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How to make a video game cover in Photoshop: tiny city photoshop composite

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How to make a Ling Kong in Los Angeles poster in Photoshop, using tiny planets and compositing

In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn how to make a tiny planet from any photo. Then you will learn how to combine photos and add a king kong. You will gut out the animal with fur, add skoke (brush included) and then color grade to make a poster. Share your results and tag us #photoshopCAFE on social media, I’d love to see what you make.

This is the end result of my image from the tutorial, just so you know what we are making. You should make your own unique art using these steps.

If you get stuck, please watch the video above, as it shows every detail.

Kong, the new king of LA in photoshop

1. Start with a photo, a panorama works the best. This is one of my earlier drone shots of downtown Los Angeles. I actually shot this only using a gopro.

photoshop video game cover

2. Make the photo a square


Turn off the chain link and make height and width the same.

Click OK

make an image squaee in photoshop

The result is a stretched image, perfect!

tiny planet

3. Flip it upside down

Image>Image Rotation>180

los angeles tiny city effect

4. Here comes the tiny planet effect

Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates

Choose Rectangular to Polar


make a tiny planet in photoshop

And the tiny planet. Watch the video at top to see how to remove (and avoid) seams and clean it up.

5. Time to add the ape!

This is a pic of a silverback Gorilla, I found on Adobe Stock.

Link here


6. Let’s cut it out.

Choose the quick selection or object selection tool in the toolbar.

Choose Select subject from the top (once again, you can see all this in detail on the video version)

If you are on CS6 or older, use quick select or magic wand to make the cutout.

cut out a gorrilla in photoshop

7. Click on select and mask, lets clean the edges

king kong

8. Click the refine hair option at the top and the head will look better (Its a shame, the refine hair doesn’t to the whole outline for fur)

You can use the refine brush and go around the edges of the body to get a better result.

9. In output settings (Still in select and mask)

Choose Output to New Layer with Mask.

Turn on decontaminate colors to reduce the white fringing.

Click OK

photoshop settings

And you will see our gorilla is cut out.

cut out in photoshop

10. Drag the gorilla into the tiny planet window to combine them. How to combine images, (simple, fast tutorial) if you don’t know how, or watch video.

combine photos

11. Let’s resize Kong

Press Cmd/Ctrl+T for free transform.

Drag a corner to resize the layer

Press enter to apply

blend photos

12. Create a layer mask

Choose a black brush

Paint away Kong’s feet, to blend him into the city

make art in photoshop

13. Lets add atmosphere for effect

Create a new Layer

new layer

14. Choose a cloud brush, or a soft brush if you don’t have one.

Get my free cloud brushes here (If you are an email subscriber, the link to the brush is in the latest email)

photoshop cloud brushes

15. Begin with a light gray color and paint in some dust and clouds

making smoke

16. Keep adding clouds.

Choose white and the new color

color the smoke

17. make the brush a little smaller

dab in some details on the clouds.

king in LA in Photoshop

Adding a color grade to a composite in Photoshop

18. Let’s add a color grade for the finishing touch.

Open the gradients. Window>Gradients

Drag a gradient into the layers panel and put it on top


19. Change the blending mode to color and drop the opacity to about 14% or whatever looks good to you. Each color will need a slightly different amount of opacity to look right.

gradient layer

You can see how it adds a cinematic coloring to the image.

makeing video game poster in photoshop

Here I dropped in an airplane and ran the whole thing through camera raw to make some finishing adjustments.

Kong, the new king of LA in photoshop

I really hope you liked this week’s free tutorial.

I thought it would be fun to expand the lesson into a little fun project.

Great to see you here at the CAFE!



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11 responses to “How to make a video game cover in Photoshop: tiny city photoshop composite”

  1. Colin,
    When I did the rectangular to polar filter, I got a black slice at top centre. What would cause this? I did this 3 times, so I’m sure my image sizing was right.

  2. This is AWESOME, Colin. Clear instruction, not just making videos to watch and learn, but step by step written instruction to read as well. I love it, and something is different to others. I am in Australia.

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