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How to Make a Terminator Photo Effect in Photoshop

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this Photoshop Terminator face tutorial, you'll learn how to make a Terminator face in Photoshop. I'll explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create the half Terminator face Photoshop effect, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

Want to make a Terminator face Photoshop effect in seconds? Check out the Cyborg Photoshop Action over on my Envato Elements portfolio, where you can choose from various Photoshop actions.

cyborg photoshop actioncyborg photoshop actioncyborg photoshop action

Interested in a video tutorial instead? Don't miss this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel! Watch how to draw a Terminator face in this Photoshop Terminator face tutorial:

What You'll Learn in This Terminator Half Robot Face Tutorial

  • How to do face morphing in Photoshop
  • How to draw a Terminator face
  • How to make a cyborg in Photoshop
  • How to turn yourself into a robot in Photoshop
  • How to create a Terminator cyborg face photo effect

What You'll Need

To recreate the Terminator photo effect above, you will need the following resources:

1. How to Start Creating a Cyborg Photoshop Effect

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 4000-6000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
checking image mode and sizechecking image mode and sizechecking image mode and size

2. How to Select the Subject in Photoshop

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make a selection of our subject and then copy the subject to a separate layer. Go to Select > Subject to make an automatic selection of the subject, choose the Quick Selection Tool (W), and use the Shift-Alt buttons on your keyboard to add or subtract areas from the selection to make a perfect selection.

making selectionmaking selectionmaking selection

Step 2

Now go to Select > Modify > Smooth and set the Sample Radius to 2 px, Select > Modify > Contract and set Contract By to 1 px, and Select > Modify > Feather and set the Feather Radius to 1 px. Then, press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection, and name this new layer Subject.

creating new layer using selectioncreating new layer using selectioncreating new layer using selection

3. How to Create a Terminator Photoshop Effect Background

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a background for our Terminator face Photoshop effect. Select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Background Color, and choose the color #000000.

creating new solid color fill layercreating new solid color fill layercreating new solid color fill layer

Step 2

Now Right-click on this layer, choose Blending Options, select and check the Gradient Overlay effect, use the settings below, and using the Move Tool (V), click and drag anywhere inside the canvas to position the gradient as you like.

adding gradient overlay effectadding gradient overlay effectadding gradient overlay effect

Step 3

Go to File > Place Embedded, select the texture from the link, and click Place. Then, transform and position the texture to fit the canvas, change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light, and name it BT_1. Double-click on this layer, and in the newly opened file, press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer and Control-S to save the changes. After that, close this file and go back to the original file.

placing textureplacing textureplacing texture

Step 4

Now select the Background Color layer, press Control-Shift-N on your keyboard to create a new layer, and name it BT_2. Then, press D to reset the swatches, and go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Press Control-T to transform this layer, and set the Width and Height to 200%. After that, change the Blending Mode of this layer to Divide, and set the Opacity to 50%.

creating new texture layercreating new texture layercreating new texture layer

4. How to Blend the Subject With the Background

Step 1

In this section, we are going to blend the subject with the background. Select the Subject layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White, to create a new black and white adjustment layer, and name it Subject_Saturation. Then, press Control-Alt-G on your keyboard to create a clipping mask, change the Blending Mode of this layer to Color, and set the Opacity to 75%.

creating new black and white adjustment layercreating new black and white adjustment layercreating new black and white adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Right-click on the Subject layer and choose Blending Options. Then, select and check the Gradient Overlay and Drop Shadow effects, and use the settings below.

adding gradient overlay and drop shadow effectsadding gradient overlay and drop shadow effectsadding gradient overlay and drop shadow effects

Step 3

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that reveals the whole layer. Then, set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush around the subject to soften the edges.

adding layer maskadding layer maskadding layer mask

5. How to Draw a Terminator Face

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the Terminator face. Select the Subject_Saturation layer, go to File > Open, choose the texture from the attachment, and click Open. Then, in the newly opened file, choose the Move Tool (V), click anywhere inside the canvas, and drag this layer to the main document. After that, transform and position the texture to match your subject. The face and eyes are separate layers, so you can further transform and position each of them separately. For the Face layer, use Warp transform option and others to make the texture fit subject's face. It doesn't need to be perfect, but try to match the key parts.

