Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Creating a Ghost in Gimp

Creating a Ghost in Gimp - Michael Bates uses Gimp to show us how to create a ghost like image.

 Add Comment


Little girl red backgroundIf you've ever felt the need to create a hoax image of a ghost to scare people, well you can by using nothing more than a creepy location, a picture of a person and some free software.

Step 1. Go to your ‘ghost' and use whatever method is best for that image to select it; I'm using the Quick Mask tool to paint my own selection, and using a soft brush to give a slightly feathered edge to my selection so it will integrate into the other image better. Whatever way you select yours make sure you feather the edges of your selection for this reason, either by using the same method as me, or by changing the settings in the tool settings.

turing girl into a ghostStep 2. Copy and paste your ‘ghost' into the setting you have chosen for it by pressing Control and ‘C' while it is selected then going to the other image and pressing Control and ‘V'. In the Layers Pane right-click the Floating Layer that you just created and select ‘New Layer'; this will convert it to a permanent layer so that it will definitely remain separate to the Background layer.

Step 3. Now press Shift and ‘T' to activate the Scale tool and change the size of your ‘ghost' so that it is the right size for the setting. Unless you want to change the proportions of your figure too, make sure that the chain in the Scale window is linked between the two measurements; if it is broken, left click it to fix thegirl on stairs part 4 aspect ratio. Once you have your figure the right size, press the ‘Scale' button or press the Return key to apply the change.scale box


Step 4. Now use the Move tool (‘M') to position your ‘ghost' where you think it will look good.

Step 5. Open Colours>Channel Mixer in the ‘ghost' layer. In this window you can alter the colour of the ghost, and if you want to follow exactly what I'm doingPart 5 you should check the ‘Monochrome' box towards the bottom so that you can now create a custom exposure of the ghost and make it greyscale at the same time. Get your exposure how you want it, it's best to have a good amount of white and dark areas really with only some mid-tones, and press ‘OK'.

step 6Step 6. Look through the Layer Modes available for the ghost layer and find one that suits your purpose; I'm using Hard Light to maintain the highlights and shadows with a nice stark contrast. Now play with the opacity settings to make your ghost more transparent if you so desire.

Step 7. Now we can blur our ghost slightly if we want it to be that little bit more surreal, or if you're after a more modern twist on the presentation of ghosts (I'm thinking of Japanese horror such as the ‘Ring' cycle of films here) you could always introduce some noise into the ghost too. I'm just sticking with the blur for now, so open Filters>Gaussian Blur and add a few points of blur, it depends on the size of your image and your own preference how much, and click ‘OK' to apply it.
step 7
Step 8. Finally, right-click the ghost's layer and select ‘Add Layer Mask'. Take a large, soft-edged brush and set it to black before painting over areas you want concealing in the Layer Mask. We are now going to create a fading effect; we can do this several ways. One is to use a soft Paintbrush to paint over areas we want hiding with black and using shades of grey to create a gradual fade, which is the most customisable method, or we can just fill the Mask layer with a black to white gradient. I want to have as much control over the appearance of my image as possible so I'm going to paint mine. The screenshots show how I painted mine with varying shades of grey, progressively getting lighter so as to create areas of increasing opacity where I want them.step8step8

Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

Explore More


Hi I have always wanted to do the Victorian style of a headless person with a head in their lamp. How is that done on Gimp please?

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.