So follow along and I’ll try to share a few secrets into some of the magic, without the smoke and mirrors.
The image I found turned out perfect because of the line of direction of the main figure’s vision. He’s looking directly where we’re going to place our smoke, creating unity among our elements. How convenient!
1. The first step was to remove most of the smoke from the original image, as we’ll be bringing in our own later on.
I did this simply by taking the Clone stamp tool, shift-clicking a clean area of the background to sample, and painting over the smoke covered areas with our selected sample.
It doesn’t need to be perfect at this point, as most of it will be covered by the end anyways.
2. Next, I brought in a high contrast image of a model. Not only do the natural stark shadows and highlights of this image look good, but hey, the contrast will do half the work for us in the long run.
Using a combination of the Move and Distortion tools, I resized and situated the model right where we want her.
Then set the layer’s blend mode to “Screen“.
3. Now that we have our basic composition in place, it’s time to get to the real action.
Using the liquify tool, I smudged the edges of the figure and pulled out trails to draw a smokey effect.
I did that until I was left with a wispy looking figure.
And remember, the more work you do in this stage, the less time it’ll take to cover your overlooked areas later on.
It’s almost good to go just as is, if I do say so myself.
But since we saved time by finding excellent source pics to begin with, let’s spend our free time fine tuning this thing up.
4. Our lady could always be more smokin’. And what’s more smokin’ than, well, smoke?
Using the Lasso tool, I copied and pasted a segment from an image of actual smoke onto a new layer.
I set this layer to “Screen“, just as we did with the woman. Using the Move tool, I resized the piece to situate around our lady friend.
I repeated that step numerous times until our lady was covered entirely hiding my earlier (now hideous in comparison) attempts to freehandthe smoke entirely.
5. Now we’re getting somewhere! But I still wanted to expose a few of the highlights of the smoke a bit more. Just to give it that extra pop.
I did this by using a white brush to paint a rough outline around the figure on a new layer, then set this layer to “Overlay“.
6. Then, as a final touch, I filled the entire image in a light blue on a new layer, then set this layer to “Overlay“, and set the opacity to 25%.
Of course, this step is not 100% necessary, but it adds a little extra mood and brings the whole image together harmoniously.
And there you have it. With the magic of Photoshop, you’ve created the smokin’ woman of your dreams.