Celt Claire
March 10, 2008

Today we have a quick li'l lesson in Photoshop and why you do not want to annoy a graphic designer. This is actually a very easy tutorial. Which, of course, is made more difficult by the fact that I'm not taking screenshots or making this into a video. Why? Because I didn't think of any of that until after the whole thing was done. So, you get text and the final result.

Step One - find images. In this particular case, someone suggested that a friend should be made a Smurf, yes, a Smurf, one of the bollox-y little blue buggers. So, I went looking for a Smurfette image, just to add insult to injury. I'm mean that way. You might be nicer, I dunno. This friend enjoys hiking and I very quickly found an image of Smurfette rock-climbing. Close enough for government work. I then went to her Flicker account and swiped an image of her. Whilst there, I saw some gorgeous pix of Derwent Edge - just the thing!

Step Two - open Photoshop. Open your background image first. Now, open your cartoon and your person. Align your windows so that you can see a wee bit of your background image file. Now, go over to the layer window and drag the layer of the cartoon over to the bit of background image window that you can see. Voila! you have now added a new layer to your Photoshop file. Hit save. Do the same with the image of the person. You should have 3 layers now. Make sure the background image is on the bottom, the cartoon in the middle and the person on top.

Step Three - Face-off. In this case, I want to insert just the face onto the cartoon image. First, I need to erase everything that is not the face from the person layer. Make sure you've selected the person layer in Photoshop, then use the lasso tool to do a "rough cut" and get rid of all the superfluous background crap from that layer. Then use the eraser tool to smooth things out. The best part about inserting this face over the cartoon is that cartoons have a nice black line to define edges ... so your edges don't have to be perfect. However, you will need to be perfect as you delete all the superfluous stuff around the cartoon character. But! don't forget you have those pretty black outlines to rely on, so it's really not so bad to clean the background off of that layer.

Step Four - Colourizing. In my case, I need to make my friend a nice Celtic blue. If I just use Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, I'll change the whites of the eyes to blue as well and I don't want that. So, the next step is to duplicate the person layer. To make it easier to work, I hide the person layer which is below this one - just for a few minutes. Now, I'm going to erase everything except the whites of the eyes. When that's done, make the person layer below visible again and hide the layer which only has the eyes.
Make sure you now select the visible person layer. Go ahead and change the Hue/Saturation to get a nice blue colour, trying to match the blue of the cartoon. You want to make sure to select Colorize (darn Photoshop spells that wrong), so you can get a great blue hue. When you have it how you like it, make the layer with the eyes visible again. Merge those two layers together. You've got a blue face with white eyes now!

Did I lose you? Really? I'm sorry. I suck at tutorials when I don't use 3495027 screen shots to help you along. Maybe one day I'll do one as a video. (You can check out Donnie Hoyle's excellent tutorials. If you're not at work, that is.)

Step Five - Smooshing the Face. This is a tad bit tricky. I change the opacity of the face layer to between 50 and 85% depending on the background and how well I can make out what I want to do through the semi-opaque layer. First thing, if you need to rotate the face so it matches the head on the cartoon, do that now! when you've got that lined up, then you smoosh the size of the face down with the re-size handles. You do not necessarily have to do this evenly ... you might take more off the height and leave the face a bit wider - this is a cartoon, remember. You want the face to overlap as much as possible of the cartoon to make later steps easier. You'll want to erase some of the face so it looks like the cartoon character's hair is covering the face.

Step Six - Cleaning Up. Chances are you'll need to use the clone tool or the healing brush or even the smudge tool to get rid of some small flaws.

In my case, I had to copy and paste some of the rocks so they poked out a bit more to the side so the cartoon's hands were actually grasping rock instead of thin air. That required some judicious smudging and cloning to keep the edges looking natural and not like I'd just copied and pasted them. Also, I had to move the two pointing dudes off the near rock and put them on the next stack over. And then make them point at Smurfette instead of something off to the right.

Click to get a beautiful 1024x 768 wallpaper version.

And yeah, I'll make a for really tutorial about this one of these days. :)

Posted by Red Monkey at March 10, 2008 11:45 AM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


dontre said:

waz up

March 10, 2008 2:58 PM


jodi said:

LMAO! I am cryin"

March 10, 2008 6:32 PM

You are all powerful! Too well done, a little spooky.

March 11, 2008 12:26 AM


Tara R. said:

Excellent descriptions, but I am so right brained I can't do anything without pictures. My lips move when I read too.

March 11, 2008 9:39 PM
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