Introduction: Haunted House Photo Edit

Picture of Haunted House Photo Edit

This instructable will show you how to use make your home, or any house, look like a haunted house. I based the aesthetic for the haunted house on popular culture, using a stormy sky, harsh perspective, dark shadows, fog, and desaturated colors to create a haunting image, while trying to maintain the realism from the photograph.

Time: 1 hour

Tools: Adobe Photoshop

Step 1: Summary of Steps

Picture of Summary of Steps

This tutorial will cover several fairly simple actions in photoshop, using color adjustments and source photos to create the final image. The basic steps that I will cover are:

1. Creating Perspective

2. Creating contrast and darkening the image

3. Adding a stormy sky

4. Adding a light in the attic

5. Creating fog

6. Distressing the exterior of the house

7. Sharpening the final image

Step 2: Creating Perspective

Picture of Creating Perspective

Most images of haunted houses use a strong sense of perspective to make the house look tall and overbearing. Creating this effect is easy to do in Photoshop.

1. On the top menu go to Edit>Transform>Perspective

2. Slide the top corners towards the center so that the house appears narrower at the top.

3. Crop the image accordingly.

Step 3: Contrast and Brightness

Picture of Contrast and Brightness

This is one of the most important steps in the process. 

1. Below the Layers tab, click on the box for "New Fill Layer" and choose "Black and White." This will create a black and white copy of the image in a layer above the original.

2. Select this layer and choose blending mode, "Multiply." This blending mode deletes parts of the image according to their color. For example, a 100% white pixel is deleted completely, and a 100% black pixel is left along. A gray pixel halfway between black and white will be made 50% opaque. This results in a unique effect that dramatically changes the images colors and mood.

3. Adjust the color sliders according to your image and taste.

Step 4: Adding the Sky

Picture of Adding the Sky

1. Pull an image of a stormy sky off the web.

2. Cover the entire sky in your image with a new layer of the new sky you chose.

3. Choose blending mode, "Multiply" again.

4. Use a soft eraser to erase areas where the sky overlaps the house.

Step 5: Shadows and Highlights

Picture of Shadows and Highlights

Increase shadows and highlights

1. Image>Adjustments>Shadows and Highlights

2. Set values at:

Amount: 5%

Tonal Width: 40%

Radius: 100 px

(Adjust these values according to your image, but these should serve as guidelines)

Step 6: Light in the Attic

Picture of Light in the Attic

This is another typical feature of haunted houses - a bright light in the highest room of the house. 

1. Use the "Pen" tool to create a path around the window and right-click "Make Selection" with a feather radius of 0.

2. Use the paint brush to fill the selection with white.

3. Apply a gaussian blur: Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Choose a radius similar to the one in my photos. (The number will differ depending on the size of your photo)

4. Create a new layer and use a large brush with a "Hardness" of 0% to color a yellow spot over the window. Set this layers blending mode to "Color Burn".

Step 7: Adding Fog

Picture of Adding Fog

1. Using the pen tool, create a wild pattern coming up from the ground on a new layer. Don't worry about the shape for now - do something like I've done.

2. Right click the path and choose "Make Selection".

3. Use a large brush to fill the selection with white.

4. Choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and choose a large radius.

5. Lower the opacity of this layer to 50%

Step 8: Distressing the Exterior

Picture of Distressing the Exterior

This step is very similar to the sky. I chose a rust texture because it had the colors I wanted.

1. Cover the whole exterior of the house with your texture and set the blending mode to "Multiply".

2. Use a soft eraser to clean up around the edges of the house.

3. Use the "Smudge" tool to pull down the spots, as if they have been streaked by the rain.

Step 9: Sharpen and Finish

Picture of Sharpen and Finish

1. Consolidate the layers into one image by pressing Command-Shift-e

2. Select this layer and choose Filter>Sharpen>Smart Sharpen

3. Enter the values:

Amount: 500%

Radius: .5 px

And the image is done!


lisamareeg1 made it! (author)2017-07-29

Hey, thanks so much for the tutorial. It was very easy to follow and understand. Here is my pic

BeckyD35 (author)2016-04-25

I created this of Belvoir Winery...haunted in Liberty, MO. Thank you for the instructions!!

sarah11976 (author)2013-09-20

Here is the two photos I worked with

shoppingjean (author)sarah119762015-10-02

Awesome job on the Haunted House edit!

shoppingjean made it! (author)2015-10-02

Great tutorial! Thank you! I used your steps on this photo of the Green House in Needles, California (rumored to be haunted).

jonathang4 made it! (author)2014-10-24

your mom

sarah11976 (author)2013-09-20

thank you for the great tutorial I made one of my favourite house in my town into a spooky haunted house

karthickk (author)2011-10-31

nice tutorials

solipsism (author)2011-10-27

congratulations on the win. the house and the mummy look good together on the winner page.

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