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Smokey Dispersion Effect in Photoshop

Thanks to

Shirin Tank Photography for this lovely base image, i applied a Smokey Dispersion Effect and created this step by step video and written tutorial to show you how.

Step 1 – Preparing our image

If you already have a .PNG or transparent background image then just drag and drop into Photoshop, hit Ctrl & J to make a duplicate then skip to step 2. Drag and drop the image you are going to use into Photoshop and press Ctrl & J to make a duplicate and select the Quick Selection Tool. Make a selection of image you are applying the smoke dispersion and select Refine Edge to refine the selection. If you are unsure of how to use the Quick Selection Tool then watch the tutorial to the right then right click on the newly formed layer and select flatten image & move on to step 2.

Step 2 – Creating the Smoke Dispersion Effect

Create two duplicates by pressing Ctrl & J, now the top layer will be our front image. select the middle layer and hit Ctrl & T for transform and drag it in the direction you are trying to apply the smokey dispersion to. You can stretch and warp the image by simply re sizing in transform or you can choose filter, liquify and warp the image in the direction of dispersion by using a large brush. Apply the same principles to the back layer to warp the images and create the basis of our smokey dispersion effect.

Step 3 – Masking In & Out Our Dispersion Effect

Add a layer mask on all of the three layers, select the back layer then hit Ctrl & I to invert the layer and make it disappear. Apply the same technique to the middle layer so now you should only see the front layer. Click on the front layer mask and select Black. Use the brush tool and a smokey brush (available to download here) to take away parts you want to disappear into dispersion. Click on the Middle Layer Mask and select White. Use the brush tool and a smokey brush to add as dispersion the middle layer. Use black to take away. TIP: use as many different brushes as possible to make the smoke look natural, select window, brush to open the brush panel and play around with the brush tip shape and other settings depending on how much time you want to spend on the project. Apply the same method to the back layer to finish of off our dispersion effect in Photoshop!

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