Easy Way to Add Ghostly Figures to Your Pics for Halloween

Introduction: Easy Way to Add Ghostly Figures to Your Pics for Halloween

About: Called a renaissance man more times than I can count, I am the type of person who believes you can do anything you put your mind to. As a veteran I've seen some awful acts committed, and I guess my wanting to …

Updating you social network's pictures for holidays is always fun, there are always tons of ways to manipulate photo's to add monster features or Zombie out your do. However my favorite has always been the ghost in the background photo's you see and hear in urban legends. We've all heard of the little ghost boy in the movie 3 men and a baby, just googling the words ghost pictures and you can see some of the most famous such as "The Brown Lady" a photo taken in 1936 of a ghostly lady walking down a staircase at Raynham Hall can be seen here: http://www.damncoolpictures.com/2007/10/top-15-most-famous-ghost-pictures-ever.html, as well as several other very famous pics.

So cool! However with Halloween approaching fast and and the night of festive ghouls and goblins about try to catch a real ghost on film might be a challenge, here's your chance to cause a stir by ghosting out your Halloween Profile pic, and wait for the comments to start rolling in!

"How to conjure a ghost in your profile pics for All Hallows Eve!"

Step 1: Gather Your Ghost Hunting Kits Up and Lets Go!

As Halloween nears closer, capturing a ghost in flight might be a challenging task, so lets get some tools together and go hunting now!

Materials needed:

1. First off you'll need a decent PC or mac with enough room to load a couple of pics.
2. Choose a good pic of you that you'll want to use as a profile pic
3. Then you'll need to ask your parents or grandparents for some old black and white photos (You could search the net for some old "Non-Copyrighted" black and whites there are some really good turn of the century photos that have been digitized out there)
4. (Optional if not digitized) If you have some old paper photo's you'll need a scanner (Might be a good time to put together an online photo album for granny or as a small gift to the family for the holidays as well, great fun at Christmas as some of the older generations can sit around and talk about their relatives from the past)
5. You'll need a good picture editing software like Paintshop, Photoshop, or one of the good free ones like Gimp

Step 2: Ghosting an Old Black and White

Creating the ghost effect from an old black and white is pretty simple! Because of the graininess of these old photos I decided to go with a subtle effect on this one (later on we can go back and add the more comical Hollywood style effects such as mist or cloudiness)

1. First get the pictures loaded into your workspace that your going to be working with (*****TIP: Copy the originals to a separate file to preserve your original scans in case you make a mistake you can dump the copy and create a new one*******)
2. Crop the photo's to the size you'll need as well as cropping out any unneeded picture elements that can't be used (such as additional people and other objects)
3. Set your focus on the black and white and maximize the pic to work with it.
******next few steps deal with Fast cropping method that will speed up your work when cutting elements from a picture******
4. Next go to your Layers pallet (if not showing click on View then Pallets then on Layers) right click the Background layer and duplicate it and set it at 50% opacity
5. Select the paintbrush from the Tools toolbar, and paint around the inside edge of the shape you wish to cut out of your picture (or person in the case) getting as close to the edge as you like (this effect doesn't require a close crop, but I use the same technique when adding people to other photos as well)
6. After you have your edges green, fill in the rest of the shape so that it looks like the person is covered.
7. Now for the fun, select the magic wand from your Tools toolbar (Tip: you may have to click the little arrow to the right of a tool to find the a tool that's not showing and then select that tool)
8. Simply click on the green shape you've just created this gives you a perfect selection of the picture below this layer, no more fooling around with a freehand selection tool and an eraser
9. Now click on "Selections" above and then click invert (this will flip the section around the rest of the picture protecting the element you wish to crop from any toolmarks)
10. Next get rid of the copied background layer by right clicking and deleting it, leaving you with just the bottom layer and the selection.
11. After you have inverted your selection and deleted the copy layer, now just hit the delete key on your keyboard (this will get rid of all other elements)
12. Now that you have a nice clean image you can go back and crop any extra space out of the way

