Zombie Electro-death Blaster Gun Photoshop




Introduction: Zombie Electro-death Blaster Gun Photoshop

About: Graphic Designer/Physicist in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. I specialize in Photoshop fantasy creations. I always need some work if you need something designed. My website has contact information


some photoshop/photoediting basics skills
cheap digital camera/stock images,
hatred of the undead.

I built this gun in photoshop CS2 but It can be done in CS1 or higher without modification, and similarly with pretty much any photo editing software of your choice.

Helpful things to review before starting: layers, simple selection (ideally masking), blending modes, image adjustment options, brush, simple distortions. (nothing fancy you can learn all of those things in a day)

Images below are (1) the final gun and (2) the components for which I have instructions how to edit.

These are all the parts you need to create in your photomanipuation and a section will follow on how to edit each part, but the next page is for people who like THEORY and want to learn how to THINK about creating a fantasy image before you dive in. You can read that page or skip it and leap right into the instructions on building THIS image.

A. Trigger
B. Handle
C. Main Body
D. Atomic Power Tank
F. Hoses
G. Electrotip
H. Caution Tape
I. vents
J. Kicker Holes
K. Chrome Dial
L. Graffiti
M. Ankh Logo
N. Blood and Scuffs
O. Optional background

Step 1: (skip If You Don't Like Thinking) Taking It to the Next Level: Theory of How to Think About How to Make Your Image

If you just want to dig right into how I made the gun, skip this whole page, there are no instructions on how to photoedit on this page.
This page will teach you how to THINK like a photoediting ninja and how to build EVERY image you ever make...and take it to the next level.

First  shut off your computer and go find a book...(fine, if you are under 30 you can just google it)

How is that going to help? READIN'?? 'Ritin'?? I'm a PICTURE guy! I don't need no stinkin' words!

Yes my young apprentice, you are going to use all those English class lessons you thought you would never use in school (algebra we will reserve for another tutorial if that makes you feel better).

People who write books put images into your head and they do it without any pictures at all. WRITERS know that the 5 questions are the key to description, and you are going to INTERPRET those questions in your picture.

Before you look for a single source picture, you are going to have to have the majority of those questions in your mind. When you can ask the questions, you can then see how EVERYONE ELSE answered those questions, and then steal...err... "SYNTHESIZE" your way to  the winner's circle. Not only that, if you can answer those 5 questions you can not just build a ZOMBIE GUN for Halloween, you can build a sword, a tank,  armour, a building, a spaceship, and a whole fantasy culture!

So what are the questions?
Any WRITER knows. What.When.Who.Where.Why.How.

So today our topic was build a ZOMBIE GUN.

What. When. Who. Where. . Why. How.

After reading a whole book (I will wait for you if this is a new experience)  we find that a writer talking about a zombie gun, would have to know a whole lot about the zombie gun before he could describe it...things that the ameteur photoediting artist wouldn't concern himself with and then rush off to find the bestest, crispest, shiniest source he could find (or too frequently - steal) then stare at it for a couple hours and then give up.

So as a wise "PHOTOCHOPPING NINJA" you have become, you THNK first and chop later.


WHAT: well a zombie gun. A hand held weapon. Say about a foot long. Fairly durable. Maybe kinda heavy. Made of metal or plastic. Not too hard right? This is where amateurs stop. At this point your mom will be impressed.

WHEN: What is the setting for the gun? Far future? Steampunk Victorian? Current? Near future? After the apocalypse? Before or During the apocalypse world war Z? Ancient Rome? Well in this case we are in a fantasy sci fi world, say 30-40 years from now, more advanced tech than we have today...think blade runner...but before the complete robotization. Humanity is struggling with zombies after some disaster/breakthrough, and we are still corporate run but life is kinda rough at the moment. Picture Africa in 50 years. Was the gun New/OLD how long since manufacture? Was it just unwrapped, second hand, or long a trusty friend. At this point your best friend might think you did a good job.

