How To Creating Dust in Adobe Photoshop

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Hey boys and girls, in today’s tutorial I am going to show you how to create dust in Adobe Photoshop. You might think, why would you want to create dust? When you have a photo which is backlit, adding some dust will really add more atmosphere to your image! Plus it is so easy to create and it adds quite a bit to the photograph! Lets not waist any more time and jump into Photoshop and get started!

So first things first, find a picture which is backlit or has atmosphere in it and import it into Photoshop. I am going to add some dust around and in front of the object. To do that we are going to create a custom brush.


We need to create a new document, to do that press File > New or keyboard short cut Ctrl + N. We are going to make it 600 pixels per 600 pixels.


Next thing we are going to do is create some random particles. Make a small brush and paint some small random strokes spaced apart. These do not have to be perfect, remember, we are making dust. Dust particles are very random!  It should look something like this, just random dots and strokes.


Once you are done, go to Edit > Define brush preset. Then call it Dust or whatever you want and hit OK. The first part is done!

We have created a custom brush, but it doesn’t look like dust yet. If you apply it onto the image it will look something like this –


There’s still some work we have to do until it looks real! To fix this go to Window > Brush. It will open up brush menu.

The first thing we are going to do is adjust Brush Dynamics.

Turn Size Jitter all the way to the right which will make some particles smaller than the other.

Angles Jitter will rotate the particles and make them look more random, so turn it all the way up as well.


Lets move down and adjust Scattering. This will make particles scatter around and look even more random and organic. Once you have done this you can close up the window.


We have fixed our brush now and are ready to apply it on the photo. Lets create a new layer. The colour of the dust has to be the colour from the environment. Press B for the brush tool and by holding ALT key you can pick the colour that you like from the image itself. I am going to sample colour from the sun because it is the brightest part of the photo and it is where the light is coming from.

Now I am going to paint dust, play around and have fun with it!


Before we erase dust from the places we don’t want it to be, lets save this brush in case you want to use it in the future. To do that go back to the brush menu, click on the little icon in the top right corner and select New Brush Preset. Then name it what ever you want and click OK. Now you have a new brush which you will find in bottom of the brush presets box and you can use it at any time!



Now lets go back and finish up our photo. Lets add a layer mask, hit B for the brush tool. Select a regular brush, make sure that foreground colour is set to black and paint over the areas you don’t want to see dust. Also make sure to set brush Opacity to between 20-40 which will make dust slowly fade away and look natural.


Portrait dust

And that is it. We have created dust using Adobe Photoshop. All we have done: imported backlit photograph into Photoshop; created custom brush, made some adjustments and applied it on the photo. As you can see it is easy and relatively quick to do. I recommend you try this and see for yourself. Adding dust really makes difference and adds more atmosphere to the image.

If you liked this tutorial be sure to like it and share it with your friends! Have fun and see you in the next tutorial!

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