Create a Flying Pig with Poser and Photoshop


The great thing about Photoshop is it allows us create the impossible, but sometimes it can be a struggle; imagine trying to create this image without enlisting the help from a 3D application. In this tutorial, I'll show you how produce a 3D render and use it as the basis to create a flying pig. The animal I used is just one of thousands available from DAZ 3D.

Tutorial Assets

You'll find some files in the "source" folder. You'll also need the following 3D models and stock images to complete this tutorial.

Important Information for Mac Users

DAZ 3D now uses BitRock self-extracting installers to add content to either Poser or DAZ Studio. At present this type of installer is not compatible with OSX Lion. I've been advised that this issue is currently being looked at by DAZ 3D, so hopefully by the time this tutorial is published the problem will be resolved.

I initially intended using DAZ Studio (the 32 bit version is currently free), but I was forced to use an older Mac and Poser 7 for the first part of the tutorial.

I've supplied the 3D render ("pig_render.png") in the "source" folder, so if you want to skip the first part of this tutorial, go to Step 28.

Step 1

Consult the 'readme' file inside the Poser application folder, as well as these instructions, then install the DAZ Pig.

Launch Poser, select the default figure in the viewport and hit delete. You'll find the required model under Figures > DAZ Animals within the Library tab. Highlight the DAZ Pig thumbnail, then click the Create New Figure tick at the foot of the palette to load the model. At this point we're not concerned with textures, so select Smooth Shaded under Document Display Style.

Step 2

The different camera views are located in the Camera Controls drop-down menu. Most views can also be accessed with keyboard shortcuts. Press Cmd/Ctrl + comma to switch to the Posing Camera, then select the Poses Library > DAZ's Pig. Highlight the Pig Jump thumbnail, then click the tick to apply the pose preset. We don't need ground shadows, so click the sphere icon at the foot of the main window to hide them.

Step 3

Press Shift > Cmd/Ctrl + N to open the Parameter Dials tab, ensure the figure is active by selecting "Body" in the main viewport and set the Heavy Morph dial to 0.812. Now have a play with the camera views (indicated top left) to view the model in 3D space.

Step 4

Press Cmd/Ctrl + equal to switch to the Face Camera and select the Head mesh. Now adjust the following Morph dials: Happy: 1.000, Smile: 0.260, SmileRight: 0.500, SnarlRight: 0.820 and BrowUPR: 1.000.

Step 5

Choose File > Import > Wavefront OBJ, then navigate to the bomb 3d model download: BeyondVR_mk39-nuclear-bomb_59054 > Runtime > Geometries > skypilot > aircraft > Mk39bomb.obj, enter these settings in the Prop Import Options box and click OK.

Step 6

Now select the Four Ports option from the bottom left drop-down menu and copy these settings in the Transform tab to resize and position the bomb under the pig's belly.

Step 7

Now modify the xRotate dial to -14 degrees, then adjust the other parameter dials to compensate.

Step 8

Revert back to Full Port view mode. Select the pig, then apply the "Pig Spotted" preset found under Poses > MAT DAZ's Pig. Now click the Texture Shaded button to view the result.

Step 9

Over the next few steps we'll use Photoshop to create a custom texture for the bomb. Download and open the first texture (image 1, medium-sized version), then use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the top portion. Hit Shift + F6 to access the Feather window, enter 2px and copy to the clipboard.

The creator of the model has kindly supplied a texture template, ("mk39T.gif") which can be found in the "templates" folder within the download. Open and choose Image > Mode > RGB Color, then paste your selection as a new layer, then flip horizontally and resize/position as shown. Now use the Patch Tool (J) to remove the panels indicated by the circles.

Step 10

Duplicate this layer, then Shift-drag to fill the lower half. Now flip the duplicate horizontally and also rotate 90 degrees anti-clockwise.

Step 11

Copy > paste smaller feathered areas from the same texture file, then duplicate them until all the template mesh lines are covered.

Step 12

Add an unclipped (to affect all layers) Levels Adjustment Layer at the top of the stack with these settings to boost the contrast a little.

Step 13

Next, we'll add some wear and tear to the texture. Download and open the second texture (medium-sized version), then place it above the Adjustment Layer and resize to cover the entire canvas.

Change the Blend Mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 70%. Add a mask, then use an assortment of these "PSDTUTS_grunge_brushes.abr" (from the "source" folder) to hide the area where the texture will meet when applied to the 3D model. My mask is shown at the bottom of the screenshot for clarity.

