Carefully cut out the hand and pasted it over my black canvas.
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Next the mystic. Using the awesome hooded man stock, I cut out the head and erased the neck and collar. I also warped down the right part of the hood so that it doesn't stick out to the side so much.
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Cut out the mouth and chin in order to puppetize the mystic. A difficult-to-see step here is how I cut out the hood and lowered it, covering his eyes entirely.
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Used inner shadow effects to make the mouthpiece appear more 3D and puppet-like. Attached two strings which are basically grey lines with layer effects: soft bevel and gradient overlay. Added alot of heavy shading to the face, accenting the cheekbones and the shadow cast by the hooded.
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Began to puppetize my (now the mystic's) hand. Started by removing each finger and cutting it into a seperate layer folder. Each finger will get alot of extra layers later on. This is an example using the 5th finger.
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...and rounded both the edges of the palm and the finger. This process is repeated for each finger.
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Finished cutting out (off?) the fingers. With my awesome Photoshop CS5 Extended features, I use 3D repousse on the palm and bevel it outwards slightly.
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First part of hand puppetization is complete. Nudged the fingers back to rejoin with the palm.
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And this is where things got tedious. I had to divide each finger into three parts and reattach them all as if by string. This is, once again, an example using the 5th finger. I originally thought that this particular digit needed only one cut (two parts) but I divided it into three later on.
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Now to fill the flat surface between the split finger parts. I just used clone stamp set to "all layers" to paint some of the finger texture onto a new layer under the finger. Darkened with curves and hue/sat. I added a barely visable string between the parts but I delete it later on.
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Short example of a triple split on the next finger. I duplicate the finger into four layers, leaving one intact and hidden and the other three erased, each to different lengths. The result is the three parts of the finger.
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Reattaching the finger parts using the same clone stamp filling. The intact finger is left hidden.
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Finished puppetizing the hand. Soft drop shadow is added to each finger (no global light) to darken the area where it meets the palm.
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Strings are added. Copied from the mystic.
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Added shading and detail to the hands. Added small black dots (holes) where the strings are attached to the hand and drew some blurred, transparent lines for the shadows of the strings. String shadow blend mode is set to overlay.
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Finally to the elephant. This was a bugger to cut out...you'll notice that I accidently included the foot of the other elephant but I delete it in the next step.
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Began to detach the limbs of the elephant, just like with the hand. I cleaned up the edges of the elephant as well as replaced the obscured front foot with one from the back.
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This is the final result of the elephant's limb-moving. Each limb is copied onto a seperate layer and rotated into the shown pose.
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Used puppet warp (oh, the bleeding irony!) on the trunk to bend it into the desired shape.
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Now to puppetize the elephant. I darkened each limb with inner shadow and rounded their edges. The trunk is also split into three parts, joined together by subtle strings.
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Painted in the elephants shadow. Masking part of the shadow with the soft, transparent brush, I was able to make the shadow fade and blur more as it parted from the elephant's hind legs. I also added a black-transparency gradient over the top portion of the image, fading out the strings where the near the "ceiling." I erased the gradient layer where it overlayed the mystic.
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I chopped out the mouth of th elephant like I did with the mystic, but decided against adding a string to it later on as to not clutter the image.
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Copied the hand folder (without the strings or elephant) and vertically flipped it. Dragging the new folder all the way under the rest of the layers, the hand is darkened by the gradient from step 23.
And pardon the missed major step: I also added strings to the elephants limbs, trunk, head, and body in the same way as with the lower hand's fingers.
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Attached the elephant's strings (not the lower hand's) to the upper hand by simply erasing them with layer masks and adding the same black dots.
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Hands and elephant are finished. Added alot of shading to the elephant and added a few adjustment layers to the whole image, darkening the mood.
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Now for the puppet necklace. Started by, yes, of course, cutting out this idly posed puppet stock.
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Pasted the puppet into the document. Cut out and rotated the limbs into the below position.
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Began to make the necklace. Duplicated the puppet a few times onto another layer, arranged them and transformed them into a chain-like pattern.
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Chain complete. Later copied it and flipped it onto the opposite side.
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Used layer masking to erase part of the chain where it disappears behind a solid object. (I could have, I suppose, just moved this beneath all other layers but this seemed most comfortable to me for some odd reason.)
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Darkened the entire necklace with a curves layer.
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Began to add the enchanted glow. Used Obsidiandawn's beautiful glitter brushes here, to which I applied a faint outer glow. To the puppet neckpiece, I added a very wide, faint glow and a gradiant overlay (turquoise-transparency) set to overlay blending.
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Used a soft brush at 60% opacity to randomly fade out some of the glitter. Also added the same gradient overlay to the necklace band and gave the neckpiece some intense shading.
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Here I basically just repeated exactly what I did on the neckpiece, now to the elephant. Added glitter; outer glow; wide outer glow on elephant; faint gradient overlay to elephant; faint gradient overlay to thumb, 5th and 4th fingers.
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Copied and merged the entire image, then duplicated the merged layer. Filtered the top of them to high-pass, set its layer blending to overlay, and reduced opacity. It's done!