PSDFan Extra

Create ‘Bionic Diver’ Using Photo Manipulation

Final Image

This is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Open up your photo. I chose a nice image of a father and son diving into the sea.

Step 2

Now it’s time to experiment with the clone stamp tool. You can find this tool in your tools palette, and it unsurprisingly has an icon of a stamp to identify it. I used to work with a very small clone stamp, but it can really speed up your work if you use a larger brush size. We will be cloning parts of the sea, and due to it’s complex nature hopefully the cloning process will produce a very natural outcome.

I start by using a 75 size clone stamp brush and click over the sea whilst holding alt. This selects this area of sea for cloning. Then I release alt and click somewhere over the man’s leg. You can see the outcome of this below. It’s important to note that whilst some people clone one part of an image and then keep clicking, replicating this one section, this isn’t the best solution. I prefer to alt+click, then clone this section. Then repeat this process again with a totally new part of the sea. This way I won’t keep duplicating the same area over and over which will appear unnatural.

Step 3

I repeat this process using a smaller clone stamp brush, as this allows me to fade away the legs more precisely, so that I can create a nice edge for the man’s shoes/shorts. Another tip for the clone stamp tool is to keep cloning parts of the sea that are outside of where you legs originally were. This is because even if the legs appear deleted, subtle colors/shades of them can remain, and you don’t want to be cloning these areas, but areas that are 100% sea, with no traces of the original image. I use a 20 size clone stamp brush to finish deleting the man’s legs.

Step 4

Now we get to the boy to the left of the man. Not that I have anything against him personally, but the image is looking a little busy – so we’re going to delete him entirely. To do this simply use your clone stamp as I’ve just shown to erase not just his legs, but his entire body. It doesn’t matter if you do this quite roughly with a large clone stamp brush, as we’ll be manipulating this original photo anyway.

Step 5

Now select your lasso tool and select around your man, including his shoes (this will mean three different selections). Be very precise with this, and copy/paste your selections onto a new layer. Then merge your three new layers (the man and a different layer for each of his shoes). Called this merged layer ‘man’ (you can see it’s contents below).

Step 6

Now go back to your original photo layer and go to image>adjustments>levels. You r levels should be at: 0, 1.00 and 255. You want to change them to 104, 0.48 and 255. This will darken your image significantly. Then go to image>adjustments>hue/saturation. Reduce your saturation to -70. You can see the outcomes of these changes below:

Step 7

Select your ‘man’ layer. Then apply the levels and saturation settings shown below, and you should get something like the following image:

Step 8

Now grab your lasso selection tool and create/fill in a black selection where the inside of the man’s shorts should be. You can see this in more detail here:

Step 9

Now open up a second photo of a ornate street lamp. Use your lasso tool to cut out the main pole part of the lamp, and then paste this twice onto new layers in your original image, placing it where the man’s thighs originally were. You can use the lasso tool to cut off any excess length. Refer back to your original photo if you need to remember exactly how large the man’s thighs were. Merge the two new layers together.

Step 10

Now we need to make these artificial legs blend with the rest of the image. Change the saturation/lightness using the amounts shown below. Then use a soft eraser brush at a very low opacity to gently erase the bottom of each leg a little. You don’t want to erase them completely, but just enough to let a little of the black behind them show through, giving the impression of depth/shadow as they go into the man’s shorts.

Step 11

Now I open up some more images – this time of wires/poles/cables. You can see the original images below. I paste in my first image of some poles/wires and then resize/flip it vertically to fit over my legs. Then I set it’s layer blend mode to ‘overlay’ in order to blend it better. Now open up an image of some colored cables. Fit these over the legs like with the other image, and then set the layer’s blend mode to ‘color dodge’ and reduce the layer opacity to 70%. You can see the steps of this below.

Step 12

If you go back to your original image of the street lamp, you will see that there are some nice round, ornate details near the top of the pole. Select one of these using the lasso tool and then paste it over the top of each thigh, where the knee joint should be. Fit it with the image well by going to edit>transform>distort and trying to apply correct positioning/perspective. Then merge the two layers together and go to image>adjustments>hue/saturation – applying the settings shown below. Finally I select my original ‘legs’ layer (with the street lamp poles) and duplicate it 5 times, as the legs weren’t obvious enough for my liking.

