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Members Area Tutorial: Create a Spooky Paranormal Photo Manipulation

In this tutorial we will be creating a paranormal scene where a boy with a lantern finds a ghost staring at him from inside a ware house with hair covered all over her face and her left hand placed on the window glass.

With this tutorial we are going to cover topics like Using Color replacement to get a natural lighting effect, Creating a natural looking shadow from a translucent glass, using real images for reference. Creating a perfect night scene and lighting effect and many more interesting stuff related to photomanipulation.

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Resources Used In This Tutorial

Step 1

Create a new canvas in Photoshop with the dimensions Width=2560px and Height=1440px.

Step 2

1) Import the image of a wall texture on to the canvas.

2) Now create an Exposure Adjustment Layer for the Wall Texture and set Exposure= -1.00 and Gamma Correction=0.31.

Step 3

In this step we are going to create a window to the scene.
-Cut the image of the window from the stock image using the Pen Tool (P) and import it onto the working canvas and place it as shown.

Step 4

Since we are creating a night scene, we need to create dark shadow in the scene.
-Select the Soft Round Brush and paint the dark shade in a new layer.

Step 5

In this step we are going to place a small boy holding a lantern in the scene.
1) Select a mask around the boy holding the lantern using the Pen Tool (P) and separate the selection into a new layer.

2) Now import the image of the boy onto the working canvas and place it on the left side of the scene as shown.

3) Now create a dark shadow behind the boy as he will be illuminated by the Lantern light from the front.

Step 6

In this step we are going to create the light glow to the lantern.
1) Using the Soft Round Brush paint the color #e5a01c on the lantern.

2) Now paint white color in the center of the glow as shown.

3) Now set the Blending Mode of the glow layer to Hard Light to blend the glow perfectly with the scene.

Step 7

When we capture light with a camera we get a flare due to the len, hence we are going to add a lens flare to the light.
1) Import the image of the lens flare and place it on the lantern then set the Blending Mode of the layer to Lighten and lower the Opacity to 67%.

2) We want the color of the lens flare to match with the color of the light, hence create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and set the Hue=25 and Saturation=82.

Step 8

In this step we will be color correcting the boy to blend with the environment of the scene.
1) With the boy layer selected go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to -50.

2) Now reduce the brightness of the image using Exposure. Set the Exposure= -0.58, Offset= -0.0549 and Gamma Correction= 0.81.

3) Now by using Selective Color option we will be de-saturating the Blue color and enhance the Black Shadows.
-With the boy layer selected go to Image>Adjustments>Selective Color. Now select Cyans from the colors drop down list and set the Cyan=-100%, Magenta=-55%, Yellow=+100%, Black=+100%.

-Now select Blacks from the Colors drop down list and set Cyan=-53%, Magenta=-17, Yellow=+100, Black=+23.

Now color correct the boy using the Curves as shown.

Step 9

In this step we will be creating the light glow casting on the body of the boy.
1) Using the Magic Wand Tool (W) select the bright areas on the body of the boy.

2) Now create a new layer above the boy layer and paint the selection with the color #fbca21.

3) Now set the Blending Mode of the layer to Overlay.

4) As we know that the light casting on any body directly wouldn’t have sharp shadows, hence we need to add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 49.6px to the glow layer.

5) Now click on the thumbnail of the boy layer to select a mask around him. Then inverse the selection by holding Ctrl+Shift+I and erase the excess glow using the Eraser Tool (E).

6) Now lower the Opacity of the layer to 62%.

Step 10

In this step we are going to place a pipe in the scene leaning to the wall of the ware house.
1) Cut the image of the pipe from the stock image and place it on the right side of the scene as shown.

2) Now paint some dark shade on the pipe as shown.

3) To create the light illumination on the pipe, paint the color #fbca21 on the pipe then set the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 11

We commonly find old and worn-out junk piled near the ware houses, hence we are going to add an old tire in the scene leaning to the wall along with the pipe.
1) Select a mask around the tire using the Pen Tool (P) and separate the selection into a new layer.

2) Now import the image of the tire and place it under the pipe as shown.

3) Now paint dark shadows on the tire using the Soft Round Brush.

Step 12

To create the light illumination on the tire paint the color #fbca21 on the tire and set the Blending Mode of the layer to Overlay and Lower the Opacity of the layer to 77%.

Step 13

In this step we will be creating grunge edges to the frame of the window.
1) Import the image containing grunge frame border into Photoshop and cut the frame border using the Pen Tool.

2) Now import the frame border on to the working canvas and align it along the border of the window frame as shown.

3) Now by using the Grunge Brush (B) paint some grunge alongside the frame.

Step 14

Since we have our wall completely ready, we need to create the shadow of the tire on the wall since it is leaning to the wall.
-Using the Soft Round brush paint the shadow of the tire as shown.

Step 15

In this step we are going to create the lantern glow illuminating the surroundings.
1) Create a new layer beneath the boy layer and paint with the color #fbe892 as shown.

2) Now reduce the Opacity of the layer to 30%.

3) Now duplicate the dark shadow layer created in step 4 and place it above all the layers to make the scene a bit darker.

Step 16

In this step we are going to create the night light in the scene. This is the light which we usually see during the full moon day.
1) Paint the Blue color in the scene as shown using the Soft Round Brush.

2) Now set the Blending Mode of the layer to Overlay.

Step 17

In this we will be separating the frame and glass of the window into separate layers which will be of use in the next step.
1) The selection need not be an accurate one. Using the Magic Wand Tool (W) select the window frame and separate it into a new layer.

2) Now similarly select the window glass and separate it into a new layer. Reduce this layer’s opacity to around 34%.

Step 18

In this step we are going to create a ghost in the scene behind the window bars.
1) Create a mask around women and separate the selection into a new layer.

