Create Smoke Effect on Grungy Wallpaper

This tutorial is written by a young Belgium designer, Arno Van Waeyenberg. We are going to learn how to create simple smoke effect against a grungy background by using the Smudge and Warp tools.
Preview of Final Image
First, you may want to download all the 4 resources we will be using here.
Station Font, Vintage 10 Texture, Vintage 07 Texture, Smoke image
Open up Photoshop and go to File > New. Make it 1920 pixels wide and 1200 pixels with 300 pixels/inch.
Double click on your layer and rename it as “Black”. Select your Paint Bucket Tool and fill the layer with black color. Go to File > Place and import the Vintage 10 and Vintage 07 textures in that order. Right-click and Rasterize on both layers. Resize them so that they cover the entire canvas without deforming. Now select our black layer and place it on top of our two textures and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. It should look similar to the image below.
Select the Vintage 10 layer, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, key +10 in Saturation. Now go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and change the parameters as shown below.
Now hide your other two layers by clicking the eye icon on them. Use Burn tool and change the size to a 800px brush, with no hardness and exposure to 40%. Start darkening the bottom, top, and left sides of your layer until you have something similar to mine below.
Now hide Vintage07 layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Click on the Colorize checkbox and change the Hue to +183, Saturation +30. Set the Blending Mode to Overlay. Unhide the Black layer and change the Opacity to 30%.
Group the three existing layers in a folder and name the group BG (which stands for background). Create a new layer, take your Brush tool change the Size to 6px and Hardness to 100% and the Color to white. Draw a straight line by holding down Shift key.
Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set the Angle to 0 and Distance to 350 pixels. Press Ctrl + T, tilt your line sideways and move it to the upper right corner of your image.
Select the Move tool and while pressing down Alt key, move your line a little bit upleft. Repeat this step for about 5-8 times where each time moving it to the sides.
Select all these copied layers, right-click and merge them as one single layer. Next copy the merged layer and move it further into the corner. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, set the Radius to 4px. Reduce the Opacity of this layer to 50%. Do the same with the other layer which is also containing light rays. Group these two layers in a folder and rename this folder as “Light”.
Create a new layer. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool and make a circular selection by holding down Shift ky and fill it with white color. Place the circle in the middle of your image.
Take the Text tool and type “10” using the Station font which you can download for free over here. Make sure the Color is black and the Size is 45px. Place it neatly in the middle of the white circle you drawn earlier.
Convert the text layer to a Smart Object then Rasterize the layer and rename it to "10". Press Ctrl+left click on the "10" layer to load selection. Click on the circle layer and hit Delete. Set the Blend Mode of "10" layer to Soft Light and Opacity to 50%. Set the Blend Mode of circle layer to Soft Light. Use Smudge tool and start smudging the edges of "10" and circle with a 35 pixel brush, 30% hardness, and 50% strength.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 3 pixels. Duplicate this layer 4 times. Double-click on the last duplicated layer and apply an Inner Shadow to it. Set the Color to white, Blend Mode to normal, Distance to 7px and Size to 18px, leave the rest of the settings as default. Group the four duplicates in a folder and rename it as "Circle".
Right-click on your "Circle" group and duplicate it. Rename the duplicated group as "Circle 2" and place it under the original "Circle" group. Merge the "Circle 2" group as a single layer, rotate and scale it up. Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and set the radius to 3 pixels. Change the Blend Mode to Soft Light. Duplicate this layer and scale it up again, change Blend Mode to Soft Light, and place it in the center of the image. Group these two layers together and rename the folder to "Outer Circle". Go to the original "Circle" group and on each layer, take your Smudge tool and smudge the inner and outer edges lightly.
Import you Smoke image, rasterize it and place it under your Outer Circle group. Take the eraser tool, 300px wide, 0% Hardness, and start erasing the black areas. To get rid of the small black spots in the center of the image change the Opacity of your Eraser to 20% and the size to 100 px. Scale your image down a bit and soften the upper and lower edges of the image
Change the blending mode of your smoke layer to Overlay (you can also keep it on Normal so that you can see your smoke layer better). Duplicate your layer and name it Smoke 2 On your Smoke 2 layer go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and add 3.0 px. Now rotate this layer -60 Degrees, and move it to the center of your image. Now select your two smoke layers and duplicate them and merge the duplicates together. Ctrl+T for transform, and rotate that layer 45 degrees, then without canceling your transform right click on your transform frame and click warp. Move the dots on the warp plane around a bit so that you it looks a bit different from your other smoke layers.
Set the Blend Mode of these three smoke layers to Overlay. Group these three smoke layers and rename it to "Small Smoke". Duplicate this group, scale it up and rotate it. Merge the group as a single layer, set the Blend Mode to Overlay, and rename it "Bigger Smoke". Now as we did before, press Ctrl + T, right-click on the transformation frame and select Warp. Move the control points around but make sure the smoke layer stays in the middle of the image.
Group the "Bigger Smoke" layer and "Small Smoke" folder together. Rename this new folder as "Smoke". Reduce the Opacity of "Bigger Smoke" layer to 75%. If you wish, you can rotate your new "Smoke" group so that the lighter area of the smoke is facing your light rays.
Select Text tool and type “Steps.SG” with the Station font and Size 16 pt. Set the color to #EEFDFF. Move this layer on top of all the other layers and rasterize it. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 0.7 px. Set its Blend Mode to Soft Light and duplicate it 5 times. On your last duplicated copy, add the following Layer Style.
Now on the original rasterized text layer, add this Layer Style.
Group all of your text layers and name the folder as "Steps.SG". Place it on the right side of our "Circle" group.
Create a new layer under the "Steps.SG" group. Use Brush tool, set the Size to 100px and Hardness to 50%. Draw a line similar to the one below with color #D8FBFF.
Use Smudge tool, with Size to 50px wide, Hardness to 0% and Strength to 50%, start smudging the edges like what I did below.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 3 px. Set the Blend Mode of your layer to Soft Light and Opacity to 30%. Duplicate this layer and group both of them together in a folder. Rename the group as "Light Circle". Go to your "Smoke" group > "Small Smoke" and duplicate one of those smoke layers in that group. Drag and rotate it so that it is directly underneath your "Steps.SG" letters in the "Light Circle" group.
Move the layer underneath the "Light Circle" group.
Use Eraser tool and erase whatever is overlapping the big circle with the "10" in the middle.
And there we have it! Hope this tutorial is useful for your future works. Thanks for reading.

