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Creating Ghosts using Photoshop

A while back I ran across Robert Cornelius’ work, and loved how he used light in his Compositing, which inspired me to create this Composite I call “Welcome”.

In today’s Photoshop Tutorial, I’m going to show you how I created the ghosts in my “Welcome” Composite.

I have found inspiration can come from anywhere, but I frequently find myself inspired by other Composite Photographers and the awesome work they’re creating.

I’m never really happy creating a piece that I know what I’m doing, and always want to push my creativity, composition, and Photoshop skills whenever possible.

And I had never created ghosts before, so let’s slide right into this Photoshop Tutorial.

My 12 Step Ghost Process

Several months ago I ran across a YouTube video by Marty at Blue Lighting TV, and have wanted to create a ghost ever since.

So, I thought I’d kill 2 birds with 1 stone in this Photo Composite.

As you will see in this tutorial, creating a ghost in Photoshop is pretty easy once you know the Photoshop steps to take.

Step #1: Photograph your subject in a flat light.

Step #2: In Photoshop, convert your image to B&W and copy the layer.

Step #3: Add a Motion Blur, Wave effect, and drop opacity.

Step #4: Make copy of Motion Blur layer and flip it.

Step #5: Copy the original layer again.

Step #6: Attach a Brightness/Contrast layer to copied layer.

Step #7: Apply blur to the layer with Contrast.

Step #8: Group all layers into a folder.

Step #9: Attach a Saturation layer, and change color to blue tone.

Step #10: Merge all layers.

Step #11: Add smoke effects and drop opacity.

Step #12: Enjoy your ghost.

Creating a ghost in Photoshop does require several steps, which I go into detail in my video tutorial, but once you’ve done a couple of ghosts, it’s like tying your shoes.

Additionally, my video tutorial differs slightly from Marty’s at Blue Lighting TV, but I would definitely recommend checking out his video to see how he does it differently.

Compositing in Context

One of the biggest problems I see with photographers who are learning to Composite is, they usually add elements that are out of context with their theme.

Or, they don’t have a Composite theme to start with.

I would urge you, that if you want to become good at Composite Photography, regardless of whether you’re doing full-scale Composites as I do, or you’re doing Sports Composites for seniors, having a Composite Theme is a key to creating a successful image.

Now, come up with a theme for a Composite that includes a ghost, try the new Photoshop skills you learned here, and share the links to what you’ve created.

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