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Photoshop Pro: Create A Phoenix Rising Effect

It’s ‘a-mah-zing’ how much Adobe Photoshop can do! By applying the right techniques and steps, you can easily pick bits and pieces from one image to create a completely brand new one on its own. Guess what, that is exactly what we managed to do!

In this tutorial, we’ll teach you how to apply multiple layer duplication, transforming and warping of objects. It’s basically re-using whatever we have in order to create a solid looking phoenix coupled with flame and light ray effects.

Images used for this tutorial are:

Let’s get started, shall we?

First, examine the picture below:

  1. We will copy a portion of the rooster from the image titled ‘Rooster isolated on white background’ (image code: 5628633). Drag the blending slider so that the black portion is made transparent. Then, go ahead and flatten this layer.

  2. Next, duplicate another copy and erase the excessive areas.

  3. Duplicate a few more copies and place it on top the original copy. This is to make the texture (or feathers) look fuller.

  4. After that, you can rotate it.

  5. Feel free to add more feathers to it, if it doesn’t seem right during the first time.

  6. Lastly, warp and transform into a similar shape as displayed in the example below.

In this step, we will create the tip of the wings by using the tail or sickle part of the chicken from another image (image code: 9614094). You can refer to the image below for clarification:

Once the previous step is completed, we will merge the tip and the wing for further transforming and warping.

The wing, however, is not complete because it’s too small and it lacks a joint. So, we will make some adjustments in the following steps:

1) Place a copy of the wing on your workspace.

2) Duplicate another wing (just like in the previous step), preferably with a larger instance.

3) Then, add more feathers by copying a small portion of feathers from the wing layer.

4) Finally, warp and transform until you get a particular shape that’s similar to step (6) from the first section.

Now, we’ll create the body/torso part of the phoenix. To do so, we’ll use the similar steps – erasing and merging the relevant areas.

After that, create the talons by merging two pictures together. In this step, we will use the image titled ‘Flying bald eagle’ (image code: 11874661). Copy and mask the talons out from the original image. You can prepare the feathers to cover top part of the talons by warping the wing layer.

For the head section, you will need to pay close attention to it in order to get the accurate shape that we want.

Erase parts of the wing layer so that it resembles a lower beak of a bird.

Now, do the same with the top beak. Make sure that the feather is flowing towards the same direction. Once you’ve done that, you can sketch the inside part of the beak.

The crest is formed using the wing tip that we created and transformed earlier.

Duplicate the crest and reduce the opacity to give it a little sense of depth.

We can add more details to the beak by painting the inside part with black and coloring the nostril and beak with yellow.

When creating the eyes, you can use a white brush and apply these blending options to create a ‘Searing Light Bleed’ effect.

The neck has to be slender and this can be done by transforming the width. Then, warp and liquify that portion to get the desired shape. You can erase excessive areas, if there’s any.

Next, we’ll move on to the tail section. For this part, we’ll carry out a more extreme warp and transform effect to create an elongated tail. Do refer to the image below for a clearer explanation:

Now that we have created most parts of the phoenix, we can start to place everything together. It’ll be easier if we’ve  prepared a sketch of the phoenix that shows exactly how we want it to be. Here is the layer in accordance (from top to bottom) – Head > Talon > Body > Neck > Wings > Tail, but do note that it may differ from your own version. You’re free to design it however you want.

Once you’ve arranged it in order, merge them all together into 1 layer.

We shall add in some highlights and shadows so that it won’t look too flat and dull. The principle here is that we can create an empty layer, clip them together with the phoenix layer, and start drawing using the black and white brush – white to simulate the highlights and black to simulate shadows.

Here, we’ve used 3 layers and each of it has a different blend mode and opacity. Each blend mode brings out different types of highlights and shadows. Refer to the image below if you’re not sure what we mean:

If you’re satisfied with the result, merge them together. The next few steps will help you increase the details of the texture by applying different filters.

In our opinion, the wings don’t look very energetic so we’re going to change that. Check out the image below for a rough idea:

We can create a more intense light ray details on the wings by duplicating the wings and applying the ‘Glowing Edge’ filter. After that, duplicate this layer and change it to different sizes. It’s better to have different thickness of the line so that it doesn’t look too dull and boring. Once this is done, simply de-saturate it and change it to a ‘Color Dodge’ blend mode.

If you’re not satisfied with the eye section, you can add in more details to it as well. For example, a red eyeball with a yellow iris, depending on your preference.

The crucial part of this tutorial would be adding floating feathers around the phoenix in order to complete the image and this requires a lot of patience.

First, copy the feathers out, one by one. The feathers can be extracted from the wing layer which was prepared earlier. Then, transform it to different sizes, shapes and arrange them as you see fit. Merge them all together and duplicate a layer. Set the duplicate as ‘Linear Dodge’ blend mode to intensify the colors of feathers.

So, this is what we’ve come out with:

Then, prepare the image entitled ‘Border made of fire flames’ (image code: 7135290). We’ll need to copy out different parts of the flame to be applied on the phoenix. Do follow these series of steps in the image below:

Lastly, merge all of the effects and phoenix layer together. Feel free to add whichever background you want and prefer.

As a simple final image, we’ve transferred the phoenix on to a white background and inverted the image.

Voila… here is the final outcome of this tutorial.

Again, how awesome was that?? We started out with chickens and we managed to slowly transform it to a stunning phoenix. We sincerely hope that this tutorial helped you discover new techniques and methods. We also hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

See you in the next one!

P/S: Click on the image for a larger view 🙂

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