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Disney Princesses Reimagined into Sexy Space Warriors! What is this Photoshop Trickery?

By Anthony Thurston on June 21st 2013

Artist Mike Roshuk has taken the dreams of thousands of young geeks and brought them to life with his recent series “Happily Ever After”. In the series Roshuk took the time to shoot models, and then digitally draw their space armor and give then their “Princess Qualities”. Say what you will about taking children’s characters and making them into sexy warrior princesses, but you can’t help but be impressed with the work that went into this series.


“I got the idea to do this type of Disney “Warrior” Princess last year after just publishing my first comic book created in this same style.” Says Roshuk “I’ve done recreations of popular comic book characters and cartoon characters as well as my own themes, and thought doing a Disney series would be a fun project as well.”

I was rather curious how he went about went about shooting and producing the series, so I reached out to Mike and he provided me with the following tidbits regarding the shoot and post-production:

I shot all the models individually in my studio over the course of about 8 months, with ‘Snow White’ being the first. As I am an Illustrator, I would sketch out the ‘character’ design first, trying to base the armour design loosely around the style of each character’s clothing from the cartoons. For example, Snow White with her iconic poofy blue shoulder pads with the red highlights, to Jasmine’s ‘off the shoulder’ style wardrobe. Designing Tiana’s sexy warrior outfit was a fun challenge as well, since the story takes place in the 1920’s, I felt it would be better to have a bit more of a modern feel to her costume design but still keeping consistent with the armour design on the rest of the princesses (hence the Steam Punk flair).

I was then lucky enough to shoot some amazing local models (some who have modeled internationally) for this project. They would either wear a bikini or lingerie for the shoot, whichever they felt comfortable in and which would not interfere too much with the editing process afterwards. I used a really simple 2 light set-up, and kept the same lighting scheme for all the shoots, since my intention was to eventually Photoshop them all into the large group image.

Once I got the image of the model into photoshop, I would begin by sketching out my design overtop the model on to a new layer. Through the use of numerous layers, I would block in the solid colors of the armour pieces (using the polygon lasso tool and paint bucket), then with the use of my Wacom tablet, paint in the dark tones and highlights.


The final step to giving it a bit of realism, is adding the shadows between the model and the armour (painted on a blank layer set to ‘Multiply’), and adding metal and leather textures (as new layers set to ‘Overlay’).



You can check out a selection of the images below. You can find more of Mike’s work on his facebook page or his website.






What are your thoughts on the series? Let us know in a comment below. 

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. My Stuff Out There… @ Mike Roshuk

    […] (SPANISH) […]

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  2. TiredOfIt

    Congratulations, another drop in the ocean of overly-sexualized images pandering to the latest trend in pop culture, tailored for the male gaze. What outstanding and innovative vision.

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