The Making of a Humanoid

Take a photo of a woman and turn her into hot humanoid.


This tutorial will actually come pretty easy once you learn how to do a few of these steps, I promise.

First thing is first, open the picture you want to use, and then Save As something different than your original file.

Step 1: Separating Her Limbs

Okay, that sounds morbid, but it’s pretty simple. We’re going to use the Pen Tool and trace around each limb. That sounds easy. Trace around each arm and leg, neck, head and her midsection. Okay, so the last three aren’t limbs, but you get the idea. Having trouble seeing the picture because your Pen tool has a background color? In the Layers window change the Fill from 100% to 0%.

Once you have traced around one limb and closed the shape, hold down CTRL and click on the shape layer you just created. This will create a selection outline around the shape you made. Click on the layer where the original picture is. Copy (CTRL+C) your shape out of that original picture and paste (CTRL+V) it on a new layer. Label each body part so it’s easier for you in the future – there are going to be many layers.

You’ll want to hide the layers with the paths on them, but don’t delete them because you never know what will happen later. Once you have all of the pieces outlined, copied and pasted, you should have a collection that looks something like this:

Step 2: Filling in the Background

When we start cutting up the pieces and moving things around, we want it to look as though the background continues all the way behind her, so we need to fill it in. You probably want to make your new limb layers invisible so you can see what you’re doing.

Duplicate the original background image twice, making a total of three copies of it. Hide the one on top, and select the second one, or the one in the middle.

Select the Healing Brush in the toolbox (looks kind of like a little bandage). For the brush type, choose a Soft Round brush, Mode: Normal, Source: Sampled. You’ll want a slightly larger brush size, maybe about 100px. We will be bouncing back and forth between Sampled and Replace, but for now we will sample. What’s the difference? Sampled means it’s going to place a transparent layer down of what we select, and replaced will put down a solid opaque copy.

Hold ALT and click out in the middle of the rocks and stones on the ground. Release all buttons. Move your cursor over to her legs, where you want the ground to also be, and start clicking and covering her legs. You can use a mixture of both Sampled and Replace during this process.

Use your Brush tool and Eyedropper if you need to fill in some more solid areas. Remember: Your main focus for the background here is anywhere her appendages are going to have gaps or will be in a different arrangement. So her arms and legs need to go, and part of her shoulders.

Don’t forget to make some sky flow smoothly too.

Step 3: Creating the Sections

Make your limb layers visible again.

We’re going to use the same method as we did earlier when we were tracing the arms and things to separate them from the body.

Select the Pen tool. Draw a shape where you want a new section of arm to be. Be sure to curve the lines a little to follow the curve of her body.

CTRL and click the new path layer to form a selection.

Click on the limb’s layer. Copy the section, delete the section, then paste it in a new layer.

Continue to do this until you have everything sliced up and in new layers.

Step 4: Adding Some Body, Pun Intended

Okay, so now we have flat sections we have cut up, and everything is on a new layer. We need to give these flat pieces some dimension.

Select a layer with a piece of shoulder on it. Using the Pen tool, draw an oval-like shape where the arm is missing. You’ll probably want your fill color to be a brown or something. Whatever color you choose, it will be covered up later.

Step 5: Adding Flesh

Find a place on her body where there is a lot of skin showing in an at least semi-flat area. Draw an oval or whatever shape there with a Marquee or Lasso tool and copy the skin.

Go to one of your brown disc layers and hold CTRL and click on it to activate a selection around it.

Paste Into that selection shape. Edit>Paste Into or CTRL+SHIFT+V. This will make the selection you had into a mask and only make that part of your skin layer visible.

You might have to rotate or stretch the skin once you have it pasted into each of its selections.

She now looks like a sliced up sausage.

Step 6: Blending Her New Skin

You might find in some areas you’ll need to use the Healing Brush to replicate some of the texture across the surface, like in this area above her hips.

I’m sure you noticed also that these new skins need to be better blended so they look like they belong.

Adjust the Hue/Saturation. Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation or CTRL+U. Desaturate the skin by dragging the little slider down on Saturation, and darken it some by sliding Lightness down.

These shadows shouldn’t be flat, they have variation in lightness and darkness. Use the Burn tool where you want it to be darker.

Do this on all of the pieces.

Step 7: The Leg Bone is Connected to the…?

Now on to connecting all of the free-floating parts.

We’ll start by bringing in some twisted wires for her midsection. Once they’re pasted onto a new layer, desaturate them through the Hue/Saturation window CTRL+U. Now set that off to the side for a moment.

The only human-like connector on this woman will be the spine. On another new layer paste an image of a spinal cord. Resize it and rotate it, and also adjust its Hue/Saturation so it matches.

Cut it down so it fits neatly in between the ribs and pelvis.

And clean it up. Smooth out the edges with the eraser.

Position the spine about center. Use a Lasso with a feathering of about 20px on it and draw a shape around the side of the spine you want to have shadow.

Adjust the Lightness again with Hue/Saturation to darken that area of the spine.

You can also use the burn tool when adding the shadows and such to the spine. For lighter areas use the Dodge tool.

Now we’re going to make the spine look like it’s emerging from the pelvic area. To do this, on a new layer create a dark brown oval ever so slightly larger than the base of the spine, and rotate it to match the angle.

In your Layers window, click and drag your new oval layer so it is below the layer with the spine. Match it up best you can with the edge, and clean up the lines on the spine layer so it looks like it’s coming out of the opening. Once you’ve cleaned it all up, use your Burn tool to again shade the spine and any surrounding areas on the pelvis piece.

To connect the other parts I’m using metal pipe images, which are relatively easy to work with.

Once you’ve placed a piece of pipe, curve the visible end to give it a little perspective so it isn’t flat. You can do this using the Elliptical Marquee Tool, or the circular selection tool… and draw a semi-circle at the end of the pipe you want curved. CTRL+SHIFT+I to invert the selection. So now, everything is select except the circle you just drew. Now take the Eraser and carefully remove the edge to form your curve.

Clean up the edges of the pipe so it is smooth. Select the layer that the pipe’s end is resting on, and use the burn tool to give it a little shadow. If you’re confused on where to put the shadows, find out where the light is coming from in the picture by examining the light and dark areas of her skin. You may need to go in and adjust the Hue/Saturation on the pipe itself and where the shadows and highlights are on it.

Continue to do the same process throughout the entire picture, connecting each of the sections together.

Step 8: Wired for Life

We are almost done! She needs some wires here and there. She already has some wires in her midsection, so she needs some in other places as well.

Take a couple different images of wires from pictures of computers and keyboards and computer mice (are multiple computer mouses called mice?).

Be sure your cords are cut out decently well. Copy them, hide the original, and go to where you want to add wires and cords.

Paste them into a new layer, alter them as you see fit, resize them and nudge them into place. Trim any excess off you don’t want showing. Go to Hue/Saturation and play around with the colors until you get something you like, perhaps using the Colorize option. I went with a reddish pink color to give it a little contrast. It’s a fine detail, so you want it to stand out a little bit without it being too obvious. Once you change the color of the cords, take the Burn tool and darken the areas that need it.

Continue this process until you get her all wired up!

We’re Finished!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions please feel free to ask.


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By Kirin Knapp

Kirin Knapp is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network, publishing company of FlashNewz. A flash animator and illustrator, she is the creator of her home site, Inkdu.com.

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