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Blend incredible scenarios by combining layer masks, adjustment layers and much more



Make vibrant patterns from stock photos using the Rectangle tool, Pen tool and shape layers

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MIX SHAPES AND COLOUR Craft a 2D landscape in the style of video-game promotional art

COMPOSITE FUN SCENES Combine multiple photos to create imaginative artwork


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It’s easy to take layers for granted, as they’re at the centre of everything we do in Photoshop. It’s therefore important to re-visit some of the most basic but essential tricks that enable us to work more efficiently to ultimately ensure we’re creating the best art possible. Check out our how-to guide on p18 for 25 tips on using layers, then have a go at creating this issue’s layer-intensive cover image on p24! We also have step-by-step tutorials on making a mosaic portrait by creating patterns from stock images, compositing multiple photos to produce surreal effects, and experimenting with blend modes for creative double exposures. There are advanced guides on mastering branding in Photoshop and creating video-game art, plus Elements tutorials that show you how to get the most out of brushes and much more. Enjoy the issue!

© Imagine Publishing Ltd 2016 ISSN 1747-7816

Sarah Bankes Editor



Contents Co

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SAVE 30% Turn to page 108 to get this amazing deal. US page 84



Survey 06 Reader Take our three-minute survey and

fun effects with layers 24 Add Make an unrealistic scenario look

you could enjoy fantastic benefits

realistic by utilising layers

a mosaic with patterns 30 Build Transform portraits using shape

gallery 08 Trending Check out some of the most popular artwork that’s trending

gallery 10 Readers’ Have a look at what your fellow readers have been up to this issue

challenge 12 Readers’ A chance for you to win PortraitPro soware or the Pixelmator app

the studio 14 Inside We take a look behind the scenes of interactive Park.Agency

25 tips for using 18 Feature: layers – a how-to guide

Everything you need to know about layers, all in one place

project 60 Resource Transform your favourite photos into custom spray-paint stencils

I Made 63 How Abesalom Kavelashvili reveals how he created photomanipulation Hello

layers, the Pen tool and patterns

with masks 36 Composite and layers

Create a floating island with layers, filters, masks and blend modes

with 42 Experiment blend modes

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

Layer up textures and colours to create a double-exposure effect

adjustment layers 46 Use creatively

actions, backgrounds, fonts and more  Plus files to follow the tutorials  Free and ready for you to download today!

Composite a surreal scene using multiple images

smoke effects 52 Create with brushes

Adopt the Pen tool, shapes, align options and Path Selection tools

fantasy art 56 Produce using masks

Transport a model to a fantasy realm using masks and more

focus 64 Project Andreas Varro’s underwater ad commission that went viral

104 Reviews Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon, olloclip Studio and olloclip Active Lens

110 FileSilo This issue there are more than 450



free resources worth $200

interview 112 Portfolio José Augusto Hykavy

Advanced Photoshop

shares his influences and favourite tools

in Photoshop 66 Branding The secrets behind pro branding

interview 114 Reader Stephen Proctor

and the role Photoshop plays

reveals his Photoshop secrets and meanings

a world 72 Composite under water

Advanced techniques for using filters, layers and much more



vibrant 78 Create video-game art

Use a combination of basic shapes and tools to achieve a rich artwork


Take a look at our fantastic online shop at


for back issues, books and merchandise

LAYERS Read our how-to guide for everything you need to know about layers, from copying to finalising your work







Elements creative focus: Discover the 86 Tool power of brushes

art: Composite 94 Surreal an apocalyptic scene

project: Create 88 Creative digital textile designs

art: Design a 98 Digital geometric map

Unleash your artistic side with a range of brushes

Design your own repeating pattern and print it on fabric

Create a post-apocalyptic city using masks and adjustments

Create colourful national icons with selections and brushes

edit: Make stylish 102 Q&A: Common problems 92 Photo photo collages in Elements Create collage eects with layers and clipping masks

We answer your questions and ďŹ nd solutions to your problems




Reader Survey

Have your say!

Join our team today! Take our three-minute survey and…  Get 10% off our books and magazines  Get access to an exclusive monthly subscription offer  Become eligible for exclusive competitions & free gifts We love making Photoshop Creative and hope you love reading it too. But we want to keep making it better, so we’re asking for your help. By answering a few questions, you could be selected to join our latest Photoshop Creative panel. We’re so excited to hear what you have to say and can’t wait to learn more about you. Sarah Bankes Editor


Reader Survey

Four changes you asked for in 2015… Last year we used your input to make some fantastic improvements, including…

1 More for Elements users We launched a new Elementsonly section that includes basic tool guides as well as challenging El nts users

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Resource projects

Every issue now includes a resource project that shows you how to make your own assets in the real world to take into Photoshop.


TRENDING IMAGES Check out some of the most popular artwork that’s been rocking the internet over the last few weeks, and take inspiration from what’s currently trending There’s nothing more inspiring than surfing the internet and seeing what other artists are creating, and we encourage you to do so. Here are some of our favourite pictures that caught our attention recently, from some of the world’s most exciting artists and designers.

Photoshop is a useful tool to even the most talented 3D artists, as Cornelius shows. It’s easy to see why he has more than 180,000 views on DeviantArt; his attention to detail is perfect, and the atmosphere in this piece is brilliantly realised.

Alessia’s illustrations have been viewed thousands of times online, and we particularly love the use of lighting to really bring out the colours. It just shows that blend modes can be extremely important in digital art.

I used the Brush tool and textures to make the background, and the Smudge tool to manipulate the model. I masked the face, used black lines and dragged it with the Smudge. I added orange and red to help brighten the atmosphere.

Alessia Trunfio alessiatrunfio.blogspot.

First I did a rough pencil sketch, then I made shape layers with the Pen tool for all the objects and the body part, then I started shadowing and highlighting sections. Finally I gave the illustration some finishing touches, using filters and playing with blend modes.


Photoshop adjustments in this piece were crucial. Besides overall Levels and basic colour changes, I isolated everything with masks, giving each 3D element (the phone booth, advert signs and so on) in the scene its own contrast and colour correction.

Featured by Wacom’s online gallery, Abdelrahman’s double exposures feel warm and haunting. Abdelrahman blends other techniques into quite a simple style, and this picture is a fine example of that.

Abdelrahman Mohamed

Cornelius Dämmrich

Domenico has more than 1,000 followers on Behance where he creates all styles and kinds of art, but we love the playful aspect to this photomanipulation, which shows that a good concept can oen make an image.

Maïté Franchi

I was invited to illustrate these pictures for an app that teaches you how to strengthen your skills in the kitchen. First, I worked with vectors. As I find it oen too cold, I like bringing in coloured atmospheres and textures. I used brushes, lights and curves.

Domenico Sellaro

This was a personal project I worked on to celebrate Adobe Photoshop’s 25th anniversary. I retouched everything in the photo before combining them! I have loved Photoshop and photography since I was a child.

Mr Xerty’s mixed-media pieces are popular online and a testament to picking the right stock images when building a composition. Adjustments are key to blending these aspects together, something that he does very well.

Mr Xerty Maïté has more than 220,000 views on Behance, and has been featured by the site’s galleries. We love the detail and use of texture in this particular project, which has been viewed more than 45,000 times alone.

I made this picture with Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I mixed some different pictures from DeviantArt and personal stock, plus some stock photos from It took me 20 hours to complete.


READERS’ IMAGES Welcome to an inspirational round-up of great Photoshop artwork created by none other than your fellow readers


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:

Matheus Albuquerque photoshopcreative. Albuquerque

Image of the issue In this image I explored light, using Color Dodge and hot colours for the sun. Inspired by the artist Cintya Warmling, I wanted to give the message of life beyond Earth.

Alexandre Perez www.photoshopcreative.

This is an image about how a child can imagine their own world. I used a playful theme in this picture, working carefully with the lighting, mainly using green and yellow colours in my adjustments.


Manon Moreau

To create this picture, I first made a landscape. I changed colour filters to give a golden appearance to the scene by adding orange, yellow and brown tones. I placed the key elements of the girl and the crow based on the rule of thirds.

Katie Lupa SkyLemonBerry28

Using my own images and stock from the FileSilo, I composed multiple layers and effects together to create a celestial cloud temple. I used different shades of pinks and purples, and So Light to give the image an inviting and dreamlike feel.

Moreno Matkovic

David Padilla

This is an experimental artwork – an interpretation of deformation as a main element. This scene rises from a model; colour is not used, so it doesn’t interfere with the environment, and it is complemented with more elements so it can produce that feeling.

I came across great landscape photography and had a vision for my next photomanipulation. I started arranging elements, played with the Color Lookup adjustment, then I smudged the image with custom brushes to get a painted effect.



Upload your images to

We challenged you with these In issue 142, we challenged you to get creative with these four images. You were allowed to use any or all of the pictures, and whatever other resources you chose. Here’s what you created.

Challenge entries The best entries and overall challenge winner

s’ r e d Reaallenge Ch INNER W

1 Trevor Budd Surreal Beach Cave Only the four images supplied for the challenge were used to make this surreal cave scene. Combining these images was a real challenge using cutouts, blends, distortion and then manually adding all the lighting.

2 Alex Coleman Globe This image uses all four images required. The snowglobe was made out of the tennis ball image and the beach is the background; the deer is placed in the snowglobe.

3 Bill Bonaros Inside the Forest This is an artistic double exposure that I created, combined with some vector art. That was the first image that I imagined when I saw the deer photo.

4 Corine Spring The Deer I created this image with three of the four pictures supplied. I wanted an atmospheric vintage poster. The tennis ball stock image was used for some decoration.






WORTH £59.90!

PortraitPro 15

One lucky winner this issue will win amazing PortraitPro software, worth £59.90! PortraitPro is a fantastic tool for retouching your snaps, with its accurate sliders and features that can enhance anything in a subject, from eyes to hair. It’s a perfect software package for photo editors or anyone looking to improve their subject before editing it into a project.

4 WORTH £59.90!

RUNNERS’-UP PRIZE… Pixelmator app This issue three runners-up, plus the winner, will receive a copy of the awesome Pixelmator software! Pixelmator is fantastic for photo editing and adding effects to your snaps – check out our full review on page 104.

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 www. and hit the Challenge link. Closing date: 13 Oct 2016.

WORTH £22.99! 13

Inside the studio

Park.Agency Previously known as Workfilms Agency, Park.Agency is just beginning to get a name for itself – particularly with its work for Disney


ark.Agency was founded by Andrew Aden, an interactive art director and graphic designer with more than 10 years of experience in the digital design industry. But until this year, he was working with partners and they were called Workfilms Agency. Now Aden is going it alone – well, as a team of five – working between the main creative office in Nice and the sales team’s office in Santa Monica. Aden explains: “Our company started its story as a software production company, but we moved into digital and graphic design. For many years, we have been working in the entertainment industry, building websites for movies and artists. We had a chance to work for such brands like Disney, Universal, Bacardi, Sony and many others.” Through Sony Music and Universal Music, the company developed a reputation for working with singers, and now Park is “mostly doing work for Disney and Disneyland. We are running a production for its social media and some websites. Working for big clients is never easy, so we try to always get small ones so we can take a break; take a deep breath before we smash into something new and big.” Switching between big projects and small allows the workers to recharge creative batteries, and Aden says “we always keep our eyes open on modern things that are running so quickly now in design trends, so we try to implement that in clients’ work, so our work looks modern.” He stresses that the “clean style in web design” is growing in popularity, so they use that on a lot of web projects. The Disney work is dominating the company’s time at the moment, but it has also been working on a new site for singers – one of them Grammy-Award-winning and “very famous” – and these should be live soon. Despite having worked and excelled in their area for many years, it’s been hard – given the agency changing and rebranding – to keep their experience front and centre. “It’s sad to change your name and it requires more effort to get known as a new brand in the industry, which has lots of competition these days,” says Aden. When they were Workfilms Agency, “we had three partners and owners of the agency; now we’ve all split, and everyone is trying to run their own business.”


ABOUT THE STUDIO Park.Agency @park_agency Park.Agency is one part of what used to be Workfilms Agency, with creative director Andrew Aden in the process of getting the company known all over again. It is an interactive agency, focusing on graphic design, web design and development.

Andrew Aden Creative director

Alina Grinpauka Graphic designer and illustrator

A day in the life of Alina Grinpauka Park’s graphic designer explains how she manages her day

Planning and prepping


First of all, I answer emails and make plans for the day; it helps me to be more productive. Beyond that I print materials and ready sketches for the first brainstorm and meeting of the team.

Getting the ideas


On average, it takes a couple of hours to brainstorm with the team. Then, inspired and full of ideas, we can proceed to business.

Monitoring the plan


This lasts from four to six hours with breaks for coffee. Often I have a second project on the go that allows for periodic distractions, and maintains my enthusiasm for what I’m doing.

Client catch-up


Discussing and agreeing the details of projects with customers face-to-face or by Skype is an integral part of the working day.

Using real-world materials


As I work as an illustrator too, I work not only on the graphics tablet but also with real materials. Periodically I have to prepare the materials, such as pulling the paper to the frame. This is good relaxation time.

Midnight oil? After doing the basic planned work, I often realise that it’s late in the evening. It sometimes seems more convenient to not go home, because it’s almost the next working day!

© Park.Agency



Inside the studio

TOP 5 TIPS 1. Think, and think again “Always, always make dras in Photoshop, as the soware allows you to find great ideas by overlaying layers and multiply them to each other. The more options you save, the more possibilities you have!” Andrew Aden 2. Details, details, details “Play with colours, contrast and sharpness at the end of your process – you can always find that little bit of extra magic. Also, always use grids while you’re working on webdesign projects. Knowing exactly how your image measures up will give you so much more control.” Andrew Aden 3. Perfect people “When you have to cut out someone from a foreground, and there are a lot of flyaway hairs floating around, the best way to get rid of them is to use Photoshop with a Wacom tablet to get the perfect result.” Alina Grinpauka 4. Build your own brushes “When I paint with watercolours and then move my project into Photoshop, it’s always good to have my own brush set, so you can make it absolutely realistic, as if it’s a real watercolour painting. So spend some time and customise things you need for future artworks!” Alina Grinpauka 5. In the mood “I also use Photoshop to colourcorrect my photography and play with layers, for example if you duplicate a layer of a photograph, make it black and white, then select Overlay to give yourself a nice moody picture.” Alina Grinpauka

Into the light: No matter how many clients you have, or how high profile they are, keeping the art alive is key

All of these changes have happened in the last few months, but Aden is confident that his Nice-based team are hitting the ground running. “The most problematic thing was to keep projects on track, because when the issue happened, we still had ongoing projects,” he explains. “People were very stressed trying to keep track of both. But I think we did it well, and our clients never felt any change, as we are almost the same team. Park.Agency now has just one owner, because all of the previous owners were designers as well. We always had to find solutions and a compromise between all of us, as every artist has their own point of view. Yes, artists are the hardest clients!” Aden chose to base the company in Nice “because of the palms and beautiful sea. I’ve always thought that how you build atmosphere and the exterior of your business is very important. As a team, we spend a lot of time outside; we hike and play sports – watersports, of course!” He stresses that they don’t work rigidly from 9am to 6pm, and that


Enrique’s image: Artists – including singers – can be some of the trickiest clients, but their passion wins out

the company is more like “a lifestyle that we have chosen to live with.” The Park.Agency gang is currently fivestrong, and Aden says: “We are that small on purpose; we’d rather work on interesting projects and be creative as much as we can, than be a huge production shop, where people are robots.” He does not have ambitions to make the company much bigger, at least in terms of personnel. “When there is a need for more people and we win a big project,” he explains, “sometimes we hire freelancers, who work either from their home, or our office. Lots of talented people are based worldwide, so outsourcing a project is something we do.” And with those talents, Photoshop is where they plug in. Quite simply, “Photoshop is the key player in our team,” says Aden. “Since we do a lot of illustrations and graphics for Disney’s social media, Photoshop is something that we couldn’t live without. The ability to work fast, to make the changes that a client needs… it’s just an awesome tool to use. There’s a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator that can turn you into a rockstar. We use Photoshop to comp prototypes, and then create website designs there, we use it for illustrations like I said before. We use it on every single project we touch.” Aden has been using Adobe’s killer app since version 4.0, when he started to become interested in photomanipulation. Now, the typical Park process is to start with “pen and

paper to sketch and brainstorm our ideas, because nothing can kill the old-school way of planning and working around.” And then it’s into Photoshop. It’s the expanse of possibilities that it offers that so enthralls artists, he believes: “One of our lead designers is mixing Photoshop with watercolour, which look very interesting and creative.” And it will be with Photoshop that Park carries on creating a name for itself. When pushed on his ambitions for the company, Aden says: “To keep working like we are. As I said, we aren’t planning to grow much. It’s all about trying to get better and better; to produce better-quality products for our clients. We are also launching a filmmaking division, where we are going to produce more videos and animation. From shooting, to post-production, music videos and commercials – maybe feature films. It’s hard to say, but that is something we have started to work on. We have already signed contracts with very well-known directors. Stay tuned!”

Using Photoshop: All of the projects the company has designed are made with Photoshop. “Combining Illustrator and Photoshop is the best mix,” says Aden

© Park.Agency/Disney

Indiana Jones How the Indiana Jones Island for Disney Parks’ social media came to fruition

Dare to dream

3D base



Aden explains that: “We normally proceed with a sketch before we move on to production of an image. Either digital or pen is always a must for creating an artwork piece like this.”

A Photoshop finish


“Since we do a lot of illustrations and graphics for Disney social media,” Aden explains, “Photoshop is something we couldn’t live without. The ability to work fast, to make the changes that a client needs, it’s just an awesome tool to use.” This is the detailed work, where you zoom in and put Photoshop to the test.

“After the sketching, the project was modelled in 3D. It’s always easier to work in Photoshop when you have a 3D base already built for the illustration.”

Above and beyond


The final step is the “colour correction and polishing before sending to the client,” says Aden. And he counts the work for Disney as a major highlight: “We have recently designed a promotional website for Disney. After Disney launched the new Star Wars movie, it launched also in Disney Parks. We have made a social-media campaign for fans of Star Wars and Disneyland.”




LAYERS Read our how-to guide for everything you need to know about layers, from copying to finalising your work


he Layers palette is a cornerstone for Photoshop creativity. It’s hard to imagine building an ambitious photomanipulation – or a even making a simple edit to a photo – without them, and it’s actually through layers that you can add masks, apply adjustments or create clipping masks. It’s easy to forget that layers were initially introduced to Photoshop for a simple reason: to keep your work organised. They can certainly help you to build a picture and reorder elements of your project, but at their core, they’re a tool to help you stay on top of what goes where in your project.

It’s surprising how much managing your layers can help with your artwork. The difference between good artwork and great artwork is often in the detail, so getting in the habit of colour-coding certain layers, naming layers and finding the perfect blend modes can give you complete control of your compositions. Also, becoming familiar with the shortcuts can cut even more time arranging the Layers panel for you to spend actually creating. On the FileSilo Get to grips with all that layers offer, and Download your free you will find it easier to create your best-ever resources at www.filesilo. Photoshop projects.






Discover quick and simple ways to duplicate, merge and arrange your layers.

Use the Layers panel to tweak brightness, unify colours, add gradients and do even more.

Manage your layers by controlling transparency, using layer masks and working with type layers.

How to clip layers, use Smart Objects, link your layers and take them even further.

Learn how to create this issue’s eye-catching cover image using layers – turn to page 24

... HOW TO

01 Adding layers

The easiest way to add a layer is to on the ‘Create a New Layer’ button found e bottom of the Layers panel. natively, you can choose Layer>New> r from the menu bar. Enter a name for ew layer and change the opacity and ding mode settings if necessary.

03 Copying a layer

02 Selecting layers

To copy a layer, click and drag one or more layers over the ‘Create a New Layer’ button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Alternatively, you can choose Select>All (Cmd/Ctrl+A) and then go to Edit>Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C).

To select a layer, click on it in the rs panel. To select multiple contiguous s, click on the first layer then hold Shift click on the subsequent layers. To select ple non-contiguous layers, hold Cmd/ nd click on them in the Layers panel.

04 Cutting and copying

To cut and copy a layer, select a layer in the Layers panel and choose Select >All (Cmd/Ctrl+A). Go to Edit>Copy (Cmd/ Ctrl+C) and then Edit>Paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V). If you want to paste in the same place, then choose Edit>Paste Special>Paste in Place (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+V).


HOW IT WAS MADE To create this composition, we masked the image and used custom brushes to blend it with the background. Next, we added a new layer and created a circular shape. We changed the blend mode to Overlay and reduced the opacity setting. Then, we copied and pasted the circle around the image a few times. Finally, we added more shapes and finished by applying some filters. Download the files from the FileSilo.

05 Naming and colour-coding To name a layer, double-click on the layer’s label, enter the new name and then press Return/Enter. Alternatively, choose Layer>Rename Layer. To colour-code a layer, right-click on the eye icon of the active layer and from the fly-out menu, select the colour you wish to assign it.





... HOW TO

06 Duplicating layers

The quickest way to duplicate a layer or multiple layers is using the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+J. You can also click and drag the layer over the ‘Create a New Layer’ button at the bottom of the Layers panel, or choose Layer>Duplicate Layer.

07 Merging to a new layer

Click on the top layer to make it active, then press Cmd/Ctrl+A to select the layer. Now go to Copy Merged or press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+C and press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste in place. This will create a merged copy of all the visible layers. Alternately, hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E.

08 Arranging layers

To arrange the layers and group layers, simply click on the layer or group in the Layers panel and then drag them into a new position in the layer stack. If you wish to add a layer to a group, just click and drag the layer into the group layer.


Create the background


Place the sky. Create a new layer and apply the Extrude filter to create the effect. Grab the Lasso and select an area in the middle of the image and then delete it. Add a new layer and paint some vibrant colours, then change the blend mode to Color Dodge.


Place the skaters


Place the skaters and mask them. Duplicate the layer and then go to Filter>Blur Gallery>Path Blur. Adjust the Speed and Taper, drag the path to define the direction and then click OK. Drag and place the blur layer under the skater layer.

Create abstract shapes


Add a new layer, fill it with black and paint random lines and shapes, then use the Liquify filter to enhance it. Add vibrant colours and set to Screen. Duplicate and arrange the layers. Create a merged layer and use adjustment layers to boost the colours.

... HOW TO

09 Using Curves

Use the Curves to make tonal adjustments in an image. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves. To add a control point to the curve, simply click on the curve. Drag the point around to edit it. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the points.

10 Tweaking brightness To tweak the brightness in an image, use the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Simply go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Drag the arrow back and forth to adjust the settings. Sliding it to the left makes the image darker and sliding to the right makes the image brighter.

11 Unifying colours

To unify the colours, add a Solid Color adjustment layer on top of the layer stack, then use the Color Picker to choose a nice colour. Now change the blend mode for the layer to Multiply. This will create more consistent and harmonious colours across the whole image.

12 Adding block colour

Create a selection on a layer. Click n the Foreground/Background swatch at he bottom of the toolbar and then select our desired fill colour. Choose Edit>Fill. In he dialog box that appears, select the ontent, the blending mode and the fill pacity, then click OK.

13 Creating gradients

Select the Gradient tool (G). In the ool Option bar, open the Gradient Editor nd choose one of the preset gradients or reate your own. Select an option for the radient. Position your cursor to set the tart point and then simply drag to define he end point.




... HOW TO


14 Controlling transparency Use the Opacity option in the Layers panel to set transparency. Enter a value or use the slider control to define the transparency level. Alternatively, you can add a layer mask and apply greyscale tones to make the content more or less transparent.

15 Locking layers

To lock an entire layer, click on the Lock All button or press Cmd/Ctrl+/. To lock only the transparent pixels, press Lock Transparent pixels or press /. To lock multiple layers or a group, select the layers, press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+/ and choose the options from the fly-out menu.

You can search for filter multilayered documents based on different criteria. Choose ‘Pick a Filter Type’ by clicking the drop-down menu at the top left of the Layers panel. Then select the different options to help narrow down your search.

17 Using layer masks



16 Filtering layer types


Layer masks hide or show portions of a layer. Painting a layer mask with black hides the layer. Painting with white reveals it. Using greyscale tones makes the layer semi-transparent. To create a layer mask, go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All or Hide All.

with 18 Work type layers Select the Type tool (T). In the Options bar, choose the desired font and size then type some text. Now press Return/ Enter to create a type layer. You can also edit the text at any time, and as with regular layers, you can move, change the opacity, copy and so on.

19 Applying blend modes The blend modes enable you to make subtle or dramatic changes to a layer by controlling how the pixels in an image are affected by another image or the painting and editing tools. The blend modes determine how two layers are mixed into each other.

HOW IT WAS MADE To create this composition, each image was first edited on separate layers using masks. Various adjustment layers were then added to enhance the contrast and colours. Custom brushes were used to create the splash effect on top of the waves. Clipping masks and blend modes helped to achieve the liquid effect. Finally, a text layer was added to finish up the composition. The files are on the FileSilo, so have a go yourself!


... HOW TO

22 Clipping layers

You can clip a layer or create a clipping mask by selecting a layer and pressing Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G. A clipping mask uses a shape’s outline or the content in the base layer in order to define the effect or the mask.


23 Using Smart Objects Smart Objects are layers that contain an image source with all its original characteristics. You can add effects, adjustments, scale, rotate and transform the layer without losing the original data. If you want to transform an image into a Smart Object, select the layer and then navigate to Layer>Smart Object>Convert to Smart Object.


Linking layers 24 To link layers, select two or more layers. Then click the Link button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Notice that a linked layer icon appears to the right side of each linked layer. To unlink the layers, select one or more layers and then click the Link button again.

25 Converting a background


20 Using Fill and Opacity

Use the Opacity to control the transparency of every image and element in a layer. Use the Fill option when you apply a layer style to a layer, and the effect will only affect the layer style. When you reduce opacity, the layer style acts as part of the layer.

Create the background


Create a new document and fill with black. Duplicate the layer and name it Stars. Apply the Noise filter and then apply the Gaussian Blur at 4 pixels. Adjust the Levels to create the stars. Now place the Moon and set its Opacity at 80%.

21 Tweaking layer visibility

You can toggle the layer’s visibility on and off by clicking on the eye icon in each layer. To view a layer in isolation, hold the Opt/Alt key and click on the eye icon of the desired layer; this will hide all the other visible layers.

Place the roof


Place the roof and mask the image. Go to Filter>Color Lookup and choose Moonlight.3DL then clip the layers. Grab a soft brush and paint over the adjustment mask to create the lighting on the roof. Place the cat and the balloon, and add shadows and highlights.

When you create or open an image for the first time, Photoshop automatically creates a default layer, called Background. To covert it to a regular layer, just click the lock icon on the right side of the layer’s name. Or double-click on the name Background and add a new name.

Make enhancements


Apply a Levels and Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and other effects to enhance the images. Now create a merged layer. Add a new white layer and place the ‘Frame.jpg’ image on top. Drag the merged layer and place on top of the layer stack and then clip the layers.


Tutorial Add fun effects with layers Start images

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

Essentials Works with




What you’ll learn How to use layers, masks, the Pen and more to create a realistic image

Time taken

5 hours

Expe Rodrigo Marinel “Since I was a kid, I always loved VW Beetles. I had one as my first car, so to use Photoshop to create a scene with one is great fun. There is a saying that everything fits in a Beetle; this image is the proof that this is right. “I’m an art director and have 11 years of experience in advertising agencies. I learned and am still learning to use Photoshop through following many tutorials.”

Add fun effects with layers

Even unbelievable compositions need to look realistic – we reveal the techniques you need to achieve cohesion in your creativity


hotoshop makes it possible to create literally anything. All you have to do is experiment with the tools and give life to your imagination. Before you start a fun composition like this, it’s important to think about the concept, make some sketches and consider which tools will be the most appropriate for your creation. In this tutorial, the idea is to transform a Beetle into a mobile zoo with animals at the helm. Once you have the idea, it’s very important to invest a good chunk of time in choosing the right photos. To make this scene humorous and

Place the sky


First create a new document (Cmd/ Ctrl+N) that is 230x310mm. Then place ‘sky.jpg’. Because the image is going to be vibrant, use the Levels tool (Cmd/Ctrl+L) with the configuration 0, 1,00, 190.


interesting, the animals and the passenger all have a range of facial expressions, giving the impression that there are lots of different emotions being experienced by the subjects. To create this image, we’re going to adopt a realistic style, which will involve focusing on every single detail of the scene. To do that, we’ll use the Pen tool, feathering, masks, Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur and colour tone adjustments. Now, download the images from the FileSilo, and let’s see how many animals we can fit into and on top of a Beetle!

Apply a feather

Transform the road

Now add ‘mountains.psd’ and place it above the sky layer. Select the layer and apply a feather (Shift+F6) of 2px, then invert the selection (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I) and press delete three times. This will make the edges of the photo look smoother.

Let’s start to make the road. First add ‘road.psd’. To adjust the angle of the photo, use the Free Transform tool (Cmd/ Ctrl+T), click on the little squares at the base of the photo and drag the sides until the angle of the road is correct.



Share your amusing photo edits Tweet us @pshopcreative


Tutorial Add fun effects with layers Expert tip Using layer masks Masks are one of the most useful features of Photoshop. Once you get into the habit of using them you’ll find it is possible to do many things, such as erasing areas of a photo to make the edges look smoother. It gives a similar effect to applying a feather. The process of making a mask is always the same, but if you choose a so brush with a low opacity and are careful with how you apply it, it’s possible to erase only a specific area of a photo.

Add road markings


The details are very important for the composition, so add ‘street_line. psd’. Adjust the colour tone using the Hue/ Saturation tool (Cmd/Ctrl+U) set to 0, -100, 0. Then, to make the edges softer, select the layer and use a feather of 2px.

Work on the left side


Add the Left layer from ‘road_side. psd’, and repeat the procedure from the previous step. Add the Left layer from ‘side_mountain.psd’ and put it above the mountain. Finally add ‘flowers.jpg’, make a mask, erase the edges and place on both sides, as shown above.

Add the corners of the road, add the Right layer from ‘road_side.psd’. To adjust the shape of the grass to follow the road, use the Warp tool (W), as above. Then add the Right layer from ‘side_ mountain.psd’ and place it above the Road_side layer.


To add the sun to the scene, make a circle with the Elliptical Marquee tool and paint it white, then use the Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) set to 200 px. To make it more evident, duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J).

Add ‘tires.psd’ and apply a feather of 2px. Make the shadows using the Elliptical Marquee tool (M). Make a circle and paint it black, change the blend mode to Multiply and then apply the Gaussian Blur filter set to 31px.



Make the sun shine

Add the tyres


Warp the side

Place the Beetle


Add ‘beetle.jpg’, apply a feather of 2px, then use Hue/Saturation (0, +35, 0). With the Pen tool (P) cut out the glass, leaving only the steering wheel and the windscreen wiper. To fix the missing part, use the Pen tool to make a selection and then the Clone Stamp tool to fill the space.

Work on the Beetle


With the Pen tool, cut out the top of the car, as shown above. Make a selection, Ctrl/right-click and choose Layer via Copy. Then activate the selection of the car’s top, select the original layer and press delete. Finally make the top a little lower.

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Expert tip Make the highlights

Group the masks


Add the layer License_plate from ‘license_ plate.psd’. Make a new layer, create a group (Cmd/Ctrl+G), activate the selection of the license plate, select the folder, and press Add Layer Mask. Add ‘license_plate_texture.jpg’ and ‘license_plate_ texture_02.jpg’. Change the mode to Soft Light. Add the Letter/numbers layer from ‘license_plate.psd’.

Give the Beetle details


With the Pen tool, select the glass and paint it white, then change the Opacity to 30%. With the Brush tool, pick white as your colour and make a spotlight on the left headlight. With the Pen tool, draw the rear-view mirror and fill it with #e8cf8b.

Introduce the driver

When you’re creating a scene, every detail is important, but one of the most vital is the highlights. There are many ways to add highlights into a scene; you can use the Pen tool with the Gaussian Blur, or you can quickly create the highlights using just the Brush tool, with white as your colour and changing the blend mode according to the scene’s characteristics. The most common blend modes that work for this method are So Light and Overlay.

Draw the highlights


Let’s add the erratic driver, the gorilla. First add ‘gorilla.jpg’, flip it horizontally (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal) then adjust the colour tone using the Levels set to 37, 1,00, 239. Finally give the gorilla some new hands, by placing ‘gorilla_hand_01.psd’ as shown here.


Add ‘elephant.jpg’. Use Levels: 19, 1,00, 191, Brightness/ Contrast: 6, 15, Hue/Saturation: 0, -28, 0. Create a group with a mask (see step 11) and with the Pen tool draw highlights. Apply the Gaussian Blur filter at 30px and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Add the elephant details


Use the Pen tool to select the end of the elephant’s trunk, duplicate it and put it in front of the car. Duplicate it, paint it black, place it behind the original layer and change the blend mode to Soft Light. Use the Warp tool to adjust the shape. Finally add ‘elephant_legs.psd’.

Introduce the passenger


Place ‘passenger.jpg’ next to the gorilla. To enhance the shadow made by the elephant, use the Burn tool on the passenger’s face. Don’t overdo it!

Apply the High Pass filter


Now add ‘lion.jpg’, place it behind the passenger. To enhance the details, duplicate the layer and use the High Pass filter (Filter>Other>High Pass) set to 1.0px. Then change the blend mode to Soft Light.


Tutorial Add fun effects with layers

Apply the Dodge tool


Add ‘ape.psd’ and place it on top of the elephant’s head. Use a feather of 2px, adjust the colour with Hue/Saturation (0, -33, 0) then use the High Pass set to 1px. Observe the brighter part of the photo and use the Dodge tool to enhance the highlights.

Apply the Smudge tool


Use ‘meerkat.jpg’. Apply a feather of 2px and the High Pass filter also at 2px. When the image is cropped, some fur detail may disappear so, to correct this, use the Smudge tool. Select a small brush (7px) with 50% Strength and pull out to emulate fur.

Place the giraffe


Create the monkeys’ shadow


Add ‘monkeys.jpg’. Duplicate the monkeys’ layer, place behind the original layer, flip vertically and paint it black. Change the blend mode to Overlay and use a Gaussian Blur of 8px, then use a Motion Blur with Angle: -90 and Distance: 50px.

Open the hood


Duplicate the layer group Car_01 and merge it. Use the Pen tool to select the hood, invert the selection (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I) and press delete. With the Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T), press Alt, hold the little square on the base and make the hood shorter. Finally add a black layer behind the hood.


Insert the koala

Add ‘giraffe.jpg’ and use Brightness/ Contrast: 11, 09, Levels: 10, 1,00, 244 and the High Pass filter set to 1px. With the Pen tool, draw the highlights, apply a Gaussian Blur of 6px and change the Opacity to 70%. Finally add ‘giraffe_hat.jpg’ and, to make it realistic, draw in a shadow.


Add ‘koala.jpg’ and place it as shown here. Make some colour adjustments using Levels: 5, 1,00, 211 and Brightness/Contrast: 8, 18. Make a layer group, as in step 11, and draw in highlights with the Pen tool. Use a 10px Gaussian Blur and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Add the iguana and duck


Add ‘duck.jpg’, apply a feather and High Pass of 2px, then make the shadow, as in the previous step. Add ‘iguana.jpg’, apply a feather of 1px and a High Pass set to 2px. Draw the shadow, as shown in the image above, and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Plant leaves and flowers


Add ‘leaves.jpg’. To make it more realistic, duplicate the layer three times and place as shown here. Then add ‘yellow_ flower.jpg’ and ‘white_flowers.jpg’. Finally make a layer group with a mask, as in step 11, and use the Brush tool to make the shadows.

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Place a tiger in the boot


First add the body of the tiger (‘tiger. psd’) and place behind the leaves. Then add the tiger’s face (‘tiger_face.psd’) and put it above the hood, giving the impression that the tiger is getting out of the car. Use the Warp tool to fit the tiger’s face onto the body.

Add a goldfish


Make colour adjustments


Adjust the scene

Let’s make a fish tank in the headlight. Create a layer group with a mask the shape of the headlight. Add ‘fish.jpg’ and change the Opacity to 80%, then add ‘gold_fish.jpg’. Finally add ‘bubbles.psd’ and change the blend mode to Screen.

Use two Levels layers, one set to 12, 1,00, 255, and another set to 20, 1,00, 255, then use the Photo Filter (Warming Filter 85, with 25% of Density) and Brightness/ Contrast: 0, 10. Make a new layer, paint with yellow (#fff6d6), change the blend mode to Color and Opacity to 10%.


We need to add highlights in some parts of the scene. Make a circle, paint it white, change the blend mode to Soft Light and use a Gaussian Blur set to 95px. Duplicate the layer and place the highlights in front of the car and at the sides of the scene.

Apply Motion Blur


Let’s use the Motion Blur. First duplicate all the layers and merge them, then go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and use it with an Angle of 0 and Distance of 50px. Finally make a mask and erase the centre of the image, leaving only the background blurred. THE GOLDFISH To make the goldfish the main element of the headlight, use ‘gold_fish.psd’ and place it in the centre, then make a mask to erase the edges.

Closer look The fish headlight DRAW THE HIGHLIGHTS With the Pen tool, draw the highlights and place on the headlight edges. This will give more depth and will make the scene look realistic.

USE MASKS Aer placing ‘gold_fish.jpg’ make a mask and with a so brush and low opacity, erase the background until ‘fish.jpg’ appears.

THE DETAILS First duplicate ‘bubbles.psd’ three times. Then duplicate all the layers, merge, apply the High Pass filter at 1px and change the blend mode to So Light.


Tutorial Build a mosaic with patterns On the FileSilo

Start image

Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




What you’ll learn Use the Rectangle tool, Pen, shape layers, Pattern Overlay, blur and modes

Time taken

6-7 hours

Expert Moe Hezwani “I love a challenge; I’m constantly faced with difficult commissions almost every day, and finding the best way to execute them is my favourite part. Making a piece of artwork like this mosaic portrait certainly takes time and patience, but finishing it is so satisfying. “I’m a professional graphic designer/illustrator, and Photoshop is my go-to platform for my designs.”

Build a mosaic with patte Create a mosaic effect and transform your portraits using shape layers, the Pen tool and hundreds of patterns


t’s so rewarding when you finish a complex piece of artwork. This image has been created using hundreds of small rectangles, triangles and squares. They have been layered up with swatches of other African-style lifestyle or still-life images. When you look at this piece of artwork from afar you can see a beautiful lady, but get a little closer and you’ll see all the different patterns and textures used. The key things to think about when creating this mosaic effect are the colours and tones; you don’t want to start placing in patterns simply because they look nice; you want to start gathering patterns that will help to build up the image. For

example, in this case we used lighter tones of tan for the lighter areas of the model’s face to create highlights, and then darker tones to create shadows. This principle was then repeated for her headdress, neck, shoulders, hand, earrings and necklace. It’s really a matter of experimenting – have fun with it and play around with the types of textures you use to build up the image. Download the start image from Dreamstime (ID: 40782560) and use the patterns provided on the FileSilo to build up the portrait. We’ve also provided the original stock images, so you can have a go at creating your own patterns.

Soften with Surface Blur

Create a new canvas


Make a new canvas size of 240x320mm. Download the start image from Dreamstime using image ID 40782560. Paste it into your new canvas and use the Free Transform to make it bigger.



Start by softening the image slightly using a Surface Blur; you want to do this so you don’t get too much of her natural features coming through the background. To soften the image, go to Filter>Blur>Surface Blur and change the Radius to 20 and the Threshold to 30.

Start making shapes


Grab the Rectangle tool and make sure Shape Layers is selected. Then make a layer folder by clicking the dropdown menu of your Layers palette and selecting New Group. It will be easier to keep your shapes together in a folder. Then make your first rectangle.


Tutorial Build a mosaic with patterns Expert tip Don’t have the Pen? If you are an Elements user and you don’t have access to the Pen tool, that’s not necessarily a problem. Most of the areas where you want to fill in the gaps will be triangles. This means that you can use the triangle shapes from the Custom Shape tool. The gaps are so small that you won’t even notice them when you zoom out of the image. You only want to fill in the gaps just in case someone does want to take a bit of a closer look at your artwork.

Rotate shapes


Keep using the Rectangle tool to build up her face with rectangles. Then start rotating a few of your rectangles to sculpt her face. To rotate your shape, go to Edit>Transform Path>Rotate, click the side of your shape to rotate slightly, then click the shape to move in place.

Create the eyes and eyelash



Download the images provided from the FileSilo. Pick the first image you want to make a pattern out of, then grab the Rectangular Marquee tool and make a square on a part of the image. Hold down Shift to make a symmetrical square.



Grab the Pen tool and make sure Shape Layer is selected, then make your first anchor point in a gap you want to fill. Next make another two points to create a triangle shape. You will find yourself only creating triangles to help fill in the gaps.

Cover her with shapes

When it comes to re-creating her eyes and eyelashes, use quite small shapes. Zoom in close to the image using the Zoom tool (Z) to get a closer look. Then using the techniques of step four, rotate shapes to create structure around and within her eyes.

Download images

Fill in the gaps


Carry on building up your image using the tools and techniques of steps three to six. Just use one colour to fill your shapes; black is best as you don’t want to confuse yourself with what is a solid colour and what is going to be a pattern.

Turn it into a pattern


After creating your square using the Rectangular Marquee tool, go to Edit>Define Pattern, name it what you like and hit OK. Keep grabbing square swatches all around this image and making them into patterns by repeating the previous step and this step.

Place your pattern


Once you have made your pattern, head back to your portrait image. Use the Direct Selection tool to select the first black shapes you want to fill with a pattern. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Pattern Overlay. Click the Pattern drop-down menu and you’ll notice your new patterns.

Want vibrant colours? Set your colour mode to RGB!

Expert edit Soften your shadows and highlights

Don’t make it perfect


It’s okay if the pattern doesn’t fit your shape perfectly; you’ll notice the pattern duplicates itself inside your shape. When you have zoomed out of the image you won’t notice the imperfections, plus it will give your artwork some depth and look like you have used two images in one.

Make more patterns


Use all the images provided and start creating even more patterns; follow steps eight to nine. Think about what textures, tones and colour you are pulling out from each of the images. When creating a pattern you can use the images more than once – just grab a different area.

