Introduction: How to Make an Animated Morphing Face
Finalist in the
Halloween Photo Editing Challenge
Here is a way to create an animated or non animated morphed zombie face using the free photo-editing program (Gimp), and a few brushes downloaded from the internet. Once you've made your photo into a super creepy monster image, I've even included an easy way of using it to surprise your victim, when they least expect it. Let's get started!
You will need:
*Cracks brush set
*Blood brush set
*Large, well aligned photo of someone's face
*A computer (duh!)
For extra credit steps you'll need:
*Windows XP,Vista, or 7
Step 1: Download & Install Gimp and Brushes
Download Gimp here .
Download blood brushes here .
Download cracks brushes here .
Install Gimp.( Refer to photos.)
Install brushes by copying them and pasting them to your gimp brushes folder. It may be different on your computer, but on mine it was located in C:/Program Files/Gimp 2.0/share/gimp/2.0/brushes. For more information on installing gimp brushes, do a quick Google search or visit here . Also, refer to the pictures for help.
Step 2: Get Started
Open Gimp by clicking on the shortcut on your desktop. Browse for the picture your planning on editing by clicking File>Open. Once you've opened your image, duplicate the background image by right-clicking the background layer in the layers window, and clicking duplicate layer. Next, create a new layer on top of both by clicking the white piece of paper in the lower-left corner of the layers box. Now click on the background layer to switch to it, then, in the image editing window, go to Edit>Copy or right-click on the image and click Edit>Copy. To paste it into the new layer, click the new layer in the layers windows to switch to it, then click Edit>Paste. Anchor it down by clicking the anchor icon at the bottom of the layers window. This secures it to the new layer.
Step 3: Play Time: Skin and Eyes
First off, make sure your on the top layer called "New Layer". Select the paintbrush tool from the toolbox on the left, and use the blood and cracks brushes by scrolling through your brushes and selecting one. You can adjust the size, opacity, and other brush options in the brush settings on the bottom part of the toolbox window. To use the blood brushes, change you color to a bloody color, and select a blood brush from the brushes menu. I decided not to use blood, but I think it would look better if you did, so use blood! Use different sizes and shapes of brushes for variety and so it doesn't look repetitive. If you make a mistake, click Edit>Undo or push Ctrl+Z. To give the eyes a zombie glow, select a bright color in the place of the default black, like white, yellow, or red. I chose white for simplicity's sake, but you can use whatever color that best fits your character. At this point, it makes the job a lot easier to zoom in. Do this by selecting the magnifying tool and creating a box around the eyes to zoom in. You can also zoom in and out by pushing the + and - keys on your keyboard. Next, click on the intelligent scissors tool from the toolbox, and change the mode to the "add to the current selection" option in the tool settings below the toolbox so we can select both eyes at the same time. Intelligent scissors work by comparing the pixels that you're placing points along to the pixels next to them to determine where basic lines are. This comes in handy when selecting things (like eyes). To select the eyes, begin by placing points around the first eye. A line will follow each point placed down along any recognizable path. Even though these scissors are "intelligent", they aren't perfect, and will sometimes mess up. It's okay. This can usually be corrected by adding a new point in between the points where the problem persists. Just drag it back to the path as best you can and it should correct itself. When you've almost reached the first point you made, click on it to close the selection. Select both eyes in this way. To make the eyes glow, not just turn your color, feather the selection by clicking Select>Feather, and setting the feather value to about 30 or more, depending on how much you want them to glow. Click the bucket tool from the toolbox, and check the option in the settings that says, "fill whole selection". Now click inside one of the selected eyes and they should both turn your primary color (which was white in my case). Click Select>None. Now would be best to zoom out. If using the magnifying tool, tick the circle next to "zoom out" to zoom out instead of in. Just click on the picture to zoom out.
Step 4: Play Time: Warping and Lighting
To make your person, animal, or other subject frown, scream, or smile evilly, we can use a built in filter called IWarp. Select the IWarp filter by clicking Filters>Distorts>IWarp. With this plugin, you can digitally stretch, grow, shrink, and swirl images. Drag the sliders in the IWarp window to adjust the warp radius and amount if you want. Use the different warp functions by ticking the circle next to the desired function, then clicking and dragging/wiggling on the preview image. If you make a mistake, you can remove the modifications by clicking on the remove mode then clicking and dragging over the area that you want to restore. To reset all the changes, click the reset button. Make sure you don't overdue the changes to the face. Make your subject scary, yet realistic. When you're ready to apply the modifications, click OK then wait for it to load.
