GIMP Zombie Tutorial
So first things first, take a picture of yourself (or a friend) being evil and menacing. Look at this picture of me. Terrifying, I know.
The original photo was a little too dark so I just made it a little brighter by playing with the “brightness and contrast” settings under “colors”.
Step 1. Zombie Skin Color
Zombies tend to be kind of green or blueish-purple looking. So pick whichever color you want to do. For this GIMP zombie tutorial, I went with good ‘ol green. After opening your photo you should see a layer box. If you don’t see it click on “windows”, “dockable dialogues” and then “layers”.
Under layers, you should see your photo layer. Right-click and then “duplicate layer”. On this duplicated layer you’re going to colorize the entire layer whatever color you’ve chosen for your skin tone. Make sure you’ve selected the duplicated layer and then go to “colors”. You have a few different options there for changing the color but I used “colorize”. Play with the settings until you get a nice, bright color.
Step 2. Applying A Black Layer Mask
Make sure you still have your duplicated layer (the one you just colored) selected. Right click and go to “add layer mask” and use “black (full transparency)”. Now you can use the paintbrush tool (in white) to go over your skin to get the zombie skin color. You’ll have to change brush sizes when you get close to your eyes and other areas where you need more control.
Step 3. Get The Skin Color Just Right
As you can see, my skin is a little too green. If you need to tone the color down you can change the “opacity” setting on the colored layer. The opacity setting is right in the layer box above your layers.
That’s a lot better.
Step 4. Adding Blood
Any decent zombie is going to have at least some blood on it. Think about all the people zombies rip apart every day. They also tend to get injured really bad and they don’t heal very well. So lets put some blood around the mouth and eyes.
Merge your layers together. In “layers” click “merge”. Now you have one layer again. And now we’re going to duplicate this layer like we did earlier.
Now colorize the layer like we did before but now it’s going to be red. After you’ve done that, create a black layer mask. Now just like before, use the paintbrush tool to color the areas where you want blood. Then change the layer setting to “multiply”. This setting is in the layer box above where the opacity setting is.
Step 5. The iWarp
This is optional but I decided to give the zombie version of me a slightly messed up eye. Select the area around an eye and then click “filters”, “distort” and “iWarp”. Select move if you want to move that area around. This is what I did and I made one of my eyes have a droopy eyelid. But you can use the “grow” setting if you want, to make the eye bigger. Be careful with this setting and don’t overdo it.
(In the image above I had also made my other eye larger with iWarp but then decided to change it back. So it’s not in the end result.)
Step 6. Adding Scars
A really easy way to add scars to your zombie is to find a rough looking texture. Tree bark works great. Or you could actually find a picture of a real scar or wound and use that. I choose to use a picture of bark. If you need a good place to find a free picture to use here is a list of completely free stock photos.
Once you’ve decided on what kind of picture you’re going to use for the scarring, click on “file” and “open as layers”. After you’ve opened it, make sure the layer is large enough to cover your face. If it isn’t the right size, just resize it.
Now create another black layer mask on your scar layer. Change the opacity setting to around 50 or 60. Now use the paintbrush tool (in the color white) to draw where you want the scars. Feel free to play around with the opacity setting.
At this point, you might be happy with the way the scars look. They’re probably pretty much flesh colored. But if you want to make them redder you can go into “colors” and use the “colorize” setting again. (Make sure you select the layer and not the layer mask or it won’t work.) You might also want to continue playing with the opacity settings to make sure you get the scars just right.
And That’s It
I also added a few finishing touches. I used the “dodge/burn” tool to create the look of a black eye.
Here are the original photograph and the end result. I hope you enjoyed this GIMP zombie tutorial.
If you liked this, check out my surreal Photoshop manipulation called “Surreal Lake”.