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How to create animal shapes using Photoshop / Illustrator / Poser

create animal shape in Photoshop and Illustrator and poser
  1. Poser and render animal design and save as PNG

  2. Into Illustrator

  3. Trace

  4. Copy into photoshop

How to create animal custom shapes using a combination of Poser (or Daz) and Illustrator and Photoshop. Generate an animal design in Smith Micro Poser and import the rendered 3D artwork into the vector application Illustrator. The animal shape in Illustrator can then be traced using the powerful image trace tool (or you could use an online vector tracing tool) to turn the animal shape into a silhouette or animal illustration. The animal shape is then copied from Illustrator to Photoshop and used as a shape layer and then defined as a Photoshop custom shape via the edit menu. The animal shape can then be used as an animal custom shape in Photoshop CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc. This tutorial shows you how to convert the artworks from Poser / Daz into Illustrator and then the animal (cat, dog, horse, mouse, goat etc) and then how to save it as a custom shape. The animal custom shapes are vectors for any size of work

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Animal design / Poser from Smith Micro - a great source for all kinds of wonderful animal designs

poser model animal shapes

The key thing are the apps. A quick guide to creating animal themed custom shapes using poser (or daz, I guess) and Illustrator OK, the first thing that is need for the creation of the Photoshop animal custom shapes is that you have the above three apps and also that you have some animal shapes in the Poser application but that should not be a problem as animals are included with the default Poser set and so unless you have deleted them, you should have some animals to render. It is a pity that Adobe Fuse does not include some animals like cats and dogs. Poser is my favourite application and one that I use a lot for all kinds of shape creation and not just cats and dogs etc

  1. Startup SM Poser. As with many applications there are many ways to achieve much the same and you have perhaps have your ways of achieving the best renders etc possible but this is a just a quick way to get from an animal shape in Poser to an animal custom shape in Photoshop

  2. Set the render settings in poser via the render menu and to the correct level of quality you want. I am generally happy with a decently quick render and not too long a wait and then go to the window menu of Poser and libraries

  3. go to the library and search for an animal (say a dog or cat or owl or pets etc).

  4. Once you have selected one and added it to the Poser document you can now use the positioning tools and settings such as changing the head etc via the parameters to the correct look for you. Personally, I try and keep the animal model in the center avoiding the edges so I get the whole animal in the Poser scene and then go to the lighting and setting that to the required (depends on you but you want to keep the animal fairly clearly and not too dark or tool light so you have little to work from when you get into Illustrator etc).

  5. Now go to the render menu and use the render dimensions to set the size and dpi etc (set this to fairly large but not so large it takes forever to render) and then render menu and render to a PNG file.

  6. Once you have the animal in the PNG file, you can use the Illustrator application to turn it into a vector via the image trace.

  7. Close Poser or generate more rendered PNG files. To further modify the image, you may wish to pre-edit the design in a tool such as PaintStorm Studio to add sketched and paint etc to the design.

Illustrator stage and trace - take the poser model and use the image trace feature in Illustrator

image trace for the animal shape

Next into Illustrator CC CS6 etc

  1. Go to Illustrator and use the open command or the place command to open the animal shape and this will be just a raster file.

  2. Go to the image trace command button.

  3. You will need to display the image trace panel Via the top bar) and you can then set the advanced option to 'ignore whites' as this means the background can be seen.

  4. Change the threshold depending on how much or how little of the image you want to see as well as the number of paths for the animal shape.

  5. Once you have finished, click expand and you should have a decent vector shape to use as a point for an animal custom shape in Photoshop.

  6. Use pathfinder to unite the animal shape

  7. copy design via the edit menu

Photoshop and the final animal custom shape stage - manipulate the generated vector design

paste animal shape layer

Now into Photoshop CC CS6 etc

  1. Start Photoshop

  2. you can now simply select the poser / illustrator animal shape and copy and then paste into Photoshop

  3. select the "shape layer" option

  4. use direct selection tool to select the entire vector layer animal shape

  5. go to the edit menu and define custom shape and there you have your perfect animal custom shape for Photoshop from Poser (you can also do much the same thing in Daz Studio)

  6. apply using the custom shape tool in Photoshop and add effects etc

Other Tutorials

1. how to use the custom shapes to create brushes in Photoshop tutorial

Sources and references

1. Poser models on Smith Micro