WHO: This one is going to determine a LOT of the details. Who owns the gun? male or female? How much money does the owner have? Who made the gun - some corporation? A dwarf? Was it hand crafted or smuggled? Does the owner LOVE the gun? Is the gun a part of the owner...what is it's history with the owner. How much does the owner weigh? Can he lift it? What does the owner wear? Where does he keep it? Who has he killed with it? Has it been personalized? Has it been MODIFIED? What is the education level of the owner. Is the owner HUMAN? What is used to fire it? Fingers? Tentacles? What is the owners personality? Age? Religion? Sense of Humour? Is the owner bitter/cynical/evil/good? Is the owner PAID to use the weapon? What is THAT organization like? What is the Logo of that organization. Is the owner battle-worn?
(and you thought making pictures was going to be easy...) At this point a few of those friends you don't know on your social media  might comment on our picture if you post it.

WHERE: What is the environment of the scene. Air? Space? Underwater? What is gravity like? What is the air itself like? Corrosive? Dry? Sunny? Dark? Desert? Snow? The environment the gun is in, or has been in, will change what it looks like, how it has aged, the design to protect it, the weight, the attachments, the colours, etc. If the environment is one that requires stealth the gun will be a different colour than if it is supposed to be intimidating, or part of an empire. Was the gun ISSUED en masse to grunts, or smuggled into a mercenary unit. Where did the gun come from? What culture made it? What language do the owner and manufacturer speak. Based on what you know of items made today, you can extrapolate a style or look, to give a culture to the gun. An elven weapon would be all froofroo and light, but a russian mercenary piece would be dark and brooding and pragmatic. The visual clues in the gun should tell not only the story of the gun but the world it comes from. At this point you might get ONE favourite or LIKE on your blog/deviantart webpage.

WHY: What is the gun for? Killing smurfs? Killing elephants? Killing Bizorks from planet Zebulon? What is the ramifications of that? Does it need a spread of fire, or a sniper precision hit? Will you be constantly reloading, or is it good for a lot of shots? When you kill them are they at close range? Does that have ramifications? Do you need to be silent? What parts provide those features?  Know this and you can start to google your picture and find it on obscure websites in foreign countries that collect images they think are cool.

HOW: This is all about the accessories, and form follows function. How is the item held? Where is it stored? Where will storage/use/holding affect the appearance colour paint scuffing. If it is heavy, does it have the proper handles. Is the layout logical. Are the finger holes in the right spot? Are there holes in the right spot to hold it? Does it get hot/cold? Does everything have clearance to move, turn on. Does it have indicators for the functions shown? How is it powered/loaded/disassembled? How was it assembled...does it have bolts in the right places to be manufactured? Is it broken anywhere? Are the scuff marks right? If you were to use it...what features would be important? Finally you get your first viral link to images someone posts and you find it is a stolen picture YOU made, with your watemark carefully edited out of course.


So let's make up a list of ideas for our Zombie Gun answering those questions


Zombie Gun


Futuristic Nearish Future
During the zombie Apocalypse, probably near the start, but well underway.
Old enough for manufacturers to be making gun for this purpose
The gun will be obviously used, but not yet Rehab-ed or scavenged, or upgraded.


The user will be someone forced into the situation
The gun will be a tool, not a lover
Desperate, but not a scavenger
The maker will be international, and corporate filling a niche market
Non-military, but been at this a while
Kept nearby for quick use
Young enough to carry a heavy weapon
Not crazy enough to attach fetish trophies (severed fingers,ears, etc) but personalized for his mission and struggle against the undead
Not fanatic about cleanliness (not OCD, or on the run with no time)


foreign made (component labels) implying world trade
English writing suggesting American
Normal land atmosphere
Normal wear and tear rough handling
Probably typical urban/suburban world war z environment
Call it American


Undead killing, probably zombies
Close range (they sneak up on you)
Electro zapping (close range with spatter from kills) nice 'splosions
Personal Weapon but heavy duty for a side-arm, two handed
Looks like long term use with atomic battery
LCD Screen indicates heavy kill count (with zombies as well as a few vampires)


Simple two handed point and shoot
Kick handle indicates recoil or steadying needed and heavy
Small atomic power unit that must generate heat as well as zapping

I then did a long search on futuristic guns on the internet and noted all the features of other people's designs that indicate all of those features. I synthesized all the best ideas into my own original design.

