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Photoshop tutorials 

Fire Dragon - making of

Well the process of designing Fire Dragon wallpaper is not full of interesting tips and tricks. It was actually 24 hours of drawing with brushes of different sizes and colors. As always, to start, we need background. Set foreground to dark red, background to black. Select Gradient tool, choose Radial type, fill the document dragging the mouse from bottom to top of image.

The mountains in the background are very easy to  do - they are simply black shapes made with Pen tool. So, take a Pen tool and make a shape :-)

Create new layer, take soft brush tool, set color to lighter red, and make strokes as shown here, touching the edge of mountain.

Create clipping mask (from Layers menu). The mountain is ready.

The same way, create as many mountains as you'd like.

The dragon itself consists of 2 parts: soft brushes and hard brushes (outlines). Without many comments, let me show you soft brushes, layer by layer. Start with dark red very large soft brush (you can apply Gaussian Blur as well), and with each new layer, make brush smaller, make color lighter and move it from red to yellow.

Next layer...

Next layer...

Next layer...

Next layer...

Next layer...

Finally, here goes real Photoshop trick! The soft brushes are good for background colors, and hard brushes are good for outlines, but neither are good enough to draw fire. I tried using my tablet pressing hard brush gently, but I ended up with dragon made of fur, not fire :-) So  I started playing with changing settings of default Photoshop brushes. Finally, I achieved something that satisfied me (I realize it  is not perfect but drawing fire takes a lot of skills, I  am only starting my way to it). You can download tool preset and try this brush yourself. DOWNLOAD TOOL PRESET.

Using this brush, make some strokes around the edges of dragon... (on this image, I show only this layer on black background, so you can better see how this brush looks)

And then set layer mode to Overlay, and duplicate layer. This is the result, shown with all layers visible.

Next trick is usually used in tutorials like Make your own Aqua OSX wallpaper! But I found I wanted this effect here too. Set color to grey (HEX 808080). With pen tool, create a shape of dragon.

Set layer mode to Overlay. Because layer is grey, it will become invisible - do not worry! :-) Create new layer, and with black and white large soft brushes, put some dots here and there.

Then, Create clipping mask (from layer menu). Magically, the brush is masked by vector layer, and inherited overlay!

You can repeat the same steps to create additional curve inside wings.

And, use the same technique to make dragon head (or, unlike me, you could do  it on previous step! That would be wiser :-)

This is how the head looks when I set shape layer mode to Overlay, then add black and white brush dots, and create clipping mask.

Use Pen tool to add white eye, then set its layer mode to Overlay too.

Here goes most fun and time-consuming part: outlines. For next steps below, I made outlines with small hard white brush, then set layer mode to Overlay.

This is how it looks with layer mode = overlay...

next layer... hitting my tablet with pen a lot :-)

setting layer mode to overlay...

next layer...

setting layer mode to overlay...

Next step - volcano. As with previous mountains, set color to black, and use Pen tool to make a shape of  a mountain.

In new layer, use large soft brushes (from dark red to gold) to fill mountain with color. Create clipping mask (from layer menu). Apply gaussian blur if needed.

Add lava in the same way as with dragon wings - with small white hard brush.

You guessed it right! set layer mode to overlay :-)

The final touch is clouds above the volcano (to tell the truth, I added clouds to hide transition between volcano and dragon :-) I was not happy with it). Create new document, with width twice more than height. set foreground to white and background to black. Then apply Clouds filter (Filters menu - Render).

select central part of image, as shown here. Transform (Ctrl-T), holding Alt key, and stretch selection to fill entire document.

(like this)

Enable Quick Mask (Q key), apply Clouds filter again, disable Quick Mask (Q key again). You should get selection similar to this.

Fill selection with black color (simply hit Ctrl-Backspace for that). Then, set Auto Levels (Ctrl-Shift-L).

Do that again - enable quick mask, apply Clouds filter, disable quick mask, fill selection with black, set auto levels (or, in shortcuts - Q, Ctrl-F, Q, Ctrl-Backspace, Ctrl-Shift-F).

Now we need to remove black from this image. To  do so, select all (Ctrl-A), copy (Ctrl-C), enable quick mask (Q), paste (Ctrl-V), disabled quick mask (Q). Note how white parts are selected.

