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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photo Manipulation

How to Create a Fun Giant Dog Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

What if dogs were as big as houses? You don't need to wonder any longer, because we can bring this vision to life with the magic of Photoshop! Let's take our Godzilla-dog for a walk in the city and see what happens. I promise that no animals will be harmed in the process!

What You Will Need

You will need the following resources in order to complete this project:

1. How to Prepare Photos for Photo Manipulation

Step 1

Open Dog in water 1. Use any selection tool to select the head and the stick. I used the Pen Tool (P) here.

select dog headselect dog headselect dog head

Step 2

Go to Select > Refine Edge. Check Smart Radius and drag the Radius a little to make the edges smoother. You can also "paint" directly on the edge to exclude the small areas between the hair from the selection. When you're done, change Output to New Layer and press OK.

refine edge optionsrefine edge optionsrefine edge options

Step 3

Open Dog in water 2. Select it the same way, just without the head—we're going to use the head of the other dog in its place.

select dog bodyselect dog bodyselect dog body

Step 4

Show the original layer again and this time select the splash of water. You can use the Lasso Tool (L) to make the selection organic.

select water in photoshopselect water in photoshopselect water in photoshop

Step 5

Let's remove the background from the water. Go to Select > Color Range and click the blue behind the water. Adjust the Fuzziness until the image below shows mostly the outline of the drops.

color range selectioncolor range selectioncolor range selection

Step 6

Press Delete or Backspace to remove the selection. Then Deselect (Control-D).

remove background from waterremove background from waterremove background from water

2. How to Combine Photos Into One Scene

Step 1

Open the photo of a city. Copy and paste the dog's body and the water into this file. Resize them together (Control-T) and put them in the right place. The water should be on a layer below the body.

add dog to cityadd dog to cityadd dog to city

Step 2

Copy and paste the head of the other dog. Resize it and attach it to the body. This trick is useful when your subject has the pose you need, but the wrong facial expression.

add head to dogadd head to dogadd head to dog

Step 3

Click the layer with the body and add an Exposure adjustment.

add exposure adjustmentadd exposure adjustmentadd exposure adjustment

Clip it (Control-Alt-G) to affect only the layer below. Then increase the Exposure to make the body as bright as the head.

adjust exposureadjust exposureadjust exposure
exposure adjustedexposure adjustedexposure adjusted

Step 4

Lower the Opacity to make the effect subtler.

lower opacitylower opacitylower opacity

Step 5

Click the mask of this adjustment. Paint on the dog's body with a soft black brush to "paint the shadows" (to remove the effect of the adjustment).

paint on adjustment maskpaint on adjustment maskpaint on adjustment mask
adjustment custom maskadjustment custom maskadjustment custom mask

Step 6

Let's add some dynamism to the photo. Select the layer again (not the mask) and go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Adjust the Angle and the Distance to create an illusion of motion.

add motion bluradd motion bluradd motion blur

Step 7

Click the layer with the water now. Add some blur to it as well.

add motion to wateradd motion to wateradd motion to water

Step 8

If you want to blur a part of the layer at a different angle, you must select it first. Go into Quick Mask Mode (Q).

quick mask modequick mask modequick mask mode

Use the soft black brush to "paint" the area that you want to edit. Then go out of the mode (Q), invert the selection (Control-Shift-I), and hide the selection (Control-H).

paint quick maskpaint quick maskpaint quick mask

Step 10

Add Motion Blur to this selection. Don't forget to Deselect (Control-D) when you're done.

add blur selectivelyadd blur selectivelyadd blur selectively

Step 11

The dog is very dynamic now, but the rest of the photo isn't. The boats look very static, and they break the illusion. Let's fix it! Select the boat on the right as precisely as possible. Duplicate the selected area (Control-J) and hide the copy.

select the boatselect the boatselect the boat

Step 12

Hold Control and click the thumbnail of the copy to take its selection. Then select the background layer and go to Edit > Fill > Content Aware.

add content aware filladd content aware filladd content aware fill

The boat will disappear!

how to make something disappear in the photohow to make something disappear in the photohow to make something disappear in the photo

Step 13

This tool isn't perfect, so you may need to use it a few times on the problematic areas to clean them.

how to fix xontent awarehow to fix xontent awarehow to fix xontent aware

Step 14

Remove the other boat the same way.

remove boat from waterremove boat from waterremove boat from water

Step 15

The water looks way too still as well. Select the background layer and go to Filter > Liquify. Use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to pile up the water right under the dog. To see the dog, check Show Backdrop, but it may make it harder to see the changes. When you're done, press OK.

add waves to wateradd waves to wateradd waves to water

Step 16

Tilt both boats (Control-T) to give an illusion of them being pushed by the sudden wave.

