Create a superhero in Photoshop

When I was small, I liked to imagine that I had supernormal abilities. I could imagine myself flying over a city whose inhabitants were under my protection from all evil (sometimes I still think so). My children are no exception, so my daughter happily agreed to participate in this project and become a heroine with supernormal abilities.

This lesson was conceived as a teaching tool for joint implementation of the parent and child. As a parent, you will help get the necessary photos for this project, plus make all the necessary settings for the Photoshop program. Then your child can already show his superpowers and learn how to use some filters and techniques for working with masks in order to bring this project to life! And at the final stage, as a bonus, it is proposed to use the effect of a comic for our work, on which you can already work together with your child.

1. Setting up photos

It is very important to have a good idea of ​​what your project should ultimately turn into before taking photographs for it. Therefore, it is much easier to change the position of an object when photographing and take several pictures than to try to correct something using Photoshop itself.

Step 1

So, you are a superhero and the city needs you! The question is – what kind of city? Well, in principle, any city whose good image you can find. Choosing a photo of a cityscape is exactly what dictates us, in what positions we will need to take photos of our hero, so take care of this first. Directly for this lesson, we used the image of the city, which can be taken in the source materials.

Step 2

And now, it is time to choose a costume for our hero. Most children have several different elements of superhero costumes that are easily accessible. Even if they do not have them, they can easily be imitated, for example, to create a cloak with the help of a long piece of fabric. Give your child the opportunity to use their imagination to help create the best look of their favorite superhero!

Step 3

Pay particular attention to the angle at which the picture of the city was taken. The picture we are working with must be taken from the top corner, i.e. like when we look down. In this case, the author took the usual stepladder to photograph the superhero at the angle he needed.

Step 4

Try to enjoy this photo shoot! From the experience of photographing children, it became clear that they are more willing to agree to pose, if they allow them to take various other poses just to have fun. Children enjoy the time spent playing games and presenting fantastic battles.

2. Processing of photographs

Before you engage your child in your digital project, take some time to prepare everything for him and everything goes smoothly. If you can solve all potential problems well in advance, the children will enjoy taking part in the project and will be delighted with his idea.

Step 1

Select the image you are going to work with and open it in Photoshop. Start by fixing light and color problems in your image. The best method is to work with curves (Curves). To do this, go to Image – Correction – Curves / Ctrl + M (Image> Adjustments> Curves). Move the curve points so that they touch the edges of the histogram. Then give the curve an S-shape to increase the contrast of our image.

Step 2

Now use the tool “Quick selection” (Quick Selection Tool (W)) to highlight the shape of our hero. If this tool accidentally captures any unwanted parts of the image, then just hold down the Alt key and walk around this section to remove the selection from it.

Step 3

Click the button Refine edges (Refine Edge) and increase slightly Radius (Radius), for example up to 3 pixels. Expose Smoothing (Smooth), about 29, also work with the slider Feathering (Feather), try to find the optimal value until you see how the jagged areas in your image will not disappear (translator’s note: the screenshot below shows that the author receives this value with a feathering value of about 6 pixels). Change value Output to (Output to) on Layer mask (Layer Mask) and click OK.

Step 4

Drag the layer with our masked superhero into a document with a picture of a city. When the program shows the image of the city, drop the image of your hero on it.

Step 5

Next, go to Editing – Free Transform (Edit> Free Transform (Control-T)) and with the help of this tool we rotate and resize our superhero so that it fits into the image of the city. For the correct location of the hero, you can navigate along the lines formed by the buildings in the photo.

Step 6

Duplicate the layer with the command Layer – Duplicate Layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer). Next, double click on the name of the copy of the layer and rename it to “Blur” (Blur).

Step 7

Apply the layer mask given by the command Layers – Layer Mask – Apply (Layer> Layer Mask> Apply). In this case, the mask thumbnail will disappear, as the mask has now been applied directly to the layer.

