Last year I had written a tutorial showing how to create some lighting effects in Photoshop, it was called Magic Lighting Effects. A lot of people liked it, but some people still have some questions on how to achieve that effect. When I added a “buy me a coffee” featured on my blog I decided to use an image I had done when I was showing my cousin how to do the Magic effect. Instead of using a hat I used a coffee cup and the process is basically the same, however this time I will explain it in more details. Step 1 Create a new document, apply a Layer Style on the background layer. Add a Gradient Overlay and a Pattern Overlay. Step 2 Here I've used an icon I found on a cool site, but you can use whatever you want. Step 3 Select the Ellipse Tool (U) and create a shape like I did. After that apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) with radius of 30px. Step 4 Create a new Folder name it “Light Effects”. Change its blend mode to Color Dodge, and move the ellipse you created to this folder. Step 5 In order to create the sparks we will use the amazing brush engine. Add a new layer, inside the “Light Effects” layer, set white for the color and follow the images below. Step 6 Using the Layer Styles add a Outer Glow to the sparks Step 7 Lets add some smoke. Create a new Layer, call it “Smoke”. Change its blend mode to Color Dodge and select the Lasso Tool. Set 40px for Feather and create a selection like I did below. After that make sure that the foreground is white and the background is black and apply a Filter>Render>Clouds. Tip: Continue applying the filter until you get the best clouds. Step 8 Add some text and using the Layer Styles again lets create a nice effect. Step 9 Place your logo and you can even add more effects like I did on the Magic Lighting Effect, but then you will have to follow that tutorial ;). Conclusion I have to say, if you know a bit of Layer Styles and the Brush engine in Photoshop you will be able to create amazing effects. It will depend exclusively on your imagination and playing with the tool. Sometimes just changing a some settings and you get a totally different effect. The PSD file used in this tutorial can be downloaded here.
One of the best features in Photoshop is the Layer Styles. We can create all sorts of effects only using it, you can create, Plastic, Glass, Aqua, Ice, Metals, and many more. Last week I was talking to a friend of mine and he told me that he needed to create a gold effect in Photoshop. He tried to find a good tutorial online but he said he didnt find any. I'm pretty sure that there are good tutorials showing how to do that, however I created my own Gold Style. Now I'm writing a tutorial showing how to do that. It will probably be published at PSDTUTS.com, but you can take a look at the end result below. Desktop Version iPhone Version
Back from the New Year’s eve, I bit of hangover, I’d like to wish you all an excellent 2008. And celebrating the new year I created this new image that I will write a tutorial showing how to create clouds in Photoshop. They are not simply clouds, they are more a cartoon clouds, very colorful and stylish. The same I saw on another fantastic Nik Ainley’s work he did to Adobe and it’s on his website. You can get the wallpapers below. Desktop Version iPhone Version
One of the design styles I like the most is that with vintage images collages, mixed with handwritten texts, stains, spots, and tons of dirty things. It's fantastic the crazy things they come up with, like a person with a bird's head and stuff like that. So that's what I want to show on this post, some examples of this sort of work. There are excellent designers that we can consider masters on this subject. One of them in particular is a brazilian called Eduardo Recife. His work is fantastic and it’s totally worth checking his website out. Besides of that, you can find excellent images on Flickr, there are amazing groups where they are always updating with new works and experiments.