Invert selection (Ctrl-Shift-I) and delete (Del). Then open Hue/Saturation window (Ctrl-U), and set lightness to 100. You should get white clouds on transparent background.

Copy and paste clouds into our artwork.

switch to Eraser tool (E). select very large soft brush, and erase edges of clouds layer, so that clouds start to actually look like clouds.

Open Hue/Saturation window again (Ctrl-U). set lightness to -40 .. -50, saturation to 80..90. Then play with Hue to get vivid red clouds.

Repeat all steps to create another layer with clouds (only, do not make them red this time).

Then add another layer with clouds, and another one :-) That's all! Thanks for reading!

← Diving - making of Wave texture background →

Comments 94

Igor · 15 March 2008
Я потрясен. На самом деле так все просто это выглядит сделать, но не просто. Тоже хочу освоить фотошоп, но по тому материалу, что существует в сети, это будет долгая работа, а времени на все это нет :(

beyonda · 17 March 2008

Spirit · 17 March 2008

george · 19 March 2008

aLes · 21 March 2008
нет слов как красиво!!!! у меня пока не палучается так...

Dgo · 25 March 2008
¡¡¡Increíble!!! :-O

Evelyn · 28 March 2008
Holy s***!!! SUPERB!!!!!!!!!!!!

AD · 28 March 2008
Good work. To draw some of that things you might be wery patious, isn't it? To Рустем: "Фотожаб для чайников" на русском :-)

Boonbun · 31 March 2008

honz@ · 1 April 2008
The best digital artist I've ever seen! Man, your work is awesome!!!

hound7 · 7 April 2008
Es muy inspirador, dan ganas de hacer algo parecido. Sigue asi! Keep Up the good Work!

mau · 10 April 2008
very very nice job thank you very much!

Caravaggio · 27 April 2008
complimenti veramente ben fatto!

masrizal · 3 May 2008
Jangkrik...that's amazing mas vlad

Rashif · 11 May 2008
woow What a idea?

Sunbone · 13 May 2008
Awazing peice of master It ten times better than LA LA BEINS ART!!!

WM Leung · 19 May 2008
Thanks for your sharing! It really needs lot of patient to make such a wonderful drawing!!! Hope I can have some progress...

Sylvia · 25 May 2008
Hey! something happen with comments in your last post, I could't post a comment...maybe thats why that post dont have any comment!...well. anyway, it is so useful...thanks again, and again, and again, for share your time and talent with us!

keisuke · 9 June 2008
amazing!! I love your works. Thanks for tips

AgreSir · 16 June 2008
O_o Wow you done really great job. Keep doing the best :)

mria48 · 1 July 2008
this so so cool!! i lov it when you scrool down really fast it looks really cool!!!!!!! lol

Gearspec · 21 August 2008
Now , that renders as awsomeness. You are da bes.....Your tutorials are easy to follow. Thanks for allowing is average pepople learn a bit.

Marcelo · 18 September 2008
Carái!!! Véio, du carái!!!

Cyrus · 19 November 2008
amazing art wiv tha outlines nice one!!

Norik · 28 November 2008
WOW Thats all I have to say I wonder how this tutorial would look like in illustrator :D

gaga · 10 February 2009
you're defenetly inspirering - thank you for that !

KaZaC · 10 April 2009
ok u are rly good.. but i cant understand all thing u do.. im not so good at photoshop but i can little. but i maybe under stand 20% of that... maybe a video have been better?

Loren · 1 June 2009
OMG!!! Wonderful work

· 21 July 2009
great thanks a lot for this who had created this from Arun Bangalore.

Nicole · 24 September 2009
i eat peanut butter off my toes

aliyan · 30 November 2009
good job

Yury Kerekesh · 10 December 2009
Влад, хорошая работа! Если не секрет, какой используете планшет?

manuel · 14 January 2010
best digital artist i know. I like your genial ideas

· 19 January 2010
oh my very good

Aditya Varma P · 19 February 2010
I must say, Wow...!

PAVAN · 23 February 2010
EXCELENT YAR..................

