Correct the anatomy in the picture in Photoshop

Digital painting in Adobe Photoshop is like working with a very special tool. Simply put, Photoshop gives you more control over every aspect of your drawing, allowing you to solve problems faster than ever.

You don’t always draw perfectly

Unfortunately, there is such a term as “human factor”. No matter how well you know the anatomy, one wrong line can make a drawing look awful.

Let Photoshop come to the rescue and never worry again!

Here are some of the main problems that can be encountered when drawing anatomy in digital painting:

  • Drawing hands or feet in the form of “noodles” without a sense of bone structure.
  • I can not draw poses, as in the source.
  • The pose would look better if you could change / rotate a certain section.
  • The body is too thin or bulky.

Believe it or not, with Photoshop all these problems can be solved in seconds.

Want to see it in action? Let’s take a look at three quick ways to solve basic anatomy problems with Adobe Photoshop.

1. Draw the skin over the bones.

If you draw hands in the shape of noodles, you probably still do not know well the structure of the person. The best way to master anatomy over time is to practice as much as possible. One of the exercises is to draw directly on top of the original photo with the skeleton.

Such an exercise will help train yourself to recognize the structure of the human body, as well as understand how the skin overlaps muscles and bones.

Step 1

Hands, for example, are hard for everyone. Start by finding the right source for any posture you like.

3D illustration of a hand skeleton on the Envato Market.

A huge plus specifically of this illustration is that it shows not only the bones themselves, but also the outline of the arm around them. This will help speed up the process, because the contour can be used as a guide when drawing skin.

Step 2

First of all, change the color of the source code to a brown flesh tint using the tool Hue / Saturation (Hue Saturation). Go to menu Image> Correction> Hue / Saturation (Image> Adjustments> Hue Saturation), select Toning (Colorize). Install Color tone (Hue) on 18, but Saturation (Saturation) on 37.

Step 3

Draw the skin over the hand, gradually overlapping the bones. Use additional sources for proper lighting and color.

Gradually draw until you get the desired result.

Here is the final picture. Continue this exercise with different parts of the body. The more you practice, the better you will learn how to work with human anatomy.

The source and the exercise

2. Lasso and Free Transform for the best poses.

Another problem point – posture. Anatomy is not easy in itself, but it becomes much more difficult when you need to portray the body in a certain position.

Try to master the postures in the outline stage. Make the necessary corrections before drawing, using tools Lasso (Lasso) and Free transform (Free Transform).

Step 1

Inspired by this 3D source (, I will draw my character with the same body position. Noticed that the sketch is not finished? Since I did not like the position of the right hand, I will change it.

A quick way to correct a pose is to create a symmetry. Just use the tool. Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool) to select the area around your left hand, then click Ctrl + J, creating a duplicate on a new layer. Now mirror the copy and rotate it using the menu. Editing> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal).

Immediately create symmetry by copying and turning your left hand.

Step 2

Although the posture is already looking better, it is still a bit awkward. Let’s adjust the hands by selecting them and applying the tool. Free transform (Free Transform) to give them a more natural position.

Use the same technique for the rest of the body. Make the neck longer and torso shorter. You can change the position of each hand until you are satisfied with the result.

Continue to adjust each part of the body to make the posture natural.

The finished sketch includes the original posture with my improvements.

Now that the sketch is ready, you can move on to drawing. Due to the fact that I fixed the problems in advance, I would not need to correct anything during the process. Here is the final picture!

Create your own characters, inspired by the interesting poses of the source!

3. Thinner or thicker with the help of “Plastics”

Tool Plastics (Liquify Tool) is great for making quick changes to your digital art. Its functionality is not limited only to photo retouching, this tool can also be used for body manipulations.

Let’s take our finished character as an example.

For a refined figure, try using the tool. Deformation (Forward Warp Tool), adjusting the hips and waist.

You can also experiment with the tools. Shrinkage (Pucker) and Bloating (Bloat). Thanks to them, you can get interesting effects.

Before and after: Using the tool Bloating (Bloat) will help the character gain weight.

The key to using these tools is moderation. Too many manipulations never produce good results and spoil the drawing very easily. Always keep backups just in case.


If you allow Photoshop to help, you will improve your digital artist skills tenfold.

Sometimes you need to cheat a little to learn how to draw better. Try these quick tips and let me know in the comments if they work for you.

If you want more tips, read these lessons:

  • How to choose the right brushes
  • How to fix colors in digital painting using Adobe Photoshop
  • How to draw realistic portraits in Photoshop

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