Photoshop Tutorial: Create a Dragon from a Hamburger

This tutorial will explain the steps taken to create a Dragon from a Hamburger.

It includes directions on
- How to draw a dragon in grayscale
- How to overlay the grayscale image of the dragon with parts of the source image
- How to create the wings
- How to build the background from the source image.

The following tools where used
- Paint tool (drawing the Dragon)
- Smudge tool (creating shadows, depth and smoothing grayscale drawing)
- Selection tool (selecting the source parts needed)
- Warp tool (Arranging parts of the source onto the dragon drawing)
- Puppet warp (Arranging the source parts onto the dragon drawing)
- Pen tool (Outlining/Drawing the Wings)
- Layer masks (Smoothing edges and blending)
- Adjustment Layers (Colouring and highlighting the image, using layer masking and clipping paths to localize the colours)
- Layer Styles (to create shadows and depth on the wing braces)

This image was created using Adobe Photoshop CS5 and a Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet.

End result:
Create a Dragon from a Hamburger Final Image

avatar arca

Views: 32165
Score: 9.66 / 10
Author earned: $25
Practice tutorial

Step 1

Original source is from this contest:

Sketched out dragon. Filled with gray tones using paint tool and smudge brush.

Step 2

Once the base for the dragon was done I cut out the seed from the Hamburger and used it to build the scales.

1. Use warp tool and Puppet warp to fit it onto the dragon drawing
2. Colour of the scales was achieved by inverting the “seed” layers to get the Blue.
3. Once dragon scales were complete the Seed layers merged and then Merged layer was set on Hard Light Blend Mode over grayscale drawing.

NOTE: Final colour was achieved with various Adjustment layers. See Step 10 for settings used.

Step 3

Using the Cheese from the hamburger I made the Chest cladding. Mostly cut, paste and blending using layer mask.

Step 4

Using the same seed I covered the Face "bones" and horns. Again, warping, puppet warp and blending with layer masks.

Step 5

1. Wing braces where created using the Pen tool as shown.
2. Turn Path into selection and fill with neutral (50%) gray.
3. Use Pillow emboss to give the braces shape.
4. Turn off all layers but the Embossed wing brace layer and Stamp Visible (Ctrl, Alt, Shift + E), you now have a layer that looks like the embossed braces but you can work on without affecting the Layer property. (You can delete the embossed layer if you want).
5. You can now enhance Wing braces, thinning and adjusting shading to get best contours.

Step 6

Using the Hamburger meat I covered the wing braces.
1. Put a copy of the braces in the Hamburger image.
2. Selected the brace and then remove all but the part of the selection you want to copy.
3. Paste (or drag) the selected portion into the Braces image.
4. Blend together with Layer masks.

NOTE: You can rotate the selection by going to Select>Transform Selection. This will help you get a better fit to the portion you want to copy. When doing this note the rotation you used so you can reverse it. Once you have pasted the Brace image into the grayscale drawing >Transform and reverse the setting on the rotation to get the original position. See image this Step for example.

Step 7

The wing leather was drawn using the braces as a template for the shape. I used about 6 or 7 layers to get the texture, veins and contour lighting. Trimmed to desired outline.
1. Veins were created by drawing them on a new layer with a very small brush and soft black colour.
2. Duplicate layer and then Invert (ctrl i).
3. Move inverted layer a tiny amount, this will give veins more depth.
4. Lower opacity to about 15% on the Inverted layer
5. Group layers and then lower the group Opacity (my setting was quite low but you can adjust this after doing the overlay)
6. The rest of the texture were done with brushes and then using the High pass filter and embossing filter.
7. Shading is important to get curve of wings. The curve should be darker in the center if you want the wing to curve away from you.
8. Don't forget to add shading under the Braces so the Wing Leather looks like it is going under the braces. This can be done by creating a new layer. Select the braces, contract selection 2 px, stroke selection (Edit>Stroke) with soft black about 10 px. You can then blur the whole thing and move it into desire position (pay attention to the light

I used the Palm tree from the source to cover my grayscale drawing and give the wings more texture. Same method as with the Braces (see previous step)

Step 8

Detail was worked on like fixing the Claws on the wing tip and refining the wing braces. Also worked on the Wing "muscles" using the cloning and smudge tool.
To get the Muscles:
1. Once all the dragon was complete and the overlay layers were done I Stamped Visible (Ctrl, Alt, Shift +E) and then cut out portion of the wing and body where they joined at the shoulder.
2. Using smudge tool set at various strength (from 50 to 90) and the cloning tool I created the tendrils that attached the wings to the body.

NOTE: Using the smudge tool takes a fair amount of practice; I find turning off and on the Sample All Layers button helps (remember to turn off any layers you do not want to sample). Changing the Opacity and Hardness of the brush can help. Also make sure your brush has the Spacing reduced to quite low. PS has a default setting of 20 and I usually go with 0 to 8.

Step 9

The background was created from the Hamburger meat and a lot of blending and mixing. There was also a couple of Adjustment layers (Levels) and blend mode changes (Linear Dodge on the flame layers, reduced opacity) to get the Glow.

The flames were made by:
1. Duplicate the Glowing rocks (again I use the Stamp Visible method as in previous steps)
2. Enlarge them
3. Apply gaussian blur, motion blur
4. Use a layer mask painted to get flame look
5. Apply Wave distortion filter on the Mask to get a wavy, flame like look (see insert image for settings)

The sky was created using a home made cloud brush and the ocean from the source (not shown).

Step 10

Final fix-up.
The tail had to be readjusted as it did not work on the rock. I also re-worked the claws. The dragon was then coloured to give the impression that he was warming up on the glowing, hot rocks.

NOTE: See bottom of this steps image for settings of the Adjustment layer for final colouring of the dragon.

Step 11

This is the image before I decide it should be a vertical image.

Step 12

After completing the image I felt that it would be better as a verticle image. I adjusted and cropped it. Here is the final version.

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avatar hereisanoop

Fantastic and very easy to follow......, great work and a useful reference, Happy to be the first one to rate.... good luck to you

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar nasirkhan
nasirkhan says:

Very nice result and great tutorial. Keep up good work.

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar nilknarfsoive

Great tutorial... And Congrats for the 2nd place...

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar nishagandhi

great one

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar greymval
greymval says:

Nice effort!

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar erikuri
erikuri says:

Very beautiful, detailed and... edible! Sesame, cheese and hamburger taste...

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar jaskier
jaskier says:

Nice tutorial.

(5 years and 201 days ago)
avatar dekwid
dekwid says:

really total work deserve the best...!

(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar Glockman
Glockman says:


(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar genuine2009


(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar cabldawg71

very good job on this. The tut is easy to follow, thats what makes good tuts great. imo

(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar Christy
Christy says:

Great tutorial....Personally I can't draw so this would be difficult for me to do but it's very well written and to someone (other than myself) I'm sure they too would achieve such a beautiful final image!! Well done

(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar George55
George55 says:

I think you did a wonderful work, changing the look of the hamburguer into a beautiful dragon. It is nice to see these kind of works transformed into tutorials..... Good luck in your life and art.

(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar shaiju1974

Nice tutorial

(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar kushpatel
kushpatel says:

fantastic luck

(5 years and 200 days ago)
avatar elemare
elemare says:

Amazing work!

(5 years and 198 days ago)
avatar samanway
samanway says:

nicely done ....keep it up

(5 years and 192 days ago)
avatar Rod13
Rod13 says:

Very nicely done. keep up the good work.

(5 years and 184 days ago)
no avatar


(5 years and 167 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

i cant believe u can do that..awesome

(5 years and 126 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:


(5 years and 113 days ago)

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