Photoshop Tutorial: Create a Stormy Harry Potter Environment Effect

written by aext on July 26, 2010 in Others with 30 comments

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create a similar effect we see in the Introduction clip of Harry Potter Series. We will learn how to effectively use the Layer Effects (Bevel) and apply a pattern overlay to get the desired stony feel. We will do add some cloud elements; play with the background layer and the cloud filter to bring forth a stormy environment. Finally we will use the photo filter adjustment layer to add a finishing touch to the image.

We will learn to use the Level Adjustment tool and create fake rain using the right blend modes. This is quite an extensive tutorial but the end result is impressive and bold!

Tutorial Requirements:

  • Tools used: Photoshop CS4
  • Duration: 45 minutes (approx.)
  • Difficulty: Intermediate (Basic commands must be known)

Step 1

Create a new document. Set the dimensions as 1920 x 1200 or whichever fits your screen size. It is always wise to choose a bigger dimension. Once you’ve created your document, fill the background with Black color (#000000) by using the Paint Bucket Tool(G). This tool can be found on the left toolbar as shown below.

Press D to set the default background/foreground color.

Fill the background with Black color

Click to enlarge.

Step 2

Download the “free” Harry P font from Dafont. (make sure you read the license before attempting to use it). Unzip the Package and double click on the .ttf file to install the font in the Windows folder. (I’m not sure how to install fonts on a MAC).

Write any text you desire. In this tutorial, we shall use the text ‘Harry Potter and the AEXT Magazine’ for obvious reasons ;)

Set the text color to White(#FFFFFF) and adjust the font size proportionally as shown in the image below.

Add a text

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Note: Make sure the individual words are in different Text layers. This helps you to adjust and position them independently.

Now select the 4 text layers and Press ‘CTRL + G’ to group them and name this group as ‘TEXT’ in the layers palette.

Step 3

Next, we will add a few effects to one of the texts. In this case, I have chosen ‘HARRY POTTER’. Double click on that layer in the ‘TEXT’ Group to open the effects option. Click on the ‘BEVEL & EMBOSS’ to apply a bevel effect to the text. For giving a chisel (carved effect) feel to the text, we need to use a high degree of bevelling. Use the parameters shown below. You can adjust it by experimenting with the appearance and set to those values which suit you best.

Uncheck ‘Use Global Light’ to make other effects (lighting and shadows) independent of the light source used in this effect.

Check Anti-aliasing to reduce the pixelated distortion effect at higher resolutions.

Use a Gaussian Gloss contour graph from the list.

Click on ‘CONTOUR’ to apply shiny chrome feel thus adding an element of reflection to the type. Use the anti-alias filter here again.

Apply bevel effect to the text

Click to enlarge.

Step 4

Let’s add a stone like appearance to the text. If you have seen the movies, you must have noticed the stone-built castles and schools. Such an appearance gives a medieval type look which is what we are intending to achieve.

Select ‘PATTERN OVERLAY’ to add a pattern over the text. Click on the tiny arrow beside the thumbnail to select other patterns from the drop-down menu. Choose ‘FIBERS 1’ from the available list. Set the opacity levels to around 60%.

Add a stone like appearance to the text

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Step 5

Now, We continue to apply this effect to the other text layers in the group. To do this simply follow this procedure:
Select the text layer which we modified just now and right click on it and select ‘COPY LAYER STYLE’. This will copy all the effects/style previously applied on the text layer (in this case, the text we chose is ‘HARRY POTTER’).
Now, select the remaining text layers by holding CTRL and right click and select ‘PASTE LAYER STYLE’ to apply the same effect onto them. You can see the image below and follow the steps.

Copy layer style

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You can see the change in appearance of the other texts too. This is a very handy tool if you have so many similar effects to apply and in case you forgot the parameters.

Step 6

Now, add a stormy background with just the default features available in Photoshop. Create a new layer above the ‘TEXT’ group and name it “CLOUDS’. The key to getting a stormy effect is to choose the right background and foreground color combination. Let’s set the foreground color to #2b3536 and the background color to #8d9396.

Now add a Cloud filter by going to Filter>Render>Clouds.

Set the blending mode of the ‘CLOUDS’ layer to ‘OVERLAY’ and also make the ‘background’ layer invisible by clicking on the tiny eye in the layers palette. Take a look at the image below for reference.

Cloud layer

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You may also notice the text layer got a bit darker and added a little bit more depth to the image.

Step 7

As you may notice, the clouds are a bit bright (or dull in this case). So let’s adjust the Levels of the ‘CLOUDS’ layer by going to Layer>Adjustments>Levels. This will allow you to independently adjust the bright and dark areas of the image. So, move the input level sliders to match the one shown below. You can also fill in the values directly in the spaces shown.

As you move the sliders, you will notice the gradual change in the levels of the image.

Applying level

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Step 8

The words other than ‘HARRY POTTER’ seem a bit overdone. So, you can go back those text layers and adjust the bevel and contour to fit as per your satisfaction. I did some adjustment with the lighting as well.