First shadow layer


Once you have brushed in your shadows using a black soft brush, select the first shadow layer and go to Filter>Blur>Surface Blur, and set Radius to 64 and Threshold to 144.

Place more patterns


Head back to your portrait and slowly start to build up your shapes using the new patterns. When you start to build up your shapes, refer to the colours from the original image to help you identify where to place patterns. For example, use tan patterns for her face, and the white/grey patterns for her eyes.

Soften the highlights


Next, grab the highlight layer and select the Surface Blur filter once again. This time you want to make Radius: 70 and Threshold: 100.

Second shadow layer


Select the second shadow layer and use the Surface Blur filter for the final time. Change Radius to 64 and Threshold to 144.

Create her headdress


When creating her headdress, why not pull out some bright bold reds, pink, purple and blues from the images provided to brighten up the image? You don’t have to follow the colours of the original image exactly – just use them as a guide.

Cover her with patter


Keep filling up all those black shapes with more swatches of the African images; keep in mind the tones you are using. For example, for the shadowy areas of her face use darker tones of tan patterns and for the lighter areas, use lighter tones. Do the same with her neck and shoulders.

Edit with a layer mask


There may be areas of shadows and highlights that you don’t like. If so, add a layer mask, grab a soft brush and brush away the areas you don’t want.


Tutorial Build a mosaic with patterns

Create shadows


Give the folder with all the patterns an Opacity of 80%; this is to draw in some of the portrait’s natural features. Then create a new layer and change the blend mode to Multiply, grab a soft black brush and brush around the darker areas of her face.

Make even more shadows


Make another layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+ N) and this time change the Opacity to 40% and blend mode to Overlay. Again, using a black soft brush, target the darker areas of the background, headdress, under the lady’s neck and hands, and around her necklace.

Add vibrancy


Create a layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N) between the two shadow layers and change the Opacity to 50% and blend mode to Overlay. Grab a soft white brush and start to brush over areas you want to brighten up: her cheekbones, hands, middle of her forehead and eyes.


Finally duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) you added a Surface Blur to (back in step two). Move the duplicated layer to the top of the Layers palette and change the blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 40% to bring out a few more of her natural tones.

Expert tip

ADJUST THE SCALE Play around with how much you want to see of the pattern. You can bring the scale right down to see more of the image or bring it up to see less of it.

Pattern Overlay options



Soften up

To boost the colours of your portrait, start by selecting the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and make Brightness: 10 and Contrast: 30. Next grab the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and change Saturation to +20.

It’s worth having a look at the options that are found within the Pattern Overlay window. For a start, you can experiment with different pattern adjustments: you can scale the pattern to give it more detail, because more of the pattern is showing. The effect is more prominent when using really detailed patterns. Plus, checking the Link with Layer checkbox locks your pattern to the layer so that if you move your layer around later, the pattern follows. If you uncheck this box and move your layer, the pattern will not move.

Form highlights

SAVE AND LOAD You can save and load default settings for each effect in the Layer Style dialog box. By clicking Make Default, you don’t have to keep reapplying the same settings.

Tutorial Composite with masks and layers Start images

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

Essentials Works with




What you’ll learn Mask your images and add creative effects with layers and filters

Time taken

3 hours

Expert Daniel Sinoca “One thing that impresses me the most with Photoshop is the ability to create accurate selections using intuitive tools. I can easily create a selection around an image, mask it and make an entirely new scene. “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.”

Composite with masks and layers

Advance your Photoshop skills by creating a fantastic floating island with layers, filters, masks and blending modes


n this step-by-step guide we’re going to create a stunning floating-island composition using a variety of photos. You’ll start with a blank canvas, then use the Gradient tool to create the background and other effects. You’ll learn how to use the selection tools and masks to isolate each image. Then you’ll use filters and other techniques to create special effects, such as light rays and a sunburst. Finally, you’ll use the adjustment layers and blending modes to complete the composition. Each step contains useful information to advance your Photoshop skills. In this tutorial you’ll use

Set up a new document


Create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl+N), name it Fantasy Island, and set Width: 230mm, Height: 310mm and Resolution: 300ppi. Now add a few guides to help position the images. Go to View>New Guide. Change the Orientation to Horizontal, Position: 125mm and click OK. Add more guides, set the Position to 206 and 225mm.


many layers and masks, so try to keep organised by placing each image or similar layers into groups. This way, you can easily move the images around, transform or rotate them, or even apply masks and adjustments to each group. When using adjustment layers, don’t forget to create a clipping mask – this will help you to apply different adjustments and keep the effect within a single layer. Check the expert tip for extra advice, and take a look at the side steps to learn how to create your own custom brush. Don’t forget to visit the FileSilo to download all of the files to begin.

Add a gradient background


Grab the Gradient tool (G). In Options, open the Gradient Editor and set the first colour stop to #86a6bf and the second stop to #003a69. Set the gradient to Linear. Now hold Shift and drag the gradient from the top to the bottom.

Watch the latest video Search Photoshop Creative Magazine


Tutorial Composite with masks and layers Expert edit Create custom brushes

Use adjustment layers


Use adjustment layers to create a black and white image. Open the image and go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Black & White. Drag the sliders and set all colours to -200.

Place the sky


Go to File>Place Embedded>‘Sky.jpg’ and hit Enter. Create a layer mask by going to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Now hide the big clouds. Go to Edit>Preset>Preset Manager and Load ‘Brushes143.abr’. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose the Cloud brush and paint new clouds above the guide line.

Create the ocean


Before creating the ocean, hold Shift and select all the layers used to create the sky. Press Cmd/Ctrl+G to group it and name the group Sky. Go to File>Place Embedded>‘Ocean floor.jpg’. Drag the handles to resize the image, placing at the bottom of the canvas.

Radial gradient


Grab the Gradient tool (G). Open the Gradient Editor and set the first colour stop to #d3ffff, the second stop to #005ba5 and change the gradient to Radial. Apply the gradient, positioning over the bottom guide. Change the blend to Multiply and press Cmd/ Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G to create a clipping mask.

Add more contrast


Now increase the contrast using Levels. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Adjust the midtone input level until you see the details and contours of the image.

Clean up


Hit Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+E to create a merged copy of the layers. Grab the Dodge tool and paint over the white areas and then use the Burn tool over the dark areas.

Define a brush preset


Now press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the image. Crop it and then go to Edit>Define Brush Preset. Name your brush and hit OK. Press F5 and then select your new brush.


Make ocean waves


Place ‘Ocean-waves.jpg’. In Options, set the Vertical Scale to around 28% and click OK. Grab the Rectangular Marquee tool (M). Create a selection between the guide lines above the ocean floor and then add a layer mask.

Apply adjustments


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Balance. Set the Tone: Midtones, change Cyan/Red: -45, Magenta/ Green: 0, Yellow/Blue: 20. Apply Levels and change the Inputs to 0, 0.90, 215. Now add Brightness/Contrast, set to 80 and -30. Clip the layers for each adjustment.

Watch the latest video Search Photoshop Creative Magazine

Create the light rays


Use custom brushes


Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Create a new layer. Grab the Brush Ctrl+N). Grab a hard tip brush. Set tool (B) and hit F5. Select one of the the Foreground to white and paint random ‘waves-brushes’. Paint the waves and adjust short lines. Now go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur. the size. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop Choose Blur method: Zoom, Quality: Best, Shadow. Set the Angle to 90° and adjust the drag the Blur Center to the top left and hit OK. settings to create a soft shadow. Select the Hit Cmd/Ctrl+F to re-apply the effect. layers and create a group.


Place ‘Grass.jpg’ over the cliff. Drag the handles to resize the image and adjust the perspective. Add a layer mask and use a hard tip brush to create a new contour around the image. (Use a soft brush to blend the grass with the rocks.)


Keep the Blue channel active and grab the Dodge/Burn tool (O). Change the Range to Highlights or Shadows and clean up the image further. Hold Opt/Alt and click the eye icon to make all layers visible. Go to Select>Load Selection. Choose the Blue channel and click OK. Create a layer mask.


Place ‘Cliff.jpg’ Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the cliff. Add a layer mask then go to Edit>Transform> Flip Vertical. Place the image adjacent to the top guide line. Use a hard tip brush and paint over the mask to enhance the contour.

Mask with channels

Place the grass

Create a layer mask

Start the island


Place ‘Tree.jpg’. Hold Opt/Alt and click on the ‘eye’ icon on the Layers palette. This will make only the tree layer visible. Now go to Window>Channel. Duplicate the Blue channel. Open the Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L) and adjust the inputs to create a high-contrast image. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the image.

Apply the mask


Duplicate the tree layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Go to Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object. Then go to Layer>Layer Mask>Apply. Create a layer mask and blend it with the grass. Place ‘Bush.png’. Mask it and apply the Levels adjustment and Vibrance to enhance the colours. Duplicate the bushes and place around the island.

Lay some roots


Create a new layer. Go to Filter> Render>Tree. Choose Base Tree Type: 20_Acer. Set the Light Direction: 180, Leaves Amount: 0, Leaves Size: 1, Branches Height: 240, Branches Thickness: 160 and click OK. Resize, rotate and mask the trunk. Place it under the rocks. Duplicate it or create different branches.


Tutorial Composite with masks and layers Expert tip Working with masks Control the intensity of the masks by reducing the brush opacity or controlling the pressure. For example, if you want to partially hide an image, reducing the opacity of the brush will create a shade of grey, while the intensity will make the image more or less opaque. In some situations you can use the Gradient tool to create a gradual transition between the layers. This effect is great for underwater scenes, for example to partially hide the whales in the composition here.

Shadows and highlights

Create the ivy


Create a new layer. Go to Filter>Render>Tree. Choose Base Tree Type: 14_Willow Tree. Set the Light Direction: 180, Leaves Amount: 30, Leaves Size: 60, Branches Height: 70, Branches Thickness: 0, Leaves Type: 10_Leaves and click OK. Now scale and mask the images. Place over the rocks.


Select the island layers and create a group. Now create a new layer and change the blend mode to Soft Light. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G to clip the layer with the Island group. Grab a soft yellowish brush and start painting the highlights. Use a bluish colour to add the shadows.

More shadows and highlights

Place the animals


Place ‘Deer.jpg’. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W). In Options, pick a hard tip brush, check Auto-Enhance and start selecting the deer. Go to Select>Refine Mask and change the settings to enhance the mask.

Duplicate the layer


Duplicate the Deer layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Open the Free Transform tool (Cmd/ Ctrl+T) and resize the image. Go to Layer> Rasterize>Smart Object and then go to Layer>Layer Mask Apply.

Repeat the steps


Open the Island group and drag the Deer group into it, placing behind the bushes. Now place ‘Zebra.jpg’ and ‘Tiger.jpg’, then repeat steps 18 through to 20. Create a group for each animal and place them over the island.



Create a new layer and change the blend mode to Soft Light. Hit Cmd/ Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G to create a clipping mask. Grab a soft yellowish brush and start painting the highlights and use a bluish colour to add the shadows. Hold Shift, select the layers and then create a group.

Bring in the orca


Place the ‘Orca.jpg’. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the orca. Create a layer mask. Now duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Rasterize the layer, then apply the layer mask (Layer> Layer Mask>Apply).

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Mask it


Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click on the orca’s thumbnail layer to select it. Create a layer mask and using a soft brush, paint over the mask to partially hide the body above the water. Now reduce the brush Opacity to 15% and paint the body under the water to create an opaque effect.

Apply the Lens Flare filter


Create a new layer behind the Island group. Fill with black. Go to Filter> Render>Lens Flare. Choose Lens Type: 105mm Prime and click OK. Change the blend mode to Screen. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T. In Options change the scale to 200%. Use the Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L) to reduce the brightness.

Create the sunburst


Create a new layer and fill it with black. Go to Filter>Pixelate> Mezzotint. Choose Type: Medium Dots. Now apply the Gaussian Blur filter at 6 pixels. Go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur. Choose Blur Method: Zoom, Quality: Best, centralise the blur centre and then press OK.

Place more images

Enhance the effect


Change the blend to Screen. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+F a few times to re-apply the effect. Now create a layer mask and using a large soft brush, paint around the effect to hide the hard edges.


Place the birds and fishes. Select the images and enhance the selection with the Refine Edge tool. Create masks and use the adjustment layers to improve the colours and contrast. Add shadows and highlights and place the images into groups. Distribute around the canvas. ADD MORE LAYERS Add more layers and paint using different colours. Change the blend mode to Overlay and use the Blend If feature to gradually create the effect.

Expert tip The Blend If command When adding shadows and highlights, you need to change the blending mode to create a realistic effect. Using a Soft Light or an Overlay blend mode on a layer will boost the contrast of the shadows and highlights of the image below when you paint over it. You can control the effect by reducing the layer opacity or using the Blend If slider in the Layer Style window. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Blend Options. Set the Blend If option to Grey. Hold Opt/Alt while clicking and dragging the black triangle to split it in two. Move the sliders to create a smooth transition and further enhance the effect.

BLEND IF GREY The Grey channel is the Luminance channel, which means that all the adjustments are based on the lightness or darkness of the image layer or the layer below.


Tutorial Experiment with blend modes


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Whatyou’lllearn Use colours, blend modes and textures for a double-exposure effect

Time taken 1 hour

Exper Mark White “The colours for this double exposure were discovered completely by accident; it goes to show what you can do in Photoshop when you just play around with blend modes and colours, and for me, experimenting is the best way to learn and improve. “As senior staff writer on Photoshop Creative, I’ve learned all kinds of quick tips to help with even the most impressive-looking pictures.”

Experiment with blend modes

Explore various blend modes, and layer up textures and colours to create a unique double-exposure effect


lend modes are vital in Photoshop, and can turn ordinary ideas into extraordinary pieces of artwork in seconds. But so many of us end up using blend modes for the same effects in the same kinds of projects. What if we experimented with them to create something that we never would have expected? That’s the aim of creating a double exposure. The idea is to mix two or more pictures to create something bright, exciting and original. Bringing colours into the mix – thanks to colour fill layers – can only make for bigger, bolder, more innovative

Cut out the subjects


Cut out the two pictures we’re going to use, with the selection tool of your choice. Tidy the selection with Refine Edge, or Select and Mask (Photoshop). Choose two images of the same subject – one zoomed in a little more than the other – and feel free to retouch facial features, such as eyes, first.

portraits. In this project, we’re going to overlap blue and green to create a red and yellow centre. All good double exposures need to have texture and tone, and blend modes can play a vital role in this, too. Most of the time you’ll use the Screen mode for your textures, but other blend modes such as Soft Light and Multiply can help too. Cycle through the list of blend modes using Shift and the ‘+’ key, and see what looks good in your picture. Clipping masks are also essential for keeping effects localised – apply them by Ctrl/right-clicking a layer and choosing Add Clipping Mask.

Layer the colours


Place ‘right.jpg’ then ‘left.jpg’. Clip a #28c6e3 Solid Color Fill layer to ‘left. jpg’, set to Multiply, then clip a Hue/Saturation layer of Hue: -5, Saturation: +45, Lightness: +30. Cmd/Ctrl+click ‘right.jpg’ mask preview and fill in black on the Hue/Saturation mask. Duplicate ‘right.jpg’, set to Difference, then clip #c13e61 (Multiply) and #ff00f6 (Color).

Add the treetops


Add Hue/Saturation and Vibrance adjustment layers to tweak colours. Add ‘trees1.jpg’, ‘trees2.jpg’ and ‘trees3.jpg’. Set these to Screen and desaturate (Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+U). Move over the edges of your subjects. Clip Curves/Levels adjustment layers to alter the contrast. Brush black on a new layer to darken bright areas of fog.


Tutorial Experiment with blend modes

Expert tip Enhance the eyes Enhancing the eyes of your subject can be the difference between a flat-looking portrait and a really exciting one, so pay attention to them when making the finishing touches. Add a Curves adjustment layer to your project – Elements users pick Levels – and tweak the RGB channel to create more contrast. Then use the individual RGB strands to change the colour of the eyes, before hitting Cmd/ Ctrl+I on the mask to invert and brushing the irises back in with a white brush.

Apply the marble


Place ‘marble.jpg’ into your project and set to Overlay. Desaturate (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U), and clip Levels or Curves adjustment layers to increase the contrast of the texture. Reduce the Opacity of this layer to 50% and mask lightly so that the texture doesn’t appear over the subjects’ faces.

Edit the background


Place ‘texture.jpg’ into the project and set to Multiply, 50% Opacity. Mask over the corners of your picture – duplicate if need be – and again clip Curves or Levels adjustment layers to lessen the intensity of the effect, as you can see above.

Place the nebula


Add ‘nebula.jpg’. Duplicate this layer; set one to Overlay, one to Screen and set both to 60% Opacity. Place ‘nebula.jpg’ once more and mask a single star over the left subject’s eye, and set to Soft Light, 75% Opacity.

Make adjustments


Add adjustment layers to tweak the image so far. Along with a Curves one (50% Opacity) as shown, add Vibrance: +100, Color Balance: -15, +10, +20 and a Gradient Map (black to white) one, set to Soft Light, 30% Opacity. Elements users can use Levels and Photo Filter for similar effects.

Use Camera Raw


Merge everything (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/ Opt+Shift+E). Go to Filter>Camera Raw. (Elements: File>Open in Camera Raw.) Experiment with the temperature and whites and blacks, increase Clarity to +20 and go to the Sharpening tab to increase Sharpness and Noise Removal. Mask lightly over the subjects with a soft, white brush.

Add more marble


Duplicate your marble layer and set to Multiply, 60% Opacity. Mask in over the darker areas of the picture. Then merge all again (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E) and go to Filter>Liquify (Filter>Distort>Liquify in Elements); just warp the edges of hair and body to blur the lines between the marble and the right-hand subject.


Apply finishing touches


Finally, make subtle tweaks just to enhance the image. Mask in ‘stars.jpg’ over the left-hand subject and set to Screen, enhance the eyes of this subject, use the Spot Healing Brush on the skin, and add a Soft Light, white to black gradient set to 50% Opacity.

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Tutorial Use adjustment layers creatively

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Work with correction tools, adjustment/mask layers and blend modes

Time taken 8 hours

Expert José Augusto Hykavy “I love to use my imagination, and am careful with colour contrast and finer details. “I am 21, fond of art and design, live in Brazil, and work as a freelancer and designer in a print shop. My first contact with Photoshop was in 2009, practising tutorials, then I started learning on my own.”


Use adjustment layers creatively Discover essential tools and techniques for creative compositions


ver the course of this tutorial, we will use correction tools (Color Balance, Vibrance, Hue/Saturation and more) to apply uniform colour and lighting to separate elements in a composition. We’ll also work with layer masks and clipping masks; layer masks enable you to add effects only to the desired area. Erasing unnecessary areas on the layer mask means you can return to the appropriate part if necessary,

while clipping masks enable you to apply effects only on a specific layer. In a composition such as this, cutting out images is essential. As is keeping an eye on the scale, brightness, contrast and lighting of elements. If something looks different to everything else, the image won’t work as a whole. Once you’ve worked through the tutorial, use what you’ve learnt to create your own scenes!

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Create the background


Go to File>New (Cmd/Ctrl+N), and set the Width to 460mm, Height to 190mm, Resolution to 300 pixels/inch and click OK. Insert ‘grass.jpg’ and use the Clone Stamp tool (S) to remove the cows. Set up a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer; Hue: -5 and Saturation: -40.

Insert the sky


Place ‘sky.jpg’, create a layer mask and use the Brush tool (B) to hide the lower part of the image. Create a new Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer with Hue: -15 and Lightness: +5.


Tutorial Use adjustment layers creatively

Expert tip Use clipping masks You’ll find that clipping masks are a speedier and much more versatile method for applying cut-out effects to images. They are an excellent way to control which parts of an image are visible. Go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask, or hold down Alt and click on the dividing line between the effect and your image in the Layers panel. A small arrow will appear next to your image layer, which indicates that a clipping mask has been made and the effect is applied to the area.

Place the door


Insert ‘door.jpg’, position in the left corner, create a mask layer and use the Brush tool (B) to hide the area around and inside the door. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) to create a grass-like selection in front of the door and hide on the layer mask.

Create the bedroom


Create a rectangle (U) the same size as the door, insert ‘bedroom.jpg’ and adjust the size and position. Create a clipping mask and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with Hue: -12 and Saturation: -30.

Add a yellow Photo Filter adjustment layer, then a Vibrance adjustment layer set to -20. Finally, set up a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with Hue set to -69, and Saturation set to -35.

Brush in a shadow


Insert ‘open door.jpg’, select one side of the door, adjust the position and size, create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with Hue: -35, Saturation: -31, Lightness: +24. Use the Clone Stamp tool (S) to remove the light under the door.

Insert ‘bubble girl.jpg’, remove the background, adjust the size and use a Vibrance adjustment layer (Vibrance: -18 and Saturation: -5). Now apply a Curves adjustment layer and drag the curve down a bit. Create a new layer and use the Brush tool to paint a little bit of white on the top of the girl.



Open the door

Add the first girl


Make door adjustments


Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+ Alt+N), create a clipping mask on the door layer and with the Brush tool (B), colour black (#000000), make a shadow at the bottom, near the grass. With yellow (#faebc7), use the brush on the right and near the lamp.

