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Where do you tend to make your best Photoshop creations? Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a studio or office; perhaps you prefer the laid-back setting of your living room; or maybe your best ideas come to you rather inconveniently when you’re on the train or in the middle of nowhere. Well, it doesn’t have to be inconvenient anymore. Turn to p16 and discover just how mobile you can be with the Adobe mobile apps. You can edit photos on the go, make rough sketches so you don’t forget a great idea, and then sync everything to finish off later on your desktop. The possibilities are endless! We also have tutorials this issue on adding vintage effects to your portraits, masking with RGB channels, and painting a steampunk character, plus 20 professional compositing secrets and more. There are also $236 worth of free resources on this issue’s FileSilo.

© Imagine Publishing Ltd 2016 ISSN 1747-7816

Sarah Bankes Editor



Contents Co

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gallery 06 Trending Check out some of the most

Adobe Sketch 24 Combine and Photoshop

popular artwork that’s trending

gallery 08 Readers’ Take a look at what your fellow readers have been up to this issue

challenge 10 Readers’ Enter our competition for a chance to win a prize worth £364.40!

the studio 12 Inside We check out the small but perfectly formed studio, Vapour

Get more from 16 Feature: Adobe mobile apps

Create stunning art wherever you are and on various devices

project 58 Resource Make shattered-glass textures for use in a variety of projects

61 French artist Mr. Xerty talks us How I Made

through his Keep It Safe image

Project focus

62 Discover how Photoshop was used

Sketch a portrait in the mobile app then take it into Photoshop to refine

complex objects 28 Mask with RGB channels

Make a fun composition by masking, applying filters and more

vintage portraits 34 Create Give your portrait shots a vintage makeover using essential tools

with layers 38 Composite Create a disaster scene using

YOUR FREE PHOTOSHOP RESOURCES ARE HERE!  This issue: brushes, stock images, textures,

templates, fonts, actions and more

masks and layers

with Solid Color layers 44 Draw Create a stylised, dramatic painting

 Plus files to follow the tutorials  Free and ready for you to download today!

with Solid Color adjustment layers

pixels with masks 48 Disperse Employ layer masks, custom brushes and the Liquify filter

your own superhero 52 Make Cra multiple images together and create some heroic effects

to bring Disney characters to life

102 Reviews AKVIS NatureArt 8.0 plug-in and Panasonic FZ330 camera

interview 108 Portfolio Amr Elshamy tells us about storytelling and art

interview 111 Reader How does Uill Sam Cavalcante create such vibrant compositions?

112 62

112 FileSilo This issue there are hundreds of

Advanced Photoshop

free resources worth $236!

professional 66 20 compositing secrets

Top artists reveal how to achieve optimum results in Photoshop

a steampunk portrait 72 Paint Compose, costume, render, texture and tint an enticing illustration

out the beauty 78 Bring in architecture



Create stunning architecture shots using filters and adjustment layers

Take a look at our fantastic online shop at



Take advantage of Adobe’s mobile apps and create stunning pieces of art wherever you are and on various devices




Elements creative focus: Wield the art: Create a 84 Tool 92 Surreal Color Replacement Brush melting effect Have complete control over the colours in your images

Master the Liquify filter and create special effects

project: Make a 96 Digital art: Design an 86 Creative abstract wallpaper shaped photo montage Put together a montage to remember special moments

edit: Fix under 90 Photo and overexposure Correct those imperfect shots that are too dark or too light

Mix images and shapes to create your own desktop dĂŠcor

Common problems 100 Q&A: in Elements We answer your questions and find solutions to your problems



TRENDING IMAGES Check out some of the most popular artwork that’ ocking the internet over the last few weeks, and take inspiration from what’s currently trending Stephanie Stutz

Post production was done completely in Photoshop; I intentionally restricted the colour palette to pastel tones because I wanted to see the effect it would give. I adjusted saturation and Curves, then added some coarse grain and finally chromatic aberration.

There’s lots of amazing low-poly work on the internet, but we love this piece, especially the way the water glistens. This picture gained over 100 likes and over 750 views in its first week on Behance.

Nicole Castanheira

This is a combination of three images layered in Photoshop CS5. The idea was to portray nature – as represented by the elephant – reclaiming the land that humans have dominated. Adjustments were key for a unifying atmosphere.

We love this composition because it’s big and bold. Environmentally aware images trend frequently on sites such as Tumblr right now, and Nicole’s image is just one that has caught our imagination.

Alexis Marcou

This was designed with pencil and paper, before being imported into Photoshop for embellishment. Acrylic paint and make-up


This image was commissioned by Nike for its executive offices. Despite the lack of colour, it’s a visually striking image, and we love the novel method that Alexis used to achieve this beautiful portrait.

Andrea Femerstrand Kouzou Sakai

suddenly the sketch felt like it had a story to it.

A set of three, this illustration is intended to convey a story set in an imaginary desert. A Wacom Intuos was used to draw the piece, and the minimal colour scheme was mastered in Photoshop.

This style of illustration is very popular on Gediminas’ poignant image (below) was featured by the site in December 2015, and Andrea (above) has been showcased by Wacom’s Gallery.

Gediminas Pranckevicius

I created this with Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos, for a children’s storybook about animals who are preparing for war. I love to draw for children as it forces you to ignore anything evil in the world. This project was featured by, and it’s a great example of what you can achieve when you apply a minimal colour scheme.

David Turfitt davidturfitt

Building this from scratch in Cinema 4D and rendering it using V-Ray allowed me to add the magic in Photoshop. I worked on the colours and reflections for the final look.

More and more artists are importing 3D creations into Photoshop for enhancement. David’s work is testament to that: it has had over 2,000 views on Behance at the time of writing.


READERS’ IMAGES W created by none other than your fellow readers

GET IN TOUCH Send us your images now for the chance to appear in future galleries Create your own gallery online Upload your images to Facebook Search PhotoshopCreative Tweet us your creative artwork @PshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email:

Alan Leal www.photoshopcreative.

Image of the issue First I used the stock images to build the scene, then I worked with lighting, using brushes, and Dodge and Burn. Next, I created the main figure, and used Gradient Map, Color Balance and other basic tools to harmonise the scene.

Helena BurstrĂśm www.photoshopcreative.

I started out with two images: one of me and one of a forest. I used the Quick Selection to mask me out from the background, before placing the forest in and trying out different blend modes.



swan perfectly to give the illusion that it was really floating between the clouds.

Lucy Silva user/lucysilva

This image was inspired by the movie The Hobbit. I layered the character and the hut onto the background, and completed the composition by adding adjustments at the top of the layer stack.

Raphael Andrade Raphaell

In this image, I tried to blend textures, brushes and shadows to create a minimal final shot. I used Lens Flare at the end to give this picture more of a sciencefiction feel to it.

Alex Malyon www.photoshop AlexMalyon

This was shot in a studio in Wokingham, UK. I was attending a Glyn Dewis workshop on compositing. The background was from a friend of mine, and the styling was done using dodge and burning layers to create this look.



Challenge entries The best entries and overall challenge winner

1 Corine Spring Magic Green Light “This image uses the supplied lightbulb predominantly, placing the subject in one of them. There was a lot of mastering of lighting in this picture, along with some final adjusting to keep all the colours cohesive. ”

2 Trevor Budd You Are the Light “This image uses only the four images supplied for the challenge. The paint pot image was used to help build the background and the colours. Blend modes were used extensively with this image.”

3 Emma Littlefair Remembered in the Stars “I used two of the provided images for this entry. Firstly, I added some extra stars to the image, and then I masked in the subject and blended the image with the background scene in order to create this final piece.”


4 Mariana Cebrova My Little Glowing Friend “I used three of the supplied images to create this image. The lightbulb is turned into a bird for this picture and then the background is used to place the scene.”

2 10

We challenged you In Issue 135, we challenged you to get creative with these images. You were allowed to use any or all of the pictures, and any other resources you liked. Here’s what you created.



This issue’s challenge Think you can do better? Prove it!

Get creative with the supplied images and you could win a fantastic prize! Use as many of the images as you like (from previous issues too!) and include your own photos if you wish. Head to and hit the Challenge link. Good luck!

THE PRIZE… Corel ParticleShop with full selection of brush packs

This issue, one lucky winner will receive Corel’s Photoshop painting plug-in ParticleShop, complete with a full set of 13 brush packs! ParticleShop uses Corel Painter’s brush technology to create life-like images that you might find too time-consuming or even impossible to achieve in Photoshop.

WORTH £364.40!

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Inside t


Big clients, a creative, laid-back vibe and a great Leeds location – Vapour has it all


small but perfectly formed team of four make up Leeds design studio, Vapour. There’s creative director Jamie Bugler, who set up the company nine years ago, plus Dave Robbins and Anthony Thornton on the design side, and Matt Gane as their digital developer. They are a “fiercely creative, small agency that loves to push our own boundaries,” as Bugler puts it, and they also have an office dog to keep them company, a Weimaraner called Lola. The team works for clients as big as Google, BMW, DefJam and Adidas, as well as what Bugler calls “smart progressive startups” and smaller brands. He explains: “Our core output is highly creative design that spans print, campaign and digital platforms.” They design and build digitally in-house and that’s 50-60 per cent of what they produce now, a big change from the illustration/graphic design base the company was built on. Vapour was set up by Bugler, “initially as a front for me as a freelancer to make myself look a bit more polished than a wet-behindthe-ears designer.” He’d been working for his first agency, Manifest Communications, since he left Derby University, but had always worked freelance too “due to being knee deep in the dance scene.” Through being out and meeting promoters and DJs, his client base “started to expend beyond the hours an evening would accommodate, and I found myself getting home from work at 7.30pm with six to eight hours of work in front of me!” Eventually he was able to leave Manifest and set up Vapour at home, working in his box room with his cat. At this point he was producing work for the big Ibizan venues like Amnesia, Space and Privilege, and though he enjoyed the work, he says, “over time I started to grow tired of working alone and started craving a creative environment that I knew my home studio, as productive and comfortable as it was, simply could not offer.” The turning point came when Bugler won the job to art direct Erick Morillo’s Subliminal Sessions summer season at Pacha. This allowed him to “take the plunge and sign a three-year lease on the studio we now call home, find two staff to help me get things off the ground and become a proper design agency. Things got really serious really fast!”

ABOUT THE STUDIO VAPOUR @wearevapour Boutique design agency specialising in digital, branding and everything graphical in between. Currently with a team of four, Vapour has worked for big companies such as Adidas, BMW and Google, and is based in Leeds, UK.

Jamie Bugler Creative Director

Fabric prints: Vapour recently did some textile prints for Tirade 13


David Robbins Senior Designer

Anthony Thornton Middleweight Designer

e life of Anthony Thornton The designer reveals his 9-5 at Vapour

Early morning catch-up


I get in and catch up with the guys. I relay tales of what I did the night before and usually what I ate, a source of great amusement in the office.

Cup of coffee


It’s a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to figure out who’s making the morning coffee. I usually lose.

On my toes


We produce the fitness magazine BESTFIT, and I design all concept work for features along with infographics, illustration, typographical styles and full layout for the whole publication, so it keeps me busy most days of the week.

Time to retouch


I use Photoshop for most of the concept design and styling while all the layout is done within InDesign. We also produce a digital version.

Lunch break


Next up it’s lunch, which usually involves a brisk wander into the city and a mooch round the shops or maybe a cheeky visit to my local tattoo studio to add to my 45 tattoos.

An afternoon to illustrate


I do a lot of the illustration work. Today I’m turning a blank space into a sordid 70s New York alleyway by illustrating posters to fly post to the walls.

Chilled creativity: The Vapour vibe is very laid back. “We’re more than happy sat discussing everything from music to fashion, sneakers, art or football,” says Bugler


Inside t

TOP 5 TIPS 1. Make friends with layers “Get crazy with your layer styles and layer effects and Photoshop will throw things up that you didn’t realise were doable. Get your files busy and brimming with options! Who knows what will come out.” Jamie Bugler 2. Less noise is good noise “We use a great plug-in called Noiseware by Imagenomic to get rid of unwanted fuzz in images. It can pull a speckle-filled image right back to looking clean, sharp and noise free.” Jamie Bugler 3. Colour is king “We use Adobe Capture to create a lot of our palettes to make our work harmonious with the imagery we’re using within.” Jamie Bugler 4. Experimentation is everything “I’ve always found the best way to teach myself new skills is to experiment. When you are working on projects all day sometimes you can start a piece and not be sure what the hell you’re going to do with it. It’s definitely best to have a saved version at a point you liked and also go to Edit>Preferences>Performance to change the number of History states up to a maximum of 500.” Dave Robbins 5. Better together “Combining tools is a speedy way to work through a large amount of files quickly. Combine an action with batch. Quite oen we will get photos from a shoot which need some editing so we start by recording an action on one of the images. Then the computer will edit all the pictures for you, saving you loads of time!” Dave Robbins

Decent digs: Vapour’s current space is a far cry from the company’s first home, Bugler’s box room

While the dance roots are strong, Vapour doesn’t specialise in a particular sector. “We’ve produced work for all manner of clients from Universal Music, Island Records, Nike, Google right through to brilliant smaller brands such as The Alchemist, Arcadia, Bestival and Red’s True Barbecue,” says Bugler. “Style-wise we love big, bold colour smashes, punchy impactful typography and design that has real wow factor. Vivid, bold and edgy sum our style up pretty well, I’d say.” And all of that work is done from within Adobe’s Creative Suite. Photoshop leads this, “with Dave and Anthony also being masters of Illustrator to boot. We create all our digitally focused front-end work in Photoshop too,” explains Bugler, “which forms a huge proportion of what we do alongside all the other visual print and campaign work we produce.” They also use a lot of InDesign, as Vapour handles all the layout and visual work for fitness magazine called BESTFIT.


What’s clear is that the Vapour team enjoy their work – they “love the fact that people entrust their image in our hands,” says Bugler. Pressed upon their highlights, Bugler notes creating applications for The Beatles and Oasis, designing a 20th anniversary brochure for Nike ACG and producing some threedimensional neon installations across the Reds True Barbecue venues. “We love working on the bigger brands but equally we adore working with smaller brands and sculpting all aspects of how they communicate visually; it’s a real honour,” adds Bugler. “’If it’s not the best we can do, it’s not worth doing,” is a definite mantra I like to apply to whatever we’re passing on to our clients,” says Bugler. But despite this determination to keep their game raised at all times, the vibe in the studio is “super laid back”. That just doesn’t stop them being “efficient, productive and progressive from a work perspective. We always want to be producing work that pushes us forwards as designers and our clients forwards within their own respective sectors.” One of the things that keep Vapour fresh is the amount of love and time the team all spend on their own projects. “We’re all practicing artists outside of Vapour,” says Bugler, “producing street-inspired art with our own artistic guises of Villain (Bugler, helloiamthevillain or jamievapour on Instagram), 13 (Robbins, justluckand13 on Instagram and TONE (Thornton, tone_rsd on

Instagram), with the three of us also having our own in-house gang of TV13 Collective which we use for collaborative projects. Our personal work is where the creativity really goes wild.” Infusing that spirit into their commissioned work is what makes Vapour a studio to watch, and indeed Bugler is keen to grow the company further. His ambition is to get it to a manageable size that still “retains the vibe we have now while still allowing me to keep my hands on the creative wheel. One thing I really don’t aspire to is being pulled so far away from the creative process by having to manage and run a business every day.” At the moment, he thinks the balance he has is perfect. His “main priority is to keep producing work we love first and foremost, and working with clients that allow us the opportunity to create work that betters both parties mutually. We just want to keep Vapourising everything we can, basically!”

Inside the Vapour: Inside, they’re probably “making up bizarre songs about celebrities!”

Practice sound design Senior designer David Robbins explains how he created this poster

Popping paper


Place your chosen image. I used a contrast shot of ink in water. Screen the next image texture over the first image. I used an inverted blotting paper texture. Flatten the images together and pull up the Levels and Hue/Saturation.

Rich and hard


Create a new layer and fill with a really rich colour gradient. Try to use colours that naturally blend smoothly and set the layer blend mode to Hard Light. Then add a Hue adjustment layer, and refine the saturation and colour.

Halve the opacity

Words in place

Gradually blend




Using the Gradient tool set to 50% Opacity, add gradients coming in from each corner using blacks and darker colours picked from the art. Make sure they blend together and there are no corners or lines. Set the blend mode to Difference.

Add in the brand logo or shape and then add the gradient colouring to it and set the blend mode to Pin Light. If need be, tweak the colours in places by shading over the top and setting the layer blend option to Color.

Add in gradients again coming from the corners. Set the blend mode to Lighten, Magic Wand the brand and delete any overlaps to give you a crisp edge where it meets the gradient logo. The final stage is to add in the full logo and event details.




Take advantage of Adobe’s mobile apps and create stunning pieces of art wherever you are and on various devices


he Adobe mobile apps are revolutionising modern workflows, where being away from your computer doesn’t mean a stall in the creative process, and you’re not relying on recreating something like a brush recipe, layer style, text styles or loading a brush file to work on your projects with your team members. Apps like Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw enable you to plan out your project quickly just as you would in a

sketchbook; with Photoshop Mix and Fix you can make edits and start composite projects; Lightroom mobile integrates seamlessly with your synced collections, and your edits are synced; collect vector shapes, colour themes and create brushes with Capture; while CreativeSync makes your assets available wherever you are with CC libraries – so if you’re pulling together that web layout in Comp CC you’ll be able to send it to Photoshop and use Preview CC

to make sure it looks great. Powerful collaborative features in the CC mobile app mean that you’re notified whenever a comment is received on your work, or a file is added/removed from a shared CC folder. The CC Tutorials app makes learning that new technique, process or even application much easier, from a source that you can trust. If this taster has whetted your appetite, read on and discover just how brilliant Adobe’s mobile apps are.


Download some of the best Adobe mobile apps and start getting creative wherever you are! ESSENTIAL ADOBE MOBILE APPS THAT EVERY PHOTOSHOP USER SHOULD BE USING

Adobe Capture CC


Adobe Illustrator Draw

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Adobe Comp CC

Adobe Preview CC

Adobe Lightroom for mobile

Adobe Adobe Photoshop Mix Photoshop Fix

Creative Cloud Creative Cloud for iOS/Android Lib rie



If you’re using a C of Photoshop, you p the Adobe Creative Cloud to utilise Adobe mobile apps. It’s well worth investing in though, because the package is designed to make your life easier as a designer and artist. Once coupled with the Adobe mobile apps, your experience in Photoshop will be revolutionised and you’ll wonder how you ever managed before! Working in multiple apps on multiple devices and marrying everything together through Adobe Creative Cloud couldn’t be easier.



xactly what you want with your device; appears when you the app.


If you’re the kind of person who’ always coming up with ideas on the go, you probably used to carry a notebook around, but these days everyone uses a smartphone or tablet. Adobe realised this when it launched the Capture app, available on both CC and Android. Just as its title suggests, Capture enables users to take pictures of everyday items to turn into Photoshop resources; what used to involve photographing, planning and editing has now been minimised into a simple click and export function, ready for you to use in your work. Whether you’ve found a leaf you ant to turn into a brush, or you want to the palette of a picture you’ve seen Twitter, Capture can aid your projects.



rs section of Capture enables you to -colour palette and edit the shades ture. Simply take a photo or load e from your Camera Roll. Capture will automatically find five shades to choose but by running your finger along the screen, you can alter which hue you’d like to pick from the picture. When you’ve decided, hit the Shutter button and save as a palette to work with on desktop Photoshop.

ES SHAP can be useful in Photoshop for all

Resolution and memory Your iPad might not have the sharpest resolution and your phone might be struggling for space, but you needn’t let that impede your capturing. Resolution isn’t particularly important when capturing colours or brushes, and everything stores to the cloud.

