Learn how to clone yourself - Just like Mr Malique does it!

Have you ever wondered how Mr Malique creates his clones? Well, I’m here to teach you how to clone yourself just like the way Mr Malique does it!

Yeap, for my maiden post on this blog, I’m gonna do an in-depth tutorial on how to create your own clones, using Adobe Photoshop.

Here’s a list of tools you will need to be able to do this tutorial along with me.

  1. A digital camera.

    You got a spankin’ brand new DSLR like Yanni’s Nikon D80? Great! You got a point-and-shoot consumer camera? No problem too! What? You want to use a film camera? Erm… Possible… But will be more than doubly troublesome. Let’s keep things simple and I shall assume you own/can borrow a digital camera. :)

  2. A tripod.

    A must. Okay, not exactly a must, but it will make things so much easier. Easy is the keyword in this tutorial, okay?

  3. Adobe Photoshop.

    Any version will do, as long as it supports layer masking. If the graphics program you’re using allows you to mess around with layer masking, you’d probably be able to adapt the steps here to fit that program.

    I shall be using Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended.

  4. Of course, you will need a computer. I shall assume you have access to one since you’re reading this entry. :P Mac or PC, whatever your choice may be, it will suffice. I will be using a PC.

But before we begin the tutorial proper, I am going to have to assume several things about you:

  • You have taken photographs before, and know the basics of your camera, for example, how to take a correct exposure and how to set the timer.

  • You have used Adobe Photoshop before, and you know what layers are.

  • You know how to use your computer, whatever the flavour may be.

Now that all that is over, let’s get started!

Step 1:

Attach your digital camera to your tripod and find a nice spot to create your clones picture. Easiest places to create such shots include a nice row of chairs (like the one Mr Malique and me did a while back), a row of phone booths, a wide open field, the toilet (mirrors are always fun to play with!) and even just your room. Let your imagination run wild.

You don’t need to have a shot of the empty area that you will be shooting at, but here’s an example of what would make a nice place to create your clones at.

A row of chairs - Cloning tutorial

Step 2:

Place your tripod-attached digital camera at a spot that would capture a nice scene. If you’re alone, please make sure that the spot is not at a high human-traffic area that would allow just anybody to snatch your precious camera away while you’re cam-whoring! Be careful, people!

Set the correct exposure and then set the timer on your digital camera. Try to set as many settings as possible to manual. If you’re not comfortable with manual settings, you can use auto too, but just remember that some auto settings may make the photograph’s colour cast vary from shot to shot (which can be corrected in Photoshop, but we’re not going to get into that in this tutorial). What we’re looking for here is a consistent look for all the shots you’re going to take.

Set the timer to about 10 seconds, along with the timer indicator. Most cameras should have a timer indicator which is just a light (LED) that blinks every second until the timer runs out. Some have beeps along with the light. Either, or both, will help.

Step 3:

Press down your shutter and run to the first spot you want your clone to be at. Or walk, if the distance is short. Or sprint, if you inspire to be like Uncle Sha.

Once you’re at your desired position, pose like you’ve never posed before.

Watch out from the corner of your eye for the timer indicator to stop blinking (or you could just estimate the countdown of the timer) and stroll back to your camera.

Step 4:

Okay, step 4 woohoo! Important note here. Please do not shift your camera from its original position. Leave the camera on your tripod, and leave the tripod where it is. Don’t move anything! Okay, good kitteh. The point of leaving your camera unmoved is to make sure that you will get all your photographs to match each other. This will make things so much easier later on.

You can review your first photo now, but try not to move the camera at all if possible. If you shift the camera a little bit while you were pressing the buttons, chances are things will be okay, but if you actually lift up the camera to see your pictures, your next shot won’t match the first one, and I’d recommend repeating Step 3.

Step 5:

Repeat Step 3 anyway.

But at a different spot. For example, if you were sitting on the first chair of a row of chairs in Step 3, then sit on the second chair for the next picture.

