Putting the dragon in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how from a single photo with logs, step by step, like a puzzle, to assemble an image of a dragon, using only imagination some practical skills of working in Photoshop.

I used Photoshop CS5 to create this image.

Materials for the lesson:

Final result:

Step 1. In the first stage, you must draw a sketch. This sketch will be the basis of our work. Or you can save yourself a sketch of the author, which is presented below and use it as the basis for the future dragon.

Step 2. Below is a clipart with logs. You need to cut each of the logs on a separate layer. Name each of the layers Log 1, Log 2, etc. guided screen below. Keep a copy of each layer in a separate group just in case.

Step 3. Let’s make a dragon’s face:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 1”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.

Step 4. Muzzle of a dragon (lower part):
Make a copy of the layer “Log 1”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP. Place it (under the upper part of the muzzle) in accordance with the basic sketch.

Step 5. Dragon “ears”
Make a copy of the “Log 2” layer. Cut out the white areas of the image.
Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP and duplicate this layer, since you will need 2 parts to make full-fledged “ears”. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.

Step 6. Dragon horn
Make a copy of the layer “Log 3”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP, focusing on the sketch. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.
Note: pay attention, you will need 2 horns.

Step 7. Dragon neck:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 5”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP, focusing on the sketch, and position the neck so that it coincides with the sketch.

Step 8. Dragon’s body:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 5”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.

Step 9. Dragon Spikes.
Make a copy of the layer “Log 3”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP. Place the spike layer as shown in the sketch.
You must duplicate this layer as many times as your dragon has spikes. Do not forget to put each of the thorns in its place.

Step 10. Front and hind legs of the dragon:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 1”. Cut out the yellow areas from the image. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP
Arrange it according to the basic sketch.
Note: The layer log 1 is used for each component of the dragon’s paws. Duplicate and modify the layer as many times as needed.

Step 11. Dragon Claws:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 3”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP.
Position the claw in accordance with the base sketch.

You must duplicate this layer as many times as necessary to make all the claws. Do not forget to adjust each form.

Step 12. Dragon tail:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 5”. Flex the shape with Deformations/ WARP. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.
Note: note that in this step only part of the tail is done (look at the numbering on the screenshot)

Step 13. Dragon Tail 2:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 5”. Change the shape with Deformations/ WARP. Arrange it in accordance with the baseline sketch (refer also to the screenshot below).

Step 14. Dragon wings
Wing base:
a1) Make a copy of the “Log 4” layer.
A2) Arrange it in accordance with the basic sketch and based on the screen below.

Wing feathers:
Make a copy of the layer “Log 1”. Cut the bottom of the log, starting from the middle. Modify a log with WARP(deformation). Place the resulting “wing feather” in your work, based on the sketch and the screen below. Please note that you will need three more such feathers. You can duplicate a layer three times, without forgetting to adjust the shape.

Step 15. Eggs:
From the image with the source material cut the extreme part of the trunk, which will serve us as a blank. Change the shape with Warp / WARP, drawing on the screen below.
Arrange it in accordance with the basic sketch, in the paws next to them.
Duplicate the layer as many times as necessary to create all the eggs.

Step 16. Nest:
Make a copy of the “Log 2” layer. Modify the shape using Warp / Warp. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.
Duplicate the layer as many times as needed to fill all the nest areas.

Socket details:
a1. Make a copy of the “Log 2” layer.
a2. Modify shape with Warp / WARP
a3. Arrange it according to the basic sketch.

Step 17
Eye and tip of tail:
1. Make a copy of the layer “Log 1”. Select and cut only the circular area. Change the shape with Warp / WARP. This will be the eye of the dragon. Put it in its place.

2. Make a copy of the layer “Log 1”. Remove round area
Change the shape with Warp / WARP so that the shape resembles an arrowhead.
Place this shape at the end of the tail according to the base sketch.

Step 18. Background:
Open the original image taken from the pxleyes website and place it in the work document. This will be our background. Apply Gaussian Blur with a value of 45.8 to give depth.

Step 19. Background 2:
Select a background layer and change the color.
Apply Image – Correction – Color Balance/ Image – Adjust – Color Balance with values ​​in Middle tone/ Midtones: Cyan / Cyan – 0 Purple / Magenta – 0, Yellow / Yellow + 63

Step 20. Shadows and highlights on the dragon:
Via Dimmer/ Burn Tool add shadows on the dragon’s body.
Via Clarifier/ Dodge tool add highlights.
Focus on the screenshot below.

Step 21 Shadows and highlights 2:
Using tools Dimmer/ Burn tool and Clarifier/ Dodge Tool will work on the remaining parts of the image to also add volume.

Step 22. Select the layers that form the nest. We will apply color correction to them.
Note: You can group or merge these layers.

Image – Correction – Color Balance/ Image – Adjust – Color Balance with values:

Mid Tones / Midtones:
Blue / Cyan +22,
Magenta / Magenta = 0,
Yellow / Yellow -20

Shadows / Shadows:
Blue / Cyan +30,
Magenta / Magenta = 0,
Yellow / Yellow -20

This will give the nest a different color.

Step 23 Final image correction:
Select all layers. Combine them. Apply

Image – Correction – Brightness / Contrast/ Image – Adjust – Bright / contrast:
Contrast / contrast +15

Image – Correction – Color Balance/ Image – Adjust – Color Balance with values:

Shadows / Shadows:
Blue / Cyan +10,
Magenta / Magenta = 0,
Yellow / Yellow -10

Final image:

Author: Marco Marino

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