Work in Progress: Using Photoshop to add Muscles

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: October 2, 2012

Category: General

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for stopping by; hope all is well with you 🙂

Ok so today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at some work in progress on a new picture.

Now once the final image is complete I’ll be sure to post a look at what went into putting it together but for today though as I was working on it I thought you might be interested to see one particular technique…

Ok so for the final picture I wanted our Rugby Player’s (Sam) back muscles to show through his top a little more than they had in the out of camera shots. Now don’t get me wrong the muscles were there but it was down to things like the thickness of his top, his pose and the lighting that meant they didn’t show through as much…Phew 🙂

Of course as is always the case in Photoshop there’s never just one way to do something; I could have simply used a dodging and burning technique to add shadows and highlights and build the muscle definition that way for example.

However that’s not quite as easy as you’d maybe first think because that involves knowing what muscles there are and how they would be positioned in the pose Sam was in.

Search the internet for a picture of a male subject’s back in a similar pose.

Once I’d found one it was then a case of cutting it out of it’s background (easy as it was photographed on white) and lining it up as near as possible on top of our Rugby Player’s back with a few twists here and a few twists there.

Then using something commonly referred to as a Luminosity Mask, remove the colour and show only the brightness values of the muscular back layer; and the result…

When I fist sat down to write this post I’d originally intended to put a walk through showing how to do this in Photoshop, but no sooner had I started I very quickly changed my mind; it’s a very simple process but I think writing it down would maybe make it seem harder than it actually is.

So if you folks think it would be something you’d like to see I’ll record a short video tutorial and post it here this week.

Right must dash…off to the studio this morning for a James Bond 007 themed photo shoot,

Have a good one and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow,

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  1. Patrick Mathys

    Very, very interesting…

    Would be interesting to see a video of this. Also the luminosity mask is something that i’d be interested in…

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Glen…

  2. Clive Litchfield

    Great site for Photoshop & lightroom info/tips. Thanks for sharing Glyn.

  3. DaveT


    Like Patrick. I too would be interested in seeing a video of this and learning more about the luminosity mask.

    Thanks for the tips.


  4. Mark Imhof

    Hey Glyn,
    Again a very Interesting Post!
    A Video to show the luminosity Mask and what to think about when doing the TWIST. ;o)

    Thanks for sharing your Ideas, you rock mate!

  5. alisa

    I would be interested as well! What a cool tip!

  6. Will (wilgenix)

    Would love to see this in a video Glyn. A few twists here and there eh? 😉

  7. Paul M.

    Yea … DO IT! Make the video!

  8. Steve Foster

    Yes please Glyn, great technique.


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