Blow some bubbles


Insert ‘soap-bubble.jpg’. With the Elliptical Marquee tool (O) select just the bubble and duplicate three times (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Change the blend modes to: first layer: Light, second layer: Screen, third layer: Soft Light. Decrease the saturation until the bubble matches the scene.

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Create more bubbles


Insert ‘soap-bubble1.jpg’, ‘soapbubble2.jpg’, ‘soap-bubble3.jpg’ and ‘soap-bubble4.jpg’. Repeat the process of step nine, making copies (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and adjusting the size and position.

Introduce a girl at the door


Place ‘girl.jpg’ in the middle of the door and add a yellow Photo Filter adjustment layer. Add a Vibrance adjustment layer (Vibrance: -7), and then a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer (Saturation: -52).

Add some shadows


To adjust the shadows on the girl, create new layers and use the Brush tool (B) to paint black areas. Change the blend mode to Soft Light, change the Opacity of the layer if necessary, and follow the direction of the light.

Place the deer


Enhance the light


Create a new layer, choose the colour #fde5a5, and with the Brush tool (B), paint near the sky in the middle of the scene. When done, change the blend mode to Lighten and layer Opacity to 45%.

Insert ‘deer.jpg’, remove the background, add a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer with Hue: +12 and Saturation: +20. For the grass under the deer, add a Color Balance adjustment layer with Cyan/Red: +28, Magenta/Green: -30 and Yellow/Blue: -30. Use the mask layer to apply the correction only to the grass. Insert one bubble behind the deer.

Adjust the toys


For ‘doll.jpg’ add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with Saturation: -38. For ‘doll1.jpg’, use Hue/Saturation with Hue: Insert floating toys +12, Saturation: -30 and Lightness: +4. For Insert ‘doll.jpg’, ‘doll1.jpg’, ‘bear.jpg’, ‘elephant.jpg’, use a Color Balance adjustment ‘horse.jpg’, ‘book.jpg’ and ‘elephant.jpg’, layer with Cyan/Red: +18, Yellow/Blue: -17. remove the background, then adjust the size, For ‘book.jpg’, use Hue/Saturation with Hue: position and rotation. Place the layers +12 and Saturation: -38. For ‘bear.jpg’ use beneath the bubbles. Hue/Saturation with Saturation: -15.


Place the birds


Insert ‘bird.jpg’ and ‘bird1.jpg’, remove the background and put atop the door. Create a new layer; make a shadow below the birds with the Brush tool. Insert ‘bird2.jpg’, remove the background and place near the big bubble. Duplicate the layer, flip horizontal, create a mask layer and hide the right side.


Tutorial Use adjustment layers creatively

Place the butterflies


Place ‘butterfly.jpg’, ‘butterfly1.jpg’ and ‘butterfly2.jpg’ near the door. Create a new layer and use the Brush tool with black as your colour to paint in shadows below the butterflies. Insert ‘butterfly3.jpg’, use at a larger size, flip horizontal and then apply Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur set to 3px.

Add birds to the sky


Adjust the highlights


Create some more shadows

To add some interest to the sky, insert ‘birds sky.jpg’. Remove the background, adjust the size and then position over to the right of the image. Change the layer Opacity setting to 30%.


Create a new layer, then use the Brush tool to make shadows for the door, the girl blowing bubbles and the deer. When finished, change the layer Opacity setting to 60%.

Make the final corrections

To make any correction to the highlights, use the Burn and Dodge tool (O) or create a new layer and fill in some parts with white using the Brush tool. Don’t forget to create a clipping mask.


Create a Vibrance adjustment layer with Vibrance: -7. Use a Photo Filter adjustment layer, Deep Blue, Density: 24%. Change the blend mode to Multiply and layer Opacity: 30%.


Expert tip Use Color Lookup In more recent versions of Photoshop (CS6 and above), there is a new adjustment layer worth trying. The Color Lookup adjustment helps to create a more enhanced colour correction by giving a quick and easy way to try out different combinations for the composition’s elements by choosing a new ‘look’ from a list of presets. The major benefit of using an adjustment layer is that we can further tweak and fine-tune the results simply by changing the opacity or blend mode of the adjustment layer.


This adjustment enables numerous effects by changing the opacity and the blend mode, combining two or more presets.

APPLY THE COLOR LOOKUP Create a new Color Lookup adjustment layer and pick 3DLutFile> TealOrangePlusContrast. Adjust the layer Opacity setting to 30%.


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Tutorial Create smoke effects with brushes

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

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Work with the Pen tool, shapes, align options and Path Selection tools

Time taken 5 hours

Exper Andy Hau “All designs should have an element of joy about them – from the inception to the final product. Design is an escape from the futility of modern life; not an endorsement of it. “I am a London-based architect and graphic designer, as well as the owner of A.H.A. Design Ltd – a multidisciplinary design studio.”


Create smoke effects with brushes

Learn how to create this smoking hot image, which is sure to give your audience the hummingbird heartbeat


id you know that a typical hummingbird can beat its wings around 80 times per second, creating the humming sound that gives hummingbirds their name? This amazing feat is the inspiration behind our image: a robotic hummingbird that overheats from beating its wings too fast, causing smoke to billow from its body. Taking a scratched metal texture, we will use the Transform tool and colour adjustments to sculpt a three-dimensional-looking robotic hummingbird in

flight. To add dynamism we will make the wings look like they’re really beating using blend modes and the Motion Blur filter. Finally, we will use brushes and blurs to create realistic undulating streams of smoke from the bird’s body. Download the metal texture for free from Lost and Taken ( The smoke brushes are free from Brusheezy (http://bit. ly/2be9faX), and the stock image from Lisa Brank on flickr ( is on FileSilo.

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Set the background


Create a new canvas (File>New). To create a dark, mysterious background, choose a navy colour (#0d1625) and fill the entire canvas with this colour using the Paint Bucket tool (G). Place the scratched metal texture from Lost and Found ( and change the blending mode of this layer to Hard Light.

Add a background texture


Lighten any additional areas of the texture that you want to show through by selecting it with the Polygonal Lasso (L) on a high Feather setting and adjusting the Brightness setting (Image> Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast). Apply Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) to defocus the entire image.

Draw the hummingbird


Draw the hummingbird using the Pen tool (P). Make sure the Shape setting is selected. To create curves, click and hold down the left mouse button. To edit shapes, select the Pen tool (P), hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click on the anchor points.

Create the head


Rasterize the hummingbird pieces by right-clicking on the layers in the Layers panel and selecting Rasterize. Drag in the scratched metal texture and scale it down appropriately (Edit>Free Transform). Place the texture under the shape that creates the head. We’ve included the hummingbird on the FileSilo if you struggle to draw it.

Sculpt it


Repeat steps four and five until the head is complete. Identify your light source, then using the Polygonal Lasso (L) on a high Feather setting, select areas of light and shade on each piece, and change the brightness (Image>Adjustments>Brightness/ Contrast) accordingly to give the pieces form and depth.

Cut the shapes


Select the shape using the Magic Wand (W) then select the metal texture layer in the Layers panel. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) this piece – you should end up with a piece of metal texture in the same shape and in the same place but on a new layer.

Make colour adjustments


Since the background is navy blue, the pieces should be more blue/cyan in nature. Change the colour of each piece using the Color Balance setting (Image> Adjustments>Color Balance). Give each piece a slightly different tone for a hotchpotch, steam-punk effect.

Use the visor shape


Select the visor shape with the Magic Wand (W). On a new layer, fill it in using the Gradient tool (G) – use a pale cyan for the area closest to the light, and black for the area furthest away. Create reflections with the Polygonal Lasso (L) and Gradient tool (G).


Tutorial Create smoke effects with brushes

Expert tip Use Adobe Illustrator As powerful as Photoshop is, some people find the Pen tool a bit intimidating to use. While the outline of the bird can be created in Photoshop, as you’ve seen, and it’s a great way to practise using the Pen tool, why not have a go at creating it in Illustrator if you have it? You might find it quicker and easier to draw in Illustrator, so give it a go. If you don’t already have a copy or it isn’t part of your subscription, download a free trial to have a play and see how you get on.


Repeat steps five to eight to create the body and chest piece for the hummingbird, keeping in mind the location of your light source as you contour each piece. Don’t forget to lighten or darken (Image> Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast) the very edges of each piece to give added definition.

Create the front wing


Follow steps five to eight to create the wing. For the glowing lights, on a new layer, fill each strip with a pale blue (#ecfcff) using the Magic Wand (W) and Paint Bucket (G). Double-click the layer, select Outer Glow, changing the glow colour to the same blue.


Select all the layers that make up the wing and merge together by rightclicking the Layers panel and selecting Merge Layers. Make copies of the wing and fan them out using Edit>Transform>Rotate to alter the angle. Change the blending mode of the copies to Screen.

Repeat steps 11 to 13 to create the wing in the background. Remember that since it is further away, this wing should be darker. For the copies, lower the opacity so that they don’t compete with the foreground.



Use the Elliptical Marquee tool (M) to create rows of circles in the shape of a heart. Fill these circles in a pale blue (#c7eff7). Double-click the heart layer and select Outer Glow, changing the glow colour to the same blue. Change the perspective of the heart with Edit>Transform>Distort.

Duplicate the wings

Make the back wing


Make a digital heart

Create the body

Apply Motion Blur


Select one of the wing copies and apply a Motion Blur (Filter>Blur> Motion Blur) on it. Repeat until each copy has been blurred. Lower the opacity of the copies where necessary to create a fluttering effect.

Soften the outline


Select all of the layers that make up the hummingbird and merge them together by right-clicking the Layers panel and selecting Merge Layers. Using the Polygonal Lasso (L) with a high Feather setting, strategically select certain edges and apply a Motion Blur (Filter>Blur> Motion Blur) to soften them.

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Load the smoke brush

Sprinkle digital fairy dust


Select the Brush tool (B) and choose a Soft Round brush to create a bokeh/ fairy-dust effect using a turquoise colour (#25d4ca) for the fill. Vary the size and opacity of each circle to give an illusion of depth.


Load the smoke brushes from Brusheezy ( by clicking the cog button in the Brush tool menu. Select one of the smoke brushes and choose a white fill. Left-click the canvas once to place an area of smoke. Vary the opacity of the brush for a more convincing effect.

Add the wind-up key


We are going to add a wind-up key falling from the hummingbird, which powers it. Download the photo from Lisa Brank (flickr: or from the FileSilo, and cut out the key using the Polygonal Lasso (L). Adjust colours using Hue/Saturation (Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation).

Apply Gaussian Blur


For a feeling of depth and movement, some of the smoke needs to be defocused. Select these areas using the Polygonal Lasso (L) with a high Feather setting, and blur them with Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur).

Zoom out


Zoom out using Cmd/Ctrl+0 so that the entire image fits onto your screen, and check that you are happy with the overall composition of the image. Everything should look balanced, and the elements and colours should be evenly distributed.

What you can do with it Turn it into a desktop wallpaper design While this image would look great printed and framed, unfortunately most desktop printers aren’t able to replicate the subtle tones required to showcase the smoke effects at their best. With high-definition screens nowadays, you can admire all the beautiful subtleties in your image by using the image as a background for your desktop. Most screens have a screen ratio of 4:3 and a resolution of 1024x768, so keep your Photoshop canvas this size to ensure a perfect fit.


Tutorial Produce fantasy art using masks


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Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Use masks, brushes, filters and blend modes to create a fantasy portrait

Time taken 2 hours

Expert Andre Villanueva “Masks are one of my favourite and oen-used features. They enable me to merge characters, be selective with adjustments and hide brushwork, with the all-important option to restore if needed. “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.”

Produce fantasy art using masks

Transport an everyday model to a fantasy realm using masks, filters, blend modes and more


ne of the biggest draws to Photoshop editing is the power to alter reality. Now there are varying degrees to this. You can perform minimal retouching to give something a slight boost, push it a bit further into the threshold of the supernatural, or go all out and forge something utterly fantastical. Here you’ll transport a woman to a fantasy world where mystic energy flows freely and dragons patrol the skies. You’ll focus on the model first by selecting and masking her head, then merging her with an appropriately clad fantasy character. A dose of

Create a quick selection


Open ‘ModelHead.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. Continue to work until you get a basic selection.

non-destructive dodge and burn will provide dramatic contrast. You’ll then use Color Fill layers, blend modes and the Hue/Saturation adjustment to alter the merged model’s colours. These edits are also non-destructive. After finalising the model, you’ll place her atop a forest populated with a (hopefully amicable) dragon. From here you’ll utilise a variety of techniques such as High Pass sharpening and starry brushwork to complete the vibe. Masks will prove to be a potent ally throughout in achieving magical harmony across the layers.

Refine the selection


Go Select>Select and Mask (non-CC: Refine Edge). Paint with the Refine Edge Brush (non-CC: Refine Radius tool) to aid in selecting the hair. Resize the brush with the [ and ] keys. If needed, enlist the Global Refinements or Adjust Edge settings. Use Decontaminate Colors to help the cutout.

Clean up the selection


Output to New Layer with Layer Mask. Click OK. Click the mask. Using the Brush tool and a Soft Round brush, paint black to hide, and white to restore areas. Use the Zoom tool to get close. Adjust brush size/opacity as needed. Decrease/increase brush hardness with { and }. Save and close.


Tutorial Produce fantasy art using masks

Expert tip Make a final blur A final, selective blur is great. By blurring non-vital areas, you can ensure they remain relegated to the periphery. This will help the viewer’s gaze slide towards the focal point. Aer completing the main composition, select the top layer and merge layers (Cmd/Ctrl+Option/ Alt+E). (Photoshop: convert to Smart Object.) Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Adjust Radius for the amount of blur you want. Click OK. Apply a layer mask and paint black to reduce the blur.

Merge the head and body


Open ‘ModelBody.psd’. Place (CC: Place Linked) ‘ModelHead.psd’. Scale, position, commit. Add masks to both layers via the Layer palette’s Add Layer Mask button. Paint black (adjust brush settings as necessary) to hide unwanted areas to meld together. Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to scale, rotate and warp (Photoshop only) to fit.

Dodge and burn safely


Go to Edit>Fill (Elements: Fill Layers). Choose 50% Gray, click OK. Set the layer to Overlay blend mode. With a Soft Round brush (try 10% brush Opacity), paint black to darken, white to lighten. Add a layer mask, paint black (100% Opacity) to remove the surrounding grey. Use multiple dodge and burn layers if desired.

Copy the hair


To beef up the hair in areas, duplicate the Model Body layer, then Free Transform (Cmd/ Ctrl+T) to scale, position and finesse. Repeat as needed. Work with each layer’s mask to hide unwanted areas. Paint with white to restore hidden hair. When done, add a new layer at the top for the next step.

Boost the lips


Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette, and choose Solid Color. Pick #9c467a. Set the blend mode to Overlay. Click the mask and invert it (Cmd/Ctrl+I). Paint white with a soft-edged brush (30-60% brush Opacity) to boost the lips. Use this step’s technique as a blueprint for the next step.

Finalise the model


Boost other areas. You can blend multiple colours, such as on the eyes – yellow: #e0ea40, peach: #eecb93 and toxic green: #72ff0b. Use the Color blend mode for simple recolouring. You can also use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Tick Colorize, play with the Hue/Saturation sliders. Control with masks. When complete, save and close. Open ‘Start.psd’.

Blur the dragon and place the model


Duplicate the dragon (Cmd/Ctrl+J). (Elements: rightclick the layer and choose Simplify.) Apply Motion Blur (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur). Set Angle: -48 degrees, Distance: 120. Add a layer mask, paint black (40-60% brush Opacity) to restore some clarity. Add a mask to lower the dragon. Paint black (40-100%) to hide/reduce. Place (CC: Place Linked) ‘ModelBody. psd’. Scale, position and commit.


Paint some stars


Create a new layer. Select the Brush tool. In the Options bar, click Brush Preview. From the panel menu, choose Load Brushes. Grab ‘Stars.abr’. Select the Stars brush. Set brush Opacity to 80-100%. Set white for both Foreground/Background colours (you can also use #ffff00 for one). Paint stars, varying size/opacity. Work across multiple layers.

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Sharpen with High Pass

Blend stars


Go to File>Place (Place Embedded in CC) and choose ‘Space.jpg’. Set the blend mode to Screen and drop Opacity to 40-60%. Add a layer mask. Paint black with a Soft Round brush (60-80% brush Opacity) to reduce the effect on the face.

Render clouds


Create a new layer. Press D for the default colours. Go to Filter>Render> Clouds. Set the blend mode to Overlay and drop Opacity to 40-60%. Add a layer mask. Paint black (60-80% brush Opacity) to reduce on the facial area.

Blend in spiral


Sometimes you want to blend in stuff outside the jurisdiction of merged effects, such as last step’s High Pass. Place (CC: Place Embedded) ‘Spiral.jpg’. Scale up to cover the canvas before committing. Set to Lighten blend mode, 40-60% Opacity. Use the Move tool to position. Add a mask and paint black (40-60% Opacity) to reduce.


Press Cmd/Ctrl+Option/Alt+Shift+E to merge layers. (Photoshop: right-click on the layer, choose Convert to Smart Object.) Go to Filter>Other>High Pass (Radius: 20). Click OK. Set to Overlay blend mode. Add a layer mask. Paint black in the mask (use an appropriate brush opacity) to reduce/remove the sharpening in areas.



Finalise with adjustment layers. Make it more restrained or go all-out and jack up the vibe and colour to retina-searing heights. Use Hue/Saturation and Vibrance (Photoshop) to affect colour. Use Levels to refine contrast, and Color Lookup (CS6+) to try quick new looks. Control the adjustments with their masks. Save. LAYER NAMES All layers should be named to keep you (and teammates) from having to guess what’s on them. You can also prefix related layers’ names with a common label.

Elements users Organise your layers Although not explicitly mentioned, it’s advised you keep related layers corralled in layer groups. Elements lacks groups, meaning you need to organise your layers carefully lest you get lost in your work. Here are some things you can try to help you stay sane in Elements. Keep all layers named (this is good in all Photoshop versions). Use a named layer (with nothing on the layer) as a divider signifying the beginning of a group of layers. To make these titles stick out, try all caps and/or adding special characters. Another idea is to prefix associated layers’ names with the same label.

LAYER DIVIDERS You can use blank layers with a group name to signify the beginning of a group of related layers. Set apart with all caps and/or special characters.


Resource project Make a custom spray-paint stencil SPRAY PAINT


Acrylic-based spray paint is ideal for spraying on paper, especially if you are going to use acrylic paint over the top once the design is finished.

Bristol paper is best because it’s smooth and sturdy, so will hold the spray paint.

On the FileSilo

CRAFT KNIFE A sharp cra knife is crucial to this project so you can achieve very detailed cuts.

Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Make a custom spray-paint stencil Learn how to make and use a custom spray-paint stencil without expensive equipment or skill. Combine colours, designs and ideas to create beautiful custom artwork


n 1949, spray paint as we know it came into existence. Since then it has been used for practical, as well as creative purposes. Spray paint is durable enough to be used outside for construction teams, but it is also colourful and versatile enough to be used to create art. When most people think of spray paint today, they first think of graffiti. Graffiti has been around since ancient times but when affordable aerosol spray paint came on the


market, it was the perfect combination of being portable, easy to use, vibrant, and able to provide quick coverage of large areas. The most common type of graffiti is tagging; this is when someone will create a pseudonym and spray it on buildings and structures to essentially mark their territory and show off their creativity while flaunting who they are. But since spray-paint graffiti began, it was a rebellious way to show public support or

criticism of groups, people or policies. Naturally, artists latched on to this and adopted spray paint as an artistic tool. Stencils began to be created so the same image could quickly be created multiple times in multiple places. Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat used it to merge street art and fine art. In this tutorial, you will learn how to turn a photo into a custom spray-paint stencil with the help of multiple layers.

Download free resources here

Photo to stencil How to turn your photo into a usable spray-paint stencil

Create shapes

Adjust the Threshold


Once you’ve chosen your photo, go into the Image menu and choose Threshold, then drag the slider until you have the desired amount of detail. This will be your outline stencil. Keep in mind you will have to cut out all the black later.


The background in this stencil is the hair, lips and her bracelet. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool on a blank layer to create shapes for anything you want to be the same colour. Then select the black on your stencil layer and put it on its own layer so you can see the colour underneath.

Work on the skin


Do the same thing with the skin colour. If you turn off your black layer, the colours don’t look like anything but the black will bring it together. Keep in mind, anything white cannot be floating (like the right eye) or it won’t work as a stencil.

Prepare to spray paint Get everything in place to make your spray-paint design

Cut out coloured areas


Print each layer of stencil out onto cardstock. You can colour code the pages if you think you might get confused. Cut out any coloured areas of your stencil. Start with the background stencil – it’s the easiest. You will need a very sharp blade.

Number and order stencils


Once you have all your stencils cut out, you may be a bit confused about what order they go in. If this is the case, simply number each stencil and stack them in order so when you go to spray paint, you know exactly what order they go in.

Tape the corners


Since spray paint is an aerosol, it tends to blow things around. To ensure that your stencil stays put, tape the corners and any areas that seem to be bubbling up.