S LOOK HES BRUS While intended for video footage and use with the most well known of the Capture

Perhaps Shapes options, Brush enables you to take pictures of shapes create can you kinds of projects, and objects for conversion into Photoshop a loading or taking by simply objects real from photo in the Shapes section of Capture. Swipe brushes. Either take a picture or load one from your finger along the screen to keep or remove the Camera Roll, and touch an object in your shot to choose it for the brush capture; use elements of the shape, and hit the Shutter the Opacity scroll to change the level of detail. the Use object. finished the button to capture Finally, crop the selection using your fingers. slider in the bottom-right corner to adjust the This is particularly good for creating paint-style detail; everything you see is presented in a brushes for digital-art projects. Threshold-style view.


programs such as After Effects, when it comes to Photoshop it acts as a toneenhancing tool. Simply select or take a picture that you wish to improve the colour of, and Looks will create a string of filter-like options along the bottom of the screen. Pick one of them, and you can choose to boost the colour in your photo, in much the same way as an Instagram-like app.

Created by Sp

encer Watso


SKETCH Adobe Sketch is the perfect app for an on-the-go creative who doesn’t want to carry around a sketchbook or tools. It’s a simple app for your tablet that works really well with you fingers and most styluses. The app consists of multiple stock brushes and you are also able to import your own brushes from your Creative Cloud Libraries. Sketch currently only consists of two layers: a laye for an imported photo for reference and your painting layer. This allows for a traditional way of painting rather then hav multiple layers such as other digital-painti apps. Once you are finished with your piec it takes a simple touch to send to Photosh This feature is incredibly handy for finishin up an idea or touching up your finalised pi

DIGITAL MEDIA Adobe Sketch forces you to work on one layer – as a traditional artist would – and provides a host of brushes to mimic real media effects. It’s great for creating on the move.


Make a basic sketch


First you must sketch out the basic shape you are creating in Sketch. This will include focal points such as the hair, eyes and lips. Then paint some highlights in the hair and some shadows to the face using different colours to give your illustration some depth.

Adobe Illustrator Draw can be used to add or extend graphic elements to images, or to take them to another level as an illustration; you can also use the app to plan your shots or composites before spending time on the real work. Draw supports layers – including a photo layer that you can reduce the opacity of and use for tracing – and several drawing tools, including perspective and other grids, as well as shape stamps and a digital straight-edge known as Touch Slide. Projects and drawings from Draw can be sent directly to Photoshop from the app.

Add detail

The final touches



Begin to add all the details to the focal points with small and medium brush strokes. Then use a spray brush and paint in the background with a different colour and before fixing any areas where you didn’t want the spray brush to touch. Add some paint splatters.

ROUGH SKETCH It’s possible to quickly sketch your ideas using Adobe Illustrator Draw, then send your work directly from the app to Photoshop to apply some fine-tuning there.

Tony Harmer, Adobe

Add some other colours to the illustration to blend the model into the background. Use a few more custom splatter to the hair direction to provide some moveme Finally, scribble around the illustration. This w give it a handmade painting effect.




Lightroom for mobile enables you to work on your synced collections on your iOS/ Android phone or tablet – wherever you are – and your edits are synced everywhere that the collection is. If you’re catching a train or plane and you have a roll of images to process, you can complete most of what’s available in the Develop module while you travel, and your work will sync the next time you’re connected. You can prepare your images for further editing in Photoshop using the power of Lightroom while you’re on the go and it’s possible to make further edits to copies in Photoshop Fix, and Photoshop Express on your device, too.

Tune your image


Open an image in Lightroom for mobile and tap the Adjustments icon from the bottom. You’ll find most of the controls that you’d see in the basic tab of Develop settings in Lightroom (or Camera Raw in Photoshop for that matter) Tune your image

All text and imagery: Tony Harmer, Adob


Make a tighter crop


Tap the Crop icon in the bottom bar to crop your image; this example makes a much tighter crop. You can control aspect ratio, auto-straighten, rotate and flip (horizontally or vertically). Once you have the desired result, tap he tick to apply.

Pick your adjustment


With the Adjustment options visible, tap the icon at the left to reveal other sets of controls available to you beyond basic; choose Colour to Black and White, and turn B&W on, then use the sliders to tune the greyscale values of your image for your individual conversion.


EDIT IN PHOTOSHOP FIX If your image is in need of a little more help, then you can send a copy to Photoshop Fix for further work. Tap the Share icon at the top-right of the screen and choose Edit In… then select either Healing or Liquify in Photoshop Fix. Perform your desired edit and tap the blue bar that you’ll see at the top of the screen, and you’ll be taken back to Lightroom for mobile – Photoshop Fix sends back an amended copy so that your original remains intact. Tip: To exit Photoshop Fix without changes being made, tap Options at the top-left and choose Abandon & Return.

The relationship between Lightroom for mobile and Adobe Photoshop Fix is smooth. Explore the options available and perfect your image.

Photoshop Mix is a useful and fun-to-use app that can be used on its own, or as the start of a project that will later be developed in Photoshop on the desktop. The app enables the comping and mixing of up to five layers; Mix includes functions such as cropping, adjustments, colour looks, cut-out masking and even the most-used blend modes – all of which are preserved if you export your work to Photoshop CC. Layers can be reordered by dragging their layer thumbnail – on the right-hand side of the screen – up and down the stack; if you can’t see the thumbnails, then tap the Layers icon at the top of the interface.


Tip: if five layers aren’t enough, you can merge layers down by dragging the layer thumbnail onto another layer thumbnail.

Start a new project


Once launched, tap the Plus sign on the left-hand side of the screen to begin a new roject and load your background image. Choose om one of the sources shown on the screen and e project will open.


Load your mix layer


Tap the empty layer thumbnail on the right-hand side of the screen, and select the image you’d like to mix with the background from the available sources, in exactly the same way as you did a moment ago.

That smile isn’t what you were looking for, and the moment has passed; that shot angle has made the subject’s face look a bit wide/ narrow; there’s a blemish that is ruining the shot. If any of these are familiar – especially with photographs taken on a device – then Photoshop Fix will make it better. This app can tease plenty of imaging power from your iPhone, iPad or iPad Pro and means that you can quickly repair or refine your shot and use it immediately or push it to Photoshop on the desktop for further work.

Make a mask


SHARE TO YOUR DESKTOP While it is more than plausible to use Photoshop Fix completely on its own just for fun, the real intent is – as with all of the Creative Cloud mobile apps – to feed into your workflow and make your device a real working component of your processes. Mobile images are being increasingly used in real projects because device cameras have become so able, and there are many add-ons that are now available to make even more of their capabilities. Being able to make instant adjustments – some of which are really quite sophisticated – means that the process

Here we tapped the scissors icon in the bottom bar, dragged a finger over the mountains (avoiding the sky) and a mask was quickly generated. Once happy with the mask, exit by tapping the tick at the bottom-right.

need not stall, or the work be redone on a desktop after mailing the file to yourself or tethering and syncing.

Send to Photoshop


Tap the Share icon and send the mix to Photoshop (if it’s not open already on your machine, it will likely launch automatically on receipt of the file). Your mask is preserved and you can now make any refinements to it.




Comp CC enables you to create layouts on your iPad or iPhone that aren’t just a mock-up; they can become productionready artwork in almost the blink of an eye. You can create layouts using natura drawing gestures, and then populate th layout with the same assets in your Creative Cloud Libraries and folders as you would using your desktop software Your synced images, fonts, colours, vec shapes and text styles can all be pulled and you can use round-tripping workflo for Photoshop Fix and Mix, then push y layout to Photoshop (or InDesign/ ustrator) where you’ll have a fully edit ered file to continue working with.

All text and imager y: Tony

Harmer, Adobe


Choose your layout


Tap on the Plus sign at the left to create a brand new project and then choose your layout intent – scroll down to reveal more layouts and you can also create your own if what you need isn’t available.

Populate your layout


Add text and images from your device or Creative Cloud files and libraries, to build your layout just as you would in the desktop software. Tip: It’s possible to add grids to create a balanced layout by using the Gear icon found at the top of the screen.


Preview CC is the perfect tool for web/UX designers using Photoshop, because it enables them to see how their designs are going to look on an iOS mobile device, in real-time. Using a Wi-Fi connection – or if you can’t get that working because your Wi-Fi is acting up or you’re at work and the necessary ports are blocked, tethering the device via USB to your desktop computer – Preview CC will accurately show you how the design will look on an actual device. Preview CC recognises all of your artboards, so you can easily swipe between them to check how your UI and layout is

Refine your layout


Selected items can be modified; properties such as fill colour, stroke and alignment can all be adjusted. Select more than one item to change several at once, or copy and apply styles with gestures. Lock items to prevent accidentally moving them.

going to look, and then matches the size and position of the artboard with the size of the connected device. To get it working, make sure the Preview CC app is installed on your device, and then open the Device Preview panel in Photoshop. 

Send to Photoshop


Once you’re ready, you can send your layout to Photoshop via the Share icon at the top-right. All of your work is preserved in layers, which means that any final edits or adjustments before publication should still be easy to perform.

FOR iOS/AND For a long time, Adobe apps were only available on iOS but with the advent of Android capability, it’s even easier for Android users to share assets between mobile devices and Photoshop. The Creative Cloud app is similar to the Creative Cloud program available for your desktop. It’s where the assets that you keep on the cloud can be stored, either for you to download or upload on your device, and you can even search Adobe Stock. Android users can download even more file types to use on their devices, making the CC app great for file sharing and quicker for using with desktop Photoshop than the likes of Dropbox.


With Behance, Adobe acquired a community-based website in whic creatives could share their work w contemporaries. You can build yo at and post y projects, as well as discover other work; there have been over 60 mi project views on the site as of the of 2015, so it’s a good place to get work seen. Portfolio, launched in 2016, is a web-building tool with five templa for displaying your Behance projec Portfolio is available with any CC plan at, an the websites you can create enabl phone and tablet viewing; Behanc is completely free and available online, and on iOS and Android.


The Creative Cloud programs can come with a bit of a learning curve, and if you’re trying to figure out how to use one, you might be glad of a little help. Creative Cloud Tutorials is a great app for reading up on how to use a tool or feature of any Creative Cloud app. It doesn’t give advice for creating specific styles of pictures, but it explains how to use tools with both step-by-step guides and video tutorials. It’s a useful companion for any beginner and it offers simple tips to assist with your learning. The Creative Cloud Tutorials app is free for both iOS and Android.

CREATIVE CLOUD LIBRARIES Your Creative Cloud Library is what ties all of these apps together. Your library is available online at assets/libraries, in the Creative Cloud desktop program, within Photoshop itself, and in the Creative Cloud app that’s available on iOS and Android. Your Library also has its own folder on your desktop; drop any file into this folder to use it across any of your devices. The Library is where everything you create on the apps is housed, from colour palettes to brushes. This enables you to use them and import them with ease from one device to the next, and

once you’ve created an asset in one place, your library syncs to make that asset available across all platforms. Should you buy an image with Adobe Stock, it will appear in your library. When you take out the full CC plan with all apps, Adobe offers you 20GB of free space for your CC Libraries. This is cut down to 2GB if you only have the Photography plan – a discount plan that includes Photoshop and Lightroom, along with a selection of the Adobe mobile apps. You can place any kind of file in your Libraries; think of it as a file-hosting service within your CC programs and on your mobile devices.




Combine Sketch and Photoshop

Spencer Watson

Sketch a portrait using the Adobe Photoshop Sketch mobile app, then refine and finish up in Photoshop CC

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Draw in Sketch then refine in Photoshop with brushes and layer effects

Time taken 3 hours

“I love the use of brushes in my artwork, and I found that adding blend modes were perfect to achieve this digital, illustrative style. I’m a graphic designer who has used Photoshop since I graduated from the Art Institute of Vancouver five years ago. I am currently working with an events company as its lead designer, and in my spare time I create digital illustrations.”


reative ideas can come to us at any given time, whether we’re in the office, on the train or walking in the countryside. And that’s one reason why mobile apps are so great. In this tutorial we will use Adobe’s Sketch to create the initial shape and layout of the portrait. Sketch is the perfect app to get ideas down quickly. We will use different brushes to sketch details and add colour to focal points with the use of different blending modes. We will then send it to Photoshop where we will take a look at selecting and duplicating the illustration by using Channels; a

Create in Sketch


Observe your point of reference. Decide on a focal point and begin to draw a rough sketch. Stick to one brush at a medium thickness. Sketch the general lines of the face, such as the eyes, nose and hands.

spectacular feature that helps us perfect selections around complex objects. Once the illustration has been selected and duplicated, we will begin to add textures and custom brushes. This is where things get really fun. As we go along we will reuse textures and use blend modes. This will create different effects, and add colour and depth to the composition. We will finish by touching up focal points, adding a few finishing touches with some custom ink splatters, and finally we will use adjustment layers to give the illustration some contrast and vibrance.

Add detail


Work your way out of the focal point. Begin by adding hair. This will give you direction on the general flow of the painting. Continue painting with a medium brush size, adding pressure to your strokes.

Sketch the body


Continue to add hair, but don’t limit yourself to the model’s shape. Go beyond and create something abstract. Give your model messy, over-the-top hair. This is where you can be really messy.


Tutorial Co

Add dabs of colour


Once you have a very general sketch down, the next step is to add colour. Change your brush to a Marker Chisel and change the blending mode to Combine. Begin to add a gentle shade of skin colour.

Refine the illustration


Select a Graphite Pencil and add some shading to the shadows, such as behind the nose and around the eyes. Add most detail to the focal point, but also around the rest of the illustration for a messy look.

Edit in Photoshop


Once you are happy with the sketch, take it into Photoshop. Click the Send to Photoshop button and then rename your layers appropriately. Now is a good time to change your work to 300ppi if you are thinking of sending to print.

Add texture


Place textures between the original background layer and the new selection. This will blend the illustration to the background and add some texture. Add a Color Overlay blend mode to match the skin colour to the textures.


Apply final details in Sketch


Give your illustration some final touches before heading to Photoshop. Add a few more layers of marker for thickness. Finish up with more scribbles to the hair and empty parts of the canvas.

Select the composition


Open the Channels panel and duplicate the blue channel. Select the Brush tool and set it to Overlay with the colour black. Paint over the illustration until it is all black. Select the channel by Cmd/Ctrlclicking the layer. Duplicate the layer via copy.

Use brushes


Choose a brush from Photoshop that resembles hair. Use a colour that contrasts well with the blue eyes and begin to gently add a few brush strokes. Remember to follow the motion of the illustration.



Expert tip Add extra texture

Enhance the focal point

Paint with layer masks


Duplicate the texture layer a few times and place around the image. Change the Color Overlay to match the brush colour in the previous step. Give your texture a layer mask and invert it so the layer is hidden. Then paint with a white paint brush over the top to reveal parts of the texture.

Utilise blend modes


Duplicate the texture layer again, place around the model and change the Fill of the layer to zero. Change the Color Overlay to blue to match the eyes. Make the blend mode Screen.


Follow the same process as step 11, except this time shrink the texture layers and position over the face. Change the Color Overlay to match the skin tone. Place these textures around the face to give it some movement.

Apply final touches

Add scribbles and strokes


If you want to try incorporating new textures, create and add your own! A fun way can be by using a Photoshop brush and adding a layer mask to it. Use a brush that has a texture such as a sponge. Invert the layer mask so the texture is hidden, then paint with a so Airbrush to reveal the texture. Do this randomly in different areas so as to not show the complete brush. Alternatively, take photos of interesting textures and use blend modes to add them to your image.

Continue to duplicate the texture layer and position randomly around the illustration to give it a hand-painted look and feel. Add scribbles with a small brush to add detail to the hair. Incorporate a few custom ink splatters coloured in black and blue.


Add detail to the eyes so the focal point really stands out. Use a small ink splatter around one of the eyes. Add a Hue and Saturation layer and increase Saturation to +13. Add a Contrast layer and increase the Contrast slider to 100 and Brightness to -14.


Closer look Keeping things messy

By setting multiple brush layers to a Screen blending mode, not only will the brush layers merge together but they will also pop with brightness. This will give the illustration an added digital look.

DIFFERENT BRUSHES Add different thicknesses of brushes. Note that thin lines will draw the viewer into the illustration while thicker brushes will add texture and centre the focal point.

BE RANDOM The trick is being messy. Literally throw ink splatters and brushes everywhere. Add brush strokes that flow in motion with the illustration, and use blending modes to blend brushes together.

ORGANISED LAYERS Your Photoshop file will likely have lots of brush and texture layers. Be sure to stay organised by grouping and labelling as much as possible.




On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with

Mask complex objects with RGB channel

Start images




Whatyou’lllearn How to isolate complex objects using RGB channels and basic tools

Time taken 2 hours

Expe Daniel Sinoca “Channels are one of the best ways to create complex selections. Depending on the image, you are able to select the tiniest details only using the proper channel and a few basic tools. I started to get involved in the digital world more than 10 years ago and have been working as a freelance artist ever since, creating all kinds of multimedia projects and tutorial guides.”

Create a fun composition by masking with RGB channels, applying filters and manipulating different images


ome people go to the fair to enjoy the huge rides, some prefer the food and drinks, and some like to use Photoshop to create their own carnival world without the risk of getting dizzy or sick! In this tutorial we’ll share some essential tricks for how to create a fairground world using masks, along with some vital techniques to make you giddy with excitement. We’ll show you how to use the Magic Wand tool to create a basic mask, and other more advanced selections using the RGB channels. Channel masking is one of the best techniques for isolating

Create the background


Go to File>Open ‘Background.jpg’. Now adjust the colours. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Lookup. In the New Layer window, set the blend mode to Soft Light and click OK. On the Properties panel, check 3DLUT file and choose Moonlight.3DL.

parts of an image, and is far more accurate than other Photoshop tools. Each channel represents how much colour information is displayed in the image. So what you have to look for is the channel with the most contrast between black and white. In addition to that you’ll also learn how to use the Levels adjustment and the Dodge and Burn tools to clean up the mask, getting as many details as possible. To finish, we’ll show you a clever way to apply filters in Quick Mask mode. All of the images, brushes and files are waiting for you on the FileSilo, so let’s start building.

Enhance the tones


Create a new layer, name it Gradient. Grab the Gradient tool (G). Open the Gradient Editor and choose the Foreground to Background preset. In Options choose Radial Gradient and drag from top left to bottom right. Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 45%.

Add some stars


Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N) and fill it with black. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Set Amount: 50%, Distribution: Gaussian, check Monochromatic and click OK. Apply the Gaussian Blur filter, Radius: 3 pixels. Press Cmd/Ctrl+L. Adjust the input Levels until you see the stars. Change the blend mode to Screen.



Expert tip Enter Quick Mask mode In Quick Mask mode, you can create a semi-transparent red overlay, which enables you to see through the image while painting the mask. Press Q to enter the Quick Mask mode. Set the default Foreground and Background colours to black and white. Grab the Brush tool and paint the mask. You can also use the Gradient tool to create a smooth transition. Hit Q again to exit Quick Mask mode – this will turn the mask into a selection, enabling you to make changes or apply effects.

Mask the stars


Apply textures


Go to File>Place>’Texture.jpg’ and hit Return/Enter. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/ Alt+G to clip the layer. Hold Shift and click the Planet layer thumbnail to select it. Go back to the Texture layer and then Filter>Distort> Spherize. Enter the Amount: 100% and hit OK. Change the blending mode to Overlay.

Create a new layer and name it Planet. Grab the Elliptical Marquee tool (M). Hold Shift and create a selection on the centre of the canvas. Grab the Gradient tool. Open the Gradient Editor and choose light grey to dark grey colours. Apply within the selection. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect.


Go to File>Place Embedded ‘Ferris Wheel.jpg’ and hit Return/Enter. Let’s create a mask using channels. Go to Window>Channels. Duplicate the Blue channel. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to open the Levels adjustment. Drag the Input Levels until you have a high contrast (black/white) image.

Pick the Brush tool (B). Set the Foreground colour to black. Choose a small hard brush and cover the white spots over the columns and the cabin’s windows and doors. Now click RGB on the Channels palette and hit F7.