Step 13

Now open up an image of a flagpole. Select around the pole using your lasso tool, and then using the techniques of the previous steps paste it into your original document (behind the knee joint image) to make up the bottom of the legs. Cut off the point where they overlap the shoes – this should make it appear as if they are going into the shoes. The final image below shows where we are at so far:

Step 14

It’s looking pretty cool (if not a little weird), but I want to just blend the elements of the legs together a little better before we continue. I select my ‘legs cables’ layer and reduce the opacity to 20% as the cables are looking a little intense right now. Then I merge my original ‘legs’ layers with all the duplicates of it, and increase the contrast of this merged layer by 35. If I compare my metal elements to the skin of the man they definitely lack contrast, so I increase the contrast of my other leg elements also.

Finally, we can identify a light source on the man’s body coming from right to left. To make the artificial elements blend better I take a small, soft black brush at a low opacity and paint in some subtle shading on the left edges of my metal elements. Then I apply the same technique to their right sides using a white brush to give them subtle highlights.

Step 15

Now open up a new photo of some cables. Select the cables using the lasso tool and then resize/rotate the image and fit it over the man’s left arm. Use your lasso tool to cut away the edges of the cables so that they follow the shape of the man’s arm. Then apply the hue/saturation and inner shadow settings shown below. Notice how the inner shadow effect not only makes the effect of wires under the skin realistic, but that it follows the shadows/lighting of the rest of the image.

Step 16

Repeat Step 15, but this time apply some wires to the man’s back. To achieve the same inner shadow effect quickly, right click on it on the previous layer and click ‘copy layer style’. Then simply right click on your new layer and click ‘paste layer style’. To give these wires extra realism brush just to the right of them using a small, soft, black brush, set at a low opacity. This will create the illusion that the man’s skin is curving into the wound or opening.

Step 17

Now hide your original backdrop photo and white background layer (if you have one) – leaving only your man and the artificial elements attached to him. Then go to layer>merge visible. You now have your man as one object. Duplicate this layer, and move the duplicate below the original. Then go to filter>blur>motion blur and apply a motion blur at an angle of -10 and distance of 300px. Set this layer’s blend mode to ‘linear dodge’. Then duplicate this blur layer and apply the same blur effect again, but this time with a distance of 450px. This effect should make it look as if your man is almost being flung out of the water.

And We’re Done!

Here is a quick before/after for you to compare. I hope that you found this tutorial useful and learnt some things about blending/manipulating images using only Photoshop. As always I would love to hear your opinions!

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. beets says:

    haha awesome! love the way you constructed the legs :)

  2. crazyhunk says:

    cool effect m8…loved it….


  3. ganny says:

    awesome tutorial…this is a cool effect…and it’s creative the way you created the legs using different pictures…thanks

  4. twopo says:

    thanks tom

  5. Jeff Lewis says:

    Nice tutorial. I love the techniques used here, and I am pleased to say I have added your RSS to my Google Reader.

    Keep up the good work.

  6. nitos says:

    Found it cool, but b/c of the light its hard to see whats there. :S

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks guys! :) I’m really glad that you’re all enjoying the tutorials here.

    Jeff: Thanks for subscribing.

  8. really hot photo manipulation.thanks for this tuts tom.keep it up


  9. Tom says:

    Thanks :) I’ve got my next photo manipulation tut all ready in my head.

  10. Raj says:

    nice effect Tom though its little dark for me :)

  11. Tom says:

    Thanks guys.

    Raj: Yeah I agree it is a little dark, I’ll bare this in mind next time I attempt a similar piece/tut.

  12. Tom says:

    Thanks Ken, I hope that you’ll stick around and join the community!

  13. Jon says:

    The way you created the legs is really creative!

  14. Danny Olsen says:

    thanks for the tut, really creative and helpfull

  15. Tom says:

    No problem guys, thanks for commenting :)

  16. Mixauskas says:

    very nice…

  17. mykl says:

    Good tut but I think the lighting is too dark to really like the end result.

  18. ok i agree that photo is too dark to see the effects. thanks for the various effects and techniques.

Leave a Comment:

Related Posts

Your Design Work, But More Awesome:

Do you know the basic tools in Photoshop but feel that your work is still looking average? Join our creative community at FanExtra and get the direction you need to take your work to the next level.