So what does that all translate to?

Well, we get a pragmatic weapon, in basic grey with some colour to indicate important suggestions.
The futuristic parts will be the shooting tip, the power supply with atomic logo, LCD screen with memory card, and some sort of odd orange liquid with interchangeable options. The graffiti will show the attitude of the user as sort of a vindictive yet amateur user. There will be no military insignia, but there will be a logo (the ankh) that indicates the manufacturer makes this item purposely(meaning some parts of the world are okay AND that this has been going on a while), and some markings will be asian indicating trade still exists. The side handle indicates the weapon has some kick to it and isn't light. The vents and tape indicate the shooting end is hot and dangerous. The gore through out the item indicates use, as well as lack of time for proper care, while the shiny chrome indicates it is fairly new. Our guy is nervous and on the run. It is fully fueled and hasn't been modified so it is probably something purposely bought for defense.


I shot all the photos myself that were not already in my extensive archive. All serious photoartists should start building a photo library as soon as possible. Take a small camera with you everywhere and snap pics of anything and everything wherever you are. You can build up thousands of images in a few weeks.  Always make sure when you build your archive that you make sure to take at least one "head on" shot of any object you photograph, it makes inserting things much easier if there is no distortion.

Step 2: Getting Started - the Sources and Setup and Layer Structure

This tutorial  assumes you know how to use photoshop or editor of choice in the general sense.
See other tutorials for selection, masking, layers, blending modes, opacity, warping and distortion, changing colouring, etc.

I worked big. I always recommend working full size. My little $80, 12 megapixel camera spits out images 4000px wide. 
As you can see (from image 1) none of the images is extraordinary, they are all just shots of junk that I take every day.

I work big for print so I started with a 9000x6000px canvas and increased it when I ran out of room. I set up my layers panel in my standard way (see image 2). A locked layer of white, black, and neon green fills, for checking masking. A folder labelled "sources" stays at the bottom below that and set to visually off. Every time I bring in a picture, it gets labelled so I can find it on my hard drive, and stays in this folder, copied, and then brought onto the main stage in a folder labelled similar to these minitutorial sections. We will have  many layers when we are done. Save after every tutorial section in a numbered sequence gun1, gun2, etc. When it wont save at 2gigabytes we will start saving as .PSB (not standard .psD). This image will easily go over 2 Gig. Having dual montiors will make this much easier to do as well. Panels on one side, image on the other. (if that sounds scary work smaller, none of this is really complicated).

Image 1: the sources
Image 2: The Layers panel how I started after I had the trigger, main body, and muzzle folders roughed in so I could organize all the images that were related.

Layers and folders get colours and proper names. RAW for clean source, R for right, L for left. Link things that are stacked (for colouring and lighting) as you go, leave all construction debris for later...just set it to visually off in case you need to come back. If you merge anything, the label will say "Merged" merged layers are placed ABOVE the construction found below starting with the raw source

(basically just keep stuff together that matches - and if you can use colour on the layer panel all the better)

Step 3: A. Trigger

A. Trigger

"I wanted the gun to be simple. So I left the trigger simple. A spray bottle of cleaner was my base. I use plastic most of the time to build matte coloured metal. The bottle was a  head on shot, so I could use it without fussing with the shape. Unfortunately it was white, so I inverted it, which made it a nice grey colour and brought out some scuffs in it. I saved this layer and used it every time I needed to make anything the base grey colour (which was almost everything). I use "match colour" constantly. in Photoshop image/adjustments/matchcolour/(find the appropriate layer), you can use other image adjustments to substitute this process, anything that tweaks the colour can be used just pick one and play with the sliders until it works."

