Photo Editing Tutorial 3 : Zombie

ZOMBIE2 copy copy - Copy


This is the third in the series of photo editing tutorials.  This time, we will take an image of a head and transform it to a zombie.

In the above image I have put the end result side by side with the original image to show the difference.

There are many ways of achieving this same end result.  I am going to go through how I quickly did it in Photoshop.

With a bit more time and patience I could have achieved a better result, but it is better that you make these tweaks and changes yourself so that you end up with your own end result.

I did a random search of zombie images and based my plan on the first 2 or 3 images that came up.

Before beginning, have you read the first two photo editing tutorial series?  If not, it might be worthwhile going back and reading over them if you are a complete newbie to photo editing.


The main tools being used will be

  • transparent background
  • layers
  • zoom & erase
  • overlays
  • adjusting color/contrast

It is a relatively straightforward to achieve what can be cool results.  I’m not going to give you the specific details of saturation, contrast, brightness levels, etc because it is better for you to play with these yourself and see how they look at different levels.



Let’s Begin : Skin Color

Have a head-shot to start with, facing forwards can make editing easier for you.  The first thing to do is give our zombie a sick/death looking skin color.  For each adjustment, play with the settings yourself until you are happy with the result.


  • Duplicate your original background layer (the head-shot)
  • Delete everything except the face/neck areas
  • Delete the eyes
  • Enhance the lighting by increasing the contrast and decreasing the brightness
  • Enhance the color by adjusting the hue/saturation
  • Using the lasso tool, select an area around each eye, set feather to about 25px and then adjust the color by changing the hue/saturation levels to give a reddish color


Decomposing Skin


To make our image look more like a zombie and less like a really-tired Hulk, we will make the skin color look like it is rotting.

  • Find a texture image to use (can be anything from old walls, pavements, cement, worktops)
  • Position this texture image over the skin image, stretch it to cover the skin if needed
  • Set the layer to “Overlay”
  • Delete any part of the texture image that is covering outside the skin area (including the eye holes).

This is the texture image I used



A Smile To Die For


The zombie mouth was achieved by adding 3 additional images

  1. Steak
  2. Skull
  3. Blood Splatter
  • Starting with the steak image, delete the background and fatty areas
  • Position the steak over the mouth area
  • Adjust the lighting to give it a darker look and the contrast to highlight the meaty grooves and lines
  • With a front-facing image of a skull, delete everything except the mouth/jaw area
  • Position the jaws over the steaks and resize to estimate the size of the zombies jaws
  • Adjust the lighting and contrast and also the hue to make is look like it belongs with the steak image below
  • Now start erasing the steak images perimeter until it starts to blend in with the jaws and skin
  • To make the three images (skin/jaws/steak) blend a bit better I also searched for blood splatter images and used them to help the other images merge together

If you are searching for images of blood splatter don’t come running to me if you have nightmares!!

Blood splatter taken out of context can look cartoonish, adjust the contrast and lighting to make it darker (as if blood splatter isn’t dark enough already!)


If Looks Could Kill!


I wasn’t sure how to deal with the eyes so I used two different ideas on each one.

Left Eye (Cataracts)

On the left eye (or zombie’s right eye) I wanted to give a milky/cataract/dead-soul look.

  • Duplicate your original image layer again and make sure this is behind everything else.  For the sake of demonstration we will call this new duplicated layer the eye layer
  • Hide all other layers and delete everything on the eye layer except the eye area – you don’t have to be surgical in your deletion here, the only thing that will be seen of this layer in the end result is what will appear through the eye sockets.
  • Using the smudge tool and starting on a white part of the eye, I started to smudge the whole eye ball.
  • On it’s own, it didn’t look like much but when I unhide the other layers and I can see the smudged eye behind the skin layer, it started to look right…. or wrong… depending on how you look at it


Right Eye (Gunshot Wound)

For the right eye (or zombie’s left eye) I used images of blood-splatter again.  I was lucky enough to find an image that fitted nicely with the eye area.  Again adjust the color and contrast and use smaller blood-splatter images to make the bigger splatter fit closer with the skin image





Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: