Learn how to create a headless, mauled Statue of Liberty as seen in the film Cloverfield in Photoshop.

Author’s Note: Something that I thought was a fun photoshop experiment a while back, was to create a Cloverfield poster. I tried a few different techniques, but in the end, I figured out the required technique was very simple and only took a few minutes, but had astonishing results. Here’s how you do it.

Some Details

Difficulty Level: Advanced
Estimated Completion Time: .5 – 1 Hours
Notes: This tutorial is not for the faint of heart. I will be moving very fast, so if you are not very comfortable with Photoshop, then perhaps this tutorial is not for you.

Final Image Preview

Step 1

Open up an image of clouds. I think my image was a little different, but these will do fine. Just scale down your image width to 1280px or so, because the clouds are a little big right now.

Step 2

Create a new layer, and paint in some greens, yellows, and blues. Then give it a huge Gaussian blur of about 250px, and set the blending mode to overlay, with the opacity set down to 50%.

Step 3

Open up the Statue of Liberty, and isolate it from the background, using whatever method you want. The magic wand works quickly, but the pen tool will probably give you the most detailed and accurate outline. I adjusted the colors to make it more of a dark bluish green, rather than the light pale green that it was originally. I did a lot of adjustments, and I forget exactly what I did, but you should be able to get something close using tools like Brightness/Contrast, Hue & Saturation, Color Adjustments, and Exposure.

Step 4

Now “OFF WITH HER HEAD!” As you can see, I have crudely isolated the head, and part of the shoulder region to be deleted.

And hit delete.

Step 5

Create a new layer behind your statue layer, and add some dark smokey clouds behind the area that you deleted, but keep them close to the statue. You can use this brush if you like.

Step 6

Create a new layer on top of the statue layer, and using white and black as your FG and BG colors, go to Filter > Render > Fibers, and use a Variance of 16, and a Strength of 4. This is the basis for our claw/tear marks.

Step 7

Now warp the fibers so that they are coming down at an angle as shown below.

Step 8

Now set the layer’s blending mode to multiply, and erase excess claw marks that you don’t want. It is okay if you are messy, and you can see that I have not erased smoothly at all… the messier, the better for this one, because it will add realism. Plus, you’re going to have to add scaffolding anyway, so you won’t even see little “mistakes”.

If you are finding that your claw marks are not very distinct, then increase your contrast like crazy, or posterize the fibers until they are clearly defined and jagged.

Step 9

Create a new layer above everything else. Using either a tablet, or your mouse, use a small hard round brush to paint some scaffolding. You should try to make it look random, and don’t have all your angles the same. Some vertical spikes, some horizontal ones, and some crazy diagonal ones will help add realism. I primarily used the color black, but I also sampled colors from the statue like some greens to add in to the scaffolding as well.

Step 10

Create another new layer above everything, and add some more smoke/clouds (using the same brush, or whatever other method you wish to use). This will help to make everything look dirty, and it will also make your image not look so Photoshoped/fake.

Step 11

Now we are going to create a brush to be used as debris. On a side note, I have used this on many different artworks, and I think that it would make decent flying rubble, wood chips, or metal debris. Anyway, go ahead and make this brush:

This brush might be a bit big, but you can easily scale it down by hitting your left bracket ” [ " a couple of times until it is the right size... or maybe your making everything on a larger scale, in which case you might want to scale it up using the right bracket " ] “. Either way, make sure it is scaled appropriately, and matches the rest of your image.

Conclusion

Create a new layer atop everything else, and paint on your debris. Place it close to where you cut away from the statue, and don’t make it cover to great an area, because that would look ridiculous.

And then you should be finished and have something like this:

Don’t worry if yours did not turn out the same as mine, this tutorial is very subjective, and your image could have deviated from mine at almost any step in this process, so don’t sweat it! Plus, making things that are original is a good thing, so embrace it.

It also took me two trials to get this effect right, so even though I’m giving you the best steps (that I know of at least) this might take a while to get right… that’s normal. It is an advanced tutorial anyway.

However, if you still don’t understand how I made this, then leave your questions or feedback (it is very possible that you would have some, because this tutorial is very fast paced) in the comments section below, and I or someone else will respond to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it!