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Master the Pen tool Explore 3D features Make smoke brushes Composite with masks


INTENSIFY PORTRAITS Achieve a detailed cinematic

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Blend modes can take an ordinary image and turn it into something extraordinary. It’s a simple yet effective tool and, when used creatively with Photoshop’s other features, can transform your artwork. Turn to p.16 and see how to use blend modes with masks, layers, brushes, filters and more. Then follow the step-by-step guide on creating this issue’s stunning cover image. There are in-depth tutorials on how to illustrate with the Pen tool, composite imaginative scenes and bring sketches to life with paint splats. There are also advanced guides on typography techniques, matching colour with adjustments, and using Photoshop’s 3D features. Plus, a whole host of Elements tutorials to get stuck into. Make sure you also turn to p.63 to check out an exclusive poster competition that could see your artwork displayed in ODEON cinemas across the UK.

© Imagine Publishing Ltd 2016 ISSN 1747-7816

Sarah Bankes Editor



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gallery 06 Trending Check out some of the most

up your shots with 22 Fire blend modes

popular artwork that’s trending

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

challenge 10 Readers’ Enter for a chance to win Pixarra Twisted Brush Pro Studio 22!

the studio 12 Inside Discover what makes Striker such a successful creative agency

Improve your 16 Feature: artwork with blend modes

See how you can use Photoshop’s main features with blend modes

How I Made

40 Lewis Moorhead takes us behind the scenes of Safe Haven

project 56 Resource Make your own smoke brushes from burning incense

I Made 59 How Felipe Kimio shows us how he sketched and painted Flower Girl

Create a flame-filled effect just like this issue’s cover image

with perspective 26 Play Use Photoshop’s 3D tools and multiple stock images

with the Pen tool 32 Illustrate Combine the Pen with gradients and masks for a stylish cityscape

with filters 36 Intensify and adjustments

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

Apply these tools to bestow a cinematic feel to your portraits

a surreal 42 Create animal scene

actions, a font, a plug-in and more  Plus files to follow the tutorials  Free and ready for you to download today!

Use layers and masks to composite an unlikely forest scene

dynamism with paint 46 Add Bring line art to life by incorporating colourful paint splats

magic with the 52 Make Liquify filter

Transform an everyday scene into something magical

focus 60 Project Bringing international events to life through Google Doodles

Squad 63 Suicide poster competition

Enter now and you could see your poster in a cinema near you!

102 Reviews GrutBrushes plug-in and



AlienSkin Exposure X Bundle

108 Portfolio interview

Advanced Photoshop

Unearthing the secrets behind Emi Haze’s stunning double exposures

pro type techniques 64 12 Discover what it takes to make sensational typography

interview 111 Reader Stefan Dall explains

colour 70 Match with adjustments

his creative processes and shares top tips

Create a sci-fi scene by adjusting the colour tone of stock photos

112 FileSilo This issue there are more than 300 free resources worth $285!


a 3D scene 76 Build Get to grips with Photoshop 3D and


put together an eye-catching scene


Take a look at our fantastic online shop at


for back issues, books and merchandise



See how you can use each of Photoshop’s main features with blend modes to create eye-catching works of art





Elements creative focus: Make art 84 Tool with the Gradient tool

Use a simple fill tool to add toned colour to your images

art: Create a 92 Surreal curious composition

Blend together several images for an imaginative piece

project: Design 96 Digital art: Stylise 86 Creative portraits with filters your own business cards Create professional cards using graphics and shapes

Combine filters with masks to create stylish portrait shots

edit: Turn a photo 100 Q&A: Common problems 90 Photo into a reflection in Elements Transform photos using layers, masks and blending

We answer your questions and find solutions to your problems



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. Bonnie’s work has been viewed over 125,000 times on DeviantArt, and we love this picture because the attention to lighting and perspective make this scene feel completely real.

Felipe Mayer

This took 40 hours to render and was composed of 98 layers. My role was art directing and illustrating, and this wasn’t possible without Photoshop. I created this with the other artists at the Revolution Brasil agency.

We were drawn to the fun element of this image, and Felipe’s work on the colour and atmosphere really makes this an eye-catching composition. This is one of a set of images that has trended online and caught the imagination of the design world.

James’s work feels geometric, classy and cool; the London-based illustrator has been featured by Wacom and Pantone, and this image in particular has over 27,000 views. Blend modes are great for adding texture, and this illustration is proof of that.

Bonnie Pang

I created this illustration with the help of perspective tools. I used many layers to separate the elements and used the Lasso tool to create straight lines. This is a picture from my graduate school thesis project.

James Gilleard

I used a photo reference of a rocky beach and a house. I created raw vectors and used Photoshop to add textures with brushes. I added overlays to create depth, and finally added old film textures.


José has been featured by Behance’s StudentShow sister site, and his compositions have racked up over 2,000 appreciations. This one in particular is comprised of over 25 images; a surprising fact when you consider how seamlessly José has blended them all.

José Augusto Hykavy

My inspirations for this were Pirates of the Caribbean and Moby Dick. It took me two weeks to complete; I decided to test my knowledge and skills in Photoshop, especially the issue of colour correction. The result surprised me, as it was quite surreal.

This caricature has been seen more than 26,000 times on Behance. It’s a testament to Lucas’s use of brushes, and especially impressive that only default Photoshop brushes were used to create this striking portrait.

Behance’s Advertising gallery has featured Matthew’s work and this image shows that Photoshop can be used as a tool for amplifying powerful messages. It’s a striking composition and proves that layers can help you to create all kinds of pictures.

Matthew Crescenzo

This image was created for a campaign for WWF Singapore. This was one of a set of three; the other ones involved lipstick and pizza, highlighting deforestation. These images were all animated later on, too.

Lucas Zaboti Minitti

I started the sketch on paper, then scanned and coloured it in Photoshop. I divided it into three layers; one for the background, one for the skin and one for the eyes. I used the Eyedropper to pick the colour, and just standard Photoshop brushes.


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:

Martin Henninen www.photoshopcreative.

Image of the issue I started with a nice background, then added some elements, such as the birds and mountains. Then I added the wheat and some buildings. I adjusted the image with ďŹ lters and added some shadows.

Bruna Staduto www.photoshopcreative. Staduto

I love creating angels in my work, so I imagined a scene with an angel of light. I created a snowy atmosphere in a forest setting, and used brushes and lighting to try to place the angel into the scene.


Moreno Matković

I was inspired by fantasy painters and wanted to create that kind of image, despite being a photomanipulator. I started with an idea and just created this with trial and error. I worked a lot with custom brushes and achieved the painterly look with the Smudge tool.

Evelyn Aguiar

I used a lot of stock images to put this image together. When the basic composition was actually completed, I used orange-coloured gradients and Color Lookup to blend the scene and darken the environment.

Genivaldo Souza

With this work, I tried to create a paradise where a child is ďŹ shing quietly. I tried to increase the level of detail in the work, using sharpening, to make the picture seem a little more real.

Mark Gilder www.photoshopcreative.

This image was created in Photoshop CC. Multiple images were combined using masks and blending; the yellow glow was added with a big so brush, with the blend mode set to Screen. Drop shadow was added with layer styles and soened with blurs.


