Creating color smoke effect is a really easy technique. In this Blog, We show you how to create a color smoke effect by playing with some colors and adjustment layers. Below are the steps on how to create a different color smoke effect and few tips to achieve the best result in Photoshop.

Click on Below Video: Colored Smoke

How to Add Color Smoke Effect in Photoshop

Adding One Color

Step 1: Duplicate the Background Layer

Open the image in Photoshop, then go to the layers palette and rename the layer by dragging it into the layer or by going to the layers menu and selecting the duplicate layer. Don’t make any changes in the original background, so if you get into the problem, you can easily start it again.

Step 2: Brighten the Smoke

To brighten the smoke effect slightly > Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to open the histogram or by clicking on the black and white circle in the layers palette. When you click on the white circle to the bottom right of the histogram and drag it to the left, the image will slightly brighten. Keep your eye on the background when you apply this as you don’t want to add too much effect so that the black effects start to disappear and white spots appear.

Step 3: Create a Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer

Next, We create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. When a new window opens, move the hue slider up or down to vary the color. For more variety, click on the colourize box and when you run the slider, you will see more color options.

Click on Below Video: How to Add Color Smoke Bomb in Photoshop


Add Rainbow Color Smoke Effect


Step 1: Add a Gradient

To add a rainbow color to the image, we add a gradient fill layer. To apply the gradient go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient. Here a new window will open. In the window, you will see you can adjust the angle, scale and style. There’s also a box called gradient which has the new gradient style in it. To change this click on it to open the gradient editor, once you are satisfied with the selection click on ok.

Step 2: Apply the Fill Gradient to the Smoke

You will see the gradient is covering the whole image. To apply it to the smoke find the drop-down menu in the layers palette that says ‘normal’, click on it and select ‘color’. Now the smoke will have the gradient applied to it. If you don’t like the colors, then double click on the fill gradient in the layers palette to bring the window up to correct it.

Change a Black Background to White

Step 1: Change The Color of the Background

To change the background color > Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Invert.

Step 2: Change The Smoke Color

It will change your background to white, but smoke may be a color you don’t want it to be. To rectify this, if you are still working on the same image, go back to the hue/saturation adjustment layer and adjust the hue until you find a color you are satisfied with. If it’s a new image then > Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and adjust it.

Click on Below Video: How to Create a Smoke / Fog Brush in Photoshop


Few Tips to Achieve the Best Result

1. Use Dark Background

White smoke looks much better on a darker background than on light one.

2. Use Good Smoke Images

Some images with smoke are not suitable for your project because the background is not black, just dark grey. So when you use screen layer mode, you will see something like ghost rectangle on every single layer copy. You can edit these resources by using adjustment layer – levels and make dark colors darker.

3. Use Different Smoke Types

The result will be more reliable.

For students who are interested to learn different color smoke effect technique in photoshop and would like to experience and practice on a more professional level, please sign up today for Arena Animation Prime Course.

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