Last year my little sister greatly enjoyed my Zombie Family photo-edit for Halloween, so this year I decided to make her into a super-scary, cat-loving apocalypse monster using Pixlr.
THE FUTURE: The world has been taken over by super-cute villain cats who shoot lasers out of their eyes! As the destruction of humankind continues, one brave soul discovers that the only way to calm the adorable felines is to rub their bellies. My little sister, eager to save the planet she loves, fuses spare arms onto her body in order to pet as many cats as possible. Unfortunately, she is the only human who remains, and is driven to insanity.
Giving your little sister a few extra kitty-scratching limbs is very simple using pixlr, a free online photo editing tool.
Step 1: Materials
- You will need a photo of a person who deserves some extra limbs. I knew I wanted to use my kid sister, so I just went through her facebook photos to find a good one. My sister makes a LOT of ridiculous faces, so I didn't even have to ask her to pose for a photo! This one was just waiting--begging, really--to be Pixlr'd into a good Halloween picture. If you did not take the photograph, make sure to ask for permission from the photographer.
- Free stock images of arms can be found by looking up "arm" on Google. Don't worry too much about the color temperature of the photos or if the skin color doesn't match exactly--we will be fixing that in Pixlr.
- I use a free image of a destroyed city I found on Google images by searching for "apocalypse city."
- For the foreground, I searched for "cracked desert" on Google.
- For the villain cat, my little kitty at home refused to pose for me. If your pet is equally unhelpful, search for "climbing cat" on Google images to find a cornucopia of options. Because my city was very dark, I chose a white cat to stand out against the decaying buildings.
Step 2: Prepare the Sister
Open the Advanced Pixlr editor at Pixlr.com and open your "sister" source image from the computer. Take a moment to look upon the face of your mostly normal photo one last time before we go crazy on it!
When you first open your photo, you will see a lock icon next to the image in the "layers" window. Double-click on the lock icon to unlock the layer so we can start having some fun!
Create a new layer by clicking the sparkle-square icon in the bottom of the "layers" window, and move this layer below your source image. Double-click your top layer to re-name it. While it is not necessary to title your layers, it will keep things much more organized and easier as we continue to add many more layers.
In the Tools window, choose the eraser tool. Pick a relatively small eraser and up the hardness to around 75. As we erase the background, this eraser will make an edge around your image that is crisp from far away but still naturally blends into the background a little bit.
Now we are ready to stick this girl into a horrific nightmare landscape! Yay!
Zoom way in on your image and begin erasing around the edge of your sister (or other human). Move slowly around the body, making sure that your edges are relatively smooth lines. I like to go around the whole body, skipping the tiny little areas between fingers and legs. Go back to these small areas with a smaller eraser brush after completing the first initial outline of the body so that you don't have to switch back and forth between brush sizes.
Once the outline is erased, choose a large eraser brush with a 100% hard edge and erase the rest of the background.
Step 3: Arm-Attachment Surgery
Find a few great images of arms by searching for free stock arm images on google. I use two different arm images and just flip them around to make four extra limbs, but you can add as many appendages to your human as you would like.
I want a larger background to really capture the decrepit city and kitty invasion. In the top menu, go to Image > Canvas size. For my picture I chose a left-side anchor and doubled the width of my image.
Now that we have a larger canvass to work with, let's give this human-monster some crazy arms for kitty-rubbin! Under the top menu, go to File > Open image and open up one of your creepy disembodied arms.
Using the eraser tool, remove the background from the arm just like we did for the main human image.
Select the arm with the marquee tool and copy the arm using Edit > Copy (or command C). Go to the window with your original image and paste the arm onto the picture. This will automatically create a new layer which you can rename "arm 1." Click and drag this layer below your "sister" layer.
Go to Edit > Free transform and re-size the arm to a realistic size for your human body. Move the arm behind your sister's body to make it look like the arm is bursting out of her back.
Now we need to make the arm look more natural. Choose Adjustment > Color balance on the top menu. Play around wit the settings until the flesh color on your new arm matches the flesh of your original image.
Paste the same arm into your original image, again creating another layer. Move this layer below your original image. Flip the arm by going to Layer > Flip layer horizontal so that you can attach it to the other side of the body. Using the free transform tool like before, move and rotate the arm to a super scary position.
Repeat this whole process with a second arm image (and third and fourth if you want to make a SUPER scary human) until your sister looks really monsterish!
Step 4: Apocalypse City
Find an image of a desolate city by using google. I searched for "apocalypse city" and found this great picture. Open the image in Pixlr, use the marquee tool to select the entire picture, and copy and paste in into a new layer in your original image. Move this layer to the bottom of your image and use the Free transform tool to re-size the image as needed. Re-name the layer to "Apocalypse" or something equally saddening.
Step 5: Cracked Foreground
Find some desert ground by searching google images for "cracked ground." Look for an image with a fairly steep perspective--cracks in the front of the image should be large, while cracks in the back should be very close together. Open the image in Pixlr, select the cracked ground you want to include, and paste it into a new layer in your original image.
Re-size the foreground using the Free transform tool. I had to reduce the height of my picture a little bit as well so that the cracked ground seemed to be taken at an even deeper perspective than the original photograph. Move this layer above the cityscape, but below your sister and arm layers.
After adding the ground, you may have to move your background city image. I had to move my apocalypse city up a bit.
We need to re-color the foreground so that it looks much less chipper and much more depressing. We are going to desaturate the ground in the next step, but I want to play with the tones of the ground a bit first. Under Adjustment > Color vibrance, knock the vibrance all the way down to -100. Then play around with the color balance until the ground looks sickly and greenish.
Using the burn tool in the main tool panel, select a large brush with a low hardness. Bump up the exposure into the 80s for some serious darkening! Burn the edge of the cracked ground to darken the edge and make it fade into the background a little more.
After making the back edge very dark, bring the exposure level back to the 50s and burn the mid-ground to give the illusion that the ground fades from light to dark.
Step 6: Tie It Together!
Now we need to really make the ground look like it is part of the landscape. Make a new layer just above the cracked Using the brush tool in the main tool window and an opacity of 50%, paint a shadow on the ground coming from your sister's feet.
Back on the "ground" layer, go to Adjustment > Desaturate to take all the color out of the foreground.
Now using Adjustment > Hue & Saturation, check the "colorize" box in the bottom of the play around with the hue, saturation, and lightness levels until the color of your foreground matches the background city.
Step 7: LASER ATTACK KITTY
Open the image of your climbing cat in Pixlr and erase the background just like we have before. Use the marquee tool to select the cat. Copy and paste the innocent little kitty into a new layer in your original image. Re-name the layer something cool like "Evil Kitty."
Move and re-size the cat using the Free transform tool. Place him (or her) on top of a building so that it looks like the now-giant kitten is ready to release some serious destruction onto the world.
Zoom way in on the cat. Select the paintbrush tool and a very small brush size. Click on the large black rectangle at the bottom of the main Tools section and select a bright red color. Paint the eyes of the cat red.
Time to make some lasers! Make a new layer and title it "eye lasers." Use the marquee tool to make a thin rectangle. Using the paintbrush tool, fill the marquee with bright yellow. Copy and paste the new yellow line so that there are two yellow lines, each on their own layer.
Using the Free transform tool again, move, rotate, and size the lasers so that they appear to be shooting out of the cat's eyes.
Step 8: Show Off Your Halloween Photo!
Show off your Halloween photo edited with Pixlr! I am using mine as the front image for a Halloween card for my sister. She loves kitties and Halloween, so I think she will like it!