2) Now import the image of the ghost on to the working canvas and place it behind the window frame and glass which we separated in step 18.

3) Now erase the left hand of the ghost as we will be replacing it in the coming steps.

Step 19

In this step we are going to color correct the ghost to blend with the environment.
1) Create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer to the ghost layer and set the Saturation level to -94.

2) Now create a Curves Adjustment layer to the ghost layer and set the curves as shown.

Step 20

In this step we are going to create the left hand to the ghost in such a way as if she placed her hand on the window glass.
1) Refer the image of the hand placed on the glass to know how the light and shadows are seen.

2) Now cut the palm from the image and import it on to the working canvas and place it behind the window frame as shown.

3) Since the glass where the hand is placed is thick and textured the white light inside the ware house casting on the hand appears more in glass color. Hence select a mask in shape of the palm and paint in with the color #b5c1af.

4) Now fill in the selection with black color in a new layer.

5) Now inverse the mask selection and set the Feather Radius to 4px and click the Delete button twice to get our desired effect.

6) To create the shadow of part of the body make a selection as shown using the Lasso Tool (L) and fill in the selection with Black color.

7) Now add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 5.9px to the body shadow layer.

Step 21

Now by using the frost brushes paint the frost to the glass window glass as shown.

Step 22

In this step we will be adding a broken light to the ware house.
1) Import the image of the broken light into Photoshop and create a mask around it and separate it into a new layer.

2) Now import the image of the broken light into the scene and place it on the left top corner as shown.

3) Now create a Curves Adjustment layer to the broken light layer and set the curves as shown.

4) Now add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer and set the Saturation level to -17.

Step 23

In this step we are going to create the illumination of the lantern light casting on the broken light and also the shadow of the broken light casting on the wall due to the lantern light.
1) Paint the light glow on the broken light and set its Blending Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 76%.

2) Now paint the dark shadow to the left side of the broken light as shown.

3) Now select a mask in the shape of the broken light and fill in the selection with Black color.

4) Then move the shadow layer beneath the broken light layer and move it upwards as shown.

5) Now add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 5.9px to the shadow layer.

Step 24

In this step we are going to use the advanced cutting technique to cut the dead tree from its original image with every detail.
1) Import the image of the dead tree into Photoshop and select the Blue layer from the Channels Pallet, then go to Image>Calculations and select Blue from Channel drop down list.

2) With the Alpha1 layer selected go to Image>Adjustment>Levels and set the levels as shown to make the dead tree a complete silhouette.

3) Now Dead Tree layer selected go to Select>Load Selection and select Alpha 1 from the drop down list and press OK to select a mask around the tree. Now separate the selection into a new layer.

4) Import the image of the dead tree on to the working canvas and place it on the right side of the scene as shown.

5) Using the Brush Tool (B) paint the dark shadow on the dead tree.

Step 25

1) To create a Depth Of Field (DOF) in the scene we need to add Gaussian Blur to the dead tree. Hence with the dead tree layer selected go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 3.6px.

2) Now duplicate the Dead tree layer and flip it Horizontally and place it on the left side of the scene as shown.

3) Now create a Curves Adjustment layer to the dead tree layer and set the curves as shown to blend the tree with the scene’s environment.

4) Duplicate the Curves Adjustment layer we previously created and link it to the original dead tree layer.

Step 26

In this step we are going to create a textured title to the scene.
1) Create a new text layer beneath the Dead tree layer using the Text Tool (T) and type in the title “PARANORMAL” using the font ‘AvQuest’.

2) Now import the texture on to the working canvas and cut the texture in the shape of the text.

3) Now by using Hue/Saturation de-saturate the texture color to -68.

4) To create a shadow to the title, select a mask in the shape of the title font and fill in the selection with black color.

5) Then place the shadow layer beneath the title layer and move it slightly towards the left side, then add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 2.2px to it.

6) Now merge both the title and shadow layers and add a Gaussian Blur of Radius 1.7px to show as if the title is behind the dead tree by some distance.

Step 27

In this step we are going to do the final color correction to the scene using the Adjustment layers.
1) Create a Brightness/Contrast layer above all the layers and set the Brightness level to -12 and Contrast level to 9.

2) Now create an Exposure Adjustment layer and set the Offset level to -0.0026 and Gamma Correction to 1.00.

Step 28

In this step we are going to create a Snow Brush to add snow in the scene.
1) Select a Soft Round Brush and go to Window>Brush and set the Size to 25px, Check both Flip X and Flip Y boxes, then set the Spacing level to 188%.

2) Now go to Shape Dynamics and set the Size Jitter to 75%, Minimum Diameter=3%, Angle Jitter=62%, Roundness Jitter=2%, Minimum Roundness=25% and check both X and Y Flip Jitters.

3) Now go to the Scattering properties and check Both Axes box and set the Scatter percent to 801%, Count=2 and Count Jitter=18%.

4) Then Paint with the brush we just created using Black color on a New canvas, then go to Edit>Define Brush Preset and name the brush as Snow Brush and press OK to save the brush.

5) Now select the Snow brush and paint the snow in the scene as shown using the white color.

6) With the snow layer selected go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and add a Motion Blur with Distance 18px and Angle set to -31 degrees.

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

Member File Download

Download the original .psd file for this tutorial here:

DOWNLOAD .PSD FILE

Leave a comment

2 Comments:

  1. Su Hall says:

    This looks fun! I want to try it myself. Thank you!
    By the way, I did not see a link for the tree, but, I still found it. The link is
    http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1382212
    Thank you!
    Su

    • fanextra says:

      Yeah it’s a great tutorial to follow along with, with a really interesting outcome. Nice to have Santhosh as part of our growing team :) .

      Thanks for the tree link Su, I’d missed that. I’ve added it to the resources section for this tut now.

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