Steampunk Bee in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’m going to show my steampunk insect creation process. The lesson includes a lot of composite materials, so instead of repeating the instructions over and over again, I will go through the steps and give an overview of my ideas and thoughts.

This lesson is surprisingly easy, you just need to have a basic knowledge of the selection and mixing techniques in Photoshop, so that the final image looks as realistic as possible. In this article, I do not go into details at every step, but I mean that you should already have an understanding of these methods. Let’s get started!
Here is what we will create.

Usually I collect a group of photos with projects like this, which, I think, can be combined, and when I start working, the number of photos is significantly reduced, I decide which photos will go to work and which will not. My final list of photos consists of these:

Materials for the lesson:


Step 1. Determine the time mechanism that we will use.
I believe that the most difficult part of building such a composition is deciding which piece to select and enter into the work. In this image it matters which parts will be used in the bee’s body, which parts will fit together and look like someone actually created such a bee.
From these two watch images I selected the following details.

I used mode quick masks (quick mask mode) (Q) to highlight these parts, but you can extract them using any other method you prefer.

Step 2. Add the selected fragments to the main composition
Now we start to mix and match colors with each other. Our goal is to make these parts as natural as possible so that they fit well into the composition, so that the eye does not cling to an area that looks unnatural and distracts from the integrity of the composition.

First, I created a new document. 1500×1500 pixels, with resolution 72 inches per pixel, inserting the image of a bee there.

I added the first piece, placed it as I think it looks as natural as possible. I decided that this would be a reference point, referring to which, I will finish building other mechanical parts.

Now I begin to add other mechanical pieces, placing them together like a puzzle. “This one is great here. And this one will look good here … “and so on. When I placed parts of the mechanism, I realized that the core corresponds in its position to the wings, so I knew what I needed to do in order to focus more on this. So I add springs. With help Puppet Warp Tool bent springs as he wanted.

It seemed to me that the metal on the rods was too clean compared to the previous piece. So I decided to apply a texture on top of the layer. Any metallic grunge texture will look good here.

Next, I draw light shadows with soft black brushes (brush) with opacity of 30%. We start to show and build the shadows.

Step 3. Add details
I like the look of a bee. But it seems to me that something is missing.

Looking at the image of the clockwork, I decided that it would be cool if there was a small shutter or lid on the image on the bee, through which the viewer can look at the internal mechanisms of the insect. To create this part, I drew a vector shape where I want to create a shutter.

I made a selection using the created form, copied and pasted a piece of the back of the bee to make it appear as lying next to the bee cover. By Distortion – Editing> Transformation> Distortion (Edit>Transform>Distort) I curved the shutter a bit so that the angle looked natural. After that added shadows on the layer below.

Note translator: To make a selection according to the shape of a vector shape, click on the thumbnail of the layer with the shape, holding the key Ctrl. To create a cover from the back of the bee, with the active selection go to the layer with the bee and press the key combination Ctrl +J, so the selected area will appear on a new separate layer; now it can be moved and transformed.

I coped with the mechanisms inside the bee by copying and pasting another part of the clock mechanism. I used the vector shape as a guide to remove unwanted parts.

Note of translator: The work will greatly simplify the clipping mask. To do this, move the layer with the mechanisms above the layer with the vector shape. Then click on the layer with the mechanism with the right mouse button and select “Add Clipping Mask” (“Add Clipping Mask”). Another way to create a clipping mask is to hold the key. Alt and move the cursor between two layers – with a vector shape and with mechanisms. The cursor will change its shape, click the left mouse button – a clipping mask is created. Now you can move and transform the layer with the mechanism, turning, deforming and reflecting it, it will not go beyond the vector shape.

Now it remains just to add a shadow so that this area looks natural. I did it again with soft black brushes (brush) with opacity of 30%.

Step 4. Final Setup
Before assigning the status to the image to complete, I noticed that one of the movements has a small crown. It seemed to me that it can be used somewhere. After a certain amount of trial and error, I decided to just place it on the side of the bee near the open shutter.

Step 5. Correction of the final lighting
To better brighten the image and mix the colors, giving the work integrity, I created a correction layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map) setting the layer blending mode Overlap (Overlay) and using such a gradient.

Here is the final image.

I hope, a review of my actions made you understand the process of creating a mechanical bee, explained to you the ideas that I used to achieve the result. Collect some photos and try! Compositions in the style of steampunk can be incredibly detailed and detailed, they are very interesting to design!

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