How to Make a Wound in Photoshop

Written by alan donahue
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Using Adobe Photoshop, you can turn an ordinary picture into a gore-filled picture perfect for Halloween or just a sight gag. The multiple layer tools and other paint tools allow you to create a realistic wound that can make a cut appear on any part of the human skin. The key is applying the right texture that will add depth to the photo. The process requires basic knowledge of Photoshop and a clear picture of a human to work with.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Get a picture of peeling paint. This will act as the wound on the image. Use free image websites like Creative Commons or Wikimedia Commons to find a proper picture. The photo website Dreams Time has an example of the peeled paint picture with a little rust. This picture will be used for the wound texture.

  2. 2

    Right-click on the picture and select "Save Picture As." Save the picture is an easy to find location.

  3. 3

    Open Photoshop and go to "File" and "Open" to select the picture you want to edit. Full body or face portraits with a sharp focus are the best photos to select from.

  4. 4

    Open the picture of the peeling paint as a separate file in Photoshop. Click on the "Marquee" tool and highlight the whole picture. Copy and paste the peeling paint picture into the human photo. It will paste as a new layer and appear over the human picture.

  5. 5

    Click on the "Layer Mode" sub-menu for the paint layer and select "Overlay." Now the layer will have a translucent look to it.

  6. 6

    Click on the "Layer Mask" icon to apply a mask to the paint layer. This will allow you to use the brush tool and manipulate which sections of the photo have the wounds.

  7. 7

    Click on the "Brush" and set the colour to white. Paint over the sections of the face that you want the wound to appear on. If the texture appears too strong, set the opacity to "60%" and adjust the settings from there.

  8. 8

    Hold down "CTRL" and click on the paint texture layer to highlight it.

  9. 9

    Go to "Image," "Adjustments" and select "Color Balance." Click on "Midtones," "Shadows" and "Highlights" and drag the red colour bar to the right until the wound looks bloody.

  10. 10

    Click on the human layer and use the "Burn" tool to go around the edges of the wound. This will darken the skin and help make it blend in more.

  11. 11

    Click on "Layer" and "Flatten Image" to merge all the layers together. Use the burn tool at "50%" to add a little more blending around the edges. Use a thin brush size and only go lightly around the more shadowy areas.

Tips and warnings

  • Adjust the opacity after each adjustment to make the wound look more realistic.

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