This instructable shows how to turn a normal photograph into a grungy, Halloween ready image.
Photo of yourself, your friends, your boss, etc.
Adobe Photoshop (This was done in CS5, but any version should work)
Various textures (we will cover the specifics in the steps)
Various brushes (we will cover the specifics in the steps)
Step 1: Find Your Image
This step is one of the most important of all. An image of good quality will make your editing go much more smoothly. It also allows a better finished product. Try to find an image where the subject is balanced and facing straight forward.
I have selected an image from MorgueFile (fitting isn't it!). It is a good place to find free stock photography... Click Here ... I chose this image because it is nicely balanced and the subject should produce good results.
The image I am starting with is 10x6 at 150 dpi. Your image will probably be a different size so any kind of brush sizes, etc. will be a little different. This is your photo edit so have fun and change things as you see fit!
Step 2: Prepare Your Image
I like this image a lot but it is a little crooked. To get is usable I need to get it straightened out. I like to use guides in my editing, so i started by pulling a guide out and placing it down the middle of her face. (You can drag guides from the rulers. And you open rulers by hitting Ctrl+r.)
If you opened your image by File>Open (and not pasting it), it is probably on a layer called Background. This layer needs to be turned into a different kind of layer to be rotated. Double click on the layer in your layers palette and rename it to Headshot .
Now we are ready to rotate. Hit Ctrl+t or go to Edit>Free Transform. Rotate the image so that your guide goes straight down your subject's nose and mouth and the face is generally centered.
Now we need to crop the image. Draw a rectangular marquee and go to Image>Crop or use the crop tool to bring it down to your desired size.
Step 3: Skin Toning
Now that we have a usable file the fun part starts!
We are going to take some of the life out of our subject's skin and lips. This step is pretty important to get the grungy, undead look we are going for.
Make sure your Headshot layer is selected and click on your Sponge Tool . It is grouped with the Dodge and Burn tools if you have trouble finding it. I used a soft, rounded brush with a 150px raduis. The Mode was set to Desaturate and the Flow was 50%. These settings could vary greatly depending on the size of your image.
Really concentrate on the skin and lips. Be careful not to go too far with it, because if you do it will leave you with a totally gray image. I like to leave a little of the original toning because it helps add a more believable skin tone.
Step 4: Eye Blacking
Now we will work on the eyes. As it stands, my subject's eyes are much too vibrant to be believable.
Make a new layer and call it Eyes . Select your brush tool and choose a soft, round brush with a radius of 35 pixels (will vary) and select black as your foreground color. Fill in the eye until it is solid black. Now set the layers blending mode to Overlay and reduce its opacity to 75%.
This gives a nice look and takes away the vibrancy of the eyes. We will add some of that back later, but we have other stuff to do first.
Step 5: Feature Damaging
Now we are going to weather the face a little more.
We will start with the eyes.
Create another new layer and call it Black Eye . Make sure it is on top of the Headshot layer. Change your foreground color to #492807 and use a soft, round brush to outline the eye. You can really start to make your image your own with this process... it allows you to add as much or as little as you want, so every edit will be different. Set your layer to Soft Light and reduce its opacity to 75%.
Now we move to the lips.
Create a new layer and call it Black Lips and repeat what you did with the eyes, but this time reduce your opacity to 50%. I like to only add shading to the bottom lip, as I think doing it on both sides make it look unbelievable. Again, this is up to personal preference.
Step 6: Skin Toning
Now we are going to add a little color to the skin.
This will vary greatly depending on your subject.
Click on your Headshot layer and then click on Layer>New Adjustment Layer. You will want a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I change the Hue to +20 and leave Saturation and Lightness alone.
This adds a slight green cast to the subject and makes it look a little more sickly. It has also added that same cast to the rest of your image, not just the skin. Click on your adjustment layer. Whatever you paint with the paintbrush black will no longer be affected by the adjustment layer. So take your brush tool and paint whatever you dont want to have the green cast.
Step 7: Adding Texture
Now we will add texture to the skin. Choose any concrete (or whatever texture you like) texture and insert it into your image. Make sure that it is above your Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
Change your blending mode to Soft light at 50% opacity. You will notice that the texture is covering the whole image, not just the skin. Go to Layer>Layer Mask> Reveal All. Using a black, blurry brush, brush away the texture from everywhere but the skin.
Step 8: Detail Work
Now our image is starting to look good!
Select the Headshot layer and choose your burn tool. Set the Range to Shadows and the Exposure to about 60%. Select a large, round brush and pass over the skin to create dark “burn” spots. Make passes around the eye, lips and nose as well as the outline of the face.
This really helps bring out the detail of your subject and makes it look really dark and grungy.
Step 9: Eyebrow Removal
Now we are going to remove the eyebrows. This step is not at all necessary, but it help give and otherworldly appearance.
Click on your Headshot later and select the patch tool and draw a selection around the eyebrow. Then drag up to the subject's forehead. This will replace the selection area with whatever you drag to. Make sure your new eyebrow area doesn't have too much contrast, because that will leave a hard line and we don't want that.
Step 10: Turn That Smile Into a Frown
My subject had a hint of smile on her face, so I wanted to tone that down a little. Don't go overboard because it won't look natural, but I thought I had a to make a little change.
Go to Filter>Liquify. Use the Forward Warp tool on the top left. Adjust the settings on the right to where they work best for your image. These settings will vary greatly depending on your image size. If you don't like where your liquify is going, just hold down alt and the cancel button in the top right turns into a reset and you can start over.
Step 11: Eye Color Adjustment
Now we are going to adjust the color of the eye. I really like how they look now with their darkness, but I want to punch up the brilliance of the color. Go to your Headshot layer and draw an elliptical marquee around the eye. Go to Image>Adjustments>Hue & Saturation. Adjust the Hue slider to change color. Adjust the saturation slider to change color intensity. Adjust the Lightness slider to change brightness. Be careful with the Lightness slider. Things can get crazy in a hurry.
I like to keep my color adjustments subtle, but you can get a ton of impact by going with something that is super saturated.
We are almost done. I wanted to add a little texture to the background. Find any kind of texture and place it in a new layer called Background Texture above your Headshot layer. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay. The texture looks nice but it is covering my subject's skin. Go to Layer>Layer Mask> Reveal All. Using a black, blurry brush, brush away the texture from everywhere but the skin and hair.
Step 13: Finished!
Now we are done!
In 12 easy steps, we went from beautiful to depraved. Remember, that every subject will be different and you must adjust your settings/technique with every one. Choosing the right photo will make or break your editing, so make sure you pick something appropriate. Also, I like subtle over drastic changes. For me, it makes things more believe able and natural looking.
I hope you all had fun and got good results! Happy Halloween!
First Prize in the
Halloween Photo Editing Challenge