Step 8

Now add a correction layer above the background image of the city using the command Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation). Set the value Saturation (Saturation): -30. This will reduce the color of our background, and make our superhero’s bright colors more prominent.

Step 9

Now add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all layers. Team Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves). In the tab Curve Properties (Curves Properties) click Auto (Auto). This will adjust the contrast in the entire image.

3. We finalize our composition

Step 1

On the right side of the screen we see a palette Layers (Layers). On this palette we find the Blur layer and click on it to be sure that it is active at the moment. An indicator of its activity is a thin frame that appears around the miniature of this layer.

Step 2

Now switch your attention to the top menu and run the following command Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Motion Blur). When a new window opens, try changing the angle so that it matches the angle of the buildings in our background image. In this case, we set the angle to -65 degrees. Then configure amount (Amount) 600 pixels and click OK.

Step 3

Press V to activate the tool. Move (Move Tool). Then move the blur layer down and move it slightly to the right so that it is below the superhero image and so that no part of it overshadows the head area.

Step 4

Now go to Editing – Transform – Warp (Edit> Transform> Warp). A grid of this tool will appear around our blur. Move the bottom corners towards the center to reduce blur at the bottom of the image. Then press Enter to complete the warp. This will create an effect as if you are taking off from the roof of a building at very high speed.

Step 5

Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)) and look at the top of the screen where the brush settings options are located. Click on the small brush icon to open it. brush settings menu (Brush Options Menu). Select a soft round brush from the list, install The size (Size) 150 pixels, and Rigidity (Hardness) reduce to 0%.

Step 6

Now go back to the palette Layers (Layers) and find an image of a superhero with a small black and white miniature next to it. This miniature is Layer mask (Layer Mask). It allows you to control which parts of the image on the layer can be seen and which are not, i.e. disguised. Click on the mask to activate it. Then make sure you have black as your primary color and use your brush to mask the image area with our superhero’s legs. Here, the main task is to blend the blur that simulates a quick take-off organically with the rest of our superhero, as you can see, the legs are not visible.

Step 7

Now click on background layer (Background) to make it active. Next, execute the command Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Expose in the settings Radius (Radius) 7 pixels. This will slightly blur our background image, and now it really looks like a background.

In the next few steps we will be able to add some special filters to make our image look like a page from a comic book.

4. Add a comic effect.

At this stage, our project should already look very impressive. Actually, this is a very good option. But if you still want to continue working and master a few more filters, then we go ahead and turn our composition into a page that seems to have just been pulled out of the comics.

Step 1

Click on the topmost layer (this is the Curves adjustment layer). Hold Alt, then go to the menu and select Layers – Merge Visible (Layer – Merge Visible). This will create one merged layer of our entire project. Perform this operation twice so that you have two such layers combined.

Step 2

Turn off the top merged layer by clicking on the eye icon to the left of the layer thumbnail. Then click on the thumbnail of the second merged layer to make it active.

Step 3

Next, go to Filter – Filter Gallery (Filter> Filter Gallery). Open directory Sketch (Sketch) and select a filter in it. Halftone pattern (Halftone Pattern). Set the following settings:

  • The size (Size): 5
  • Contrast (Contrast): 15
  • Type of pattern (Pattern Type): Point (Dot)

Step 4

Then install Blend mode (Blend Mode) for a layer Overlap (Overlay) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 30%.

Step 5

Now make visible the previously disabled top layer and make it active. Next, go to Filter – Filter Gallery (Filter> Filter Gallery) and select Filter – Sketch – Photocopy (Filter – Sketch – Photocopy). Set the following values ​​for this filter:

  • Detailing (Detail): 5
  • Blackout (Darkness): 50

Step 6

Install blending mode (Blend Mode) for this layer Multiplication (Multiply). This will render the white areas of the image as invisible, while the dark lines will be visualized with the effect of ink used in the printing industry when printing comics.

This is where our project is completed. I hope you enjoyed this work, and you were able to learn something new for yourself.

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