Create Realistic Smoke
Note: This tutorial was done using Adobe Photoshop CS
This character’s name is Harvie Krumpet from www.harviekrumpet.com. Images used here are Copyright © of Adam Elliot/Melodrama Pictures
Download this image and open it in Photoshop. Create a new layer above the image and call it Smoke.
Set your Foreground and Background colors to Black & White respectively. Just press "D" for a quick set.
While your Smoke layer is selected go to Filter > Render > Clouds and get an effect as close as to this one, if you got a different one that is okay. Just press Ctrl+F to repeat the last performed Filter (Clouds filter in this case) until you get the desired effect.
Now still Smoke layer selected, click on the Add a Layer Style button and choose Blending Options.
In the Blending Options window locate the gradient bar, while holding the Alt key in your keyboard click in the middle inside the first gradient bar. After you click you should be able to see that the triangle slider has just split into two. Now hold and drag the slider towards the white area (to the right), while you are dragging this you should be able to see that black parts of your clouds are disappearing from the layer. Stop the slider towards the end, you need to decide yourself where to stop. Mine was around 0/180 (this can be seen from the highlighted area in the circle). Click OK once you are done.
Click here to see the whole Blending Options window.
Now your image should look close to this. You need to select the Erase tool with 10% Opacity and start erasing off the unwanted areas. Try to get rid of the smoke from the lower parts of the image.
Lastly to make the smoke more realistic we will change the Smoke Levels by going to Image > Adjustments > Levels. Move the right slider (white triangle) to the left, and middle slider (gray triangle) to the right a bit. You need to experiment a little bit to get the desired effect. As you see below my settings for Input Levels were 0 – 0.57 – 193.
That was it. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions.