Spooky Photoshop Tricks

This coming Monday is October 31st, known to most as Halloween. Besides passing out candy and dressing up, Halloween can be a fun opportunity to learn some new effects for your Photoshop skill book. Below is a short tutorial on how to turn a relatively normal photo into a creepy, grainy one!

To start, I’ll take this photo of a photogenic Labrador Retriever and add a grainy film effect to it, so he’ll end up looking like he’s Nosferatu’s dog. The steps are as follows:

Spooky 1

  1. There are a few ways to create a black and white image, but for this image I’ll be choosing to just put a Black & White adjustment layer on it. From there, I’ll fiddle with the controls to find what looks best for my image. (So, for my dog, I adjusted the preset to Maximum Black so that the shadows really come through.)
  2. After that, you can add any other adjustment layers you think will improve the image. So I added a Brightness/Contrast layer, where I lowered the brightness to -45, and increased the contrast to 20.
  3. Create a new layer beneath your adjustment layer and name it something like “Scratches.” Select the brush tool and make sure that the size is down to 1 pixel, and hardness is up to 100%. Choose a mid-tone grey color, then create a few random “scratches” on top of the photo to give it an authentically old look.
  4. Once you’ve done that, select the layer with your original photo. Go to the Filter option on the top ribbon. From the drop down menu choose “Noise” and from there, “Add Noise.”
  5. From there, you will see a pop up screen with options for your Add Noise Filter. For this particular effect, I would suggest checking the box for monochromatic noise. You can choose either uniform or gaussian — I stuck with uniform. Play around with the percentage and see what works for you. I ended up with 38.07% for my photo.
  6. Crop however you’d like.

Spooky 2

There we have it! Your photo now looks older and creepier. Feel free to add some other effects, if you’d like. I decided to add a Hue/Saturation layer to the dog to make him green, use the burn tool on his eyes to make them darker, add and transform some text, and to add a little spider in order to make him Sparky the Zombie Dog!

Zombie Dog