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How to Make a Fiery Halloween Pumpkin in Photoshop (With an Action)

With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve been dusting off the pumpkin ornaments and trying to outdo each other in the costume stakes here at Tuts+. While we trade childhood stories of black bin bags for witch’s costumes and bed sheets with eye holes for ghosts, we thought we’d treat you to a funky Halloween tutorial. 

Here, I’ll show you how to turn your photograph into something altogether spookier with the Rise Photoshop Action from Envato Elements.

I’ll be using this image to walk you through the action:

example
The example I’ll be using

Brush Over Your Subject

Make a new layer called brush and brush over your subject. In this case, I’m only selecting the pumpkin because the effect is quite intense and any more would overwhelm the image.

brush over
Brush over your subject – it doesn’t matter which colour you use.

Choose a Direction

The action pack comes with the choice of four directions. I’m using bottom to top so that the effect starts from below the pumpkin.

choose a direction
Choose a direction

Ta-dah!

Be patient when the action runs, it can be a little system heavy. When it’s finished, you should have something that looks like this:

after the action
After the action has run

Don’t panic, the first thing to do is hide the Background Colour and Shadow layers highlighted here:

hide some layers
Hiding some layers will bring your subject back

The effect on your subject will still have somewhat of a rough edge but should look a lot better.

 Work out What Each Layer Does

There are a lot of layers and so a lot of combinations you can try, resulting in a huge number of results, but I’ll take you through some of your options now and start from the bottom, up.

The best thing to do is to switch off and on each layer, so you can see what it does before you start making adjustments.

Hide Wide Blur, which will bring some of the detail back to the fingers.

hide wide blur
Hide ‘wide blur’

Lower the Opacity to Lessen the Effect

Lowering the opacity of the Bottom Light Layers (highlighted) will help to bring some detail back in and lessen the intensity of the light at the base.

Turn on Hidden Layers

Turning on some of the Photo Glowing Edge light options can help to hide any rough edges around your main subject.

photo glowing edge
Turn on the ‘photo glowing edge’ layers

Adjust Particles and Bokeh

The great thing about this action is that things like the glow particles are all on different layers, so you can increase or decrease them as you want. They’re also grouped together in a folder, so you can take the whole effect down if you want something more subtle. It’s the same with the bokeh layers.

particles

Here I’ve adjusted the Particles to 30% opacity and the Bokeh to around 40%.

Brush Out Rough Edges

You can use the Photo Details layers to disguise any rough lines. I’ve brushed over the egde of the pumpkin and the stalk to hide the hard lines

hide hard lines
Brush over to hide hard lines

Change Up the Colours

The next big section that you’ll probably want to play with, is the Colour Option section.

Colour Option 4 is a good one to switch on for this image as it’ll bring some nice contrasting green to the shadows – that fits well with the Halloween theme too. Knock the opacity down a little; I’ve turned it to 56%

change colours
Experiment with colours

Adjust Contrast

 As we’re going for real drama with this image, I’ve turned Overall Contrast up to 47%

adjust contrast
Adjust contrast

Finish Up

You could probably spend a long time tweaking and adjusting layers, but when you’re happy, finish up, save your work and you’re done!

Hope you have a horrific Halloween (in the nicest possible sense) and if you’d like to try your hand at some more terrifying tutorials *cough* then look no further: