photoshop creative

Top 10 Photoshop tips for fantasy art

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Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 17, 2013

Fantasy art uses a range of tools and techniques. Here are 5 creative secrets for this stunning genre of digital art


Use a Displacement Map and a vector mask to create a dramatic ripple effect in your artwork. Create your displacement map with the Halftone Pattern and Gaussian Blur filters, then apply it to your image to give it the desired effect. Finish up by using a layer mask to remove the effect from parts of the image.


To give your fantasy art soft, dreamlike colouring, use the Exclusion blend mode. Make a new layer and use the Paint Bucket tool (G) to fill it with a solid colour; dark shades (#002157) work best, but feel free to experiment. Set to Exclusion and adjust the Opacity.


Textures and brushes bring fantasy art to life, and you can find a lot online for free. A cloud brush or cloudy sky texture will bring dramatic flair to your art. Use Soft Light for subdued softness or Overlay for a harder, more dramatic result.


Highlight parts of your image with the help of the Overlay blend mode. First make a new layer. Now use a soft brush and a light colour to paint over the elements you wish to bring out; you can use a simple white, for instance, or experiment with shades closer to the image. Set your layer to Overlay and adjust Opacity to achieve a natural glow.


The Burn tool is an easy way to create shading and add depth to your fantasy art. Use a soft brush with low Exposure to carefully go over parts of the image you want to darken. You can restrict the tool’s operation by using the Midtones, Highlights and Shadows options.


For the next 5 essential fantasy art tips, grab Photoshop Creative’s issue 105, available from the Imagine Shop or as a digitial download. Apple users can head to the app store, click here. Android users head to Google Play, click here. Or head to