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Create A Horror Decay Portrait Effect In Photoshop
Tutorials Photo Effects 7448 Views October 19th, 2016

Learn how to create a horror decay portrait effect in Photoshop using some basic blending techniques, adjustments and gradient maps. You can now transform your photos by adding this creepy decompose putrefy effect that happens to the body after death. So get ready for this year Halloween with this cool dark portrait effect.

decay horror portrait effect photoshop tutorial before after portrait effect photoshop tutorial

Create a new PSD file and fill the background layer with color black. Add the girl stock image in a new layer and call it Portrait.

girl portrait stock image free

Create a new layer and call it Decay Mask. Fill this layer with color white (keep the CTRL key pressed and press F5 to fill the layer with the Foreground Color).

fill background photoshop

Add a layer mask to the Decay Mask layer.

add layer mask in photoshop

Click on the layer mask thumbnail to make sure you work in the layer mask and not in the actual layer. Press CTRL and I to invert the selection.

invert selection in photoshop

Use the Brush Tool, color white and with a soft round brush paint over the portrait like shown in the preview. Make sure you are working in the Decay Mask layer mask.

paint in layer mask in photoshop

Make sure that you are still working on Decay Mask layer mask. Go to Filter > Brush Strokes and choose the Spatter Filter and set the Spray Radius to 13 and the Smoothness to 3.

spatter filter in photoshop

Add an Inner Shadow layer style to the Decay Mask layer.

inner shadow layer style in photoshop

Create a new layer above the Decay Mask layer and call it Roots. Copy this tree root stock image in this layer. Make 2 or 3 copies of this layer so that you cover the white areas that you painted in the previous steps.

tree roots stock image

Now add some worms above the root layers. Use these stock images: worm 1 and worm 2 . You might also have to increase the brightness and the contrast of these images but these are details that we will take care of later on.

worms texture free stock image

Select the Root and the Worm layers, right click and choose Create Clipping Mask

create clipping mask in photoshop

Create a new layer and add this hands stock image. Use one of the Photoshop selection tools to remove the background. Place each hand in a different layer and place them like shown in the preview.

free hand stock image

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

hue/saturation adjustment layer photoshop

If you want to add text to this photo manipulation you have to choose the right font type. I will use a dark gothic font called Living by Numbers Font which is a free font for commercial use also. Learn how to install font in Photoshop from this quick tutorial.

install font in photoshop

Add this layer style to the Gothic Text layer: Color Overlay color #989898, Bevel and Emboss color #ffffff and Drop Shadow color #585858 .

color overlay style photoshop bevel and emboss style photoshop drop shadow style in photoshop

To create that dark horror look we have to darken the image. You can try this cool Dark Light Effect Photoshop action for quick results.

Dark Light Premium Photoshop Action

To create a dark light effect in Photoshop we'll use the Levels adjustment.

levels adjustment in photoshop

Create a new layer and call it Decay Crack Effect. Use these Decay and Crack Brushes to add cracks over the image like shown in the screenshot.

decay crack photoshop brushes

Set the Fill of the Decay Crack Effect to 0% and add an Inner Shadow and a Color Overlay style.

inner shadow photoshop color overlay photoshop

To increase the contrast and to add more drama let's add a Curves adjustment layer.

curves adjustment in photoshop

If you want you can add one of these grunge texture backgrounds in a new layer with an Overlay blend mode. I used this wood grunge texture for this manipulation. Also I added a Gradient Map adjustment with Color blend mode and 62% opacity level. The colors for the gradient are: color: #0e2f3a / location 0% , #612f10 / location 60% , #dac691 / location 100% . You can use of course any color tones you like for example bloody red colors.

gradient map adjustment in photoshop

For the final touches you can now return to the Worm and Root layers and simply reposition, erase some of the worms, increase contrast, etc. The final step is to add a sharp crisp look to the image. To sharpen images you have to use the Photoshop High Pass Filter technique. Don't skip this step. You can add two high pass layers for more sharper details.

decay horror portrait effect photoshop tutorial

If you're looking for amazing textures and backgrounds for Photoshop, explore Textures4Photoshop where you can find 1000+ unique images. You can download all these textures and backgrounds for free to use in personal or commercial projects!

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2 comment(s) for "Create A Horror Decay Portrait Effect In Photoshop"

4:37 AM Monday, October 31, 2016
had a hard time getting the pumpkin to appear right. the rest of the tutorial was awesome! allowed me to mes with light and perspective. thanks! happy halloween! reply
4:40 AM Monday, October 31, 2016
I am glad you enjoyed practicing the Halloween pumpkin tutorial. I hope you had a great Halloween night :) reply

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