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