Apr 27 2009
“If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine…”
These were Ben Kenobi’s words of warning to Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film. Until the sequel, us fanboys really weren’t sure what old Ben was prattling on about. But in The Empire Strikes Back we were led to believe that to be a freely roaming, blue, glowing spirit was the utmost power any Jedi on either side of the dark/light spectrum could achieve.
Well, now with the aid of Adobe Photoshop, you too can add your ghostly form to any of your digital photos. Here’s how…
Step 1: The Photo(s)
Ideally, you will be using two images: one of you looking masterful and wise and hopefully on a background that you can easily separate yourself from and another of the setting in which you will be placing yourself. We will want your Jedi spirit to be translucent and that will be much more difficult if we must first remove your opaque, live and living self from the photo. I’m not going to spend time explaining how to remove yourself from the photo. If you take the 2 pictures you need, you don’t need to worry about this procedure… this is not the tutorial you are looking for… you may go about your business… move along…
So I have one image with without me in it and I also have another photo that was taken at about the same time that does have me in it. This is the photo I’m going to use as my source image for me as a dead Jedi (aka Darth Yaeger).
Step 2: The Chosen One
Working on the photo “with you in it” and using Adobe Photoshop CS3′s Quick Selection tool (or the Extract Filter or whatever means you feel most comfortable), select yourself and Copy (Ctrl-C on PC, Command-C on Mac) yourself. You can now close this image (the one WITH you in it).
Go to the photo “without you in it” and Paste (Ctrl-V on PC, Command-V on Mac). Position yourself in the picture, scale, rotate, skew, etc. until your image is in the exact part of the image where you want your Jedi spirit to materialize.
Step 3: A Disturbance in the Force
Ctrl-Click on PC or Command-Click on Mac the thumbnail of the layer in the Layers palette that represents the image of you. This will create a selection.
Create a new layer (Shift-Ctrl-N on PC or Shift-Command-N on Mac) and fill the selection on the new layer with black. (You can first reset your foreground and background colors by hitting the D key the hit Alt-Delete on PC or Option-Delete on a Mac and the selection on your layer should fill with black) You can deselect now (Ctrl-D on PC or Command-D on Mac)
You will need to add the Jedi Styles.asl file that I have provided for you. To do this, click the flyout menu on the right side of the Styles palette and choose “Load Styles…” and navigate to where the Jedi Styles.asl file is located on your hard drive and click “Load”. With your new black silhouette layer active in the Layers palette, click the “Force Distort” style in the Styles palette (hover your cursor over the styles to have Photoshop show you the names).
Your Jedi should look like the picture above. If the “ripples” inside the silhouette don’t cover enough of the body’s shape or if they cover too much, go Layer>Layer Style>Scale Effects… and adjust the effect until it more closely matches what I show here. Don’t stress too much about this.
Create a new layer and drag it below the silhouette layer. Fill this new layer with white. Then, Select All (Ctrl-A on PC or Command-A on Mac) and Copy Merged (Ctrl-Shift-C on PC or Command-Shift-C on Mac) –this will copy the current state of the selection as if it had all of its layers flattened without requiring you to flatten the image.
With the merged copy still in the clipboard, create a new Photoshop document. Photoshop will automatically plug in the height and width of the image held in the clipboard’s memory, so you need only click OK.
Paste the merged silhouette in the new document (Ctrl-V on PC or Command-V on Mac). Now save this new document as a Photoshop (.psd) file and save it somewhere where you will easily find it again. Close this new file and direct your attention back to the main document again.
Back in the main document, click off the “eye” icons next to the silhouette and white layers–we’re done looking at them.
In the Layers palette, duplicate the layer containing your original “without you in it” image and drag the duplicate to the top. Go Filter>Distort>Displace… and enter in these settings:
Click OK and Photoshop will ask you for a file to use as a displacement map. Point Photoshop to the file you just created using the silhouette layer and click Open.
See what happened? Photoshop displaced the image using the silhouette shape and those ripples we made.
Go Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels… and match these settings:
Then, when the Levels dialog comes up, match these settings and click OK:
Now Ctrl-Click on PC or Command-Click on Mac the thumbnail of the silhouette layer in the Layers palette. This will create a selection. Keeping that selection, click the thumbnail of the displaced layer to activate it. Go Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection.
If you dig Predator movies more than Star Wars movies, you may be tempted to quit now. This is an example of how one tutorial can teach many effects: you just created the cloaked effect from the Predator movies.
Let’s proceed, Photoshop Padawan….
Step 4: More powerful than you could possibly imagine…
Near the bottom of the layers in the Layers palette, you still have your Jedi. Drag the Jedi’s layer to the top of the palette. And make sure this layer is selected in the Layers palette.
Now click the “Dead Jedi” style in the Syles palette and you’re done!
Step 5: Your training is complete…
Well, it can be if you want. But here a little “extra” if you want to create the Hologram effect from the Star Wars movies:
With the layered file we’ve been working with up until now, click off the “eye” icon next to our displaced layer in the Layers palette. Now, create a new layer and drag it to the top of the Layers palette. Go Edit>Fill and copy these settings:
Next, go Filter>Sketch>Halftone Pattern…Â and match these settings and click OK:Â
Now, go Filter>Noise>Add Noise… and give it the settings shown below before clicking OK.
Now, in the Layer palette change this layer’s blending mode from Normal to Screen. Go Layer>Create Clipping Mask and you’re Jedi is now a hologram! Help me Leo-Wan Laporti, you’re my only hope!
May the Force be with you.