Today we'll be learning how to make a blood effect in Photoshop! Using a simple five-color color scheme and a handful of layers, you can learn how to add blood in Photoshop completely from scratch! We will be covering three different types of blood effects, from realistic blood splatter to a blood dripping effect.
Create an instant blood dripping effect with an action! Just hit play and watch it turn any font into slasher-inspired typography, It's not just for text, though—apply it to people and objects just as easily!
What You Will Learn in This Adobe Photoshop Tutorial
- How to add blood in Photoshop
- How to make blood tears in Photoshop
- How to create a blood dripping effect
- How to create blood splatter in Photoshop
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What You'll Need
To complete this project, you will need the following resources:
Find more resources on Envato Elements!
1. How to Create a Beauty Color Grade
To start everything off, I’m going to do some mild color grading on my image. This will of course change from image to image, but this is my go-to for when I want a smokier but still high-contrast base image!
First, add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer right above the subject layer, setting it to -28 Brightness and 9 Contrast.
Next, create a new Group, naming it “Color Grade.” In this group, we are going to place three different adjustment layers which will stay at the top of your layer stack from here on out.
First up, add a Color Lookup adjustment layer set to Foggy Night, 16% Opacity, and a layer mode of Multiply.
Second, add a Selective Color adjustment layer affecting the Reds, Yellows, Whites, Naturals, and Blacks. Set the Opacity to 28%.
And third, a Curves adjustment layer with the top anchor point pulled inward slightly, an 75% Opacity, and an adjusted Blend If setting.
Remember, you hold Alt when adjusting the Blend If toggles to split them in half.
That’ll be it for our color grade! Go ahead and collapse the group, and remember all future layers will be placed below this group and above the Brightness/Contrast layer.
2. How to Make Blood Tears in Photoshop
Let's move on to the blood. First, we’re going to create a blood Photoshop color swatch set consisting of the five colors seen here. I’ll refer to them as black, dark red
#22050a, medium red
#5d0d0e, light red
#a6180c, and white from here on out.
Let’s create a New Layer, setting it to Multiply.
With the dark red shade, paint the base of your blood. This will be the general shape you want your blood to be. Use a hard round brush to paint your blood base. Don’t be afraid of simple shapes, and assuming you don’t mind the sight of blood, looking at references is also a great idea. Or you can download a premade blood brush for Photoshop!
I do use a pen tablet, though a mouse can work perfectly fine for this part. When working with a pen tablet, I keep the Pen Pressure On but the Opacity Pressure Off.
Next, create a New Layer, clipping it to the blood base layer.
Now, using a soft round Brush, we are going to fill in part of the base with the medium red color. We are filling everything but the ends of the drips and the area the blood is flowing out of. These areas are where the blood would be the thickest. The thicker the blood, the darker the blood. We’ll go more into that next.
Create and clip another New Layer above the last clipped layer.
On this layer, we’re going to paint bright red using a soft round Brush set to a very low Flow Rate. You’ll adjust the Flow Rate as you go, but starting with around 10% should work fine.
This is where a tablet definitely comes in handy thanks to its Pressure Opacity options. However, you can absolutely do this with a mouse. If you are using a mouse, I would bring your Flow Rate even lower, to 1%.
We’re going to use this bright red to start establishing the flowing motion of our blood. As blood flows, it leaves a trail. The drop is the head of the trail and would be the darkest due to it being the most highly concentrated amount of blood. As the blood flows, it leaves less blood behind. Think of it almost like a comet. You have the comet itself, and then the tail traveling behind.
If blood hits a spot where it starts to pool, then it would also appear darker. It all comes down to lighting. If large amounts of light are hitting the blood, it will shine through it. Blood isn’t opaque; it's partially transparent. Light can shine through it unless there is a high concentration of blood blocking the light.
So, to summarize, the darker the blood, the less light is hitting it, or there is a high contraction of blood there to block said light. The lighter the blood, the less blood there is, or there is a strong light that is able to penetrate the blood.
Now, we’re going to enhance the shapes we made in the previous step. Create and clip a New Layer, setting it to 50% Opacity.
On this layer, use dark red to further shape your blood. Try to enhance what you painted in the previous step by adding new shadows, darkening the drops, etc.
Now that our base is done and we have this blob of red, we need to give it some depth and weight by adding shadows.
Create a New Layer below the blood base, setting it to Multiply.
Color Pick a shadow tone from your subject, I color-picked a dark brown and then saturated it to get this saturated brown
Now, using a soft round Brush with a low Flow, build up shadows below the drips of blood. Only the heavy parts would be casting a shadow, the parts of blood that are thick enough to be blocking light.
The blood also needs to be high enough to be blocking light, so keep that in mind.
Before we can get to what I think the absolute best part of painting blood is, we need to make a custom brush. We are going to start with a default hard-round brush.
