Photoshop Tutorial: Create a stylish modern cyborg

The traditional cyborg, a mix of human and machine, has the ability to unsettle viewers in a way that robots or other synthetic humanoids can’t possibly match.

In this tutorial, Fabio Sasso shows you some techniques for creating a cyborg from photographic sources in Photoshop, tapping into the movie heritage of the cyborg, but mixing it with the glossy ‘Bleach-Bypass’ look of modern sci-fi TV shows such as V and The Event. You will use some stock photos and lots of adjustment layers, in order to achieve a convincing result.

Step 1 Open Photoshop and create a new A4 portrait document. Import a photo of a person that will be your cyborg. You can call this layer ‘HeadShoulders’. To obtain the slick look we’re going for, choose an image with bright highlights and dark shadows, and with fashion stylings. The one I’m using is courtesy of Shutterstock and can be found at

Step 2 Using the Lasso tool (L), select the area of the face you want to cut out. Go to Layer > New > Layer via Cut. Call this layer ‘Face’. Move the face to the top right. You can hide the ‘Face’ layer for now.

Step 3 Select the ‘HeadShoulders’ layer and go to Layer > Layer Styles > Drop Shadow. Select a Multiply blending mode with 68% Opacity, 120° Angle, 0 Distance, 31% Spread and a Size of 114px.

Step 4 Go to the Bevel and Emboss tab and select a Style of Inner Bevel, a Technique of Smooth, 241% Depth, 10px Size, and 16px Soften. For the Shading use an Angle of 90% and an Altitude of 21%. Select Lighter Color for the Highlight Mode with a white, and a black at 60% Opacity with Linear Burn for the Shadow Mode.

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