It doesn’t take much to make a great looking piece if you have a strong initial concept and some nifty tricks to cover the technical side. In this tutorial Arturas Petkevicius shows you quick and easy techniques ranging from the Warp tool to clipping masks and adjustment layers to create a stunning final image.

While the techniques seem simple at first glance they offer many opportunities: you can use them to create a sense of movement in your composition, to create realistic effects and textures, or to add a specific sense of colour to your final composition. Best of all, these techniques are flexible and easy to learn. 

Arturas has provided a self-shot photo that forms the basis of this tutorial. You can find this in our Download Zone.

Step 1 First we will need to find the right image to work with. Try getting an image that has some sort of a story in it, this always adds to the effect. I’ve used a photo that I shot, which you can find in the Download Zone if you want to follow this completely, or you can use one of your own. Mask it out with the Pen tool in Photoshop – although I also used Vertus’ Fluid Mask 3 plug-in to make the job easier.

Step 2 Download Falln-Stock’s Smoke Brushes sets from and Use them to add smoke to the left side of the photo. Erase parts of the legs and add smoke in-between for a more dynamic effect. Use the Brushes window (F5) to adjust the angle of the brush stroke to fit with the flow of the photo.