How to Create a Kick Ass Flaming Skull Scene
Final Image What You'll Be Creating
Create a new document (1400X1300px).
Fill your 'background' layer with black:
Download the 'goth' image from the resources section for this tutorial.
Paste it into the center of your canvas. There should be a black space either side of the image:
Apply a layer mask to this layer, and then use a soft, black paintbrush to mask off the man's head. The black background on the underlying layer should show through:
You'll notice at the bottom left of your 'goth' image there is a human skull on the floor.
To get rid of this, use your lasso tool to create a rough selection around the skull.
If you have Photoshop CS5 go to edit>fill>content area. This will quickly fill the area based on the surrounding data.
If you have an older version of Photoshop then use the clone stamp tool to clone out the area:
As you can see, the content-aware fill does a pretty good job at removing the skull:
If we look at the area where we masked off the goth's head, then it looks a little strange, as the area is now 100% black, whereas the surrounding wall area is varying shades of gray:
To fix this, create a layer above the main black background layer but below the masked 'goth' layer. Call this layer 'head area lighting'.
Use your eye dropper to sample colors from the surrounding background and and then use a soft paintbrush to paint over this area. It doesn't have to be perfect, as we'll be covering most of this area with images later, but just try to blend in this area with the main background a little more:
It looks a little strange how we're not seeing the inside of the man's jacket now, so we need to paint this in. Create a new layer called 'shadow neck area' and create a black area where the inside of his jacket would be:
Now paste in the 'flame' image from the resources section for this tutorial.
Position the flame so that it appears to be firing up from the man's neck, and then change it's layer blend mode to 'screen' to hide the black background: