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Photoshop tutorials 

Dolphins - making of

Let's start with underwater background. The easiest way to draw it  is radial gradient. Set foreground color to lighter blue and background color to darker blue. Select Gradient tool, then select Radial on toolbar, then draw gradient from top-center of image to right-bottom (or left-bottom).

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I used wonderful photo by Leandro Stanzani as  a reference for my drawing. Locate the photo inside your image...

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..and set its layer opacity to 15-25%.

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Set foreground color to lighter blue. Switch to Pen tool, create shape of big dolphin body, carefully outlining it from the photo.

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In new layer, use Pen tool and make white shape of dolphin's belly. Set layer opacity to 10-20%...

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... then Create Clipping Mask (Ctrl-Shift-G or from Layer menu), so that shape of belly is limited by shape of dolphin.

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In new layer, use combination of large and small soft brush (black and white) to draw lightlights and shadows.

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Set layer mode to Overlay and Create clipping mask again (Ctrl-Shift-G or from Layer menu).

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I decided I wanted to have edges a bit mor glowing, so  I used small soft white brush to outline the edges (in new layer)...

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...then set layer opacity to Overlay and Create clipping mask again.

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Zoom in, set foreground color to dark blue, switch to Pen tool, carefully draw shape of mouth.

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Switch to Brush tool, with small soft white brush, add some highlight...

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... then - you guessed! - set layer mode to Overlay, and Create clipping mask.

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... in new layer, with Pen tool, add an eyebrow shape (as always, layer blend mode = Overlay, opacity - to your liking).

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Switch to Pen tool. Using the same color as body shape, create shape of  a fin.

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Create a layer mask (Layer menu - Layer mask - Reveal all). Switch to Brush tool, set color to Black, use black brush to remove unnecessary part of fin.

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In new layer, with white and black brush, draw highlights and shadows.

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... as always, Create clipping mask...

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Set layer blend mode to Overlay, then adjust layer opacity carefully, until the top line of fin is the same lightness as dolphin body.

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Small but important detail - use dark blue soft brush to add a shadow (in new layer under layer with fin shape).

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Under layer with dolphin body shape, use Pen tool to draw another fin (with dark blue color).

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This dolphin is ready! Using the same techniques, create a dolphin child. The instructions are the same, so I'm only show the screenshots...

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Create new layer between layers with Dolphin and Dolphin child. Use very large black soft brush to draw shadow that falls on dolphin body. Make sure shadow is inside body shape - use Eraser tool to remove brush outside body.

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Set layer blend mode to Overlay or Soft light. Adjust opacity to your liking.

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The dolphins are ready! The final detail I added was bubbles, but you should already know how to  do them from my previous tutorials :-) Thanks for reading!

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← Socotra - making of interweaved lines The (hidden) power of Photoshop brush tool →

Comments {55}

Jan Blazicek 5 November 2008
Awesome job, thanks...Hope to get my cintiq soon so I can start fooling around with photoshop.

cool 13 November 2008
so cool

Serkan Gürkan 23 November 2008
This is Amazing, good job..

Diana 24 November 2008
I would like to ask if we can do the same technique that was used for dolphins on people, give people more cartoony look. By the way, great job

ArtManVX 14 December 2008
Amaizing>>> relly good work this on of my favorite tatourials thanks

Elenuxca 16 December 2008
Simepre lo haces parecer muy fácil, me encantan tus tips

Juth 6 January 2009
Very cool!

olek21 20 February 2009
it's so, so,so cool!... Thanks;)

Ges 25 April 2009
VLAD, This is very good work, thank you for sharing.. I wish I could do that :)

Expert 12 May 2009
спасибо огромное))) очень и очень здорово а главное полезно!!!!!!!!!! респект!

