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Photoshop Android: Mech-A-Face Tutorial


photoshop android face tutorial title postI thought it would be rude to run a Sci-Fi series here at SurrealPSD without finishing off our ‘Photoshop Android’ walkthrough. So, here’s a tutorial guide showing you how to create an awesome mechanoid face for your android creations – better late than never I suppose!! If you’d like to know how to create the mech elements of the body, be sure to check out Part 1 of our Photoshop Android series.



A suitably dehumanised face completes the look of our ‘GynoMechanoid’, matching the mechanical elements of the body. Here’s a look at the example piece, before and after the steps of this walkthrough:

photoshop android face tutorial

The techniques used to achieve the above is a mix of Vexel style digital painting alongside straight-up Photomanipulation / Compositing. The most commonly used tool for the walkthrough is the Pen Tool, so if you’re not up to scratch, be sure to check out our Tutorial Video.


Base in the Place

Sample a ‘mid-tone’ colour from the body using the Eyedropper Tool (I). Using the Pen Tool (P), create a path around the shape of your model’s head. Right click on the path and select Fill Path > Use: Foreground Color. Delete the path once this has been done.

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 2

Once you have created your Base Layer, you may need to remove the original head using a Layer Mask so hair / ears etc don’t creep through. This Base Layer will be important when constructing your own Android Face, as it’s used to control the Selections of the additional effects we’ll add.

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial

S’all About Groups

If you’re not in the habit of using Layer Groups – now may be a good time to start!! When working with a large number of layers, groups are essential for keeping everything organised. To create a Layer Group, use the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + G - this will create a group that you can create layers in, or drag from elsewhere in the stack. The main elements used for this walkthrough are Shadows, Highlights, Eyes and Head Tech; so the following groups were created:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 4

The main layer group is titled ‘Head’ and all the subsequent groups relating to the head are nested inside. Now, this step isn’t essential for the walkthrough – but I can absolutely (..positively) guarantee this will improve your workflow and efficiency.


Using the Base Layer

If you haven’t already – create a group called ‘Shadows’ within the ‘Head’ layer group. All layers relating to shadows will be created inside this group. I know.. Im persistent on this Layer Groups thing!

The main shadows on the example were created on new layers using a large Soft-Edged Brush (B) (hardness 0%). One of the main things to keep in mind, is restricting your brush strokes to the actual head area. You can achieve this easily by creating a Selection using the Base Layer that we created earlier. To make a selection based on a layers contents, hold down Ctrl/Cmd and click the layer icon and you’ll get a selection like so:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 5


Build up shadows on new layers using tones sampled from the dark areas on the model’s body using the Eyedropper Tool (I) – this keeps the colours consistent. Using a large Soft-Edged Brush, just paint them in – building up layers and experimenting with layer opacity and modes.

Here’s the opacity and modes used for the layers below:

1. Normal – 56%

2. Multiply – 62%

3. Multiply – 65%

4. Overlay – 100%

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 6

There’s no hard and fast rule as to how you do this – the overall ethos is just to experiment and build up with as many layers as necessary.


Precision Erasing

Here’s a nice little trick I learnt recently for creating precise looking catch-lights using the Eraser (E). Create a shadow on a new layer, and set the opacity / layer mode for the required intensity. Use the Eraser (E) Tool to remove part of the shadow, to create the ‘catch-light’ at the edge of your face / object.

Usually, doing this freehand gives less than stellar results, so try this alternative method.. Set the eraser to a suitable size, and ensure it’s ‘soft-edged (0% hardness). Click at a point where you would like to start erasing, and then let go. Hold down Shift and then click at the next point of the line you want to create – this will erase in a perfectly straight line between two points.

This method allows you draw with a lot more precision and is definitely handy in these situations:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 7

Sharp Shadows

To create dark regions with sharp edges, check out this technique.. Create a path using the Pen Tool (P), and change the path to a selection (right-click path, select ‘Make Selection’). On a new layer, use a dark tone and a Soft-Edged Brush (B) to paint within the selection – this allows you to create a sharp-edged dark region that tapers off nicely:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 8


Create a new Layer Group for your Highlights. This step utilizes all the same techniques that we employed above, but using lighter tones / whites instead. Use a large Soft-Edged Brush to paint in whites / bright tones on new layers, building up incrementally. Use the body / original face to give clues as to where the light falls.

Here’s a look at the light tones being built up:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 9

You can cut away areas of the highlights / shadows to create the illusion of shape and form. For the example, I added a layer mask to the highlights Layer Group and cut away the areas for the eyes using a Pen Tool filled with black:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 10

Eye Sockets

Use the ‘Sharp Shadows’ technique shown above to create shadows / recesses. For the eye sockets, I used Black as the colour and set the Layer Mode to Soft-Light, to keep the rich hues. The edges are sharp because I used the Pen Tool to create a selection. Tidy up or soften the edges using a large Soft-Edged Eraser (E):

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 11

Eye Details

To create precise shapes, you can make Paths with the Pen Tool (P) and then fill with a colour of your choice (Right-click path > Select ‘Fill Path’ > Use: Foreground Color). Here’s the example being built up using filled path elements on multiple layers:

 Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 12

To create the glow for the iris’, the layer was duplicated (Ctrl/Cmd + E) and then the duplicate was blurred using Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).


Mech Parts

The mechanical elements are pieced together, pretty much in the same fashion as the Machine Works segment of the tutorial. Interesting looking elements are cut from engine parts, and then arranged on the face to create the cybernetic look.

Starting out with high quality stock will make your creations a lot more refined. This is a great engine image that I got from Shutterstock, that I used to create all the techie elements for the face. Diesel Engine by Rudy Balasko, Shutterstock.

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 13

Parts were taken using the Pen Tool (P) to create selections, and then copied / pasted into the Android document. Elements can then be transformed using Ctrl/Cmd + T or using other tools such as Distort (Edit > Transform > Distort) to tweak as necessary:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 14

The ear triangles were created using the Mech Spines technique outlined in the previous tutorial; the shadows were created using a dark tone / Soft-Edged Brush (B) on layers set to Multiply. Again, with this type of work there are no set rules, so do get creative using different stock elements, positioning and shadows.

The GynoMechanoid:

Photoshop Android Face Tutorial 15


That’s it for Photoshop Android! If you enjoy the Sci Fi flavour of these Photoshop walkthroughs, be sure to check out our next Sci Fi installments coming up the next few weeks. Don’t forget, you can check out our other Horror and Sci Fi walkthroughs via the categories at the top or the ever helpful Tutorial Index.

Conzz 8-)

Follow on Twitter >> @Conzpiracy


• Photoshop Android Part 1: Mech Spines

• Photoshop Android Part 2: Machine Works

• Photoshop Android Part 3: Panel Work

• Photoshop Android Part 4: Highlights and Wires

• Photoshop Android Part 5: Mech-A-Face


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10 Responses to “Photoshop Android: Mech-A-Face Tutorial”

  1. Mike says:

    Astonishing result.
    Keep it up :)

  2. ed says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Its rare that we get to see really advanced techniques such as these coming together. Dont know that ill ever be this good but will look forward to trying some of these techniques.

    many THX

  3. yubran says:


  4. Martine says:

    Pinned, & tweeted !!

  5. Johnc310 says:

    Sweet website, super layout, very clean and utilise genial. gekfdggfdcke

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