Applying Adjustment

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Step 9

In this step, we will add some rain to the environment. Create a new layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N) and fill it with #000709. Add a noise filter by going to FILTER>NOISE>ADD NOISE. Set the distribution to ‘Gaussian’ and a ‘Monochromatic’ coloration. Add the amount of noise to around 12%.

Adding noise

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Step 10

Now, add a Motion Blur effect by going to Filter ->Blur ->Motion Blur and a add set an 18px blur at an angle of 55 degree.

Add a Motion Blur effect

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Step 11

Set the blending mode to ‘Screen’. This will make the parts (pixels) of the layer covered in black to become invisible. So, now we have a nice rainy effect. You can play around with the levels of this layer to get a darker appearance.

Rainy effect

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Step 12

Now, it is time to add some more distinct clouds. Download these cloud brushes from Qbrushes and unzip them in a folder. Create a new layer underneath the ‘TEXT’ Group and name it ‘clouds’ and put the layer in a group as we will adding several clouds in different layers. It is always better to group similar layers. This way, you can keep things organized.

Click on the newly created clouds layer and select the Brush Tool by pressing ‘B’ on your keyboard. You need to add the downloaded brushes to the default set. So, click on the tiny arrow to reveal the drop down menu and select ‘Load brushes’ and add the ones you just downloaded.

Select a few of the brushes and add them around. Play with the opacities a little. Create more layers, add a few more clouds (different ones, obviously) and vary the opacities. Finally, you must end something similar to this:

Add some more distinct clouds

Click to enlarge.

Step 13

Now to add the shiny lens flare effect. This is really one of the easiest ways to add shine to any element. Start off by creating a new layer above the ‘CLOUDS’ layer (the one created earlier) and using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, select an area and fill it with BLACK.

Add the shiny lens flare effect

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Step 14

Go to Filter -> Render -> Lens Flare and add a 105mm Prime lens flare with a brightness of around 80%. The direction doesn’t matter as we will need only the central area of the lens flare.

Shiny lens flare effect

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Now, set the blending mode to ‘Screen‘ and position the lens flare on the top of the letter P using the Move Tool. Bring down the opacity of the lens flare to around 30%. Select the ‘Eraser Tool‘ and set the hardness to 0% and erase the boundaries of the lens flare, leaving only the central light source.

Step 15

Put the lens flare layer in a group as we will be creating a couple more.

Lens flare

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Step 16

Duplicate the Lens Flare layer and throw them around the other letters. Position the lens flares at a relatively higher level as the shine appears wherever the light hits first on a 3-dimensional object. The final result must look similar to the image shown below.

Lens Flare

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Step 17

Let us make the sky even more dramatic. Duplicate the ‘CLOUDS’ layer (the one with the clouds filter) and set the blending mode to ‘Color Dodge‘. This will illuminate the brighter parts of the image such as the white ones. The end result is a more dramatic version of the sky.

Also, I made the background layer visible by clicking on the eye and set the opacity 30%. This gave it an even darker look.

The end result is a more dramatic version of the sky

Click to enlarge.

One of the most useful features in Photoshop is the ability to add Adjustment layers. These layers are nothing but pre-defined filters which are applied on to the image but will cause no harm to the pixels of the image. The underlying image remains undisturbed but the filtered output is modified. Click on the tiny circle (half black/half white) which is underneath the layers palette to open up the Adjustment Layers.

Step 18

Add a Photo Filter with Deep Yellow coloration. Let the density stay at a default 25%. You can try the other Photo Filters too. Each one gives a different look based on a specific type of environment.

Add a Photo Filter with Deep Yellow coloration

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You can stop at this point as we have created the effect we initially aimed for. I thought of adding a Vignette effect to the whole image to give an added lighting condition. If you feel the need to add it, and then go forth with this tutorial else you can stop at this point.

Step 19

Create a new document with the same dimensions of the previous one. Create a new layer and fill it with WHITE. Go to Filter -> Distort -> Lens Correction and apply a lens correction filter with the values shown below. You may experiment around with the Vignette amount by moving the slider back and forth. This allows you to add a depth to the effect.

Lens Correction

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Lens Correction

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Now, copy the layer and come back the older document (HARRY POTTER) and paste the vignette layer above all the other layers and set the Blending mode to MULTIPLY. This blending mode makes the lighter parts of the vignette layer to become invisible. You can read more about the science behind the Photoshop Blending modes here.

Harry Potter Final Image - Click to Enlarge

Click to enlarge.

I also tried to create the original GOLD bevel which is used by the HARRY POTTER movies. There is not much to worry here but to play around with the GRADIENT LAYER. Double Click on the TEXT Layers and apply these Gradients. You can also download the gold gradients to make your job easier.

Apply Gold Gradient to the text

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The final image with the golden gradient will look something like this below.

Harry Potter Final Image Gold Gradient - Click to Enlarge

Click to enlarge.

That’s it! We have learnt to create a stony BEVEL text effect and add a stormy environment to give a dramatic feeling to the eyes. You can also add a few lightning brushes to make it look even more realistic. It’s all up to you to experiment!