Rob 6 June 2009
very coool! you're great!!

gomail 11 July 2009
very nice

Thibault 30 July 2009
It's absolutely crazy... Are you photoshop certified ?! All you site is awesome.

denizkadarderin 3 September 2009
valla pek diyecek sözüm yok harika tek kelimeyle umarım bende bu beceriye erişirim bir gün

umesh 12 October 2009
gooooood work

M+ 23 October 2009
great work

Maria 6 November 2009
“If a dolphin comes to you in a dream, it was not a dream. The Dolphin has really come”. A Maori saying

10 November 2009
awesome!!!!!!!gr888 work

sadik 20 November 2009
you are nice thanks

Tobin 14 December 2009
Wow! You sure put a lot of work in these. I love looking at your creations everywhere ;)

Mandy 15 January 2010
What is a good image size and resolution for wallpapers built in ps?

vishu 24 January 2010
very cool tut vlad! @ram kumar: bhaiya angreji to likhni seekh lo phir doosro ko level batana...

24 February 2010
very coool!

Cindy Crawford 18 May 2010
These tutorials are not well written. I couldnt folllow all the steps, otherwise great art!

lol 18 June 2010
love it no skrach that i hat itttttttttttttttttttttttt

Moriam 29 December 2010
very very very good ......

Ilinca 6 February 2011
It is soooooooooooooo coool!

Lucie D. 8 March 2011
Thank's for sharing all of these great tutorials!!!

12 January 2012
wow that is good i love it i thik its the bast pic

Angin berhembus 18 December 2013
Sangat menginspirasi :2thumbup thx 4 tutorial =)

egonomico 9 November 2008
This is amazing, I take this chance to say that one of my desktops has displayed this wallpaper for over two month (and that's gotta be a record). Definitely "Dolphins" is, if not the favourite, one of them. Thanks a lot for sharing these tutorials, you make them look very simple but the pen isn't for everybody, I guess. My hat is off, thanks again.

Murat USTUNTAS 5 December 2008
I am very happy for your jobs. Coolest.

srikanth 11 December 2008
very very very....................................................................so nice

Macceddy 14 December 2008
This is wonderfull ! Thanks for giving this tutorials for FREE. You are an artist ! By the way, your wallpapers are great, especially those for christmas ! Thanks, thanks thanks ! A question : are you russian ? Because of VLADstudio...

ashiq 22 January 2009
wow !!!!!! .............. excellent

justorange 25 April 2009
Блин, здорово! я раньше думал, это делается импортами из адоб илюстрейт ,а оказывается вон до чего техника дошла..) Спасибо за уроки на русском и раскрытие своих секретов =)

15 May 2009
Спасибо за урок!!! Не перевелись еще творческие люди готовые работать для искусства, безвазмездно

mahmoud 26 July 2009
i will say wow and wow and wow and wow very nice work

Ts 1 September 2009
Nice

subaru 2 September 2009
awesomee! looks like easy but didn´t it

Kannan 5 September 2009
Very nice i like this site

Ragini 12 October 2009
wow wht a work

Ökkeş 29 October 2009
Gerçekten mükemmelsiniz

10 November 2009
really i appreciate that to give us free exemples like that it really nice thank a lot actually since 2003 looked for help now every thing is easy for me and for lot of people everywhere in the world thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks

techhost 1 December 2009
this is very good i like it

AndyLonger 21 December 2009
Just Amazing Job... Thanks a lot for tutorial...... All the Best for Work

ram kumar 18 January 2010
ok but this is Illustratore's technique please use high lavel of photoshop .this is child lavel.

Mel in Ohio 7 February 2010
My first time on your website, amazing work from an amazingly talented artist, very impressive, love the dolphins as well as others, thanks!!!

abhijeet 4 May 2010
awesome i like it

Ebb 14 June 2010
isnt this tracing?

saso 24 September 2010
BRAVO!

Даша 1 December 2010
Спасибо большое, очень интересно и понятно. Радует, что Вы объясняете путь создания Ваших замечательных работ!!!

Devl innocent 1 October 2011
Beautiful pic, can these bubbles should be in white color? that will give good look,

Nisha 13 February 2012
Nice work

jiao zi 29 February 2012
O (∩ _ ∩) O ha ha ~, I want to ask you to eat dumplings. You are great!

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