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43 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Osama A says:

    In textures Vintage 10 Texture, Vintage 07 Texture the link says 404 not found plz help me! 😉

  2. Killer Skull says:

    The Vintage 10 texture and Vintage 07 texture are off.

  3. Laara says:

    Links are dead. Can you post new links, please?

  4. Kareem Rabie says:

    very cool

  5. warren jones II. says:

    Vintage lins are dead!!!!

  6. I saw something about that topic on TV last night. Good post.

  7. yume says:

    The vintage picture links are dead : <

  8. Ezuca says:

    Thanks. This tut has been very helpful. The result is creatively awesome.

  9. CgBaran Tuts says:

    Great tutorial thanks

  10. dGjess says:

    wow!10steps is getting really bigger and cooler! awesome. 😀

  11. Hacker God says:

    Awesome dude….this tutorial is damn cool….

  12. Corey says:

    Arno, keep it up. You most certainly have a future in art and design if you’re this interested!

    Nicely done as well.

  13. Arno says:

    Thanks guys 🙂
    hope this was of some use

  14. Dustin Ring says:

    Arno your killing it! Great tutorial. Keep up the awesome work and thanks for making great use of our Media Militia smoke image!

  15. Dzinepress says:

    awesome work there Mark. i must appreciate author as well.

  16. Bariski says:

    The moment I saw this was like wow. Thanks Arno for putting your effort in making this tutorial, splended.

    P.S. Maybe it can just me, but it would be great if in future you can also share the psd files. Keep rocking.

  17. Mark K says:

    It’s an unusual effect. Can be better though 🙂
    And wow the author is only 16yrs old!

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