Celebrating the Abduzeedo's first anniversary, I have an interview with Justin Maller, one of the 10 Photoshop Masters I listed a long time ago in an article here on this blog. Justin Maller is a freelance graphic artist based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been creating digital art for over seven years, and has been producing professionally for the last 24 months. In July 2007 he released his first Solo Exhibition, which opened to a warm reception in Windsor, Australia. Justing is also the Creative Director of depthCORE, a world renowned international digital art collective established in june 2002. More information about Justin on his website at http://www.superlover.com.au/ 1- First I'd like to say that I really like your work, it's absolutely fantastic. Now tell me a bit of how did you start and discover that you wanted be a designer? Thank you kindly. I came upon this quite by accident really. I started messing around with scanned photographs in Photoshop back in 1998, and it all kind of snowballed. Art slowly became my primary hobby, depthCORE sprang up and flourished in 2002, but it wasn't really until early 2006 that I considered the possibility of any kind of professional career, when I started getting a little bit of attention outside the community scene and my first batch of jobs came in. Everything has just been very natural and organic since; my skills kind of developed in line with the work I was being commissioned to produce, and everything has kind of culminated in the last year or so. I've spent the bulk of this year freelancing fulltime, which was both a terrifying and joyous process. I recently accepted a role as an art director for a Melbourne based new media company, and I'm just starting to come to grips with the possibilities and opportunities that lay ahead. 2- Tell us about the apps you use? How long have you been using them? Photoshop is my main weapon, and I'm approaching ten years with the application. I'm 100% self taught; back when I began I didn't even have the internet, and there sure as shit weren't any magazines devoted to the subject, so the only way to learn was to experiment and work things out for myself. It still half amuses half annoys me that I managed to make a reasonable living writing tutorials for people who were unwilling or simply too lazy to devote the time it takes to learn for themselves. Aside from that, I've been using Bryce as a render and texture device for five years, and Cinema 4D for three, although my 3D skills don't really extend far beyond making my funky shapes! 3- What about your hardware? I have two computers, and both could really use an upgrade or two. Processor wise they are both quite good; one is a dualcore AMD 3.0Ghz, and the other a quadcore Zeon 2.66 Ghz, but both only have around 1 GB of memory – something I need to rectify immediately! It does go to show though; your capabilities are not restricted by the quality or amount of hardware under the hood, only by the quality or amount of imagination fueling the engine. 4- Tell us a bit of your career? Favorite project you worked on? Toughest project? My favourite projects have all been personal ones, such as the photo based series of collaborations I completed with Holly Bynoe from hbynoe.com or the illustrative set I did with Von from hellovon.com. Working with such talented artists from other disciplines is inspirational and motivating; it is the reason I do what I do. It makes me want to be better in every respect, and make me want to seek out new techniques and methods. It is also what sees me through the tough projects that every freelancer endures. Many will know what I mean, the client who has the smallest budget is the one who demands the most changes. I don't want to point fingers really, but there have been a couple of gigs where I would have made more money working at McDonald's than I did completing the job. It's frustrating, but occasionally unavoidable. 5- How do you come up with those amazing ideas and effects? Tips on how to create those effects? My creative process changes from piece to piece. Sometimes I will know exactly what look and effect I want to achieve before I even open Photoshop; other times I just experiment and let the ideas come to me. I think the main reason the effects I produce are somewhat unusual is that I am constantly trying to find new aesthetics and create pieces with different feels. Repetition is a good way to perfect a craft, but ultimately it gets boring, and without meaning to I seek different creative pastures. There are no tips on how to do this really; sit, play, experiment. Enjoy what you do, or else don't bother. 6- Who are the designers you like and inspire you? And the sites you visit to get inspiration, I'd really like to know ;) Being the Creative Director of the depthCORE.com collective provides me with all the inspiration one man can handle. A lot of people check portals and blogs daily to get fresh doses of inspiration; I just talk with my friends and watch the packs develop. It's honestly all I need; these guys are just amazing. For the sake of giving you a link or two to post, Theo Aartsma from sumeco.net just updated, and his work blows my mind. Jerico from www.jericosantander.com is another guy whose work is just bafflingly amazing, as is David Fuhrer of microbot.ch and Pawel Nolbert from hellocolor.com. All these guys call dC home though, so as I said, there's no other place out there for me! 7- Thanks for the opportunity to talk to one of the Photoshop Masters. Last question, Any advice for designers out there, who, like me are willing to improve their skills and become a master? Ask yourself honestly; is this what you love to do? Every day I wake up and can't believe that I get to go to work and make art all day long. It's even more amazing to me that I get paid for it; I'd be doing this with or without a paycheck – I'd find a way to support myself. If you're in this to be part of a scene or as a famewhore, the results will show in your work. True passion requires no effort, and no conscious thought. If you have it, you don't need advice from me. Your passion will give you patience, and your patience will give you skills. The answers lie within, grasshopper. Some works from his website