Step 14

In this step we'll color the nose and tail and also add some color bands – this will become more apparent once the texture is applied to the model.

Add a new layer at the top of the stack and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to create a series of selections. Feather by 1px, then fill with yellow (# e3e30c). Add a mask, then use some custom grunge brushes to distress the paintwork slightly.

Now the texture is complete, be sure to save a layered version ("Bomb_texture.psd"), then flatten and Save As a .jpg ("Bomb_texture.jpg").

Step 15

All that's left to do now is create a bump map. Open your layered "Bomb_texture.psd" and disable the visibility of all layers apart from the "Background", the Levels adjustment and all the original green panels. Choose Flatten Image, then click OK on the following window.

Step 16

Convert the image to Grayscale and press Discard in the following window. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + L to access the Levels dialogue box and copy these settings to increase the contrast. Now Save As "Bomb_bump.jpg".

Step 17

One of the great features of Photoshop Extended is the ability to open 3D models and apply textures in realtime. This enables you to quickly test out textures before loading them into Poser.

Press Cmd/Ctrl + O, then navigate: "BeyondVR_mk39-nuclear-bomb_59054" > "Runtime" > "Geometries" > "skypilot" > "aircraft" > "Mk39bomb.obj" to open the bomb.

Step 18

The finished render will be carried out with Poser, so at this stage, we just need an indication of how the texture will appear.

Double-click the "paint-Default Texture" name in the LAYERS tab, this opens a new file. Open your "Bomb_texture.jpg" and Shift-drag the layer thumbnail into the new document then Flatten and save. The texture will now automatically update on the model. Repeat this for the "bolts-Default Texture". Next, load your "Bomb_bump.jpg" for both textures in the 3D MATERIALS tab.

Step 19

Double-click the bomb layer thumbnail to access the 3D SCENE tab, then use the Object Rotate Tool (K) to move the model around and check for any obvious seams or faults. Remember, you can always revisit your layered version to carry out alterations, then reload it as described in the previous step.

Step 20

Back in Poser, select the bomb mesh and click the MATERIAL tab. Choose "paint" from the drop-down menu (1), then click the Diffuse Color box (2) to open the Texture Manager window. From here, click the Browse button and navigate to your "Bomb_texture.jpg" (3), then click the arrow to apply the texture to the highlight (4). Follow the same method to add your "Bomb_bump.jpg" (5) and set the Amount to 0.2000 (6). Finally, select bolts from the drop-down menu (7) and repeat this step.

Step 21

Return to the Preview tab and check the texture has been imported correctly.

Step 22

Now modify the pig's pose by selecting the appropriate body part in the main viewport and setting the following parameter dials as shown.

Step 23

The next stage is to add some basic lighting. Open the Lights tab and highlight the Country icon click the tick to apply the preset. Now select the middle light (Light 2) and modify as follows: xRotate: 9, yRotate: -52, zRotate: -5. At this point, you can also press Cmd/Ctrl + G to hide the Ground Plane.

Step 24

It's now time to perform a quick test render. Press Cmd/Ctrl + Y to open the Render Settings window, choose the Firefly tab and copy the following settings. Save this preset for the future renders, then hit the Render Now button.

Step 25

Once you're happy with the test render, you can prepare to create a final high resolution one. Press Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + D to open the Render Dimensions window, copy these settings and hit OK.

Step 26

Open the Render Settings window again and apply the following settings, save, then click the Render Now button.

Step 27

When the render statues bar is complete, click the arrow to view (1), then click the triangle drop-down menu (2) and choose Export image and save (as a .png) to a memorable location.

Step 28

Open your render in Photoshop and name the default layer "Pig", add a layer below it and fill with # 94b6c1. Name this one "Solid blue".

Step 29

Place the first cloud image above the "Solid blue" layer and label it "Sky 1", then enlarge and flip horizontally.

Add a mask, then set the Gradient Tool (G) to Foreground to Transparent and Linear in the Options bar. Target the mask, ensure your Foreground is set to black, then hold Shift and drag a gradient as indicated by the direction and length of the arrow.

Step 30

With the "Sky 1" layer highlighted add a Hue/Saturation adjustment and set the Saturation value to -50. Now click the double-ring icon at the foot of the palette to clip the adjustment to the target layer.

Step 31

Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer. First modify the RGB sliders, then use the drop-down menu to modify the Red and Green as shown.

Step 32

Place the second cloud image above the last adjustment, then enlarge and label it "Sky 2". Now change the Blend Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 60%.