Our picture is now scary, but depending on where you took the picture, it probably won't look very convincing as far as the background goes. To add some stress, we can completely replace the background, or alter the lighting a bit. Do this by first clicking on the intelligent scissors tool, changing the mode back to normal, and placing points around your subject. Follow them all the way around to get back to the first point, then hit enter or click inside your points to convert it into a selection. Invert the selection so we can alter everything except the person by clicking Select>Invert and then feather the selection by clicking Select>Feather. Set the feather amount value between 20 and 40 pixels. Click OK. At this point, you can either paste in a different background, or edit your existing one. I decided to do the latter. Click Colors> Brightness-Contrast..., and adjust the sliders to create a dark, gloomy background. It will be different for every background, but for me, I brought the brightness all the way down, and brought the contrast up a bit. Click OK when your happy with the adjustments. Deselect the background by clicking Select>None. You can play around with the brushes a little more if you'd like as this will be the final graphic adjustments.
Step 5: Finishing And/or Animating
At this point you may already be satisfied with your photo, but I can show you how to animate it morphing from the original image to the edited image. If you'd like to save the result as a still image, (which I would advise you to do even if you want to animate it), click File>Save As, and give it a location and a name ending with ".jpg" extension without the quotes. Click export and use the slider to increase the quality to whatever still looks good and isn't too big in size. I didn't care so I raised it to the highest level possible. I would also suggest to save the project file. Do what you did to save as a normal picture, but end the name with the ".xcf" extension without the quotes.
To animate the face, click Filters>Animation>Blend. Set the number of intermediate frames based on how long you want it to take for the original image to morph into the creepy one. If you want a blurrier, smoother transition, adjust the max blur radius. The blur radius is how much it blurs between each frame. I went with a more blocky transition approach, but you should experiment for best results. I would also advise to uncheck the "Looped" check box so it will change once and won't keep going back and forth. Click OK and wait for it to load.
I find it best to preview the animation, but your image is probably too big to fit in the preview window so you'll need to resize it by clicking Image>Scale Image. Give it a resolution of 640x480 by linking the width and height together (link icon), typing 640 into the width box, and click up once and down once on the arrows next to the width. Click Scale. It'll be a lot smaller depending on how big it was originally so push the plus key on the keyboard or use the zoom tool to zoom in. To playback the animation, click Filters>Animation>Playback, then click the play button. Even though it will loop the animation, it won't loop in the result. When you've preview it, exit out of the playback window and if you want, resize the image back to the original resolution by clicking Edit>Undo. You'll need to zoom out again. Keep in mind, though, that saving the animation in its original resolution will most likely make it slow so I'd advise you to keep the 640x480 resolution.
Save the animation to your computer by clicking File>Save As..., and by giving it a name with the ".gif" extension without the quotes. A window should pop up with a few options. Tick the circle beside "Save as Animation", then click "Export". Another window will open where you should uncheck the "Loop forever" option. Click save. Now, wherever you saved it, the picture preview will look normal, but once someone clicks on it, it will transform. Don't forget that your scary animation can be anything you can think of, not just morphing a face. I just chose that because it's easy and effective.
Step 6: Extra Credit: Spread the Joy
For those of you avid prankers that can't stand to just sit back and wait, here's a way to make your animation all of a sudden pop onscreen whenever you want. This can also be combined with some Halloween sound effects for extra punch.
In order for us to make our animation pop out of nowhere, we need some sort of timer. Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 have a built in program called Windows Scheduled Tasks. This program can perform things like update checks, virus scans, and other programs. Though these kinds of things are what it's intended for, we can use it to set a time for our animation to "appear".
1. To find Scheduled Tasks in XP, go to Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Scheduled Tasks. In Vista and Windows 7, just search for it in the Start menu's search bar. From now on, I can only cover the Windows XP version, but I doubt the program versions differ that much.
2. Click the "Add Scheduled Task" icon, then click next in the wizard that pops open. Now click "Browse" to find and select your gif animation. Click OK.
3. Tick the circle next to when you want your gif to open. For testing purposes, I ticked "One time only". You can also name your task, but since this is the only one that'll be running, I didn't.Click next, and determine when it'll show up by selecting the date from the boxes.
4. Type in and confirm your password in the blank fields. If you don't have a password, click here to configure your computer so you won't need one. Click next, and if you want, check the box next to the option to open advanced properties when you close the window.
5. In the advanced properties window, you can choose whether to open the task even if the computer is asleep. or not and other useful options. Click OK to apply and close.
Step 7: Wrap-up
Congratulations! You now have a scary animation with a mind of its own. (It's alive!) You can also add some music or sound effects the same way you scheduled the animation. Be creative with how you "spread the joy". You can email these, post them on social media sites, and even make a creepy pop out video. Have fun and don't forget to share your evil creations with others in the comments section below. Happy Halloween!
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