Stencil layers Think carefully about how to build your stencils FUN SHAPES The shapes in your stencils will always be more general at the beginning and progress to more detail, so don’t worry if your stencils are goofy looking and don’t look like the original photo.

MOST DETAIL EDGES Be aware of your stencil edges. If your stencil is only 8”x10” and your paper is 11”x17” then you may need to cover the rest of your paper to avoid sharp edges where the paper isn’t blocking.

The black stencil will have most detail. When making the stencil, it’s better to have more detail and simply not cut it out as opposed to trying to make up detail.


Resource project Make a custom spray-paint stencil

Start spraying Now to spray over your stencil to make some art

Spray the hair


To give this girl galaxy hair, start with the background hair stencil, then mix colours until you like the result. In this stencil we went over those edges with more paint to expand her hair after all the stencils were applied, but this is a starting point.

Paint the skin


Remove your first stencil once the paint has dried for about 10 minutes. Apply the next stencil and spray on the skin. The skin will have to be more opaque so it may need a few coats.

Stencil layers We’ve included the three stencil layers used in this resources project for you to use for your own personal projects.


Make the final outline


Finally, after the previous stencil has dried, tape on your last stencil and spray. Be sure to not spray too much or it will bleed and you will lose detail.

Hello How I made



Time taken 72hours

How did Abesalom Kavelashvili bring such a detailed composition to life, using stock photos, sketches and his own photography?


besalom Kavelashvili is a digital artist from Georgia. “Photoshop is my most-loved tool,” he tells us. “I use Photoshop to create most of my work. I love retouching and creating photomanipulations, and often work with vectors, adding details in Photoshop.” Detail is something that is obviously key in Hello, a photomanipulation that Abesalom created for a bank advertisement. It’s an image in which you can keep discovering new elements long after you’ve first seen it, and it contains dozens of stock images, as well as images that Abesalom shot with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II. “Recently, I’ve become interested in photography,” he says. “I like the shooting process and the post-production in Photoshop.” Along with the photography aspect of his creative process

though, Abesalom uses all kinds of techniques and tools to bring his artwork to life. “It’s always interesting for me to work on conceptual and surreal projects, and I’d like to develop my skills in this field and work only in this direction in the future.” Abesalom says. “But a lot of my artwork mixes 3D objects with photography, and I use about 80 per cent of the tools in Photoshop! The Brush, transform and healing tools are used most often – plus adjustment layers, of course.” Hello took a long 72 hours to complete, so if it looks extremely complex, that’s because Abesalom put a lot of time into it. “I like to make experiments and work on complex and difficult works,” he says. This image, though, had very basic beginnings of a simple sketch, before Abesalom comped the elements together.

The artist Abesalom Kavelashvili “I’m Abesalom Kavelashvili, a digital artist and art director from Tbilisi, Georgia. I have more than eight years of experience working in the graphic and advertising industry. Working in the field of design, I gained experience creating visual work, design and artwork for more than a thousand big and small companies, brands and studios.” You can see Abesalom’s work at

Ideas and sketches


I came up with the concrete idea, started to make sketches for it, at first on paper, and then when I got the desired effect, I imported it into Photoshop and started to work on the composition with the Lasso in addition to several brushes.



Good compositions need the right photos. I found stock photos and started cutting and importing them. I shot a few photos myself, and began to create the main island, followed by other blurred islands in order to show depth.

Lighting and details


The lighting must be even, so a lot of the lighting was tweaked at the end. I added electric lights using soft brushes and blend modes. I wanted the artwork to be interesting, so I added subtle details before working on highlights and shadows.


Project focus Underwater magic

Underwater magic

Andreas Varro turned a simple advertising commission into a majestic underwater scene that went viral – but how did Photoshop help him create it?

About the artist Andreas Varro Andreas Varro is an internationally published photographer and retoucher from Sweden. He has been featured by Campaign magazine, Fstoppers and DigitalRev. His next project is a “huge portrait photography project with some Photoshop work included” looking to raise money for people in the Middle East. See more at www.

Name of the project Sjökrogen


hen Andreas Varro was commissioned to create an advert for a Swedish restaurant, he turned a simple project into an ambitious composition set underwater. “The image went viral,” says Andreas. “It was published in advertising magazine Campaign as the ad of the day among others – the restaurant owners were super excited!” The image is a fine example of how a little thinking outside the box can produce a picture that reaches thousands. How did the project come to fruition and what went into making it? We caught up with Andreas to find out.

How did the idea for this image take shape? The basic idea of creating a restaurant under the water was Roger Hjälm’s, one of the

owners of the restaurant who the advert was created for. But there were no details included in the original brief, so my job was to find different elements to add into the image to give an underwater feel to it.

So how did you decide to approach the project? Normally when I do bigger assignments like this, I always sketch and do mood boards. I do that part mostly for the customer’s sake so they can get a glimpse of the end result. In this case, I had a good enough relationship with the customer, and I also got the feeling that he had full confidence in my creativity, so I decided not to this time. We put that time into the production instead. I feel comfortable enough to work without sketches and mood boards for my own sake. Initially though, the plan for this project was to add more details to the image, like crabs, more fish, maybe even the underside of a boat floating at the water surface by the ceiling, but in the end I decided to not add any more elements because I wanted more of an artistic feeling in the image.

Once you had actually started creating the image, what were the big challenges? The big challenge was to make it look like it was shot underwater without overdoing it. If it was 100 per cent realistic, more objects would have been floating around. But I wanted to create a hybrid between water and land. The frying pan, for example, has smoke and flames emanating, even though it’s an underwater image. My stylist, Carina Lundgren, did a great job with styling. She styled haircuts so that they were standing up using steel wire and fishing lines. We also attached fishing lines to the male’s suit, making it look like it was floating out on the sides. The fish, leek, credit card and car keys were shot separately, either hanging from fishing lines or just dropped and then photographed.

How did Photoshop bring all these elements together? Mainly selecting parts of the image with the client, but also raw conversion, retouching and doing final adjustments. That does not mean





Plenty of time was spent on deciding on the tone and colour of the scene, despite Andreas claiming that it isn’t a completely natural shade for the picture.

The subjects were all given hair and make-up treatments before being shot; the floating woman was photographed atop a box before being edited into the picture.

that the photography part is less important; probably the other way around. Making the correct decisions when shooting elements is crucial to making the end result look good, for both perspective and lighting. But Photoshop was, and is, a huge part of my job; without it, this image would most likely have been almost impossible, or at least the budget would have been huge!

What are your favourite Photoshop tools? If I could marry a Photoshop tool it would probably be the Brush tool. And of course, I love the Clone tool and layer masks. I mostly use the basic stuff and the rest is manual work, removing and adding stuff from different images, blending them together with

different backgrounds. I use colour filters, adjustment layers and layer curves to adjust both colours and contrast.

All images © Andreas Varro

The various objects in the scene were photographed individually before Andreas decided with the client on which ones should make it into the final scene.

shadows and highlights. I also used Color Balance to add more cyan in the midtones.

How important is the colour in this image?

What tips would you give to anyone wanting to create an underwater composition?

I spent a lot of time with colour. The colours of the water are not super-realistic, but that’s kind of the whole idea – none of my images have realistic colours and that’s my style. Also, Swedish inland lake water is quite foggy; it has lots of algae and that has a greenish dark/ black tone. It’s not clear as it is in the ocean. I wanted to have a more exotic/ocean feel and a coral-coloured tone. I took the saturation down in the whole image with Hue/ Saturation. I added a gradient map, which gave me the control to add different colours in

If you want to make it look 100 per cent realistic then plan your image carefully, look at photos taken underwater, and see how objects and people behave underwater. Try to get a light and weightless feel of both models and objects. Take notice of how sight is exponentially decreased underwater the further you look into an image, and play with layer modes. If you don’t photograph yourself, I would recommend finding high-quality stock images that are lit and shot from the same angles, shot with about the same focal length.



© Todd Anderson




randing is a challenging subject to tackle – it entails so many facets, and incorporates a number of different skills, which means that designers working in the field need to be able to adapt quickly, and continually aim to improve their knowledge. For the smallest of companies, or even for your own personal brand, it is no longer simply a case of a winning logo and a few business cards. Now, a logo has to be flexible and versatile enough to be used on physical products, on the internet, in motion graphics and videos, on location, in multimedia presentations and so much more.


Photoshop is a key program in any branding designer’s arsenal, acting as a bridge between all of these different outlets for commercial identities. A logo might begin its journey in Illustrator, for example, but its unique finishing touches and effects are created in Photoshop. It’s then applied to product mockups, user interfaces, print layouts and so much more, with the Adobe powerhouse at the centre of everything. In this feature, we speak to emerging and professional designers to glean their top tips for turning you into a branding expert, and discover exactly how Photoshop aids their work.

© Maurizio Pagnozzi, all rights reserved


5 PHOTOSHOP TIPS FOR BRANDING How to get the best out of the Adobe app for branding projects Use Smart Objects Logos are often imported as Smart Objects so they are protected in their original state, particularly vector elements from Illustrator. It’s also worth considering Linked Smart Objects, when the source image will be called upon multiple times (for example, in a UI project). Work in RGB Design your elements in RGB, so they are ready to be used digitally, but be aware of how it will look in CMYK when applied to printing projects by going to View>Proof Setup and selecting Working CMYK. Explore Layer Comps Layer Comps are handy for showing clients how your branding could be applied to multiple versions of a web page or print product, helping them better visualise how their whole identity could develop. Collect product templates Use layered PSD templates to present your logo on the intended products (such as business cards, brochures or packages) – it’s easier for a client to visualise if the logo is in situ, rather than on its own. Work big Your branding elements might be used tiny in a mobile app, or huge on the side of a bus, so always work in vector so everything is scalable, and think big when creating new documents.

A logo can be incorporated across an entire product range, keeping the same colours and simplicity throughout the design


© Beatrice Menis Design

Beatrice Menis shows the key stages of branding in this project to rebrand Temako, a Japanese restaurant in Porto, Portugal, in collaboration with the designer Jennie Lindell (

Brainstorm ideas with the client Develop the brand elements

Apply the branding



“We send out a brief questionnaire to understand the client’s vision. We also do our own research, analysing competitors to get a better overview of the market and to find new ways to innovate the brand. Once we get a direction, we send out design concepts and moodboards.”


“We show a maximum of three sketch proposals (even though we sketch more), to give the client enough options to choose from and allow us to stay focused on the design concept. As soon as the look and feel is set, we start exploring all of the key branding elements.”

“Last but not least, we apply the branding across multiple channels; the goal is to approach each application very differently, in order to still have a consistent brand image but at the same time surprise the consumers in a playful way.”



Photoshop was used to manipulate the arches of the restaurant, which included the Charcoal tool in the Effects gallery

PROFESSIONAL LOGOS AND TYPOGRAPHY A branding project starts with two elements: a logo and typography. These are the foundations upon which the brand identity is built. The logo may be either pictorial and accompanied by the brand name in a complementary font, or the typography itself may be the logo, otherwise known as a ‘logotype’. In either case, a lot rests on a very small element. The first step for a good logo design is a lot of research. “As the sole purpose of a logo is to identify, it’s important to know the competition so that you can design a logo that differentiates the business,” explains Ian Paget, aka Logo Geek (; @Logo_Geek). “It’s also crucial to understand the businesses goals, its products and audience so that you can factor this into your decision-making process. Without research you have no goals to work towards – it’s a crucial step of the design process.”


The client wanted something rustic and homely. The colours had to match the outside of the shop and the feel of the inside

From here, hand-drawn sketches can help to pull together initial ideas, before moving into the digital design process. Logos should always be created as vectors, as these are then scalable for use throughout a brand’s entire marketing needs, whether on a package, a billboard or a website. Photoshop has been improving its handling of vectors with every version and, while many logo designers still prefer to work on the initial design in Adobe Illustrator, logos can be created from scratch using just Photoshop right from the outset. It’s important that you prepare your logo file correctly given its intended commercial uses, and it certainly pays to be organised from the start. Selecting the correct colour profile to work with is an initial consideration, as graphic designer Lucy Finch ( finch) explains: “When your brand is being printed, colour profile settings are very important. If you start to design a logo in CMYK

and have it then converted to RGB for web, this changes the colour drastically. This is why it is always best to stick to CMYK, as that is what the main print process is, so you know the colour quality will be exactly what you expected. When setting a logo for web use, it is best to then flatten it separately in Photoshop as an RGB.” Your client will likely need a number of different versions of your logo design, so be prepared to supply these, as Ian Paget says: “It’s important to provide the client with different versions of the logo design for different situations across web and print, for example CMYK, black, white and Pantone. By also providing supporting usage guidelines you can ensure your client makes the best use of your design across all marketing collateral.” When it comes to actually creating your design, Paget suggests starting simply: “For a logo to work across every medium, the logo must be versatile. To achieve this, I design and

Branding project for Pistinèga, a juice bar in Bologna, Italy, which exhibits the key elements that make a logo great, according to Maurizio Pagnozzi: minimalism, readability, recognition, memorability and uniqueness

© Maurizio Pagnozzi, all rights reserved

© Lucy Finch 2016

Designed by Ian Paget. © People Code

© Lucy Finch 2016

Ian Paget, aka Logo Geek, explains how to create logos for multiple mediums “A logo will be used at different sizes. For that reason, the logo should be vector based, allowing the artwork to be scaled when needed without any loss of quality. “As a logo needs to be versatile, it’s worth designing different versions for situations across web and print. For example, you may design a full-colour version of the logo with gradient effects and textures applied, which can be saved in CMYK colour mode and exported as TIFF files for print use. Resized versions can then be saved for web usage as JPEG and/or PNG files in RGB colour mode. A separate white version can be created with the effects removed for situations where the logo should be used on a dark background.”



BUILDING A LOGO CONCEPT “I explored various routes during the design phase, however the strongest direction came when working to create a monogram from the letter R that looked like a cyclist riding a mountain bike. I explored ways to combine a double R into the symbol.”


refine the logo in solid black before applying colour. This also allows me to perfect the overall concept and execution of the design, ensuring it will work well in every situation with or without colour or effects.” Once a basic vector logo or logotype has been created, it is time to add some Photoshop flair to help the logo stand out and give it a bit more spark. “Photoshop is great for converting your logos into a more realistic form rather than a flat item,” says Finch. “It brings objects to life and allows you to manipulate them into certain forms to stand out. My favourite effects are the 3D options and applying textures to the typography; this always makes them unique to any other branding.” Paget also agrees that Photoshop is essential for these extra flourishes: “If the design requires texture or lighting effects of any form, Photoshop is by far the most powerful tool available to achieve the desired outcome.” Next, you need to think about adding in any typography that will go with your logo. Your choice of font in Photoshop needs to take into consideration the research you have already done around the brand you are working on. “Distinctive typefaces could evoke particular sensations,” suggests brand designer and creative director Maurzio Pagnozzi (www.; @mauriziopgn), who runs One Design studio. “Some of them are assigned to personal feelings; others to cultures, styles or distinct eras. The study of fonts should be a crucial skill for every professional designer.”

PICKING A COLOUR “Looking at direct competition, the general colour palettes used were greens and blues. To stand out from the crowd I’ve introduced orange, which will be highly visible while cycling and has an energetic and fun feel.”

Designed by Ian Paget. Man O’ War: Corsair © Games Workshop Limited 2016

“To complement the icon, I used a bold, modern sanserif typeface that has both a gender neutral feel to it and remains approachable for riders of any level. The characteristics of the typeface also allow it to feel honest, fun and enjoyable.”

Designed by Ian Paget. Copyright © Blue Inspiration 2016

“The final result is a very stylised and sporty logo design that’s simple. It will work well for Andrew (founder of Rocks and Road) as a sole trader, as well as a franchise for when the time comes.”

Logo for Man O’War: Corsair (Games Workshop, developed by Evil Twin Artworks). Photoshop was used to experiment with colours, gradients and finishes to create a worn metallic finish



© David Airey


The wordmark is a bespoke customisation of Didot, with chiselled angles added to the serifs to reference classical stone masonry. PSD mockups were used to help sell the design idea to the client

© Beatrice Menis Design

BUILDING UP A BRAND Once you have your logo and typography in place, it is time to start thinking about how to build those elements into a full brand identity. Branding is a very wide sector, so your design work could theoretically be applied to anything from business cards and corporate materials to product packaging and shop signage. “A good brand should naturally transcend all mediums,” suggests graphic-design intern Thomas Austin (; @TomAustin0). “Identify the brand’s core elements – be that the logo, colours, typography or tone of voice – and apply to a digital form. The challenges will be the technical details, such as ensuring the correct DPI for images, using vectors or sprites, file sizes and so on.” The main aspect to consider when building a complete brand is to ensure that no matter what the product or output, the branding is absolutely consistent within the same project. Each element of a branding project is “based upon the same idea, and every element is developed with that idea in mind, whether it’s a typographic style, play on words, a brand pattern or texture or colour scheme, or one of many other things,” explains graphic designer David Airey (www.; @DavidAirey). “There’s a detrimental effect if individual elements within an identity are disparate in appearance, because it becomes unnecessarily confusing for the client’s customer.” Photoshop has the capacity to play many different roles within brand development, and can provide you with the precise tools you need at various stages throughout the process. Thomas Austin suggests it is useful for creating quick inspiration boards in the early days, in addition to editing any photography you want to incorporate into your designs. Specialising in packaging design and branding, graphic designer Beatrice Menis ( says: “Photoshop is extremely versatile. I’ve used it to colour-match product images that will go on packaging, for example.” There are plenty of technical challenges that you will face when working on a branding

The goal was to craft visuals that could stand out in the market and embrace the brand’s core values of quality, consistency and availability

project. Creative director Todd Anderson (; @ToddADesign) creates intricate packaging designs, with a different look for each individual product without losing the overall brand identity. “I strive to keep the brand icon as the focal point, and consistent throughout a range. I then use different colours, images or other graphic elements on the external packaging to highlight variations. When working with tiered brands, classically the addition of foil stamping and minimalism within the packaging design can help to create a higher-end look.” Visualising these bespoke packaging finishes and how the branding will apply can be difficult, but Anderson often uses Photoshop to help mimic effects: “Recently I was working on a project where the brand icon ultimately was going to be embossed into a metal cap, and Photoshop’s filters aided me to depict how this would look.” He also, like most of our brand designers, uses Photoshop frequently to create photorealistic mockups of products or packaging, which are key to presenting a brand to a client, and showcase how one identity can be applied to multiple outputs. There are plenty of Photoshop tools that help to produce quality mockups. Brand designer and creative director Maurizio Pagnozzi explains: “I mainly use Photoshop for creating mockups to be presented to the client, whereby I show how the logo looks on several products of the brand’s corporate identity, even before the final choice, to avoid wasting time on printing and photographing all the materials. To


To attract clients, your own personal branding needs to highlight your skills Throughout this feature, we have focused mainly on branding for commercial clients, but your first and most important branding project is likely to be your own. You need to have a strong personal brand in order to attract the clientele that you want. “A weak, anonymous or ugly logo is bad publicity for your own studio. The logo itself represents the materialisation of a designer’s qualities and expertise,” agrees Maurizio Pagnozzi. Pagnozzi’s own brand, One Design, has been given the full studio treatment – see the case study here: gallery/10963073/One-Design. Building your personal brand is a good way to practise your Photoshop skills as well. It can help you to ensure best practice in your logo designs and file handling; learn the right colour profiles and image sizes; and apply your logo to different templates and products in Photoshop.


The name of each individual ‘flavour’ is matched to the right colour scheme, while the overall branding stays consistent

accomplish this, I use empty stationery photographs for applying my graphics to using the Vanishing Point tool or by creating Smart Objects. To make things more natural and attractive, I apply a layer (Soft Light mode, 50% Gray) and use the Dodge and Burn tools in order to add light and shade to even out the newly inserted graphics.” You don’t need to photograph hundreds of different products for these mockups – you’ll find that plenty of designers have done this job for you, and you can simply download mock-up templates, where you add your artwork to a blank layer and edit to fit the product, giving you endless possibilities. “Photorealistic mockups in Photoshop are essential for showing how a design manifests across print and digital,” says David Airey. “There are tons of PSD mockups available. Not all are great – some are very poor

– but they help to bring a client on board with how the broader visual identity can increase business growth.” Finally, the joy of Photoshop and its nondestructive editing options, means that you can keep everything, and so you should. You don’t want to degrade the quality of your work or over-save anything, which is why many of our artists suggest using Smart Objects to bring in logos and other elements, and maintain their quality while you mock up your designs. The back and forth with clients could see you going to older designs, or making small changes over long periods of time – but the end result will be more than worth it.

Exhibiting how a subtle change in colours can help to differentiate different products of the same brand without losing the overall identity

Packaging concept and design, working with fellow graphic designer Anna Johansson (

© Beatrice Menis Design

VISUALISING THE BRAND “The brand elements have been applied to a selection of different mock products to help visualise how the entire range would look on the shelves, a key step for brand designers working with clients.”

© Todd Anderson

BRINGING IN MORE DETAIL “The final piece of the puzzle was the cell image, which was enhanced to appear beautiful, helping the product stand out from the crowd. It was perfect in the way it combined science, skin and attractiveness all in one visual element.”

