Thanks go out to Fernando Aparicio for this tutorial. See more of his work at www.studiocapicua.com See Part 1 here.
Step 8 – Add some smoke
Select all these layers, group them and duplicate the group. Now select the Burning Forest layer on this duplicated group and add some motion blur. To do this, go to Filter>Blur/Motion Blur and set the Angle to 12º and Distance to 15px.
Open ‘Rocket Cloud and Smoke.psd’ and drop the ‘Smoke 1’ layer into your composition. Set the blending mode to Screen and Opacity to 50%. Duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J), reposition it and set the Opacity to 30%. You can do this to your own taste, and you can place as many instances of the smoke as you want.
Step 9 – Paint the fire
In this step, you will create different layers to create the fire under the helicopter. First, create a new layer and fill it with black. Set the blending mode to Screen and paint with white and a soft brush (Hardness at about 28%) and play with the opacity. Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer and create a clipping mask with the painted layer. Under the Gradient Editor, click Load and select ‘Fire.grd’ from the disc. This will turn your painted layer into fire trails.
Step 10 – Complete the fire effect
Now you will create different layers, with different blending modes and opacity, above and below the fire trails made in the previous step. This will let you re-create the burnt field under the fire trails and the smoke above them. Paint the smoke with soft brushes. For the burnt ground, you can make your own custom brush. Select the soft rounded pressure size brush from the default brush palette. Open the Brush tab (F5 or Window>Brush). Turn on Shape Dynamics at 0%, 16%, 0% and 0%, Scattering with Both Axes selected, 153% Scatter, Control Off, Count at 1, Count Jitter at 0% and Control Off, then also select Texture, Transfer, Noise and Smoothing and play with the values.
Step 11 – Burn the forest
Group all layers from the fire ground painting, duplicate the group (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and merge (Cmd/Ctrl+E). Toggle off the visibility of the grouped layers. With the merged group, go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and set the Amount to 1% and check Gaussian and Monochromatic, then go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and set the Angle at 12º and the Distance 36px. Now create a new layer above this one, fill it with black, set the blending mode to Screen and paint with white as in step 9. Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer with a Fire gradient. This time you will paint fire on the forest.
Step 12 – Add explosions
Use different explosion images. You can download countless resources from stock websites, but preferably use images with black backgrounds. Set the initial blending modes to Screen or Hard Light. You can combine different instances of the same image with different blending modes, masking them and revealing only the parts you need. Add a new layer, fill it with colour #2f2f2f and set the blending mode to Hard Light. Add a layer mask to it filled with black and paint different zones with a white, soft brush to add some darker areas.
Step 13 – Final helicopter adjustments
To finish integrating the helicopter into the scene, create some layers above the helicopter one, using it as a clipping mask. Use orange #ef8f25 to add some colour to the lower parts of the helicopter with a soft brush and set the blending mode to Normal. Use #ebcf2b to paint the upper parts. Set the layer’s blending mode to Darker Color and Opacity at 50%. Add an explosion reflection to the front of the helicopter. Set the layer mode to Screen and use the helicopter as a clipping mask.
Step 14 – Adding a second helicopter
Select and group all the helicopter layers (Cmd/Ctrl+G) and duplicate the group (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Delete all the layers from step 13 in this group copy. Select the second helicopter and resize and reposition it to a new location behind the main one (Cmd/Ctrl+T) or go to Edit>Free Transform. Move it under the main helicopter group. Merge the group, then apply Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur with a 1.3px radius. Select the Rocket Smoke layer from ‘Rocket Cloud and Smoke.psd’ and place it in your document under both helicopters in Screen mode.
Step 15 – Final adjustments and colour corrections
Now you can add some final details like random streaks with motion blur. Create Hue/Saturation, Selective Color and Levels adjustment layers above all layers until you achieve the desired look. Create a merged copy of the image, then go to Image>Adjustments>HDR Toning. Set the values to 64, 0, 52,1, 0, +73, +55, 0, 0 and +20. Place it in your document. You can use different instances with different values to enhance different parts with layer masks.