Deke’s Techniques 041: Putting Wings on a Horse

041 Putting wings on a horse f

It’s a horse. It’s a goose. It’s a hoose! Which is precisely what we’ll be doing this week. In today’s free weekly Deke’s Techniques, I’ll show you how to take two legitimate animals—from different sides of the taxonomic track—and merge them together to create a mythological creature. Known to scientists the world over as a gorse.

Here’s the official description from

In this week’s free episode, Deke gives you wings. Well, he gives a horse wings. In truth, he gives a horse wings that formerly belonged to a goose. No matter, the bottom line is that you end up with your very own mythological creature. In this week’s Deke’s Techniques, you’ll learn how to use Photoshop to mask complex creatures and create silhouettes from real-world photographs. Here are the two photographs that eventually make up the composite image:

Horse and goose

We’ll start by applying some contrast-controlling adjustment layers to begin the process, then use some old-school brushing techniques to turn the contributing creatures into crisp silhouettes. The result is this magical creature:

Composite pegasus silhouette

Although the end result is (artistically speaking) a silhouette, in truth it’s a mask. And masks can be infinitely useful, way beyond your species-mixing fantasies. If you’d like to learn more about masks, check out Chapter 26 of Deke’s Photoshop CS5 One-on-One Mastery course. You’ll also hear how to use the pen tool to solve problematic masking challenges. For a more in-depth look at the pen, check out Chapter 27 of that same course.

Every week, there’s a new (and free) technique from Deke. And members can see the entire collection here, along with some exclusive members-only videos.

Next week, we’ll switch from Photoshop to Illustrator. Stay tuned.

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