Deke’s Techniques 171: The Headless Stranger, a Tale of Photoshop Horror

171 The headless stranger in the mist

Hallo, it’s Halloween.

Recently, I received a member request to create a video tutorial on how to recreate the popular meme, Slender Man. He’s cool. He’s spooky. He’s creepy. Really fucking creepy. But Slender Man already has a meme. And Slender Man already has a head. I think we need a new meme: Slender Guy Without a Head. Slender Guy Without a Head in the Woods. Slender Guy Without a Head in the Spooky, Creepy, Misty Woods. Slender Guy Without a Head in the Wherever-It’s-Creepy-for-a-Headless-Guy-to-Be, Possibly in the Mall.

For the sake of expediency, let’s just call him Headless Slender Guy. Here’s the official description by Colleen on behalf of

If last week’s episodes of Deke’s Techniques (on various ways to carve a pumpkin in Photoshop) weren’t enough spooky spirit for you, then you’ll be pleased to discover that in this week’s episode, Deke recounts (and recreates) the legend of the headless stranger who haunts this eerie forest:

Deke begins with this unsuspecting gentleman whose head is still decidedly intact:

Using the Calculations command (twice!), he isolates his hapless subject in an alpha channel. Some devious hand painting and a cruel inversion of the channel result in this mask:

Deke then lops of his model’s head with a clever selection applied to the mask, and methodically reconstructs the stump by cloning the collar and scarf on a new layer:

Next, he places his now headless stranger into the misty woods, tormenting his subject further by stretching him out with the Transform command.

Deke then drains his victim of all color with an adjustment layer and dissolves away his legs with a gradient mask:

In his final act of Photoshop treachery, Deke degrades his subject to the core by choosing the Save for Web command and cranking it down to the horrifyingly Low quality setting. After all, you wouldn’t have a high-resolution, tack-sharp shot if your hands were trembling as you walked briskly or possibly even ran from the headless man stalking you in the woods.

Don’t worry. The truly kind, good-natured Photoshop master Deke that we all know will return with another benevolent technique next week. In the meantime, Happily Halloweeny!

As if to prove Colleen’s point, next week, I’ll show you how to create the following punched-letter effect in Illustrator:

Good design done dirt cheap in Adobe Illustrator

Which has nothing to do with today’s technique. Except for one thing: The above text, like today’s Headless Slender Guy, has no head. Kinda gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it?

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 172: Creating 3D Punched Letters in Illustrator

Previous entry:Deke’s Techniques 169: Attack of the Killer Pumpkin! (In Photoshop!)

  • I get the joke.I also

    I get the joke.I also watched SCTV.

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