Surrealism – How to Create a Scary Skull Using Photoshop

This will be the end result of this tutorial:

Here I have a picture of a fake skull that I took during Halloween:

And here I have a picture I took of a bloodshot eye. A bad allergy day for him, but a good shot for me. It’s hard to find a good bloodshot eye like this one so I’ll make it available for download at the end of this tutorial along with the original skull.

Now, what I need to do is to “clone” the eye into the skull. I’ll choose the clone tool from the tools bar:

On the clone options bar at the top of the screen, I’ll make sure my clone brush hardness setting is 40%:

I’ll go to the skull image and create a duplicate layer by hitting CTRL+J on my keyboard:

I’ll rename the “Layer 1” layer to “Right eye” by double clicking on the words “Layer 1”:

Now I’ll go back to the eye image and proceed to clone over the pupil of the eye. I’ll hover the clone tool over the pupil of the eye and hit the ALT key at the same time to capture the clone:

Now I’ll go back to the skull image and clone in the right eye.

Next ‘ll make another duplicate layer and call it “Left eye”. This is what the image looks like so far:

This is what the layer palette looks like at this point:

The next thing I’ll do is go to the burn tool in the tools bar. I’ll darken the bottom teeth just a little:

Now I’ll go to Filter/Liquify:

The Liquify dialog box comes up. This is where I’ll use the smudge tool to create the fangs and to drop down the forehead just a little to make the skull look a little scarier:

This is what the skull looks like at this point:

Now I’ll go to the brush tool in the tools bar and select a “crack brush”, #1547. I’ll include thirteen crack brushes, for you to decide what to use, with the images at the end of this tutorial.

Here is the brushes dialog box with the brush:

Now I’ll go to FX at the bottom of the layers palette to add a layer style. I’ll name it “Cracked Effect”:

This is where I’ll add a “Drop Shadow” and a “Bevel and Emboss”:

Here’s the image at this point:

The last thing I’m going to do, is to take the burn tool from the tools bar and burn most of the left eye out. I’ll make it where you can barely see it, and darken some spots around the right eye to make it look more sunken in. I’ll also darken a few little spots around the skull and by the tip of the right tooth to make it look broken off:

Here’s the end result:

Here’s a ZIP file with the skull image, the bloodshot eye image, and a brush file with the 13 crack brushes.

Have fun!

7 thoughts on “Surrealism – How to Create a Scary Skull Using Photoshop”

  1. Great tutorial. I just couldn’t help myself from ‘nit picking’ at the placement of your ‘fangs’. They are not rabbit fangs are they?

    (they are more commonly seen as the ‘eye teeth’ or one more over.

  2. it is nice
    there is one request
    if you people create a new effects or any bg’s please send a mail for my email
    adress my email adress is (removed for protection)


  3. Thanks for pointing out the “fang” issue. Sorry, my mistake. If you create this on your own, please place them in the right spot. 😉

  4. Hi Lorri!! I loved this tutorial. One quick question I have is, are the pictures copyrighted in any way? I need to know so I can use these pictures for my EAST class.
    Ducky <( )

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