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Making Of 'Feeding the Dragon'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
Download the Source Files. Because the .psd files are to big for the Web I had to provide .jpg files for this tutorial

The image was made for a Challenge called "Master and Servant" but unfortunately I didn't read the rules so it had to contain a human part in order to be admitted for the challenge. But this is not a problem at all, at least i had something to do. The Idea behind is based on the cuckoo bird behavior, who let his chick to be raised by other birds, just that in this case the one who is to be raise by a dove, that stays as a symbol for the soul, is a kind of zombie "Dragon" who's feed are souls and with each soul he get the more life came back in his bones. The source images are taken with my Nikon D70, the turtle skeleton in a museum and the dove and the feeding house in a park. The rest of the used sources are made using the scanner and Photoshop. This Tutorial was made on a PC, with Photoshop 7 but it can be done also with CS or Photoshop 6. If you are on a Mac use Cmd instead of Ctrl and Opt instead of Alt. For the shortcuts.

Step 1

First we need to cut out the parts we need starting with the skeleton. Open the Skeleton.jpg from the source folder and using the Pen Tool (P) cut out the skeleton. To have a better view of what you are doing zoom in as much as you can and cut always inside the edge between the bones and the rest of the image. Once you have close the Path change from the Layer to the Path palette and Ctrl+click on the Shape a Vector Mask or activate fist the mask by clicking on and then click on the 3rd icon on the bottom of the pallete to Load path as a selection. After that change to the Channel palette and click on the second icon at the bottom of the palette to Save selection as a channel. Now back to the Layer palette with the selection still active click on the background layer and go Edit - Copy (Ctrl+C) and the save and close the source file.


Step 2

Now go and create a new file(Ctrl+N). This are the setting i use for my image Preset Size -A3, Resolution 300 px/inch , Color Mode RGB. You have to chose a smaller Preset Size because the images i have provide for this tutorial are about the half of the original ones. Once you have created your new file go Edit-Paste (Ctrl+V) to have the dove on a new layer. Name the Layer Dove and fill the background with a grey color so you can see better artifact on the edges ant to have a better control when you have to image adjustments. Now cut out the house and the dove using the same technique as for the skeleton and also paste them in the new file. Name layers house and dove and try to arrange them like in the image below.


Step 3

At this point we have to make some adjustments to bring the dove in the same light as the other parts of the image. Fist we will do some Level Adjustments, go Image-Adjustments-Levels (Ctrl+L) and drag the right and the left slider slightly to the right then the right slider slightly to the left and at the end the middle slide slightly to the left. This is a feeling matter just look at the image and you will know if you done to much and at this point the dove should still be a bit darker as the rest but we will take care about that next. Make a copy of the dove layer and Set the blending mode for the dove copy layer to Screen and the Opacity to 90%. Now with the dove copy layer still active click on the 2nd icon at the bottom of the palette to add a mast to the layer now use a soft round brush and black to cover up slightly parts of the dove that are not exposed as much to the light, like on the chest under the tail, inside the wings and so on. When you are done you should have something like in the image below.


Step 4

Now we have to make the whole in the haus where the skeleton came out. Zoom in as much you can to see the place where the skeleton meets the house the use the Eliptical Marque Tool (M) to drag an eliptical hole in the house. With the created selection active change to the haus house and hit Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste then name the new layer holelight and Set the Blending mode to Screen and the Opacity to 70%. Make a copy of the new layer and name it hole Ctrl+click on it to select and then hit G and fill the selection with black. After that go Edit-Transform-Distort and scale and distort the hole to fit inside the holelight in order to create the illusion of a hole in the house. Now the hole light and the hole layer should be above the haus layer and under the skeleton layer. Click on the hole layer and make a copy then drag the holecopy above the skeleton, after that Ctrl+click on the skeleton layer to select it, go back to the holecopy layer and click on the 2nd icon at the bottom of the layer palette to add a vector mask. Use a soft round brush with the Opacity set to 60% and black to cover out the parts of the skeleton that are covered by the holecopy layer in order tho create the illusion of a skeleton coming out of the hole. When you are ready you should have something like the image below.


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