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How to Turn Your Friends into Zombies for Halloween (In Photoshop)

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We’ve already shown you how to celebrate Halloween by turning your friends into ghosts, now we’ll show you how to turn them into the hungry dead with a fun video how-to. Grab some Facebook photos and give it a shot!

Zombies have become an internet staple. How could we have gone so long without showing HTG readers how to do this? Grab your mouse or stylus, and get ready for some artsy fun, as you turn your friends and family into horrible monsters. Keep reading!

How to Make Photoshop Zombies: The Movie

This is probably one of our more complicated Photoshop how-tos. Follow along and stop anytime you’re satisfied with your result—some of the steps are added in for extra effects. Watch the video to get a good grasp of the technique, and read the tools and techniques below to see what was done with a little bit more explanation.

Techniques You’ll See in the Movie

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We begin with creating adjustment layers, both Hue/Saturation and Levels. You can click the adjustment layer in your layers panel to create them.

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Hue/Saturation: Use whichever settings look good to you. You’re focusing mostly on getting a good cadaverous skin tone.

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Levels: Darken them up dramatically. This will become your shadows and gaunt in your eyes and cheek bones.

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Invert: Press Ctrl i do invert your adjustment layer masks quickly. In the video, we navigate through Image > Adjustments > Invert.

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Brush Tool: We use a lot of it here, mostly a soft brush with the hardness set to 0% as shown above.

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Use it to paint in visible areas in our Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, like in the video.

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Paint in the Hue/Saturation layer first, then move on to the Levels.

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Paint along with the shape and contours of the face, and use a brush with low opacity and soft edges.

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Add lines to the cheekbones if you like—it makes the face look more gaunt.

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Opacity: Adjust opacity at the options panel at the top of the screen when you have the brush tool selected.

 

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Fonts: Download WC Rhesus A Bta, an unusual dingbat font with ink spatters that is good for making fake blood.

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Text tool: For our sample, we typed in the letters “jk” and got a pattern like the one shown. Use any you care to and as many as you care to use.

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Color: Adjust the color of your text in the options panel at the top of the screen. Use any red that suits you, or simply copy this one.

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Group your text layers by selecting them and pressing ctrl G. Duplicate them by right clicking and selecting “Duplicate Layer.”

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Free Transform and Rotate: Press Ctrl t to select free transform and navigate to Edit > Transform > Rotate.

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Add this texture to your file, created from a Creative Commons image by Flickr user Kayli Harden.

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Eyedropper: Select a color in the eye to paint in a new layer.

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Create a new layer by pressing ctrl shift N.

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Adjust opacity in the layers panel as shown below.

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Lower opacity will show more of the eye. A fairly high number like 70% will show just enough to make it creepy!

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Try setting your adjustment layers to different blending modes, as well. Here, we have it set as normal, the way we’ve used it throughout this how to.

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“Multiply” gives some interesting results, and looks perfect, dark, and creepy. Do this only if you like it better than your “Normal” setting, but definitely give a few different settings a try!

 


Hopefully your Halloween photos will be overrun by swarms of zombies that would even scare George Romero! If you happen to create a zombie that you’re very impressed with, send it to us at ericgoodnight@howtogeek.com and we’ll share it with the other readers on the HTG Facebook page. Have fun with it, and have a happy Halloween!

 

Image Credits: Brunette Portuguese Beauty by Austin H. Kapfumvuti, available under Creative Commons. Cracks by Kayli Harden, available under Creative Commons, derivative image released under the same license.

Eric Z Goodnight is an Illustrator and Graphics Geek who hopes to make Photoshop more accessible to How-To Geek readers. When he’s not headbanging to heavy metal or geeking out over manga, he’s often off screen printing T-Shirts.

  • Published 10/26/11

Comments (5)

  1. anon

    video has no audio?

  2. Rajneesh Gadge

    Horrible(awesome) work Eric! :D

  3. Kasun

    Nice work….

  4. jldewitt

    LOVE it. Made one of myself and one for my friend who requested it after I did my own. I’m saving the tutorial so that I can come back later and do it again!

  5. Ivydapple

    O_O Wow, that’s amazing. I’ll have to try that.

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