Tu­to­rial 2

Cre­ate freak­ish an­i­mal com­bos and dis­cover a host of es­sen­tial Pho­to­shop com­posit­ing skills, mad doc­tor James Pater­son ex­plains

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Play the mad sci­en­tist in Pho­to­shop to make an­i­mal mashups

ever won­dered what the off­spring of a hippo and a ham­ster might look like? Or a poo­dle and a go­rilla? With a few sim­ple Pho­to­shop skills you can un­leash your in­ner Dr

Moreau and find out. Us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of se­lec­tion and layer skills we can cre­ate all man­ner of crea­ture com­bos. We’ve sup­plied the start­ing im­ages for our zebra/ cock­erel hy­brid (a ‘Zock­era’?) but why not try the tech­nique out on your own ma­cabre cre­ations?

How­ever, keep in mind that the suc­cess of an ef­fect like this – or any com­pos­ite – be­gins with the choice of im­ages. There needs to be some con­sis­tency in the light­ing, cam­era an­gle and the sub­ject’s pose for the com­pos­ite to work. If for ex­am­ple, you have one shot that’s lit with the hard mid­day sun and an­other that’s shot in the shade, then the shad­ows will fall dif­fer­ently on each and they’ll be dif­fi­cult to match up. So aim for con­sis­tent qual­ity and di­rec­tion of light­ing.

Pho­to­shop of­fers lots of use­ful tools for com­posit­ing two or more pho­tos into one, but two of the most use­ful for this kind of Pho­to­shop­ping are the Quick Se­lec­tion tool and Layer Masks.

We can paint over the head of the cock­erel with the Quick Se­lec­tion tool to swiftly iso­late it. Af­ter im­prov­ing the se­lec­tion with the pow­er­ful Se­lect and Mask com­mand, we out­put it as a layer mask, then fine-tune the blend of lay­ers un­til ev­ery­thing fits to­gether as we want.

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