DEADPOOL: the making of a superhero

Dec 3, 2016

Steve Thewis

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

DEADPOOL: the making of a superhero

Dec 3, 2016

Steve Thewis

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Ever since the release of the first Deadpool trailer I knew I wanted to do a photo-shoot based on this character. The personality of this character leaves me with endless possibilities, from badass attitude to total irreverent behavior.

First step was to source a cosplayer with a badass costume. I’ve been searching for a while and finally came across DaddyDeadpool.UK Cosplay. As soon as I saw pictures of him on Facebook I messaged him. Very quickly he messaged me back and agreed to organize a photo-shoot. YES! We created a mood board (Collection of example images) prior to the shoot. Surfing the net, looking for Deadpool images, I noticed a lot of Deadpool & Harley Quinn fan art. This gave me a few more options to add to this epic photo-shoot. I came across Olivia Ward  who cosplays a pretty awesome Suicide Squad Harley Quinn. I messaged her asking if she would like to tag along and she agreed. 2 x YES!

DIY Photography heard about the shoot and asked me to break down one of the images I created from this shoot. I picked my favourite image for you!

How it’s done

The light setup I used here is pretty simple. Two strip boxes were placed slightly behind our character to create rim light that would later help us to match the background. The main light is a 150cm octa placed overhead and we had a small softbox on the left side as a kicker.

Most of my work is shot on a grey background, no difference for this shoot.

Here’s the RAW image straight out of camera.


Step 1:

I added in a sky by simply changing the blend mode to Soft Light. A very simple but effective technique I use a lot. You can find a short tutorial for this on my website. All that’s left to do now is mask out the sky of our character.


Step 2:

To turn on the flashlight I used Render Filter (Lens Flare). Select the 105mm Prime.


Step 3:

In most of my work I have hidden details… most of the time I’m the only one who notices them! For this edit I wanted to have money around him. I went onto RAW Exchange and downloaded their Flying Dollars pack. For the dollar closest to the camera I edited Deadpool onto the dollar bill.


Step 4:

A simple technique I learned to add contrast is to add a Black & White Adjustment layer and set the blend mode to Soft Light.


Step 5:

In this next step I added in a lens flare download from RAW Exchange. All lens flares in this pack are on a black background. To edit these into an image, simply change the blend mode to Screen. I added a little blur to the lens flare I picked.


Step 6:

The bullets I used for this image I got from Pixelsquid. You can find more info about Pixelsquid on a previous blog post I wrote.


Step 7:

To create the mist I made use of the Render Filter (clouds). I created a new layer and went to Filter – Render – Clouds. This filled my canvas with a cloud effect that didn’t look great. In the next step I used the rectangular marquee tool to make a small selection of the clouds. I then inverted that selection and hit delete. Only a small selection was now visible, the other clouds disappeared. All I had to do now is use the free transform tool to size my clouds to fill the canvas.


Step 8:

In the next step I had a play with color. I created a Selective Color Adjustment Layer. Playing around with the Neutrals and Blacks in the colors section can create some really interesting looks.


Step 9:

I’m a big fan of details in an image. To bring out details (the fast way) I use the detail extractor in Nik Color Efex. I’m not going to post exact settings…It all comes down to personal taste.


Step 10

My favourite step … Dodge & Burn!

I created a blank layer, filled it with 50% grey and set the blend mode to Overlay. Use the dodge tool to enhance the highlights and the burn tool to enhance the shadows. Make sure to turn the layer on and off to check you’re not overdoing it.


Step 11

In this step I made use of a plugin called Macphun Tonality. In Macphun Tonality I created a black and white look with great detail and a contrast boost.


Once back into Photoshop, I changed the blend mode of this layer to Luminosity. This will bring back the color but still give you the details and contrast of the black and white layer.


Step 12

In this last step I used a blood splatter brush and gave it a soft motion blur. I picked a red tint that wasn’t too dark or too bright, but nicely balanced in the image.


And this is a short break down on how I created this image. There are many different ways to create similar effects In Photoshop. I just mentioned the ones I use in my workflow. This does not mean that the other techniques are wrong. It’s just personal taste.


Something you can take away from this break down is the importance of blend modes. I recommend to experiment with blend modes…they’re very powerful! Also… Don’t be afraid to play around in Photoshop! You never know what may come out of it!

deadpool-making-hero-15 deadpool-making-hero-16 deadpool-making-hero-17

Kudos to the team:

About The Author

Steve Thewis (a.k.a. DigiSteve) is a photographer, retoucher and digital artist from the UK. You can check more of his work on his site, and instagram, and connect via twitter and facebook.


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5 responses to “DEADPOOL: the making of a superhero”

  1. Neil the Wheel Avatar
    Neil the Wheel

    When cartridges exit a weapon they are usually missing their point bits. Just a thought for next time.

  2. North Polar Avatar
    North Polar

    Part of doing a photoshoot should be basic research. For example, I don’t expect people to know that the “suppressor” is hilariously undersized, they don’t usually have a muzzle flash, or that weapon lights aren’t often used except for target ID.

    That said, I would at least hope there was an understanding on what side of a rifle the brass ejects from, and that it does not rain loaded rounds like that.

    Coming from a gun guy, that makes a photo go from kinda neat, and into hilariously bad.

    1. Steve Thewis Avatar
      Steve Thewis

      I appreciate your comment. I know nothing about weapons. We have here a character thats not real… It’s all unreal stuff… come on… he can’t die ;) The light on just added to the effect. I can take hilariously bad… fits the character ;)

      1. North Polar Avatar
        North Polar

        Fair enough, Steve. Btw, I do owe you an apology. Rereading my post, I came across a bit of a caustic arsehole. That honestly wasn’t the intent, so my apologies.

        All noted comments aside, you did a fantastic job with the posing and lighting. I’ll openly admit it’s levels above what I can currently do. A project for me to learn in the future though.

        Hell, I recently realized that I never recalibrated my monitor after moving, so I have to go through and re-edit all my photos because the colors and brightness are off. *bangs face on keyboard*

        Mandatory gun selfie even though I have a stupid look on my face lol

        1. Steve Thewis Avatar
          Steve Thewis

          Hey, no worries m8 :)