Cursed Mannequins

It’s time to learn the magic of making mannequins look alive. Learn how to turn a group of mannequins into silent killers.

Step 1: Grouping the Mannequins

These are the two images we’re going to start with:

We will bring them together into one image. It will resemble a panoramic image.

Create a canvas roughly twice the width of your larger image, and the height of your tallest one. Fill the background with black. Copy and paste the images onto new layers. Scale the larger of the two down. CTRL+T and hold SHIFT while you pull down one of the corner anchor points to keep it proportional. On the top image, use the Eraser with a Soft Round brush at about 50% Opacity to smooth out the edges and make them blend.

Select the layer with the image that is supposed to be the background. CTRL+U to adjust Hue/Saturation and simply darken the image some by sliding the Lightness slider down. Once you’ve done that, go to your menu and go to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Adjust the blur so the background image appears out of focus, but so you can still tell what the objects are in the background.

Step 2: Texturing the Mannequin

There are various images being used for the scratching, cracking and aging of the mannequins. To find some good pictures to use, do a search in your stock image gallery or wherever it is you go for “scratches”. Collect at least 3 to 5 images you’ll be using and reusing. Other searches you might try are “rust” and “cracks”.

Use the Lasso tool and cut out one of the scratches from one of your images. Copy and paste it onto a layer above the main mannequin’s face, rotating it to the angle you’d like it (CTRL+T).

Desaturate CTRL+SHIFT+U. Adjust the Levels CTRL+L and drag the left slider up some and the right slider down some to intensify the black and white. In the Layers window, change the crack’s blending option to either Multiply.

Erase around the edges some to make them softer using the Soft Round brush with the Eraser tool. Then, change the blending option to Color Burn.

Take another good texture piece and paste it on another new layer.

Desaturate CTRL+SHIFT+U and change its blending option to Soft Light.

Erase all of the excess texture to make it only cover the face and neck. If there are any abrupt edges, be sure to smooth those out with your Eraser as well.

Now, find a good picture of a hole, or a nice big crack that you like. Cut around it, copy and paste onto another new layer.

Desaturate CTRL+SHIFT+U and change blending option to Pin Light. Adjust the Levels CTRL+L if you think the darks and lights need to be more extreme.

Erase all of the excess areas around the broken hole in her face. If you leave a little texture from it here and there, it gives it a nice effect.

***Note: Keep the layer with the hole on it towards the top of your Layers window, so future textures do not interfere with the black void that it is.

Okay! Now, on a new layer, using the color black and the Brush Tool, with an Opacity of 40%, and a Soft Round brush and darken under the eye. Go over it a few times to give it varying degrees of darkness.

Introducing, the Smudge Brush! We’ll be using this guy a few times in this tutorial.

Use a Soft Round brush with it, at 50% Strength. You’ll use a few different sizes as you spread out this black shadowing you put under her eye. If you want something more concentrated, use a smaller brush, or for lighter, larger areas, use a larger one.

Drag some of the black down her face, around her eye, and onto her forehead. Don’t worry if you’ve got it too heavy in one area, you can either smudge some more, or you can use your eraser to tidy it up.

Now, for a little detail around the mouth.

Use either a brush with your Brush tool that looks like dripping blood/paint, or find a couple images you like (do a search for “splatter”).

On a new layer, add a small drippy black spot from the corner of her mouth.

And on another layer, add a slightly larger one.

Then, on yet another layer, add one in the middle of the bottom lip.

In the Layers window, adjust the Opacity of either a couple or all three of the splatters around the mouth. Change them to around 80% to 50%.

Step 3: They’re Looking At You!

To make this image a little creepier, we’re going to change the direction this one mannequin is looking. Right now, she is looking to the right of the picture, into the distance. We’re going to change this to looking straight at the viewer – you.

Select a medium to dark gray from the eyeball using the Eyedropper. Then, go back to the Brush tool, with a Soft Round brush, and 20% Opacity.

You’re going to do several passes over the eyeball until you can’t see the original pupil anymore (you’ll want to be doing something very similar to the other eye about the same time).

Use the Burn Tool, again with a Soft Round brush, and about 10% Exposure, Midtones. Go around the outside of the eye where the shadows are the darkest.

Then, use the Dodge Tool, with the same settings as the Burn Tool, and lighten the front part of the eye just a little bit.

Darken it more with the Burn tool around the edges if you feel it needs to be.

Now, to turn her eyes so they’re looking at you.

Using the Burn tool again, and a Hard Round brush, position it over the eye, about center.

