Create a Creepy Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a dark, haunted and creepy composition for Halloween. You’ll learn how to turn a building into an eerie room using textures, lighting and adjustment layers. You’ll also learn how to add fire effects, add the model and then make her part of the scene and much more.

Tutorial Resources

Create the Background

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop by selecting File > New and give the following values:


Step 2

Open up the building room photo and then drag this image into our main document using Move Tool (V).

Here is the image placed on the document:


Step 3

First, we are going to dark the outside of the building room. Select the window using Pen Tool (P) like shown in the image below. While the selection is active, click on the second button at the bottom of layer panel to add a Layer Mask and extract the window.


Place the tree image under the building layer and adjust it using Transform Tool (CTRL + T) to get the tree parts visible outside the window.

Here are the results:


Step 4

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layers > Curves to make a Curves adjustment layer for tree and lower the brightness using the following settings. Also, I added Cyan and Blue color tones using Red and Blue channels.




Step 5

Make a Curves adjustment layer for building and set it to Clipping Mask (press the red icon). Now darken the highlights using the following settings:


Results after darkening:


Step 6

Use the Photo Filter adjustment layer to add blue tones and you can see the settings in the below image.


Results with added blue color tones to room:


Step 7

Make a another Curves for the room and this time reduce the brightness using the following settings:


On the layer mask of Curves, I masked the effect on the selected part to keep that area brighten and leave the dark effect on the rest of the background. You can see the selected area where I masked the effect using soft round black brush.


Add the Fire

Step 8

Place the fire image to the main document and place it at the right bottom of the background. Also, scale it like shown below to get the burning flames. You can see the image for reference that how I resized it.


Set the blending mode of the fire image to Screen. Sometimes using Screen blend mode, we have some edges and other parts remain visible which we don’t want. To fix, either you can use the Layer Mask to mask those parts or you can also use the Levels adjustment layer. In this case, if you got the edges after changing the blend mode to Screen then make sure to get rid of them.

Results after changing the blend mode:


Step 9

Hit CTRL + SHIFT + N to create a new layer and name it ‘fire lights’. Set the foreground color to #593c1c and using soft-medium brush paint the lights over the fires. You can see in the below image how I painted the lights.


Now change the blend mode to Color Dodge 100%.


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