Introduction: My Little Vampire

They say having kids can suck the life right out of you. Well this one could! I have lots of great photos of my daughter, and this one just screamed vampire to me. Here are some steps on how to change your little sweetheart into a little bloodsucker.

Step 1:

First of all, I used Photoshop for this project. I always start out making a copy of the photo on a new layer. That way I always have the original handy in case I mess something up. Zoom in on the eyes and use your favorite tool to make a selection. I use the pen tool, but you can use the lasso tool, magic wand, or whatever you're most comfortable with. The more precice your selection the better. At this point I like to feather the selection to soften it up a bit. In the top menu go to Select --> Modify --> Feather. I'm using a pretty hi-res photo so I set it to 5 pixels. Usually 1 or 2 will be good enough. Now cut and paste the eyes onto a new layer, and hide the later (the little eye icon next to the thumbnail in the layers palette).

Go back to the portrait layer. In the layers palette click the "Lock transparent pixels" icon just above you top layer. Pick the brush tool and a nice dark red color. You'll find the Brush tool options near the top of the screen. In the Mode drop down menu, select Linear Burn. I usually set the brush opacity anywhere form 20-40% so I slowly build up the color. Pick a brush size you like with the hardness set to 0 and paint a nice dark red around the eye sockets. You don't have to add too much here. We'll be darkening things up later.

Step 2:

Now select the Sponge tool and set it to Desaturate. Set the flow to 40 or 50% Right click on the image and select a fairly large brush with a low hardness. Now work your way around the face and all exposed skin and desaturate the color until you get a look you like. Turn the layer with the eyes back on and double click it in the layers palette. The Layer Style window will pop up. On the left click the Inner Shadow check box. Play with the settings until you like the look.

In my photo, the mouth is nice and open. Thats where the blood goes so I want a more saturated color. I made a selection of everything minus the teeth and used the same technique as in the second part of step 1 to paint a nice darker blood red color.

Step 3:

Create another new layer. It should be on top of all the other layers. At the top of the layers palette, set the layer mode to Overlay. Now it's time to select the brush tool and set the color to black and paint on some shadows. Experiment with different brush sizes and play with the opacity of the layers until you get the the desired effect. I created a new layer and added more dark red around the eyes.

Step 4:

I found a nice photo of a cat's mouth and copy pasted some of the teeth to make fangs. Once you paste each tooth in place, go to Edit --> Free transform and you can scale and rotate or flip as necessary. Once you've placed you fang where you want it, click the Create Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette. This will add a new second thumbnail on your layer in the palette. When you click on that thumbnail you can use a brush set to black to erase potions of the layer, and use white to restore them. You'll be able to experiment with removing and re-adding pixels to make the fangs look like they belong there.

Step 5:

Zoom in on the eyes again and use the Elliptical marquee tool to select the irises. Go to Image --> Adjustments --> Hue/Saturation and play with the siders until you get a color you like. I like to go with a nice pale yellow.

Step 6:

Now we really start to make things look creapy. Find a nice picture of some veins. I did an image search for "spider veins". But you could maybe take a picture of your Grandma's legs while she's asleep. You'll want your vein photo to be large enough to cover the whole face. If you find a nice but small image you like, open it in a new document and paste a bunch of them together and/or use the stamp tool to make it bigger. Paste the Veins image on top of your photo and set the layer mode (top of the layers palette) to linear burn. Play with the layer opacity untill you get a nice effect. Add a layer mask (see step 4) and remove the areas of the vein photo that don't fall on skin. Now to finish things off… do a web search for Free blood splatter brushes. You'll get lots of results. Surf around for a while and download the brushes you like most. It will be an .abr file. Load that file into brush palette. Pick a dark red color and go to town. Play with color and layer opacity and make your little vampire nice and blood soaked. I used a lot of dark red and played with a little black. Darker colors look more like dried blood.

Step 7: A Vampire!

There you go!

Halloween Photo Editing Challenge

First Prize in the
Halloween Photo Editing Challenge