The Forgotten Puppet

catchlights color filter color layers compositing tutorial extract light filter masking premium membership puppet resizing vignette warp tool

Hey guys, today we will make a bit of a creepy puppet composite image!

First, we will develop our puppet composite with pictures I took myself and some downloaded stock images. Then, I'll show you where I grab all my stock in my full tutorial offered through the premium membership.

We will cut out our subject and place her in our background before we resize her. Then we're going to put our chains and play around with them to make them look realistic. Finally, when we're done doing that, we will group them into their layer.


Then we're going to bring in the bottom of her bottom skirt and resize/ distort it to match our body. Next, we will tweak it in RAW, bringing up our shadows and warming up the image slightly. Finally, to make the top of our subject match the bottom just a little more, we're going to make a copy of it, adjust it in Camera RAW, mask it, and brush it where needed (we want it as closely blended as possible).


We're going to bring in our hand, resize and mask it. Then we will remove the parts of the hand we don't want to show. Then we'll use the liquify tool to move our skirt around so that it's not so flat.

Then we go into tone correction for our puppet and hand. We want our hands to be warm and saturated while our puppets are paler and doll-like. I'll go through it in depth in my full tutorial, available through the premium membership.


Going into the fine details, we will brush some red onto her cheeks and lips before adding catchlights to her eyes. From there, we're going to add in our eyelashes! We start by resizing and distorting them to fit each of our eyes.


Now we're going to give our background some spooky cobwebs. You can use the warp tool to have them fit the shape you need. Next, we will add some to our puppet, using the warp tool to have it fit around the subject's body more naturally.

After we have all our cobwebs the way we want them, we will start placing our spiders using our pixelsquid plugin. Again, you can put them however you'd like; have fun with them.


We're going to start creating our shadows by duplicating layers, lowering their levels until they're black, then moving them behind our original object. We're going to make it larger than our original subject and then blur it before reducing its opacity. Make sure you mask the areas you don't want to show.


We're going to play around with our effects now, adding a vignette and adjusting the light filtering to give our atmosphere a darker look. First, I go into depth on how to get the light filtering to match the look we're trying to create. My full tutorial is available through the premium membership.

We will break our puppet into a few pieces by selecting the area where our gap will be and removing them. Then we're going to add our strings to make it look like the arms are still attached but hanging on by a string! Finally, we will add some cracks and stitches using our custom brushes and tweaking.


With a few more fill color layers and filters, we will give our image the perfect spooky look. That wraps things up, and I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Check out the full tutorial and other ones like this, available through the premium membership.


Join our creative community! Subscribe to our Photoshop Photography newsletter for exclusive insights, tips, and inspiration directly from Tara Lesher Education. 

Your privacy is sacred to us; we guard your information like our own secrets and offer hassle-free, one-click unsubscribe.