© Todd Anderson

THE INITIAL CONCEPT “Once I had identified that a number system would be used to help users identify their skin type, it became a core element of the brand. The number system was both functional and aesthetically appealing.”

© Thomas Austin 2016

“The brand was a blend of beauty and science. Its minimal, clean design appealed to a modern consumer, specifically the early adopters of wearables like fitness.”


Advanced Composite a world under water

Essentials Time taken 4 hours

Exper Rodrigo Marinelli “Creating a composition that no one expects to see is very challenging, but also very exciting because you can create anything from your imagination. You just need to have a good idea, choose the right photos, and use the correct Photoshop tools. It may sound simple, but it requires a lot of practice. That’s why it’s so important to follow tutorials to enhance your techniques. The best thing about working with Photoshop is that every day you can create a brand new world – it’s all up to you. “I’m an art director and have 11 years of experience in advertising agencies. I learned to use Photoshop by following tutorials.” For more of Rodrigo’s work, visit http://rodrigo_

Composite a world under water

Use filters, adjustment layers and Smart Objects to create a scene


y exercising advanced techniques in Photoshop, it’s possible to create anything – even a new world! An underwater world is an interesting theme to explore; there are so many creative possibilities. Here we’re going to imagine and realise an astronaut discovering an incredible underwater world. Before we start creating the image, it’s very important to search for reference shots and have a clear vision of the final scene. It’s always good to make a sketch to help with this. Another very important point to pay attention to during the

creation of an underwater scene is the colour adjustments. It is essential that all the photos you use have the same tone, and the adjustment layers are helpful in achieving this. To create this image, we’ll call upon the Filter Gallery to make an underwater effect, blend modes to erase a photo’s background with just one click, some linked adjustment layers and many other tools. The images used in this tutorial are from Shutterstock, but feel free to use your own images, using these steps as a guide.

Apply the High Pass filter


Create a new document set to 230x310mm. At this moment work in RGB, but to see how the image will look as CMYK, activate the Proof Color tool (Cmd/Ctrl+Y). Add the background by downloading, duplicate the layer, use the High Pass filter (Filter>Other>High Pass) set to 3px and change the blend mode to Overlay.


Convert to a Smart Object


Place the underwater image from as shown here. During the creation it’s usual to change the size or the perspective of the image, so to have more control and to keep the original photo information, convert the layer into a Smart Object.

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Advanced Composite a world under water

Make a gradient mask

Blend with blend modes


Now add some detail by placing in the middle of the image, then change the blend mode to Screen. Don’t overexpose the highlights in the scene – make a mask and erase the unnecessary parts.

Tweak the colour


Let’s make a few colour adjustments to the image you’ve just placed. Create a new layer and paint it blue (#00d7ff), then change the blend mode to Color at 30% Opacity. Duplicate the layer and use the High Pass filter, just as you did in the first step.


With the Pen tool, draw out a curved triangle and paint it with the colour #697773. Place it in the bottom-right corner of the scene (as shown above), change the blend mode to Multiply and use the Gaussian Blur filter set to 160px. Repeat to create the shadow for the bottom-left corner.

Add the photo and place it on the right side of the scene, as above. Change the Opacity to 70% and to blend the image with the background, make a mask and use the Brush tool to erase everything but the rocky wall effect.


Add To blend the image with the background, make a mask and use the Gradient tool set to Foreground to Transparent, 40% Opacity. Smoothly erase the top of the image. Also use Hue/Saturation (0, -50, 0) and Levels (26, 1.00, 255) adjustment layers.

Draw some shadows

Bring in some walls



Duplicate the image


Add the photo again, change the blend mode to Screen and place it in the left side of the scene, as shown above. Use a Color Balance adjustment layer set to -40, 0, 0.

Link the adjustment layer


Flip the wall image horizontally and place it on the left side of the scene. Apply a Levels adjustment, press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt and click in the wall layer to link it. Then set the adjustments to 19, 1.00, 230.

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Expert tip Utilise the Brush panel

Apply a feather

Make multiple adjustment links


Now add the explorer to the scene – the astronaut ( To make the edges of the photo look softer, apply a feather. Activate the astronaut layer selection, use the Feather command (Shift+F6) set to 2px, then invert the selection and press delete three times.


Cut out only the shadows of the astronaut image. Change the blend mode to Multiply and place it in the scene. Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, link it with the photo and set to 0, -100, 0. Now link a Levels adjustment layer above this one, set to 0, 1.00, 124.

Make astronaut colour adjustments


Link a Levels adjustment layer (8, 1.00, 185) and a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (0, -26, 0). Duplicate the astronaut layer, paint it with #074d76, and change the blend mode to Color at 20% Opacity. Finally, duplicate the astronaut layer, apply the High Pass filter set to 3px and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Place colourful fishes


To give more depth to the scene, add a few colourful fishes from the photo and place them in front of the astronaut, as shown here. To blend the fishes with the scene, use the Feather command set to 1px.

Use the Motion Blur filter


Now use the yellow fish from and place it in front of the astronaut. To give the impression that the fish are moving, duplicate the layer and use the Motion Blur filter set to 13px and an Angle of 0. Make a mask to erase the excess areas.

Add some bubbles


One of the most amazing tools in Photoshop has to be the Brush tool. To enhance your artwork and tweak the brush tip to behave exactly as you want, all you have to do is use the Brush panel and explore all the possibilities that this feature has to offer. Using the available options, you can set the shape, the texture and the colour dynamics of the tip, in addition to many other features besides. Aer creating the perfect brush, save it to use any time that you want.

Add To erase the background and leave just the bubbles, change the blend mode to Screen. Make a group folder and place the image inside. To enhance the effect, duplicate the layer and finally duplicate the layer group and place to the right of the astronaut.

Make water highlights


Let’s use the Brush tool to make a water highlight effect. Choose the white colour, go to the Brush panel, pick Brush Presets and choose the ‘Round Brushes with Size’ option. Select the brush 300, draw the highlights as shown here, then change the Opacity to 80%.


Advanced Composite a world under water

Make colour tone adjustments

Enhance the shadows

Use the Photo Filter adjustment with Color: #00ccec and Density: 25%. Then apply Brightness/Contrast set to 42, 40 and Hue/ Saturation set to 0, +26, 0. Make a layer group, put the adjustment layers inside and mask to erase the parts where original colours were damaged.



Create dark edges

Use a filter for a water effect


Duplicate all the layers and merge. Make a square with the Rectangular Marquee tool, as shown above. Use the Feather command set to 400px, invert the selection, press delete three times and change the blend mode to Multiply.

Let’s enhance the shadows from the top to give the impression that the light is coming only from the centre of the image. With the Pen tool, draw a shadow and fill with #13495d. To help make the shape, use the Warp tool.


Duplicate all the layers again and merge. Transform the layer into a Smart Filter, then go to the Distort gallery and choose the Glass filter with the following settings – Distortion: 9, Smoothness: 15 and Scaling: 200. DARK EDGE EFFECT

What you’ll learn Creating a believable underwater world

Duplicate all the layers, merge, make a square selection in the centre, use the feather, invert the selection, press delete three times and change the blend mode to Multiply.

SMART OBJECT When you change the size of the image many times, the pixels usually become distorted. So, to preserve the original photo, convert the layer into a Smart Object.

GRADIENT MASK There are many ways to use masks; one is with the Gradient tool. Choose the Foreground to Transparent option in the Gradient Editor and erase where you want.


LINKED ADJUSTMENT LAYERS To make a colour adjustment without losing any information from the original photo, use the adjustment layers and link to the layer you are working on.


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Advanced Create vibrant video-game art

Create vibrant video-game art

Use a combination of basic shapes and tools to create a rich and detailed stylised artwork


n this tutorial you will learn how to create a 2D scene intended to mimic the look of video-game promotional art. You’ll employ several layers in your creation, with Photoshop’s shapes and tools creating depth. You can pile on as many shapes and items as you like, and each item can be usable in another artwork or even another


program, which is especially important if you’re making assets for a game that need to be reused. For aesthetic purposes, a very simple and child-friendly style has been used to push the look of adventure. Using a style such as this is meant to look happy and fun, so feel free to go wild with your imagination in making this scene.

You will need at least Photoshop 7. A drawing tablet is recommended, but not required if you prefer using Photoshop’s Lasso or Pen tools. An understanding of colours, lighting and shadows is also recommended, but not required if you plan on keeping the shapes very simple. Tailor the techniques to your needs and vision.

Watch the latest video Search Photoshop Creative Magazine On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Time taken 5 hours

Expert Geneva Benton “I like to add a touch of whimsy to a seemingly ordinary piece of work to inspire and make the viewer ponder what exactly is happening or will happen aer the scene. Photoshop is my main tool of choice for its versatility. Though I am learning to create different scenes, portraiture, a pop of colour and calming ambiance is my favourite artistic subject to paint. “I’m a full-time freelance illustrator based in the United States. I have been drawing for over a decade and have been using Photoshop ever since. I love colour and the myriad of ways it can be mixed for different moods.” Visit to check out more of Geneva’s colourful creations.

Start image


Advanced Create vibrant video-game art

Set up your canvas


The first step to creating is setting up your work space. Even though the final artwork will be a flatter style, it is essential to work on a large canvas for better quality if planning to scale the image down. This was created at 460x310mm at 300ppi.

Create a concept


The next step is to flesh out the image concept. Starting rough with a basic brush can help to keep future ideas open. Another option is to make a few thumbnail sketches of each scene, making each one a little bit different, and deciding which composition to go with.

Draw final scene lines



Work on colouring the rest of your scene, keeping atmosphere and tone in mind. Try using various and unnatural shades to enhance the believability, but liveliness of the artwork. Using Color Balance (Cmd/Ctrl+B) can also help in achieving the overall colour tone.



Once the rough idea is sorted, use a simple brush to loosely sketch out the idea on a fresh layer. In this case, it is a hero adventuring with his dragon. Keeping it open and simple will make creating shapes and adding detail less difficult.

Begin colouring

On a new layer and using a thin brush, such as the Hard Round, create a final line art of your sketch. Try to keep it clean, as it will be coloured over and the end goal is to not have any lines showing. This line art is mainly for reference. The sketch is provided on the FileSilo.

Continue colouring

Sketch out the scene


On a layer underneath the lines, start filling in your line art. This artwork in particular needs to have a happy, vibrant colour scheme to give the feel of a rich adventure. The characters are started on first since they will be the main focus.

Start back to front


Once the artwork is coloured in with base colours, it is time to start creating 2D shapes over the line art. It is generally simpler to work from background to foreground. In this case, the mountains and clouds. Each mountain and cloud is on its own layer for later ease.

Do more filling


Continue filling in the background, keeping the shapes simple and each shape on its own layer. Depending on your preference, these basic shapes can be made with the Brush, Lasso or Pen tool. The background was filled in using a combination of all three.

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Expert tip Using groups

Start the foreground

Vary shapes


Using different ‘edging’ is key to making your shapes look believable. For example, the overall shapes for trees are rounded and blobby, and slightly random, yet grass transitions between smooth and jagged for individual blades.

Separate by colour


Since the hero has a low count colour scheme but multiple parts, his shapes and layers are separated by colour instead of object. So, all of his red areas have one layer, all dark blues are on another layer together, and so on. This can be done in other areas.


After the background is completely shaped, keep the layers together in a group (Cmd/Ctrl+G) for easier organisation. Start on your foreground subjects, which are the hero and dragon in this case. Since they are more detailed than the background, extra attention is taken to creating shapes.

Work on large area shapes


Continue filling in your subjects. If a shape needs shading to show that it has multiple sections, keep in mind where the shading will go. For instance, the dragon is mostly blue so one big shape is made for the blue, but this will be further defined by highlights and shadows.

Add gradients


To give more depth, add gradient colours to your shapes. One clean way is to lock the layer’s transparent pixels, located in the Layers palette. Use a linear or circular gradient with a variegated colour while keeping in mind the lighter and darker areas.

This tutorial is quite layer intensive, with each shape and shading needing its own layer in case of future editing. However, keeping track of these layers can be difficult. One easy way is to group layers together into their own folder. As an example, the hero in this artwork has several small parts and several small corresponding layers. By selecting all of the layers pertaining to the hero and pressing Cmd/Ctrl+G, every layer has been grouped into one tidy folder.

Think about light


Once the artwork is full of flat colour, it is time to start thinking about adding depth. Where is the light source? In this artwork it will be between the mountains to resemble a sunset. A quick light reference was sketched in to keep it in mind.

Begin to shade


Shading will be done in reverse, working foreground to background. Create a new layer named Shading over your intended layer and link it to the layer underneath (Cmd/ Ctrl+Alt+G). Using the Pen, Brush or Lasso tool, start shading your shapes, matching them to the lighting source/direction.


Advanced Create vibrant video-game art

Expert tip Vectorise shapes Photoshop works in a raster format, however if you prefer working in Photoshop but need a vector shape for Illustrator or another program, try this tip. Once the shape is drawn and on a layer of its own, make a form-fitting selection of the entire shape by pressing Cmd/ Ctrl and clicking on the layer in the Layers panel at the same time. Then go to the Paths tool panel and click ‘Make work path from selection’. You can then Export the paths straight into Illustrator.

Pick shading colours


Work on the background


With the foreground shading done, move to shading the background. Try matching the shading style with the shape. For example, the grass shading is random and jagged, while the tree shading is smooth and blobby, corresponding to the tree shape.

Extra background shading


Continue shading in the background. The closer the object is spatially to the light source, the harsher its shading and colouring needs to be. The mountains have a dark and large area of shading since they are closest to the source, which is the setting sun in this case.

Add gradients to shading


Repeating the same process as step 14, add gradient colouring to your shading layers. Lock the layer’s transparent pixels, and begin adding darker and lighter tones to each of your shading areas, using your own discretion.


Shade difficult areas

Try picking shade colours that are harmonious with your current colour scheme. In this artwork, the darker colours tend to be blue so a slightly bluish shade colour was chosen for each section. Another solution is to use one shade colour and set the blend mode to Multiply.


For particularly difficult shapes that need to be shaded, it is best to section them off and fill in one section at a time. In this case, the dragon’s legs and wings had to be separated. Using the line art as a reference can help with shading placement.

Define areas with shade


If the need for more definition arises, add another layer of shading to certain objects. Create a new layer over your first shading layer, and link it to the layer underneath (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+G). Shade in less of an area. The dragon and hero’s cape needed one extra shade for more definition.

Apply highlights


In a brand new layer, try adding in simple shaped highlights according to the light source. White was mostly used to keep the number of highlight colours low. Though the style is playful, be careful not to add too many highlights, as doing so can give a plastic-toy feel.

Watch the latest video Search Photoshop Creative Magazine

Add intricate details


If you have not already done so, now would be a good time to start adding in tinier details, such as the hero’s face and patterns on his clothing. Try using a small, Hard Round brush and keep the amount of brush strokes to a minimum.

Bring back original details


If some parts of your original line art were covered up, try adding them back in at this stage. The patch of grass in the foreground was looking a little barren, so some basic foliage was added back in from the original sketch.

Change plans


If some sections of your original sketch did not come out as intended, which in this artwork were the houses, try covering them up and starting these sections over. Instead of re-sketching the houses, they were drawn freehand due to their size.

Get ready to finish

Work on the final details


Give your artwork a good look over. Are there any empty areas or objects that need to be taken out? Now would be a good time to tweak anything before doing a final colour balancing.

What you can do with it Create a jigsaw puzzle If you’re using your game artwork for promotional material, why not try a throwback approach with a jigsaw puzzle? The reason you might want to use a jigsaw puzzle is because it creates a lasting presence. It stays in the recipient’s mind for a longer time. Using memorable artwork can generate more game and brand recognition, while also allowing an outlet for more people to potentially see your game promo while it’s being built.



Add some dynamism by playing around with Color Balance or Levels over the entire image by creating a new adjustment layer. You can also enhance the darkness or light source by playing around with gradients on a new layer set to Overlay.

FILE PREPARATION When prepping artwork for a puzzle or any promotional printing, make sure the file is the highest resolution possible by saving at at least 300ppi and converting to RGB or CMYK if required.

There are quite a few places to get uncommon products like puzzles printed nowadays. When selecting an online printer, make sure the site is reputable. and Createjigsawpuzzles. com are both reputable and easy to use.


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Ele m en ts

Elements 18 pages of practical guides Create more in Elements… Discover the power of brushes.....................................................86 Make stylish photo collages ............................................................ 92 Composite an apocalyptic scene .............................................. 94 Design a geometric map ...................................................................... 98 Q&A: Common problems in Elements...............................102

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

Creative project…

E DIGITAL TEXTILE DESIGNS Make your own repeating pattern and then print it on fabric to produce a unique design p88

Essential techniques Follow the step-by-step tutorials

ts n e m Ele USE ADJUSTMENTS Hit the Fill Layer icon and add adjustments such as Levels and Hue/Saturation to enhance colour and tone.

What does it mean?

GRAPHICS TABLETS – A graphics tablet consists of a pen and a tablet to draw onto. They enable you to create with more precision, control the pen pressure, and make smoother strokes than you ever could with an ordinary mouse. They range in price, but cheap ones can cost under £50/$66.

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

Tool focus…

Discover the power of brushes

Start image

Unleash your artistic side with a range of brushes in Elements Brushes are incredibly adaptable, lending themselves to a wide range of different projects, from masking in photomanipulations to photo editing. Because they can be used in so many ways, it’s important to understand how to get the most from them. While it helps to be a talented sketcher, you don’t have to be particularly arty to have fun with brushes; custom brushes especially only need you to click once to apply a painted effect, and there’s nothing stopping you from inserting a photo into Elements on a lower layer and drawing over the top of it with your brushes. One of the best things about brushes is how they can be customised. You can change almost anything about your brush, from


the blend mode you apply it with to the roundness of the stroke itself, meaning that there is almost unlimited potential for the artistic style you want to create. It’s easy to make watercolours with a softer, low-opacity brush, and it’s possible to create a pencil effect if you find a thin brush that has a little fade added to it. Digital paintings are one of the hardest things to become a master of in Elements, but learning the basics is not only useful for developing digital-art skills, but also expanding upon what you can create in other projects. Check out our top tips for creating simple digital paintings, along with the settings you need to take full control of your pictures.

Ele m en ts

Create digital paintings Build on a blank canvas with different brushes

Shortcut Use the [ and ] keys to quickly change the brush size

Start by outlining

Move to bigger brushes



Hit B to select a brush, then click on the example brush stroke icon. The most basic brushes are the small, hard ones found at the start of the Brush menu. These ones are fantastic for outlining and making details; these are the brushes you should create the basic sketch for your picture with.

Apply soft brushes


Alter the hardness via Brush Settings. Soft brushes are good for a whole range of projects. If you create a new, Soft Light layer above your other brush strokes though, brushing soft black and white onto your project can be a good way of adding highlights and shadows to your work.

Scroll through the brushes to find more on offer. Bigger brushes such as the Chalk brush are good for shading and colouring in your work. Using these brushes at a low opacity can be useful so that you can blend your work as you go. Use the swatches to choose a colour before applying.

Use custom brushes


You can find custom .abr brush files online to use in your work. Splatter brushes are popular, and there’s a selection on the FileSilo, as well as a pack included in the resources. They can help to brighten up your image; just drag a .abr file into Elements to add them.

Further tips How can you get more out of brushes from the settings?

Blend modes Click on the blend mode drop-down menu to change the mode of your brush and how it reacts to your work when you start using it. Changing it can either lighten or darken your image as you stroke, so try them out and see what works well. Alternatively, brush onto different layers and then tweak them for more control over the entire block of colour that you’re brushing.

Brush settings The brush settings, located just below the Mode drop-down menu, are where you can change anything about your brush from size to shape. There are options for Spacing, Roundness, Fade and whether brush strokes are scattered, so it’s worth considering these settings before actually trying to stroke onto your image. Remember to get in the habit of double-checking the settings to make sure you’re using the brush you want to.

Tablet settings Using a graphics tablet can improve the way you use brushes. If you’re a budding digital artist, it’s a good idea to invest in one. Be sure to use the tablet settings, which are just below Brush Settings, to set controls before you begin drawing, because you can set the tablet to control aspects such as Size, Opacity, Scatter, Jitter and Roundness.


ts n e m Ele

On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.ďŹ lesilo.

Creative projectâ&#x20AC;Ś

Create digital textile designs

Start image

Design your own repeating pattern and print it on fabric The practice of designing your own fabric patterns for clothes and home furnishings is growing in popularity. Personalising your home and wardrobe with unique fabric designs can be so rewarding, and with so many online fabric-printing companies able to print your design on a range of materials and have it delivered to your door within a few days, it is becoming easier than ever to do. This tutorial takes you through the process of combining nature photos to create this striking pattern. For a personal design, you can apply the methods shown here to your own photos, perhaps of your favourite places. But before you begin creating your design, you need


to think about appropriate dimensions, which will depend on how you plan to use your fabric. For example, if you want to design a 40cm x 40cm cushion and want your design to fill the entire cushion, a file size of 410mm by 410mm (allowing for a 5mm bleed all around) and resolution of at least 150ppi would be ideal. Alternatively, if you want to create a tile-able repeating pattern, for example to use for clothing, then you will need to consider how large you want the repeat to be. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re unsure, using a higher resolution of at least 300ppi for your image gives you the option to have a smaller or larger repeat, without compromising the print quality.

