Seasonal Savings: 20% off selected memberships for a limited time. Give now

Learn it fast with expert-taught software and skills training at lynda.com. See what you can learn

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Deke's Techniques: How to create a Halloween-worthy headless stranger

If last week’s Deke’s Techniques episodes on various ways to carve a pumpkin in Adobe Photoshop weren’t enough spooky spirit for you, then you’ll be pleased to discover that this week’s episode shows you how to create a headless stranger who haunts this eerie forest:

background photo of a misty forest

Deke begins with this unsuspecting gentleman whose head is still decidedly intact:

Photo of a person

Using the Calculations command (twice), he isolates his hapless subject in an alpha channel. Then, some devious hand painting and a cruel inversion of the channel result in this mask:

A layer mask of the figure outline

Deke then lops of his model’s head with a clever selection applied to the mask, and methodically reconstructs the stump by cloning the victim’s collar and scarf on a new layer:

The composite photo of the figure without a head

Next, he places his now headless stranger into the misty woods, tormenting his subject further by stretching him vertically with the Transform command:

A headless man in a misty forest scene

Deke then drains his victim of all color with an adjustment layer and dissolves away the legs with a gradient mask:

The stranger in the misty scene and the Layers panel

In his final act of imaginary Photoshop treachery, Deke uses the Save for Web command with the quality set to Low to degrade the picture (since you wouldn’t have a tack-sharp shot if your hand was trembling as you were ran running from a headless man stalking you in the woods!).

The final photo composite of a headless man in the woods

Don’t worry. The good-natured, benevolent Photoshop master Deke will be back with a less spooky technique next week. Happy Halloween!

Interested in more?

• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: IntermediatePhotoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Learn it from the experts.

With online video courses at lynda.com, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.

See what you can learn


Share this article:

Tags: ,

Get the latest news

  •   New course releases
  •   Pro tips and tricks
  •   News and updates
  
New releases submit clicked

You can change your email preferences at any time. We will never sell your email. More info

Featured articles

A lynda.com membership includes:

Unlimited access to thousands of courses in our library
Certificates of completion
New courses added every week (almost every day!)
Course history to track your progress
Downloadable practice files
Playlists and bookmarks to organize your learning
Become a member

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.