Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Nothing says 'family' like three siblings sticking together after becoming zombies. Our loyal cat even came along to protect us! Unfortunately my family and I have not had the test of an apocalyptic disaster to test our love for each other, so I had to predict the future using photoshop.

Things I know will happen after we all turn into zombies that I have reflected in my very scientific rendering of the future:
- We will all creepily smile while eating brains.
- My cat Nemo will turn into a super protector with horrifying powers of destruction.

Turning your own family portrait into a glimpse of the future is fairly simple with this Photoshop Ible even if you have very little experience using Photoshop.

Step 1: Materials

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
- You will need a photo of you and your family. I chose a photo of me and my little brother and sister. Look how happy we are! I think that the happier and more beautiful the occasion of the photo, the better your end result will be.

- For the added demon pet element, you will need a photo of your pet. Try to find a photo where your furry friend's eyes are particularly enormous.

- You will need to find a desolate hellscape for your background. HINT: searching for "desolate hellscape" in google image search is not effective. Try "hell" or "hellscape." Look for something particularly firey.

- I use photoshop to alter the photos, but I don't do anything super fancy. Even if you are a novice user you should be able to change your usually cute family into a gang of horrible undead.

- Over the years I have loaded my photoshop with various custom brush packs I found for free on the internet. While not necessary, brush packs make it easy to add textures. Here are some links to brush packs I used for this project.

ROOTS: http://www.brusheezy.com/brushes/1773-Dirty-Roots
SMOKE: http://blog.qbrushes.net/smoke-brush-set/

Step 2: Amp Up the Contrast

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)

Open your family picture in Photoshop. Admire your adorable siblings.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and bump the contrast up to the max. I also lowered the brightness a little bit to make it more creepy in the long run.

Step 3: Give Your Sister a Black Eye

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)

Select the "Burn" tool from your tool menu and set the exposure somewhere around 60%. We want the area around the eyes to be nice and dark!

Burn all the way around each eye until the eye sockets look bruised and sunken.

With the softest brush possible, burn various areas of exposed skin to get that "worn and dead" look.

Step 4: Skin of the Undead

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)

Create a new layer and copy the background photograph onto this new layer.

Under Image > Adjustments > Variations, you will see your photograph with a variety of color options. Choose the blue one to give you and your lil' siblings that underwater glow!

Play around with the opacity of this blue layer to make your skin appear pale and sickly. The actual opacity you use is totally based on your photograph and what you think looks best.

Step 5: Add Gross Veins

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Using the "Dirty Roots" brush pack (http://www.brusheezy.com/brushes/1773-Dirty-Roots), throw some nasty veins on the skin of your family in a deep red color in a new layer. Look for brushes that have cool patterns over the flesh areas; we will erase the rest.

Once you place all your root-veins, use the eraser to remove veins on the background, clothing, hair, eyes, mouth, etc.

Open the "Blending Options" in the layer panel on your vein layer. Play around with the "multiply" and "overlay" options to find a good blend that makes the veins look like they are integrated into the skin.

Step 6: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Take that twinkle out of the eyes of your loved ones!

Equip the "Dodge" tool and zoom in on the eyes of one of your family members. Focusing on the iris, use the dodge tool to lighten the eyes until they look fairy hazy. We will add more haziness later--right now just focus on getting a solid foundation for zombie eye-ifying. Repeat on all eyes.

Step 7: Desolate Hellscape

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
There are many ways to remove a background, but with a photo like this I prefer to use the "Magic Eraser" tool. Simply click on the areas around the heads of your family and click "delete." This will remove a lot of the background and make it much easier for you to go in and free-hand erase the rest.

Once you have the background erased, create a new layer below your lowest picture. Paste your hellscape into the new layer. You will probably have to do some clean-up on your family photo to make sure the old background is totally gone.

After You are satisfied with your family's new digs, grab the "Blur" tool and lightly blur the edge of your family portrait. This helps the harsh eraser edges soften and integrates the foreground and background nicely.

Step 8: Chi-chi-chi-Chia! Grow Hair.

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)

The wonderful smudge tool! Using a fairly small, soft brush, begin smudging snakes of hair out from the scalp of your zombies. You can smudge along with the natural hair for a more realistic look (like the future zombie of myself in the center), or you can go crazy and invent brand-new hairstyles for your brand-new undead family!

I think my little sister looks pretty good with spiky dreads.

Step 9: Prepare your Cat for Possesion

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Finally our little pet gets to come play in the hellscape!

Open your pet picture in photoshop. Use the magnetic lasso tool to select your pet's face and copy the selection. Paste into a new layer in your zombie family portrait. The new layer should be above the hellscape but behind your family if you want your kitty (or puppy) to be a lurking protector.

Step 10: Demon Kitty

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)

Grab your burn tool once more and give your pet a once-over on a high exposure.

Using a soft brush that is slightly smaller than the size of your cat's eyes, paint your pet's eyes red. Leave a little bit of black around the edges. After one layer of red, add another, leaving the edges of the previous layer just visible. This will give the illusion that the eyes are rounded.

Step 11: Grime It Up and Finishing Touches

Zombie Family Portrait (with demon pet)
To grime it up at the end, I used a variety of texture brushes (already in Photoshop) and the smoke brushes (http://blog.qbrushes.net/smoke-brush-set/). Choose a red-brown color and a splotchy brush to add dirt and rash textures to skin. I used a brown-black with the smoke brushed on the hellscape layer to show that the world is burning after the global apocalyptic collapse.

Now for the final step: Use the eyedropper tool to pick a gray color from within the lightest part of the eye. Use a soft brush and a mid-range opacity to paint over the eye, keeping a dark ring around the edge. As we did with the cat eyes, repeat this process again, leaving a ring of the previous layer on the edge so the eyes appear rounded.

Sit back and enjoy the horror of your family...but at least you still all love each other!
 
 

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