READERS’ CHALLENGE Upload your images to


Challenge entries The best entries and overall challenge winner

Readers’e Challeng WINNER

1 Corine Spring The Guitarist This image was created with four pictures, the main element being the guitarist. The brushes were used in harmony with the car colour. The cropped planets were added and blend modes were changed. The wall was added for texture.

2 Kenneth Gale Play Time This image was meant to look like a children’s playroom and painting desk. The planets were added onto the table under layers of paint and the guitarist is shown on the finished painting.

3 Marcus Jones Graffiti Lullaby This was created in Elements 12. I used the guitarist, paintbrushes and wall. I placed a texture over the wall; I used an Artistic filter for the guitarist; and then, with the help of more than 100 layers, I placed the different elements to make up the graffiti.

4 Trevor Budd A Musical Universe This is a collage incorporating some of the images for the challenge plus some stock images. A number of brushes, cutouts, blends and layers were used to create the image.


2 We challenged you with these In Issue 139, 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.





Pixarra TwistedBrush Pro Studio 22

The winner of our challenge will win a copy of the fantastic Pixarra TwistedBrush Pro Studio software. This program includes over 5,000 brushes and full brush-editing capabilities, all in a user-friendly package. This is a fantastic prize for digital painters and artists who love getting the most out of brushes, and it comes with graphics tablets support included.

4 WORTH $99!

RUNNERS’-UP PRIZE… Escape Motions’ Flame Painter 3 Pro

This issue’s challenge

Three runners-up, plus the winner, will receive Escape Motions’ Flame Painter Professional software. Expand your digital art with fantasy effects and extravagant brushes, and have fun bringing bright and arty effects to life with this program.

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 simply hit the Challenge link. Closing date: 21 July 2016.

WORTH $89.99! 11

Inside the studio


The Striker team explains how it works, what its company ethos is, and just how important Photoshop is to everything


riginally, Striker wasn’t a Czech company at all. It was first set up in 2007 in Aberdeen, where executive creative director Luboš Buračinský was studying Design for Digital Media. He established the company when he was asked to build a couple of websites for “an actual, paying client.” Admitting that he was “lucky to have a friend developer,” he dived into the work and “delivered those microsites (built inside the glorious Flash) and it all took off from there.” Originally the company was called Design Striker, then Striker Multimedia, before he finally settled on Striker. Buračinský self-deprecatingly says that, in the early days, he “held no holistic vision nor much of the required skillsets” to run his own design company. Quickly though, he realised “that the most popular local industry, oil and gas, was not the most creative one, and so after a few years, the decision was finally made to move the office to Prague, Czech Republic, where we still reside to this day.” Zdenek Dolezal had known Buračinský for several years, so when the company came to Prague, he joined as its new business director. He explains: “It soon became apparent that there is only so much a smaller collective of artisans can specialise in and provide at once. So, the company was split into two entities: Striker Digital, a (creative) digital agency, and Striker Pictures, audio-visual production boutique.” And the company has stayed in that mold. Buračinský says that although “nothing beats a room full of artists, very often we work with people based all around the globe. Our stable team consists of around 30 people, however, there is currently about 10 of us, sitting in the Prague office.” Technology has given those artists numerous ways to communicate, but what it all comes back to – what it all centres around – is Photoshop. “Quite clearly,” Buračinský says, “Photoshop is the number one piece of software. Basically every bit of work starts either on paper or inside Photoshop. Then, it is mostly a combination of back and forth with photography, Illustrator, 3ds Max and Cinema 4D, and After Effects or Nuke.” Buračinský has been a Photoshop fan since he was a child. He explains: “I was about 15 when I started playing around with Photoshop;


ABOUT THE STUDIO Striker @strikerdigital Striker has two parts: Striker Digital is a creative agency, and Striker Pictures is an audio-visual production boutique. Both were founded by Luboš Buračinský and are based in Prague.

Luboš Buračinský Executive Creative Director

Zdenek Dolezal New Business Director

Jan Triska Production Manager

A day in the life of Jan Triska Striker’s production manger explains what a typical day has in store for him

Get in gear


I get myself a cup of good coffee, which is most welcome after I’ve already spent about 15 minutes looking for a parking space. While sipping the hot beverage, I wander around a bit to see what’s new on sites like Behance, Dribbble and so on.

Check my inbox


That said, for the majority of internal stuff as well as most of the production, we tend to stay away from email communication. My go-to places are Basecamp and Invision, coupled up with Dropbox and Google Drive. I see what has happened overnight and what I have on my plate for the day.

Plan and prep


I enjoy coming up with new ideas as to how to best execute certain visuals or animations, and there is a lot of space for concepting. I work closely with the creative director and our account managers in order to arrive to a tangible piece of imagery, which quite often drives the rest of the production.

Get stuck in


Depending on how much time is consumed with preproduction, I often dive into the actual production as well. Once a certain style or type of work is set, I typically work on expanding the idea across other media formats or on adding more alternatives to it.

Ready to help


Throughout the day, I have periods in which I heavily communicate with other artists. As it happens, many of them are working remotely, so when I say I communicate, I mean Slack. I am often the artists’ helping hand, always ready to reiterate the brief, what’s required or simply help them to navigate through it.


I am constantly reminded about the fact that I need to grow and develop my skills, and the end of my working day seems to be the best time for that! I tend to watch a lot of online courses, for example on Skillshare. All in all, I try really hard to fit in some self-development but as you can imagine, I’m not successful every day.

© Striker

Me time


Inside the studio

TOP 5 TIPS 1. Custom blends “Don’t underestimate the possibilities offered by Blend If inside the Layer Style menu. It has saved me many times because it allows me to bypass blending modes altogether, and use this custom blending option instead.” Luboš Buračinský 2. Mask on mask “If you’d like to add an additional mask on top of one you already have, group the single layer and mask the group. It’s handy, for example, if you have a precise selection which you don’t necessarily want to merge with a wider one but want to keep both.” Luboš Buračinský 3. Pixel precision “When you right-click a layer with a style and click Create Layers, you can mask Inner Shadow on an object. Also, if you must create sophisticated paths in Photoshop, creating a work path from a selection while holding Alt gives you a customisable pixel tolerance.” Jan Triska 4. Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts “Shortcuts are the best way to use Photoshop efficiently, and using them teaches you what it can really do too. So create plenty of custom shortcuts. Some of the ones I use all the time are Create Smart Object and Unlock All Layers. You can thank me later.” Zdenek Dolezal

Upgrades and usability: Zdenek speaks positively about how Photoshop has changed and the usability of the so ware. He particularly finds the linking of Smart Objects, libraries and boards useful when producing web/digital-related work

it must had been version 7 or 8 then. I was trying to create mock-ups/layouts of different photographs, which we’d then print in order to accompany my grandma’s VHS collection list! I realise not only was Photoshop probably one of the first non-gaming pieces of software I ever used, but also that I’ve been using this software for quite some time now, about 15 years, on a pretty consistent basis, which is quite remarkable.” And the fact that he still uses it regularly is what Buračinský loves about the way Striker has developed. “Although I feel the more creative, direction kind of work and maybe even business and general entrepreneurship should be my natural progression in terms of my duties,” he says, “I still love doing handson production work! I’m a designer by heart. That said, I try to be effective with the use of my time, as ultimately, like many creatives and/or entrepreneurs, you just have to juggle multiple balls at once.”