make a stack of  the trigger image and store it in a folder :


1. source
2. masked/erased background
3. duplicate white layer, invert it, set to "multiply"
4. Duplicate dark layer on top and set to "vivid light" to bring out texture.
5. cleanup and masking
6. duplicate and merge top set of trigger layers (use this for "match colour")

Step 4: B. Handle

B. Handle

"I had a white flashlight with ribs on it. I used the warp transform and then the liquify filter to get it to a shape that looked like it would fit a hand well. I used all the same steps as the trigger to get it to be grey. At the end I used "match colour" to get it the RIGHT grey, (or use what colour option sliders you have available)"


1. source
2. masked
3. warp a
4. warp b
5. fill in hole and use "liquify" to shape it (I copied it to another canvas for this to save RAM)
6. more liquify (I straightened the ribs too)
7. change colour with same steps as the trigger ending with "match colour" or available colour sliders

Step 5: C. Main Body

C. Main Body

(Image 1 - porta potty)


1. Duplicate and flip the trigger for a longer platform and erase/mask as needed so you only have one trigger

2. body source (porta potty)
3. masked
4. stretch the potty, and cover clone out the door area
5. put stretched potty on handle with a second  copy (squashed vertically) behind.
6. use match colour (trigger as source) to get it grey, and adjust brightness contrast.I also masked out and recoloured the white at the end with invert.

(image 2 - remote control, metal bits and structural details )

1. dvd remote source
2. masked and stretched
3. put on body of gun (top portapotty image) and set to "multiply" (lines adjusted later)
4. metal lid source masked
5. lid hit with "match colour" and brightness contrast adjusted, resized, duplicated and stacked
6. BBQ hinge source isolated
7. rings stacked with hinge to form Kickback handle put on gun
8. spraybottle nozzle source isolated, "match colour" and used as decorations above trigger

The gun was a little "boxy" so I added a 50's style shape

(image 3 - plastic box)

1. source plastic box masked
2. warp one end
3. warp both ends
4. match colour
5. insert layer behind the trigger source

At this point you can play with the patterns and lines of the dvd remote to fit them to the new pieces you added. I also adjusted some highlights in the pattern so the light was from the top right. Some general touchups to fill holes and blemishes on the masking.

Step 6: D. Atomic Power Source

D. Atomic Power Source

To be futuristic, things that are big can become small, and use labels that are familiar to the current audience. I used a small image of a propane tank for the atomic battery after building up more of the metal of the gun to its left.

(image 1 - traffic light and propane tank)


1. I wanted a hexagonal tube, so the source was the back of a traffic light
2. isolated, but it was not "head on" so I had to use the warp tool to carefully and painstakingly straighten the roundness (which failed). Then in 2 seconds I just used the rectangle marquis to cut the centre out and deleted the rest...much faster
3. two copies of the centre cut out with a bit of shadow added to the smaller one.
4. the shaft was just partially selected and dragged to the right
5. match colour to get it grey
6. a couple of existing parts of the gun were set in behind the tank along with the shaft
7. I had a picture of a propane tank on a crane
8. duplicated the weld lines then cloned out the entire inside. welds overlayed after warping a bit
9. seatbelt strap seemed flimsy so I isolated it
10. matched colour to grey
11. straightened with warp, made and upper and lower piece up and added bolts, burn to shade

At this point your gun could be considered DONE. An amateur would probably be quite happy and you might get your 6th place loser trophy if you entered it in a contest. At this point I do a shout out to my friends and family and get their reactions. I went back to researching my trove of other people's work. My gun looked new, and impersonal and boring. Time to spice it up with electronics, colour, and most importantly character and patina.

In my research the radiation symbol featured prominently and it is easy to draw. To North Americans, Asia means miniaturization and the future of industrial output so I went with Japanese on the tank. Foreign text is always a great place to put inside jokes or the like. Make sure you get it translated properly if you are doing it online. Translate it to Japanese, and then untranslate it incase it is humourous. Here I had already planned to date  the piece on the LCD scanner unobtrusively in the death count ( 2001 05 for may 2011) so I went with a real warning. Online I hoped it said "warning: radiation Do not open" which is what is typical on canisters.

