Halloween: Trick or Treat !

so… Trick it is!

The Ghost:

It’s been a while since I last shared some of the Photoshop tricks and this is a great occasion to do that!

Here is the image I shot last year, the concept was a Deadly Dinner, and we have made a series of illustrations, the one below is one of them.
You can find the full story Here.

Let me take you through the Ghost Effect I used above.

First note is that like in case of our Liquid Illustrations all the elements were photographed on the same day with the same lighting, and camera locked on tripod.

This is essential to keep the right perspective and values when working on composite.

First step was to pick the right frame with Olya (on the left), Deona (on the right) and desaturate it.
The second step is a simple treatment of that layer with the GLOWING EDGES photoshop Filter.
Depends on your base frame sometimes it is good to bring back some of the details to our ghost figure!
I did that by adding the mask with a smoke pattern on it:

The final step is to add more smoke layers to create convincing fading effect.
I used simple black and white smoke photographs and placed them above our composite in SCREEN blending mode. To match your smoke layer and the ghost figure you will have to play a bit with the LIQUIFY filter or WARP transformation tool, and voila!

The Blood:

One of the downsides of this test shoot was that even though we had a fake blood we couldn’t use it on the day. So all the blood had to be done in postproduction.
So… how?

Here is the final frame of the Vampire:

and here is the Before and After:

We photographed the blood afterwards and just layered those frames over the original illustration using the MULTIPLY blending mode.
This example should help to understand the general idea:


The MULTIPLY blending mode helps you to match the different skin tones – you can always lift or tone down the brightness using the LEVELS in photoshop, then it is a simple matter of masking out the unwanted portion of the blood layer.

And here you can see a few more illustrations where I used the same technique:



  1. Posted October 31, 2011 at 23:58 | Permalink | Reply

    These look amazing!
    Is there any chance you could do something on how you creat the smoke layer (in the first image?) is that from photographing smoke or is that all in photoshop?


  2. Posted November 1, 2011 at 14:34 | Permalink | Reply

    Great job. They look amazing.

  3. Posted November 5, 2011 at 09:09 | Permalink | Reply

    wonderful creativity!!
    u don’t just have to know how to do it, u also have to conceptualise the whole thing…. brilliant!!

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