Müller Dairy Mix World: Striker pitched this key visual to Müller Dairy and, although they didn’t land the project, “we polished it, as we felt it’d be a nice addition to our portfolio, featuring challenging organic materials and all”

And one of those balls now is the professional development of his team, as Buračinský runs a company where employees are encouraged to advance their skills as well as meet their deadlines. As a company, they make time to be creative, and as Zdenek says: “The company stands on skilled, reliable people. It is imperative everyone knows what is expected of them, and maybe even more importantly, when it is expected. A precise timing for each step of the production is set well in advance, and the whole team needs to follow it in order for the process to work. Once we have that down, nobody needs to have their hands held. For instance, people can take as many holidays as they want to, as long as they let the rest of the team know in advance and make sure they won’t halt any production.” As much as Buračinský would like the place to feel laid back, he adds: “I’d say it is quite often pretty much the typical ‘ad-agency’ feel – very dynamic and demanding! And yes, last-minute changes in combination with people wanting to do great work every now and then result in working late. However, I generally encourage people to make time for themselves, get outside, exercise and what not. I guess having two crossfit coaches among our team (Zuzana and Dora) helps a bit.” While some positions in the company – like his and Zdenek’s – overlap between Striker Digital and Striker Pictures, Buračinský says:

© Striker

5. Back to the future “If you want to reintroduce certain visible steps in your History but desperately also want to keep the current state, go to History>New Document which duplicates the current document and in turn allows you to step back in the initial one.” Zdenek Dolezal

“The idea is to have self-sustaining entities, each having its own line of work. Of course, having the two in the same house was the idea in the first place, as they get to work together quite a bit. Considering the complex requirements of today’s digital and marketing ecosystem, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise. “I’m happy to say that these days,” adds Buračinský , “the studio is quite capable of producing a complex piece of visual imagery. Obviously, we pay a lot of attention to detail, scrutinising every pixel.” And so far they’ve been fortunate and impressive enough to work with some great international studios, agencies and individuals over the years, including Skoda, IKEA and SAB Miller breweries. The plan from here is to keep doing what they’re doing, with Buračinský noting: “We will continue expanding our focus on motion graphics. And we will be most delighted if eventually we had a chance to work in the motion picture industry.”

Detailed and bold: Buračinský says Striker has developed “a few techniques which, I’d like to believe, make the work our own in terms of style: detailed and bold”

All images © Striker

Slush Pool Buračinský explains the motion graphics created for the bitcoin mining Slush Pool

Sketch it out


Smooth and streamline

“When it comes to creating unique bits and elements for complex objects such as UI and related items, we usually start sketching on paper. Some really basic stuff which gives you an overview of a basic layout and/or objects will suffice.”


The hard graft

Time to tweak



“Finally, the time has come to take all we have into Photoshop. For the purposes of the style frame, the once single layer is duplicated and masked, so that Solid Color layers can be applied to each of the necessary elements.”

“The sketches are then transferred into Illustrator. From there, we try to follow the idea which was on paper. This time, everything is pixel perfect, snapping to a fixed grid layout.”

“At last, assuming that we have a finished background, we add overall adjustment layers, noise, chromatic aberration and lens correction (and/or depth of field) to ensure that everything ties together.”





See how you can use each of Photoshop’s main features with blend modes to create eye-catching works of art


lend modes are capable of completely transforming an image. By controlling how layers interact with each other, you can create seamless compositions as well as creative effects. Whether you want to add colour and pizzazz to your portrait shots, adjust light and shading in your digital paintings, or create surreal effects, blend modes can help. And they’re particularly useful when

carefully combined with Photoshop’s other tools. Here we take you on a journey through masks, layers, brushes and filters, as well as the trusty Pen tool and even gradients. So On the FileSilo download the files from the FileSilo and take Download your free a look at how Photoshop’s key features can resources at www.filesilo. work harmoniously with blend modes.






Discover ways to combine textures, photos and colour using masks and blend modes.

Create eye-catching digital paintings by applying blend modes to your brush work.

Create stunning illustrations with the Pen tool and enhance the colour by blending.

Use adjustment layers and layer styles in collaboration with blend modes for great effects.

Make fun photo edits by applying filters and then getting creative with blend modes.

ADD COLOURFUL GLOWS Apply a Color Fill layer via the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette. Set to a blend mode (try Hard Light or Linear Dodge). Use the masks to control where the glows appear.

CONTROL YOUR ADJUSTMENTS Layer masks and blend modes can also be used with adjustment layers. Limit an adjustment’s influence by painting black in the mask to hide the effect in areas. Blend modes can affect an adjustment in different ways.


Use blending with masks

Need to create an eye-catching portrait? Unite masks with blend modes for a potpourri of photos, texture and colour. By stacking your assets on top of each other and setting them to various blend modes, you can quickly get a sweet mix going. Where you have areas that aren’t jiving with the emerging composition, add layer masks to the appropriate layers and paint black in unwanted areas. Start with a soft-edged brush and increase hardness for detail work. Masks and blend modes aren’t limited to photos, though. Adjustments, vector assets, and shapes can be masked and blended as well. See what vibrant creations you can come up with by incorporating blend modes and masks into your arsenal.

Stack images and use blend modes to merge. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly which mode to use. Cycle through them until something clicks. Use layer masks to hide unwanted areas.





Blend with brushes Blend modes are awesome for digital painting. Not only can they make colours more intense, keep shading and highlighting consistent, and simulate lighting effects that would be really hard to replicate with analog media, but they manage all of that while remaining non-destructive, because you can paint on separate layers and have them react to everything beneath them! One huge advantage digital painting with blend modes has is that it’s much easier to add a consistent level of highlights or shading by just using one colour than it is to constantly pick correct shading colours manually. For easy shading, change your layer’s blending mode to Linear Burn and lower the Opacity to 50%, then use a neutral grey and start painting across your artwork. Thanks to the blending mode, the grey paint reacts with the colours below making them darker, which simulates shading effectively. Similarly, painting white on an Overlay layer acts as a highlighting tool that gives a uniform amount of light to your image. Choosing different colours tints the lighting or shading in different ways. If you use clipping masks in conjunction with blending modes you can also control where the highlights and shadows are applied, so that you’re only affecting certain elements or characters.

PAINTING SCATTERING LIGHT Painting with light colours using an airbrush or Radial Gradient tool can simulate light bloom in a way that’s impossible with traditional media. Try experimenting with the Screen, Linear Dodge, Color Dodge and Overlay modes for the best effect.

CONTROLLING YOUR BRUSH WORK A blend mode attached to a clipping mask layer lets you isolate and control effects like highlights and shadows, so elements and characters can stand apart from whatever background they are on.

Adjustments Here we will use adjustment layers to make a simple colour correction in a photo, then apply blend modes to mix the effect even further. Open the start image from the FileSilo and increase the contrast using a Levels adjustment layer. Change the blend mode to Luminosity. This will affect the tonality of the layer. Now apply a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer to colorize the image and then change its blend mode to Overlay. This will enhance the dark areas while screening the light areas. Now add a Photo Filter adjustment layer to warm the colours and add a paper texture to create a vintage photo effect.




Merge the images and then apply the Inner Stroke layer style to create a nice frame around the photo. Place the paper texture and change the blend mode to Multiply to complete the effect.

COLOUR BOOSTING You can achieve gorgeous transitions from one colour to another and boost the vibrancy of colours by using blend modes. It’s best to pick from local colours in the scene to do this, as it ties the elements together better.

Lines and flats


Create a new layer under line work and paint flat colours. Change the line layer’s blend mode to Soft Light; the black lines will take on the colours from the flat layer. Right-click the lines layer and select Create Clipping Mask.

Paint some texture details


EXPERT TIP Alternate versions

Don’t be timid when creating. Pile on images, play with blend modes, and juggle the stacking order of the layers. As you create, you may want to explore several possibilities for your image. When you get to a compositional fork, save multiple versions and ursue all options.

Create a new layer above the flat colour and beneath the line layer and tick ‘Use previous layer as clipping mask’. Use a mixture of airbrushes and texture brushes to add details like pores, blemishes and basic shadows.


Layer styles With layer styles you can add shadows, glows and bevels to your image. Here we used the blend mode options available in the Layer Style window to create a fun text effect. Open an image and then add a text layer. Set the Fill layer to 0% and then open the Layer Style window. Check Gradient Overlay, Satin, Inner Glow, Inner Shadow and Bevel/ Emboss. Open each style and adjust the settings. Observe that Photoshop automatically sets the best blend mode for each style. You can change it, but in most cases, you just need to alter the opacity and colour to create the effect you want.

Place each letter on its own layer and then apply the layer styles to a single layer. Now hold Opt/Alt, click and drag the layer style onto the next layer. This will duplicate the style and apply it for you.

Add highlights


Create a new layer above the lines and tick the ‘Use previous layer as clipping mask’ option. Set the blend mode to Overlay. Pick a brush and use pure white; the white interacts with the base colours for consistent highlights.

Add colour tints


Create a layer under the lines layer (it will become a clipping mask), set blend mode to Overlay, use the Linear Gradient tool (25% Opacity, Foreground to Transparent) to apply dark and light gradients to boost colours.




Fuse with filters

Here we look at how to combine filters and blend modes to create a beautiful photo edit. First, create a colourful gradient background, then place an image and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate it. Change the blend mode to Screen; this will blend the greyscale with the gradient, making the image lighter. Now place the female model. Mask the image and then apply the Paint Daubs filter. Adjust the settings and change the blend mode to Hard Light. This will blend the images by increasing the contrast. Create a new layer and fill it with black. Apply the Clouds filter and then go to Filter>Pixelate>Mezzotint and choose Long Lines. Apply the Motion Blur filter to create an interesting effect and then change the blend mode to Soft Light. The final result will be a soft effect with darkened and lightened areas.

CHANGE ITS OPACITY Experiment with the blend modes to discover how each one works. Decrease the Fill or Opacity setting to reduce the effect and create a smoother transition between them.


UNEXPECTED EFFECTS One of the best things about blend modes is you never quite know what you’re going to get. Embrace it! The blend mode here has created an area of light, almost as if light is shining through the wings.

Pair up with he Pen tool

3DIMENSIONAL HIGHLIGHT Placing a white fill and lowering the opacity creates very flat highlights. Instead, change the blend mode of your highlight layer. This will make the highlight colour react with the colour below, creating a far more complex and believable highlight.


As you know, blend modes enable the active ayer to blend with the layers below by making the active layer translucent. Depending on the blend mode, the colours in the active layer are darkened or lightened (or sometimes completely changed) as it reacts with the colours below. In conjunction with the Pen tool, which enables you to create lovely smooth, sweeping curves, this technique lends tself well to creating the feeling of speed and motion, as shown in this image. The two blend modes used to achieve this effect are Soft Light and Hard Light. Create your moving element using the Pen tool and exaggerate the curves to enhance the feeling of dynamism. Make copies of this layer and place them accordingly, changing the blend mode to suit. You’ll need to experiment with the opacities and the order of the layers to get the effect just right.

CROP WITH BLEND MODES You can use the blend modes to easily crop some images. Take care to use photos without much information in the background. In this case, add the bubbles and change the blend mode to Screen.



Add the football, duplicate the layer and apply a Motion Blur (Filter>Blur> Motion Blur) of 80px. Then place the broken glasses around the football and change the blend mode to Screen.

For an eye-catching image, you must mix techniques. Here, add the image ‘Water_Letter E.jpg’, make a mask as in step 4, and erase the top of the image, then add ‘Water_ Letter D.psd’ and change the blend mode to Screen.

Combine with gradients We’re going to use the 3D function to make the letters, highlights and shadows, then pick the Gradient tool (G) with blend modes to create some really cool effects. An important factor with this type of image is to mix photos and textures to make the letters look more real. We’ll also be calling upon Photoshop tools like masks, Gaussian Blur, Levels and many others. Download the resources used here from the FileSilo. Then practise with blend modes and try to create your own letters.

Create the 3D letters


Create a new layer and paint the background with blue (#06325f). Make a highlight with the Brush tool and change the blend mode to Soft Light. Write Blend Modes, duplicate and rasterize the layer, then go to 3D>New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer and set Extrusion Depth to 1012.

Make your own gradient


Choose two colours to make the gradient effect; first the Foreground colour, then the Background colour. Use the Gradient tool (G), go to the gradient menu and choose the first option. Next to the menu are gradient types; choose a Linear gradient.

EXPERT TIP Adding textures

Explore the blend modes


To know all the functions of the blend modes it’s necessary to try them all. In this case, note that the Lighten and Screen modes are useful to erase a black background, so use the image ‘Fire_Letter N.jpg’, change the blend mode and add some fire to the letter.

Add blend details


In the letter E, select the black colour and with the Brush tool (B) make a mask and erase part of the base and part of the top. Add the flower from the image ‘Texture_Letter E.png’, as shown above, and change the blend mode to Screen.

One important detail in composing this image are the textures. They give more depth to the letters and when mixed with the gradient and a blend mode, the result is always very interesting. Use textures and try all the blend modes until one of them fits with your layout.


Tutorial Fire up your shots with blend modes


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Whatyou’lllearn Create a flame effect with filters, gradient maps and blend modes

Time taken 1 hour

Expe Daniel Sinoca “One of the things I like in Photoshop is the versatility. I can combine all kinds of tools to create amazing effects. Fire is a good example of how easy it is to use some of these features. “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.”

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Fire up yo shots with blend modes Heat things up to create a flame-filled effect using simple techniques and blend modes


n this tutorial we’re going to show you an easy way to create a fire effect with a relatively limited range of tools – basically filters, the Gradient Map adjustment layer and blend modes. This technique is so simple that it can be applied to almost any image. First we’ll show you how to edit the image. We’ll use the Quick Mask mode to define the area to mask. Then we’ll use the Smudge tool to add fur. Next you’ll discover a simple technique to whiten and brighten teeth and enhance the eyes. Then things really start to heat up. We’ll use the

adjustment layers and filters to desaturate the image and create smooth lines on the tiger’s face. Then we’ll apply the Gradient Map tool to add colour, and finally we’ll place fire images and use blend modes and masks. Check the Expert Tip for more on the Gradient Map tool. If you are using Photoshop Elements, we have included alternative methods throughout the steps, in addition to a final summary at the end. This tutorial is full of great tips and techniques to improve your skills. Download the start image from

Dreamstime (ID 19307501) and get stuck in.

