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How to Create a Ghost Effect in Photoshop

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Hi friends, in this tutorial we will learn how to make a ghost effect with photoshop on a photo to give it a more “ghost” appearance. By applying simple steps we can create this effect quickly and easily in Photoshop. Ok guys, in this tutorial I’m using Adobe Photoshop CS6 , and here are the results of this tutorial:

How to Create a Ghost Effect in Photoshop

Step 1The first thing we do is open the image we want to use. Go to the 

File menu at the top of the screen select  

Open , or use the shortcut 

Ctrl+O  (Win) / 

Command+ O (Mac) to open the image in Photoshop. In this tutorial I used an image I downloaded from 

Pixabay :

Step 2Next we go to the layers panel. Make a copy of the background layer, so that our original photo is still protected from things we don’t expect. For that, press  

Ctrl+J  (Win) / 

Command+J (Mac) on the keyboard as the fastest shortcut to make a new copy in photoshop:

Then select the new copy layer to convert the image to 

black and white. The quickest way to do that is to press  

Ctrl+Shift+U (Win) / 

Command+Shift+U (Mac) on the keyboard as a shortcut. Or we go to 

Image  at the top of the screen, select 

Adjustments,  then select 

Desaturate. Doing so will allow Photoshop to automatically convert our image to black and white on the canvas:

Step 3Here I’m going to name the first copy layer “desaturate”. Next I’ll duplicate the desaturate layer once again in the layers panel. With the keyboard shortcut  

Ctrl+J (Win) / 

Command+J (Mac) 


Step 4Then on the selected “Desaturate” layer, we make the image a bit blurry. To do that, we go up to the  

Filter menu  at the top of the screen, choose 

Blur , then choose 

Motion Blur again :

Next in the Motion Blur dialog box , set the distance to 

90 pixels (until you get a slightly blurred image) as needed, and keep the 

Angle at 0:

Well, this is how my image looks after applying the 

Motion Blur Filter effect :

Step 5In the layers panel I will name this layer “motion blur” in the layers palette. Then with the 

“Motion Blur” layer selected, click the 

Add Layer Mask  icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:

Then select the 

Brush Tool  (B) from the toolbox, then press the letter 

 D on the keyboard to make sure that we choose black as the foreground color. Then we go to the 

Brush options bar  at the top of the document window to set the  

Opacity value  as needed:

With a black, soft-edged brush as the foreground, start painting the center of the face in gradual motions to bring back the eyes, nose and mouth, blurring the rest. Make sure to stay within the boundaries of the face so everything is well blurred at the center:

Step 6Next we merge all the layers in the layers palette. With the keyboard shortcut  

Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Win) / 

Shift+Command+Option+E  (Mac):

With the “merged” layer selected, we go to the  

Filter menu  at the top of the screen and choose  

Filter Gallery :

In the dialog box select 

Distort , then set it to 

Diffuse Glow. Then set  the 

Graininess to 

3 , 

Glow Amount to 

1 and  

Clear Amount to 

12 . This value can be in different cases, according to the image you use:

Step 7In the final step, add colors as desired. For that, with the “merge” layer selected, we click the 

Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel and select 

Solid Color :

Then in the Color Picker dialog box , choose the color you want. Here I chose a  

Dark Green color for my image:

After that we go to the layers panel, change the default layer mode 

Normal  to 

Soft Light, and lower the  

Opacity value to around 


With that we have successfully created a ghost effect in photoshop, and this is the final result of this tutorial. Hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial and don’t hesitate to play around with these great Photoshop features, have fun creating:

Ok friends, that’s the tutorial this time about how to make a ghost effect with Photoshop. Thank you for visiting, I hope this is useful and see you again in another KlikPhotoshop tutorial. Thanks.

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