Introduction: Another Teenage Bloodsucker

Now is the time of year to vampire up your loved ones, or to show your unloved ones what you really think of them. For this image I used Adobe Photoshop CS5. But you can easily apply the steps to whatever photo tool you work best in. I kept things pretty general, but write me a comment if you have any Photoshop questions or if you'd like more description about any of the steps.

Step 1: Gather Your Source Photos

Most of the time, when I'm making vampires, I'll start with the picture of the person. But I found this awesome photo of a chair in a hallway at a derelict mental hospital and decided to start there. Rundown factories, houses, hospitals, and of coarse old cemetaries are all great places to place your bloodsucker.

My friend's beautiful daughter was gracious enough to pose for me, before heading out on a hot date. You may notice there aren't any shadows in her photo. We live in Washington State, where the sun rarely shines this time of year.  Only a few hours drive from Forks, where we all know the sexiest vampires come from.

Step 2: Prepare the Background

First you'll want your background dark and dismal. I covered up the sunlight coming from the left using the brush tool, set to black, at about 40% opacity with a pretty large brush size. This will allow you to build up your shadows a little at a time until you get the effect you like.

A nice blue tint helps make the scene look a little more depressing. Create a new layer and set the blending mode (top left on the layers palette) to color, and the opacity to about 20%. Select the paint bucket tool and fill the layer with a nice blue color. You can then play with the fill color and opacity. I was going for sort of a moonlight effect.

Next add some blood and decay. I found a peeling paint texture to cover the wall, and placed that on a new layer, and set the blend mode to soft light, and the opacity to 65%. Hit Cmd +  T (Cntrl + T on a PC) to active the free transform tool. If you hold Shift + Cmd you can drag the corners of the layer independently to adjust the perspective of the texture image. 

For the blood, go online and search for Photoshop Blood Splatter brushes. There are tons of free brushes to choose from. Download the ones you like and load them into your brush palette. Experiment with your new brushes, with the color set to various shades of red. When adding blood i use a multi-layer approach always building up to the look I like. Don't try to do too much on any given layer. Play with the blend modes (overlay and hard light work well for this) and opacity of each layer. Keep in mind blood darkens as it dries, so added a little bit of darker blood to help add some bloody history to the image. 

Step 3: Prepare the Body!

I'm definitely no photographer, so I took many photos from slightly different angles to try to match her to the angle of the chair in the background photo until i got one that would work.

Create a selection of your model. If your just staring out in Photoshop, the lasso tool is a good place to start. Or if you are a little more experienced,  and your model has lots of stray hairs, and you want your final image to look as real as possible, the magic selection tool (in CS5 and newer) works well coupled with Refine Edges under the Select menu. I'd suggest going online and running through a tutorial or two first. But, I recommend using the good old pen tool. It's easy to learn, and you can make a precise selection and easily adjust it as you go. And since were creating a vampire image, the darkness of the scene and all the blood and gore were going to add will help hide any rough edges.

Copy and past your vampire onto a new layer on your background image, and scale it to fit into the scene. For reference I named this layer "Model".

Step 4: It's All About the Eyes

Select and remove the eyes. Create an new layer and place under the Model layer and use the brush tool to blacken the area behind the eyes. Create a new layer on top of the Model layer. Select the brush tool, and then open the brush palette and adjust the bush to about the size and shape of the eye sockets. Set the hardness to 0, and set the color to red. Click the brush once or twice over each eye socket. Play with the blend modes (I used multiply) and opacity of the layer to get the eye redness you like. Go back to the layers palette and place your mouse cursor directly between the layer you just painted and the Model layer. Press the Opt/Alt key. You'll see the cursor change. while holding Opt/Alt, click directly between the two layers. This will create a Clipping Mask which will mask off, or hide, the red areas that sit over the eye cut outs.

Create another layer on top and create circle selection over the eye and use the gradient tool, set to radial gradient, from gray to black. Scale it down till you get the desired highlight for the eye. Drag this layer behind the Model Layer and place it within the eye opening on whichever side your light source is coming from. Duplicate the layer and move to the other eye.

Step 5: Pretty Up the Mouth

Find yourself a nice set set of fangs. I only needed the top fangs, but select, copy, and paste what you need on top of your Model layer and scale it to fit. I named the new layer "Fangs". You'll need to remove the areas of the fangs which should be hidden behind the lips. You can use the eraser, but I recommend creating a layer mask, by clicking the icon at the bottom of the layers palette. This will create a second thumbnail on the Fangs layer in the palette. Select the brush tool, and set the color to black. Use the brush and paint on the areas you want to hide. When the layer mask is selected, when you paint with black, it will act like the eraser tool, and when you paint with white, you'll remove the mask, making the area visible again.   

Deselect the layer mask by clicking the first thumbnail on the Fangs layer in the palette. Use use the brush tool with a low opacity to paint some shadow on the top of the fangs so they look more like they're under the upper lip.

Step 6: More Blood Please!

Now its time to go crazy and with the gore. Lay on the blood the way we did in step 2, using your blood splatter brushes. Again, adjust the blending mode and or opacity to get that creepy effect. Find some pictures of veins. You can search for spider veins, or varicose, and you get some great results. Copy and paste your vein pics onto your model and again adjust the blending mode and or opacity. Cmd click in between the layers in the palette again to create a clipping mask so you'll only see the veins that land on the body. You'll probably have to erase to remove or create a layer mask to hide some of the edges. Keep repeating with new layers until thoroughly creepy. 

Finally, some finishing touches. The door opening in the background was screaming for something. I did a quick trace of a man with his arm slightly out, colored it black, scaled it down, put a stake in his hand and gave him a shadow. I also added some restraints to compliment the mental hospital environment.

Step 7: Finished!

Halloween Photo Editing Contest with Pixlr

Second Prize in the
Halloween Photo Editing Contest with Pixlr