Add a mask and Shift-drag a Linear Gradient (G) from the top. Next, open the MASKS tab (Window > Masks) and reduce the Density to 65%.

Step 33

Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer and apply these settings.

Step 34

To keep your layers organized, highlight the last adjustment thumbnail, then hold Shift and select the "Solid blue" thumbnail (this also highlights the sandwiched layers). Now Choose New Group from Layers from the top right fly-out menu, name the group "BACKGROUND" in the next window and click OK.

Step 35

To remove the hard 3D rendered edge from the "Pig" layer, Cmd/Ctrl-click its thumbnail to create a selection, then choose Select > Modify > Contract and enter 2px. Now press Shift + F6 to access the Feather window and enter 1px. Next, click the Add layer mask icon at the foot of the LAYERS tab.

Step 36

In this step we'll use the Liquify Filter to subtly modify the pig's expression. Target its layer icon and hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + X at access the Liquify Filter, then use the Forward Warp Tool (W) around the eye and the corner of the mouth. Next, use the Bloat Tool (B) to open the snout a little.

Step 37

To remove the yellow/green color cast from the bomb, clip a Selective Color adjustment to the "Pig" layer. Select Yellows from the Colors drop-down menu and increase the Magenta slider to +25.

Step 38

Now clip a Levels adjustment to the "Pig" and copy the following settings to increase the contrast a little.

Step 39

At this point I felt the 3D rendered eye looked a little lifeless. To fix this, open the eye image, grab the Lasso Tool (L) and roughly drag a selection as shown. Copy > paste as a new top layer and label it "Eye". Resize and position over the existing eye, then add a mask. Now hit Cmd/Ctrl + I to Invert the mask to black, then use a small, soft-edged white Brush (B) to carefully reinstate the new eye.

Step 40

Our pig now needs a pair of wings, so open the bird and use the Quick Selection Tool (W) to select both wings. If you find your selection strays and picks up background pixels, use the subtract option to remove them.

Step 41

Now click the Refine Edge button in the Options bar. In the following window choose On Layers (L) from the View Mode drop-down menu, copy these settings and click OK.

Step 42

You'll now see a masked duplicate layer and the visibility of the original layer disabled. To view the mask better, sandwich a layer below it and fill with a sky blue color (I used # 4cb2de). Now target the mask, zoom in and use a small black or white, Brush (B) at 50% Hardness to fix any small flaws on the mask.

Step 43

When you're happy, drag the mask thumbnail into the trash icon at the foot of the tab, click Apply in the following window, then delete the blue layer.

Step 44

Revisit your project file and place all the floating layers into a new folder called "PIG". Now add the isolated wings to create a new layer at the top of the stack and flip horizontally.

Step 45

Lasso a selection around the left wing and hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + J to cut the selection to a new layer. Now Transform each wing to fit over the pig as shown.

Step 46

When you're happy with their placement, target the top layer and press Cmd/Ctrl + E to Merge Down. Add a mask and use a medium-sized, soft Brush (B) to blend the left wing into the pig's body. Now Cmd/Ctrl-click the "Pig" mask and paint within the selection to reveal the head and ears.

Step 47

To wings now need to blend better with the pig, clip a Color Balance adjustment and modify the Midtones and Shadows as below. Now place the "Wings" and its adjustment layer into a folder called "WINGS".

Step 48

Next, we'll give our pig some vintage flying goggles. Grab the Lasso Tool (L), roughly select them and copy > paste them above all the folders. Temporarily reduce the layer's Opacity to help you Transform and position them – you'll also need to apply a small degree of Warp (via the Transform menu) for an accurate fit. Name this layer "Goggles frame".

Step 49

Set the Clone Stamp Tool (S) to Current Layer in the Options bar, then use a small brush to extend the strap around the pig's ear – don't worry about any excess as well fix that next. Add a mask and use a small Brush (B) at around 50% Hardness to carefully paint around the goggles as shown.

Step 50

Set the Pen Tool (P) to Paths in the Options bar and carefully draw around both lenses. Cmd/Ctrl-click your path thumbnail to generate a selection and Feather by 1px.

Step 51

Hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + J to cut the selection to a new layer. Name this layer "Goggles glass", then change the Blend Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 74%.

Add a mask to the "Goggles glass" layer, then paint with a small, soft-edged Brush (B) to hide the reflection highlight obscuring the pig's eye.

Step 52

Target the "Goggles frame" layer, then clip a Color Balance and Hue/Saturation adjustments and copy these settings.

