Using a combination of ripple, wave, and displace filters, we shall create an effect that resembles a heat wave.
Lets start off by creating 3 displacement maps.
The first displacement map shall be used for the distortion of the overall image. The second, for the car and creation of light smoke and the third, works as an added detail.
Open the image that we will be working on. For a more precise displace distortion, it is best we examine the size of the image and create a new file base on that. Mine would be 1500 x 916 pixel.
Displacement Map 1 Create a new file, and drag a gradient.
Apply the effect twice or until you get a similar effect as below.
Go to Image > Flatten Image and save it as “displace-overall.psd”.
Displacement map 2 For my second displacement map, I’ve created a smaller file size of 375 x 230 pixel. Drag a gradient.
Go to Filter > Distort > Ripple (Amount: 999%, Ripple size: medium). Apply twice.
Next, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur: 0.5px. This is to prevent jagged distortion.
Once you are done, go to Image > Flatten Image and save it as “displace-car.psd”.
Displacement map 3 The third displacement map should be a rough one, using a combination of wave and ripple filters.
After you have dragged your gradient, go to Filter > Distort > Ripple (Amount: 600%, Ripple size: large).
Apply the effects again (Ctrl+F).
Then, apply Filter > Distort > Wave using the same settings we used earlier.
When you are done, go to Image > Flatten Image and save this as “displace-details.psd”.
Searing hot effect We are done with displacement maps for now. Lets go to our main image:
Duplicate the layer as ‘overall’. Go to Filter > Distort > Displace. Select “displace-overall.psd” and apply the settings (horizontal scale:10, vertical scale:10, stretch to fit; repeat edge pixels).
Duplicate another layer from the background layer as ‘car’ and roughly mask out the car, leaving some space for the distortion.
Go to Filter > Distort > Displace. Select “displace-car.psd” and apply the settings (horizontal scale:15 vertical scale:15 stretch to fit; repeat edge pixels). Make sure the image thumbnail is selected instead of its layer mask, otherwise only the mask will be distorted.
Duplicate a third layer from background as ‘displace-details’, and bring to top (Shift+Ctrl+]). Apply the third displacement map. Go to Filter > Distort > Displace. Select “displace-details.psd” and apply the settings (horizontal scale:10 vertical scale:10 stretch to fit repeat; edge pixels).
Clip it to ‘car’ layer so that the rough distortion can only affect the car.
Slowly mask away areas which you don’t wish to affect. I would reveal this effect around the spoiler, front wings, tyres and places on the car which I see fit.
We should have something like this now:
Smoke effect Open “displace-car.psd” and drag the layer to the main image. Duplicate this layer as ‘light’ and ‘dark’.
Light smoke effect Reveal ‘light’ layer and hide ‘dark’ layer for now.
1) Scale and rotate. 2) Warp it. 3) Access blending option, hold down alt and drag the black slider. 4) Mask away unwanted areas. 5) Set blend mode as Overlay. 6) Tone down the effect a little by dragging curves.
Dark smoke effect Reveal the ‘dark’ layer.
1) Scale and rotate. 2) Access blending option, hold down alt and drag the white slider. 3) Mask away unwanted areas. 4) Set blend mode as Multiply. 5) Brighten the effect by dragging the curves.
Add in some brightness and you should have something similar to this:
In my final picture, I’ve introduced contrast and added a warm color to it. Hope you like it.