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Create a Twitter bird mascot

Posted by in Design, Tutorials on October 27, 2010

Twitter has become a bit of a phenomenon over the last year and as a result many blogs use an eye catching bird mascot to encourage users to follow them (even we have one!). Today i’m going to show you how to create your own in Photoshop. To complete this tutorial you will need to have a basic knowledge of Photoshop, specifically the pen tool, layer masks and layer styles. If not, don’t panic, there are loads of resources on the web showing you the basics. If you get stuck at any point there is a finalised PSD at the end of the post.


PREPARATION

Start by getting a good reference shot of a bird. Stock photo library sxc.hu has some great photos (most of which are free to use). For this tutorial I choose this one: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/712505

STEP 1

Select the Pen tool

Ensure ‘shape layers’ are selected.

Begin tracing an outline of the bird, you may want to reduce the opacity on the layer to 80% so it’s easier to see what you are tracing.
Once traced increase the opacity back to 100% and apply the following layer styles by double clicking on the layer in the layers palette:

STEP 2

Click the pen tool again and start tracing the eye, bring the opacity down to 80% on the layer.

Then apply the following layer styles to the eye:



Bring the opacity back up to 100% and you should have something like this:

STEP 3

Using the same method as step 1 and 2 trace the beak and apply the following layer styles:

The beak should now look like this:

STEP 4

Start tracing the plumage, while you may not get it exactly the same as on the photo try and make the shape look slightly rougher to be more convincing. You can use the same layer style as Step 1 (Make sure you remove the inner shadow and reduce the gradient scale to 81) or experiment with your own style.

Duplicate the layer and select edit -> free transform. Grab one of the corners of the shape while holding the alt key and drag inwards so the shape becomes smaller. Remove the gradient layer style and make the colour a dark blue. Duplicate the layer again and scale down but this time turn the gradient back on. Repeat the process. Create layer masks on each shape layer and begin to erase the edges of the shapes so everything looks smooth.

STEP 5

Trace the wing, and then trace some smaller shapes on top as highlights.

The following layer styles should then be applied to the wing:


Trace the feet and use a gradient on the layer style.

STEP 6

Add some extra detail using the techniques mentioned in Step 4 to add extra plumage to the stomach, back and head.


And you’re finished!

Download the PSD here
If you use the PSD in any of your work please let us know!
A link back, tweet or some form of mention would be most appreciated :)