01: Open the original image
Photoshop, open the file ‘Girl.jpg’ from the download. This is the unadulterated photo that will form the basis of the Cyber girl image. She looks great, but we will still need to make some changes if we are going to turn her into a cyborg.
02: Flip the script
Make a copy of the background by dragging it to the new layer icon in the ‘Layers’ palette. Flip this layer by clicking on the ‘Edit’ menu and selecting ‘Transform’, ‘Flip Horizontal’.
03: Imperfect symmetry
Using the center of the model’s lips as a mid-point, drag a marquee around one half of her face. We want to mirror one side of her face to make her unnaturally symmetrical – this will also help us composite the cap later on.
04: Moving the mask
Click the ‘Add Layer Mask’ button to convert the selection to a layer mask. As you can see, she looks very odd and the join is not great. Unlink the mask from the layer by clicking the chain, select the ‘Move’ tool and move the mask and layer in turn to get a good fit. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
05: Rotating the layer
Now we need to rotate the layer slightly to get a slightly less crooked appearance. Press ‘Command+T’ for ‘Free Transform’ and drag outside the bounding handles to rotate the layer. Don’t worry about the eyes pointing in different directions because one will be covered by the 3D cameras.
06: Give it some lip
The symmetry is good but we can bring back some asymmetry on the very center part of the lips by painting in white on the layer mask using a soft brush. It’s very subtle, but it’s worthwhile doing for that added touch of realism.
07: Cleaning up
Now we’ll remove any imperfections in the skin. We want our model to look unnaturally perfect, which will help to tie in the perfect 3D rendered object with the photo. Use the ‘Healing Brush’ with a small radius soft brush to dab out the freckles and marks on her skin. Remember to do this on both layers.
08: Adding the cap
Open ‘CapFin.psd’ from the download. ‘Command-click’ the ‘Alpha1 channel’ in the ‘Channels’ palette and command-alt-click on ‘Object Buffer 1’ to subtract it. Apply the selection to the image as described in step S. Right-click on the layer and pick ‘Apply layer mask’ to delete the background from the layer.
09: Position and scale
With the girl document visible, drag and drop the Cap layer from the ‘Layers’ palette into the girl document. Move it into position on the girl, you may need to use the ‘Free Transform’ tool, scaling as necessary, to get the desired fit this stage is saved in the download as ‘CyberStage1.PSD’.
10: Create a path
Use the ‘Pen’ tool to draw a path around the model’s jaw, neck and shoulders, carefully cutting away the background and hair. The upper part of the path can be more roughly drawn because the cap covers the edge.
11: Merge the layers
The cap layer is turned off and then ‘Merge Visible’ is chosen from the ‘Layers’ palette’s option menu. In the ‘Paths’ palette the path is converted to a selection using the button at the bottom of the palette. We will use this as a Layer mask for the merged layer.
12: Clone away the hair
With the outer hair gone we can deal with the hair visible under the cap. Use the ‘Clone’ tool and a soft brush to clone out the hair. Sample from directly below where you are cloning to match the shading of the skin as closely as possible. It’s best to make a copy of the girl layer for this.
13: Burn it
Use the ‘Burn’ tool and a largish brush to darken the forehead and jaw near the edges of the cap. Use a low opacity (10-20) and do this on a duplicate of the cloned layer, If you overdo it, adjust the opacity of the layer to reduce the effect We’re not trying to create a shadow, just adding shading to the face.
14: Drop shadows
For the shadow, apply the ‘Drop Shadow’ Layer Style to the cap layer, Set the direction to ’90’ and adjust the softness and distance, to ‘3’ and ‘1’ respectively. This creates our shadow, but it’s not great. And it extends outside the outer edges of the cap.
15: Linear Burn
Click ‘OK’ to accept the shadow, right-click on the shadow effect layer in the ‘Layers’ palette, choose ‘Create Layer’ and hit ‘OK’. This makes a real layer from the Layer Style. Change its blending mode to ‘Linear Burn’ and use the eraser tool to delete the portion of the shadow outside the cap.
16: Now fix the edges
Do this by duplicating the cap layer. Pick ‘Layer’, ‘Matting’, ‘Remove Black Matte’ for the top layer and ‘Remove White Matte’ for the bottom. Add a layer mask to the top one and paint in black to mask out the inner edge. Let the lower layer show through, Repeat on the lower layer for the outer edge.
17: Add detail to the cap
Draw a selection using a pen path, load it and intersect it with the cap layer’s transparency. Do this by command-option-shift-clicking one of the cap layers (not its mask). Add a Levels adjustment layer (the selection is automatically used as its layer mask). Use the Gamma slider to darken your selection.
18: Add an edge to the cap
Do this by applying ‘Layers’, ‘Layer Style’, ‘Bevel and Emboss’ to the Levels Adjustment layer. ‘Inner Bevel’ in ‘Down’ mode is used with a ‘Size’ of ‘2’ and a ‘Depth’ of ‘60%’. This creates a shadow and what looks like a reflection under the edge near the skin. This file IS in the download as ‘Cyberstage2.psd’.
19: Changing the hue
A ‘Hue/Saturation’ adjustment layer is added below the cap layers to desaturate the model’s face. The colour of the eye and lips is brought back by painting in black in the layer mask.
20: Brighten the camera lenses
The camera lenses are brightened up using a series of gradients. These are drawn in a new layer inside a circular marquee, one for each lens. A red colour is used, and a radial gradient mode is chosen. The ‘Foreground to transparent’ option is also used.
21: Adding lens flare
A new layer is filled with black and set to screen mode. The Lens Flare filter (Filter’, ‘Render’, ‘Lens Flare’) is applied with a small radius to provide a bit of glare to the eyepiece. The flare can be controlled using ‘Levels’ and ‘Hue/Saturation’ so that it doesn’t swamp the image.
22: The final composite
This time it’s the shoulders of the Meg model. This is brought into Photoshop and composited with the rest of the image using a layer mask to blend it into the skin. The final file is ‘Cyberstage3.psd’.