Create a ruined city in Photoshop

Introduction. Matting is playing an important role in today’s films. The first matte painting was made in 1907 by Norman Don and you can now see how the traditional mat painting of the time evolved from “The Wizard of Oz” to the world famous Avatar movie.

(Translator’s Note: Mat drawing (Matte Painting) is a large-scale painted image used in cinema, on television and in the production of computer games to create in the frame an illusion of the environment, which for some reason cannot be photographed in kind or reproduced using material decorations. The main task of Matte Painting specialists is to create photorealistic images, so that they are organically combined with field shooting.)

In this lesson, I’m going to show you several methods of matting, using the example of creating a landscape of a ruined city.

For the lesson we will need:

This is what should happen in the end:


(click on image to enlarge)

Step 1. Like any projects, large-scale drawn images need a pre-drawn sketch. I made such a sketch. For the convenience of working with the lesson, I numbered buildings.

Step 2. Here is a picture that fits perfectly with our sketch. Open it in Photoshop and remove the clouds using the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool).

Step 3. We need to achieve the effect of devastation, complete chaos, and with green foliage in the trees it will not work. Therefore choose Lasso Tool (Lasso Tool) and select all the green areas at the bottom of the photo (trees, grass, leaves, etc.). Install Feather Radius to 60. Then change the curves to approximately as in the example:


(click on image to enlarge)

Step 4. This step requires a little autonomy on your part. Choose which part of the building you would like to destroy. Then using Lasso Tool (Lasso Tool) select a fragment of the building. Then erase the edges using the tool Eraser (EraseTool).

Step 5. Then darken the building with the tool. Dimmer (Burn tool) with a brush of rust, the link to which is at the beginning of the lesson.

Step 6. Now we need to “gut” the buildings a bit. Let’s follow the sequence, and stick to the numbering of buildings in our outline. I found the second image from the resource list suitable for the B1 building on the sketch. Cut out part of the building.

Step 7. Now paste this piece into the matte paint and customize it to fit our building, too. Select Free Transform (FreeTransform) from the menu Editing (Edit), hold the key Ctrl and pull the corners of the transformable area so that part of the inserted building fits the perspective of our image:

Step 8. After you fit the fragment under our building, duplicate the layer and substitute it in the missing sections. It is necessary to achieve a neat connection of the fragments and fill all the gaps. Then combine these layers with a shortcut key. (Ctrl+E).

Step 9. Now configure Curves (Curves): Red 150, Green 122, Blue 95.

Step 10. Then, we will simulate the destruction with the method we used in steps 4 and 5. We will return to this layer a little later.

Step 11. Let’s proceed to the second building B2. Choose a suitable photo, I took for example Destroyed Building 2. Now, repeat the steps from the 7th step. Pay attention to the perspective, try not to mess up anything.

Step 12. Go to the exposure settings through the menu Image – Correction – Exposure (ImageAdjustments – Exposure).
Set these values:
Exposure: -0.63
Offset: +0.0061
Gamma Correction: 0.94.

Step 13. To fill the “insides” of building B2, I chose a photo of Destroyed Building 3.
Here we must keep in mind that pictures should be compared not only in perspective. Under the image you want to adjust the width and height of the floors. Try experimenting.

Step 14. Change the exposure settings again:
Exposure: -1.22
Offset: 0
Gamma-Correction: 1.00.
Then select the Burn Tool and apply a fantasy. Try to make the building look old and destroyed.

Step 15. It’s time to unleash your creativity. Do the same with the remaining buildings. Remember, the main thing is to observe the perspective and light / shadow, then you will not spoil anything. Here is a brief course of my actions:


(click on image to enlarge)

Step 16. Now let’s add some details to the first building B1.
Create a new layer, select the tool. Lasso (LassoTool) and make a selection in the form of hanging grass (see example). Fill the selection with color # 5d6e5e. Select tool again Lasso (LassoTool) and add shades to the grass with color # 3a413a.

Step 17. In any abandoned building there are broken windows, so let’s make them.
Choose a tool Brush (BrushTool) with color # 0c0deleven, and start painting windows randomly.

Step 18. Add clouds to a new layer and move it to the back.

Step 19. Select fog brushes and apply fog on the resulting image. If necessary, erase the fog in some places. The main thing – do not overdo it, the fog should not be evident and interfere.

Lesson author:Santhosh

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