Step 53

Clip a Hue/Saturation and Levels adjustments to the "Goggles glass" layer as shown. Now place all these floating layers into a folder called "GOGGLES".

Step 54

The next stage is to create a harness to carry the bomb. Open the bridle image and draw a series of closed paths around the subject; don't forget to set the Pen ℗ to Subtract (-) to create the inner sub-paths.

Create a path-based selection, then use the same Refine Edge workflow as you did for the wings to isolate the bridle from the background, then Apply the mask.

Step 55

Drag the bridle into your project file above all the folders and Transform/position as shown.

Step 56

Add a mask, then use an assortment of Brushes (B) to hide the bottom area, also clean up any stray pixels around the upper strap and buckle as required.

Step 57

Revisit your extracted bridle (from Step 54) and use the Lasso Tool (L) to copy > paste the bottom left strap to a new layer. Flip horizontally, position over the holding ring and stretch to create the first bomb harness.

Step 58

Drag the lasso Tool (L) around the bottom of the strap and Feather by 1px. Now use the Warp function to curl it around the bottom of the bomb – this may take a few steps to look right. Deselect, then apply the Warp command again on the entire layer content until the strap looks natural.

Step 59

Paste the same strap again (as Step 57) and repeat the process to create the second harness. Both layers can now be masked to blend with the original ("Layer 1").

Step 60

When your happy, merge all three layers and name the resulting one "Straps merged". Next, we'll modify the yellow tones. Go to Image > Adjustments > Replace Color, then click the color to alter on your image. Keep the Fussiness value at 100, then use the plus (+) picker to expand the colour range. When you're done, hit OK to apply the changes.

Step 61

Clip a Levels, then a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Straps merged" layer. Use these settings to darken the tonal range and increase the reds.

Step 62

Add a further clipped Levels adjustment to darken the harness. Add a mask, Invert, then reveal the base area under the bomb with a large soft-edged Brush (B).

Step 63

Now clip a Color Fill adjustment to the "Straps merged" layer with a fill of # 7e72of. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay, then add an inverted mask and reveal the buckle and ring with a soft-edged Brush (B). Finally, place all these layers within a folder called "BOMB STRAP".

Step 64

Now we'll add some shadow layers. Generate a layer-based selection from the "Straps merged". Place a new layer above the "WINGS" folder and fill with black. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter 4px. Next, choose Noise > Add Noise and apply 5% with the Uniform and Monochromatic options checked.

Access Warp and bend the shadow to conform to the pig's belly. Add a mask, then use a large, soft-edged Brush (B) to hide any excess. Now change the Blend Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 48%. Name this layer "Shadow 1".

Step 65

Repeat this workflow to add further shadows on separate layers. Concentrate around the straps holding the bomb, below the goggles and behind the right wing. Adjust their opacities to suit and use layer-based selections as the basis for masks. The mask for the right wing shadow is shown at the bottom of the screenshot for clarity.

Step 66

Add a final shadow layer where the pig's belly sits on top of the bomb at 100% Opacity. Now place all these layers into a folder called "SHADOWS".

Step 67

To ensure no shadows extend beyond the figure, use a mask-based selection from the "Pig" layer to create a mask on the "SHADOWS" folder.

Step 68

To remove the sharpness of the 3D render, target the "Pig" layer and choose Filter > Blur > Blur More, then add 3% Noise with just the Uniform button checked.

Step 69

For the final stage, we'll use some custom brushes to paint some fur – for professional results, I would recommended using a tablet.

Load the "PSDTUTS_Fur_brushes.abr" brushes from the "source" folder. Add a new layer called "Fur 1" above the "BACKGROUND" folder. Now Paint around the outside of the pig, sampling nearby colors (by pressing the Opt/Alt key) a you go. Also, remember to vary the brush size and rotate, flip its orientation. If you feel you've overdone areas, mask them accordingly.

Step 70

Now place another layer ("Fur 2") above all the folders and continue to add more fur. Try setting the Brush (B) to Multiply or Screen as you work as well. Now mask this layer with a soft-edged brush (B) to reveal the shadow layers. Place another layer at the top of the stack ("Fur 3") and add some fur overlapping the goggles and harness.

Step 71

Finally, we'll add some overall sharpening. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to create a new merged layer at the top of the stack. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and enter 2px in the following window. Now change the Blend Mode to Overlay to render the grey invisible.

Conclusion and Scope

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to combine your own 3D renders with Photoshop illustration techniques. Have fun!

Related Posts