(image 2 - japanese, radiation,  propane tank )

1. Luckily online translation services can just let you cut and paste the actual kanji writing and paste it into your text tool box directly. I made a black layer and a second layer on top that I put into round perspective with the warp tool by squashing a selection of the top half, then burning and dodging like the radiation symbol like the steps 3 & 4 below.
2. source radiation symbol (stroked triangle, a couple masked circles)
3. dodged the top for the highlight
4. burned the bottom for more roundness
5. I needed a strap that would hold the tank on so I found one on a backhoe and used it and the bolts and made a nice strap
6. darkened and adjusted the colour with some orange paint on the sides to seat it
7. duplicate the white tank, use variations to make it orange, and burn it a bit for depth
8. the tank was obviously removeable, so I found a nice thumbscrew to make it look realistic on a bicycle shock which worked the same way. I figured this would be a moving part so it would remain new looking
9. orange paint to reflect from the tank and Chrome it up with some burn tool
10. The finished area got a few dodged highlights and painted low opacity shadows set to multiply, a spattering of grunge went over the whole thing when I did the rest of the patina throughout the gun

Step 7: E. LCD Screen and Memory Card

E. LCD screen and memory Card

The gun was supposed to be electronic, so we needed a computer screen to give read-outs. I was going to use the blue colour that digital watches glow at first, but when I changed the colour scheme of the gun from blue to orange, I changed the screen colour to beige, and upgraded it to something fancier.

(Image 1 - remote control becomes lcd panel)

1. DVD remote source provided the screen and the memory card.
2. masked (battery cover area)
3. stretched a bit and match colour again
4. layer put in between main body and rounded part, highlight added on top
5. later inner rectangle was toned red with a simple overlay set to low opacity

6. DVD remote had a nice rectangle I used for the screen
7. enlarged
8. coloured with image/adjustments/variations
8b. For a blue-ish glowing screen I stacked image 8:7:7: turquoise (screen 81%), grey (vivid 100%), grey (screen 100%)

9. later I changed the screen to greenish beige by duplicating image 8 on top with screen and changing the turquoise version using image/adjustment/hue-sat to the green colour (see 13)
10. I found a font called "scoreboard" which was dots and looked right. Black with lowered opacity
11. To set the LCD into the gun, I copied the highlight edge from main body at the top of the dvd remote design flipped it upside down and set it to screen (then smudged a bit)
12. The screen needed a highlight on the glass so I used the image from 11, changed it to all white, squashed it and added some smudge in bottom right. Set on LCD (layer set to screen)
13. Eventually I lowered the opacity of the grunge that covered it in the LCD area
14. Final screen seemed flat, so I put some orange reflection on the top of the LCD

Step 8: F. Hoses

F. Hoses

Technically external hoses would be bad design, but they LOOK good on a science fiction image. I tried to justify their existence by making some interfaces where they could be changed around, perhaps to give a different effect on the weapon power or use. By now I had decided to make the gun grey and orange for Halloween, so as much as I wanted them fluorescent green, I went with orange.
I didn't have any actually hoses with liquid in them sitting around or in my photo archive so I had to fake them. I referred to a picture of the liquid in a carpenter's level i found online.

(image 1 - hoses from connector)

1. source computer connector for both the connectors and the hose itself
2. connector masked and match colour applied to go grey
3. If you ever want to bend something that is rounded it is much easier to do the bending ONCE rather than do and undo. It is also easier to bend a straight object slightly, so make the object straight first. After selecting a chunk of the chord, I could have tried to warp it straight and failed miserably.
4. INSTEAD use a small section and stretched it
5. perfect straight hose stretched
6. duplicated and squashed for inner cavity
7. use variations to make it orange
8. use a scattering bubble brush in light grey set to screen
9. crop the bubbles to finish the liquid in the inner hose cavity
10. use the original chord underneath the liquid as a backer and lower the opacity of the liquid and the backer to show the transparency on the gun
11. Due to the low opacity, instead of merging, I warped both the pieces separately
12. transparent hose
13. just put the connectors on top
14. dodge and burn the hose, and add a shadow, and for that mad scientist feature, the liquid should glow, so add a low opacity orange layer underneath the hoses and then smudge it to show up on the gun appropriately
15. finished look adjust shadows and highlights as needed.