· 3 May 2010

fai · 15 June 2010

Dexter · 26 July 2010
Uber cool . :| !

Sri · 14 August 2010
super work...cooool...

· 20 November 2010

· 17 December 2010
wowwwwwww. well....Great work......

asmaillahi · 22 January 2011

· 3 August 2011

· 6 October 2011

· 8 February 2012
i Loooooooove it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nia@ · 28 May 2013
!!!AWESOME!!! · 16 March 2008
Amazing are definitely one of my favourite digital artists and I don't say this to just anybody!

Robin.H · 17 March 2008
super good job~

Kareem Khazem · 17 March 2008
Very, very skilful. Amazing how cool overlay looks on the scales :)

Unkle · 17 March 2008
Very impressive ! To me it appears you know -exactly- what you're doing, it is very inspiring :o) Keep up the good work!

Jerry · 19 March 2008
Круто! И что интересно - практически без фильтров. Это больше всего поражает :)

Рустем · 21 March 2008
а по русски будут уроки?

misho · 26 March 2008

Moe J. · 28 March 2008
Great work, superb artwork and thank you for sharing the tips.

Qaddira · 29 March 2008
awesome dude

semay · 31 March 2008
İnanılmaz! Harika bir iş.

indirita jones · 4 April 2008
The only word i can say is WOW! you're an amazing digital artist! you really inspire me!

vector · 6 April 2008
Vlad - What a wonderful way to learn this is. Thank you very, very much.

zxxxy · 10 April 2008
omg. this is so cool to know how do people do such cool wallpapers!!

muhammad · 26 April 2008
i enjoy it. very nice

Jessel · 30 April 2008
Hey Vlad, I'm a big fane of your site. I have a lot of your wallpapers on my iPod and I just want to say that I really admire your patience and quality of work. If you want, you could check out my YouTube @ I don't know if this is readable, it looks like people post their comment in other languages. Thanks, Jessel 8)

Chinx · 23 May 2008
GA- AMAZING I could not come thy close to doing somthing like Measin. Peice of Art my friend!

akaan57 · 4 June 2008
Incredible picture, impossible draw... :D

lineguides · 12 June 2008
wuaoo^^ it's very beatiful

Richi_Ric · 16 June 2008
Superb....... Amazing............ :)

shearyadi · 11 July 2008
Now this is quality tutorial!

jjg · 14 July 2008
no joas... yo a esto lo veo verde... ta dificil!

mehdi · 14 September 2008

pear · 15 September 2008
amazing job

aneesh · 19 November 2008
very nice

Diana · 23 November 2008
WHOOOA holy snickerdoodles! you did an amazing job, truly and honestly i never even thought you could do such a thing just on photoshop

man · 26 January 2009
waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh chapeau !

the_psycho · 15 March 2009
good work vlad, keep up!

mansour · 30 March 2009
thanx alot man we love you .

Imagine Programming · 25 May 2009
Very nice, I was wondering how you made this wallpaper when i downloaded it. Just now i found this, and i'm really impressed!

vijiraj · 2 June 2009
rocket man

PS-Newbie · 13 September 2009
so amazing! omg!

· 7 October 2009
the tutorial is very good I need a cours what you are going to do for me

XXX · 29 December 2009

HANAAN · 2 January 2010
The best Graphic designer that i sawed forever in my Designing Life. However wish you a great designing route.

mario · 30 January 2010
excelente saludos desde mexico Excellent greetings from Mexico

Nugi · 23 February 2010
too bright!

Nahum Vasquez · 23 April 2010
Increible, eres un experto, excelente trabajo y excelente pagina, una de las mejores que he visto.

Lalit Thakur · 15 June 2010
Nice Work Man Be continue...

· 16 June 2010

VioLine · 3 August 2010

Casper · 22 September 2010
Marvelous Job !!!

· 26 November 2010
WOW REALLY GOOD! awesome hob man, i admire your work!!! thx for a dragon ;D

· 29 April 2011
hi i am sadddam

Moe Thet · 30 May 2011
How to download this tutorials? Pl, Thanx

Avril · 10 October 2011

some random idiot · 11 May 2012

J. · 29 December 2013
You are Best

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