Next, we are going to set the brush to the following settings:
Brush Tip Shape
- Size: 40 px
- Spacing: 16%
- Size Jitter: 50%
- Brush: Default Soft Round Brush
- Size: 115%
- Spacing: 100%
- Scatter: 20%
- Count: 2
With the settings finished, we can hit the Create New Brush button found in the bottom right-hand corner of the Brush Settings panel. Name the Brush “Wet Shine” and check Capture Brush Size in Preset.
With that, we are ready to go!
Finally, it's time for my favorite part, the highlights!
Create a New Layer above the blood base and its clipped layers, setting its Opacity to 90%.
Now, using the new brush we made, paint in your highlights using white. I like to set the brush Size to between 3 and 6 px, although this depends on the size of highlight you’re painting. Make some highlights bigger and others smaller, some long and some short.
Concentrate the highlights on the darker, thicker areas of blood. This is where the blood would be catching and reflecting the most amount of light.
I use Control-Z often, placing dots and then undoing if I don’t like them, and then I place more. You can also use a soft Eraser brush to taper highlights or fade them so they aren’t as strong.
Tapering the highlights using the eraser brush is also how you’d go about painting these highlights without any pen pressure options.
Finish up with some larger highlights by creating a New Layer and painting blobs of white using the "Drip" brush over the larger surfaces of the blood.
Next, add a Layer Mask, and apply the mask on three of the four sides of each blob placed. This will create almost a gradient effect, with each blob having one solid side and then fading out. This will create a nice surface highlight ideal for the smoother areas where the blood is flowing.
Create a new layer set to Overlay and paint varying shades of red around the eye and the thicker parts of blood. This will create a nice bounce light that the blood would be casting.
You can also use this layer to enhance some of the shadows under the blood base.
And the nice thing about these blood drips is that they can be easily grouped, copied, and then placed on other areas of the skin. That's how to make blood in Photoshop!
3. How to Create a Blood Drip Effect in Photoshop
Now on to single or falling drops of blood! To create a single blood drip, we’re going to follow the same steps, only with some slight differences.
First, add a New Layer set to Multiply, with the base of our blood painted in dark red. This time, just paint a simple curved line. Or you can use a premade blood brush for Photoshop.
Next, with a hard round Eraser brush, we want to define the top and bottom drops more.
The easiest way to do this is to just erase right below the ends of the blood, and then drag down. End with two ball like-shapes connected by a thick line.
Save this shape as a custom brush to instantly create a drip brush for Photoshop!
Now, fill in your blood with medium red and light red just as before, with a larger blood effect.
Add shadows on a layer set to Multiply, focusing only on the top and bottom drips of blood.
And then paint in your highlights to finish things off!
When painting highlights on blood drips, focus on the top and bottom portions only. Keep in mind the roundness of their shape that the light would be reflecting off.
Let’s Group our blood drip together, create a selection using the Lasso Tool around one of the ends of the drip, and then add a Layer Mask to the group.
Now, we can place our masked blood drip directly above the top of the original drip. This will create a falling drip effect!
4. How to Create Blood Splatter in Photoshop
Next, let’s cover realistic blood splatters! To create blood splatter in Photoshop, we’re again going to follow most of the same steps as before, only this time it’ll be even easier!
Create a New Layer set to Multiply and then, using a blood splatter brush for Photoshop like this one from Envato Elements, paint some blood splatters using a bright red color.
Create and clip a New Layer into the blood splatter layer, setting it to Multiply.
Paint dots of medium red in the middle of each larger splatter of blood, using a soft round Brush to darken them. Leave the smaller spots of blood a bright red.
Finally, you are going to create a New Layer above the splatter and shading, and then place a dot of white in the middle of each dark blood spot to create a nice juicy highlight.
You can, of course, add multiple dots of highlights depending on the shape of the splatter: the bigger the splatter, the more room for highlights.
That's how to create blood splatter in Photoshop! Thanks to its small size, it's incredibly easy to paint.
That's how to make a blood effect in Photoshop! Three different blood splatter effects, using all the same colors, layers, and techniques—just in slightly different ways!
Need More Blood Splatter Effects?
Blood Art Photoshop Action (.ATN, .ABR)
Create a cloudy blood drip effect in Photoshop with the Blood Art Photoshop Action! This blood effect offers a different take on the typical blood effect. With a more graphic design feel, this action is great for posters, CD covers, and even book covers!
50 Glossy Blood Splatters (.ABR, .GRD)
This set of 50 glossy realistic blood splatters given you more than enough, variety so that you never have to worry about using the same blood splatter twice! This also doubles as a drip brush for Photoshop, making it a must-have for any photo editor.
Creepy Photoshop Action (.ATN, .ABR, .PAT)
Everyone knows that fake blood in Photoshop pairs best with a zombie! Spend your time focusing on how to make blood in Photoshop, and use this action to create the rest with just a click of a button.
Splatter Collection (.ARB)
When it comes to fake blood for Photoshop, a good blood splatter brush is key. And while this collection of splatter brushes doesn't advertise itself as a blood brush, all you have to do is paint in red to turn this ink brush into a horror scene. This also doubles as a great drip brush for Photoshop!
Looking to learn even more? Check out some more tutorials below:
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