Improving My Cosplay Photoshop Part 5

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Round 5, and I decided to go back to one of my “roots of epic”. Fire. Yes, it seems innocently easy enough to just paste a fire stock photo, and change the blend mode to “screen”. But to take it to an entirely different “godly” level, it takes a whole lot more.

So I went all around the Internet, studying how the grand masters cook their epic eye meals. I came to a simple conclusion – blending fire works much better with a dark background. Sometimes even much better when the entire background is a clean black.

Thus for my experiment, I started with a clean black background. Yes, I decided to “cook” my background from nothingness. Wasn’t so hard when you have a good stock image, thumbs up to FrostBo on DeviantArt for the awesome resources.

Next stop, to look for a poor sod willing to be my test subject. I figured no human wants to be part of my noob experiment, so I just grabbed this chicken off Pixabay. Sorry chicken, RIP. So after some simple extraction and blending, we get a semi-epic chicken.

Normally, I would have thought that at this stage, it is pretty decent. But after much spying on the masters, I learnt that adding more spices can do so much more good… but it is also an art to how you pepper the existing blending without burning it.

My usual hunch again, will be to add sparks. Time to look for stock photos for sparks… which then I realized, the masters used something else to substitute sparks – fireworks. Also, they don’t just paste, set the blend mode. They add depth to the entire picture by blurring the sparks.

There, the sparks totally transformed the feel and added so much more epic to it. Then comes my semi final part of balancing out the colors and stuff. Fire should cast an orange / red tint, and so I did, plus a small “s-curve” did the magic of contrast.

To finish off this chicken, I gave it a fatality skill of fire breathing. Well, maybe some dodging / burning will add even more realism to it, but I was lazy and concluded things here. May the chicken come to theaters soon.


For the next experiment, I wanted to try out water blending. Always wanted to, but somehow always failed to make awesome water effects. For this one, I followed several “water splash” tutorials, much like those splash effects you find in commercials. It actually works pretty much the same as fire, and requires a dark background for “maximum effect”.

Found another chicken on Pixabay to torture. Did some extraction and color adjustments. I know it’s not 100% clean extraction, but the water effects will cover over it.

Well, I expected a lot of blending work and magic at this stage. But there really isn’t much except to find good water splash brushes, and “brute force” yoga them into epic looking chicken.

Add a few finishing touches, and I am done. Suprisingly not really difficult, but just time consuming.

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