Create patchwork objects and animals by merging photos and textures
The great thing about creating over the top of photos is that you perfect your composition – in this one, we’re drafting in a new frog head over the existing one, just to get the best of both frogs. There’s no need to finely blend the sources together as this is just a mockup.
Use the Pen tool to create shapes around all the segments of the frog’s body. Set your Foreground colour to match one of the segments, Ctrl/right-click and choose Fill Path on a new layer. Continue this for all the segments, creating a new layer for each.
Import a fabric texture directly on top of one of the segment layers: this could be any kind of fabric at all! We’ve started with the red section of the eye. Drop the Opacity of the layer to 50% so you can see your guide shapes underneath and use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+T) to set the rough angle of the fabric.
Select Edit>Transform>Warp to form the texture to fit the contour of the eye’s rounded shape. To achieve this spherical appearance, drag points from the middle of the warped segment and pull outwards. Dragging nodes from the corners inwards will also help to round out the edges.
Ctrl/Cmd-click the thumbnail of the eye’s layer to create a selection of the eye. Then, with the texture layer selected, press Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+I to invert the selection and Ctrl/Cmd+X to isolate the shape on the texture layer. Set this layer to Overlay and increase the Contrast to 56.
Hand-painting shadows and highlights adds the realism to the seams between the segments. Ctrl/Cmd-click the thumbnail on the shape layer and create a new one with the base shape as your selection. Use a soft black brush and paint shadows around the edges, using a white brush for the highlight spot in the centre.
We wanted to add a seam across the eye, so to create this effect, we used the Pen tool and stroked a 3px black line across the surface. Using the Smudge tool with Strength set to 60%m I softened the edge by dragging the tool across the contour and spreading it at the ends.
Instead of using sources, we drew the stitches from scratch. We sketched the shapes with the Pen tool and filled it with a light colour (#c6a757). We then shaded as with the eye. Add a shadowed edge at the ends to indicate the thread being embedded into the surface.
Creating the smaller stitches requires a different, albeit similar, technique. Create a selection from the segment you want to apply the stitch to, then choose Select>Modify>Contract and shrink the selection by 3px. On a new layer, apply an inside Stroke (Edit>Stroke) of a light shade at 2px.
Using a hard Eraser tool at 100% Opacity, erase spaces between the stitches to create the edge seams. Create a selection from the thread and fill it in black on a new layer below your stitches. Apply a Gaussian Blur of 2px.