Hey guys. Today I’m going to show you the steps that went into editing this zombie apocalypse image which has also been selected as a nominee for the 2017 Fear Awards. First off I want everyone to acknowledge the amazing makeup work by Nikoletta Tzani. We have worked together on a few shoots together and is an amazing FX artist. This image was actually her concept for her final degree exam in which she got a first! So congrats Nikoletta.
Time for the Photoshop goodness!!
Here is the image straight out of the camera.
The first port of call, as usual, is cleaning up the image a little. I did this on a blank layer with the healing brush. I blended any seams in the makeup and any blemishes. I then with curves pulled up the blacks and relieved the shadows a little.
Now we can’t have zombies without having zombie veins. I placed these on the arms of the zombie on the back right reaching towards the bottom, and on the zombie on the far left. I did this by creating a blank layer. Then with the layer set on soft light and a brush on a low opacity I painted in the veins gradually. When painting always do it in small increments.
Now it was time to add some extra blood around the mouths of the zombie at the back right. Again I painted this on with a low opacity, red brush, on a soft light blend mode. Remember, take your time with this.
You can’t have a zombie without zombie eyes. I applied this effect to the main zombie. Basically again, I painted in a grayish dead colour but this time on a normal blend mode. I then lowered the opacity of the layer to around 25%.
The makeup was amazing, but the zombies needed more gore/texture on their arms. The best way to do this is to choose a decay texture image (for example a rotting wall) and bring it into your layers palette. Place it over the body part you would like to decay, and see which blend mode best blends it into the skin. I usually find multiply or soft light work best. Now add a layer mask to your decay texture and erase any parts that go over the edges. Repeat these steps on every body part that needs more gore/texture.
Now depending what style of zombie you like it’s up to you if you use this step, but I like my zombies to have greenish skin. To create this green skin you simply have to use a hue/saturation adjustment layer. Use the little hand sample tool and click on an area of skin. Simply move the Hue slider until the skin turns green. If the green is too saturated pull down the saturation slider a little.
(Trumpets play) My favourite part of editing, dodge and burn is next. As always I do this with curves, which is described in nearly every other article I have written on here. Basically, I D&B first for form and shape, then go in and do the small details. I then burn the edges of the image to focus the eye on the center.
Looking at the image I decided the reds were too saturated, so using a hue/saturation adjustment I pulled down the saturation of the reds.
Time for the final colouring. I created a gradient map and used mainly greens for the shadows, midtones and highlights. I lowered the opacity of this layer down to 35%. I then paired this with a selective colour adjustment in which I added some reds to the blacks so there is a little colour in the shadows.
Our last task is a little liquify action. I wanted the some of the facial features on the zombies to look a little more threatening. So I went into liquify and with the push tool, manipulated the face of the zombie on the far right. I basically warped the mouth untill it looked angrier and then pushed up the eyebrows to match the facial expression.
Here is the entire process animated for your enjoyment.
And that is it. the final image. I will keep you guys informed of its place in the fear Awards 2017. Fingers crossed. Thank you.