December is here, another year is ending and nothing better than creating a Christmas desktop wallpaper using Photoshop to celebrate that right? Well, maybe not. Anyways I created this image using paths, the brush engine and layer styles in Photoshop. Besides that, I used some amazing Christmas Icons I found online at http://www.iconarchive.com/category/christmas-icons.html The step-by-step tutorial will be posted soon at psdtuts.com, but below you can see and download the wallpaper in a 1440x900 version and the iPhone version. 1440x900 version iPhone Version
The last tutorial I wrote for the psdtuts.com was about how to mock up a business card using the Vanishing Point Filter in Photoshop. However some people asked me how they could do that without using that filter, or using other tools like GIMP, Pixelmator, and others. So that's exactly what I will in this tutorial. Instead of using the Vanish Point filter we will find the vanishing points and create the perspective. Step 1 First we choose something to be our background for the work, in my case, I chose a wooden table I have in my office. After that get a business card or a square piece of paper to use as reference and take a picture. Without moving the camera, get rid of the piece of paper and take another picture. Step 2 Open your photos in Photoshop and place them in 2 layers. Now lets make our Canvas Size much bigger, we do this to utilize our guides. Step 3 Here we will find the vanishing points (what is that?). They will be necessary to create a convincing perspective to our folder. Using the Line Tool (U) draw lines following the edges of our reference, like the photo below. The one from the left side and the one from the right side all the way up until they crossed each other. Repeat the same for the one on the top and on the bottom. Step 4 Now that you have the 2 vanishing points, we can place our object anywhere with the right perspective. However I first created a rectangle, with the Rectangle Tool (U), to find the best place for my folder on the grid. To do that use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the vertices of our rectangle. Step 5 Repeating basically the same actions for the Step 4, lets place the other side of our folder. Step 6 Here we will use the real images of our folder. Paste the images in new layers Using the Distort tool (Edit>Transform Path>Distort) just move the vertices to the same position as the rectangle we used as reference. Repeat that for the other side of the folder. Step 7 To make our folder more real we will use the Layer Styles. Lets add some Drop Shadows and a Pattern Overlay to the front side of the folder. Clicking with the right button of the mouse on the layer, copy the layer style and paste it to the other side of the folder's layer. Step 8 Select the one of our sides, duplicate the layer and convert it to Smart Objects. Add a Gaussian Blur (Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur). If you are not using the CS3 version just forget about converting to Smart Objects. Now just change the Blending Mode to Lighten. Repeat the same steps for the other image. Step 9 Lets organize our document. Try to use layer names that you will remember and group them in folders. After that select everything, but the guides, group them again and name it "content". Duplicate the group an and convert it to Smart Objects. Step 10 Here we will add some Depth of Field (DOF) to our image. With our Content Smart Objected selected, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M). Change the Feather Options to 80px and Anti-alias. Create a elliptical selection like the one I did. Invert the selection (Select>Inverse). Now Apply a Gaussian Blur again. We will notice that this will create that distance focus effect, everything gets blurry the further they get from the focal point. Step 11 Add a Noise (Filter>Noise>Add Noise) to make it a bit darker. Conclusion Even though we sort of applied a perspective, I want to say that it's not a totally real perspective. The idea here is to create a better look for our images using only Photoshop. So we will have to trust in our eyes. Observe the photo we took with the reference object and try to reproduce it. The more time we spend observing the more we will learn how to make our image look more realistic. Sample PSD Download the PSD for this tutorial
My latest Photoshop tutorial is available at psdtuts.com and it’s about using the Vanish Point Filter to mockup a business card. There are many instances when you will want to simulate or mock up how a design would look printed out and photographed. It might be for a portfolio piece, it might be for a client to help them imagine a concept design or it might just be for your own satisfaction at seeing how your work is going to look to the end user. In this technique we'll use a bit of perspective and the very useful Vanishing Point filter to achieve some great results. I will apply this technique to Collis' Sample Calling Card from a previous tutorial. The Vanish Point Filter is one of the most useful filters in Photoshop. It can be used in so many ways and it’s very hard to find good references showing how to use it. So it’s definitely worth checking it out. By the way, I will publish a tutorial showing how to achieve the same effect without using the Vanish Point filter for those who don’t use Photoshop.