Ele m en ts

STAGE 1 Combine your photos Begin editing with blending modes and transformations

What does it mean?

LEVELS – The Levels histogram shows the tonal range of your image, from 0 (true black) to 255 (true white). Moving the black point to, for example, 50 means that tones at a brightness of 50 or below will be shown as 0. Moving the white point inwards converts tones at that brightness level or above to 255.

First we will need to set up our file and gather all the photos we want to incorporate into our design. The images we’ve used here are all on the FileSilo. We will be using the lake photo to act as a background, onto which we will be adding our other elements. Try to find photos that complement each other and fit the theme and mood you want for your fabric. The lake backdrop will give us a soft base, with the silhouetted grass and trees offering an interesting contrast and giving a bolder final appearance.

Open your photos


Open Photoshop Elements and click Photo Editor. Go to File> Open. Locate your photos and hold Shift while clicking each of them, then click Open. They are now all accessible via the Photo Bin. Go to ‘Grass.jpg’, select the canvas (Cmd/Ctrl+A) and copy it (Cmd/Ctrl+C).

Make a Levels adjustment

Duplicate and transform



Go to ‘Lake.jpg’ and paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) in the grass. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and position it across the bottom of the canvas. Set its blending mode to Multiply, press Cmd/Ctrl+L and move the sliders to Black: 55, Grey: 1.00, White: 149.

YOU’RE THE EXPERT Make sure you are using the Expert workspace to give you access to all the functions you need.

Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the grass layer. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, right-click and choose Flip Horizontal. Position it just over halfway up the canvas, and stretch it width-ways in order to alter its appearance further.


Press the F10 key in order to bring up the History window


EASY ACCESS By clicking Photo Bin, you can see thumbnails of all your photos and easily find the one you need.

Blending modes are key in this tutorial to creating a design with a variety of textures and effects.

IT’S HISTORY Keeping the History window open lets you quickly undo a series of edits and revert back to a specific point.


ts n e m Ele

STAGE 2 Finish your textile design

HARSH EDGES In the next stage we will be blending these contrasting edges to make our pattern more seamless.

Paste in flowers and trees, then blend with masks Now we need to add the other photo elements to our image, and use blending modes and transformations to finalise the design. The placement and size of these elements is down to personal choice and preference; feel free to customise the layout but try not to have the trees or flowers extending over the edge of the canvas, as this will make it harder to create a seamless effect later on.

Add a tree


Go to ‘Trees.jpg’, press Cmd/Ctrl+A, Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy and then paste it into your artwork. Change the layer’s blending mode to Color Burn. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, and position and resize it between the top section of grass and the lake’s treeline.

Bring in the flowers


Copy and paste ‘Flowers.jpg’ into your artwork. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and position it over the bottom-left section of lake. Change the flower layer’s blending mode to Vivid Light and the Opacity to 50%.


Duplicate and transform


Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the tree layer. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, right-click and choose Flip Horizontal. Position it between the bottom of the canvas and the middle section of grass, and make it narrower and taller to add some variation. Add layer masks to both tree layers.

Blend in the trees


Use a black soft round brush to blend the edges of the tree layers. Create a soft outline along the bottom, and then fade the thin branches into the background. Add a layer mask to the Grass copy layer, and soften any hard edges.

Duplicate the flowers

Offset the design



Add a layer mask and blend it in, removing all of the background. Use Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it twice, and Cmd/ Ctrl+T to resize, flip and position the duplicates throughout the image. Edit the masks to vary their appearance.

Press Cmd/Ctrl A to select the canvas, then Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy from all visible layers, then Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste. Move this layer to the top of the layer stack. Go to Filters>Other>Offset, enter Horizontal: +1440 and Vertical: +1260.

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STAGE 3 Prepare to print

CLONE STAMP SETTINGS Reduce the opacity of the Clone Stamp tool in the tool bar to create a smoother transition.

Finish your design and upload it for printing onto fabric Having settled on the final layout, the Offset filter enables you to see how the edges will join together when the pattern is printed as a repeating tile. From here, you are able to use tools such as the Clone Stamp tool to blend and conceal these joins, creating a more seamless, flowing appearance and remove any harsh edges. Duplicating the flowers and adding them over the joins will make the process quicker and easier.

QUICK COLOUR CHANGE Photo filters are a quick and easy way to change the colour and mood of your artwork.

Use the Clone Stamp tool

Make colour adjustments



Select the Clone Stamp tool. Use it to pick (hold Alt) areas near the joins and then paint over them. Keep re-sampling frequently. To blend significantly different colours and tones together, reduce the opacity of the Clone Stamp tool for a more gradual buildup.

Sample the flowers and use these to cover any particularly tricky edges. Add a Levels adjustment layer and move the Grey slider to 0.86 and White to 212. Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer, and choose the Cooling (LBB) filter and increase the Density to 40.

Shortcut Bracket keys, [ and ], alter the Clone Stamp tool size

Prepare for printing

Final fabric layout



There are numerous sites online that enable you to upload your own design to be printed on fabric. Check the file requirements of the site you will be using (most require a minimum dpi, a particular file type, and a maximum file size limit) and save your file accordingly.

Your design is now ready to print. Most printing sites offer plenty of options during the upload process, enabling you to alter the size of the pattern and the layout, with a preview to show how your final printed design will look.



What does it mean?

When moving the strips, try to align certain objects, such as the tops of buildings.

MARQUEES – The Marquee tools are used to select circles and rectangles. As well as actually selecting parts of photos, they’re great for filling to create pictures. Illustrators can build up shapes with them, just by selecting and filling, and for this project it’s easy to quickly create a row of strips.

CHOOSE PLAIN BACKGROUNDS Go for a solid colour in the background, preferably black or white, so as not to make an even busier scene.

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

Photo edit…

Make stylish photo collages

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Give your photos a collage effect, using layers and clipping masks Many digital artists will create shapes on layers before they even think about applying colour to them. They find that by getting the shapes right first, they can then concentrate on the textures and tones to really flesh out the image. This technique is very similar to creating a stripped collage such as this. By creating the strips first and then applying the main image onto them, it’s easy to get the shape of the composition right. But unlike many photomanipulation compositions, this is just a technique to bring your photos to life. You can turn an ordinary


skyline such as this into a unique picture, full of tone and interest. Adding layer styles, such as a bevel, can also help to add a threedimensional aspect to the image. One of the best things about this project is that once you are happy with the basic technique, you can evolve the final result with circles and custom shapes, and start playing with opacities and altering the colours of certain layers. This a technique that can prove to be extremely useful combined with other effects, but it works perfectly well by itself when turning images into fantastic collages.

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Layer the strips Create the collage using individual strips on layers


Alt/Opt+ backspace to fill with foreground swatch

Create the strips


Fill your background with black and hit Cmd/Ctrl+’ to bring up the guides. With the Rectangular Marquee (M), draw a long strip on a new layer and fill in white. Deselect (Cmd/Ctrl+D), hold down Cmd/ Ctrl+Alt/Opt and drag across your page numerous times to duplicate the strips.


Paste your image at the top of the layer stack and position it. Once positioned, hold Opt/Alt and click on the layer below to clip the picture to the uppermost white strip. Cmd/Alt+drag this picture layer above each white strip, and clip to each.

Add a bevel

Shift the strips


Add the image

On each of the image layers, Ctrl+right-click and choose Merge Down so that you’re left with just the images. On various layers, hold Cmd/Ctrl and use the up and down arrows to nudge the strips up and down, creating this cool effect.


To make it feel as if these layers are 3D, click on a layer and go to Layer>Layer Style>Style Settings. Click on Bevel and choose Angle: 125 degrees, Size: 18, Direction: Up. Ctrl/right-click this layer, choose Copy Layer Style, then Ctrl/right-click the other layers and choose Paste Layer Style.

Alternate effects What other styles can you try using this technique?

Circles Instead of using the Rectangular Marquee to create the strips needed for the collage, an alternate idea is to use the Elliptical Marquee to create circles on different layers, and alter the opacities for each one. This builds up a bubbly effect and has more of a random feel to it.

Horizontal Vertical strips can look great on the page if

Shapes The shapes in Elements are fun tools to play with

you’re applying the effect to a skyline, but other images might look better with a horizontal approach. One thing to try is rotating some of the strips just by a few degrees to get a shutterblind-look to the image.

as they can create awesome, unique effects in your artwork. By using them instead of strips, altering the opacity of each and even clipping colour to the odd shape, you can build up an even more creative collage.


ts n e m Ele MASK TECHNIQUES Learn how to apply masks into your composition to create a variety of effects and blend images like a pro.

What does it mean?

REFINE EDGE – The Refine Edge command enhances selections via settings to create a precise mask. You can use the Refine Edge to select soft edges like hair or fur, but also to improve hard edges. Open the Refine Edge, choose your view and try each setting to get to grips with this handy tool.

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Surreal art…

Composite an apocalyptic sce

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Create a post-apocalyptic city using masks and adjustments Photoshop Elements is perfect for making quick and fun edits to your family photos, but you may be surprised to discover that you can also create incredible compositions using the tools in Elements and basic techniques. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to use layer masks and adjustment layers to create a fantastic post-apocalyptic scene. There are two kinds of masks used in this tutorial: layer masks and clipping masks. A layer mask basically enables you to hide or reveal specific areas of a layer by painting these areas using black, white and shades of grey (to create transparency). With clipping masks, you need to stack two layers on top of each other


and the content from the base layer will determine which part of the layer above will remain visible. Clipping masks also enable you to add adjustments layers and effects to a specific layer without affecting any of the other layers. Adjustment layers will be used to enhance the tones and make colour corrections to the different images used for the final work. These techniques are ideal for blending images and effects to create fantastic compositions. Follow each step closely and take a look at the original PSD file to observe how the layer masks and clipping masks were used to create the effects.

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Mask essentials The basics of selecting and masking specific areas of a layer

Select the sky

Place a new sky

Edit Brightness/Contrast


In Options, click Refine Edge. Set to Smooth: 2, Feather: 0.5px, Contrast: 0%, Shift Edge: 0%. Check Decontaminate Colors, Amount: 100%, Output to: New Layer with Layer Mask and click OK. Go to File>Place ‘Sky.jpg’. Resize the image and drag the layer underneath the Cityscape layer.



Go to File>Open ‘Cityscape.jpg’. Now open the Tool Options bar and grab the Magic Wand tool (Shift+A). Set the Tolerance to around 30, uncheck Contiguous and check Anti-aliasing. Press and hold Shift, start selecting the sky, then press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the selection.

Crack the walls


Place a texture over the buildings. Click on the ‘Cityscape’ layer and then go to File>Place ‘Texture1.jpg’. Resize the image. Now press and hold Cmd/Ctrl and drag the handles to adjust the perspective. Press Cmd/Ctrl+G to clip to the layer and then change the blend mode to Multiply.

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Adjust the Brightness to 65, Contrast to 45 and then clip to the layer. Do this by clicking on the ‘Clip to the layers’ button found at the bottom-left of the Brightness/Contrast panel, or use the Cmd/Ctrl+G shortcut.

Mask the wall


Go to File>Place ‘Wall.jpg’. Resize it and place over the building on the left. Press and hold Opt/Alt and drag the corner handles to adjust the perspective. Now create a layer mask. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Grab a soft brush and hide the hard edges.



Press Cmd/Ctrl+G in order to quickly create a clipping mask

Create clipping masks every time you want the effect or adjustment to only affect the base layer.

TOOL OPTIONS BAR Use the Tool Options bar at the bottom of the window to choose different tools and customise their settings.

ADJUSTMENT LAYERS REFINE EDGE Use the Refine Edge command to refine the selected edges and create layers masks.

Apply different adjustment layers to make tonal corrections or enhance the colours for each image.


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Expert tip Access different brush presets

Add more texture


Go to File>Place ‘Texture2.jpg’. Adjust the size and hit Enter. Now clip the layers and press Cmd/Ctrl+G. Create a layer mask and using a soft tip brush, and hide the areas around the building on the centre. Change the blend mode to Multiply.

Create a new layer


Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Moss, check ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’, change Mode to Multiply and press OK. Grab the Brush tool (B). In Options, open the Brush Preset Picker and choose Scattered Maple Leaves.

Paint the moss


Set the Foreground/Background colours to #495c1a and #9caf53 respectively. In Options, set the Size to 10px and then open the Brush Settings panel. Adjust Fade to 0, Hue Jitter: 60%, Scatter: 10%, Spacing: 25% and start painting the moss over the buildings and traffic lights.

LEVELS ADJUSTMENT Boost the contrast and colour balance of the images by adjusting the Input settings of the Levels.

Use more images


Go to File>Place ‘Grass.jpg’. Adjust the size and hit Enter. Create a layer mask and then grab a soft-tip brush (B). Brush away the hard edges, blending the grass with the street. Apply a Levels adjustment layer. Set the Inputs to 0, 0.80, 240, and clip the layers.

Photoshop Elements has many amazing predefined brushes to use on your projects. In step eight we used the default Scattered Maple Leaves brush to create the moss. You can easily access them through the Brush Preset Picker in the Tool Options bar. Grab the Brush tool (B) and open the Tool Options bar. Open the Brush pop-up panel menu. From the menu, choose Default Brushes and then scroll down to locate the brush. Use the Brush Settings panel to add dynamic elements or change the behaviour of the brush.

Place the debris


Go to File>Place ‘Debris.jpg’. Adjust the size and angle then hit Enter. Create a layer mask and use a hard-tip brush (B) to blend the images. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Photo Filter. Select Color and choose a light yellow colour, set Density to 70% and clip the layers.

BLENDING MODES Choose the blending modes from the drop-down menu to add unique effects by overlapping the layers.

PRESET BRUSHES Use predefined brushes with different sizes and opacities in order to paint new elements and enhance the masks.

TEXTURE IMAGES Search for grunge textures and use the blending modes to make the images look dirty or old.


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Duplicate the debris


Press and hold Shift and then select the Debris and the Photo Filter layers. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the layers. Now go to Image>Rotate>Flip Layer Horizontal. Drag to the left. Resize it and use the Brush tool to blend the image again.

Add a new tree

Blend the image



Go to File>Place ‘Tree.jpg’. Grab the Magic Wand tool (A). In Options, increase Tolerance to 50 and uncheck Contiguous. Hold Shift and click on the sky a few times to select it. Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the selection and then create a layer mask. Drag the Tree layer under the debris.

Complete the scene


Go to File>Place ‘Palm tree.png’ on top of the buildings. Drag the layer under the Cityscape layer. Duplicate a few times and place around different buildings. Repeat this step and place more trees, bushes, a car and flying pigeons to complete the scene.

The Enhance menu Adjust the colours and lighting The Enhance menu contains all of the commands you need to adjust the colours, shadows or highlights, as well as tackle common problems that might otherwise ruin a perfectly good image. You have the option to apply the changes automatically, or you can try to adjust the settings manually for more control. The difference between the Enhance menu adjustments and the Fill or adjustment layers is the fact that changes you make will permanently alter the pixels in the original image, while the Fill or adjustment layers enable you to make changes over and over again without altering the original pixels. With the Enhance menu, you have many more options to fine-tune your image. In this case, duplicate the original image prior to applying the adjustments to have a safe copy in case something goes wrong down the road.

Make an adjustment on the tree. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/ Saturation. Set Hue: -25, Saturation: -20 and then clip the layers. Now go to File>Place ‘Vegetation.png’ on top of the layer stack. Resize, duplicate it and place over the debris. Add a layer mask and blend with the scene.

Make some final touches


Click on the first layer on top of the layer stack and then create a snapshot (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+E). Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Set Brightness to 31 and Contrast to 0. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Choose Channel: Yellows and set Hue to -10. Choose Greens and set Hue to -35.


You can easily duplicate a layer by pressing Cmd/ Ctrl+J


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VARY SIZES Not everything in the map has to be realistic in size; it’s a nice effect to vary the sizes of objects and landmarks.

What does it mean?

CLIPPING MASKS – A clipping mask is a layer that only appears over the pixels of the layer below. If you have an object on a layer, a clipping mask enables you to draw over that layer without affecting layers below. For example, terrain in step four is clipped to the green map, so it doesn’t show over the coast.

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Digital art…

Design a geometric map


You can copy and paste hexcodes from Adobe Color

Create colourful national icons with selections and brushes The best thing about creating a detailed digital-art piece is that you can spot something new every time you look at it. A geometric map is no different, and as long as you have space, you can fill the area with as many buildings, landmarks and national objects as you like. While this might look like a job for the Pen tool in Photoshop or Illustrator, this map is made completely from selections and brushes. Just remember that holding Shift keeps your brush stroke straight – great for the cricket stumps or tree trunks, for example – and Shift

can also help you to create perfect circles. Make a shape before applying detail in the form of a clipping mask over that shape, and round pointy edges by masking. This tutorial shows you how to produce a few objects to populate a map, but once you’ve learned the basic skills of selecting, brushing, masking and clipping, you can create any object in geometric form. Remember, you can duplicate an object quickly – like a tree – by holding Alt/Opt+Cmd/Ctrl and dragging.

Start illustrating Build your map with nothing more than brushes and selections of colour

Create the shadow Pick a palette

Use the cutout



We’re going to create a cohesive look from just a few colours: a strong blue (#38DFFD), greyish purple (#B5B4CA), green (#77FA5C), bright red (#E34554) and golden colour (#FDC46C). Go to http://color.adobe. com/ if you’d like to pick your own colours.

Open ‘Before.psd’ into Photoshop Elements. Head to Filter>Filter Gallery>Cutout and choose Number of Levels: 8, Edge Simplicity: 7, Edge Fidelity: 1. This quickly reduces the map to a low-poly block for us to build upon.


With your map created, select the white with the Magic Wand. Hit the mask to remove. Duplicate and with the lower map, nudge 30 pixels left, 20 down. Clip a Solid Color Fill layer of #3c3c3c to the lower map, your selected green to the upper, and fill your background with your blue. Clip by Ctrl/ right-clicking a layer>Add Clipping Mask.

BUILDING MOUNTAINS Create a triangle with the Polygonal Lasso, fill in blue or grey and round the top. With a white brush on a clipping layer, create the snowy tip.

Master the terrain


Of course, a large block of land isn’t likely to be the same colour throughout. With a soft brush on a new layer, brush yellow around the hotter areas and grey in the colder areas, or areas with mountains. Reduce Opacity to 30% and clip these layers to the main green layer.

CREATING LAKES Select the Elliptical Marquee. Hold Shi to create a perfect circle and fill in blue. Do this again, overlapping the original to create a lake.


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Expert tip Keep colours under control

Create rivers


Let’s create some curved rivers. Select a stretch with the Rectangular Marquee and fill blue, then create a circle, as shown above, with the Elliptical Marquee. Ctrl/ right-click, choose Transform Selection and hold Alt/Opt to make a circle within the circle. Mask to create a ring, then delete the excess.

Grow some trees


Trees are easy to create and can be scattered across the map. Grab a hard brush, hold Shift and draw upwards in the gold colour. Continue holding Shift and click diagonally. Use a bigger, green brush behind this layer. Select half this green area, hit Cmd/ Ctrl+U and alter the colour slightly.

Choosing a strict colour scheme, and adding white and dark grey (#3c3c3c), keeps the map cohesive, but you can mix the colours slightly. Vary the shade you’re using by altering it in the Swatches; just don’t change the hue too far – keep the tweaking within the square of colour already there. Odd objects, such as the pink thistle and the yellow tennis balls, can break the scheme, but keep these objects rare; your map should only do this three or four times, and only for objects that are iconic enough that they shouldn’t change colour.

Build the London Eye

Make the Eden Project

Design the flag




Using the technique for creating a ring of colour in step five, start making the wheel for the London Eye in white. With a hard brush, hold Shift and draw to create a pod. Merge these layers, duplicate, Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) and Rotate. Repeat this around the wheel.

Using Marquees and the Polygonal Lasso, create a flag, clipping different colours to a main a rectangle. To give it the flying effect, go to Filter>Distort>Liquify, and Warp the left side of it downwards slightly, and the right side up, until it looks like this. Create the flagpole from brushes.



Create a white circle and clip black (#3c3c3c) pentagons over it as seen, to create a football.

Create some gold and grey ellipses, duplicate and then make the ones below darker to make a coin. Stack these up to represent the Royal Mint.



Postboxes consist of a #3c3c3c rectangle for the base, a red rectangle for the body, a red circle for the top, and grey and white rectangles placed on the body.


The Eden Project consists of three grey circles – alter the colours slightly for each – merged together; then select the bottom with the Elliptical Marquee and mask. Draw hexagons with the Shape tool over the circles, set to Soft Light, 50% Opacity for the iconic look.

Copy the shapes of buildings, varying shades for different sides. For Oxford University, we created a graduation hat with Lassos and Marquees.

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Make related objects


You can have fun scattering objects associated with the country. For an umbrella, make a curve as you did for the river, then make a big circle. Mask with the Elliptical Marquee as shown to complete the object.

Use Motion Blur

Add light and shade



Motion Blur can bring the likes of the London Eye to life, or this bow and arrow to represent Nottingham. This was created with a ring and hard brushes, before being merged, duplicated and then the blur being added from Filter>Blur>Motion Blur.

