Yesterday I was working on a composition in Photoshop cutting an aircraft and putting it on a landscape, than I thought How could I make this picture more dynamic?
Adding a trail!

So here I did this experiment with some of the things that I like most: Futurama and London, using paths in Photoshop.planet_express_london

If you would like to try yourself, here I will tell you how to do that with your own pictures.

1 – After cutting the spaceship from the background and putting it on a different layer, draw the path of the trail using the Pen Tool.

2 – Make a new layer.

3 -Select the brush you want to use for your trail, the color and the opacity. For my trail I used 3 sizes of an irregular brush to simulate the smoke, White as the foreground color and Opacity 90%.

4 – Go to the PATHS palette and select the Path label. Right click it and choose the brush from the menu. Now your path has a stroke with the brush you selected previously.

5 – Make a new layer, make the last one invisible and repeat twice all the passages changing the size of the brush.

6 – Make a mask on smoke layer and cancel the smoke behind the tower. Also, progressively cancel the big size smoke when it is far away, to simulate distance, and do the opposite with the small sized smoke when it is close by, in order to keep your picture clean.

7 – Select another brush to simulate the fire. DO exactly what you did before. Use a brush with some blur (or add some blur later). I used a brush 50 for the yellow and a 25 for the red (each one in a new layer).

8 – Make a mask for each layer and cancel the useless parts.

9 – Finally, make a new layer and make a new stroke using the same brush and color you used the first time, with Opacity 80%. This helps making things a bit messier and look more realistic.

10 – For the reactors, make a new layer between the spaceship and the trail, selecting a small brush with a large blur. Starting with white to simulate the smoke, draw a circle.

11 – Select yellow and make the brush smaller to color this time the fire coming out of each reactor. Do the same thing, with a smaller brush, with red.

And this is it! I liked this effect: simple and fun.



This is the result of a challenge I took with myself: I watched an episode of Futurama paying attention to as many details as possible, and then I drew Fry just using my memory.

Although he’s not exactly as the original one, I’m happy with the result, and I think the most of you will recognize him at first glance.

I think it’s a good exercise to improve your skills as an Illustrator, and definitely a fun one.