Mask the Ferris wheel

Fine-tune the mask


Create the planet

First hit Cmd/Ctrl+F to re-apply the Gaussian Blur filter to blur the stars a bit. Now go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a large soft-tip brush and paint over the mask to hide the stars partially on the top half.

Enhance the mask


Now grab the Dodge tool (O). In Options choose a large soft brush, set Range: Highlights and Exposure: 100%. Start painting over the white areas to clean it up. Grab the Burn tool (Shift+O). Set Range: Midtones, Exposure: 100% and paint over the black areas to darken it even more.

Load the selection


Now it’s time to create the mask! Go to Select>Load Selection. Choose Channel: Blue Copy, check Invert and then hit OK. Now go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and hide the original Ferris Wheel layer.

Apply a layer mask

Add new rides


Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T and resize the image. Paint over the mask to hide the hard edges. Go to Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object and then Layer> Layer Mask>Apply. Flip the image horizontally (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal). To fine-tune details, go to Layer>Matting>Remove White Matte.

Place the roller coaster


Go to File>Place Embedded ‘Roller Coaster1.jpg’. Grab the Magic Wand tool (W). In Options, click Add to Selection, set Tolerance to 50, uncheck Anti-alias and Contiguous. Now select the sky (click on different areas to complete the selection) and press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to inverse.

Build the roller coaster


Go to File>Place Embedded ‘Rail.png’ and then the ‘Roller Coaster.png’. Don’t forget to resize, rotate and flip the images, and add layer masks to partially hide the rails in a way that appears to be around the planet. Place the images all over.


Go to File>Place Embedded ‘Fun Ride1.jpg’. Repeat steps 8 through to 12. Mask the images using the RGB channels and then resize and place around the planet. Place the ‘Fun Ride2.jpg’ and repeat the steps again.

Adjust with Refine Edge


Click Refine Edge or hit Option/ Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+R. Now adjust the edges. Set Smooth: 30, Feather: 1, Contrast: 60%, Shift Edge: +200%. Check Decontaminate Colours, Amount: 100% and hit OK. Grab the Brush tool and fix the gaps and the hard edges.

Create shadows


Click on the Rail2 layer to make it active. Go Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow. Change the blend mode to Overlay, Opacity: 60%, Angle: 90°, Spread: 1%, Size: 15 pixels and click OK. Let’s place the shadow in its own layer. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Create Layer. Mask out the unwanted areas.

Add the tracks


Duplicate the Roller Coaster1 layer, resize it and place around the planet. Duplicate as many times as you want. Create a layer mask and use a soft-edged brush to hide the unwanted areas. Try to connect the tracks for a working roller coaster.

Place trees


Go to File>Place ‘Palm_Tree.png’. Resize it and hit Return/Enter. Now rasterize the layer (Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object) and remove the white matte (Layer>Matting>Remove White Matte). Now you can duplicate, flip and add shadows to create a sense of depth.



Place the rail

Work on shadows and highlights


Go to File>Place Embedded ‘Rail_Final.png’. Place it on top of the layer stack. Go to Edit>Transform>Perspective. Drag the bottom handles outwards and the top handles inwards to create a nice perspective then go to Edit>Transform>Warp. Drag the handles to create a subtle curve and hit Return/Enter.

Enter Quick Mask mode


Click on the Rail_Final layer. Now enter Quick Mask mode (Q). Grab the Gradient tool (G) and select the Foreground to Background preset. Set it to Linear Gradient. Hold Shift and drag from the bottom to the centre. Hit Q again to exit Quick Mask. Now apply a 25% Gaussian Blur.


Hit Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N. Name it Shadows/Highlights, check ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’, with the blend mode set to Soft Light and check ‘Fill with 50% grey’. Grab the Burn tool (O), start painting the shadows on the bottom of the rail, and use the Dodge tool to add highlights on top.

Complete the composition


Go to File>Place ‘Cart.png’. Add a shadow under the cart and clip the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G). Place the ‘Balloon.png’ and ‘Seagulls.png’. Create a new layer on top of the Stars layer. Go to Edit>Preset>Preset Manager and click Load ‘Stars.abr’. Load it and paint new stars and clouds to finish the composition. DROP SHADOW

What you’ll learn Masks made easy

Use the Layer Styles to create a drop shadow and then place it on its own layer. Now you can manipulate the shadow in any way you want.

APPLY FILTERS Use the Gradient tool in Quick Mask mode to create a smooth selection and then apply the Gaussian Blur filter to create an interesting effect.

MASK OBJECTS Use the RGB channels to create detailed masks. Use the Refine Edge to fine tune the masks. Use Levels and the Dodge/Burn tools to create a high-contrast layer.


ADJUSTMENT LAYERS Apply an adjustment layer to enhance the tones or make colour corrections to your image. Clip the layers if you want the adjustment to affect only the layer below it.

Amazing renderings and animations. In realtime.

The flexibility to work with your ZBrush/Maya/3DS/ files. Luscious materials that are ready at the starting gate. More time to create beautiful images. Less time wasted. You can create high-quality visuals faster than ever before, and you can do it using KeyShot.

Model by Luigi Memola

Learn more at

34 On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Discover colour techniques to make your own photo look vintage

Time taken 4hours

Expert Rodrigo Marinelli “In college, I always liked art classes. I thought it incredible that a style could influence everything. Over the years I realised that this knowledge helped me to develop my own style. That’s why learning is always important. “I’m an art director and have 10 years of experience in advertising agencies. I learned and am still learning to use Photoshop through following tutorials.”

create vintage portrait

Give your portrait photos a vintage makeover using just a few handy tools in Photoshop


hen working in Photoshop, having a vast knowledge of different art styles can be very helpful, especially when you’re creating something new. So, with this tutorial, you’ll learn not only which tools are required to create a vintage image, but also a bit more about this important art style. The vintage style can cover anything from the Twenties to the Sixties. It has influenced a lot of sectors, such as fashion, art, lifestyle and advertising. At that time there were no computers, so everything was handmade by designers and

Set the background


rt imag

First create a new file (Cmd/Ctrl+N) measuring 230x310mm and paint it with the colour #fde8cc. Then make a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N) with a white circle (M) and apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur) of 435px.

artists; that’s why vintage art isn’t usually created digitally, instead mainly featuring painted images. To make your photo look vintage you’ll use a few tools, such as Color Balance, Gaussian Blur, Feather, Filters and some composition techniques. The main factor is adjusting the colour tone; it must give the impression that the image is old, but it needs to be colourful to make the result more interesting. Another important factor to observe is textures, as these give an older look to the image. Enjoy this tutorial and create a vintage-style image with your own photos.

Add the texture


One of the keys to building a vintage image is details. It is very common to see words written on the image. So use ‘Letter.jpg’ and change its blend mode to Multiply, then duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and place it with 50% Opacity.

Make it vintage


Insert ‘Vintage background.jpg’, create a new layer and make a white square (U), bigger than the background with an outline of 2pt. Insert ‘Dotty edge.jpg’ and then transform so it runs along the top of the vintage background. Duplicate three times, rotating to make a complete surround.


Tutorial Cr

Visit the Filter Gallery


Photoshop has several ways to add textures in your image, one of them is exploring the Filter Gallery (Filter>Filter Gallery). To add this effect go to the Texture folder and select the Texturizer filter with Scaling: 100% and Relief: 4.

Start the transformation


It’s time to give a vintage look to your photo. Crop the ‘Model.jpg’ photo and place it above the vintage background. As the background is predominantly yellow, change the colour tone of the photo using the Color Balance tool (Cmd/Ctrl+B) with the settings +16, 0, -24.

Add Gaussian Blur


Part of the vintage style usually involves blur, so duplicate the woman layer and apply the Gaussian Blur filter (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) set to 4px. Once you have done that, make a mask and with the Brush tool (B), delete the blur over the face area.

Add colourful roses


Crop the ‘Colourful roses.jpg’ image. Apply a Feather of 3px and place it below the woman layer, then apply a Gaussian Blur filter of 4px. Duplicate the layer and distribute some roses on the right and another at the bottom on the left.



Now let’s make the woman’s dress more colourful by changing it to red. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a new layer and with the Pen tool (P), make a selection of the dress. Once that is done, paint it with the colour #f05c6c and change the blend mode to Color.

Work on the details


Give an older look to the image by applying the same filter procedure as in step four. Move the layer with the filter below the layer with blur, so the effect only appears on the woman’s face. Add some hair highlights using the Brush tool and white.

Insert background flowers


Enhance the dress

Now drop in ‘Vintage flowers.png’ to continue composing the flowery background. Keep in mind that the scene behind the woman shouldn’t be too busy. Apply the same crop and blurring effects from the previous step.

Drop in the arabesque


Insert ‘Arabesque.jpg’ and with the Magic Wand tool, select the colourful part of the picture. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and Paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) and add the arabesque design behind the flowers. Change the blend mode to Soft Light, then make a mask to erase small details from the top.

Expert tip Play with the blend modes

Place the bottom flowers


Insert ‘Pink rose.jpg’ and ‘Leaf.jpg’ to add to the bottom flowers. Duplicate the pink rose layer and turn into yellow. Do this by making a selection and painting it with yellow #f1cf00, then change its blend mode to Color with 60% Opacity. Apply the same blur effect as in step nine.

Add extra details


Now you need to cut the white flowers of the ‘Leaf.jpg’ and add them to the sides, above the woman, giving more depth to your image. Finally add ‘Butterfly.jpg’ and apply the same blur effect as described in the previous steps.

Make it older


It’s time to add some more texture and details to the image. First use only the white part of ‘Birds.jpg’ and change the blend mode to Multiply. Then use ‘Noise.jpg’ with the blend mode set to Screen. Finally put the ‘Birds.jpg’ image on the woman’s hand.

Working with photomanipulation is fantastic because you can create endless possibilities through different tools. However, one of the most interesting are the blend modes. With these, you can change the colour, brightness/contrast, the background and many other factors. Be sure to experiment with blend modes to get to know what each one is capable of. In this tutorial, they were very helpful for adding textures to the final image.

Apply final adjustments


Add a series of colour adjustments such as Hue, Saturation (0, + 3, 0), Levels (5, 1.00, 255), Photo Filter (Filter Warming: 25%) and Brightness/Contrast (16/10). To make the image clearer, use a mask to erase the text layer, leaving only some at the top. BURN TOOL

Closer look Vintage adjustments

In the vintage style the shadows are always very strong, so use the Burn tool to enhance the shadows of the face and neck. Be careful not to exaggerate.

THE FEATHER CROP Aer you have cropped or cut out an image, crop using the Feather crop (Shi+F6). It leaves the edges of the photo soer, so it’s easier to merge.

DODGE TOOL An image needs shadows and highlights to look its best. In this case highlights were lacking, so we used the Dodge tool to highlight the face, neck and especially the hair.

THE COLOR BLEND MODE This is one of the most useful blend modes to adjust colour. Duplicate the woman’s layer, paint it with the colour #f9e4c0 and change the blend mode to Color.



Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to transform a city stock photo into an apocalyptic composite

Time taken 12 hours

Exper Mark White “In my opinion, the most striking Photoshop art takes different things and mixes them together. Seeing natural elements in a city certainly fits this description! “As senior staff writer on Photoshop Creative, I’ve learned all kinds of quick tips to help with even the most impressive-looking pictures.”


Composite with layers

Bring the end of the world to a city scene, using masks and layers


here’s possibly nothing more important when it comes to photomanipulation than layers. They allow us to control our work, edit non-destructively, and when it comes to a project like this, they can be your best friend. Post-apocalyptic worlds are the stuff of Hollywood, but can be created in Photoshop. We’re going to start with a deserted New York, and transform it into a dilapidated city.

The key to bringing this to life is keeping it close to life. Don’t insert anything that looks out of place; transform stock images to make them fit into the project and mask any edges with a soft brush. When you’ve added an image, Alt/Opt-click an adjustment layer to the layer to blend it in. It’s a time-consuming composite, but one that’s totally worth it. Layers give you almost limitless potential, so what will you do with them?

On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Replace the sky


Open ‘City.jpg’ in Photoshop. Let’s bring a new sky in by dragging ‘Sky.jpg’ into your document and positioning it so it covers the space. Set to Soft Light and mask around the buildings. Duplicate this, set to Multiply and then mask again, leaving a glow on the skyscrapers to suggest it’s sunset.

Clone out the people


Though we’re probably going to replace a lot of the original picture with apocalyptic elements, grab the Clone tool, set an Opacity of 50% and start to gently erase anything from the image that shouldn’t belong there, such as people. Cars can stay, as we’re going to edit them.



Expert tip Do it in Elements Although this is ambitious even for a Photoshop project, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t try it out in Photoshop Elements. Instead of clipping adjustments to an image, use the Levels command (Cmd/Ctrl+L) to edit them destructively. The other workaround you need is that instead of drawing the vines with the Pen tool, simply use a brush. Other than that, follow all of the steps in the same way; you can even complete the final step with Elements’ Camera Raw.

Crack the road open


With your city now deserted, drop ‘Floor.jpg’ into the image, and transform so it covers the centre of the road. Set to Multiply, hit Mask, invert (Cmd/Ctrl+I), and then grab a soft, white, 20% opaque brush to mask it in. Duplicate this layer and choose Soft Light.

Add a waterfall


Post-apocalyptic worlds often contain lush imagery, so insert ‘Waterfall.jpg’, and transform it to fit over the buildings on the left. Duplicate twice; set one layer to Screen, Opacity: 25%; one to Multiply, Opacity: 25%; and the original to Soft Light, Opacity: 50%. Mask in ‘Rocks.jpg’, ‘Water.jpg’ and ‘Earth.jpg’ around the falls.

Using a combination of Multiply and Soft Light means that you maintain enough of both the cracked road and the original road when you edit. Use this technique again, this time on the pavement (sidewalk); drag ‘Floor.jpg’ in again, and transform it to cover each side of the road.


Open a new 5000 x 5000 px document and insert a rainbow gradient towards the bottom. Go to Filter> Polar Coordinates, choose Rectangular to Polar. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and choose 10px, hit Enter, copy it to your disaster scene and transform to fit over the waterfall. Set to Screen, 50% Opacity.

Now, let’s coat the buildings in lush greenery for a typical post-apocalyptic feel. Start with the buildings further away and insert ivy stock pictures. Transform to fit the buildings, set to Multiply, mask, invert, and fade them into the scene with a soft, white brush.



Copy in a rainbow

Add some ivy


Work on the pavements

Make some waterfall steam


Insert a new layer, fill in white and with black and white chosen in your swatches, go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Set to Screen, mask, invert and brush in the layer with a soft, white brush. Do the same in the distance and also mask in the pole that can be seen in the foreground.

Build up the effect


Adding plants spilling out of the buildings is great for two reasons: it can hide anything you don’t want seen in the picture and it gives the impression of unruliness. Drag ivy images in, leave as Normal blend mode and mask in with soft, white, 15% opaque brushes.

Insert falling ivy


Over a couple of signs and the bonnets of cars, add ‘FallingIvy.jpg’ just to give the picture even more character. Set this ivy to Multiply, duplicate and set to Soft Light. Remember, add clipped adjustment layers like Curves and Hue/ Saturation to blend these images in.

Add some weeds


The road looks quite barren and cracked, but with all these plants, insert some weeds. Use the same techniques to blend them into the picture, transforming, duplicating and experimenting with blend modes. Remember that clipping adjustment layers is vital to a good blend.

Plant a tree


Add ‘Tree1.jpg’. Go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold to turn it to a silhouette, and place towards the back of the scene. Change the blend mode to Multiply. Add another steam layer in the same way as you did in step 7 to obscure the tree in the background, and mask.

Place a crashed tram


Add ‘Tram.jpg’ into the picture, just beneath the tree layer; mask out the tree’s left-hand branch to make it look crashed. Mask the tram and add all kinds of ivy images over the vehicle. Add a layer beneath and with a 50% Opacity, black, soft brush, draw a shadow.


With the majority of the left-hand side completed, merge all layers into one by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E. Move just above the waterfall layers, Cmd/Ctrl+T to Transform and Flip Vertical. Set to Soft Light, 50% Opacity, and mask in over the water to create a reflection.

Make a prominent tree


Place ‘Tree2.jpg’ further in the foreground. Use Select>Color Range to pick all the colours from the tree and then hit Mask once done so that you are left with only the tree without the background. Place in front of the van and blend in with clipping masks.

Work up the trees


Bring in a reflection

Insert ‘Tree3.jpg’ to the left-hand side of the picture, masking with the Select Color tool, and blending into the shot using clipping masks as we have done before. Add ‘Root.jpg’ over the tree with the crashed tram and mask in. Mask in some more ivy over the tree’s branches.

Destroy the cars


You can use all kinds of techniques to make the cars in the picture look battered; mask in the rusted car images provided over the original cars to create a decaying feel, mask in ivy images over the bonnets and use the Burn tool to make them look corroded.



Create a scrap yard


Complete the rusted cars by adding ‘Scrapyard.jpg’ under the left-hand tree (beneath the layer). Mask in, blend with clipping masks and again use the Burn tool on the bonnets to make the vehicles look especially old and rusted.

Draw some swinging vines


Grab the Pen tool next, to bring a feel of the jungle to the city. Draw a sloping curve from the buildings to the trees and Stroke these paths with a 90% opaque, dark green (#46562a) brush. Transform these vines to give them shape and perspective.

Insert a deer


Place ‘Deer.jpg’ on the right-hand side. Mask the animal from its background and beneath it, add a small puddle; brush #305676 onto a layer below the deer, and duplicate twice. Turn one to Soft Light, 25% Opacity; one as Screen, 25% Opacity and leave the original as Multiply, 25% Opacity.

Add your subject


With a couple of animals in place, give your image more focus by adding a lone human survivor. Add ‘Girl.jpg’ to the picture, and mask out carefully with a black, soft, 50% opaque brush. Place her behind the big rock and be sure to blend the different grasses together.



To make the vines look a little less drawn, clip ivy images to them. Grab the Brush tool and draw loose vines on them, and then add a neutral grey layer (#808080), set to Overlay, clip to the vines and use the Burn tool underneath them to give them some more shape.

Place a lion


With the deer in place, give it a predator; add ‘Lion.jpg’ to the scene on the opposite side and mask with the Quick Selection tool. Place it below the waterfall steam to hide it, and clip adjustments to blend it in with its new surroundings.

Apply final touches


Make the vines lifelike

With the majority of your scene complete, it’s time to add subtle details and tweaks before adjusting the picture as a whole. Mask ‘Stop.jpg’ into the right-hand side and blend into the picture with ivy and burning. Add birds to the image and check everything looks perfect.

Make slight adjustments


Bring everything together just a little and unify the colours by adding a Warm Photo Filter, and then a Curves layer. Click on the adjustment and create an S shape with the RGB channel, before altering the individual Red, Green and Blue strands subtly to tweak the tone.

Expert tip Choose blend techniques

Recolour areas


On a new Color layer, set to 50% Opacity, use a soft brush to recolour areas of your picture. Make the right-hand side more orange, as it’s drier over that side, make the water bluer and give a unifying green tint (#425427) to both sides of the ivy.

Dodge and burn


Add another layer and fill with #808080, in the same way you did when you were adjusting the swinging vines. Set to Overlay again, and Dodge and Burn the highlights and shadows of the composition to give more prominence to certain areas.

Sharpen the layers

With so many ways to blend a stock image, which one should you use? The answer depends on what you’re doing. If you’re masking in a simple object with a defined line, such as the deer or the lion, use Quick Selection, and then touch up the edges with a so brush. With the main subject, there are soer, less obvious edges, so brush around the girl entirely. Mask ivy in from black with a so brush and mask trees in with Select Color.

Use Camera Raw


Merge everything again, using Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E. Go to Filter>Other>High Pass and choose a Radius of 2.5px. Click OK and set to Overlay to sharpen. You may want to do this twice, and then mask the duplicate layer so only the subject is sharp, just to bring her out from the background.


