Haunted Mirrors Tutorial

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Inspired by recently viewed Mirrors 2, I thought it might be fun to play with reflections to make some haunting imagery for the Halloween season.

I found a fantastic series of stock photos from A Crazy Charade over at DeviantArt. I’ve packed up all the resources you’ll need to do this tutorial in this >zip file<. The following image is used as the base pic that we can use as a foundation.

Of the next 2, I liked how the model looked on the left and enjoyed the expression in the reflection on the 2nd image.

So the first thing we’re going to do is use the lasso tools and grab the area of the model’s head that we like and copy and past it on the very first image. Before sizing it up, go to the layers panel and drop down the opacity of the head cutout so you can better line up the proportions. Press Ctrl+T to transform, rotate and scale.

Now begin blending the hair. Use a soft eraser tool brush and decrease the opacity and flow to about 30-40% and begin using multiple strokes to erase away some of the hard edges form the hair.

Now would be a good time to start cleaning up some of the hair tips that were cut out. I simply took the lasso tool and selected any errant pixels that stand out and deleted them.

To better blend these cutouts, take the blur tool at about 60% strength and do a single pass over the hair cuts.

Repeat all the steps you’ve done so far with the 2nd head for the reflection. In this case I also used her chest since she’s leaning inward to scream at the other side. You’ll also have do an extra cutout around the border of the mirror.

Perform a blur along the freshly cut edge to blend her reflection with the mirror.

This is what the initial image looks like now with the 2 altered heads.

Now it’s time to start turning the reflection into a demonic dark world. Navigate to the top menu and hit Image>Flatten Image. Right-click the layer in the Layers Panel and duplicate it. Now on this duplicate layer, delete everything that is not the reflection including the fingers that are pressed against the mirror.

Press Ctrl+U to bring up Hue/Saturation. I ended up pulling my saturation down -89.

Now navigate to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast and bump up the contrast. This really begins to transform the mood of the darkworld.

At this point duplicate the layer that is of the darkened reflection only. We’re going to blow out the values by changing the layer’s blending mode to “Hard Light”. You can find the Blending Modes over on the Layers Window.

Open the grunge texture from resource download pack.

Press ctrl+T to transform and then pull the left side to the right and hold in CTRL while manipulating it to skew at an angle. This will make it appear more in perspective with the mirror.

Cut away and delete the excess trim around the grunge texture.

Now to add some veins! Here is an image I found thats actually the veins in an eyeball. Pretty cool, huh?

I copied it and pasted it a couple times on her face and moved them around a bit until I ended up with something like this.

Here’s what the layer looks like when you turn its blend mode to Vivid Light.

If you haven’t already you can fill in her eyes with black. I left a single gray dot on each eye to mimic reflective light.

Drop the grain texture from the download pack on top of everything and change its blend mode to overlay.

I added a logo her just for fun.

Happy Halloween!

About the Author:
Mark is an animator and ad designer for WebProNews. He has a passion for illustration and 3D art.