Editing 101 ~ 3D

I figured that since it was much requested, I’d do a little step-by-step showing how I do my 3D edits with Pixlr. Note that I have changed my style a little bit since my last edit. I use Pixlr most of the time and I suggest it for beginners because it’s very versatile and easy to use. The only thing I wish it had was a save button to save work in progress… Or maybe it does, I’m not quite sure. Another program I use is GIMP, which is more or less the same thing. I use Pixlr more because it’s just online, but I do have GIMP as well.

Note that I am showing you a beginner method because I find it much easier than the other way. Once there’s a bit more experience, I might do another post explaining a more advanced method.

I’m just going to begin by saying that Pixlr’s cropping tool is really annoying. It’s not quite as bad as PiZap’s, but it isn’t as easy to use as GIMP or Paint Tool SAI’s.

This is going to be one looonnng post so get ready! 🙂

The first thing you need to do when preparing for 3D editing is to find a base. There are tons of different bases out there that you can use and when you reach a certain point, you’ll even begin combining bases to create your own. For example, you might take a head from here, the arms from there, and the legs from somewhere else. When beginning though, I suggest just beginning with a default base. A very common one is Silvermist or Sweet Pea. I am going to be using one of my fairies that none of you even knew existed, Serendipity Moonwish.


First things first, I’m going to head to Pixlr Editor. Just click here. First thing you do is select ‘Create a New Image’. It will then bring you to a box where you can name your image. I usually just leave the canvas size as default – 800 x 600 pixels – and check the box that says Transparent.

You will be taken to your editing surface, the canvas. On the left are all the tools that are available and on the right are other useful things.

CanvasThis is what the canvas looks like. I will go more in depth about the rest later. Basically, the tiled surface indicates that the image will be transparent, with no background fill.

Another thing that you need is a base fairy that’s already 3D to begin with and an image of your fairy to edit. For beginners, I suggest using either Sweet Pea or Silvermist. If you want to try something else, just search up Pixie Hollow (and the fairy name, for example, Tinker Bell). You can use any image of any fairy as long as the fairy is 3D.

When you get to Pixlr, go to Layer > Open Image As Layer and select your base. Then go to File < Open Image and open up the image of your fairy. I like to use the images that have all white backgrounds, from PDFs.

Open FairyOkay, now that that’s done, select the Eraser tool, the pink eraser on your left-hand side, and carefully erase the hair on your base. It doesn’t need to be 100% perfect, but try to keep the lines that touch skin relatively neat and tidy. I usually like to fill the background layer with black, because it helps me see the areas that I forgot to erase easier. I do tend to erase the hair first, but there isn’t a specific order that you have to keep to. The erased hair should look something like this:

Erase HairIt looks a little scary right now, and it will for the next little while, but I promise it will get better! Next up, select the 2D picture of your fairy and carefully, using the Lasso tool, a brown circular thing, crop out the hair. I usually don’t use the default, but the blocky polygonaToolsl one beside it. I just find it’s much easier to select things that I need to select without getting messy lines. It looks like so:

Now use the Polygonal Lasso to crop a line around your fairy’s hair, selecting it. We will need it for later. Once you have selected the hair, copy and paste it onto your base fairy (Sweet Pea, in my case)


You may notice that your fairy’s hair is facing the opposite way of the model’s head. For this case, you simply need to flip the hair. To do this, go up to Layer < Flip Layer Horizontal, all the way at the bottom. Poof! Your hair will magically flip over to the other side.

Okay, this is a harder part. You don’t want your fairy’s face to be visible, so you have to erase it. Erase the face, the arms and the clothes, if any. Use the pink eraser tool to do this. Trust me on this, you just want the hair. It’s going to look pretty weird for a while but it will turn out well :3

Cropped Hair

Once you’re done that, move the hair to fit on the model. It may not fit quite snugly so let’s fix that! Go to Edit < Free Transform and you’ll find that you’re able to change the shape of the hair to it on the model. Now adjust the hair size to fit the head of your 3D fairy.

Free Transform2    It’s not going to look perfect, but it will begin to look a little better as we continue. What I like to do is have 2 or more hair layers. One for the hair front (bangs) and one for the back hairstyle. That way, you can have a little more fun with the direction the hair is moving in.

What I do is go down to the layer I want to duplicate (in this case, the hair) and I right click on it. Then I’ll click Duplicate Layer. That will give me an exact copy of the hair image. Duplicate

To move the layer downwards, just drag it and place it below the base layer (mine is Layer 1) There, perfect. I can begin working on the hair.

For the hair, there’s no real process for doing it since most hairstyles can be done a different way. But here’s what I tend to do:

I always erase the hair back on the top layer (Layer 2) so I am left with only the hair front. I like it more this way. Then, I’ll go to the hair back, possible duplicate it a few more times, and move it around until the hair looks whole. If there are gaps, I like to just copy a single strand of hair (just select it with the Polygonal Lasso) and fill in areas.