Click, drag and fill in where the eye should be off to the left of the starting point.

Use the Dodge tool, and with a smaller brush, go in only once over the eye we just created, just inside of th
e dark part. This will create a very soft shine.

Step 4: A Little Blood Never Hurt Anybody well

Find a picture or two of fingerprints. You’ll want one that’s a little larger, so you can scale it down, but it is going to be smudged and distorted by the time we’re done with it. If you feel comfortable, you could make your own. If not however, find a fingerprint. Copy and paste it on a new layer. Desaturate it CTRL+SHIFT+U, then up the Levels CTRL+L increasing the contrast, so the background is white and the print is black. Use the Magic Wand tool and UNCHECK “Contiguous”. Click on the white on the thumbprint, and hit the delete key. By unchecking the Contiguous box, it selects everything that is the color you click on (in this case, white).

Preserve the Transparency of the print in the Layers window. Select a dark red color, and fill the print in with the red. Uncheck the Preserve Transparency feature. Before we go further, we’re going to duplicate this print a few times. There’s no need to continue going through all of these steps if we’ve done it once already. Duplicate it a couple times in the Layers window and then hide them, as we’ll use them shortly. Be sure you always have one extra than you need, so you don’t have to make more, you can just keep copying the original one.

Now, take one fingerprint and scale it down and place it on her cheek.

Use the Smudge Tool again, and drag the bloody fingerprint down the side of her face. Change the Blending option to Overlay. Lower the Opacity of the layer as well, allowing more of the textures to show through and the blood not be so intense.

***Even though we’re adding spots of color to this black and white image, we don’t want the color so intense that we can only see the red. We still want it to blend in nicely.

Repeat this with a couple more finger prints.

We’re now going to make it look like she’s either bleeding, or she has someone else’s blood on her lips. For this, we need a slightly drippy red splatter.

Preserve the transparency for this layer, and paint a little reddish brown into the red. Uncheck the preserve transparency and change the blending option to Linear Burn.

Get the Smudge brush out and spread the blood around a little. Use the Eraser to tidy up.

Step 4: Adding More Cracks and Blood

You’ll be adding the remainder of the cracks and blood the same way you did in the previous steps. Use various sizes of cracks, from tiny to making it look like the mannequins face is going to break off. Erase some areas of the cracks if you feel there are too many.

For the faces and bodies that are out of focus, add the cracks as if you were to the original face. When you’ve got them where you want them, merge the layers of cracks together into one layer for that face.

Then, blur it with the Gaussian blur again. Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Adjust the blur to match the mannequin it is on.

Do the same with the blood as well. Make it as if you were making it originally, then add a blur to it that matches its subject.

If you remember, the mannequin in the back had glasses on, so we’ll add a little blood splatter to those too.

Step 5: Spider Webs

Spider webs are always a nice touch to any creepy picture. Even though these mannequins have moved at some point, let’s add a couple webs to really make the mood. Maybe they have been locked away in a warehouse for a while?

Be sure the webs are black and white (desaturate them), and have strong darks and lights (adjust the levels).

Paste them into a new layer and change the blending option to Pin Light.

Lower the layer opacity to about 60%, and use the Eraser with the Soft Round brush to fade the webs on both sides, mostly on the left. Then, use the Blur Tool at about 65% strength and blur out the left side some. The right hand side of the web should be more visible because it is more in focus than the left.

Keep going back through with the Eraser and clean up the edges of the web that are on the face and on the left side. The web will be kind of faint when you’re done, but a nice touch nonetheless.

You can do this with one or more webs in other areas of the picture if you’d like.

Step 6: Don’t Forget the Spiders!

Find about three spiders you’d like to use. Desaturate them, cut them out and paste them on their own layers. Scale them down and move them around until you find a nice resting location for each one.

Be sure to add a shadow the spider too, or it won’t look like it belongs. To do this, duplicate the spider in the layers window. Select the bottom spider. Preserve transparency and fill with solid black. Uncheck preserve transparency and transform CTRL+T the spider a little. Hold CTRL while you drag the anchor points around a little bit. Then, just the Blur tool and come in and blur the spider shadow. Change the layer Opacity to about 30%, and there you go! You’re very own spider shadow.

Final Touches

At this point you really go in and make sure there aren’t any weird looking lines or anything anywhere in the picture. Abrupt edges, strange shadows or highlights, whatever you see, now you can fix it. Once you’re done with that…

You’re finished!

By Kirin Knapp

Kirin Knapp is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network, publishing company of FlashNewz. A flash animator and illustrator, she is the creator of her home site,

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