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Monday, April 6, 2009

Create a Horror Face in Photoshop

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Its not quite Halloween but I wanted to write a tutorial on turning a photo of a face into a Zombie or Horror face. Lets start by opening a photo that is a somewhat closeup of someones face. You can use the one I’m using by downloading it here: [Face] . Here is the dried mud texture I’m using for the face: [Dried mud].

Ok, with the picture loaded up in Photoshop, double click the background layer in the layers palette to activate the alpha channel and name it Background. FYI - If your not sure where the layers palette is, go to Window>Layers and select it to open the layers palette, you’ll see that the picture you loaded will be the background layer. Select the pen tool and set it to path in the above tool bar. Zoom in on the face to about 300% and trace around the face with the pen tool.

After you’ve traced the face with the pen tool hit Ctrl +Enter to create a selection of the face.

The next four steps in order:

1. hit Ctrl +c to copy the selection into the clipboard

2. hit Ctrl +Shift +i to invert the selection

3. Apply a layer mask to the background layer to mask out the face (layer mask icon is at the bottom of the layers palette).

4. Create a new layer above the background layer, name it face and hit Ctrl +V to copy the face into the face layer.

Then you’ll probably have to reposition the face and line it up correctly. If all goes well your picture should look exactly like the original photo except you have an additional layer of just the face.

With the face layer selected hit Shift +Ctrl +U to desaturate.

Now you can bring in the dried mud texture. Open the texture in Photoshop and drag it into your face document (it should be on top of all other layers). If your using the texture I supplied, its pretty big so you have to size it down. Temporarily lower the opacity of the mud texture so you can see what area of the mud you want over the face then hit Ctrl +T to bring up the transform tool, Scale an position the dried mud where you want it.

When you get it where you want, hit enter to apply and raise the opacity of the dried mud back up to 100%.

With the mud layer selected in the layers palette, Ctrl +click the “thumbnail” of the face layer in the layers palette to create a selection. Apply a layer mask to the mud layer by clicking on the icon an the bottom of the layer palette and set the blend mode to Color Burn.

Select the “layer mask Thumbnail” of the dried mud layer and take the blur tool from the tools palette and soften the edges a little around the face. Then take the Sponge tool and paint/scrub on the neck to bring in a little texture.

Select the Face layer and take the burn tool from the tools palette and darken a little around the Eye and the corner of the mouth.

Then select the background layer and use the burn tool again to darken the hair and neck area ( use a soft brush at about 80px.

Next, Select the “Layer mask Thumbnail” of the dried mud layer. Select the paint brush and make sure your forground is set to black and paint around the pupil and iris to reveal the original eye. You can easily give the eye some color by creating a colored circle around the iris and changing the blend mode to overlay. I like the darkish gray look so I won’t do that in this tutorial.

In this last step we’ll add just a touch of the levels adjustment to make the face just a little more erie looking. Select the face layer and go to Image>Adjustments>levels and just move the black and gray values slightly or just play around with the values to get it how you want. Here’s what I used.

In an optional step, add another layer above the rest, set the forground color to red and background to black and fill it with the clouds filter filter>render>clouds and then mask it to the shape of the face the same way did the Dried Mud layer, set the blend mode to overlay and opacity to about 50%.

Here’s my Final:

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