Create an Apocalyptic City Street in Photoshop

Creating apocalyptic matte paintings of cityscapes using traditional stock photographs can be quite difficult. That is because artists have to remove any sign of an active, living, city before they can begin to produce the finished result.

In this tutorial we will explain how to create an apocalyptic city street in Photoshop by cleaning up the original images, and then destroying city structures like buildings and roads. Let’s get started!





Tutorial Details
  • Applications Used: Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Estimated Completion Time: 3h +

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Final Product What You’ll Be Creating





Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.





Step 1 – Street cleanup


Ok on this first step we have to clean the street before we mess it up since we can imagine that in those circumstances the city would be without power, without cars moving around and activity of any kind going on. So open up the image here I have selected for the tut and let’s get started.

Let’s pick up my favorite brush available in all Photoshop versions….that I can remember. This 23 chalk brush

And let’s use it with the clone tool to start clearing everything in the city we will use it with The settings shown below.

OK next up let’s make a new layer so we can do the cloning separate from the base image.

Now as you can see below we will start removing some cars, we will leave some but most are gone! Let’s find the clean section shown below in red where we can select our cloning source.

Keep cloning being careful only to use similar colors from the source, until you start covering the bus here.

We will want to cover all the way to the edge of the sidewalk as shown here.

Then we will start doing the same to the sidewalks that need some cleanup, and keep in mind the direction the edge of the sidewalk its going. You might need to change the source of the clone stamp several times, and in this tight section you might end up with a bit of a dirty pattern; yet don’t worry we will fix that a bit later with some simple brush strokes.

Let’s repeat the process for the left sidewalk as shown here, and as said a bit dirty but we will come back to this.

Now we will continue with our massive cloning efforts using our clear street on the left, and using it on the right as shown here.

Keep in mind where there are horizontal lines that might need to be repeated on the right side as shown here.

Now let’s keep on going and remove the nice white lines on the street, no maintenance, no white lines.

We can also use the same tool to hide the bright green yellow red stoplights plus the headlamps of the cars.

Of course these flags wouldn’t last long without people to take care of them so we will also remove them, and again choosing the clone source from an adjacent section that makes sense.

And we are clear of the flags, now let’s keep using the same technique all over our image removing what wont be present in an abandoned environment.

Don’t forget all these colorful flags in these structures between the streets, choose wisely your clone source and clear them all up.

Next up let’s jump to our simple brush tool and select again the one below at about 4 px in size.

Let’s pick the color from the plate as shown here.

Let’s use it to remove the tail lights and add some damage to this car, you can do the same for other cars if you are missing some. And that is about it for this step, its time consuming heavy creative cloning but takes care of the job with full control.


…and that’s the end of the preview!



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