Introduction: Halloween Horror Portraits

As the stores load up on Halloween decorations, Halloween horror portraits are popular. You have seen them. These are the portraits that have a very proper looking Victorian gentleman or lady when you stare directly at them, but when you view them from the side you will see a ghoul, vampire, zombie, etc. These are a lot of fun to view, but can add extra costs to your Halloween party budget. This "Instructable" will teach you how to make the creepy part of the portraits for your party instead, saving you some money for extra candy corn or other ghostly treats. These can be framed or used as Halloween cards and invites.

The photo editor I used is ADOBE Photoshop CS4, but other graphic editors can be used with similar tools and steps.

Step 1: Getting Started

For this Instructable I will be using a Victorian image, but the same steps can be used on any photo. Whether they are old pictures of distant family members such as that great grand uncle that you felt was a little creepy to begin with, or of your present day brother. You can make him look like the bug that you feel he is anyways! When finished you can print theses images yourself, or have them printed at a copy center on a heavy duty card stock. Once printed you can either place them in frames, or cut and lay them on top of photos already framed. A little tape on the back will hold them. They also make great Halloween party invites.

The FIRST STEP is to find two images/photos.

Photo 1: Is the image that you will wish to manipulate

Photo 2: Will be a creepy face image that you will overlay on top of the first one to create your Halloween portrait.

For Photo 2, I usually type into a search engine "Halloween masks." More then enough will come up. Select one that fits the theme you wish to create, and is the same size or larger than the face you will be altering. To make editing easier, select one that has a background that you can easily separate from the main image. Select one where the angle orientation matches up with the angle of the original face. EXAMPLE: If someone is looking straight ahead, to the left, or to the right... then make sure your "creepy overlay" is oriented the same way.

For demonstration I chose a Victorian era butcher, who is outfitted with his saw, cleaver and large knife. I also selected a ghoulish old man's mask for the creepy overlay. Vintage photos like this make excellent choices for your Halloween Horror Portrait.

Step 2: Removing the Head!

Now that you have your two photos selected, it is time for a Dr. Frankenstein style head transplant surgery!

1) Using your MAGIC WAND, remove the creepy head from the back ground, and drag over to the main photo.

2) The head makes a NEW LAYER. Change the OPACITY of the new layer till you can see clearly through to the main image

3 )Using your TRANSFORM command, resize the head to an approximate size of the original. It is easier if you try to match the eyes up.
Play with the TRANSFORM a little bit. You may need to make the head wider, narrower, longer, shorter, etc.

4) I also chose to remove the beard from the image. Since the butcher was wearing a fantastic hat that I wanted to keep, I used the lasso tool to trim the creepy face to fit under the hat.

Have fun with this step and be creative! Fit the new head how you want it to fit. You can also make it larger for an exaggerated look too.

Step 3: Matching Colors and Flesh Tones

Ok, the hard part is done. You have removed the head from the 2nd photo, have sized it to fit on the main photo, and lined the heads up to match positions. In this step we will adjust colors to work together, to make a seamless image of the two photos.

1) Since the new head is brightly colored, we need to make it as close to the original photo as we can. This is done by first adjusting the SATURATION and CONTRAST levels to get it close to the color of the original. It does not have to be perfect, nor will it at this point. Adjust BRIGHTNESS, TONE and even CURVES if that helps to bring the two images closer in meshing.

2) Add a new layer, and set it to COLOR. Then EDIT ==> FILL ==> and select a color along a sepia or gray then click OK.
You now have a COLOR layer that helps blend the two photo layers into a more seamless image.

3) Adjust the opacity of this layer till you get a blend that you like.

Step 4: Finishing Touches!

Now we will just add some finishing touches, and soon you will have your new ghoulish masterpiece!

At this point make sure to save your work, then flatten the image and add a new layer. You will be adding your finishing touches to this layer.

BRUSHES are a great tool for finishing work at this point. You can use red for a little blood splatter around the mouth, on clothes, hands, etc. Or perhaps a little green under the eyes, to make your image a little more ghoulish. I chose to do a little red on his butcher tools, and to add blood to his smock. I also used a larger brush to make some broad sweeping blood stains on the photo. Remember to lower the opacity of the brush to give these brush strokes a translucent effect. Play around with the numbers till it looks like what you want.

Sometimes I add a border by increasing the canvas size. This time as I increased the border, I made it black and then added an INNER GLOW to the main image.

Save your image again... and you are done. You now have an original Halloween Horror Image that you created yourself! It will be great at your party, or as a host/hostess gift if you are attending a party.

I have also added a few more "before and after" graphics to give you some extra ideas.

Hope you enjoyed this INSTRUCTABLE, and THANKS for reading!
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