 ****Periodically you should save your work or alternatively you can Save As and create a "filename.PSP" file to preserve your layers and tools settings on your project  so you can always go back and make changes******

Step 3: Defining the Old Black and White

OK now we are ready to start define the pic to make it a little clearer for our next steps

1. Go and Duplicate the layer again in your Layers palette
TIP: Be sure that the copied background is selected
2. Then up top select the Adjust menu choose Blur, then from the fly out menu select Gaussian Blur and set its Radius at about 11 or so (this will cause the layer to blur slightly) click OK
3. In the Layers palette right click the copied layer and select "Properties"
4. Looking down the box you should see a Blend Mode drop-down box select "Overlay from that menu (Tip: if the overlay is too bright try adjusting the opacity till it look really well defined)
5. From the Layers palette right click the copied layer and hover over Merge and from the fly out menu sect Merge Down (Tip: Make sure you don't choose the Merge All / Flatten all it will kill the effect and fill your background with white)
6. At this point you should see a very clear pic with definitive highs and lows on the darker areas and whiter white areas. If not try clicking on the Adjust menu, then Brightness and Contrast, from the fly out menu select Highlights/Mid-tones/Shadows, play with these settings a little till you can fine tune it to bring out the effect
7. Finally From the Effects menu up top hover over Texture effects and from the fly out menu select Emboss (this should produce a grayed out image with highlights that resembles your original image, if not try undoing a couple of steps and tweaking the image with different tools until you get a more defined embossing)

Step 4: Bringing All the Elements Together and Layering to Make Them Fit In

Now here comes the fun finishing touches!

1. Start by using the green highlighting technique I showed earlier to make quick selections around your color image
2. Once you've selected the image cut the image, then paste it as a new layer (Tip: If it doesn't paste back in place use the Move tool in the Tools toolbar to put it back in place)
3. Next select and copy your grayed out black and white image, the select your color image and Paste as new layer
4. Using your Move and Raster deform tools in your Tools toolbar, move and adjust your grayed out image to position where you would like your spirit image to appear (Tip: You might find that some elements may be overlapping the original image to correct this simply select the elements and cut, copy, and paste as a new layer then move the layers around until you have the right positions for each of your elements)
5. Once you have your grayed out image, go to your Layers palette and right-click your grayed out image layer click on Properties
6. In the properties window you will see the Blend mode again (as we seen earlier) from the drop-down box select Hard light and click OK (What you should be left with is a silhouette of your grayed out image)

Producing a subtle ghostly image is that simple now you can go back and find other black and white images and produce the same effect within the same image or a totally different one.

Step 5: So Subtle Is Not Sure Style You Want the Hollywood Look

Some people don't like that subtle look; so for those interested in more of a misty spirit type of photo manipulation you can use the same technique just by adding extra layers and changing each layer to get the effect you want.

On this particular photo I wanted to depict how I feel when I'm thinking about family, my grandmother who passed a few years ago,  had spent most of her life putting together family functions to spend time with her children and her grandchildren. It is her I think about most when I spend time with different people and my family.

Using the same technique, load your pictures into your photo program.
Then again using the same technique of creating a second layer highlighting the outline in green and then filling in the rest
Again use a magic wand to highlight the green area
Delete the copied layer
Invert the selection and delete or erase the remaining photo
Invert the selection again.

Now with color photos you will need to adjust your colors, using the convert to grayscale tool and image allows you to set your colors to just say few allowing the blending modes to see more of the gray's and white areas.

Next using the same techniques throughout this Instructable you'll want to copy and paste the grayscale image into the profile photo Also remembering to freehand cut elements from the photo and stack them within layers so that you may put the grayscale image behind or in front of certain elements

To give the misting effect I simply made three copies of the grayscale image layer once I had positioned it where I wanted it
Then the bottom copied layer I set the opacity lower
Then I used the smudge tool to smudge the grayscale image into a cloudy figure
Selecting the top layer I set the opacity a little higher than the bottom layer and used the hard light blended method and its properties to give the silhouette effect
The middle layer was a combination of the two giving it a definition that was more clear than my first pic

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