Most of you know that I have written some tutorials on how to create smoke using Photoshop. Last weekend I took sometime and tried to come up with a nice and easy way to create fire in Photoshop. There are lots of good tutorials on the internet about creating fire but the majority are creating fire for text effects. What I was looking was to reproduce an effect I saw sometime ago in a Nike Ad. It was that fire that is created when a spaceship or comet enters the earth's atmosphere. After some hours trying, I came up with a very convincing effect. I redid it several times trying to simplify the steps until it was easy enough for me to write a tutorial about how I did it. Below you can see the image. The tutorial will be published soon at psdtuts.com. Desktop Wallpaper Version iPhone Wallpaper Version
My very first tutorial for the PSDTUTS.com has been published. It is, again, about how to create a digital smoke in Photoshop. However this time I’m using a bit of Illustrator. Actually some people said it does not look like a smoke at all, but what I was trying to produce was an effect like those smoke photos taken using macro, pretty abstract design, the same the image I use for the header here in my blog. The best thing is that this technique is fully customizable, that means you can create any sort of shape for your smoke. That makes this tutorials very useful, and, besides that it is a very easy and quick way to create abstract designs. The link for the tutorial is at: http://psdtuts.com/tutorials-effects/creating-a-stunning-digital-smoke-effect/ I will be writing more Photoshop tutorials for the PSDTUTS.com, however I will keep blogging here about other tools like GIMP, ILLUSTRATOR, PIXELMATOR and PHOTOSHOP as well. So let me know if you have any question or requests for tutorials.
A couple of days ago while I was reading a magazine I saw a pretty cool soda ad where they used a lot of water drops in its design. It was excellent and I thought that I could create the same effect in Photoshop using the layer styles.The basic idea of how to create water drops is that they are a bit complex, they have highlights, shadows, transparencies, inner shadows and inner highlights. The best thing is that we can create all of those effects using the Layer Styles in Photoshop. You have shadow, inner shadow, inner glow, glow, bevel and many more.Even though there are lots of Photoshop training tutorials on the net I decided to create my own, plus it gave me an opportunity to create my first screencast. Take a look it’s only 5 minutes. If you want to see it in full resolution go to http://www.screencast.com/t/Nl8tRrfNT The final result: Download the Photoshop File Click here to download the Photoshop file
Here we are, in June, another WWDC with Steve Jobs and lots of cool stuff. This time what impressed me the most was the new Mac OS X, called Leopard. The finder has changed, finally, besides that, some cool features like the cover flow for files, quick view and time machine are great and make me really want to use it. Well, one thing that I loved was those new Mac OS banners, like the space, stars and those dust and flares. Awesome. So I tried to do that in Photoshop, and I have to say, it’s not that difficult, and this is what I want to show here. 1- Create a new document: Fill the background with black; 2 - Create the small stars: Duplicate the layer and add a noise>15%>gaussian>monochromatic. 3 - Adjust the Brightness/Contrast so there won’t be too many stars. 4 - Big Stars: Duplicate the small stars layer and apply a Brightness / Contrast again. 5 - Scale it like three times its size, we want to create bigger stars. 6 - Apply Images>adjustments>Threshold: This will show only a few stars. Apply SCREEN as blending options 7 - Refining the stars: Apply a mask on the layer and with the eraser with like 200px start deleting some parts of the layer. after that the stars won’t be too uniform anymore. 8 - Create some light: Add a new layer and create Clouds. Filters>Render>Clouds. Your background color has to be white and the foreground black or vice-versa. 9 - Apply a Hue/Saturation in the cloud layer and COLOR DODGE as a blending option. 10 - Now apply a Hue/Saturation in the big stars layer. 11 - Create some flares: I did that using some free ps brushes which you can find for free at http://www.psbrushes.net/ or http://www.brusheezy.com/brushes. Change some presets like Diameter, Spacing and play with that, testing the Shape Dynamics, Scattering, Other Dynamics and etc... Don’t forget to add some glow in the stars through the Layer Styles. 12 - Creating the Starburst Light: Create a Custom Shape, like the one I chose in white, apply a Gaussian Blur and after that a Twirl. Scale it down until it gets a perfect circle. 13 - Create a new Layer: Fill it in black and merge it with the Starburst layer. 14 - Add a Radial Blur to the Starburst and after that change the Hue/Saturation. Colorize it until you get a green color. 15 - Duplicate the first Starburst Light, reduce its size and apply again a Hue/Saturation, this time set a red/orange color to it. 16 - Addin the Text: For the X or Z just apply a simple Bevel and Emboss plus the Contour option. 17 - Create the reflections on the type: Create a mask and fill it with a gradient from white to black. Set SCREEN as blending options. Final Result: Download the Photoshop File Click here to download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial Plus, there are good sites with tutorials showing how to create a galaxy, stars and stuff like that. Bellow some that I used as reference. http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com/tuts_arts/making_a_star_field.html http://www.andreibilan.blogspot.com/2006/08/photoshop-tutorial-sparkling-stars.html