Place the tiger Create a new document


Go to File>New or press Cmd/Ctrl+N. Name it Tiger on Fire. Set the Width to 230mm, Height: 310mm, Resolution: 300 Pixels/Inch, in Background Contents choose black as the colour and then click OK.


Download the tiger from Dreamstime (ID 19307501). Go to File>Place Embedded (Elements: File>Place). Press Q to enter Quick Mask mode (use the Selection Brush tool in Elements). Grab a hard brush and paint the tiger’s face. Press Q again and go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Invert the mask (Cmd/Ctrl+I).

Fill out the fur


Duplicate the layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl+J and hide the original layer. With the Tiger copy active, go to Layer>Rasterize/ Simplify>Smart Object. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Apply. Grab the Smudge tool, choose a small soft tip brush, set the Strength to 90% then gently and patiently push the fur out.


Tutorial Fire up your shots with blend modes Expert tip Gradient maps The Gradient Map is excellent for adding colour to a blackand-white image or to alter hues in a colour image. It matches the greyscale range in an image. The black colour in the gradient represents the shadows in your image while the white colour represents the highlights. You can add colours along the gradient to affect specific areas. Remember, each image has a greyscale range, so for better results, experiment with settings in the Gradient Editor.

Brighten the teeth Brush the teeth


Go to Quick Mask mode (Q). Now grab a hard brush (B) and paint the teeth. Press Q again then press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy into a new layer. Keep it selected, then grab the Smudge tool. Set the Strength to 30% and start smudging the teeth.

Open Hue/Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl+U). Set Saturation to -100 and Lightness to +40. Now grab the Burn tool (O). Change Range to Midtones, Exposure: 40% and then paint the shadows on the teeth. Grab the Dodge tool (O), set the Range to Highlights, Exposure: 10% and paint the highlights.

Enhance the eyes

Merge the layers



Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Eyes, change the mode to Soft Light, then click OK. Zoom in and grab a soft tip brush, size 30. Set the Foreground colour to white and start painting the inner circle to add highlights. Switch to black and paint the pupil.

Create the effect


Duplicate the layer again (Cmd/ Ctrl+J). Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+U to desaturate and then go to Filter>Stylize>Oil Paint. For Elements, see the tips at the end. Set the Brush Stylization to 10, Cleanliness: 10, Scale: 10, Bristle Detail: 10, uncheck Lighting and click OK.



Let’s group the files. Hold Shift and select the layers (except the Background), then press Cmd/Ctrl+G. Name it Tiger. Now press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it and then Cmd/ Ctrl+E to merge.

Apply the gradient map


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. Open the Gradient Editor and create four colour stops. For the first, use #ffffff, Location: 12%. For the second, use #fda804, Location: 35%. For the third, enter #a41a08, Location: 80% and for the fourth #511414, Location: 100% and check Reverse. Clip the layers (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G).

Add details


Grab the Tiger_copy layer and drag to the top of the layer stack. Create a layer mask, click the layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette. Grab a large soft brush and start hiding the areas around the mouth, eyes and nose.

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Light the fire


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Levels. Set the Inputs to 0, 0.93, 227. Start placing the fire around the face. Go to File>Place Embedded (Elements: File>Place) ‘Fire1.jpg’. Resize, rotate and hit Enter. Change the blend mode to Screen. Create a layer mask and hide unwanted areas.

Colour the eyes

Add more fire


Place more fire images around the tiger. Rotate the images to match the direction of the tiger’s fur. Duplicate, rotate, scale and mask each layer. Change the blend mode to Screen and adjust the Levels and Opacity a bit if needed.

Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Eyes Colour. Set the blend mode to Color and click OK. Use the Eyedropper tool (I) and select a dark red from the tiger’s face. Grab a soft brush and paint the upper half of the eyes. Select yellow and paint the bottom half.

Make adjustments

Add a vignette effect



First, create a snapshot. Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+E. Name it Final. Go to Filter>Lens Correction. Open the Custom panel. Set the Vignette amount to -100 and the Midpoint to +70, then click OK. Elements users go to Guided>Vignette Effect.


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input levels to 0, 0.90, 255. Now add a Color Lookup adjustment layer. Check Device Link and from the drop-down menu choose Smokey. Elements users go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Photo Filter and choose Sepia.

Elements users Don’t miss out! Check these alternative methods for Elements. In steps 2 and 4 the Quick Mask isn’t available, but you can easily substitute it for the Selection Brush tool (Shift+A). You can change the settings to view as a mask or a selection, adjust the Size and Hardness and then create the layer mask. In step 7 you can’t place the layers into groups; in this case, just hide the layers by clicking on the eye icon in the Layers palette. In step 8 you need to use the Graphic Novel filter and a Hue/Saturation and Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to create the effect.

ADJUSTMENT LAYERS GRAPHIC NOVEL FILTER Go to Filter>Sketch>Graphic Novel. Set Darkness to 4.25, Clean Look: 8, Contrast: 0.65, Thickness: 0 and press the Add button twice to apply smoothness.

Apply the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Set the Brightness to -10 and Contrast: -47. Now apply a Hue/Saturation layer and set the Lightness to -20. Then clip the layers.


Tutorial Play with perspective


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Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Use the 3D tools and multiple images to get creative with perspective

Time taken 5hours

Expe Rodrigo Marinel “Sport can be inspirational when creating art, so the opportunity to combine my passions of sport and Photoshop was fantastic! It’s great to use tools and techniques in Photoshop to experiment with perspective. “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 tutorials.”

Play with perspecti

Make the most of Photoshop’s 3D tools to create a dynamic scene


reating an original piece of artwork is always a challenge, but being aware of all the features and tools that Photoshop can offer makes the challenge much easier. In this tutorial, we will create a dynamic scene using perspective techniques. In order for the perspective to be correct, it’s essential to have important information about angles, highlights and shadows, which means this is a perfect tutorial to practise using the 3D engine. Unfortunately you can’t always rely on your eyes, and some decisions you make need to be more mathematical.

Set the background


Create a new file measuring 230x310mm. With the Paint Bucket tool (G), fill the background with red (#a53123). Duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and make a rectangle with the Rectangular Marquee tool (M). Apply a Feather (Shift+F6) of 500px and press delete three times, then change the blend mode to Multiply.

Thankfully you’ll see that with a few simple clicks, Photoshop will give you the perfect base to start creating perspective edits. To make the artwork eye-catching, we will create a scene of a motorcycle race, full of drama, suspense and motion. To do this we will also learn how to use masks to blend images and experiment with colour, as well as apply incredible photomanipulation techniques. The result will be similar to an out-of-bounds effect. So let’s use Photoshop to win this race and make a great image.

Draw highlights and shadows


With the Pen tool, draw the shadows at the top with a red (#a53123). Apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) of 284px and change the blend mode to Multiply. To make the highlight, create a white circle, repeat the same procedure and change the blend mode to Overlay.

Add more shading


With the Elliptical Marquee tool, make a circle and paint it white, as shown above, then apply the Gaussian Blur filter at 100px and change the blend mode to Soft Light.


Tutorial Play with perspective

Use the 3D engine


Now let’s use the 3D tools to create a perspective base. First, make a rectangle and paint it grey (#7b7b7b) then go to 3D>New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer. Rotate the rectangle as shown in the image above and change the Extrusion Depth to 2500.