Finally, merge everything into one layer again. Go to Filter>Camera Raw. Alter the Temperate to +20, Tint to -10 and then up the Clarity and the Vibrance for a brighter picture. Experiment with these sliders: add a split tone to unify further and a slight vignette to add focus TOP STRAP

What you can do with it Create computer-game art Photoshop is a vital tool in the world of computer-game design, and when you’re creating an entire world, Photoshop has all you need to help you bring your vision to life. Whether you want your postapocalyptic scene to be the first of many locations and levels you create for a computer game, or you just want to create the cover for such a game, this project lends itself perfectly to that world. You might want to get even more creative, adding villains to the mix and trying to create a series of these images.

Add a colourful top band to the game cover with a marquee selection and a gradient; this is where you will find which console the game is for.

REVIEWS AND RATINGS Add stars, text and an age rating to your game to complete the look, keeping consistency with styles and fonts.



W On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.


Draw with Solid Color laye

Jenni Sanders

Use the Brush tool with Solid Color adjustment layers to create a stylised, dramatic digital painting

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to use the Brush tool to create a dramatic digital painting

Time taken 2 hours

“Finding ways to use layers in my work is the most timeeffective and useful way to start a project. Being able to fully customise what you’re doing without destroying any image data is so useful for any type of Photoshop work. From the moment I saw my dad manipulate photos as a child, I was hooked and have since worked entirely within the industry of photography and Photoshop.”


his digital painting is very simple in its colour scheme, containing only black, white, some greys and an accenting orange. As a result, we can utilise Solid Color layers to create the drawing and add colour. They can be used in Photoshop CC, CS and Elements, so users of every level can follow along! There are a few advantages to using Solid Color layers to draw; the first is that the colour can be changed at any time, without having to redraw any lines; you can easily erase areas of one colour without affecting another; the in-built layer mask

Make a rough outline


Before creating a digital painting, start by looking for some examples of similar projects or photographs. For our example, have a look at some photographs of lions. Make a new canvas and create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N). Use this layer to sketch an idea of what you’d like to create.

enables quick drawing and erasing nondestructively; and colour order can be changed whenever you feel like it. Overall, using layers creates a very flexible workflow and gives maximum control, which is perfect for a low-colour image like this. To make it even easier, the outlines are going to be drawn on a separate layer above all of the colours, which means you can get away with some rough edges as they will be hidden. For a drawing like this, it’s great to use a graphics tablet and pen rather than a mouse, as it will give you a more realistic style.

Begin to draw


Create a new layer. Select the Brush tool (B) and set the Foreground colour to Black, Hardness to 100% and Opacity 100%. In Brush Settings, set Scattering to 1% for smooth lines. Then, using this brush, begin drawing outlines using your sketch.

Complete the outlines


Keep going along your drawing using your hard brush. Try to keep the same size for the majority of the outlines, adding some thicker areas of dark shadow and the occasional thinner line. Keep your strokes strong and solid, without any sketched rough lines.



Add the background colour


Create a Solid Color adjustment layer from the black/white circle on the Layers menu. Change the colour to #f3a000 and move this Solid Color layer underneath the outline layer. Paint black on the layer mask inside your outline, so the colour is only on the background.

Select the lion’s base colour


Now create another Solid Color layer and fill it with a dark grey, #2d2c2a. Because there’s a mask on the orange, simply drag this new layer underneath it to fill in the lion. This will make up the main base colour for the artwork.

Continue highlighting



Add a final Solid Color layer, pure white. Place this at the top of the greys and use a thin brush to paint in small highlights all over the lion, especially the mane. Be careful not to add too many, as the white will overpower the greys.



Create another Solid Color layer, #4f4d4b. Move the layer to just above the dark-grey layer. Fill the layer mask in black, and select a white brush. Set it to a similar size to your outlines and begin to draw in and around the original black lines.

Add a lighter grey

Move around your image, continuing to add the lighter grey around the black lines, creating some depth to the image. Make sure that your paint brush is still set to Scattering: 1%, avoiding messy bumps in your strokes.

Brush in highlights

Begin highlighting


Create another Solid Color layer, #76736f, and place it above the other grey layer. Fill the mask with black and, using a slightly smaller brush, add lighter highlights inside the black lines. Add less of this grey than the first.

Outline the background


Create a new, empty layer on top of all your current layers. Select a black paintbrush at 100% Hardness and Opacity, like you did at the start, and create outlines for a big, hazy sun and some ground details in the background.

Colour the background


Using the same colours as you did for the lion (you can use the same Solid Color layers or duplicate them to separate the foreground and background layers), add some shading. Keep the big, orange sun, and darken the sky and ground.


Expert tip Speed up your painting

Load custom brushes


Custom brushes can really quickly add extra detail to a drawing. Download them from sites such as, and load the .abr file into Photoshop by clicking Load Brushes via the cog symbol in the Brushes menu.

Use custom brushes


Get creative with the brushes. Use a variety of them on different layer masks, even create some new shades of the accent orange and add in some extra splashes for some more depth. You could overlap some of the orange into the lion, but don’t add too much. This is supposed to be a simple image!

Add a frame

Make some improvements


As all of the colouring is done neatly on layer masks, you can zoom in very close and touch up your lines in any areas where they might have become a bit messy while drawing.

What can go wrong

Using the Solid Color layer masks can be super-quick thanks to some handy keyboard shortcuts. With the layer mask selected, you can quickly fill it with Opt/ Alt+Backspace (fills with Foreground colour) or Ctrl/ Cmd+Backspace (fills with Background colour). When painting, increase or decrease the size of your brush using the square brackets, switch between black (hides layer colour) and white (shows layer colour) by tapping X.


Add a frame to finish off the drawing using the Shape tool (U) and draw a rectangle around the whole canvas. Set the Fill to None and the Stroke to as wide as you like, perhaps around 20 pixels.


Sketchy lines An image like this works best using solid, strong lines to create clean edges. Use the Brush at 100% Hardness, 100% Opacity at 1% Scattering and use long, sweeping strokes. When using a mouse rather than a tablet and pen, it can be trickier to keep lines continuous, especially around curves, so it’s extra important to be accurate. When releasing the stroke, pick it back up in exactly the same place and use the flexibility of the layer masks to remove any mess. Try to keep the Brush width consistent; changing between thick and thin brushes too much will also give the drawing a sketchy look, which can become messy and inconsistent.




Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Use masks, brushes and the Liquify filter for a dispersed-pixel effect

Time taken 1 hour

Expert Andre Villanueva “Layer masks are one Photoshop feature I simply can’t live without. They’re supremely useful in so many types of edits, including this dispersed-pixel effect. I discovered Photoshop when studying web design. I’m now art director for a tech company, soothing my inner instructor by sharing techniques with readers.”


Disperse pixels with masks Employ masks, brushes and Liquify to create a pixel dispersion


he dispersed-pixel effect has caused quite a stir in the Photoshop and design communities. Artists and designers are finding the effect perfect for injecting some edgy energy into their visuals. When viewing an image with pixel dispersion for the first time, you may think the creation process entails minute selections, copious duplications and transformations, and down-to-the-pixel tweaking.

You can certainly tackle this effect with a heavily manual approach. However, here you’ll use masks, the Liquify filter and scatter brushes. We’ll begin by stretching the model with Liquify. Then masks and brushes will be used to create the pixels and debris. A few adjustment layers will round things out. Then you can take the image further by experimenting with more adjustments and mixing in shapes and dynamic stock photos.


On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Make base selection


Open ‘Model.psd’ from the FileSilo. Use the Quick Selection tool to select the model. Resize the brush with the [ and ] keys. To remove from the selection, hold Option/Alt while using the tool. Zoom in/out with the Zoom tool as needed. Continue to work until you get a basic selection.

Use Refine Edge


Go to Select>Refine Edge (in Photoshop, you can press Option/ Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+R). Paint with the Refine Radius tool to assist in selecting the hair and any other areas. If necessary, use the Adjust Edge settings to assist. Changing View gives you different ways of displaying the selection.

Clean up the selection


Set Output To to Layer Mask. Click OK. Click the layer mask. Using the Brush tool and a soft brush, paint black on unneeded areas and white on areas you’d like to restore. Adjust brush size/opacity as needed. Decrease/increase brush hardness with the { and } keys. Save (Cmd/Ctrl+S).



Expert tip Mask a group Using layer groups (sorry Elements users, this is for Photoshop only) is a great technique for keeping your Layers palette tidy and for corralling similar layers. Groups also enable you to save time by masking all grouped layers in one fell swoop (like the adjustments mentioned in steps 14 and 15). Select the group and click the Add Layer Mask button. Now introduce black and shades of grey to hide or reduce portions of the grouped layers at the same time.

Place the model


Open ‘Background.psd’. Go to File>Place (use Place Embedded in CC, or use Place Linked if you’d like to stay linked to the source file if you think you might make further edits to it), grab ‘Model.psd’. Scale (if desired) and position, then confirm (Return/Enter).

Load brushes


Move the stretched layer below the original model layer. Select the Brush tool. In the options bar, click the brush preview. Click the menu button, choose Load Brushes. Grab ‘Scatter.abr’. The Scatter brushes will appear in the presets.

Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the model. Go to Filter>Liquify (Elements: Filter>Distort> Liquify). Use the tools (chiefly the Forward Warp tool) to extend the model leftward in a gooey fashion. Adjust Size and Pressure options as needed (start with max pressure). Click OK when done.


Option/Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette (Elements: this is at the top) to hide. Using the Brush tool, you’ll be able to reveal areas with white, hide and tone down revealed areas with black and shades of grey.

Duplicate the liquified model multiple times, masking each with the various brushes (for 01-04 Scatter brushes, due to Foreground/Background Jitter, set both Foreground/Background colours to white). You can lower layer opacity to reduce the effect.



Hide with layer mask

Duplicate and build up


Duplicate and liquify

Start the dispersion


Set Foreground colour to white. Start with the Square Scatter brush at 80-100% Opacity. Resizing the brush as needed, create dispersed pixels around the left side of the model. Continue to paint outward, reducing brush opacity to create lighter debris.

Paint floral debris


Click the ‘Create a new layer’ button in the Layers palette. Use the 01-04 Scatter brushes to create floral debris, trying different colours for the Foreground and Background to enable the Foreground/ Background Jitter to kick in. For authenticity, sample colour (with Color Picker open, click on the canvas to sample).


Keep going


Continue to paint to build up the effect. Work across multiple layers so you can manipulate individual sections without affecting others. Continue to pick different colours. Play with the brush size, opacity and other settings.

Continue masking the model

Mask the model


Select the original model layer. Add a layer mask. Set Foreground colour to black. Now use the Square Scatter brush to start painting on the left side at 80-100% brush Opacity.

Add adjustments


Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette and choose Levels. Fiddle with shadows, midtones and highlights until satisfied. Click the ‘fill/adjustment’ button again and choose Solid Color. Pick #5a0000. Set the blend mode to Soft Light, drop the Opacity to 20%. Reduce each with their masks.


Continue wearing away the model edge by painting with various brushes on the mask. Paint with black to continue fading and white to bring back areas (for the 01-04 Scatter brushes, set Foreground and Background colours to the same colour).



Make any needed corrections, then take your image further. Bring in more adjustments. Add more brushwork. Blend in some dynamic stock (a sample is provided). What else can you do? After completing your image, be sure to save it.

What can go wrong Masking the model Sufficiently masking the original model is key to making the effect work. You’ll mask away the original model’s edge with the same brushes you used to create the dispersed pixels. These brushes were made from the model’s dress patterns. To create a brush, select a pattern with the Quick Selection tool. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset (Elements: Edit>Define Brush from Selection). Click OK. Select the Brush tool with the new preset. Customise with the Brush palette (Elements: click Brush Settings in the options bar). Both Photoshop and Elements have Spacing and Scattering options. To save your new brush, click on the brush preview in options, click the button at top-right, and choose Save Brush.

Right Wrong




-creative On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Composite, cra special effects with filters, and add dramatic lighting

Time taken 3 hours

Exper Kirk Nelson “Since I was a child, I’ve been a huge fan of comic books and superheroes. I used to doodle them in school. I’m a pro graphics artist with nearly 20 years of experience in photomanipulation and digital illustration. At the heart of it, though, I’m just your friendly neighbourhood graphics geek.”

Make your own superhero Craft multiple images together and create heroic effects


uperheroes are enjoying quite a surge in popularity right now. More people than ever are being entertained by stories of characters in bright outfits and fantastic, superhuman abilities. But why let Hollywood have all the fun? You can create your very own superhero in Photoshop! This tutorial will walk you through the entire process of compositing a hero model onto a

dramatic background along with some amazing special effects. And what fun would crafting a superhero image be without a fluttering cape? You will learn how to take a simple shot of a billowing cloth and turn it into a bright red cape. Finally the project will walk you through how to enhance those effects and create dramatic lighting to make the image look like something right out of your own superhero fantasy.



Expert tip Coordinating the colours One of the most difficult aspects with a project like this is making sure that the colours align throughout the composite. Merging images together that were taken under vastly different lighting situations can be one of the most challenging tasks in Photoshop. One of the best techniques to tackle this is to create a layer set to the Color blending mode and then sample colours from the background and paint that colour over the model image to help the two ‘fit’ together.


Begin by downloading the start images from the FileSilo. Open ‘Long road at sunset.jpg’, ‘Ground cracks.jpg’ and ‘Mud Cracks.jpg’. The first task is to use these files to create a cracked crater in the foreground of the road.

Use a mask


Add a layer mask to the cracked texture and use a soft brush tip with black paint to gently paint out the hard edges around the texture. You also need to fade the longer cracks so they don’t appear to just suddenly stop.

Add more cracks


Add the other cracked texture and use the same technique to add it to the scene by using the Multiply blending mode and layer masks to remove the edges. Add additional cracks by duplicating the layers and transforming the duplicates into a different shape and position.

Insert the ubiquitous cape


Go to File>Place Linked and choose ‘Cloth.psd’. Photoshop brings the file in as a Smart Object. Use Edit> Transform>Warp to shape the cloth to look like it’s wrapped around his collar and fluttering out behind him.


Add cracks

Open the start files


Drag and drop one of the cracked textures onto the road image. Set the blend mode to Multiply and scale the texture down to fit along the road. Use Edit> Transform>Distort to pull in the top corners to match the perspective of the road.

Enter the hero


Now open the ‘Hero.psd’ file from the FileSilo. This is the hero we will use for the scene, and he is already isolated from the background! Drag and drop the Hero layer into the main scene and position him right in the epicentre of the cracked road you have just created.

Mask the cape


Add a layer mask to the cloth layer. Cmd/Ctrl-click the Hero layer to create a selection. Then use a black brush on the cape’s mask to remove the cloth from the hero’s face and head. Leave the edge of the cloth wrapping around his collar.


Colour the cape


Add a Solid Color layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color) and set the colour to a bright red, #921919. Clip the colour layer to the cloth layer and set the blending mode to Color Burn. Add in additional cloth layers to build up his long flowing cape.

Inject some Motion Blur


Duplicate the Hero layer and move the copy to the top of the layer stack. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and use an Angle of 90 degrees and a Distance of 250 pixels. Use a layer mask to control where the blur is visible.

Make smaller debris



Run the Radial Blur filter two or three times to make the effect even greater. Set the blending mode to Multiply and position the effect directly under his fist. Place the layer beneath the Small Debris layer. Duplicate the effect layer and change the blending mode to Screen.


See the sidebar on the next page for instructions on how to create pieces of rubble. Create about a dozen chunks of the road flying out from the impact. On several pieces, duplicate the rubble and use the Motion Blur filter to enhance the effect.

Create an impact-blur effect

Smaller debris doesn’t need the same focus on shading. A small selection of road copied to a new layer, then blurred, will work just fine. This can be time consuming! To help we’ve provided a file for you on the FileSilo called ‘Small debris.png’.

Duplicate the impact blur

Add large rubble pieces


Duplicate the Small Debris layer, move it to the bottom-centre of the frame and scale it down about 50%. Go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur and set the Blur Method to Zoom and the Amount to 100. Set the blur epicentre to the bottom-centre of the grid.

Add tapered paint stroke


Add a new layer above the Cracks. Select a mid-grey colour and the Spatter 59 brush tip. Increase the brush size to 790 pixels. In the Brush Properties, engage the Shape Dynamics option and set the Size Control to Fade at 650. Then draw a diagonal line that tapers.

Warp the flight path


Set the blending mode to Linear Dodge and reduce the Opacity to around 55%. Then use the Warp transform to create a curved flight path coming from the distance. Use a gradient layer mask to fade the distant effect.


Tutorial Expert edit Rubble illustration

Select a chunk


Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select a chunk of the street. Use the cracks for guidance. Then press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the selected pixels to a new layer.

Select the luminous values


Create a merged layer at the top of the stack by holding down the Alt/Opt key and going to Layer>Merge Visible. Then go to the Channels panel and Cmd/Ctrl-click on the RGB channel. This will load the luminosity as a selection.

Create a light bloom


Copy the selected pixels to a new layer with Cmd/Ctrl+J and set the layer to Screen. Then load the luminous values again and use that selection as a layer mask. This creates a subtle light-bloom effect around the brightest highlights.

Sharpen with High Pass


Create another merged layer and go to Filter>Other> High Pass. Use a Radius of 10 pixels then set the layer’s blending mode to Overlay. This creates a strong overall sharpening effect.

Increase contrast


Use a Levels adjustment to increase the contrast of the chunk, but not so much that it ends up looking different to the ground surface.

Duplicate and move


Duplicate the chunk layer and move the top copy up and off to the side, just enough to give the chunk the appearance of depth.

Adjust Vibrance and Clarity

Painted edges


Use a brush on the back copy and paint in the edge detail. Sample from the original to match the colour and pay attention to the lighting.



Create another merged layer and convert it to a Smart Object. Then go to Filter>Camera Raw Filter. In the Basic tab set the Shadows to +33, the Whites to -32, Blacks to +46, Clarity to +35 and finally Vibrance to +19.

Apply a Vignette


Switch to the Effects tab of the Camera Raw Filter and set the Dehaze to +12 and the Post Crop Vignetting Amount to -16. This will add a subtle darkening to the corners.


Add highlights and shadows


Use Dodge and Burn

Add a layer for highlights and set it to Screen. Add a layer for shadows and set it to Multiply. Use a soft, round brush tip at low opacity and sample both highlight and shadow colours from the image to slowly build up stronger highlights and shadows.


Add another layer and fill it with 50% Gray. Set the blending mode to Overlay to render the grey invisible. Then use the Dodge and Burn tools set to Midtones at 12% to craft a deeper depth effect along the surfaces of the hero and his cape.

Add another light bloom

Create a smudge effect


Add a new layer for the smudge effects. Select the Smudge Tool with the Chalk 60 brush tip. Set the option for Sample All Layers. Use the Smudge Tool at a Strength of 60% (or less) to pull out some blur lines from his arms and hair.

Apply the Liquify filter


Add another new layer for another light bloom. Load the luminosity selection again and a large, soft, round brush with a pale yellow sampled from the background. Gently paint in a light bloom over his arms and face. Then press Cmd/Ctrl+D to cancel the selection.


Create another merged layer at the top and convert to a Smart Object. Go to Filter>Liquify and use the Bloat Tool with a very large brush size to pump up his shoulders, chest and jaw to make him a big and beefy hero. ADDED VEST One way to add a skintight uniform is to use a shirtless image and form the shirt from a selection of the model’s skin.

Expert tip Making the model work In this project we provided the model image already prepped so the tutorial could focus on creating the special effects. To get to that point, a custom shot was arranged with a model just for this project. But even with directed photo shoots, there is usually a lot of editing that needs to be done prior to the production. In this case, the eyes were adjusted to look more directly at the viewer, a vest was added, the lighting was adjusted, and the model was digitally bulked up a bit and cut out from the original background. BULKIER BODY Superheroes are usually portrayed with much bigger and bulkier proportions than reasonable. This can be achieved with the Puppet Warp and the Liquify filter.


