I am an artist and a graphic designer! This project was something I decided to do in order to practice my photoshop skills and have a fun photo for halloween. I used Adobe Photoshop CS4 to alter my costume, appearance, and environment in this photo. First, I shot photos in my room with a nikon digital slr camera. This instructable goes through step by step how I created this appearance and hopefully it will help you in your photo manipulating adventures!
Step 1: Cutting Out the Background
Using the quick selection tool in photoshop, draw around the image. This tool should immediately select most of the background that needs to be cut out. Switch from the positive and negative within the tool menu in order to take some of the selection out or add some in. Simply hit the delete button and then command + D to deselect the selection and continue.
Step 2: Changing Eye Color
Use the quick selection tool again to select the eye area that needs to be changed to a more ghost like appearance. Then go to image, adjustments and hue/saturation. Mess around with all three levels in order to get the spooky eye color, then again press command + deselect in order to continue.
Step 3: Changing the Face Complexion
For this step its time to make a ghost like complexion, after all most ghosts do not look natural and tan as seen in the original picture. Start out with the brush tool, but it needs to be set in saturation mode in order to lighten the complexion instead of color or darken it. Do this to all fleshy areas. Then take the burn tool and darken areas to make shadows and intensify the image. You can also click the same button and hold it down to get the dodge tool to lighten areas.
Step 4: Creating Blood Red Hair
My hair was not naturally so blood red, obviously. So in order to make me look extra creepy, I used the brush tool again but this time it was in color dodge mode. I also made sure to select a red color from the swatches palette before starting to brush over the image. Do this over all hair areas to make sure it looks as real as possible.
Step 5: Creating Nasty Torn Clothes
Next step is to make the clothes and attire look like it is also old, nasty, and ghostlike to match the skin and rest of the body. Select the smudge tool to create rips and tears in the clothes. Just click on the white areas and drag into the clothes and it automatically erases parts of the image. Use different brushes for really cool effects. For example, with this image I actually used rough outline and texture brushes.
Step 6: Adding Dirt/Grime to Clothes and Attire
In order to get clothes to look worn, they also need to be dirty and quite disgusting. Use the brush tool again to add dirt, blood etc to clothes. Here, I used a rusty color and a brush that actually came from a series called Rust. I changed the opacity so that it was about 30% and also made sure the brush was in normal mode. Add strokes of paint to certain areas and in different colors/multiple layers to get the desired effect. Be sure to add this method to the sword, hat, and gloves to finish it off!
Step 7: Creating Bone Special Effects
Now, this is the HARD part and very time consuming. There is no easy way to describe this process, but I will do the best I can. For this project I wanted to be similar to Pirates of the Caribbean and have my bones showing through on one side. This is extremely hard considering I do not have pictures of my own bones to use, so I have to take from other sources. Once I found bones that were similar to my body type I started with my head.
I found a skull that was well suited for my head shape, yet I still had to alter it by cropping away pieces and adding them back in. Once I had the form completely the way I wanted I had to create a new layer with the original picture of me selected. Once I had a new layer I took the eraser tool and erased away the part of my face where I wanted bone to show through. I then placed the bone picture UNDER the layer with my face erased so that it seems like my actual skull is showing. I then used the smudge tool to take flesh from my face and drag it over the bone. I used a small brush size with about 32% strength for the smudging. This takes a lot of repetition with smudging with such a low strength, but it is easier to control this way.
This step can be used on ALL of the bones that are showing, but you have to find bones that are similar to your body and edit them accordingly. For example, stretch or transform the bones to fit properly and then do the layer editing.
Step 8: Adding the Background, Skull and Smoke
The finishing touches involved adding in a background and extra creepy objects to the image so that I really do appear to be a ghost pirate in a dead environment instead of just a random image. I decided to use a picture of a cave partially under water since thats where most images like this are depicted. I took pictures of more skulls and added them in, and even added in a chest by using the same eraser tool and smudge tool as before. For the smoke around me, that was actually painted using the brush tool again. I found some smoke brushes and changed the opacity a very subtle amount in order to get that natural look. I used several different smoke brushes and layered them. After that I flattened the image and saved it as a .pdf file so that it can easily be shared!
Step 9: The Before and After Image
Compared side by side the image is drastically different and very fun and creative! I loved working on this project, but keep in mind that this work requires a lot of patience. It took about two weeks to complete working on it in any spare time I had! Hope this instructable helps, feel free to post comments or questions :)