advanced photoshop

Tutorial Preview: Build Surreal Scenes

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Magazine previews, by Adam Smith

Learn how to stitch HDR images and compose live crowd shots with 3D renders

In this tutorial you will learn all the necessary steps to re-create this photorealistic composition with its crowd photography, HDR assets and CGI render.

This image is really a collaborative effort. Matej Moravec (@gardkor on Twitter), our colleague from Silicon Jelly, brought the initial concept and the dragonfly render was created by Jan Podrouzek (, also from Silicon Jelly.

The final shot is a promotional print for the Silicon Jelly game Click and Gun ( The idea was to create a woman riding a giant dragonfly over Wenceslas Square in Prague. She is essentially doing a costume play of the character in the game and she is riding the dragonfly because the game is full of nasty bugs!

To create this image, we first created the sketch in Illustrator, followed by rough composition in 3ds Max. At 5am, we gathered a small crowd of people in Wenceslas Square, deployed a ladder and prepared our actress for the shoot. We used a Canon 450D camera with no additional lights, as we lacked both budget and time. After the shoot we modelled and rendered the dragonfly and prepared the final photo for composition.

The whole process – drawing sketch, photoshoot, postproduction, modelling CGI and rendering – was complete in about three days. The composition was finished in Photoshop CS5, using a Wacom Intuos 4. All the assets to follow this tutorial are supplied, but for the purposes of trying out this tutorial only.

Read more in Advanced Photoshop 97, on sale 14 June 2012 from and

Tutorial Preview: Build Surreal Scenes