Res EDGE CRACK Sometimes it’s difficult to reassemble the glass. Don’t worry if the pieces won’t fit back again; breaks are not perfect.

LIGHT SPOTS If you don’t diffuse the light, there will be spots of light reflecting in the glass. In Photoshop you can crop this or Clone it out.

On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.


Make shatteredglass textures

Depending on the size of the tool being used to break the glass, the break will have more or less big chunks of glass. For a nice centralised break, use a small tool.

Learn how to safely capture your own broken-glass textures for use in photomontages and any other digital-art project that would benefit from shattered shards!


ew things in the man-made world are as beautiful and dangerous as broken glass. Glass as we know it was invented in 1500 BC and since then it has captivated artists and architects all over the world. However, glass has been around in natural form forever; this natural form of glass is called a fulgurite. Fulgurites occur when lightning strikes sand and melts it until it’s glassy. People also used the glass-like stone obsidian to make


arrowheads and other similar tools. Today there are many recipes for glass designed to have different strengths and better tolerance for changing temperature, and to be cheaper or coloured. But the glass we know began as bottles made by the ancient Egyptians. Glass is a fascinating substance because it’s almost invisible but also sturdy enough to be very prominent in huge buildings. Unlike many man-made materials, glass doesn’t deteriorate

so it can be recycled. For this reason, glass is one of the most recycled products, with the shortest turnaround time, in the world. So don’t feel bad about breaking lots of glass for this tutorial – just recycle it! Over these pages, you will learn how to break glass easily, safely and without making a mess. Using a softbox, or homemade equivalent, ensures the glass stays in one place ready to shoot. And make sure you wear protective gloves and goggles.

How to break glass The tricks to safely and easily break glass

Support the glass

Shatter it

Clean it up




Use the sticky-tack underneath each corner of the glass to raise it. Make sure the surface is white. Do not make the glass sit too high up or the glass will end up in just a pile instead of a shatter.

Holding the tack and the blunt object, hit the glass in the centre to shatter it. Don’t hit too hard, but you will need to use some force. Using the tack will centralise the blow for a more direct shatter.

Remove the tack from the corners of the glass and make sure you have all the pieces. Safety is key here, so be careful. Having a softbox to shoot in will help to contain flying glass shards.

Things to consider Before you photograph the glass

Some assembly required

Soft lighting for harsh glass





You may need to reassemble the glass shards once you’ve broken them. Be careful not to cut yourself and don’t worry too much about it being perfect; after all, it is broken glass.

Having a softbox or something similar is very useful for this project because it contains the glass shards for easy clean-up. But it also diffuses the light and cuts down on the amount of reflections.

Because glass is flat, you can use a fairly shallow depth of field and still retain the detail. And if you don’t have a tripod or other camera-stabilising device, keep the shutter speed above 1/100 of a second.

What you’ll need Make sure you have the right kit before you get started GLASS To create shattered-glass textures, you’ll need glass. You can buy cheap glass from framers who offer a discount without the frame.

BLUNT OBJECT You’ll need a blunt object like a spanner to break the glass easily. You can use a tack to concentrate more force.

RAISE THE GLASS Use the sticky-tack to li the glass off the surface so it breaks more easily and to prevent you damaging your work surface.



Using your textures Applying your glass textures to a photo

Editing time

Displacement mapping

Applying your map




Open your glass image in Photoshop and clean it up. Use Levels to bring up the contrast and convert to black and white. This makes it easy to apply as a brush or as a displacement map.

Select a colour channel and pick Duplicate Channel to New. Put a Gaussian Blur layer on the new document and save as a .psd file. Make sure it’s set to the ratio of the photo you’re applying it to.

4 Shattered-glass brushes 5 Shattered-glass images 1 Displacement map


In your photo, go to Filter>Distort> Displace. Select your .psd file and your image will be displaced according to the image. You can then overlay the texture if it’s not effective enough on its own.

w I made

Essentials Time taken 20hours

The artist Mr. Xerty I am a 32-yearold Parisian illustrator known as Mr. Xerty. I experimented with various art techniques, such as sketching and graffiti, before discovering and teaching myself Photoshop. In 2007 I made the shi to become an independent designer; since then, my work has been noticed and published by magazines and websites, such as The Printed Blog, Advanced Creation and New Web Pick.

Keep It Safe Discover how French artist Mr. Xerty created this swashbuckling adventure in Photoshop, and the secrets to his creative process


wanted to practise photocomposition and master light, shade and overall tone in pictures,” says Mr. Xerty, AKA Brice Chaplet, of his pirate-themed picture, Keep It Safe. Brice is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator who loves mixed media; this piece features 3D elements, an illustrated feel and plenty of real-life elements to form a busy scene. “I created this picture completely in Photoshop,” says Brice. “I mixed pictures with my own resources, and I found some stock photos that I felt would really add to the scene. There are some 3D shapes in there too!”

Keep It Safe might seem like an eclectic mix of themes, styles and genres, but that’s reflective of Brice’s own influences. He draws inspiration from urban life and vintage design, underground culture and mythology, which explains why this picture feels like a sharp, modern twist on a classic pirate poster. “The result of mixing my influences can sometimes be a crazy, surreal world with twisted landscapes and interesting creatures!” explains Brice. Keep It Safe certainly adheres to this philosophy. We asked Mr. Xerty to spill the secrets on what went into his exciting pirate poster.

Main character


I started off by trimming around the main characters in this illustration – the pirate and his parrot – and doing the same with the elements around him. I arranged the composition, and organised everything to keep it well balanced.



I’ve always tried to devote lots of my attention to the backgrounds I use in my artwork. I worked on the sky and then the beach in this one to try and create a bright atmosphere. I added a blur effect too, to increase the focus on the subject.

Light and tone


Lighting and shading is always key to any composition. I added it here to the main elements and then blurred some more of the illustration to alter the tone and the contrast of the piece, just to get all of the colours to work together.



Bringing cartoons to life Jirka wanted to test his digital painting skills with a few paintings inspired by his favourite movies. It soon evolved into a project seen by 2,500,000 people, including Disney

About the artist Jirka Väätäinen www.jirkavinse. com @JirkaVinse Now residing in Melbourne, Australia, Jirka is a Finnish designer who studied Graphic Design and Art Direction within Advertising, in Bournemouth, UK. His work has been shared by Cosmopolitan, Yahoo and MTV. He has worked both as a freelance designer and for advertising agencies.

Name of the project Envisioning Disney Girls in Real Life

“This portrait was difficult to create as there were few facial features to work with; just huge eyes and a tiny nose. This one proved hard for me to realise.”


have always been involved in creative projects, ever since I was a kid,” says Jirka Väätäinen. “But I always find time for personal projects on the side.” Jirka’s personal projects, though, are perhaps a little more special than the average artist���s. ‘Envisioning Disney Girls in Real Life’ has been a worldwide hit, becoming one of the most popular projects on Behance. But how did Jirka not only bring these beloved characters to life, but retain the quintessentially Disney magic that made us all fall in love with them in the first place?

to challenge myself and see if I could visualise Ursula from The Little Mermaid and explore what she would look like if she was a real person. I’ve always been interested in character design and the features that make people look unique. It was a fun challenge trying to bring these characters to life, and yet keep some of the more unrealistic quirks of the original designs. And of course, there was a huge amount of nostalgia involved in creating these pieces.

The project is an internet phenomenon. How did it begin?

I sure am! I grew up with Disney and still try to keep up with the latest releases. It’s the old-school, hand-drawn Disney films like The Little Mermaid that I find most fascinating, visually speaking, so I tried to find my own unique style when working on this project. I wanted the pieces to look realistic and relatable on the one hand, but to still resonate with the magical, otherworldly Disney vibe.

The idea came out of nowhere really. Playing around in Photoshop has always been one of my favourite pastimes; one day I just wanted

Would you say you were a big Disney fan yourself?

Were these portraits based solely on their cartoon alter egos, or was it a case of real people influencing the pieces? Initially, they were based on the cartoon characters and the impression that the cartoon made on me. Whenever I start drawing a character though, I have a preconceived vision in my head of what they will look like. To realise that vision, I do look at a lot of real people, sometimes celebrities, for inspiration, but I tried to interpret these characters with as much of my own imagination as possible.

Where there particular Photoshop tools that you found yourself using more than others? used pretty much every trick and tool available, and layers – so many layers! Blending is important to me in digital painting, but unlike a lot of artists, it’s not just brushes hat I depend upon, as it’s not just traditional digital painting that I do. My work is heavily based on photocompositing and manipulating as well; for me I’d say it’s more about the ayers, blend modes, Eraser, Liquify, Smudge ool and playing with the colours.


characters. He likens his technique more to compositing than painting.

TEXTURES Jirka applied textures to his pictures for the feel of a real canvas. The textures vary too; Elsa has an icier texture applied to her portrait, and Aurora has woodland branches applied to the edges.


All images © Jirka Väätäinen

Each character has been created with more focus given to their most recognisable features. Jirka claims that the key to recognising a cartoon from its source inspiration is in these distinctive features.

“I wanted to capture this character with a serious look, in contrast to the smiley mermaid.”

“I wanted to make this character’s enviable looks resonate with the idea of what we consider beautiful today.”

Many artists have been inspired by you to turn their favourite cartoon characters into real people. What advice would you give them?

You’ve also re-imagined male Disney characters as real people, as a sequel to this project. Did you approach that project differently?

Just have fun with it; don’t get too caught up with letting the original design and feel of the characters restrict your creativity – you are looking to do your own thing with it, after all. But, of course, if you want the end result to resonate with people who are familiar with the character, make sure you pay attention to some of the most prominent features. Just play around with Photoshop and see where it takes you. I would definitely suggest using photos for references too, as that can help you to create something more realistic.

By the time I began the project on male Disney characters, I had created quite a lot of characters, so my technique was far more honed. The approach and thinking were still pretty similar. It did feel different doing this second series though: with the girls, I didn’t know when I started sketching characters that I was building a series of portraits. With the guys, I was determined to create something just as good as I had with the girls, because I had already gained a following of people who love Disney.

“I was excited to bring this princess alive; I hope I didn’t neglect her fiery personality in creating her character.”

Are you surprised by the reaction you’ve received? I am still overwhelmed! This series started as a personal project; I did not expect anyone to see these. But people are still finding and sharing these images, and I still get requests to create more. Millions of people have seen my work now: that’s definitely a huge surprise, and I even heard from a few people at Disney. Just to know that they like what I’m doing – that’s pretty cool!


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Photoshop Tips, Tricks & Fixes will demonstrate the full spectrum of what this amazing program can achieve. From those irst photo edits all the way through to beautifully rendered i ulations

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hat does every great artist have in common? The answer is simple: individuality. There are the imitators and then there are the trendsetters, and the latter will always stand out from everybody else. But it’s the getting there which is the toughest journey for many. Even the artists you’re about to get advice from here have worked tirelessly to get their individual style honed and locked in. So join us, as we talk to the best and most intriguing artists about their favourite pieces,

CHOOSE THE RIGHT IMAGES A sense of cohesion between the chosen stock images is vital. Colin Anderson (www. explains how shooting at the right time of day can do just that: “To build the background I combined a beach shot I had taken in Australia with a mountain scene that I had shot in Hawaii. Both the beach and mountains were shot at sunrise, so when combined they blended together perfectly.”


and learn how they choose to work with Photoshop to make their composites a cut above the rest. Take tips from Edvin Puzinkevich (, who describes how important experimentation is when finding the right balance when working with typographical art. Stopdown Studio’s co-founder, Samuel Giudice, details some of the principal blending techniques that went into making Movidiam Creative World (; a

project that combined the efforts of many artists to achieve an appealing banner design. Photographer Sven Müller ( thewanderingsoul) is an inspiration to us all, as he works with 18 raw files to combine into a seamless landscape. Learn how these, and other artists work, and create your best art yet.


LIGHTING IS ESSENTIAL Blending all the elements together can make the biggest difference between a passable composition and one that truly looks as though it is a coherent whole. Colin often calls upon adjustments and HDR toning to achieve this: “I added HDR effects to the background and, finally, colour adjustments were added to the background and the android separately, so that they were both balanced.”

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL After capturing the right images for the scene, Colin then shares a few tricks for ensuring that additional stock photos fit into their surroundings: “When placing the android onto the background, I combined splashes from a fountain I had so that it appeared the water was washing and lifting over the android’s feet. To create a slight reflection, I duplicated the android, flipped it vertically and reduced the opacity.” © Colin Anderson



© Gilberto Soren Zaragoza

IMPROVISE WITH THE TOOLS Lacking experience shouldn’t stop you pursuing a project. Gilberto Soren Zaragoza ( reveals the hurdles with his image, Aphelion: “I wasn’t so confident at creating hair three-dimensionally. So I worked with different tools to paint the hair and the background from scratch, by mixing different brushes and Multiply, Overlay and Color Dodge.” © Stopdown Studio, Giovanni Mauro and Wicked Studios

© Edvin Puzinkevich


COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS For Samuel Giudice (, it’s about working with others: “This was a team project set with the task to create a single banner representing the two worlds inside Movidiam’s community. We started by masking the elements using the Pen tool with Refine Edge. We blended the elements with adjustments such as Levels, then drew manually over the shadows.”

© Karolis Strautniekas

CUSTOMISE BRUSH TIPS lllustrator and Photoshop pro Karolis Strautniekas (www. tells us why the Brush is vital: “The Brush was my tool of choice for this image. I used around ten custom brushes. I like to draw straight lines holding the Shift button, and when it comes to colour, I always use the Selective Color adjustment.”


Edvin Puzinkevich (www.bows specialises in creative retouching, so when he decided to try his hand at typography, he had to think carefully about his approach: “For this kind of image, it is very important to find a balance between the background and foreground elements. Details in the background should be visible enough to tell a story, but not too visible to distract the viewer’s attention away from the letters. To add vibrancy to the picture I

performed colour grading using a wide range of tools. The Color Lookup adjustment is one of the quickest tools to add mood. Changing its blending mode and mixing it with Color Balance, Curves, or Hue/Saturation adjustment layers can give it very interesting results. “Don’t be afraid to experiment: twist, bend, deform objects, and try to find new forms that communicate in new and interesting ways, and then adjust them in order to keep the type legible.”

© Davide Tosello

UTILISE LAYERS Using layers was not an issue for Davide Tosello (www. “I used around 30-40 layers per character or element. I called upon the Brush and Eraser and worked with layers to mix colours. I experimented with size and opacity of the basic custom brushes to achieve the desired effect.”

© Aleksei Kostyuk

KEEP IT REAL Creating sci-fi effects is something Aleksei Kostyuk (www.visio-art. de) succeeds at, as he details his techniques: “For the armour, I multiplied textures with metals and painted on a few scratches. A few more details were added such as bullet holes, so the whole image looked more realistic. Finally, I used the Lens Flare filter for the lights.”

20 PROFESSIONAL NG SECRETS USE NATU Staying true to the art of illustration, Raphael Vicenzi ( creates his collages using natural media: “A collage is a matter of choosing handmade textures, gradients and backgrounds, or using your own images. Once you have selected textures, cut them up loosely into pieces with the Lasso tool and separate them onto different layers. The composition needs to make sense to you.”

MIX UP COLOUR Raphael also suggests ways to keep an illustration varied: “Build up the image by selecting and placing contrasting shapes into the design. To add variation to each new layer, use different adjustments such as a Solid Gradient, Hue/ Saturation, or a Gradient Map, and experiment with different settings. The final image should be the result of happy mistakes and randomness.”

© Raphael Vicenzi



© Brad Fraunfelter

USE CLAY MODELS Pro digital artist and photographer Brad Fraunfelter ( describes his hands-on method: “I constructed a 10-inch clay model of each mech robot, and photographed each one with similar lighting. I then dropped them into the scene. Using brushes, I smoothed the surfaces, painted in detail, and then resized and positioned them.”

TWEAK WITH LIQUIFY Applying a bit of nip-tuck Liquify surgery to his models is standard procedure for Brad: “I very often use the Liquify filter to reshape body parts, trim waists, or enhance muscle mass, and it also was very useful to straighten the shapes of the robotic arms and legs. The Perspective function came in handy while enhancing the appearance and sheer size of the machines.”

ADD ATMOSPHERE Brad paints detail into his artwork for the finishing touches: “Using a custom brush, I painted in a detailed pilot suit over each of the body forms. I dropped them in one by one and precisely positioned them in front of each of the robots. Finally, I painted in a layer of dust and battle smoke between the pilots and the robots, to give atmosphere and depth to the scene.”

SEPARATE COLOUR Layers are an important part of the colouring process for Wanchana Intrasombat (, as he reveals: “I started by using the Pencil and Brush tools for sketching. You can create your own brush, or it might be easier to download one from the internet. When I’ve got my brush, for the colour process I always separate the image into layers by using the Lasso tool to manage each colour in the image. This way, I can fill or easily render each part of layer by locking the layer. Once the colour is edited, I use Overlay to adjust the lighting, and Multiply to edit shadows.”


© Wanchana Intrasombat


Disney played a big part in providing Wanchana with inspiration for this image: “I was inspired by Disney and was influenced mainly by Beauty and the Beast – they put life into a clock and a candle and made those objects fantastic. I concentrate on the environment around me and imagine objects going in new directions, for example the characters in this image. I was inspired by bathroom objects that we see every day, so I put a new spin on those objects. They are stuck in the bathroom all day long, so I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if they went on a journey together?”


BLEND YOUR BRUSHWORK Sticking to purely brushes and blend modes just works for Natascha Roosli (, as she divulges her Photoshop techniques: “I generally don’t use many tools in Photoshop except for the brushes. In the case of the dragon scales, I used an overlay mask where I basically duplicated what I had already painted, and then used the Overlay blend mode to create the waxy look. I then took it from there and just exaggerated colours and depth. It’s fun to take a layer, copy it and then play around with blend modes to see what kind of effect you get.”


© Natascha Roosli

SHOOT MULTIPLE EXPOSURES Eighteen individual raw files were combined and blended together for this incredible composite landscape by photographer Sven Müller (www.500px. com/thewanderingsoul). He lets us in on how he managed to stay on top of things when wrangling with such large files: “I started by loading the files into Adobe Camera Raw and performed some minor corrections like white balance, softer sharpening and noise reduction. I

Natascha reveals some of her tricks of the trade for blending colour in compositions: “For the pattern on her dress, I used my tiny sketch brush to add lots of little scribbles and lines to give it a stitched feel. I have my main brush set up at a low transparency so I can really work on establishing colours and mixing in colours from the environment. I set the Flow of my brush to as low as 4%. As an example, I might be working in the background colours into the skin. Another trick that works really well for me is to work with opposite colour tones. So, if I use blue or cold highlights I always use warm and reddish shadows.”

aligned the exposures of the images with different exposure times by shading the highlights and brightening the shadows overall with help from the Gradient tool. I carried out the blending in Photoshop manually using layer masks (between two or three exposures per section) and the Brush and Gradient tools as well. Then I stitched seven images to the panoramic image, and finished with a few layers of Color Balance, Selective Color, Dodge and Burn and Curves. I always like to use layer masks with relatively soft edges that I create by hand.” © Dennis Mundt


© Sven Müller

Taking his inspiration from old-school comic ads, Dennis Mundt (www. called upon a variety of carefully crafted 3D models to build up this colourful image. He explained to us how he tackles the challenges of working with so many 3D objects: “I used a lot of tonal contrast editing, with several layers, increasing the highlights, shadows and saturation while leaving the midtones intact to make it look like one of those ads in the old Nineties comics. Since most of the objects were rendered in 3D, they have enough depth to bring out this crisp and glowing edgy colour without distorting the actual image. In the end, it’s a bit like creating an HDR image from a raw photo.”



