Watch out! This
zombie is hungry


Step 1: Find A Photo

Choose a photo that you find fitting. Make sure your friends are all right with you manipulating their image. Try and find one that shows them snarling or showing their teeth. Make sure their eyes are visible as well. Good lighting is also an important element to keep in mind.

A suitable starting
image. Notice how you can see both eyes and teeth.

Step 2:Burn, Baby, Burn

It’s time to burn. Select the burn tool on the left side of the screen. Set it to shadows with an opacity around 90 or 100%. Now go crazy. But not too crazy! Darken around the eyes to give them a sunken look. Then go for the mouth and teeth. The burn effect will make the subject look like they have patches of rotten flesh and dried blood.

Image after being

Step 3:Add Gore. Then Add Some More Gore

Now you are going to create a mask so you can add gore. Start by creating a duplicate layer. Then find an image of meat or wound effects on the Internet. Here is a nice, juicy steak courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Paste the image in between the layers under where you would like it to show up. The order should look like this:

Layer Order.

Choose an eraser with a feathered edge and set the opacity to somewhere around 5 to 10%. Select the topmost layer (which should be the duplicate of your burned image) and erase away the area you want to get rid of. The gore should eventually start to show up. Don't erase too much or else you will end up with sharp edges. Everything should blend together nicely.

Once you’re done erasing and you’re satisfied with the size and placement of the gore image, adjust the brightness and contrast of the picture so the two layers match. You can add as many images of gore as you like, but make sure you keep those images in between the two layers and they don’t overlap.

Image after adding
layers of gore.

Step 4:Take The Life Out Of Their Eyes

It’s time for the little details. This part may seem tedious, but it really brings your zombie to life…or death. You're going to start with the eyes, but first you have to flatten the image. To flatten, select Layer>Flatten Image. That takes all the different layers and compresses them into one single layer. Once you flatten an image, you can no longer move layers around, so be sure you are 100% satisfied with how things are arranged.

After the image has been flattened, take the brush tool and set it to a pale blue color. The hexadecimal color #cbf9f6 is a nice, undead shade of blue. Carefully paint the iris using a small sized brush. Use an even smaller sized brush to create the tiny black pupil in the center.

Image after changing
the eye color to a pale blue.

Step 5:Touch Up With Some Blood

In the words of my favorite Rolling Stones record, “Let it Bleed.” Let your creativity run wild, and add as much blood as you like wherever you want. Set your brush to #411212 for a darker shade of red. Focus on the areas around the eyes, mouth and ears like you did with the burn tool. You can burn the painted areas if you want them darker than they are.

Image after adding

Step 6: Create An Undead Atmosphere

You’re almost done! The only thing left is to create an eerie atmosphere. You can do this by adjusting the brightness and contrast. Go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast and set the levels however you like. You might also want to adjust the hue and saturation as well. Once you’ve completed the final touches, you’re finished! Sit back and admire the macabre masterpiece you have just created in six simple steps.

The final
side-by-side comparison of the living and the living dead. .

© 2009 John A. Lockett. All rights reserved.