Create a new layer called ‘Glare’ above the ‘Above’ layer, and use the Square Marquee tool to create a shape by making one large square, then holding Alt while using the marquee to remove chunks from the selection, then holding shift while using the tool to add more horizontal stripes over the image, setting the layer to Screen.
Use a white Linear Gradient set to 25 per cent to fill these shapes, dragging from right to left. Cmd/Ctrl + D to deselect, then apply one large gradient across a third of the image from right to left, and build it up with shorter gradients to simulate the explosion.
Hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + ~, this will select all the light parts of the image, then Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + C to copy from every visible layer. Paste between ‘Lines’ and ‘Above’, and call the new layer ‘Luminosity’. Set it to Screen and 75 per cent opacity.
To simulate the way light scatters, add a Gaussian blur of 3.6 pixels. Click the Add Layer Mask icon (the small white circle in a grey square) in the Layers palette. Drag a black linear gradient – with opacity set to 25 per cent) from left to right to tone down some of the luminosity on the left side of the image.
We want to copy just the girl now, so on the ‘Lines’ layer, click the Magic Wand outside of the girl. Hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + I to select the inverse, so that the entirety of the girl is selected. Hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + C to copy the selection on every layer, then paste it, call this new layer ‘Blur’. Select Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and apply at 692 pixels in a horizontal direction. Move this layer under ‘Skin’ layer.
Add some text to balance out the image. We used Myriad and Impact but use whatever fonts you like. Press T to select the type tool, and type away. To edit the text, you’ll need to rasterize it (Layer > Rasterize > Type). Use the square marquee to select strips across the text, Cmd/ Ctrl + X to cut, then paste and position slightly lower and left to create the effect. Cmd/Ctrl + V again, or as many times as you like, and position the shapes in various places around the text. You can also apply a light Gaussian blur to the bottom section of text. Look over the image and double-check it’s all finished... and relax!
Who: David and Sarah Cousens run Cool Surface from the South West of England. They are currently illustrating a series of books for Macmillan Publishing and producing work for a number of magazines. Their stylized art boasts a mixture of Eastern and Western influences, and has a tendency to include pretty girls. They have two pet rats in their office that are more effective at getting messy than Photoshop could ever be!
Software: Adobe Photoshop
Time to complete: 3 hours
Download: All files for this tutorial can be downloaded here or are available on the cover CD.