Essentials Time taken 10 hours

Expert David Nakayama “I love working in different styles and genres. The more ‘out there’ the better. My favourite characters and genres are superheroes and steampunk, and this tutorial will walk you through some choice techniques for illustrating fantasy characters. No matter what you like to paint, you’ll learn a trick or two here, as many of the techniques can be applied to a variety of styles. “I’m a San Franciscobased illustrator and concept artist currently working for TinyCo, where I’m the Art Lead on Marvel’s AVENGERS ACADEMY – just released for mobile devices! I enjoy working in digitally painted and comic-book genres.” For more of David’s impressive work, visit

Paint a steampu portrai In this tutorial, we’ll compose, costume, re enticing illustration, merging steampunk an


teampunk continues to be a compelling genre for artists because it offers us a vision of human ingenuity and competence, the infinite possibility of scientific invention, and a huge helping of nostalgia all at once. But after a while, all the brown leather and brass highlights can become tired and repetitive, so we’re going to bring something new to the table in the style of a steampunk-vampire mash-up. In this tutorial, we’ll sketch out the character and block in colour using a master silhouette layer and clipping masks. Building on that, we’ll use

Start with thumbnails


First up, it’s time to plan out the composition with some quick thumbnail sketches. You need to create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl+N) and then make a few boxes with proportions that will match your final image size.


Photoshop’s Brush and Smudge tools to render a variety of materials including skin, brass and leather, and then add some texture effects. Along the way, we’ll apply Blur and Liquify filters to save time and add realism. Finally, we’ll explore some cool tint overlays to focus interest and improve colour balance throughout the image. Photoshop is the industry standard for photomanipulation, but it also happens to be the tool of choice for the majority of the digital-painting community. This tutorial’s almost all about illustration – let’s dig in!

Sketch broadly


ture and tint an ampire motifs

Rough in lots of designs. Stay loose and fill each box with a new idea. Try a variety of poses with different body language and facial expressions at multiple levels of zoom. Then pick the best one to actually illustrate

Consider logos and blurbs


Use the Brush tool on a transparent layer. If you’re creating a book or magazine cover, keep logos and other graphic overlays in mind. Work around them to ensure that the art isn’t badly cropped or overlapped. Create a composition that works well with those elements.

Show u




Expert tip Flip canvas automation Flipping the canvas is an essential tool in judging whether your art is working. By holding things up to the mirror (or the digital equivalent), your drawing mistakes are laid bare and become easier to fix. To make this process as quick as possible, assign the function to a hot key on your keyboard. Go to Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts. Scroll down the list of commands until you find Image>Image Rotation>Flip Horizontal. Assign the function to, say, F5, and voila!

Sketch your ideas


Get out your favourite sketching brush and work out design details. It helps to create a style board, which is a collection of reference and inspirational images all on one sheet. If you have a second monitor, display the style board there and refer to it throughout the drawing process.

Use clipping masks


One great way to organise colours in Photoshop is to create a master silhouette layer and clip additional colour layers to it. Hold Cmd/ Ctrl+Alt when the pointer is positioned over the line dividing two layers in the Layers panel.

Block in colour


In this case, the master layer doubles as the skin tone. Then, above that, create a layer each for grey clothing, brown clothing, yellow metal, reds and whites. The beauty of this method is the ease of selecting and editing across the whole image. It’s easy to lighten all the yellows, for instance.

Gather feedback


With the composition, costuming and colour blocked in, most of the planning’s now done. It’s a good time to step back and collect feedback from your client or a friend. Let someone with fresh eyes help you to spot elements that could be improved.

Paint the face first


Make a new painting layer, and start with the face. If you run short on time and have to sketch in the extremities, remember the face is the focus of attention and can’t be rushed. Spend time here to get things right, and use references.


Make adjustments


In this case, the character is a bit too conservative, so the design is altered to give it a bit of edge. We substitute the corset for an arrangement of leather straps and, to keep the theme, a dangling cameo detail.

Work with brushes


Just three brush types are needed and the Photoshop defaults are fine. Use a hard round for filling large areas; a soft round for smooth blending; and a feathered brush that responds to pressure inputs. Use it to dab in darks and lights, and the History Brush to revert when you’ve overdone it.


Show us

Expert edit Apply finishing touches

Pause to review


When you reach a major milestone like completing the face, zoom out and make sure everything’s working. Is the expression right? Are the eyes looking where they should? Use the old illustrator’s trick and flip the canvas horizontally, to see if things still look good when mirrored.

Expand outward


With the face in good shape, sample the darks and lights and paint them throughout the rest of the image. The goal is to keep the focus on the face, so allow the outer reaches to be blurrier and darker with less contrast.

Paint steam


Use smoke brushes to rough in some white steam shapes. There are plenty available on the internet. Switch to the Eraser tool and refine the edges with the same texture brush. Go back and forth until it looks convincing.

Alter the composition


Sometimes, good ideas will occur to you in the middle of the process. Don’t be afraid to change your course. Here, a cape element is added, in addition to balancing the composition and improving the rest of the vampire theme.

Paint pores


Once the skin is smoothly painted in, it’s easy to add pores through texture. Create a new layer set to Overlay. Use any brush that creates evenly spaced dots, paint with solid white, and reduce opacity until the texture looks natural.

Liquify it


Arguably one of the best tools in Photoshop, the Liquify tool enables you to slide around whole sections of pixels while maintaining their sharpness. It can be accessed via the Filter menu (or by using Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+X).

Do some colour tinting


Unify and add interest to your image with a colour tint pass. Create a new layer set to Overlay. Using a soft round brush, paint a cool colour around the edges and a warm colour in the area of central focus. Adjust the opacity until the effect feels additive, but not overwhelming.

Paint the metal


Brass is an essential ingredient in steampunk, but it can be tricky to paint. Find a reference image online, and sample the light and dark colours to ensure a proper blend of yellows. Note where brass is specular and where it’s matte.

Apply Gaussian Blur


Another essential tool, accessible via Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. For realism and to concentrate focus on the face, blur out the extremities, particularly at the edges. Use the History Brush to restore sharpness if you overshoot.



Add texture


Clip a new layer set to Overlay on your existing metal layer. Use a brush with a speckled or dotted texture to paint in texture with pure black. Reduce the layer opacity until the texture is clearly visible, but still appears as if it is part of the metal.

Lather, rinse, repeat


Work though each section in turn, first in paint, and then in texture. For maximum efficiency, do all the dark grey leather at once, then all the brown leather, then all the remaining brass. You’ll save a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent switching between tools.

Rim lighting and hotspots


Use of white can really help pop the edges of a figure, but be careful not to use an even stroke everywhere, as it will flatten the image. Instead, use a selective thick and thin application based on proximity to the light source. Also add a few dots of white on the hotspots of specular objects.

UNROLLS The vinyl canvas is thick and durable, and rolls up when not in use. Both canvas and stand can be packed up into small tote bags that fit in carry-on luggage.

Check everything


When everything’s done, check in once more with your client (or friend) and see if there are any final notes. In general, expect to change a few things and budget your time accordingly. In this case, we decide to adjust the hairstyle and the colour of the rose.

CONVENIENT At the Vistaprint website (, you can download a template in .PSD format, slot your artwork into it, and then just re-upload the image for printing.

What you can do with it Create a convention signage

Make final adjustments


Make corrections, add tiny details, and tighten anything that looks too sketchy. Add a Levels layer to increase contrast and add punch. Try out Color Balance and additional tint Overlay layers to see if the colours can be heightened or otherwise improved.


At comic-book conventions and other pop-culture trade shows, professional and aspiring artists alike use signage to market themselves. On the one hand, you want as big a banner as possible so people will notice you, but on the other hand, you have to carry the sign with you as you travel, often over long distances. These days, most artists use a roll-up canvas scroll that hangs on an expanding frame, which is easy to pack up and carry. Online companies such as Vistaprint ( will be happy to make one for you.


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Bring out the beauty in architecture Create stunning architecture shots using filters, adjustment layers and Camera Raw


he perfect shot isn’t always as perfect as it seems – not without a few tweaks here and there. When it comes to architecture, though, editing too much can make a photo look flat and


fake. So how can you improve a shot without it looking computer-generated? Bringing architecture to life is actually a pretty easy process. Just a couple of adjustments in Camera Raw can already greatly enhance your image as it is. For realism, you can add extra people walking, ducks in the water, birds in the sky, and drop shadows or reflections in

the water. You can also adjust the contrast in your picture for some much-needed depth. By adding a little bit of cloning, masking, and just the right application of the Lens Flare filter, you can be sure that anyone looking at your photo will wish they were there with you.

art image

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Essentials Time taken 3h

Expe John Ross “I’ve always believed that less is more, and applying the subtlest effects can have the most beautiful enhancements in an image. Editing architecture in Photoshop and making structures stand out is a matter of knowing which tools to use to achieve the greatest effect. “With 20 years of professional experience in the field, I educate photographers and retouchers by expanding their knowledge through my website www.



Expert tip Master the key tools Color Range and Quick Mask are the secrets to masking, while Smart Objects and Smart Filters help you to work non-destructively. Cloning entails taking it slowly – it doesn’t always matter if it’s practical, only that it works visually. The three primary adjustment layers (Curves, Selective Color, Hue/ Saturation) let you do virtually anything when perfecting tone and colour. Understanding the eye is drawn to light and warm colours helps manipulate the viewer’s attention.


Know your goal by planning for the final printed size, any magazine folds and extra bleed. Create a new document (465mm x 300mm) for the live area with extra space outside to be cut off later. Place the image inside the document and drag a Ruler guide into your centre line.

Resize for a magazine


Duplicate the image layer and mask out the right side to see the layer underneath. Edit>Free Transform to stretch the left side of the image to the left edge, ensuring a building-free gap down the middle to allow for the magazine’s spine, known as the gutter.

Clone it


Use the Gradient tool to enhance depth with multiple crossgradients. By selectively adjusting the sky and water, you create a more interesting composition. After adding all the extra tone to the image, you will notice some pixelation due to the original compression.



Go to Edit>Free Transform to scale the image larger so that the top and bottom are to size. For a magazine, keep any important elements out of the middle as the paper will curl into the spine. So, you will need to place this image off-centre, moving more to the right.

Convert to Smart Object

Clone the left side, the middle gap and anywhere else as needed. When faced with areas of nothing, start by filling in with contour lines to define shapes and perspective. Fill the rest with whatever looks decent. Go piece-by-piece until you have filled all the sections in a believable and seamless way.

Achieve depth with gradients


Get the sizing right

Set up your document


Merge all loose layers as a Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object so that you can apply Smart Filters to your individual layers in a single pass. You can now select Filter>Camera Raw Filter to adjust colour and tone. Going deeper and darker means achieving a greater depth than the original.

Fix pixelation issues


Duplicate the layer with Layer>Smart Objects>New Smart Object via Copy. Name the top layer City and the bottom layer Sky. On the Sky layer, use Filter>Noise>Add Noise set to 5, Gaussian and Monochromatic.

Smooth the sky

Define the buildings


Once again on the Sky layer, use Filter>Blur>Surface Blur set with a Radius of 25 and a Threshold of 20. This will smooth over the noise and pixelation from earlier, enabling for a very smooth-looking sky that is free of artefacts.

Select the sky



Inject lens flare

Bring scenes to life


Next up, unhide the City layer and apply Filter>Sharpen> Smart Sharpen with an Amount of 100% and a Radius of 1.0. This will not only sharpen the lines within the buildings, but also make it easier for you to define the sky later on.

Reveal the sky

On the City layer, use Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All to add a blank mask. Click the layer mask box on the layer within the Layers palette. With your Foreground colour set to black, select a soft brush and paint directly on the layer mask to cover the entire sky.

Fill a new blank layer with Edit>Fill> Black and turn it into a Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object. Set the blend mode to Screen. You will then have complete control over the location of the Filter>Render>Flare. You can also create several more layers like this, with different opacities to create multiple effects.


Cover the sky areas with black on the mask to reveal the softened Sky layer below. You don’t need to be extremely accurate, but try to come as close to the buildings as reasonably possible. For highest quality, zoom up close and get the mask really tight against the buildings.


Place details like extra people walking, ducks in the water and birds in the sky (all of these images are provided on the FileSilo). Don’t forget to add any needed drop shadows and reflections in the water for extra realism. It’s often important to create new elements in order to give more life to a scene.

Add a beautiful sunset


On the City layer, use Selection>Color Range to select the white areas of the image. Now that you’ve properly selected the whites across the city, you can use Filter>Photo Filter to create a strong sunset colour to the image.

Apply finishing touches


To finalise the colour, use the Selective Color or the Camera Raw Filter to remove any cyan from the City layer’s Cyan colours. This will keep the city warmer than the sky and make it more inviting.


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Elements 18 pages of practical guides Create more in Elements… Wield the Color Replacement Brush....................................... 84 Make a shaped photo montage...................................................86 Fix under and overexposure.............................................................90 Create a melting effect.......................................................................... 92 Q&A: Common problems in Elements...............................100

Essential techniques Follow the step-by-step tutorials

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Digital art…

N ABSTRACT WALLPAPER ART Discover the techniques for combining images and bold shapes to create your own desktop décor, p96

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For bright, shiny objects as this car, create a so-focus effect by duplicating the layer, setting it to Screen and going to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.

olerance slider in the bottom panel determines how precise the colour you’re brushing over is. Brushing with a lower tolerance covers only similar shades of the colour you’re replacing, whereas a high tolerance brushes over more colour. Experiment to see what works for you.

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Tool focus…

Wield the Color Replacement Brush Start image

Have complete control over colours in your images Colour is one of the most important components of any picture. Visually striking shades can brighten up objects, and sometimes you might want to tweak the colour in your photos either subtly or dramatically to help achieve a completely different mood. The Color Replacement Brush in Photoshop Elements is perfect for any kind of colour change that you’d like to apply to your picture. It seems like a tool halfway between the regular Brush tool and the Magic Wand; it brushes depending on which shades you wish to replace, and you can use the Tolerance slider or check the Contiguous box before you start brushing. It has all the control of a brush with all the accuracy of a selection tool.


Colour replacing avoids the hassle of creating a new layer, brushing within the lines and changing the blend mode. You can do it all on one layer and you can even change the colour as you brush. It’s always a good idea to duplicate your original layer in case you need it later, as you can layer it over your Color Replacement layer and mask in elements of the original picture – in this case, maybe the tyres of the car – where the colour replacement strayed over the lines. While this example showcases what the Color Replacement Brush can do with a big object, you might want to use the tool for the slightest of edits: why not alter the colour of your subject’s eyes or change the colour of their clothes?

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Adjust your colours Paint over an entire object to change its hue

Choose a colour

Set the brush settings

The Color Replacement Brush works well on small objects, but there’s no reason why you can’t apply it to bigger ones. Select a colour in the Foreground Swatch, being sure not to pick something too bright or garish.



Select the mode

Start painting



There are four blend-mode options. Hue only affects the shade of colour and not the tone, Color affects the tone and the shade, and Saturation affects just the tone. Luminosity blends only lightness values, ignoring colour. Set it to Color in this instance.

Shortcut Alt/Opt-click on a colour in your picture to Eyedrop it

Click on the Brush icon in the left-hand panel of Elements. Click on the Color Replacement option in the bottom panel. Go to Brush settings and choose Hardness: 0%, Spacing: 1% and Roundness: 100%, ready to paint onto the object in your picture.

Duplicate the Background layer before you start painting, so that you can mask this layer against it if you brush over the edges. Set the Tolerance to 10px, and use the brush to draw over the object, being sure to paint over the colour completely to replace it.

Alternative methods Change the colour of objects with these other Elements tools

Manual brushing The easiest way to add colour to a picture is to

Replace Color Masking By going to Enhance>Adjust Color>Replace Perhaps the subtlest way to change colour is to

create a new layer, set it to the Color blend mode and start brushing over your object. Use an Opacity setting of 20% for the brush to build up colour and mask your edges if need be. This is a quick method, but it’s not always the most precise way to add colour.

duplicate a layer, alter the Hue/Saturation (Cmd/ Ctrl+U) and mask the object, though this method can be used for drastic colour changes as well as subtle. You can do this for brightness and saturation too, or desaturate this duplicate layer and set to Overlay for an HDR effect.

Color you can alter one entire shade in your picture. Use the Eyedropper to select the colour to replace, using the Add Color and Remove Color icons to perfect the selection. Once you’ve chosen the shade, use the sliders to control the Hue, Saturation and Lightness of the selection.


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Creative project…

Add a complementary texture as a background for your heart-shaped collage. Choose one that fits the theme of your montage.

Make a shaped photo montage Use your own photos to create a beautiful montage It’s become so much easier to quickly capture special moments in our lives, or to have a wonderful account of our most important moments. But all too often we leave these treasured memories on an SD card hidden away in a drawer, or on a hard drive where we rarely get to appreciate them. Yet these photographs are often the perfect starting point for creating artwork, ideal for displaying in your home. In this tutorial, we’ll be creating a shaped photo montage. In this case we are using wedding photos and a heart shape, but you can follow along using


photos of your own. If you would rather choose a different subject, why not try a holiday theme? Or the first year of a child’s life? You can even use a different shape to display your photos in, if the heart shape isn’t appropriate for your subject. Before getting started, make sure you have gathered up all your photos; we have used around 20 photos to create this image, but you can use more or less than that if desired. Now all you need is the distressed background texture from the FileSilo, and you’re ready to get started.

What does it mean? ADJUSTMENT LAYERS – Adjustment layers are used to make colour and tonal changes. There are several different types, such as Hue/ Saturation, Brightness/Contrast and Photo Filters. One of their main benefits is that they’re non-destructive, so they can be double-clicked and edited.

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STAGE 1 Create the background Add a distressed texture and lay out the heart shape The first task is to lay out our canvas and create a backdrop for the photos. Open up Photoshop Elements, click Photo Editor and choose to create a new file. Name it appropriately, and enter a Width of 240mm, Height 210mm and 300ppi resolution. Go to View> New Guide, tick Vertical, enter 50% then click OK. Now our canvas is set up, let’s start creating.

Shortcut Quickly get to the Custom Shape tool by hitting the U key

Place the background

Adjust the Levels

Add the heart




Go to File>Place and choose ‘Background.jpg’. With Constrain Proportions unticked, drag the corners of the bounding box so it fits the canvas, then click the green tick to apply the changes.

Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon at the top of the Layers palette and choose Levels. Move the black slider to 32, the grey to 1.74 and the white to 249. Click the top-right X to close the Levels.

Select the Custom Shape tool, choose a heart shape with a black fill and no stroke. Click and drag to create a heart shape. Press V and make the heart central by lining it up with the guide. Go to View>Clear Guides.

LAYERS PALETTE This is how your Layers palette should look at this stage, with the heart shape at the top of the layer stack.

CHOOSE A SHAPE There are many different custom shapes to choose from. For this tutorial we are using Heart Card.

ADJUSTMENT LAYER By using a Levels adjustment layer we can always double-click it and edit later if desired.

THE BACKDROP This texture creates an ideal background, with the darker edges and corners acting as a natural border.


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STAGE 2 Bring in your photos Give your photos borders, then add them to your canvas Now it’s time to add the photos to our heart-shaped montage. First we will be adding white and grey borders to each photo in turn, and then saving the bordered photos in their own folder. So before you begin this stage, create a new empty folder on your computer and name it something like ‘Bordered photos for montage’, so that you can find them easily later on by keeping your photos organised in one place.

Add a border

Repeat for all photos

Open the first photo to add to your heart montage. Go to Image>Resize> Canvas. Enter 20 pixels (you may need to use a different pixel size depending on the size of your photo), tick Relative, and choose White from the drop-down menu. Click OK.



Drag and drop

Rearrange the photos

Apply clipping mask




Click and drag the thumbnail of each photo from along the bottom onto your heart canvas, then close all the photo files. Press V to select the Move Tool and arrange your photos by clicking and dragging them, spreading them so they cover the heart.


Repeat the previous step, but this time choosing 8 pixels (or a different size dependent on your photo) and Gray. Go to File>Save As, save it in the appropriate folder and close the file. Repeat this process to add borders to all of your photos.