Step 9: G. Electrotip

G. Electrotip

So instead of a bullet muzzle, we are going more for stun-gun tazer look which means electrodes.
Electricity needs two electrodes so i used the same computer connector as used for the hoses.

(image 1 - connector becomes electrotip)

1. connector source
2. isolated screw from connector
3. match colour
4. perspective warp to make the end pointed and then make smaller
5. duplicate and keep the shadows facing the same way
6. isolate and brighten the back of the connector metal collar
7. isolate main body
8. match colour and add the small parts
9. assembled
10. finished construction add light and shadows as needed.

Step 10: H. Caution Tape

H. Caution Tape

To make the gun dangerous and add some spacey sci fi it cried out for some caution tape. I carry my camera around all the time and have a large collection of sources of this kind of tape. It is difficult to draw and make it look "used" so I just get real sources. This one is from the steps at my library.

(image 1 - caution tape on stairs)

1. source
2. quick marquis selection
3. to rough up the edges I chewed at it with a standard spatter brush that comes with photoshop just after the soft brushes. I used the small size shown but the larger one is the actual pattern. You can make your own brushes like this as well. The key is to balance clicking in little bites to preserve the pattern, and small strokes to get tears.
5. final view with a couple shadows over it.

(image 2 - so far)

So let's look at what we have so far. We have a nice design, it has some bells and whistles. We have the "Futuristic electro stun gun" part of the brief covered,  but it is still too clean, it has no personality, and it doesn't really scream "Zombie" or "heavy" or "desperate" or "corporate niche marketing". This could still be anybody's gun, in a number of genres from space cowboy to bladerunner. It needs to be more "used" and personalized so that it is the gun of a particular Character. It could use a bit more decoration too. Maybe some more details about how the gun "feels" and some more practical bells and whistles.

Step 11: I. Vents

I. Vents

I want the gun to be more dangerous so I think we should indicate that it gets hot at the dangerous end.

(Image 1 - vents fins)

1. source image from suburban power transformer with heat fins
2. mask a small section
3. perspective warp on right side to make the fins go INTO the cavity on the gun, matching the existing hole from the porta potty (serendipity leads to ideas in this case)

4. black backer layer to darken the hole this goes behind the next image
5. insert distorted fins and add the floor and some shadow on the right
6. four and six stacked
7. once inserted into the gun, I rounded the corners with an eraser, and touched up the highlights on the cavity environment with dodge and burn

Step 12: J. Kicker Handle Holes

J. Kicker Handle Holes

The attachment for the kick handle was a little boring so I thought to add some holes in it too.

(image 1 - holes in a store security curtain used for decoration)

1. the stub already on the gun
2. source from a security curtain on a store window (I make it a habit of snapping pictures of anything industrial looking when I am out around town - never know when these will come in handy)
3. small section of holes
4. magic wanded out the grey area
5. duplicated and inverted the colour from black to white
6. five gets stacked under four with the white area slightly offset to show the light on the "edge" of the holes. A simple trick for low relief
7. the hole stack was stretched a bit wider, and carefully distorted for perspective (you will notice the top holes are much smaller than the bottom one) a bit of shadow added afterward on the connection and the brass screw duplicated to the top

Step 13: K. Chrome Dials

K. Chrome dials

I thought the gun needed more "moving bits" and I really liked the wheel we used on the atomic battery, so I thought I would make it a theme and use it a couple more times.

