James Cameron's Avatar Photoshop Tutorial – Become a Navi

My favourite movie of all time is Avatar. The amazing world of Pandora hold a race of humanoids named the Na’vi. This tutorial will show you how to turn a regular photo of you or someone else, into a Na’vi.
Note that this is my first attempt to create a Na’vi, it may not be perfect, so please check the finished image at the bottom of the page before you continue to see if its satisfactory to you, so you aren’t disappointed by your superior skills!

1) I went along to morgue file and found this image that I will be using, so the first step is to find a photo that you think is workable with, of course you can experiment to get even better results. Also google an image of either a male or female Na’vi for reference on the face and color.

2) Duplicate the image (right click the layer and choose duplicate). You can use this as a reference for later, to compare.
Push CTRL+U to get the hue/saturation panel. Use the Hue slider to find a suitable blue to match your reference image. Saturation and lightness can then be used to get a continue selecting a matching skin color of the Na’vi.
Note: This step altered the color, if there are background objects you want to remain the same colour, you can use the original background layer to erase or mask the newer layers so that you get the original background again. 

3) Optional: My image had too much light, and since a Na’vi’s face has lines, the forehead was too bright, so I got the eye dropped tool (i) and sampled some skin from the reference photo. Then I used the brush tool (b) on a new layer just to cover up the white, then changing the layer style to “color”. I added a layer style of a paper and made it very subtle so that its not a plain smooth surface.

4) Here we are going to cheat, with your reference photo, use the marquee tool (m) to make a box around the eye. Hit CTRL + C then back to your image hit CTRL + V. Re-size and position the eye, what we really need here is the eyeball. Use the eraser tool to then erase away the edges of the image, or so that it fits nicely. Don’t be afraid to use a large soft brush, it’ll blend the eye in nicely. I imported both eyes, but you can decide if you need to get the other, or else just paste another one in. I did the right eye second, and I put a black to transparent gradient to make it realistic.

5) The Na’vi nose is a bit squarish, I didn’t spend too long perfecting the nose as I was only experimenting before I create a Na’vi of myself. All I used was the Smudge tool, set to smudging of 100%. When using the smudge tool at 100% use strokes, and don’t draw clicking down, or you’ll get one long line of the same texture and colour. I also used the marquee tool again to push the nose in a bit and stretch it to make it a bit more square. Then used the clone tool and brush tool to hide the traces of that.

6) I used the brush tool (b) for the cheeks and it gives a satisfactory result, some videos on Youtube seem to use brushes, I was too lazy to find them so I just improvised. The forehead marks are a combination of the pen tool (p) with the brush tool (b). Just Gaussian blur (filter>blur> Gaussian blur) these so that they look natural in the face, or to your personal liking.

7) The dots are made using the brush tool. Soft brushes ranging from 5 pixels to 10 pixels (I was working with a 2000pixels wide canvas!) To style them, use the “fx blending styles” (aka layer styles), refer to the image to see what to tick, the parts I’ve shown is what you need to change from the default:

8) The ears are elf shaped and there is a hole for the females. Smudge tool the ear into shape, draw a hole with the brush tool. Create another marquee box (m) and use the gradient tool with a brown / red color to make the ear color of the Na’vi and erase around the ear to get rid of the excess color. Okay I know the ear is not very good..

Well Here we have it, a custom avatar!

Please comment and Like this tutorial! If you have any questions leave a comment and check back soon for a reply.


katty said...

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