After one month traveling I’m back and trying to get back to my routine. First of all, I’d like to thank all comments and emails about the blog and the tutorials. Now talking about Photoshop, I started using the new CS3 programs on my mac and I have to say, they are really faster, and I can finally use the Illustrator more often. On this article I created a design inspired by the work of Nik Ainley. He’s one of my favorite Photoshop Masters and his work is really impressive. For this design I used the Displace filter in Photoshop, I think it’s one of the most obscure filters because most the majority of users don’t know how to use it, and that includes me, lol. The vectors were created in Illustrator with, again the blend tool. 1 - Create a new document and in the layer style create a gradient. 2 - Select a person to use: I used a nice photo taken by John Arlington for the Udox website. The new select features in Photoshop are amazingly cool, it’s pretty easy to cut a person off the picture with the Quick Selection Tool and the Refine Edge options. 3 - Add a Diffuse Glow: Go to Filters>Distort>Diffuse Glow 4 - Exploding the guy: Use the displace filter to explode the guy. I used a crazy image as a displacement map, though you can use any image. 5 - Refining everything: Apply a mask in the layer of the displace and in the guy’s. Start erasing the displace layer, after that use the Smudge tool to blend them together. 6 - Giving a blur: Duplicate the guy’s layer, apply the filter Pixelate>Mezzoting and choose the type as Medium Lines. After that apply a motion blur. 7- Creating the vector lines: That is pretty simple in Illustrator, just create some lines with the pen tool and use the blend tool. Repeat it as many times you think it’s ok. 8 - Using the vectors: In Photoshop again, paste the vectors there as Smart Objects, and apply a Layer Style. In that case I added a glow and a color overlay. Try different colors and glows to the different vectors. 9 - The final result: I played with the graphics a bit more like adding new elements and filters such as the noise filter in the background. I have to say that I’ve learned a lot creating this image. It took me some time to create everything, the displace filter and the vector lines that we see a lot out there. I want to say thanks to a visitor of my blog who sent me an email asking how to do an image similar to this one. That was my motivation to create this article. Download the Photoshop File You can download all the files used here.
Last week I had posted an article about Photoshop Masters, it was really good to see their works and how they used the tool to achieve those amazing effects. I really like the style of some guys there, particularly Adhemas Baptista, Eduardo Recife and Nik Ainley. Now in this post, I created a really cool design mixing a photo with vector elements using Photoshop (lots of brushes) and Illustrator. Pretty much everything needed was downloaded for free on the internet in sites like magurno and brusheezy.com. This tutorial may look complicated and long, but in reality it is really easy to do and follow, you'll only use brushes and masks.? 1- Choose a cool photo: This can be the most complicated part, in this case I was lucky, a photographer friend of mine had taken some pictures for a website really cool called UDOX and he allowed me to use one of those photos. 2 - Adding some vector elements: The first symbol I got from a cd that came with the computer arts magazine. 3 - Mixing Apply a color Overlay on the Layer Style preferences 4 - Using the first Brush: First you paint over the photo, and after that you start deleting some parts. It'll give the imprresion that the elements are sometimes in front and other times behind of the guy Apply a layer mask and delete through the mask Here I wanted to put the pink element behind the legs. 5 - Adding more colors and elements: As with the previous element, we used another brush and deleted some parts to put it behind the guy. 6 - One more: All of these elements are from the Vintage by in Vogue brushes, you can download them here. 7 - Some Illustrator: Adhemas uses this effect a lot, basically it is a Blend between two elements, and it can be done pretty easily in Illustrator. Just create two elements and blend them together You see that it creates a path Edit the path with the pen tool Double click on the blend icon and you have the Blend Options, where you can edit the blend properties 8 - We need some blue: I added another element beneath the guy's foot. 9 - Final refinements: Now it's time to refine the design, delete some parts of each element to make them look like they are mixed. Sometimes the orange element goes in front of the blend, other times it goes behind, the same applies to the others 10 - Now we need some light: Duplicate the orange element, create a new folder in the layers pallet, put it inside this folder, set the folder to Color Dodge, and add a Gaussian blur to the element inside the folder. Final Result: All files used can be downloaded. Download the Photoshop File You can download all the files used here.
