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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create an Animated Ghost Effect Action in Photoshop

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
What You'll Be Creating

This ghost photo effect is a part of the Halloween Ghost Animated Photoshop Action from my portfolio on Envato Market

Animated Ghost Photoshop Action
Halloween Animated Ghost Photoshop Action

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. Add the Stock Image

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop. Add the image that you want to turn into a ghost effect. 

The ghost effect works both for humans and animals. You can try it to create scary Halloween images.

Girl Nature Stock Image

Call this layer Nature Background.

Step 2

Press Control-J to duplicate the Background layer and call it Girl layer.

Duplicate Layer in Photoshop

2. Remove the Girl From the Background

Step 1

First, you have to hide the Girl layer. Click the eye icon to hide the layer.

Go back to the Background layer. What we want to do in this layer is to remove the girl and to obtain a foliage background.

Hide a Layer in Photoshop

Step 2

Pick the Clone Stamp Tool (S). With this tool, we will copy from one area of the photo to the area where the girl is. 

Keep the Alt key pressed and click where the arrow from the preview points. The cursor will change to a target: click the exact spot you want to start copying from.

Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool

We use a soft round brush of around 94 px size. Paint over the photo, starting from the middle of the girl, as shown in the preview.

How to Use the Clone Stamp Tool

Keep painting over the image until you've covered the entire area.

How to Use the Clone Stamp Tool

If you want, you can press Alt and choose another starting point to obtain a seamless result.

Remove Elements from Photos with the Clone Stamp Tool

3. Remove the Background of the Girl Image

Step 1

Add a Layer Mask to the Girl layer. 

Add Layer Mask in Photoshop
Layer Mask in Photoshop

Step 2

First, hide the Background layer just for this step.

Set the Foreground Color to #000000. Pick the Brush Tool (B) and, with a soft round brush, paint inside the Layer Mask to remove the background of the girl layer. 

Click on the Thumbnail of the Layer Mask to paint inside the mask.

Remove the Background in Photoshop

Keep painting until you've removed the entire background. You don't have to make a precise cut, but make sure the background is removed.

Remove the Background in Photoshop

Step 3

Right click on the Thumbnail of the Layer Mask and choose Apply Layer Mask.

Apply Layer Mask in Photoshop

Ghosting an image with Photoshop is quite easy. In the next step, we'll turn this girl into a ghost.

4. Create Ghost Eyes in Photoshop

Step 1

Set the Foreground Color to #ffffff

Add a new Layer and call it Ghost Eyes. To create this effect, use the Brush Tool (B) and a soft round brush. 

Set the size of the brush to match the size of the eye. Add a white dot over each eye, as shown in the preview. 

Create Ghost Eyes in Photoshop

Step 2

Reduce the opacity of the Ghost Eyes layer to around 67%.

Create Ghost Eyes in Photoshop

Step 3

Select the Girl layer and the Ghost Eyes layer and press Control-E to merge them. Rename the new layer Ghost 1

Create a Ghost in Photoshop

5. Create the Ghost Effect in Photoshop

Step 1

Press Control-J to duplicate the Ghost 1 layer and name it Ghost 2

Duplicate Layer in Photoshop

Step 2

Hide the Ghost 2 layer.

Reduce the Opacity of the Ghost 1 layer to around 50%.

Layer Opacity in Photoshop

Step 3

Add a Layer Mask to this layer and, with the Brush Tool (B), paint over the lower part of the image. Use the color #ffffff and different opacity levels to create a transparent ghostly effect.

Hide Image with Layer Mask

Step 4

Make the Ghost 2 layer visible again. Use the Move Tool (V) to move the layer 10 pixels to the left.

Move Layer Using the Move Tool

Step 5

Set the blend mode to Lighten and the Opacity to 25%. You can change these settings to your liking.

Blend Mode Lighten

Step 6

Add a Layer Mask to the Ghost 2 layer and, with the Brush Tool (B), paint over the lower part of the image. Use the color #ffffff and different opacity levels to create a transparent ghostly effect.

Hide Image with Layer Mask

6. Use a Gradient Map to Colorize the Image

To colorize the image using a gradient, go to Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map

Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

You can use any color tones you want. For creating ghost effects, I usually use either a black-white gradient or a blue-cyan gradient.

For this tutorial, I will use these colors: #000000 (location 0%),  #6c9298 (location 32%), and #ffffff (location 100%).

Change the Gradient Map Color Tones

7. Create the Animated Ghost Effect

Step 1

To create the ghost animation effect, go to Window > Animation. In Photoshop, you use the Timeline panel to create animation frames.

Make sure the Timeline panel is in frame animation mode. Click on either of the buttons shown in the preview and choose Convert to Frame Animation.

Convert to Frame Animation in Photoshop

Step 2

Click on the arrow next to the seconds of the first frame and choose No delay. This setting determines the speed of the animation.

Animation No Delay Setting

Step 3

Click on the arrow next to the Once setting and choose Forever. This setting determines the duration of the animation loop.

Animation Loop Forever

Step 4

Click on the Duplicate Selected Frames button to create a new frame.

Duplicate Selected Frames

Step 5

Make sure Frame 2 is selected and move the Ghost 2 layer 10 pixels to the left, using the Move Tool (V).

Move Layer in Photoshop

Step 6

Make sure Frame 2 is selected and set the Opacity of the Ghost 1 layer 16%. Also, move the layer 5 pixels down using the Move Tool (V)

Lower the Layer Opacity

Step 7

Click on Frame 1, hold down the Shift key, and click on Frame 2 to select the two frames.

Select Frames in Photoshop

Step 8

Click on the Tweens Animation Frames button and add 5 frames.

Add Tween Frames

Step 9

Go to Frame 1 and click on the Duplicate Selected Frames button. 

Step 10

Now you have 8 frames instead of 7 frames. Go to Frame 2 and drag it to the last position. So Frame 2 will become Frame 8. If you click on Frame 1 and Frame 8, they have to be identical.

Move Frames in Photoshop

Step 11

Click on Frame 7, hold down the Shift key, and click on Frame 8 to select the two frames. Click on the Tweens Animation Frames button and add 5 frames.

Add Tween Frames

Step 12

Click on Frame 13 and press the Delete Selected Frames button. After deleting the frame, you will have 12 frames. 

Delete Selected Frames in Photoshop

8. Save the GIF Animation

Click on Frame 1. To save the GIF animation, go to Edit > Save for Web & Devices and choose the GIF file format. Make sure the animation and loop options are the correct ones and click Save.

Save GIF Animation in Photoshop

Congratulations! You're Done!

In this tutorial, you've learned how to create an animated Halloween ghost effect in Photoshop. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.  

Animated Ghost Photo in Photoshop


This ghost photo effect is a part of the Halloween Ghost Animated Photoshop Action from my portfolio on Envato Market

Animated Ghost Photoshop Action
Halloween Animated Ghost Photoshop Action

Want to learn more? I recommend the following tutorials to try out next:

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