Step 6:

Repeat Step 5 until you have all the clones you want. But since this is a beginner’s guide, I shall stop at making 2 clones only to simplify things.

I will be using these 2 images below:

Image 1:

Image 1 for Cloning tutorial

Image 2:

Image 2 for Cloning tutorial

Step 7:

Bring your 2 photographs to Adobe Photoshop. I would usually use the photograph with the cleanest background as my bottom-most layer in Photoshop, ie. Layer 1. Cleanest background meaning the photograph with the least amount of distractions or human traffic in the background.

Create a new document with the same dimensions of your photograph (for example, 2560 x 1920), then open your first photograph in Photoshop. Right-click the layer and click Duplicate Layer, and choose to duplicate it to the new document you just created (should be Untitled-1 if you haven’t named or saved the file just yet) under the Destination.

Next, open your second photograph, and do the same thing.

Step 7 - Cloning tutorial

At this point, try to align the pictures together as close as humanly possible. If you did Step 4 well, then aligning the pictures together will be easy. Or you might not need to do anything at all ’cause the images are perfectly aligned already.

Step 8:

Since we’re only working with two photographs for this tutorial, now choose the top layer with the second photograph and add a layer mask.

Step 8 - Cloning tutorial

Step 9:

Without clicking anywhere else after Step 8, press the Alt and Backspace buttons to fill the layer mask with black. (Option + Backspace for Mac users.) If you did click somewhere else, make sure you click on the layer mask before you press Alt + Backspace.

This hides the top layer from showing. The following few steps will allow only certain parts of the top layer to show.

Step 9 - Cloning tutorial

Step 10:

Right-click on the layer mask and click on Disable Layer Mask. This allows you to temporarily unhide the top layer.

Step 10 - Cloning tutorial

Step 11:

Click on the Brush Tool (press B button for the shortcut) and choose a nice round brush.

Step 11 - Cloning tutorial

Step 12:

Set your foreground colour as white. Refer to image below for a quick way to do that.

Step 12 - Cloning tutorial

Step 13:

Let’s recap. So, you have your Brush tool selected, preferably with a nice round brush at a size like 35 pixels. And your foreground colour is now white.

Your layer mask for the top layer should also already be disabled.

Alright, go ahead and single left-click on the layer mask. Now it’s time to brush over your clone. Just use the brush tool and swipe around the photo of you that’s on the top layer. It will look like nothing is happening, but with every brush stroke, you’re allowing parts of the top layer to show through the mask. If both your pictures are aligned properly, you don’t even have to be careful at brushing over your clone. The image would still look good.

At this point, you can right-click on Layer 2′s mask and click on Enable Layer Mask to see your progress.

If you find that you were letting too much of Layer 2 show, you can change the foreground colour to black and “erase” off the white brushes that you did before. Of course, there’s always the History list or Ctrl + Z to undo your last action.

Step 13 - Cloning tutorial

Keep in mind to brush in all the shadows and reflections (if any) of your clone. Otherwise, Tish and ET would be quick to point it out to everyone! :P

Step 14:

Once you’re done, right-click on the layer mask, and click on Enable Layer Mask and you should be able to get something like this.

Step 14 - Cloning tutorial

Cool eh?

Final Image - Cloning tutorial

And once you’ve gotten the hang of that, you can try with more clones! :)

More Clones! - Cloning tutorial

Update :

Check out my tutorial on how to do precise selections to find out how to create more advanced clones! Plus, how to use a similar method to lose your head!

Come shoot me with comments if you have any questions or if you think I missed something out. If you try cloning yourself using this tutorial, give us a shout out and post a link to your clones yah? :D

This entry was published by mr malique’s co-author, Zul. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect mr malique’s opinions.
Zul is a hobbyist-photographer, an engineer by education, but a web designer by profession. He can be found roaming the streets begging people to accept HTML into their hearts. Other times, he can be found not making much sense at zuldevil.com
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