tilt the boatstilt the boatstilt the boats

Step 17

To blend the object better with the water, you can use a Layer Mask. It's a mask that you can paint on to make parts of the layer transparent. You can learn about Layer Masks here:

add layer maskadd layer maskadd layer mask
blend objects in photoblend objects in photoblend objects in photo

3. How to Change the Colors in the Photo

Step 1

In the photo we used as a background, the city is the subject, so everything is equally sharp. But in our photo manipulation the dog is the subject, so we want to add some blur to put the focus on it. Click the background and paint in Quick Mask Mode (Q) to select most of the background.

paint background with quick maskpaint background with quick maskpaint background with quick mask

Step 2

Go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur and adjust the Radius to add some blur. Check More Accurate to better see the changes.

add lens bluradd lens bluradd lens blur

Step 3

Deselect and repeat, this time selecting a smaller portion of the background, deeper in the back.

select backgroundselect backgroundselect background

Use stronger blur as well.

add stronger bluradd stronger bluradd stronger blur

Step 4

Without deselecting, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment.

add hue saturationadd hue saturationadd hue saturation

Increase the Lightness to add some aerial perspective. This will make the dog pop!

add lightnessadd lightnessadd lightness
add aerial perspectiveadd aerial perspectiveadd aerial perspective

Step 5

Add a Color Balance adjustment. Hold the Alt key and drag the mask from the previous adjustment to the new one to copy it.

add color balance adjustmentadd color balance adjustmentadd color balance adjustment

Change the colors to make them more bluish to increase the effect of an aerial perspective.

add blue colorsadd blue colorsadd blue colors
make background bluemake background bluemake background blue

Step 6

It's almost done, but let's add a few little fixes. Add Motion Blur to both boats (separately) to make them even less static than before.

add motion blur to boatadd motion blur to boatadd motion blur to boat

Step 7

Add a Color Balance adjustment to the water under the dog. Clip it (Control-Alt-G). Adjust the colors to make the water more like the river—greenish, not blue.

change color of waterchange color of waterchange color of water

Step 8

The colors from the environment should be reflected on the dog's body. Create a New Layer over it and clip it (Control-Alt-G). Use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pick the colors from the environment and paint them onto the body.

add reflected colorsadd reflected colorsadd reflected colors

Step 9

Change the Blend Mode of this layer to Color and lower the Opacity to make the effect subtler.

change blend modechange blend modechange blend mode
make colors subtlermake colors subtlermake colors subtler

Step 10

Do the same with the head.

change colors on headchange colors on headchange colors on head

Step 11

Paint some extra reflections on another layer. Paint them on the side of the head and under the stick.

add reflected lightadd reflected lightadd reflected light

Lower the Opacity to make the effect more natural.

change opacitychange opacitychange opacity

Step 12

The dog's body is still a little too contrasting. Click its layer and add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment.

add brightness ocntrast adjustmentadd brightness ocntrast adjustmentadd brightness ocntrast adjustment

Change the settings to make the shadows brighter.

change contrastchange contrastchange contrast
photo with changed contrastphoto with changed contrastphoto with changed contrast

Step 13

The head seems sharper than the rest of the scene. Click its layer and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Add a little blur, just enough to lose some of the details.

add gaussian bluradd gaussian bluradd gaussian blur

Step 14

We can make the shadows bluer, as well. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the head. Clip it, check Colorize, and turn the head light blue.

add blue shadowsadd blue shadowsadd blue shadows

Step 15

Paint on the mask to keep the effect only in the shadows.

colorize shadowscolorize shadowscolorize shadows

Step 16

Do the same with the body. You can simply copy the adjustment and clip it to the other layer.

colorize shadows bluecolorize shadows bluecolorize shadows blue

Step 17

The other boat still seemed too static, so I tilted it some more.

tilt boat some moretilt boat some moretilt boat some more

Step 18

Let's push the aerial perspective even further. Go to the background layer and use Quick Mask Mode (Q) to select the whole background.

colorize backgroundcolorize backgroundcolorize background

Step 19

Add a colorizing Hue/Saturation adjustment, just like the one on the head and body.

make sky bluermake sky bluermake sky bluer

Step 20

Lower the Opacity for a subtler effect.

make background bluermake background bluermake background bluer

Step 21

There are still paws on the water layer, and a part of them stays visible. Use the Liquify filter to push them up a little.

fix the layerfix the layerfix the layer

Step 22

Finally, use the Liquify filter to create a "dent" in the water under the boats. You can also add an Exposure adjustment on top and increase the Offset to unify the contrast in the whole scene.

add more wavesadd more wavesadd more waves

Good Job!

We have a long tradition of creating slightly less serious, but still very educational tutorials for April Fool's Day. Make sure to check them out for some fun, but beware—they may not be what they seem!

giant dog photo manipulation photoshopgiant dog photo manipulation photoshopgiant dog photo manipulation photoshop
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