In this tutorial, I'm going to show you some of the steps I took in making this image:
There are a number of tricks and techniques people use when making an image of this nature, but I am going to show how I created this image using only the very basic tools. The same principles and process can be used on any animals, even humans, but I'm going to use a frog for my example because why not?
The first thing I did was gathered a few source images.
Finding a great subject source image to start with is one of the most important stages in the whole process. The reason I chose this particular image of a frog was that it was crisp, clean image with an interesting enough perspective, yet still be instantly recognizable as a frog even after we cover him in mechanical parts.
Now that we have our main subject and a few mechanical pieces ready, let's begin mechanicalizing him.
I needed to extract the usable parts from my mechanical sources. Using the Lasso Tool, I roughly selected areas from my mechanical sources I figured I could use, and saved these parts into a new document for easy access later.
I tried to select segments of varying shapes, sizes, and texture in order to create a nice library of chrome and mechanical sources for our image.
The first thing I needed to do was to assemble the basic structure of the figure. Taking segments one by one, I started the assembly process of the actual robot figure. After pasting a segment of chrome onto our frog, we need to shape it. Using the Transform - Distort Tool, I transformed and skewed the segment in order to fit the contours of the frog's head. Making sure to always follow the curves and contours of the frog in order to help keep the familiar recognizable shape of the original frog.
Now we need to cover more space using the same basic idea. By selecting basic segments from our chrome sources and free transforming them to fit the shape of our frog. Select segments of your mechanical parts that best resemble the area of the frog you're trying to cover.
It may help you to start by applying the pieces furthest most from the camera first, then overlap pieces as you come closer and closer to the camera. At this point i'm not worried about covering the background or overlapping any of the original frog, as we can go back and add them in again later. For now I just want to lay down the basic structure of the figure.
In order to create the mouth area, I needed to do something slightly different. I found a chrome pipe area on one of our chrome source pictures. I decided to use this segment for the mouth, as it was a nice long piece of chrome that I could transform into the shape of the mouth. I copied and pasted this segment onto our frog and Free Transformed it roughly in place until I was happy enough with the positioning of it. I also added this segment onto the head of our figure to create a median point on the figure.
Next, all I had to do was fine tune and clean up the pieces to sit right on our figure. I did this simply by using the Smudge Tool set at 70-80% in strength, and about 7-10 pixels wide. Then I proceeded to smudge and smooth out the surfaces of the chrome pipe and mold them to fit the curves and contours of the frog's original mouth.
When I'm satisfied with the positioning of all the mechanical pieces, the next step was to apply some highlights and shadows to separate the segments a little better. I started with the shadows. Using the Brush Tool set at 100% opacity, I painted in the black shadows on a new layer directly underneath each chrome segment layer.
Next, I took the Smudge Tool set at 60-70% pressure and smoothed out the shadows. Following the contours of the underlying pieces, I shaped the shadows. The shadows should give our figure more depth and help to isolate each segment a little better.
Next, in order to further accentuate the shadows, we're going to add some simple highlights. Again by using the Brush Tool (this time set to white) set at 100% opacity, I painted in some basic highlights on the edges and areas I figured could use a little further bump in contrast on a new layer directly above each piece of our chrome layers.
Then just like the shadows, I then took the Smudge Tool set at 60-70% pressure to smooth and shape out our highlights to fit the curves of our figure.
You may still notice some remnants of the original frog showing on the edges of the figure. This can be easily cleaned up with a little work using the Clone Tool. At this point, it'll be a good idea to hide all our layers except for our background layer. Create a new layer directly above your original frog image. With the Clone Tool selected, make sure you have the "select all layers" box selected. Hold the "alt" key and select an arbitrary area of the background to copy. Then it's all a matter of cloning the background in.
In order to make the image look even more interesting, I decided to create the illusion of the frog's skin being pulled away to reveal the robot. On a new layer above our background, I roughly painted the insides of the opened skin. Using the Brush Tool set at 100% opacity set to a brown, skin-toned color, I mapped out the area our skin would cover.
Next, I wanted to give the skin some shadow. Selecting a darker shade of our original skin color, I roughly painted in the shadows. Then, using the Smudge Tool set at 60-70% pressure, I smoothed out the shadows just (as in Step 07) until I was happy with the general placement and shape of the skin.
I then wanted to add some of the original skin from the frog to form the outside of the skin as well. I opened the original frog image in a new File for easy access. Using the Lasso Tool, I selected edges of the frog's original skin to copy. I copied this selection and pasted it on to our robofrog document. Using the Transfrom-Distort Tool, I transformed the skin to follow the direction of the skin "pull". And like we did in our earlier steps, I proceeded to add slight shadows and highlights to the skin to further accentuate the "pull" effect.
For the skin flaps on the arms, I did something different. First I selected the original arm and copied it onto a new layer. Then using the Smudge Tool set at 80-90% pressure, I smudged and drew in the direction of the skin and folds of the skin. Then, using darker and lighter shades from the original skin, I drew and smudged in shadows and highlights again as in the previous steps.
When I was happy with the look of the skin, the next step was to go back and return some of the orginal rough skin texture from the original skin. I did this by copying an area of the original frog skin and pasting it on a new layer directly on top of our Arm Skin layer.
I then set this layer with the "overlay" Blend mode. This gives our skin the rough texture. I then erased the edges of the overlay skin layer so as it covers only the necessary areas.
Next, I wanted to make the chrome look even more like chrome. By adding reflections from surrounding elements, I hope to add some more realism to the chrome. I did this by copying layers of surrounding elements and forming them to create an illusion of reflection.
For example, as in the image above, I started by Duplicating the layer with the metal valve. I then set the opacity of this layer to 50% then using the Transform-Distort Tool, I shaped and formed the element to fit onto the shoulder chrome segment. I used this same method for other surrounding areas like the leaf and areas where the skin overlaps a chrome segment.
Finally, I needed something to hold up the frog's skin. I decided to use a couple of dragonflies for this effect. After finding a good image of a dragonfly, it was then all a matter of extracting him from the original file and pasting him onto a new layer in our working document.
I added the Motion Blue filter to the winged areas of the dragonflies to simulate motion.
And voila! Our image is complete! A robotic frog created using only the very basic tools of Photoshop!
Photoshop tutorial by meowza originally posted on Worth1000.
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Written by DesignCrowd on Thursday, June 2, 2016
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