Deke’s Techniques 031: Making a Fictional Creature

You know how folks like to worry about how Photoshop is messing with our shared notion of reality? For example, how do we know for certain that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris? Maybe someone Photoshopped it in there and we’re all so dumb that we just fell for it. Seriously. I mean, like, I dunno, Jupiter. That place actually exists? As if!

Well, this week, I decide to stop wringing my hands and employ Photoshop for its (un)intended purpose: to fool people. Over the course of three movies (one here, the second inside the Online Training Library, and the third available for free next week), I show you how to create a hoax of epic proportions. It’s a monster to end all monsters: El Terrible.

Here’s the official description (or is it?):

Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster, Tigerilla. Sometimes, when you let your imagination run away with you, you learn some really useful Photoshop techniques in the process. This week, Deke delves into cryptozoological pseudo-documentation—that is, Photoshop put to use to create false evidence of a non-existent creature. Why, other than trying to spice up your vacation photos with fake monsters, would you want to do this? Well, first, mixing this gorilla, tiger, and cute little puppy (all from the Fotolia image library) is an exercise in mind-expanding creativity:

Tiger, gorilla, and puppy dog

And more practically, in this week’s free movie from Deke’s Techniques, you’ll see how to carefully use Photoshop’s healing brush to mix key features of these three animals to create something wholly other:

An initial creature merged using Photoshop's healing brush

Learning how to heal from one layer onto the next, with proper alignment, is a skill that’s bound to take you beyond the creation of fake evidence for your tall tales. And for members of the Online Training Library, Deke’s got an exclusive video this week that shows you how to transform your cryptid creature into something even wilder.

Next week, Deke’ll show everyone how to further fake the evidence of this fierce (but sweet-eyed) being. After all, no claimed Tigerilla sighting is going to work without a properly blurry photograph.

Okay, so the above creature looks like crap. But that’s because he’s still in beta. Next week I’ll show you how to turn that gentle drooling beast into the half-crazed money shot that you barely fired off before the thing nearly tore you to limb-from-limb pieces, as witnessed below:

The final El Terrible, created in Photoshop

See? Now you believe it actually exists, don’t you? That’s the power of photographic evidence. You can’t help but think it’s true.

And, honestly, who really knows for sure? As my boys are fond of telling me, I don’t know that the Loch Ness Monster doesn’t exist. “It might, Dad, it might!” they occasionally shriek. And so, Dear Reader, might El Terrible, the most dangerous not-real-but-could-be-still-beating-you-with-your-own-ripped-off-arms monster of them all.

I swear, just looking at that image evokes chilling memories of the blood in his claws and the stench of goat flesh on his teeth. Thank the brave unicorn-riding, shroom-snorting Care Bears that I survived to share my story with you today.

Next entry:Getting Inside Illustrator

Previous entry:Deke’s Techniques 030: Inventing Custom Starbursts


  • never mind the robot shoe

    best, neatest books i’ve done, better than the adobe books. good going.

  • hello, does anyone know

    Hello everyone, I am currently doing Deke’s book, illustrator cs5 one on one, and on lesson 7, lone ghost ai. on #10, i can’t seem to get the “make” blend option after dragging my blend layer “middle” between the top and base layers, i have my objects group selected, is their a some thing i missed or am i just low on chrominum picolate?

  • nice techniques

    A good article. I finally figured out how the animators can create some fictional animals they used to play in several films.



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