Resize photos by dragging corners of bounding box (tick Constrain Proportions) and rotate some by clicking and dragging just beyond the corners of the bounding box. Make the photos extend over the edge of the shape and fill any gaps.

Open your photos


Go to File>Open, locate the bordered photos folder, hold Shift while clicking to select them all. Click Open. Click Photo Bin at the bottom left and click the Heart Canvas file to return to it.

Rearrange the photos’ layer order in the Layers palette to bring the ones you want to make most prominent to the front. Once happy with the arrangement, Shift-click all photo layers and press Cmd/Ctrl+G to apply a clipping mask with the heart shape.

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STAGE 3 Apply the final touches Add some finishing touches to complete the effect We have arranged our photos into the shape, but to give the artwork an extra special personal touch, it’s time to apply some text. In this case, we have used the wedding date, but you can use any date or words that are appropriate for your image; for example, a name or date of birth. Then we will be applying some final effects Photo Bin shows and edits, and our artwork all open files; click to move through will be complete and ready them all to print and display.

A 3D EFFECT The inner shadow creates a realistic layered effect, as though the shape has been cut out, revealing all of the photos beneath.


Add the text

Apply a layer mask



Select the Text Tool, choose the Charlemagne Std Bold font in black with a size of 120pt. With the top layer in the layer stack active, click on the heart and type out your text. Press V and position the text as desired.

Insert adjustment layers


Click on the top layer in the stack. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+G to create a clipping mask. Reduce the Saturation to -100. Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer, again press Cmd/Ctrl+G to create a clipping mask. Choose Sepia, and increase Density to 75%.

Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click the text layer’s thumbnail in the Layers palette to select it. Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the selection, then add a layer mask to the heart shape layer (click the Add Layer Mask icon at the top of the Layers palette). Delete the text layer.

Make an inner shadow


Go to the heart shape layer, click Effects then Styles and choose Inner Shadows from the fly-out menu. Choose the High inner shadow, click the cog icon in the top right to access Style Settings and change the Lighting Angle to 142 degrees.


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CONTRAST – can take some practice to use perfectly. Contrast simply changes the relationship between the lighter and darker elements of a picture. Lessening the contrast slightly can create more toned shots; have a play around with it and discover what results work for you.

COLOURING The key to fixing overexposure is to bring colour into your picture as well as darkness; but don’t oversaturate your edit.

Start image

Photo edit… On the FileSilo

Fix under and overexposure Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Use simple tools in Elements to perfect the lighting in your shots Lighting is one of the hardest things to perfect in any photograph, especially when you are in changing conditions, or have snapped a shot off the cuff. Getting the perfect exposure across the entire scene you have captured can be incredibly difficult. Even on an Auto setting, you might find images from the same scene look very different. Most captures could therefore benefit from a little edit to either brighten everything up or darken the scene a little. Elements was made for that kind of edit. Over and underexposure fixes are simple to make with any photo, whether it’s a subtle toning


that you’d like to add to your picture, or a much more dramatic edit. By combining tools that are primarily used for that kind of photo fix – such as the Brightness/Contrast tool – with features such as layering and masking that are perhaps considered a little more creative, you can create a controlled and refined edit, no matter what kind of lighting treatment the picture requires. Check out our tips for altering underexposure or overexposure, and see our extra tips for correcting lighting, no matter what the picture, so achieving the correct exposure will never be an issue again.

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Correct overexposed images Convert washed-out pictures into colourful shots

Tweak Brightness

Darken further





Go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting> Brightness/Contrast. This is the best place to make preliminary edits to your image, regardless of whether it’s under or overexposed. Experiment with the two sliders until you achieve a more colourful result.

Once you’ve decided on a tweak that suits the picture, hit OK and duplicate your Background layer. Change the blend mode of the duplicate to Multiply; this will blend the pixels of the two layers to create a much darker picture.

Though we’re aiming for a darker picture, we want to retain some of the highlights from when we brightened the image in the first step. To do this, hit the mask icon and with a black, 50% opaque, soft brush, mask out darkness for a more toned finish.

Correct underexposed images Bring a little light into your shots

Adjust Brightness/Contrast

Duplicate and Screen



Go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting> Brightness/Contrast and then experiment with the Brightness and Contrast sliders. Try not to make the picture too noisy; we will be working further on the lightness in the next step.

The Multiply blend mode combines the shades of two layers to create a darker picture; Screen does the opposite by screening the pixels to create a lighter combination. Duplicate your layer and use the Screen blend mode to achieve this effect.



Hit the mask icon and use a black, 50% opaque, soft brush to bring a touch more darkness back into the picture. Do this in areas that have become overly noisy from the previous step.

Other light-fixing tools Tweak the brightness or darkness with other methods

Shortcut Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels panel when you need it

Levels Smart Fix Use the Levels to fix the exposure in your picture, Head to Enhance>Adjust Smart Fix to quickly

Guided Edit The Quick and Guided Edit sections of Elements

control the lights and darks in your picture and set the midtone. Of the Histogram stoppers, the ones on the edges control light and dark, and the middle one controls midtone; the output levels stoppers control black and white.

are intended to make editing even easier. The Lighten and Darken edit within the Guided Edit is the quickest way to fix exposure; again, use the Auto Fix button for a one-click fix or experiment with the sliders for more control.

alter the lighting in your picture for a simple, all-over image edit to control either the lightness or darkness in your shot. Elements can judge where the light needs a basic edit and the Auto button will edit in a single click.


ts n e m Ele SPECIAL EFFECTS Reshape an image with the Liquify filter and create amazing effects using custom brushes and blend modes.

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Surreal art…

Create a melting effect Master the Liquify filter and create astonishing special effect In this tutorial we’ll show you how to use some powerful features in Photoshop Elements to create an amazing melting effect. You’ll learn how to select an image, create masks, apply textures and much more. One of the major features we’ll cover in this project is the Liquify filter. This tool enables you to create artistic effects, retouch your photos and distort an image in different ways. When you select the Liquify filter a new window appears and you’ll find special tools to create a variety of effects. For example, use the Bloat tool to inflate or enlarge some areas. You can


use the Pucker tool (P) to compress or the Twirl tool to spin the image around. Shift Pixels enables you to increase or decrease the size or push the pixels up and down. Finally, the Warp tool can be used to create distortions and modify the image completely. You also have controls for the brush Size and Pressure to determine how the brush will interact with the image. Mastering the Liquify filter is essential to anyone interested in improving their artistic skills. By the end of this project, you’ll understand how this tool works and feel confident to use it in your own projects.

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Melt any object Learn how to create a complex composition just using simple techniques

Create a new document

Make a selection

Use Refine Edge




Go to File>New>Blank File (Cmd/ Ctrl+N). Name it Melting Effect and set the Width to 230mm, Height to 200mm, Resolution to 300 and then click OK. Now go to File>Place ‘Background.jpg’. Hold Shift and drag the corner handles to scale the image and hit Return/Enter.

Go to File>Place ‘Typewriter.jpg’ and hit Return/Enter. Grab the Magic Wand tool (Shift+A). In the Tool Options, check Add to Selection, set the Tolerance to 30, check Contiguous. Now use the Magic Wand to select the white area. Invert the selection by clicking Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I.

With the typewriter selected, it is time to refine the selection. In Options, click Refine Edge. Set the Radius to 3.5 pixels, Smooth: 5, Feather: 0, Contrast: 0, Shift Edge: -30%. Check Decontaminate Colors, Amount: 100% and choose Output to New Layer with Layer Mask. Now click OK.

Shortcut Adjust the tones


First duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Now go to Layer>Layer Mask>Apply. You need to hide the Typewriter Copy layer. To adjust the tones go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Check ‘Use previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ and hit OK. Set the Input Levels to 5, 0.80 and 254.

Right-click to quickly access different commands

Merge and select


Let’s merge the layers. Hold Shift and select the Typewriter Copy2 and the Level 1 layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge. Now grab the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) and select the typewriter front panel. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+X to Cut and Cmd/Ctrl+V to Paste it in a new layer.

REFINE EDGE Aer selecting an object, use the Refine Edge tool to correct the selection and create a layer mask.

CLIPPING MASK Create a clipping mask every time you want to apply an adjustment to an image without affecting other layers.

What does it mean? ADJUSTMENT LAYERS Use adjustment layers to make colour corrections, adjust the tones and generally enhance the image.

PERFECT SELECTIONS – Grab the Refine Selection Brush tool (A) and choose the Push icon. This lets you pull and push the edges of the selection. Place it outside the selection and you’ll see a minus sign; the selection will push back as you drag. Dragging inside the selection will push it out.


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Apply the Liquify filter Let’s apply the Liquify filter in individual areas, starting with the typewriter front panel. Go to Filter>Distort> Liquify. Use the Zoom tool to get close to the object and then grab the Warp tool (W). Vary the brush Size and Pressure. Push down on the pixels to create the melting effect.


Create more distortions Now cut and paste the keyboard in its own layer. Apply the Liquify filter on each button. Distort the typewriter body by using the Warp tool to push the pixels and then the Pucker tool to create droplets. Remember to vary the brush size.


Add a Layer Style Duplicate the typewriter layers and merge again. Hold Shift, select the layers. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate and hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Style Settings and choose Bevel. Choose Lighting Angle: 90°, change the Size to 10 pixels, Direction: Up and then click OK.


Draw a melting puddle

Create a metal effect

Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Melting Metal and click OK. Grab the Lasso tool (L) and draw a selection that looks like a puddle, around the typewriter. Use the Color Picker tool (I) and sample the typewriter colour. Hit Opt/Alt+Delete to fill the selection. Drag it under the Typewriter layer.



Hit F6 to open the Effect panel. Click Styles and choose Wow Chrome from the drop-down menu. Pick the ‘Wow-Chrome Beveled Edges’ option. Now hit F11 to open the Layers palette. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input Levels to 0, 0.30 and 255, and Output to 0 and 145. Clip the layers (Cmd/Ctrl+G).



Use the Warp tool to push the pixels down and then start pushing sideways and inwards to make the drips look thinner.

To control the effect, first select specific areas and then cut and paste in separate layers before you apply the filter.


Shortcut Use the icon at the top of the Layers palette in order to add masks


EFFECTS PANEL The Effects panel is where you can find and quickly apply different effect presets.

When applying a distortion directly on a layer, keep a copy of the original just in case something goes wrong.

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Expert tip Fix with Levels adjustment

Apply texture


When placing the flames and changing the blend mode to Screen, all the dark areas of the image were removed, and consequently some areas became lighter or opaque. One way to fix this is using the Levels adjustment. First you need to simplify the layer (Layer>Simplify) and then press Cmd/Ctrl+L to open the Levels. Drag the Input Levels until you are happy with the results. Another way to boost the tones is just by duplicating the layer. Don’t forget to add layer masks to hide any hard edges and ensure a smooth transition between the layers.

Duplicate and merge the Typewriter and the Melting Metal layers. Go to File> Place ‘Texture.jpg’. Clip the layers (Cmd/ Ctrl+G) and change the blending mode to Overlay. Now add a layer mask. Go to Layer> Layer Mask>Reveal All. Grab a soft brush and then paint over the keyboard in order to hide the texture.


Place the flames

Create the smoke

Reflect the light




Go to File>Place ‘Flame1.jpg’. Scale the image and hit Return/Enter. Change the blend mode to Screen. Place more flames over the typewriter and add a layer mask to hide the hard edges. Simplify the layer (Layer>Simplify) and use a Levels adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl+L) to enhance the colours.

Add burning paper Click on the Typewriter layer. Grab the Burn tool (Shift+O). Set Range: Midtones, Size: 200 pixels and Exposure: 100%. Paint over the paper to create a burning-paper effect. Now add a layer mask and paint over the paper to create a small hole.

Go to Edit>Preset Manager and click Append. Locate the file ‘Smoke.abr’, hit Load and then click Done. Create a new layer. Grab the Brush tool (B). Set the Foreground colour to white. Open the Brush Preset picker and choose the Smoke brush. Paint some smoke around the image.

Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Change the blend mode for the new layer to Color. Use the Color Picker tool (I) and sample the flame. Grab a soft Brush (B) and paint around the flames to reflect the light on the typewriter. Now change the layer’s Opacity to 50%. You’re all done!

Boost colours and tones The power of adjustment layers Use the adjustment layers (Layer>New Adjustment Layer) to make tonal corrections, boost colours and much more. The advantage of using this feature is that the pixels in the original image aren’t affected by the changes. This means you can repeatedly work on the adjustment until you are satisfied with the results without damaging the original image. You can use Levels, for example, to correct the tones and boost the colours. The Hue/ Saturation is ideal for changing colours and editing saturation. Explore this amazing feature in Photoshop Elements to enhance your photos or your creative projects.


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Use the tools to and custom shapes.

Digital art… On the FileSilo

Design an abstract wallpaper Start images

Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Mix images and shapes to create your own desktop décor Each year we become more connected to our computers. Since we’re inexorably drawn to our machines again and again, why not add some flair to your desktop background? Sure, you can download the latest wallpapers showcasing your favourite pop band, sports team or comic-book heroine. But armed with Photoshop Elements, you can produce your own! Starting with a completely blank canvas can be intimidating even for the most seasoned designer or artist. We’ll ease your way into the creative process by beginning with a large blur. From here you’ll place and blend in some of the main elements, including wavy lines,


a fractal image and a model’s face. Layer masks, blend modes and adjustment layers will be employed to fuse everything together before continuing. You’ll next add colour glows. The Gradient tool set to the Radial type is a great way to form these. Instead of just laying these out on blank layers, you’ll utilise Color Fill layers for added flexibility. The final phase involves using Shape tools to add a menagerie of geometric and custom shapes. To modify, you’ll make use of layer masks, styles, Free Transform and even the groovy Liquify filter to add variation and organic dynamism to the stock shapes.

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Make custom wallpaper Arrange and customise images, colour and shapes

Apply Radial Blur

Add lines



Open Elements and enter Photo Editor. Click Expert at the top of the interface. Open ‘Start.psd’. With the Blur layer selected, go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur. Click OK to simplify. Set Amount: 40, Blur Method: Spin and Quality: Good. Click OK.

Fade lines and duplicate

Go to File>Place, grab ‘Lines.png’. Scale up, move left side off-canvas. Click the checkmark. Click Add Layer Mask button (top of Layers palette). Select Brush tool, choose a soft brush. Set brush Opacity to 60%. Set Foreground colour to black.


Paint in mask to fade. Duplicate layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J), Free Transform (Cmd/ Ctrl+T). Scale using bounding box’s handles, rotate by clicking and dragging outside box. Choose Effects at bottom. Click Styles>Outer Glows. Double-click to apply a style. Return to Layers, edit masks and/or drop layer opacity.

Blend the fractal image

Import the model



Go to File>Place, grab ‘Fractal 1.jpg’. Confirm. Set the blend mode to Soft Light. Add a layer mask. Paint black at 90-100% Opacity to fade edges. Adjust brush size as needed. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate. Paint black in the mask on everything except a bit of the main sphere area on the right.

Go to File>Place, grab ‘Model.jpg’. Before confirming, set the blend mode to Hard Light, drop Opacity to 70%. Scale up and position, then confirm. Add a layer mask. Paint black to reduce the left area, edges and lower face. Duplicate (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Click the mask and paint black on everything except the face.

What does it mean? BLEND MODE

Shortcut Shift-click a layer mask in order to quickly disable/ enable it

Hard Light is used to allow the model to better merge with the layers below.

LAYER MASK – Layer masks are greyscale images that attach to a layer and are editable via painting. Black hides, white reveals, and shades of grey produce varying levels of transparency. Use soft-edged brushes for blending and general retouching. Increase hardness for details.

LAYER MASK By painting black with so-edged brushes on layer masks, you can fade photo and object edges for smooth blends.


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Expert tip Color Fill layers

Use adjustment layers Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button, choose Hue/Saturation. Slide Hue to +80. Paint black on the face to reduce. Click the ‘fill/adjustment layer’ button again, choose Levels. Move the shadow and midtones sliders right until sufficiently dark. Paint black to reduce adjustment in areas.


Load brush Select the Brush tool. In the options at the bottom, click the Brush preview. Press the button at the top right of the panel and choose Load Brushes. Grab ‘Stars.abr’. Select the brush. Set brush Opacity to 80-100%. Click the Create a New Layer button at the top of the Layers palette.


COLOR FILL Introduce Color Fill layers set to Screen to add colour throughout. Control with their masks.


Add fractal bits Place ‘Fractal 2.png’, position and scale before confirming. To quickly duplicate, select the Move tool and Option/Alt+click and drag to a new position. Use Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to edit. Add more instances and arrange.


You may think Color Fill layers solely blanket layers with solid colour. However, they can be used to selectively apply colour. Click a Color Fill’s mask and invert it with Cmd/ Ctrl+I. The colour becomes hidden. You can now paint with white to reveal the colour. Alternatively, use Radial gradients with the Foreground to Transparent preset to add precise bursts of colour. The great thing about using Color Fills is you can quickly change colour by double-clicking on the Color Fill. You can also edit the mask to tone things down. Experiment with blend modes for interesting interplay between colour and image.

Sprinkle some stars

Make it colourful

Set Foreground/Background colours to white. If you’d like to introduce colour, change one or both of the colours and the stars’ colour will jitter (randomise) between Foreground and Background. Paint some stars. Adjust size and opacity. Work across several layers for flexibility. Lower layer opacity to reduce. Mask if needed.



Click ‘Create fill/adjustment’ button, choose Solid Color. Pick #ee339a. Invert mask (Cmd/Ctrl+I). Set to Screen blend mode. Select Gradient tool, choose Radial, 100% Opacity. Click Gradient preview, Foreground to Transparent. Click OK. Set white Foreground colour. Click and drag to add colour. Use #3ae8ea, #1fff1f and #e1da20.

TIDY UP AND NAME LAYERS There’s no layer grouping (yet) in Elements, so stay efficient and sane by keeping your layers tidy and named.



Quickly duplicate the fractal bits by Option/ Alt+clicking and dragging while the Move tool is selected.

Add stars using a custom brush preset. Paint across multiple layers, and vary brush size and opacity.

Ele m en ts

Add shapes

Use custom shapes

Liquify objects




Select the Shape tool. Look in the bottom-left corner for various tools. Choosing one will show an appropriate set of options. Set the colour with the colour box (try colours from step 10). Add shapes on new layers (hold off on the Custom Shape tool). Lower layer opacity for translucency.

Selecting the Custom Shape tool lets you tap into the custom shape library. Click on the shape preview to bring up the shapes. Use the drop-down at the top to choose a category (or view them all with All Elements Shapes). Try some shapes. Transform, mask and adjust the opacity.

To break the rigidity of some of the shapes, use the Liquify filter. Select a shape and go to Filter>Distort>Liquify. Click OK to rasterize the shape. Use the tools on the left to manipulate the shape. Adjust brush size and pressure on the right. Click OK when satisfied. Repeat for other shapes.

Make creative glows

Finalise the composition



To add a glow to a selected shape, choose Effects from the bottom. Click Styles at the top, choose Outer Glows from the drop-down menu. Double-click on a style to apply. Customise by clicking the cog icon in the top right. Further customise shapes by returning to Layers and lowering opacity and/or changing the blend mode.

Wallpaper dimensions Make it just right for you

Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ and choose Levels. Adjust the sliders to get just the right balance. Paint black in the mask to remove/reduce. Play around with other adjustments if you like. Go back through your composition and make any last positioning and editing tweaks.

Shortcut Use Cmd/ Ctrl+Option/Alt+F to recall the last filter

These days, there’s such a dizzying array of devices and screens to account for that making a one-sizefits-all wallpaper can be daunting. When creating your wallpaper, keep in mind the target screen’s dimensions/aspect ratio. To produce an image that works across a variety of screens, make the image dimensions and/or aspect ratio more expansive than expected, and keep important elements in the centre. This will facilitate cropping with your main visual elements suitably framed. An alternative to cropping: create a blank document with the desired dimensions, then place the image PSD into the document. Scale and position, then save this as a .psd. When done, save as a .jpg (File>Save As, choose JPEG).