Draw highlights and shadows


With the Pen tool, draw the highlights, paint them white, apply a Gaussian Blur of 45px and change the blend mode to Soft Light. Also with the Pen tool, draw the shadows, paint them black, apply a Gaussian Blur of 50px and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Add ‘Biker.jpg’ to the scene. To change the colour tone of the image, duplicate the layer and paint it red (#a53123), then change the blend mode to Color at 30% Opacity. After that, duplicate the layer again and apply the High Pass filter (Filter>Other>High Pass) set to 3px.


Let’s draw a shadow and a highlight close to each other to give a bevel effect. With the Pen tool, draw the shadow, apply a Gaussian Blur of 35px and change the blend mode to Soft Light. Then, draw the highlight and repeat the procedure.

Let’s start to build up the scene. Add ‘White mountain. psd’, as shown above. Select the layer, press the Add Mask button and make a mask, then change the Foreground colour to black, and with the Brush tool (B), erase the unnecessary details of the photo.



Create bevel highlights

Make a layer mask


Place the biker

Work on the perspective


With the Magic Wand tool (W), select the top of the 3D shape and make a layer folder with a mask, then add the layer Base_perspective from the ‘Details.psd’. In order to achieve the correct perspective, use the Perspective tool, found under Edit> Transform>Perspective.

Adjust hue and saturation


Add ‘Mountain.psd’ and use the Hue/Saturation tool (Cmd/Ctrl+U) with the configuration 0, +25, 0. This will make the image look more colourful. After that, select the image, apply a Feather (Shift+F6) of 2px, invert the selection (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I) and press delete.

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Expert tip Gradient mask

Grow some trees

Fix brightness and contrast



Access the Tree layer from ‘Details.psd’ and place it between the Mountain and White Mountain layer folder. Make a mask to erase the unnecessary parts and apply a Feather of 2px. Then, change the colour tone using the Levels tool (Cmd/Ctrl+L) with the configuration 11, 1,00, 239

Let start on the biker’s track. Add the Grass layer from ‘Base.psd’ and with the Brightness/Contrast tool (Image> Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast) enhance the highlights and shadows with the configuration 17, 20.

Lay the track

Give perspective and depth



Add the Track layer from ‘Base.psd’, then use the Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to make it fit. Hold the Cmd/ Ctrl button and select one of the little squares to change the perspective as in the image above.

Add details


We need to add some details to make the track more colourful. Add the layer Adding_details from ‘Details.psd’. Apply a Feather of 2px. To blend the image with the scene, it’s always important to make a mask, as in step 9.

Don’t forget to always follow the 3D perspective. In this case, follow the perspective from the right side using the layer Right_side_ perspective from ‘Details.psd’. To give more depth to the image, enhance the shadows using the Burn tool (O).

Complete the perspective


During the tutorial it will be necessary to use masks multiple times. This is essential to blend the images with the overall scene. But there are other ways to use this tool. Select the layer and press the mask button, change the Foreground colour to black and select the Gradient tool. Choose the second option (Foreground to Transparent) then erase the part that you want. You can also use the different gradient modes (Radial, Angle, Reflected and Diamond).

To complete the perspective from the top of the biker’s track, add the layer The_left_side_perspective from ‘Base.psd’. To manipulate the image use the Warp tool (Edit>Transform>Warp) as in the image above. To blend the image with the scene, apply a mask as in step 9.

Apply Color Balance


Now add the layer Trees_02 from ‘Details.psd’. It’s very important to add details to make the biker’s track more realistic. Follow the same mask procedure as in step 9 and enhance the yellow tone using the Color Balance command (Image> Adjustments>Color Balance) with the configuration 0, 0, -40.


Tutorial Play with perspective Expert edit Perfect the details

Quick selection


Use ‘Palm.jpg’. Duplicate it, go to Image>Adjustments>Black&White. After that go to Select>Color Range, press Add Selection then press OK.

Work on the track


Let’s start to work on the front of the track. Follow the 3D perspective and add the layer Adding_details from ‘Details. psd’. You also need to add the layer Detail from the same image and use the Warp tool to make the image fit in with the scene, as shown above.

Bring in more trees


Create a new layer folder called ‘art’ and put it below the biker layer folder. Then add ‘Left trees.psd’ and put it on the left side, just like in the image above. Finally select the image and apply a Feather as you did in step 10.

Add movement


To give more movement to the scene, add ‘Bird. jpg’ and ‘Palm.psd’. To make the palm edges softer, duplicate the layer and change the blend mode to Multiply, then put it below the Normal layer. Make a mask on the Normal layer and erase along the edges.

Floor shadow


Let’s make the shadow on the floor. With the Pen tool (P) draw the shadow as shown above, apply a Gaussian Blur (7px), then change the blend mode to Soft Light.

The dust


To give more movement to the scene, add ‘Dust 2.psd’ and put it behind the biker layer folder. Then change the blend mode to Multiply.

Final details


Add the layer Final_detail from ‘Base detail.psd’, make a mask and put it in front of the biker’s track, then add the layer Final_detail_02, make a mask and put it above the sand.


Fill with green

Work on the right side



Let’s fill the empty spaces with the layer Trees_02 from ‘Details.psd’. Duplicate the layer until the front of the biker’s track is full of green. To blend the image with the scene, apply the Feather, as in step 10, then make masks, as in step 9.

Repeat the previous step to fill all the right side with green. Don’t forget to follow the 3D perspective. When applying the mask, always choose the Soft Round brush, because it will make the fusion of the images much more realistic.

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Quick mask


Add the layer Grass from ‘Base.psd’ and make a mask like in step 9, then add the layer Right_detail from the same image. Make a mask, then press Q and with the Brush tool, paint the bottom part. Press Q again, invert the selection and use the Levels command set to 30, 1,00, 255.

Make some dust


Let’s add some movement to the scene. Add ‘Dust.jpg’ and put it below the biker’s track. Change the blend mode to Multiply and with the Free Transform tool, repeat the procedure from step 13 to adjust the perspective.

Create sand wind


First use the layer Sand_wind_01 from ‘Base detail.psd’. Put it below the biker. Make a mask and use Levels (36, 1,00, 255) and Hue/Saturation (0, -17, 0) to change the colour tone. Use ‘Dust 3.psd’ and put it above the biker. Change the blend mode to Screen and make a mask.

Add more wind

Make final adjustments



Add ‘Sand.psd’ and put it in front of the biker. The secret is to use a mask to blend the image with the biker’s track. Duplicate the layer and put it in front of the back tyre. Add ‘Sand 2.psd’, also put it in front of the back tyre and make a mask.

What can go wrong

Let’s make the final colour adjustments. Go to the Adjustments menu, select the Photo Filter (Warm Filter – 25% Opacity) and Brightness/Contrast (12, 13). Don’t forget to activate Proof Color (Cmd/ Ctrl+Y) to see how the colours will look when printed in CMYK.


Your eyes can lie When it comes to perspective, your eyes don’t always get things right. Don’t worry, though, because Photoshop has the perfect tool to help. When working with perspective it’s vital for all angles to be correct, so before you start building up the image, use the 3D tools to create a base with the right perspective. It’s easy to do in just a few clicks. If you decide not to use the 3D engine and trust your eyes, it’s possible that the final result will be wrong. You can create three squares and use the Free Transform tool to make a square with perspective, but the process is complicated and can easily go wrong, because the angles may not be right, which will compromise the entire image.