(image 1 - bicycle shocks become dials)

1. I used the same piece of bicycle shock image that was used to make the atomic battery tank connector. Just mask out the threads.
2. for the safety switch above the left hose, I just inverted the chrome from white to black
3. the now black wheel in place with some dodge and burn for highlights and shadows
4. simple strokes of orange on a duplicate of the original chrome wheel
5. the stoplight again from the atomic battery section
6. the original shaft construction isolated and tweaked straight
7. duplicates of the chrome wheels were set to touch at a 45 degree angle on top of the stoplight bit. Some more orange and shading seats them in the picture. (I fixed the slot of the bottom wheel as well as added some edges with dodge and burn).
8. after duplicating the blue endcap and using "hue_saturation" to turn it orange, I added a stroke of orange to the chrome band at the end of the grey to chrome it up. (Later, more orange with bubbles were added along the top of the gun with the same method as the hoses as well) Orange is more halloween.

Step 14: L. Graffiti

L. Graffiti

The gun needed to "belong" to someone, and show his character. The character would personalize his life sustaining tool with his fear/angst of his undead enemies. The roughness and amateur draftsmanship shows his lack of training and desperate circumstances...but yet indicate he has some down time to brood.

The key to patina is GRUNGE. Take your camera out one day and take 300 pictures of rusty, streaked, aged, dripped-on, peeling, cracking items (the backs of buildings are great places, similarly dumpsters are useful)
The difference between sterile virtual reality and realism is these surfaces. When you go look you will be amazed at how rugged the world really is and you don't notice until you are faking reality and something just isn't "right".

(image 1 - adding text paint with grunge)

1. My grunge source is an old oil tank at a garage
2. I picked a grungy font to start with, I thought it had a bit of a danger/psycho feel to it, the ankh can be drawn easily. The font is pasted in white and with the layer set to screen on the existing gun and about 85% opacity
3. the grunge source goes on as an overall layer on the gun covering the whole thing and set to "overlay" this not only unifies the colours of the gun, it puts in all the scuff marks and fills any holes. I duplicated the grunge layer and masked the new layers with the text outline.
4. A couple stacks of grunge masked with the text outline and with colours modified a few different hues stacks to make a nice aged painted graffiti look. A few erasings here and there on each layer exposes different colours you can use to shade around edges. (different blending modes like screen, colour dodge, etc can help you tweak this effect)

Step 15: M. Ankh Logo

M. Ankh Logo

The gun was supposed to show that this apocalypse had been going on long enough for the corporate vultures to profit from it (zombie gun (tm)!), so since this was not military issue I thought the corporate vultures would latch onto some hipster symbol from the phrase "Only life can live" and since designers will be even MORE redundant in the future, they would just abscond with the Egyptian Ankh (life) symbol for the surviving humanity. I put the logo on the end of the Kick Handle.

(image 1 - anhk logo and bicycle grip)

1. I went outside and positioned my bicycle at the right angle for this in a few minutes. This is the advantage of using your own images. Perfect angles the first time.
2. masked handle
3. same ankh from the graffiti text
4. duplicate and made a light grey copy to use the same effect used in the kicker handle holes previously but for a raised surface instead of an outer surface. You could also use layer modes for emboss but I like having the control and no resizing errors
5. The black and grey ankh stacked and slightly offset toward the light this time
6. rubber is soft, so I blurred the ankh stack a few pixels to get that rubber look in the final. You must get the perspective correct for something that sticks out of the canvas this much, so make sure the handle is just at the right angle and rotate it if not.

(image 2 - clean gun )

So we have done a lot of work, we did the research, we constructed the atmosphere around the story we are telling, the image will impress the kiddies,  but it isn't "memorable" a gifted amateur would know how to MacGuyver a shape and the colours. What do you do AFTER that.  You go for the WOW. You make something trivially EASY (yes Easy!) look like you spent a lifetime. The judges want blood, yours or someone else's. Let's make it the blood of the 2011 zombies this gun has claimed to kill. SPLAT the excitement is now.