placing textureplacing textureplacing texture

Step 2

Now select the layer mask of the Texture folder, and press Control-I on your keyboard to invert it. Then, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a brush of your choice, and brush where you want to reveal the texture. Feel free to experiment with different brushes—you can use a simple soft brush or some scratch, grunge, and other brushes. I'll use some of the 60 brushes that are included with the Cyborg Photoshop Action

brushing into layer maskbrushing into layer maskbrushing into layer mask

Step 3

Right-click on the Texture folder and choose Blending Options. Then, select and check the Bevel & Emboss and Inner Shadow effects, and use the settings below.

adding bevel and emboss and inner shadow effectsadding bevel and emboss and inner shadow effectsadding bevel and emboss and inner shadow effects
The color of the Bevel & Emboss effect shadow is set to #400000.

Step 4

Now select the Face layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer, and name it Face_Brightness. Then, press Control-Alt-G on your keyboard to create a clipping mask, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Highlight Output Level to 240.

creating new levels adjustment layercreating new levels adjustment layercreating new levels adjustment layer

Step 5

In the teeth area, we need to remove the subject details as they are overlapping with the texture and that doesn't look realistic. Select the Subject_Saturation layer, press Control-Shift-N on your keyboard to create a new layer, and name it Subject Details Removal. Then, set the foreground color to #404040, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush and brush as shown below.

removing subject detailsremoving subject detailsremoving subject details

6. How to Make the Terminator Photo Filter Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make the final adjustments to the Terminator face filter. Select the Texture folder, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance to create a new color balance adjustment layer, and name it Color_Look_1. Then, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below. After that, change the Opacity of this layer to 75%.

creating new color balance adjustment layercreating new color balance adjustment layercreating new color balance adjustment layer

Step 2

Now select the Texture folder again, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer, and name it Color_Look_2. Then, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, use the settings below.

creating new curves adjustment layercreating new curves adjustment layercreating new curves adjustment layer

Step 3

Select the Color_Look_1 layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer, and name it Overall Brightness. Then, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Highlight Input Level to 245.

creating new levels adjustment layercreating new levels adjustment layercreating new levels adjustment layer

Step 4

Now press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches, and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer, and name it Overall Contrast. Then, change the Blending Mode of this layer to Luminosity and set the Opacity to 25%.

creating new gradient map adjustment layercreating new gradient map adjustment layercreating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 5

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation. Then, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +20 and Saturation to +10.

creating new vibrance adjustment layercreating new vibrance adjustment layercreating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 6

Now press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px. Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and name it Overall Sharpening.

creating new sharpening layercreating new sharpening layercreating new sharpening layer

You Made It! You're an Expert Terminator Maker!

Congratulations, you've succeeded! You've now learned how to do face morphing in Photoshop, how to make a Terminator face in Photoshop, and how to turn yourself into a robot in Photoshop! Here is our final Terminator face Photoshop tutorial result:

final resultfinal resultfinal result

5 Face Morphing Photoshop Actions From Envato Elements

Want to see some cool Photoshop actions besides a Terminator photo effect? Check out this list of face morphing Photoshop actions from Envato Elements.

Clown Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT, PSD)

clown photoshop actionclown photoshop actionclown photoshop action

Create scary clown Halloween photo effects inspired by the famous and popular Joker and IT movies from your photos with no work at all. Simply fill in your subject with a color and play the action. It’s really that simple!

Zombie Photoshop Action (ATN)

zombie photoshop actionzombie photoshop actionzombie photoshop action

Want to create a scary zombie effect with all the details? Then this Photoshop action may be just what you are looking for!

Vampire Photoshop Action (ABR, PAT, ATN)

vampire photoshop actionvampire photoshop actionvampire photoshop action

This Photoshop action will transform your face into a vampire. There are 10 eye options included, and 10 color effects so you can create different results!

Caricature Photoshop Action (ATN)

caricature photoshop actioncaricature photoshop actioncaricature photoshop action

Give your images a painted caricature look using this action! Just make sure to use high-resolution images for the best results.

Halloween Photoshop Action (ATN, PNG)

halloween photoshop actionhalloween photoshop actionhalloween photoshop action

If you want to create a real horror Halloween effect, check out this Photoshop action. Besides creating this horror effect, the action also creates even 50 color looks to choose from!

Did you like this tutorial on how to make a cyborg in Photoshop? Then you may also like:

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