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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create an Evil Photo Effect With an Adobe Photoshop Action

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to create an amazing evil photo effect. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time. 

The effect shown above is the one I will show you how to create in this tutorial. If you would like to create the even more advanced evil effect shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Evil Photoshop Action.

Action final result

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. Let's Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
Checking image size and mode

2. How to Select the Subject

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make a selection of our subject and then copy the subject to a separate layer. Choose the Quick Selection Tool (W), and select the background of the photo. Use the Shift-Alt buttons on your keyboard to add or subtract some areas from the selection. After you've made a perfect selection, press Control-Shift-I on your keyboard to invert the selection.

Making a selection

Step 2

Now go to Select > Modify > Smooth and set the Sample Radius to 1 px. Then, go to Select > Modify > Contract and set the Contract By to 1 px. After that, go to Select > Modify > Feather and set the Feather Radius to 2 px as shown below:

Modifying a selection

Step 3

Press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection, and name this new layer Main Subject.

Creating new layer using selection

3. How to Create the Background

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the background. Select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Background Color, and choose the color #000000 as shown below:

Creating new solid color fill layer

Step 2

Now Right-click on this layer, choose Blending Options, check Gradient Overlay, and use the settings below:

Adding layer style

Step 3

Go to File > Place Embedded, select the Grunge Texture file from the link above, and click Place. Then, transform it and place it as shown below:

Placing texture

Step 4

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to -100 as shown below:

Adjusting saturation

Step 5

Name this layer Background Texture and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Changing the blending mode

4. How to Make the Red Eyes Glow

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make the red eyes glow. Select the Main Subject layer, go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, and name it Eyes Glow.

Creating a new layer

Step 2

Now choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush and set the foreground color to #ff0000. Then, brush over and around the eyes as shown below:

Brushing into layer

Step 3

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 50%.

Changing blending mode and opacity

5. How to Blend the Subject

Step 1

In this section, we are going to blend our subject more with the background. Select the Main Subject layer, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and set the Saturation to -80 as shown below.

Adjusting saturation

Step 2

Now press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate the Main Subject layer and drag this new layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel. Then, press Control-Shift-U to desaturate it.

Duplicating and desaturating layer

Step 3

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 30 px as shown below:

Adding high pass filter

Step 4

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and enter the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and name it Subject Details.

Changing the blending mode

Step 6

Now Shift-click on the Main Subject layer to select all layers in between. Then, go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers and name it Subject.

Creating new group from layers

Step 7

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that reveals the whole layer folder. Then, set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), and pick a soft brush. After that, brush over the areas that are left from the background.

Brushing into layer mask

6. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make some final adjustments to the design. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it Overall Brightness.

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 3

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall Contrast.

Creating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 4

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 22%.

Changing blending mode and opacity

Step 5

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance to create a new color balance adjustment layer and name it Color_1.

Creating new color balance adjustment layer

Step 6

Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting color balance

Step 7

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it Color_2. Then, drag this layer just below the Color_1 layer in the Layers panel.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 8

Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting curves

Step 9

Now select the Overall Contrast layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Color_3, and choose the color #3e92c7 as shown below.

Creating new solid color fill layer

Step 10

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation. Then, drag this layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel.

Creating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 11

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting vibrance

Step 12

Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px as shown below:

Adding high pass filter

Step 13

Name this layer Overall Sharpening and change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light.

Changing the blending mode

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

Final result

If you would like to create the even more advanced evil effect shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Evil Photoshop Action.

The action works so you simply fill in your subject with a color and just play the action. The action will do everything for you, giving you fully layered and customizable results. The action also creates 20 preset color looks that you can choose from.

The action comes with a detailed video tutorial that demonstrates how to use the action and customize the results to get the most out of the effect.

Action final result
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