I've been working with Photoshop for some time now. I really like the software and what can be achieved using it. What amazes me more is the quality of works that were done using it. There are people who really know how to push the boundaries of the tool and produce astonishing pieces of work. It is exactly those people, whom have inspired me that i want to list in this post. 1 - Adhemas Batista (Brazil) - http://www.adhemas.com/ 2 - Bert Monroy (USA) - http://www.bertmonroy.com/ 3 - Derel Lea (Canada) - http://www.dereklea.com/ 4 - Eduardo Recife (Brazil) - http://www.eduardorecife.com/ 5 - Ian Keltie (U.K) - http://www.iankeltie.com/ 6 - Joan Charmant - http://www.joancharmant.com/ 7 - Joshua M. Smith - http://www.hydro74.com/ 8 - Justin M. Maller (Australia) - http://www.superlover.com.au/ 9 - Nik Ainley (U.K) - http://www.shinybinary.com/ 10 - Scott Hansen (USA) - http://www.iso50.com/
Since my last article on how to create smoke generated lots of traffic, I decided to write another one on some of the photoshop effects. Although I use Photoshop on a daily basis, I am by no means a photoshop expert. Well what I want to show here is how to create a nice light and magic effect. 1 - Create a radial gradient, in this case from a purple to a really dark purple 2 - Here I added a really cool Icon of a magic hat from the Crystal Clear Collection by Everaldo 3 - Add some text, I used the source code of a site to get the text and apply the Distort >Wave filter Create two stripes of text 4 - Rotate and place the text 5 - Add some light using glow : Use different values for each line of text, the secret here is the blending option COLOR DODGE.. Change the values of Spread, Size and Range 6 - Group the 2 lines of texts and with one apply a mask to make the stripes disappear at their ends. 7 - With the other group of text apply a gaussian blur, after that delete some parts to show the non-blury text. This will add a movement feel to the text, like they are really being magically created. 8 - Create a new layer below the text and with a regular big brush like 100px add a spot of light in white. The layer must be below the text, otherwise the glow will not affect the white spot 9 - Make some smoke again, I used the eraser, I could've used the liquify as well 10 - Create a cloud: to do that make use a marquee with feather set to a value bigger than 20 and apply the render>clouds holding the command key(mac), ctrl key(win). The same as the previous post, and the most important thing apply the COLOR DODGE blending options on it 11 - Sparks: For the sparks create a brush, play with the shape dynamics, scattering, and other dynamics. After that, apply a Outer Glow and Inner Glow to create the magic effect. End - The result is really simple but at the same time it looks beautiful. The whole process took me about 35 minutes, one thing I think is really cool is to apply the color dodge blending option to folder, and put blurred elements inside of it. Using it you can create some really amazing light effects. The PSD files can be downloaded. Click here to Download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial
Some time ago I had posted an article showing how to create a smoke effect in photoshop, and to achieve that I used a photo of smoke and some photoshop filters. However, some people had said at the time that I should have done the smoke as well and it´s exactly what I will show on this post right now. I had previously thought about what would be the best way to create smoke in photoshop, and I’ve read some tutorials online and watched some episodes of the amazing pixelPerfect podcast, to find a good and easy solution for the matter at hand. Actually it was easier than I had expected. 1 - Create some Shapes: I created some random shapes. 2 - Apply a Gaussian blur on each shape 3 - Using the liquify filter 4 - Positioning the shapes 5 - Adding some colors Add a background color on the layer of the shape, otherwise the Hue/Saturation won't work 6 - Creating a cloud behind the smoke Set a feather with a high value, like 40 to 80, and after that apply the hue/saturation on the cloud too 7 - Adding a gradient to create an atmosphere The gradient will give a atmosphere and more depth to the image Final Result The whole process took me about 30 to 40 minutes tops, it’s pretty simple, although it can be quite hard to create a natural smoke with the liquify filter, the best thing to do is to play with the brushes and with the tools to achieve the desired effect.