Step 16: N. Grunge and Gore and Scuffs

N. Grunge and Gore and Scuffs

This will be two steps, an overall toner, and then the blood.

(image 1 - grunge toner from oil tank)

1. The gun needed some roughing up and slight colour toning.
2. Using the same oil tank grunge source from the graffiti section
3. desaturation of the source, then set the layer to "overlay" it on the gun itself so everything is covered (in a few sections if need be). If you merged the entire gun previously you can just magic wand the outline and create a mask for the grunge. Be careful, overlay disappears on white, so if you add a background later it will show up. Make sure you mask the entire gun well.
4. erase the sections of white highlights, dark shadows, tone the body and handle as needed to make it look like all one material.

Okay, it's dirty, but what do you use now for blood? Well with a close range weapon, we will get splatter. Blood isn't really red, it has kind of a dark brown hue to it and it dries dark so we will do this in a colour and a toner layer (most things I colour will have those two layers, one for colour, one for shade.)

(image 2 - tar truck spashes closeup for blood)

1. the source was from a series I took walking past a construction site. They were tarring the roof and the big cart that heats the tar was on the sidewalk. Yes you may have to explain to the workers why "some crazy guy is drooling over taking pictures of NOTHING" but it helps to have a business card with you to show them why. I took about 50 images of the cart from various angles. I used this one.
2. This is the easy part. Magic Wand 25px on the black. Done. Crazy eh?
3. Colouring black and white is difficult unless you know the "colourize" checkbox in the hue-saturation pop-up dialogue box. When checked it defaults to red, and with a little more saturation you are done colouring.
4. A nice muddy red brown. I rotated the image a bit so the splatters spray back from the electrode direction. We want it to look like our character is zapping the zombies right up close!
5. duplicate the blood spatter and link them. put them over the gun (in sections if need be). Mask the perimeter. Set both layers to "overlay". Erase the top layer of spatter where it is supposed to be a highlight and burn it a bit with the shadows. A few smudges and tweaks and the blood is done.
I would then go over all the highlights and shadows (using a rough spatter brush and being bold helps) and fill any holes or add small elements you need and you can take a bow.

(image 3 - gun final)

Congratulations, you are off to save humanity in the ongoing undead war.

Remember anyone can make a picture, but if you can tell a STORY, you are a real artist.

Step 17: O. Background - He Lost

So after we have our hero's gun, we can tell the "not so happily ever after"  because our hero loses.

The trail of blood and his fallen weapon...oh the humanity

Just slip in a sidewalk and draw in a shadow in dark blue selected from the leaf shadows.

Happy Halloween.

To investigate the sources leave me a comment

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    22 Discussions


    2 years ago

    you're a little bit........ CRAZY.......COOL


    Reply 1 year ago



    6 years ago

    That is amazing


    8 years ago on Step 2

    I'd like to preface this comment by stating I'm not saying this to be mean, because your end result is pretty awesome.

    The word 'Photoshop' in the title makes this whole thing immensely disappointing.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    And why would that be?
    Photoshop is a really powerful tool, it is really easy to learn and anyone can be good within month of using it.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    But it means there isn't a real one out there.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    well...you just don't make the moulds before you know what it is going to look like right?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    See now, that is a completely wonderful answer right there.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Oh I understand your point.
    I though you meant to say that photoshop was bad/stupid or something.
    Forgive me!

    If your engineering your own paper (or card) models and just can't find (or make) just the right textures to paint your model with, this might just be the correct starting point.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, that's amazing. I totally love seeing where you got the different pieces - makes the final result much more impressive.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This totally stands head and shoulders above the rest. So many useful principles, and creating a zombie hunting gun is such a totally unique take on the horror theme! This site is very lucky to get someone with such advanced skills writing a tutorial for them. :)

    Oh, and I want one of these. Will they be available by Christmas?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I think I did it in about 2 days over a weekend full time.

    ncc 1701
    ncc 1701

    8 years ago on Introduction