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Create a robot cat photo manipulation in Photoshop

Posted by on September 5th, 2012

Robot Cat Manipulation Final
Photo manipulations are a way to let your imagination run wild and create realistic compositions from a mixtures of sources. Photo manipulations are nothing new on the Internet, but often you will only see the finished product, not how the image was actually created.

I find it interesting to see the techniques that go into photo manipulations and how the creator approached the objective. It is hard to reverse engine a flat image, and so you really need the artist to break it down for you.

This is more of a walkthrough than a tutorial because I believe walkthroughs are far more beneficial for understanding how something was done, rather than creating the same output.

Instead of telling you exactly what to do, I’m just going to break it down into the main stages, the creativity is up to you.

Robot Cat Manipulation 1
The first thing we need to do is to find a good picture of a cat. Fortunately, we are on the Internet and so there is no shortage of pictures of cats.

I’m going to be using this majestic looking feline for my robotic cat.

Robot Cat Manipulation 2
Next we need to find some pictures of engines to use as the robotic architecture of the cat. Try and find a good selection of engine images with interesting features and a variety of different textures, surface layers and sizes. The more variation you have, the easier it will be to create a realistic robotic shell for your cat.

Robot Cat Manipulation 3
Next, start cutting out pieces from the engines and placing them on to your cat. At this stage it does not have to be neat at all.

Robot Cat Manipulation 4
Look for bits of engine that closely resemble the anatomy and the bone structure of a real cat. The closer you can get to the actual real structure of a cat, the better your final image will be.

Robot Cat Manipulation 5
Try and find smaller pieces that can be used to join bigger bits together. As you can see in the image above, here I’m using long pieces as the outer bones and skeleton of the cat and to create joints on the legs.

Robot Cat Manipulation 6
Next, add some shadows and dark areas to the structure. In any photo manipulation, less is considerably more and so we use shadows and dark areas to tone down the image.

Again, at this stage don’t worry about being neat.

Robot Cat Manipulation 1
Next, duplicate the original image and place it as the top layer.

In my image I cut out the picture of the cat so I could place it in another scene or change the background.

Robot Cat Manipulation 7
Next, use the Eraser Tool set with a texture brush to remove sections of the fur to reveal the robotic structure underneath.

Finally, use the Burn Tool to make the edges of the fur look like they have been burnt away or lost in a fight.

Robot Cat Manipulation Final
And there you have it! Your very own robotic cat!

I hope this walkthrough has shown you how easy it is to create photo manipulations. I think one of the most important aspects of creating a realistic photo manipulation is to combine various types of images, and then use the power of Photoshop to tie it all together.

Philip Brown

Hey, I'm Philip Brown, a designer and developer from Durham, England. I create websites and web based applications from the ground up. In 2011 I founded a company called Yellow Flag. If you want to find out more about me, you can follow me on Twitter or Google Plus.