Photoshop tutorials for professionals and beginners
Haloween photoshop tutorial

Dark Halloween Manipulation Tutorial

As I announced on the newsletter here is the Halloween dedicated tutorial. It’s a medium difficulty tutorial. As you will see I used pretty much the same techniques as on my other manipulations of this kind.

This is the final result of this tutorial

The difficulty of this tutorial is medium I would say. As always, I show you my techniques and ideas but you can make your own version and add more elements to your artworks. Power up Photoshop and get the stock images you need.

Stock images used

Download PSD file

Step 1

I worked on a 2000x1338px document. Open the background image (image IMG_2171.jpg from the pack) and mask the sky with a soft brush. Then, add the sky on a new layer below the background and resize if needed.

Step 2

You already have to start turning this into a dark scene because the background will be your base and guide for your color adjustments later on when you add more elements to the scene.

As always I used Adjustment layers to make all the adjustments. First I added a Gradient Map as clipping mask on the Background layer and set the blend mode to Overlay and then I reduced the saturation with another adjustment layer. See image below.

Step 3

Create a new layer and paint some trees with the Tree Brushes .

Step 4

Put the moon on the sky and use mask part of it with a soft brush. Also add some layer effects to make it brighter.

Step 5

Add some clouds around the moon. I used a light blue color. Now it’s also a good moment to add some bats using brushes. I added an inner glow which would be the light coming from the moon.

Step 6

Now open the house stock photo and subtract it using the Pen Tool (P). Scale it down and paste it on your scene. Name the layer house and create a layer mask. You will use the default grass brush from Photoshop to blend the house and the background layer.

Paint with black on the layer mask to reveal the grass underneath.

Step 7

Make some contrast and color adjustments to make the house darker. I used Adjustment layers as I always.

Step 8

You can make the scene more spooky by adding more dark trees behind the house using the same brushes pack as on Step 3.

Step 9

Open the tree roots stock  and start cutting the roots using the Pen Tool (P). Create a layer mask and blend the roots using the same grass brush as you used on the house on Step 6. Use a soft low opacity brush and paint some shadows under the roots and also on the roots themselves.

Step 10

Now make color and contrast adjustments to the tree roots to make them darker. Use the same technique as with the house on Step 7. Maybe you will have to use different colors because the tree is lighter than the house.

Step 11

Open the girl stock image and subtract the her and the pumpkins from the original background and paste them on the original scene. Use a layer mask and the grass brush to blend the edges.

Step 12

The girl is too bright. In order to make her darker use the same technique as for the tree roots. See image below.

Step 13

Add the gravestone and use the Distort Tool to adjust the shape because it’s tilted forward.See image below. Make the stone darker using the same techniques as for the tree roots, the house and the girl (levels, gradient map and play with Blend Modes…). Also create a layer mask and use the grass brush to blend the edges.

Step 14

These are all the elements that I added on the image. I also wanted to add a crow or some bird to it but in the end I didn’t.

One final thing that I did to this, before starting with the final adjustments. I used the Dodge/Burn tool to enhance the shadows and highlights. As always I filled a new layer with 50% gray from Edit>Fill, set the Blend mode to Overlay. Then I used the Burn/Dodge tool on this layer.

Step 15

After finishing the dodge/burning I made a stamp with Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E and added a lighting filter with the settings shown below.

Step 16

Now add Gradient Map adjustment layers to create the general colors of the  image and also the contrast. See image below for details.

Final result