Snakey Hands

This tutorial will show you how to change the normal looking hands in a photograph into green snake-like hands. This is a great tutorial for practicing the manipulation of photographs. Enjoy!

Step-By-Step Instructions:
1. Open the hand picture that you want to use. (Ctrl + O)

2. Cut out the hand away from the background with the pen tool. Paste into new layer or canvas.
3. Once you have the hand ready to go its time to change the color of the hand. Now you can make the hand any color you want, but I want to change it to green.

To do this I’m going to use color variations. (Image/Adjustments/Variations)

Now there’s a lot of ways that you can add color, but you want it to look authentic and natural, so play with the adjustments (Shadows, Midtones, Highlights, Saturation) until you get something satisfactory.

You may need to use a bit of saturation if your image turns out to be too bright or if there are patches of light spots.

Here is my result:

4. From there now its time to patch up the spots where the skin tone isn’t as green as the rest. I’m going to use the burn tool at these settings:

Brush Size: 163 px
Hardness: 52%
Range: Highlights
Exposure: 12%

5. Darken some light spots carefully without burning too much. Just go over in different spots with one or two clicks.


6. Now it’s time to change this hand into a snake-like hand.

We’re going to get rid of the fingernails and knuckles on the fingers. To do this use the clone brush. Zoom up on a fingernail by using the zoom tool.

Clone tool settings:

Brush Size: 20 px
Hardness: 21%
Mode: Normal
Opacity: 48%
Flow: 100%

Or use your own judgement.

Find spots beneath the fingernail to clone. Alt+Click the spot you want to clone. Then brush over the nail with as much accuracy as possible. But does not have to be perfect. If you need continue to Alt+Click in different spots when necessary. Contine this step for the rest of the nails.

Do the same for the knuckles on the fingers.


7. Now we’re going to do a snaky effect to the fingers. Start with the pinky finger (or any other finger you want except the thumb).

Use the Pologonal Lasso Tool and click around the pinky finger.

8. Use the Liquify tool now. (Shift+Ctrl+X) or Filter/Liquify

In Liquify click the Twist Clockwise Tool.

Brush: 133
Brush Density: 50
Brush Rate: 71
Turbulent Jitter: 50

Now click in spots of the finger and get a feel of the kind of effect you want. Click down and drag to make longer.


9. Repeat step 8 for each finger except the thumb.

10. The hand will not be perfect. There might be some jagged edges near the bottom like in the previous example. To correct this we can take the pen tool and trace around the parts you want to delete. Close the path on each part.

You can see where I traced with the pen tool.

11. Right Click with the pen tool, and select Make Selection.

Feather Radius: 0px
Anti-aliased: Checked.
New Selections

Click Ok.

Hit Delete on your Keyboard.


12. There may be small lines near the bottom of the fingers. Simply clone the lines away like we did earlier with the fingernails.
13. Open your snake picture. Cut out the snake from the background. Apply the same color variation techniques that you applied to the hand.

14. Remove the thumb from your hand picture with the pen tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool.

15. Copy your snake picture into your picture. Place in the position you want to replace the thumb.

16. Use the Erase tool on a low to medium opacity, and soft brush to erase part of the snake that’s on the skin to blend it into the skin.

17. To add more width to the snake and to fill out the area of the thumb, cut off a little bit of the top of the snake with the Pen Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool.

18. Copy (Ctrl+C) & Paste (Ctrl+V) a few times and place the pieces on top of each other.

19. You should have two or more layers from the snake. Take the snake layers and link them together.

20. Ctrl+E to merge the linked. Now repeat step 16.
21. You should be finished.
If you want you can merge the hand and the snake layers and run them through color variations again to get the same over all color.

22. Add any other effects you want. I’m going to give my snake a red eye, just by using the Brush Tool and using a dark red, and just dotting it carefully. Next I’ll give it a gradient background and a simple drop shadow. And voila!