Using Soft Light clipping masks set to 25% Opacity, select black and white, and brush in soft colour over various objects to tone them a little, such as the buildings. The flag can also benefit from shading and lightening to make it stand out further.

Create a lens flare

Make final adjustments



If you wish to create a lens flare, make sure it’s a geometric one. Go to the Shape tool and drag pentagons and hexagons of various colours, overlapping, in a straight line across the image. Set to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 20%.

Finding your reference images Take inspiration from pictures

Finally, make some adjustments. Merge all and go to Filter> Other>High Pass, select Radius: 2.5px and set to Overlay to sharpen. Go to the Fill Layer icon, choose Levels and use the RGB channels to touch up the reds, blues and greens as a whole.


Hit Alt/Opt to fill a selection with the Foreground swatch

When you’re creating landmarks and icons, make sure that you have some reference images to take inspiration from. For example, everyone knows what the London Eye looks like, but by referring back to pictures of it, you can get a better judgement of the size of the wheel in relation to the pods, for a more realistic, and therefore iconic, take on it. Should it be a difficult icon to draw, you may wish to copy a picture of it into Elements and draw over it on a new layer, before deleting your reference image. Remember that all objects you can create in Elements consist of basic blocks of colour, and these are all easy to replicate with the Lassos, Marquees and brushes, should you use a combination of these tools.


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Get in touch

Ask on Twitter @PshopCreative

HOW CAN I GIVE MY PICTURES TORN EDGES? Adding torn edges to your pictures is a great effect, whether you’re creating something vintage-looking or you just want to give the impression that your picture’s printed on torn paper. To create the effect, find the ‘torn.jpg’ image in the resources and paste it as a new layer over your image. Hit the Mask icon on your main image layer and then flick back to the torn paper layer. Grab the Brush (B) and select black as your colour. Cmd/Ctrl+click the layer preview of the torn paper layer to select all the pixels on that layer, and then click back on the mask of the main image. With your black brush, paint along the edges of the image to erase them, leaving a torn edge. When you’ve finished, simply delete the torn paper layer, or set to the Overlay blend mode, Ctrl/right-click and use as a clipping mask to add texture.

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EYES Mask in a high-contrast Levels adjustment layer and a So Light layer filled with colour over the eyes to boost them.


ADD DROP SHADOW Head to Layer>Layer Style> Style Settings to set a drop shadow on your torn picture and make it stand out.


Editing pictures of animals is a completely different process to how you’d edit a picture of a human. Facially, lighting and shading needs to be different, and you must bring the detail out in the fur, rather than smooth away the detail of skin. Colouring is a good place to start; go to the Fill Layer icon (to the le of Mask) and choose Levels. Tweak the stoppers to increase the contrast, and use the dropdown RGB menu to alter the colours of the animal. Merge everything to a layer at the top of the stack (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shi+E), go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and choose 40px. Set to So Light to add a subtle so focus. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shi+E once more; set the layer to Multiply, 60% Opacity, hit mask, then Cmd/Ctrl+I and brush in shading around the face. Repeat this, only this time set to Screen and brush in highlights. Create a new So Light layer, fill with #808080 and again, brush on lighting and shading a little more, with a bigger brush. Lastly, tweak Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation via the Fill Layer icon, and go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Choose 4px and set to Overlay to sharpen.

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USE THE CLONE TOOL Remember that cloning around the object that you’ve moved can soen the edges and give a more realistic finish.

HOW CAN I CREATE REALISTIC SHADOWS IN MY COMPOSITIONS? Blending is the difference between a good composition and a bad one. Adding realistic shadows is key, and you can learn a lot from studying other compositions as to what works. With any composition, you can’t go wrong by brushing black with a so brush on a layer between the object and the background. Create two layers: one with 100% Opacity for furthest under the object, and one at 50% Opacity for the edges. With this car, for example, mask a hard line along the wheels to show the light is hitting the other side of the wheel to make a shadow. Once happy with your shading, make sure you add adjustment layers, such as Levels, Hue/ Saturation and Gradient Maps to help blend the foreground in further with the background. In this particular picture, we added a Motion Blur filter to the car to imply movement.

Moving elements of your pictures can be a ong process of selecting, positioning and then retouching to make the finished image look natural. The Content-Aware Move tool, however, is designed to minimise some of this effort. Pick the tool from the le-hand toolbar and select around what you’d like to move in your photo. Drag it to another part of the picture and Elements will automatically fill in the blank space le by that object, using the existing objects in the picture. If your image has a plain background, Elements can actually cover the background of the photo seamlessly a lot of the time, but if not, grab the Clone Stamp tool (S) and just touch up the obviously edited areas of the picture by Alt/ Opt+clicking and brushing over them.

Quick tip

Using the Share buttons If you love to upload your artwork to social media, you might spend a lot of time logging in to your account to upload them. However, you can upload your images from inside Elements. At the top-right of the interface is a Share button. Click this to choose Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter to upload your work to. It’s a shortcut that can make your life easier, and help to cut out the process of saving and opening your internet browser.

CAN ELEMENTS RE-CREATE THE ORTON EFFECT? The Orton effect is a so-focus technique that can make your pictures look dreamy, smooth out skin and blur the background of your photo to leave attention just on your subject. Elements has a quick fix for creating the Orton effect. Head to the Guided tab at the top of Elements, and choose Special Edits; from there, click on the Orton effect. Make sure you click on the button that applies the effect first, as this duplicates your layer, and once you’ve done that, use the sliders to control the Noise, Blur and Brightness of your image.




Price £22.99 / $29.99 US Web

Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon Go deeper into photo editing on a Mac with Pixelmator’s affordable software package

The specs Company Pixelmator

Additional specs OS X 10.9.5 or later iOS 9 or later

TOOLBAR Many of the main tools for selecting, brushing, retouching and even adding shapes, are located from here.



Blending and opacity is between the Layers palette and Effects Browser, making it easy to alter both layers and effects as they’re applied.

The Layers palette, just as in Photoshop, is located on the righthand side of the screen. Masks can be added using the cog icon.

Five awesome effects Some of the best features on offer from Pixelmator’s Effects Browser







Curves are fantastic because they can completely transform a picture just with the simplest of tweaks. Pixelmator makes it easy to alter the colour or create lomography-style snaps with its Curves panel, which is easy to use and great quality.


Distortion effects are really simple to apply in Pixelmator. There’s a range that you can choose from in the Effects Browser, but rather than being just novelty liquify features, they can be great for actually helping to edit your photos.

Halftone patterns can be created in Photoshop but not without a lot of time and effort. Pixelmator adds them in seconds, and they’re all completely customisable with sliders, meaning that comicbook images are easier to make than ever.



here are all kinds of cheaper alternatives to Photoshop on the market. Some offer more of a focus towards compositions, others towards photo editing or digital art, but few can match up to the sophistication or even the stylishness of Adobe’s software. Pixelmator is a Photoshop-esque app for Mac computers and Apple devices. With its sleek black interface, thin typefaces and familiar layout, it looks and feels like Photoshop; the layers are to the right, tools to the left, and although there isn’t a Filter menu as such, there is an Effects Browser over on the right-hand side. First impressions are great, and its ease of use is a huge plus point for anyone starting to work with the program for the first time. Also, unlike many programs of its kind, it focuses on a broad range of styles, meaning that you can create digital paintings or edit your snaps with it. Once you start navigating through Pixelmator though, it feels primarily like a

great program for just making simple photo edits; if you’re a Photoshop user with lots of devices, Pixelmator can work both on your iPad or your Mac. Loading photos is simple and though a lot of the shortcut icons such as Mask aren’t as easy to find as in Photoshop, there’s a whole host of quick effects that can be applied via the Effects Browser. The Effects Browser is easily the best thing about the software; it’s just a simple box full of all kinds of filters, distortion effects and photo-editing tweaks, some of which Photoshop doesn’t even have. It’s perfect for visiting after you’ve opened an image – whether you just want to change the colour slightly or completely edit a photo – and coupled with the tools on the left, you can really get in-depth with your editing. That left-hand toolbar includes features such as sharpening, brushing and selecting, and there’s the ability to use layers with this program, one of the most underrated features that Photoshop actually has. The range of blend modes is great, too.

Pixelmator doesn’t just have a broad range of tools similar in style to Photoshop though; they’re good quality too. The recently added Quick Selection and Magnetic Selection are fine-tuned enough to find edges with ease, and the Refine tools are great for touching them up. Retouching is actually really easy to manage in Pixelmator, thanks to the likes of the Repair tool, the Red Eye tool and the Clone Stamp. It really excels with photo editing, and makes a perfect first step for you to bring your picture into Photoshop from, though the brushes are easy to use and you can use features such as Transform and the Warp tool – which is simple to get the hang of and precise in its results – to really think outside the box with your projects. Pixelmator is much more of a companion to Photoshop than a replacement; you can import .psd and .abr files, which makes life a lot easier. The versatility of Pixelmator is particularly impressive too, as it can handle a range of different projects, and is adept at creating really quite advanced images, should you wish to. While it’s an amazing product for someone just learning the basics of photo editing, it can be useful to Photoshop users of a higher level too; even the most advanced graphic designers can benefit from the accompanying iOS app for on-the-go edits. This may only look like a budget Photoshop on first view, but Pixelmator is capable of much more than you might think.

The verdict


Easy to use, accurate at editing and with plenty of amazing features, Pixelmator is superb for editing photos before doing the bigger work in Photoshop.

Standout feature Effects Browser

Quick-fix photo effects Halos


Halos, kaleidoscopes, sunbeams, bursts and other lighting techniques are really straightforward to apply in Pixelmator. For best results, add them to a new layer; that way you can edit them into your picture non-destructively.


Basic effects such as mirroring photos, adding a light leak or giving a sepia tone can all be applied with just a double-click. The mirror option is particularly good for backgrounds as it can create a perfectly symmetrical backdrop onto which you can lay your foreground.

The Effects Browser displays all of the effects that Pixelmator can create with a small preview thumbnail; roll over and you can see how the images change with the effect. Each effect is grouped and you can search for specific effects using the search bar. Double-click to apply one; most come with further sliders to tweak your picture.




Price Studio: £79.99 / $103 US (approx) Active Lens: £89.99 / $116 US (approx) Web

olloclip Studio and olloclip Active Lens Take smartphone photography to a new level with the ultimate kit from olloclip

The specs

CASE The Studio case is durable and thick, offering your phone protection, and the accessories are very easy to attach.

Company olloclip Additional specs Studio: 6.4” x 3.3” x 0.5” Active Lens: 1.1” x 2.2” x 1.7”



The two sides of the lens means that while one side is facing out from one camera, the other is facing out of the other.

The wrist strap makes it easier to carry your phone around, and the strap is adjustable in length, too.

Five Studio accessories What’s included with the Studio to improve how you take photos?

Finger grip


Primarily intended for handheld shots, the finger grip is perfect for selfies, and will steady your hand to take any kind of shot. The biggest of the accessories, it’s easy to slide on and off, but can also remain on the phone if you want to add other accessories.


Cold shoe mounts

Tripod mounts



The cold shoe mounts are used for attaching accessories, such as a flash or microphone, to your phone. There are two included so that you can add one either side of the phone.

There are two tripod mounts included; one for taking portrait shots and one for capturing landscapes. These are simple to attach, and the thick case makes them sturdy enough without needing accessories.


n the last ten years, a mobile phone has become far more than just a tool for texting. People now use their phones for games, social media and particularly for photography, because the advantages of having a portable camera when you’re out and about are obvious. Phone cameras are better than ever, but still not quite as good as the real thing. This is where olloclip’s range of accessory lenses come in; the Active Lens in particular has the ability to shoot wider and deeper than your phone could manage on its own, making it a useful gadget for photographers, social-media users and Photoshop fans, as it can improve your photos whether you’re uploading them to Instagram or taking them into Photoshop. The Active Lens kit consists of a phone case; an ultra-wide and telephoto lens unit; and black, red and orange holders, which can

be turned into wearable pendants when you place the lens in them. Attaching the lens to your phone takes seconds, and it fits perfectly to the frame of the device to shoot either side of the phone, for a selfie or shooting a landscape. The quality of the results are superb too; the telephoto lens manages to zoom in to get twice as close to subjects, and there’s very little loss in quality. The ultra-wide lens is similar in quality, making both of them versatile enough to work well either for shooting subjects or nature. If you’re more serious about the possibilities of mobile photography, or you just want to get even better at taking photos when you’re out, the olloclip Studio is the perfect product to expand what you can do. The Studio comes with a harder case that has ridges down the back for you to slide accessories down, the lenses still fit onto the

front of the case, and there’s even a loop for a wrist strap that comes with the Studio pack. Most usefully for beginners is the finger grip, which enables you to have a better hold on your phone while you take shots, and the kickstand which lets you balance your phone upright on a flat surface. While the olloclip lenses can really bring the best out of the photos you take, the olloclip Studio can help you to improve as a photographer. The cold shoe mounts are built for attaching a flash or even a microphone to the chassis of the Studio, and the kit comes with two separate tripod mounts – landscape and portrait – for taking a steadier shot (particularly useful for the Active Lens). You may assume that the olloclip Studio is just a way to make using the Active Lens easier, but it can be much more than that; after buying the Studio, you may want to add more advanced olloclip lenses to your collection, before investing in the likes of a flash, a tripod, or other gadgets that lend themselves perfectly to mobile photography. As mobile technology continues to improve, it might not be too long before iPhones are competing even more with high-end cameras, and the lines between photography and mobile photography are increasingly blurred. Lenses like these are a cheaper alternative to buying a DSLR, and the Studio is a great piece of kit to help you get the best out of your camera phone.

The verdict


The olloclip Active Lens and Studio produce surprisingly good results, and provide a great starter pack for any mobile-photography beginner.

Standout feature Active Lens

Wrist strap Kickstand


The kickstand is good for placing on a flat surface for hands-free photography. Aside from taking photos, this is a good option for anyone just wanting to read or watch videos on their phone.


The wrist strap is a useful accessory for anyone carrying their phone around. It’s thick and adjustable, strong enough to carry the weight of the case, and it means that you can keep your phone out rather than putting it away between shots.

The perfect unit to start off a collection or just improve your mobile shots a little; the telephoto and ultra-wide lenses on the Active Lens unit are meticulous and take fantasticquality photos. The lens is easily attached to either the case it comes with or the Studio case, and there are useful plastic covers to stop them getting scratched.












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Portfolio interview

Brazil-based José Augusto Hykavy shares with us his artistic influences, his favourite tools and why practice makes perfect in Photoshop


osé Augusto Hykavy is a perfectionist and clearly very ambitious. “Currently, my focus is graphic design, but I like motion graphics,” he tells us. “This is something I’d like to explore more.” In two years, José has amassed more than 35,000 Behance views, and is looking to work with even more clients in the future. We caught up with him to ask about his relationship with Photoshop.

pleasant to look at but at the same time striking; I like art that is creative and unique, and significant in some way to its audience or customers. In a world where so many people offer such similar products, artists must provide a different edge in order to create better first impressions. I want to draw attention with my work.

When was it that you started to use Photoshop?

I love using a real mix of tools. Most often I use adjustment layers, masks and clipping masks to build my compositions, but the basic tools such as the Brush, Polygonal Lasso, Clone Stamp, Dodge and Burn are really useful. All tools and resources used in the right way are essential to the success of a project.

From an early age I was influenced by art through my father, who is a professor of arts. He used to do college work at home and I was always watching and helping. I always liked to draw and paint at school, and I was quite good at it. I first used Photoshop in 2009 when I took a technical course on the software, and from this moment, I began to explore and learn techniques and tools through tutorials on the internet just for fun. Four years later I started working as a freelancer.

A lot of your work has a very toned, 3D-inspired aspect to it. Do you incorporate 3D software? They’re only Photoshop! No 3D software at all. I saw an isometric composition project from Fabio Araujo on Behance. I found it really interesting and decided to do my own, in two different compositions. At first, I wasn’t very confident that I could do it, but it looked good in the end. I used really basic Photoshop tools, such as the adjustment layers and masks, clipping layers and techniques that most people know.

Is there anyone else who influences your work? Yellow Mello Studio, Lee Howell, Jack Usephot and Anil Saxena are some of my artists to reference when I’m making photomanipulations and retouching images. There are many talented artists and designers inside and outside of Brazil that I seek inspiration from. I believe that design should be


What are your favourite Photoshop tools?

Do you sketch something out first or just dive in to Photoshop and start experimenting? Sometimes I like to make sketches before starting my work because it facilitates the development of ideas, and it can give me a general idea of what the intentions of a piece should be; this might be essential for the job. The sketches are made in minutes though, avoiding any kind of commitment to stick to the sketch. I like to be flexible enough to make any kind of adjustment with the finished picture.

As a perfectionist, do you have a favourite piece you’ve created? I don’t have a favourite, no! I adore all my work because I dedicate myself to it, but I do have a special fondness for my isometric images, because this is an area of design I’m passionate about. In my work, I like to do everything with great love and attention, and work on every detail for my client.

Have you had a good reaction from your work online? I have, it’s been a great surprise to receive so many appreciations for my projects on Behance. I joined the site in 2014, and I didn’t have too many projects to start with. By 2015, I started receiving comments, appreciations and followers. Now I’m working on several pieces for clients, thanks to people reaching and finding me. Behance has definitely given me great visibility. Martin Garrix Artwork: This is a piece of fan art made for DJ and producer Martin Garrix. It uses selections a lot, includes a few layer masks, and adjustments were really important in bringing the piece to life.

What makes a good composition? An incredible composition depends on several factors. You need to know your tools, and how to work with colours, shadows and perspective, but it’s also important to understand how to merge elements as a whole. However, creativity, willingness and patience are important – time and dedication to work on the image until it’s perfect. One piece of advice I can give to beginners is to never stop learning, studying and working on new things. Practice makes perfect and becoming good at something never happens overnight. I guess my secret is that I’m never content with my work. I always want more; I strive to work harder and do better.

All images © José Augusto Hykavy josehykavy

Perfecting the art of Photoshop

Tropical Paradise: This is the newest piece on Behance. It uses nothing but stock images; blending tools such as Color Balance were really useful in bringing all the different elements of this piece together to make one, harmonious image.

Tree House: This is one of the pieces most inspired by the work of Fabio Araujo. It’s had over 5,000 views on Behance and again, only uses stock imagery to create the final image. Lighting and shading were important to create the effect of the water being 3D.

Rio: This is an unofficial poster for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, in which movement was key. A lot of Motion Blur was used in the piece, and custom brushes were used in the background to mask the elements of the city into the poster.

Island Tank: This is a photomanipulation made solely from stock images. The sides of the tank were made by filling and transforming shapes, and the island was brought to life with cloud brushes and stock images of birds. It’s been viewed 6,000 times on Behance.

Village River: This is a photomanipulation in which all of the images were retouched before being combined into the one project. The main images were the house, the river and the background of the mountain in the distance.


Reader interview


Faceless Man

Arctic Island

Arctic Island Learn how Stephen created one of his eyecatching compositions

Finding the main image I started off by finding an image of a boot that I could build an island concept upon, and rotated it onto its side. Torment WWF poster

Stephen Proctor Discover the secrets and hidden meanings of this Manchester-based, graphic-design graduate’s work


tephen Proctor has recently graduated from studying graphic design at university. “I began using Photoshop to create banners and avatars for friends, and this led me to pursue a career in the creative sector.” Stephen’s work varies from one image to the next, but nature and the environment are strong themes. We asked Stephen all about his design secrets and what goes into such work.

What do you think makes a good Photoshop composition? I like something that I’ve never seen before; Pawel Nolbert, for example, interests me. I look for a clear message and a meaning within the composition though, as telling a story is important. I do love detail, looking closely at blending techniques to create a smooth transition between elements interests me.

What stories are in your work? Before I started university, I would design projects based on my opinions and emotions of everyday life with no real message, but I found that people who saw my work didn’t really


understand where I was coming from. Since then, I’ve been taught to design for a reason; use simple messages but present them in a clever way. Projects that have messages in them are more emotive and this then helps with impact.

Do you have any tips you could give to Photoshop beginners? Embrace new Photoshop features. Be creative: Photoshop is a powerful tool, so why not go wild? Tutorials are a way of helping you to improve, but so is trial and error.

Cutting and warping I used the Pen tool to cut out the fur, added some shadow to the image, and duplicated the laces before using the Puppet Warp tool to distort them accordingly.

Making the dome I created the dome shape using the Elliptical Marquee tool to fill colour, and then masked and erased parts I didn’t want. I then added snow and rocks, blended together.

What are your favourite tools that you use in Photoshop? I use the Oil Paint filter to smooth the skin or any other elements that need a smooth surface, and it can also improve bad image e Was t Onc quality up to a point. I have been using this Wha feature mainly for retouching. I use the High Pass to sharpen my work at the very end, too. Check out more of Stephen’s work at www.

Building the image I added more images, used layer masks and a cloud brush to create the clouds, before dodging and burning for highlights and darker areas in the picture.

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Photoshop Creative - Add Effects | Muhammad Osama  
Photoshop Creative - Add Effects | Muhammad Osama  

Photoshop® Creative is the perfect magazine for learning more about Adobe’s outstanding application. Each issue is packed with inspirational...