Create your own action man in Photoshop

Mar 3, 2018

Clinton lofthouse

Clinton Lofthouse is a Award-Winning Photographer, Creative Director, and artist based in the United Kingdom, who specialises in creative retouching and composites. Proud 80’s baby, reader of graphic novels and movie geek!

Create your own action man in Photoshop

Mar 3, 2018

Clinton lofthouse

Clinton Lofthouse is a Award-Winning Photographer, Creative Director, and artist based in the United Kingdom, who specialises in creative retouching and composites. Proud 80’s baby, reader of graphic novels and movie geek!

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Ever wanted to turn one of your friends into an action hero? Yes! Well, Let me show you how I turned my buddy Graham into a man of action haha.First you need a cool looking outfit fit for an action star. I have a few s.w.a.t items of clothing I’ve used in various shoots so naturally, these would work for the image I’m going for. We got Graham into his gear and off to war we went.

Once the images were in Photoshop, I selected my favorite pose and then decided to use some moody clouds as a background.

I cut out my model using the pen tool and pulled him into the layers palette.

I then created a curves adjustment layer pulling up the highlights. I wanted a little more rim light around the model. I added a layer mask, inverted it and then with a brush painted in some more rim around the model.

I decided I would like to see a little more detail in the costume, so with a curves adjustment layer, I pulled up the lights, then again with an inverted layer mask painted in where I wanted the detail to show.

You cant have a cool looking action hero without a swarm of debris flying in the air behind them…..just check out the gazillion movie posters that confirm this. To create this effect, find an image with various debris, and with the pen tool and start randomly cutting bits from around the image. Once you have cut out a good mixture bring them into the image behind the model. All you have to do then is give them some motion blur so it looks like they are flying into the shot.

Next up its time for my favourite technique, dodge and burn! I basically dodged and burned the facial features and the details of the outfit. The more you dodge and burn, the more painterly the image will feel.

Looking at the image I thought for depth and reality it would be good to get some debris in the foreground too. Basically, all I did was duplicate the background debris and bring about my model layer which brought it to the foreground. I then moved it around to a different position and resized it.

Colour wise the image needed to have a gritty feel so I thought adding some blues in with a gradient map would do the trick. And also give the image a bit of a desaturated feel.

There’s no point having flying debris without having an explosion. Also, the orange of an explosion would add a nice touch of complementary colour with the blues. To create the explosion I found a stock image on Pixabay of an exploding can with a black background. I basically brought it into PS and switched it on to a screen blend mode, which blended the brights of the explosion in nicely with the image.

All that was left now was a few finishing touches. I painted in some light leaks around the model with a brush, set to white on a linear dodge blend mode. I then created a new layer set to soft light and with an orange brush added a colour cast to the right side of the image.

Finally with a vignette to focus the viewers’ eyes, our action hero is born!!!

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Clinton lofthouse

Clinton lofthouse

Clinton Lofthouse is a Award-Winning Photographer, Creative Director, and artist based in the United Kingdom, who specialises in creative retouching and composites. Proud 80’s baby, reader of graphic novels and movie geek!

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2 responses to “Create your own action man in Photoshop”

  1. Liam Avatar
    Liam

    …with the resent mass murders in Florida, this article seems to me to be in rather bad taste. Glorifying gun culture ( the Rambo complex ) is headed for what it truly is, an attempt to make up for that small penis size that’s plaguing America.

  2. Jeff Cooper Avatar
    Jeff Cooper

    This is just not a good picture. The guy doesn’t look very action-y. The outfit is bad. A pristine, completely black set of coveralls? And a vest with a ton of clearly empty pockets?

    The facial expression…WTF. He looks like a punch just connected with his face and someone photoshopped out the one doing the punching. Also, I can’t tell really from the picture, but usually a strong jawline tends to be more associated with Action Manliness, whereas in the picture, it looks like he has a double chin, which I think has more to do with the angle his head was posed. His hands also look pretty passive.

    The clouds are dramatic, but unless the guy is flying…why is it just clouds? The photographer is clearly only slightly lower than the Action Man, but you only see the sky behind him? And it even looks like a “straight up at the sky angle.”
    Why is he crooked? Is he standing on slanted ground?
    Those sparks and flying debris kinda make it look like his face is about to be ripped off by shrapnel.

    Also, the lighting on him looks off considering how an explosion is going off in front of him, right? I’m hardly an expert in taking pictures of people who are being blown up, but shouldn’t the light from that be cast a glow on him? There is some orange on his left side, but I think that is more “dramatic lighting” as opposed “a thing exploded in front of me lighting.
    Some of the debris is motion blurred, while some of it isn’t. Is that normal?

    The way the guy is dressed, I guess is supposed to be implying he is in some sort of military or SWAT style organization, the gauge in the ear tells me otherwise.