Tutorial Illustrate with the Pen tool


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Essentials Works with

Start image Elements



Whatyou’lllearn Illustrate with the Pen tool, Shape layers, layer styles and gradients

Time taken 3 hours

Expert Moe Hezwani “The Pen tool is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop, and I’m constantly discovering new ways to create imaginative scenes. I love transforming photos into illustrations, and particularly enjoyed adding quirky elements to this scene, like the spaceships. “I’m a professional graphic designer/illustrator, and Photoshop is my go-to platform for my designs.”

Illustrate with the Pen tool

Use the Pen tool, gradients, masks and your imagination to draw an eye-catching futuristic city


he Pen tool is one of those tools that needs a bit of extra bit of practice to perfect. Drawing a vector illustration, like this city skyline, is the best way to get that practice in. Drawing with the Pen tool is easy. Position your mouse where you’d like to begin drawing and click to create your first anchor point. Subsequent anchor points will all be connected to the last point drawn, enabling you to create custom shapes. To complete a shape, click the first anchor point. There are three options you could choose from when using the Pen tool: Vector, Path or Pixel.

Get started


Open up ‘City.jpg’ from the FileSilo. Start by creating the base of the illustration. Grabbing the Rectangle tool, ensure that Shape Layers is selected. Then draw a thin rectangle about half the width of the canvas. Next, go to Edit>Free Transform Path and rotate it about 6.25°.

Using the Options bar along the top of your screen, there is a set of three icons near the left-hand side of the bar. Each icon represents one of the three types. The first icon is for shape layers, and this is the option you will need to choose when drawing a vector shape. This detailed tutorial will walk you through the process of creating a vector skyline, using shapes such as rectangles, circles and custom shapes, all made possible by that handy Pen tool. You will also discover how to give your illustration depth by adding gradient styles and strokes.

Mirror the base


Repeat step 2 two more times using two different colours, select those three shape layers and duplicate them by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+J. Now flip the duplicated layers by going to Edit>Transform Path>Flip Horizontal and move them to the other side of the canvas. For ease, put these shape layers into folders.

Create water


Using the Pen tool, draw the shape of the bottom half of the base, ensuring this shape layer is below the Base folder. Then double-click this layer to bring up the Layer Styles window and select Gradient. Create a blue to white gradient, with Angle: 90° and Scale: 114.


Tutorial Illustrate with the Pen tool

Expert tip Custom shapes There are a lot of elements in the illustration that can be drawn once and reused, by making them into custom shapes. To create your own custom shapes, draw your object (for example, a cloud) using the Pen tool, making sure Shape Layers is selected. Once drawn, select it using the Path Selection tool, then go to Edit>DeďŹ ne Custom Shape. Name your new shape and hit OK. Next, head over to the Custom Shape tool and your new shape will be waiting for you there.

Build the road

Create the basic building shape



Finish the water by drawing ripples using the Pen tool; ensure Shape Layer is selected. Next, draw an isosceles triangle on the top half of the base and add a stroke; Size: 15px. Make the stroke colour the same colour as the middle base colour.

Continue to build buildings


Trace the remaining buildings from the photo, but use the photo as a guide. Think about perspective and which angle the buildings need to point to keep in line with the triangle shape of the base; make sure your first building is the focal point. Also ensure your buildings have bright and colourful gradients.

Add windows


Grab the Rectangle tool and draw a small, thin rectangle. Using Free Transform Path, rotate it to the same angle as your building. Place this shape into a folder (from the drop-down menu of your Layers palette, select New Group From Layer). Now duplicate this shape layer several times.

Create shapes in shapes

Work on the sky



Use step 8’s method to draw windows for the other buildings. Create the antenna of the centre building by drawing a long, thin triangle. Grab the Ellipse tool to draw the circular part of the antenna. To ensure your circle is added into the same shape layer, draw it while clicking the Shift key.


Start by tracing the middle building of the photo using the Pen tool. Draw each triangle section using four different shape layers. Next, give the first and third shape the same gradient, and the second and fourth shape the same gradient, but different to the first and third. This will make the building look 3D.

Align your windows


Using the Move tool, move the last duplicated layer to the bottom of your building and select all those duplicated layers. With the Move tool still selected, click the Distribute Vertical Centers button in the Options bar. Next, close the folder, add a layer mask to it, and cut out the excess parts using the Polygonal Lasso tool.

Draw the soundwaves of the antenna and apply the same gradient as the building. To create the sky, make a new layer just above the start image. Use the Gradient tool to create a blue to green gradient. Now create a massive circle using the Ellipse tool, and give it the same gradient but reversed.

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Draw the spaceships


From this point on you will be using your imagination to draw the rest of the illustration. Start by drawing a spaceship using the Pen tool. Begin with the body, give it a purple gradient and then use the Rectangle tool to draw the windows. Grab the Pen tool again and draw an engine.

Create fluffy clouds

Draw background buildings



Create a new folder and change the Opacity of this folder to 40%. Make your Foreground colour white and start by drawing your first curve shape. Then Alt-click on your anchor point to enable you to change direction, and keep drawing curves and clicking Alt until you are happy with your cloud shape.

Build a reflection in the water


Place all your building shape layers into one folder and duplicate it. With the duplicated folder selected, go to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical, move down to the water and change Opacity to 7%. Add a layer mask to the folder; using the Gradient tool, create a soft fade effect to the top of the buildings.

Finish up


Ensure that the building reflection folder is below the road shape layer. To add the finishing touches, draw a few boats in the water. Add trees to the road with some cars and vans. Your futuristic skyline is now complete!

What you can do with it Design your own phone case There are hundreds of different phone cases out there, but wouldn’t it be great if you had your own personalised case that no one else had? What a fantastic way to show off your artwork by placing it onto your phone; you could even share your creation with friends and family by making them one, or keep it just for yourself as your own original. There a plenty of cheap online services that will help you to place your artwork onto a customised phone case.

Draw more clouds; make sure they are in that 40% Opacity folder. Create a new folder and draw the rest of the sky elements; the birds and the spaceship cloud trail. Do this by drawing a long, thin triangle coming off the spaceship. Finally, create building silhouettes behind your foreground buildings and change their Opacity to 90%.

HIGH RESOLUTION ARTWORK Before sending your artwork to be printed, make sure it has a high resolution; 300dpi should do it. If it has a low resolution, your phone case may come back with blurry artwork.

FIND THE RIGHT SERVICE Finding the right price and the best company to upload your artwork to is important to achieve the best quality phone case. www. is a handy choice to help create your custom cases.


Tutorial Intensify with filters and adjustments


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Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Achieve a detailed, cinematic look with filters and adjustments

Time taken 1 hour

Expert Andre Villanueva “Within the past year, I’ve become increasingly interested in the photoretouching aspect of Photoshop. Being able to elevate ordinary photos into intense pieces is something I find exciting and rewarding. “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.”