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Get in touch

Ask on Twitter @PshopCreative


Post on facebook PhotoshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email: AUTO SHAKE REDUCTION The Auto Shake Reduction tool, also found under Enhance, can add a little more detail to the edges of your subject.

Layer styles can be used to embellish your artwork in all kinds of imaginative ways, and creating exciting text effects is just one project that can test your layer-style skills. Creating a neon text effect is easier than it looks. Start off by picking an appropriate font – it doesn’t have to be a neon sign-style font – and enter your text. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Style Settings and start by adding a Bevel to your text in order to make it appear 3D. Next add a Glow to it in the same colour as the text, then go to Drop Shadow to give the text the illusion of it being placed against a background. With the main text now appearing to look neon, you just need to make a few subtle edits to improve the overall feel of the picture. Darken the wall background, add a Gradient Fill of black and white, set to So Light, to enhance the light from the text and use a so brush on a new layer if you think you need to add more colour.

CAN I CORRECT SHAKY PHOTOS IN PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS? It was a long time before selfies appeared that photographers first started suffering from shaky pictures, and sometimes even a steadying tripod isn’t enough to give your shot the sharp focus it deserves. Shaky pictures are common, whether you’re taking them with your phone or a high-end camera, and with this in mind, Elements 14 introduced Shake Reduction into the program to help correct any pictures that look fuzzy around the edges. Open your image and head to Enhance>Shake Reduction, or Enhance>Auto Shake Reduction for a quick and easy fix to your pictures. The Shake Reduction interface consists of just one slider, controlling the sensitivity with which you apply the edit. Increase this for a more thorough result, or leave as it is for a subtler sharpen to your picture. You can apply the Shake Reduction command to a specific area of the picture using the box provided, and you can even use the magnifying glass icon just to get closer to your picture and see the result of the edit in detail. Once you’ve done this, use the Before and Aer slider to check the effect of the edit, and click OK to finish.


Ele m en ts LAYER UP If you wish to create an even foggier scene, keep repeating the technique until you have thick layers of mist.


HOW CAN I CREATE A SIMPLE VIGNETTE? A vignette is perfect for giving a photograph a classic, vintage feel, but more importantly, it can focus the attention of a viewer to the centre of the picture. While the obvious method of creating one would be to brush the edges of your pictures, Elements contains a quick fix for creating such an effect. Go to the Guided tab at the top of Elements and choose Vignette. From here, you will be prompted to choose between black and white, and you can roll over the Aer image to see how the effect has come together. Once you have selected your vignette, increase the intensity as far as you wish, and Refine Shape with the dedicated button. This enables you to edit the feathering and how circular the vignette is. As with all Guided edits, head to Expert to edit even further.

AY TO CREATE CLOUDS AND MIST IN ELEMENTS? There are various ways to create both effects, but here are our favourites. To create clouds, select white from your swatches and grab the Brush tool. With an Opacity setting of about 20%, begin to lightly brush in the sky on a new layer until you have something that starts resembling a cloud. You may wish to add a light pink on top of it, or dial the layer’s opacity down to keep the effect subtle. To add mist, create a new layer and fill with white. Go to Filter>Render Clouds, and select Clouds with your swatches set as black and white. Set to Screen, hit the mask icon, invert (Cmd/Ctrl+I) and with a 20% opaque white, so brush, mask the layer back in. This will give the illusion of smoke, fog or mist; again, lower the layer’s opacity for more realism.

Quick tip

Add grain to photos You might want to add grain to your picture to give it a gritty, grungy or retro finish. Either way, the Filter Gallery is the perfect place to do this. Set your swatches to black and white, fill your background in white by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Backspace, and then change the blend mode to Multiply. Go up to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. This could be enough for the effect you want, but there are other options to try; go to the Filter Gallery and try Poster Edges, Chrome and Fresco.


With so many selection tools to choose from, it’s oen hard knowing which one to use with which objects. The Selection Brush is an option that enables you to achieve close control, especially if you’re using a graphics tablet. Click the option on the le-hand panel of Elements and choose a brush at the bottom of the window to draw with. Then, proceed to trace around the outline of your subject to cut it out. You can also edit the size of your brush, the hardness and how you view your progress with the overlay. Finally, use the Refine Edge tool to tweak your selection. You’ll find the Selection Brush suitable for most jobs.



Price £50 / $72 US Web

AKVIS NatureArt 8.0 Bring the weather to Photoshop using AKVIS’s latest effects plug-in

The specs Company AKVIS

Additional specs Windows XP and above Mac OS X 10.6 Plug-in/Standalone

RAINBOW A rainbow can brighten up any dull picture; just remember to keep the opacity nice and low so you don’t overpower your picture with bright colour.

Five great weather effects Which of NatureArt’s effects look best in your work?







Based on the Aurora Borealis, the Aurora effect can apply bright colours to your shots using the Direction tool, colours and blend modes. This is great for mountainous or dark landscapes, and brightens up your photos.


An alternative to Photoshop’s Render Clouds features, the Clouds option within NatureArt can produce either thick or wispy clouds, as well as generic haze. You can use masking techniques to control the effect in your pictures.

The Lightning option is one of the most impressive in NatureArt, as it looks like importing a stock photo into your picture. Use the Direction tool to decide where in the picture it should be placed; you can even change its colour.

RAIN The Rain option is one of the most realistic options. Use the Selection Brush to select the whole canvas if you want to apply it to the whole photo.

LIGHTNING The Lightning option comes in various different styles, and works best when placed against a dark or cloudy backdrop.


here are tried and tested methods of creating various weather conditions in Photoshop. Most of them involve using filters in imaginative ways, but you might wish to add other stock images; unfortunately there isn’t a definitive technique that works 100 per cent of the time. AKVIS aims to change all of that with NatureArt 8.0, a plug-in designed to add any kind of weather condition to your shots. AKVIS has created plug-ins for all sorts of artistic effects in the past, but this one feels more creative; many of the weather effects can be applied to a certain place in the image, and with so many that can work together, you could mix and match them to build up a truly beautiful image. The Lightning and Rain options, for example, work well as a pair. Although there isn’t the option within NatureArt to apply two weather conditions together – you’ll have to hit the Tick icon and load NatureArt again to

apply one after the next – the various options complement each other nicely. They’re all simple to use, similar to get to grips with and each of them has presets and sliders to create the effect. The downside is that common Photoshop shortcuts, such as using the square brackets to change brush size, don’t seem to work within NatureArt; a small gripe, but one that slows down your creative process. The quality of the effects is, for the most part, quite high. The Rain option is particularly good, and the Lightning effect is both very realistic and easy to tweak for your own purposes. The Rainbow option could do with the ability to mask, as the effect can sometimes overspill in places, and the Brush tool within the plug-in doesn’t vary in hardness. Aside from that, the Sun effect doesn’t look particularly realistic, and you might be better off with Photoshop’s own lighting options. The best thing to do when creating within NatureArt is actually to

duplicate your layer first so that you can blend the effect in with masking. This gives you a little more control with your edit, and enables you to use the plug-in without having to be as subtle as you would usually be; the best example of this in practice is perhaps the Clouds option, which should be dialled back with masking just so your picture doesn’t look oversaturated with the effect. Once you’ve got the hang of NatureArt and you know how to harness the power of its effects, it can become an extremely useful companion tool to your artwork. The Rain feature in particular is a quick fix for any moody shot, and there are plenty of options within the Presets panel for other effects, such as snow. If you find yourself wanting a quick one-step fix, the presets are the best option and you can create your own by using the Save Preset button. On the whole, NatureArt is an extremely useful plug-in for a number of reasons, but it’s not the kind of tool you use to finish off an effect. It’s not very subtle and its tools aren’t particularly precise, but what it can do is generate the weather conditions you need in your photos for you to then edit further. For this reason, it’s perhaps best suited to more experienced Photoshop users, but there’s no reason why beginners can’t have fun experimenting with its effects. It’s still a great plug-in with a lot of realistic effects, and a fine addition to the AKVIS family.

The verdict


A plug-in packed with powerful effects, NatureArt works best when you use it as part of a bigger project, rather than a quick fix for your photos.

Standout feature Presets



The Rain effect can be applied either to a whole picture or a specifically selected section of the photo. You can pick from various styles of rain, including windiness and even snow. It works best when coupled with the Lightning option.



The Rainbow option comes with an arc tool that you position in your photo before applying the effect. You can reverse the colours of the effect and adjust opacity to get the best out of the rainbow; use with both rain and sun for realism.

AKVIS’s plug-ins all come with an array of similar tools and features, but it’s the presets that really appeal to the majority of users, as they give you a basis to build an effect on. The presets all offer vastly different options, but the best thing about them is that you can edit the effect further and save your own presets to the plug-in.



Company Panasonic Additional specs

Price £499.99 / $599.99 US Web

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ330 24x optical zoom 25-600mm lens 12.1 megapixels

Billed as a tough all-rounder, can this high-tech superzoom really go the distance?


anasonic is known for versatile cameras, and its latest bridge model is no exception. The 24x optical zoom lens makes it possible to capture wide-angle landscapes and far-off action, and while it may not be the longest zoom on the market, it will serve the needs of the average photographer looking to shoot a wide range of subjects. Using the camera is incredibly easy for both novices and seasoned shooters, as the controls are intuitive. For those used to taking photos with a smartphone, this is an ideal upgrade because the touchscreen interface will feel very familiar. Focusing the shot is as simple as tapping the subject on screen, and an additional tap will capture the image. For those who prefer buttons and dials, there is plenty of non-touch control on offer too, complete with a handy Quick Menu button for finding all of the key camera settings instantly. The main menus are also very easy to navigate, with tabs for the various sections so you don’t have to scroll through every option until you find what you’re looking for. When it comes to framing shots, again you are spoilt for choice. The free-angle LCD shows a crisp, clear view of the scene and can fold out and

rotate a full 360 degrees, making it easy to take both high-angle and low-angle shots, as well as self-portraits. If you’re shooting on a bright, sunny day, putting your eye up to the electronic viewfinder will show you an equally high-quality view with very little time-lag. The camera is also impressively speedy at capturing the scene, as focusing is practically instantaneous and up to 12 frames per second can be captured at full resolution. However, if you want to guarantee that you won’t miss the moment, then you can record the action in 4K video, and then extract an 8-megapixel still image from the footage. When shooting normal images, though, Photoshop users will be pleased to hear that they can capture Raw files, even when using burst shooting mode. There is even the option to process them in-camera, with simple sliders for making basic adjustments, and the Clear Retouch function even works as a spot healing tool, removing any distractions in the scene when you give them a tap. To speed up your workflow, the camera also features Wi-Fi connectivity. In addition to enabling you to set up your shot remotely using an app on your smart device, this lets you wirelessly back up

your shots as you take them, so you can start editing straight away. The quality of the images captured is where the FZ330 stumbles slightly, as the small sensor can’t quite match the detail recorded by most DSLRs, and shots become a little grainy in very low light. Luckily though, the constant wide-aperture lens means you won’t have to boost the sensitivity very often, so most shots will appear clear and sharp. Where the camera really excels, though, is its close-up shooting capability, as it enables you to focus from just 1cm away and makes manual focusing incredibly easy. While you may be able to buy a DSLR for a similar price, and benefit from slightly better image quality, this versatile bridge camera is the next best thing if you don’t want to bother with interchangeable lenses.

The verdict


Easy to use and packed with the latest camera technology, the FZ330 has plenty to offer those looking to flex their creativity and shoot a wide range of subjects.

Capture a macro masterpiece Learn how to shoot at close range and sharpen results

Select your mode

Choose manual focus

Take the shot




Turn the mode dial to Aperture Priority mode (A) and use the scroll wheel to choose f2.8. This wide aperture will create a shallow depth of field to blur the background of your shot.


Flick the focus switch on the back of the camera to Manual Focus (MF), then select the Menu button. Under the Custom tab, ensure the MF Guide and Peaking options are switched on to help you focus.

Now frame your shot and use the dial on the side of the lens to focus. When the part of your shot you want in focus is highlighted in the enlarged area on screen, you can then press the shutter button.

HOLD The ergonomic shape of the protruding grip on the front and thumb rest on the back make it nice and easy to maintain a firm hold of the camera.

MARVELLOUS MACRO You can capture fantastic detail by shooting just 1cm away from

BULKY YET LIGHTWEIGHT The FZ330 is as bulky as a DSLR so won’t fit in your pocket, but the plastic construction means it is still reasonably lightweight.

RUGGED DESIGN As well as being splashproof and dustproof, the camera feels solid and capable of withstanding a few knocks.

Standout feature Bright with beautiful blur As well as featuring an impressive zoom, the FZ330’s lens also has a constant aperture of f2.8 throughout its 25-600mm focal range. This means that no matter what you are shooting, plenty of light can be captured and beautiful background blur can be created, ensuring your main subject really stands out in the frame.

Tweak the exposure

Remove distractions

Open your image in Elements, go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels. Adjust the arrows to improve the exposure. Go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Color Curves and adjust the sliders to improve brightness.



To remove any unwanted elements, select the Clone Stamp tool. Hold down Opt/Alt to copy a clear selection, and click to paste it over the distracting element. You can then crop and save your photo.
















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Realising dreams and telling stories @hotamr

Amr Elshamy is inspired to use all kinds of styles and tools. But it’s the desire to tell a story with his work that binds it together


mr Elshamy explains “I never know what I’m going to do next but I just want to keep creating.” An artist, illustrator, designer and filmmaker with a love for Photoshop, Amr is passionate about his work and seemingly inspired by absolutely everything. He has an eclectic portfolio encompassing different styles. But what does he enjoy creating the most, and what are the secrets of his art?

How did you discover Photoshop? I had Photoshop on my first computer. I had no idea what it was or what it was used for. One day, I visited my cousin’s photography studio to pick up some photos and I was waiting in the editing suite. I watched someone change the colour of a subject’s eyes and decided I wanted to have a go! There was no internet in Egypt at the time, so I had to teach myself.

Did you have a background in art? Yes, only in traditional drawing and art. One of my biggest artistic influences is van Gogh; his story was really amazing and though he wasn’t technically the most gifted artist, he created something no one else could. I’m inspired by his work ethic and passion.

one of my most-used tools is the Blur tool, as it can do the opposite and smooth your edges.

How vital is story in your art? For me, there has to be a story. I like the viewer to ask themselves what’s going on, and how the characters have found themselves in this place. Filmmaking helped me understand the concept of storytelling; there are three parts in every story, for example. You can’t communicate that in a single picture, but you have to try to tell the viewer something.

Wacom has featured some of your creature illustrations in its galleries. What are these and what are their stories? These creatures are monsters, but they’re friendly. I started having dreams about these creatures; they would pop up and tell stories of the forest or the mountains. I wanted to bring them to life, and after just 24 hours, they’d already had a bit of buzz.

Tell us about the holiday project commissioned by Adobe Yes, I created Adobe’s New Year Company Card, a low-poly, wintery deer picture. I was so proud to be involved, but also apprehensive

that I wouldn’t be good enough – in the end they loved it! I like how Adobe gave me trust and freedom with my work.

Deer are a common theme in your work – what do they mean to you? I think deer are both beautiful and cool. They’re great to use in art. For the Adobe New Year Company Card, I just made the connection between deer and winter, and the first sketch was approved.

You also like to create alternative worlds. Do you prefer to create settings or characters? Recently, I have been very interested in other-world landscapes, and my characters do need places to live, even if it’s a world with a completely different style to the character. It’s all part of the concept of storytelling: stories need characters and settings.

What’s your favourite piece of art you’ve created, Amr? That’s a super hard one! I’d probably say The Family. I felt like I’d found my artistic soul, and it was at this point, I really started mixing styles and techniques to come up with something different. I’m really proud of the monsters!

Which do you like creating best – traditional or digital art? It all depends on the idea itself. I always like to try new stuff, new styles and new tools, and I love photography and crafts. But it’s less a question of what I like to do, rather what needs to be done. Sometimes I feel it’s best to use 3D, sometimes illustrations, and sometimes, why not mix all kinds of craft? I didn’t always have an interest in 3D. I learned about it because it could serve my work.

What are your favourite tools to use in Photoshop? I always use the Pen tool. I think it’s a must-use tool, and can help with everything, so that one would probably be my favourite. You need the Pen for sharp selection and making shapes, but The Reindeer: The creative brief was to create a piece of art for the Adobe holiday digital card based on your interpretation of the theme ‘New Year’ and what that phrase means to you. This is thematically similar to a piece I did called Blue Forest, which was also featured in 3D Artist: Issue 79.


All images © Amr Elshamy

The Family: I had attention not just from Wacom for these pieces but on DeviantArt and Behance. I never could have imagined that something from my dreams could have created that kind of buzz! You can buy images from the monsters series as prints on RedBubble.

I’m Coming Home: This was a project that started off in Cinema 4D. The construction of the wreckage came first, and then that was imported into the Photoshop landscape. Aer I made it, I wasn’t really happy with it, so I tried to play with it in Adobe Lightroom, and I altered the colours until I felt more satisfied.



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Reader interview

The Magic Forest

Tre e Sw ing

The making of Tree Swing Create a fantasy composition in Uill Sam’s style with these four simple steps

Finding the background

Enchanted Kingdom The Island

Uill Sam Cavalcante We discover the inspirations and creative process behind this 27 year old’s vibrant fantasy compositions


ill Sam Cavalcante is a Photoshop artist who draws upon fantasy as his primary influence. “I never sketch something first,” he says. “I play with the images I have and see where inspiration takes me.” But which artists does Uill Sam admire, and what tips does he have for Photoshop beginners? We caught up with the Brazilian artist to ask him.

focused piece of artwork, and they’re key to a vivid picture. Other than that, I’d simply tell a beginner to try and take in as much inspiration as possible. Study artists’ work and see why it’s so good. And never give up!

What inspired you to learn how to use Photoshop, Uill Sam?

The lighting and colour are most important for me. I love to create new worlds in my artwork: I hope that people look at my work and feel a sense of freedom and imagination.

It all started six years ago. I started seeing photomanipulations in magazines such as Photoshop Creative, and I wanted to have a go. I started entering Photoshop challenges on socialnetwork pages, but I worked on my skills. I’m now earning money from creating images!

Finally Uill Sam, is there anything in particular that you think makes a great Photoshop composition?

To see more of Uill Sam’s work visit www.

So what inspires you now? I still love photomanipulation and fantasy artwork. I’m drawn in to the vibrant colours: I love a big yellow sun and lush green grass in a picture I look up to big Photoshop names like Daniel Sinoca and Daniela Owergoor, too. Their artwork has helped me to develop my skills as an artist.

Building the backdrop I added the tree, sky and plants and changed the colour of the background with Color Balance and Levels. I added stock photos and masked them to create a new world.

Placing the subject I added the subject and used the Dodge and Burn tools to bring the highlights and shadows out from the scene. Use more adjustments to get the most out of the colours.

Adding the final touches

What Photoshop skills would you share with a beginner? Blur and Sharpen are two of the most important tools that you can use. They can create a more

I looked for a stock photo of a horizon to build upon. When doing this, it doesn’t matter if it’s not strong in colour, as you can easily improve that later with layers.

The View of the Rock

I added butterflies and shadows, and worked on the hair and overall tone with more adjustments. Color Balance was used extensively in this picture, along with colour fill layers.




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NEEDHELPWITH THETUTORIALS? Having trouble with any of the techniques in this issue’s tutorials? Don’t know how to make the best use of your free resources? Want to have your work critiqued by those in the know? Then why not visit the Photoshop Creative Facebook page for all your questions, concerns and qualms? There is a friendly community of fellow Photoshop users to help you out, as well as regular posts and updates from the magazine team. Like us today and start chatting! Thenextissueisonsale31Mar from 114

Photoshop Creative Issue 137