Clouds of Giants - Step-by-step guide

guide tutorial photoshop

Until I can integrate the old pages to the new system, this will be first valuable content on this site. For those who finds this page from Behance, there's no need to explain what this post is all about, but if you came straight from the site, I suggest you to visit this page first. For those who just looking for the download link, [Here it is!] Let's jump right into it.

Step 1

Create a document as large as you want, the bigger the better. It is advised to make at least a 4K size, because the result will look better if you create a big one and then downscale it, rather than creating it in the size you actually need it. In my example we start with an 8K version.

Step 2

Go to Filter > Render > Fiber... This will give us a nice base to work with. I recommend the Variance = 6 and Strenght = 1 settings because then you will get smoother lines and better looking clouds in the end, but you can go with whatever you want, we won't do a brain surgery with it.

Step 3

Go to Filter > Liquify... Here we are going to give those clouds shapes and curves. You can go wild, get a large brush, I went around 7000 but whatever is your taste.

Step 4

Yes, you guessed it. Go to Filters. But this time select Blur > Gaussian Blur. This will define how detailed our cloud will going to be. If you go with bigger radius, you will get bigger patches, but if you decide to go smaller, it's also fine. This time I go with 60px.

Step 5

Here comes the 'magic'. Go to Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map... Make sure you checked 'Dither' and click on the drop-down to get to the gradient editor. At the 'Gradient type' menu, select 'Noise'. I usually set the 'Roughness' between 50% and 75%, but it's also depends on your taste. Set your sliders and randomize the noise until you find the one which satisfies you the most. I usually save those as well.

Step 6

Oh hell yeah, now it looks way better. At this point you can call for a day, but you can also go further and smoothen it with gradients. Create a new layer above, fill it up with a random color and go to 'Blending options'. Set 'Fill opacity' to zero, and add a 'Gradient overlay'. Change the gradient to a black-to-transparent style, set the 'Blend mode' to 'Multiply', then find a good angle, I set it to 40 degrees. Right after, add another gradient on top, and do nothing but set it's blend mode to 'Linear Light'. Set it's opacity around 8%, or whatever you taste likes, then press OK.

Step 7

You can give it an extra spin, and add a surface-scattering like effect to it by adding another layer among the the existing layers. Fill it up as before and open it's blend options. Drop it's fill opacity to zero again, and add a gradient, it's time set the 'Blend mode' to 'Luminousity'. Make a gradient with visible on one end and transparent on the other and set it's color to a bright color, this time I use an orange-ish yellow. Set it's opacity to the level you find appealing, mine goes 75% this time. Keep the angle and check 'Reverse'. If you want, you can also play with it's position and scale. Once you like the result, press OK an merge the layers.

So that's it. This takes around 5 minutes and you can use these images as wallpapers, backgrounds or as design elements, you name it. You can download the sample images here in 8K. Enjoy!

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