic image poster in Photoshop. We will concentrate on masking and adjusting color parameters mainly. We will put parts of stocks to use in order to improvement defects and elaborate details. We will learn how to use blending mode of layers and how to use pen tool. We’ll start with an image of some skyscrapers and use lots of useful techniques to transform it into a really interesting image that will stand out. This is a useful tutorial for users of all levels. If you have any questions or if I missed something, post a comment and let me know it.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Photoshop CS4
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 3 Hours

Resources: The main stock image used on this tutorial is available here.

Step 1

Lets create a new document with 4000x3163px dimension and fill the first layer with black. Create a folder named BG and open a picture of some skyscrapers in a new layer fitting it proportion­ally to the width of the document. Next move up whole layer like it is depicted in the picture below.

Now we take care of making the sky in right and left corner uniform. Thus, using the rectangular marquee tool we select a 1500x750px area in a top left corner we copy [Ctrl]+[C] and paste it [Ctrl]+[V] into a new layer, flipping it horizon­tally (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal). Next we move this layer to the top right corner, change the blending mode (Darken) and mask out the redundant parts.

Step 2

Using (Selective Color) and (Curves) we choose the appropriate colors for the city.

Step 3

Create new layer by choosing (Image>Apply im­age) and click OK. Use filter (Filter>Blur>Radial blur) with the following settings: Amount: 100, Blur method: Zoom, Quality: Best. Change the layer blending mode to (Color Dodge) and set the opac­ity to 75%. Mask edges of the layer in a way, that the light is focused in the central part of the city.

Step 4

Create another new layer choosing (Image>Apply image). Blend a whole (Filter>Blur>Gaussian blur) Radius: 8px, masking this time a central part of the layer. This way, we obtain a depth of field.

Step 5

Add new folder named Dancer. Open a picture and cut everything except the floor and a dancer. Below the layer with dancer we place a floor (floor.png), which I have prepared by copying parts of the original picture with (Clone stamp) tool. Now we mask the layer with a dancer (Layer>Layer mask>Reveal all) with a soft brush: Master diame­ter 300px, Hardness 12px, Opacity 55% in a way to make the layers match each other. Next we select both layers and merge them together [Ctrl]+[E]. Then we duplicate the layer [Ctrl]+[J], change its mode to (Overlay) and opacity to 45%.

Step 6

Now load a texture.png fle and scale it to 42% of a whole picture size. Then we push [Ctrl]+[T] and adjust the height of the texture to the height of the floor. Having the transformation active [Ctrl]+[T], we choose (Edit>Transform>Perspective) and having a (Shift) key pushed, we move one of the top corners of the picture to the center.

Step 7

Mask the texture edges with a soft brush and remove it parts in a place where the dancers’ hands and a head appear. Set the blending mode to (Soft light) and change a texture color with (Image>Adjustment>Hue/Saturation).

Step 8

Create a new folder Stones in a Dancer folder. We cut the part with a broken floor out of the layer and move it into a Stones folder. We duplicate it, and set the blending mode of the stone in the un­derlying layer to (Multiply). Now we return to the stone in the above layer and rotate it about -15% and move it to achieve the look that it is falling off. Repeat this step for all the stones, remembering about setting the appropriate degrees of tilt for stones placed in the upper layers.

Step 9

Create another folder named Dust. In this step we will focus on masking and appropriate placement of elements. Lets open dust1.jpg, reduce its size and change the blending mode to (Screen). We move the layer into a suitable place and mask it this way to make the dust appear above the dancer. Next, using (Image>Adjustments >Hue/ Saturation) we give it a color matching the rest of illustration. Repeat this work using also the sec­ond picture dust2.jpg. To obtain a better result it is worth to differentiate a dust masking in a such way, so it would appear in front of a dancer.

Step 10

Create a new layer in a folder. Using a (Pen tool) set to (Path) we draw a path on which the lace will stretch. We change the brush parameters: Master diameter 15px, Hardness 100%, Opacity: 100%, Flow: 100% and go to the (Path) tab. Click the layer containing a path with right button and select (Stroke path). In a new window select (Simulate pressure) and click OK.

Step 11

Now we go to the layer properties and set (Bevel and Emboss) and (Gradient overlay). In the same way we create another shoelace. We add layers’ masks and using a brush we hide the shoelaces in parts where they should appear behind build­ings and dancer.

Step 12

Restore default color settings [D] and choose (Layer>New fll layer>Gradient). Pick the fol­lowing settings: Style: Radial, Scale: 150% and set the (Reverse) option. Now fatter the layer (Layer>Rasterize>Layer) and change its blending mode to (Soft light). In case, when the illustration became too dark, you should mask a its central part with a soft brush or just change the opacity.

Step 13

At the end, the only thing we are left to do, is to create a folder SET containing the setting for a whole illustration. We do this using (Curves) and (Selective color). Additively, on a new layer having blending mode set to (Screen), we create a light effect using brush with #d73015 color and following settings: Master diameter: 1600px, Hardness: 0px, Opacity: 100%, Flow: 100%.


I hope from this tutorial, you’ve learned something new that you’ll be able to take away and apply to your own peices and you’ve also seen that creating impressive pieces of art in Photoshop. The main purpose of this tutorial was to show you a good direction in how to use these effects. So be creative and try to discover your way of using them.

About the Author: Alex Roman

I'm a 24-year old independent graphic artist and architect based in Bucharest and also the co-owner of iCanBeCREATIVE. I specialize in branding for small businesses and startups: logos, websites, flyers, posters; mostly everything a brand may need to put the word out there in a professional way.

I really love what I do. Want to hire me? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Nicole:

    Nevermind, I found it :) This is an awesome tutorial, good job!

  • Nicole:

    where did you find the picture of the dancer?

  • jddotgraphics:

    amazine tutorial very cool

  • dead rabit:

    i like the part wer u wrot 3 hours biggner gess wat i am on1 and finchd it with 20 min good job 4 u

  • ede:

    amazing tutorials. i’ve learned alot. thanks for sharing

  • Thomas Craig Consulting:

    Love it, what a great tutorial, thanks for sharing.

  • admin:

    All the stock images used on this tutorial are available here:
    It’s a deviantArt page, in the right part of the site is a download button.
    Please next time read the article more carefully!

  • ash:

    This is a great tutorial but here’s a question: where do we download the dust effect pictures or did you create it on ps?

  • admin:

    The main stock image used on this tutorial is available here:

  • Erika:

    Hi. Im having a little trouble in Step 5.
    Here’s an important question:
    Where do I get the picture for “Dancer” and “Floor”?
    I can’t see any links for downloading :-(
    pleeease help here.
    Btw, GREAT tutorial! :)

  • sandeep:

    beautiful job very very nice

  • Ken Viva:

    Great job with this! I like the look.

  • goldy:

    nicely done very well

  • Akki:

    I M dead…this is so awesome…….truly professional…..

  • wilson tan:

    it is cool.

  • Gem:

    Great tutorial! Love the Dust overlay effect. Compositing fun!

  • Pauly:

    wow! excellent.. looking forward for more of these.

  • Matt Silver:

    I like the result very interesting I should give some time to practise this stuff. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nancy:

    Love the effect and the tutorial seems very clear. I’ll have to try this when I get some time.

  • Bobby:

    Will have to try this one….Great tutorial!

  • Olive:

    pretty neat, love the final effect and very clearly written =]

  • Rachel:

    Very cool love the style and it can be applied to so many different things. Thanks!

  • Vikas:

    I’ve learned some new tricks from this tutorial. Cool!

  • Craig Farrall:

    Great techniques and style though that it would be refreshing to see some other photos.

  • Timothy:

    Great concept, really neat look, congratulations :)

  • Rafael Torres:

    This site is so great ! Thank you for everything.