It really just takes a little bit of playing around. Here’s my finished hair:

Hair DoneWe still have the outfit to do! It’s slightly easier to do, depending on which fairy is the base. I’ll do the same thing I did with the hair: I’ll use the Polygonal Lasso to select Serendipity’s top and copy it onto my 3D fairy. Then, I’ll fit it to my model with the Free Transform tool.

Lasso ShirtNow, I have a bit of a problem. Sweet Pea has a flowery necklace that covers her skin. Now, my new mission is to cover that skin. How, you ask? Let me introduce you to a handy tool called the Eye Dropper. What you do is select the black and blue tool and zoom in on Sweet Pea’s neck area.

Then, using the Eye Dropper tool, select the colors closest to the skin you have to cover. Using the Brush tool, paint them onto the skin, covering the necklace. For this part, you have to have some common knowledge on how shadows and highlights work. This is really just unexplainable. Don’t worry about it being a little blocky at the moment. We’ll fix it later. Besides, impressionism is cool 😀

Select ColourBlotch

Once your skin is all blotched up, the next thing I do is take the Blur tool (the teardrop) and go over the blocky areas, smoothing out the color into a seamless blend. My tip for this part is: be careful and don’t blur it too much. I tend to use the blur because the Smudge tool always leaves these unattractive lines on your art. I’d reeaallyy rather not use it 😛

Blend Tool

After that, just continue to smooth out any blotchy spots that look irregular. For me, it’s the hairline. Spots you should always be watching for – necklaces, hairlines, or any collars that sort of stick out. Get rid of those so it looks natural and not done from a model.

And now, we move onto the skirt.

It’s a little bit trickier than the shirt, depending on how the model’s position is. What I did was I made two copies of the skirt and pasted it onto the model. I had to position it so it looked seamless, then took the eraser and erased some of the overlap. There’s an option to use a semi-transparent eraser…

Skirt w Flip

My fairy’s arms are always in the way and it gets a little annoying. What you have to do is erase the arm, which is why I make two copies of the skirt instead of leaving it as is.

We’re almost done; I promise! There’s just a few more things to do… And one of those is changing the eye colour to match your fairy. Echo has pale blue eyes so there’s not much work to be done, but I’ll show you guys anyway 🙂

Eye 2

Use the Lasso tool to make a circle around the iris. This is where the fun begins. Ready?      Now go to Adjustment < Hue & Saturation. A menu like this should pop up:

Eye Edit







You’ll pretty much be able to change the hue, saturation and lightness of the area selected.

Now often times, after the selection, you may have to fix the outline around the iris with a little blur.

Also, if the Lightness is used, bear in mind that touching up the black and white areas of the eye is a good idea.

Now we’re pretty much done!



I lied. There’s still one more thing. I forgot about the wings… Oops. I usually take the wings from a picture of Silvermist because her wings in that picture are really well done and the arms are not blocking them.

Sil Wings

Just move the lay with Sil on it behind the fairy, adjust and erase in the areas needed, and sit back and admire your handiwork. Good job! You can now get rid of that black background 🙂

But wait!

If you would like to take it one step further, you can go and add in a background! I always like to custom make my own backgrounds, but that’s a story for another time.

Apply some filters, some glow and voila! It looks magnificent!

This is my finished product:

Serendipity 3D

I was going to go on, but this post has been going on forever and I’ve taken way too long with it anyway.

Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with if you do decide to try it out! If my explanation wasn’t too clear… Well, a lot of pixies have helpful videos on Youtube! Search it up! 😉

One more note: I recently created an Instagram, in case anyone has one. But I have nothing there yet.. So I guess nothing yet. More on this later – it’s just an idea I’ve been working on 😉

Sorry about the huge wait, I’ve been tremendously busy. Don’t want to bore y’all, but it involves a whole bunch of volunteering and some pretty annoying headaches… I’m so sorry! Next time I’ll do better! I promise! Hopefully…

Anyways, until next time!

Fly With You,







10 thoughts on “Editing 101 ~ 3D

  1. Thanks, Minerva! This helped. Your edits are lovely. 😀
    Same pinch, I also have GIMP. But unlike you, I use it for drawing. I just got Photoshop recently and am struggling with it. -.- I have GIMP 2.6, and you?


    1. Yes! Of course you can – head on over to the top task bar and look for the bar called ‘Edit’. Hover over it and you’ll see a dropdown menu with one option that you’re looking for, which is ‘Free Transform’. This will let you manipulate the hair any which way you. Just drag on the box you see and you’ll be able to move it around or make it bigger etc.

      Just remember that it takes a lot of practice, but you’ll be able to do it because practice makes perfect 😉


    1. Simply open up the background image you want as a layer (I believe you can do that) or open a new image and cut it out and paste it onto a separate layer behind the fairy 🙂

      Hope this helped!



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