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Intensify with filters and adjustments Bestow a cinematic feel to your portraits with filters, adjustments and a tasty dose of dodge and burn


hen it comes to imagery for action movie posters, sophisticated advertisements and gritty sports promos, you’ll need some high-octane styling for your photos. A detailed, cinematic look can certainly fit the bill. For those just starting out with retouching, it may seem like an impossible task to go from ordinary to intense. But you’ll be happy to learn it’s really not that complicated to get the basic styling down. After isolating our mustachioed model and placing him atop an appropriate background, you’ll

Make a quick selection


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

enlist the Clouds filter to add atmospheric detail. Dodging and burning (essentially, lightening and darkening areas) are next. To stay non-destructive, you’ll paint white to lighten and black to darken on 50% grey layers set to Overlay. The High Pass filter and Shadows/Highlights adjustment grant the image an HDR-like boost by sharpening the image and heightening midtone contrast. Hue/Saturation and Color Lookup will blunt and alter colour. Once the basic look is achieved, push it further with extra filtering and adjustments, like Color Balance and Photo Filter.

Use Refine Edge


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


Tutorial Intensify with filters and adjustments

Expert tip Keep imperfections When producing an intense photo effect, restrain the urge to make your model too digitally pristine before applying your main filters and adjustments. Enlarged pores, wrinkles and other ‘imperfections’ offer welcome traction for your processing. In some cases, you may even find yourself with not enough detail to work with. To make too-clean models more rugged, you could blend in some grunge or dirty textures with masks and blend modes.

Borrow a beverage

Clean up the selection


Set Output To to 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 up close. Adjust brush size/opacity as needed. Decrease/increase brush hardness with { and }.


Open ‘Cappuccino.psd’. Click the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers palette. Use the Brush tool to paint black to hide everything but the liquid. Save and close. In the model document, go to File>Place (Place Embedded in CC) and grab the cappuccino. Scale, rotate and position before committing. Save and close.

Place the model in the scene


Open ‘Start.psd’. Go to File>Place (Place Linked in CC) and grab the model. Scale up and position before committing. Create a new layer. Press D (default colours). Go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Option/Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers palette. Paint white with a soft brush at 10% Opacity to add clouds.

Dodge and burn Desaturate


Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette and choose Hue/Saturation. Drag slider leftward to -20. This will blunt the colour vibrancy a tad.

Dodge and burn some more


Continue to dodge and burn. To quickly intensify, duplicate the layers (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Dial down the opacity if it’s too much. Restore neutrality by painting with #808080. When done, select the top layer and press Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E to merge layers. In Photoshop, right-click on the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.



Add a new layer. Go to Edit>Fill (Fill Layer in Elements). Choose 50% Gray and click OK. Set the layer to Overlay blend mode. With a Soft Round brush at a low brush Opacity (start at 10%), paint black to darken, white to lighten. Use multiple layers for increased control.

Use High Pass


Set the merged layer to Overlay. Duplicate (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Click the eye on the top layer to hide it. Select the first merged layer. Go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Set Radius to 7. Click OK. Add a mask and paint black to reduce sharpening in areas.

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Target intensified High Pass


Click the eye on the upper merged layer to turn it on. Select that layer. Add High Pass (Radius: 36). Click OK. Option/ Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button. Paint back with white to add intensified detail to key areas, such as the face, hair and hand.

Get the HDR look

Use Color Lookup



Now to add a slight HDR look. Merge the layers again and convert to a Smart Object in Photoshop. Go to Image>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/Highlights (Elements: Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/ Highlights). Increase Midtone to about 36. Click OK. Mask and reduce if desired.


Add light


Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette and choose Color Lookup. For the 3DLUT File, pick FoggyNight.3DL. Drop the layer Opacity to 70%. (Elements: use Hue/Saturation and drop Saturation to -60.) Paint black in the mask to reduce the effect on the skin.

Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette and choose Solid Color. Pick white. Click the mask and press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Now paint white with a soft-edged brush (start at a low brush opacity) to add light in areas. You’ve achieved the base look.


You can continue to tweak and intensify the effect. Merge layers and apply the Gaussian Blur filter. Mask out the main features to restore focus. Tweak colour with Photo Filter. In Photoshop, play with Color Lookup and/or Color Balance. Save when you’re happy with the effect.


Closer look

Heighten drama with dodge and burn. Stay non-destructive by painting white and black on 50% grey layers set to Overlay.

Forge a cinematic look INTENSE DETAIL Amplify subtle detail with the onetwo punch of the High Pass filter followed with Shadows/Highlights. Use layer masks to tone down the enhancements in the periphery.

STEAM AND SMOKE Enlist the Clouds filter (Filter>Render>Clouds) to quickly add atmosphere to a scene. Use a layer mask to control.

COLOUR For the base effect, you’ll blunt vibrancy with Hue/ Saturation. Colour can be further tweaked with adjustments like Photo Filter and Color Balance.


How I made Safe Haven


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Essentials Time taken 12 hours

The artist Lewis Moorhead “I’m a self-taught digital designer aspiring to achieve the best. I believe if I put enough effort into my projects, people will give me something all designers strive for: to be recognised and appreciated. My goal is to become a full-time ad designer and digital artist.” See more of Lewis’s work at

Safe Haven

We find out how digital artist Lewis Moorhead seamlessly blended multiple photographic sources into this complex photocomposite


his image took Lewis Moorhead 12 hours to complete, time spent clipping masks, extracting elements from photographs, and intensive shadow and highlight work to blend all of the source material into one cohesive whole. He did rely on some Photoshop tricks to speed up the process, though: “One way was to use the Shadows/Highlights tool (Image>Adjustments) to bring back highlights and shadows diffused by the darkness of the original image.” Lewis believes it is important to use the right tools to separate images from backgrounds depending on their end use. For example, in this image he relied on the Magic

Wand tool for those elements that didn’t require a perfect cutout, but spent a great deal more time on detailed cutouts with the Pen tool. For Lewis, the most important element was ensuring everything looked seamless; something he achieved with the Adjustments panel: “Adjustments is probably the most important panel in Photoshop, as it enabled me to adjust colour, contrast and vibrancy within the scene and for individual objects. Using various sources for my images, it was difficult to match colour and exposure, so using the right adjustments was paramount to the success of this image.”

Building source material

Matching elements together



The first step was to gather the images required, so I put I blended the mounds of rubbish together using masks with together a collection of over 100 images of rusted objects, various grass brushes to blend the scenery in with the cars, boats and scenes, and started from there. The next stage was to objects. I continued to build up the mound, which included creating the build up from the bottom, compiling trains and vehicles to get a base platforms for the characters. I then started using the Shadows/ layer as well as the surrounding scene. Highlights tool to adjust each object individually to match the scene.

Making lighting adjustments

Once the mound was complete I began integrating the Applying final corrections characters and people into the scene. I collected images from I used 15 adjustment layers for the final colour correction, multiple sources, so none of the lighting matched. Using a dodge and adjusting colour and vibrancy to try and match a desert burn technique, I was able to change the lighting and colour using atmosphere. I sharpened the image using a High Pass filter, as well as adjustment layers. the Camera Raw filter to adjust colours and exposure.




Tutorial Create a surreal animal scene

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

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Use layers, masks and adjustments to construct a surreal forest scene

Time taken 4 hours

Expe Mark White “This image is influenced by my favourite Disney film, The Jungle Book. Incorporating many animals into one scene can be a challenge, but it can look visually spectacular if you blend them together. “As senior staff writer on Photoshop Creative, I’ve learned all kinds of quick tips to help with even the most impressive-looking pictures.”


Create a surreal animal scene

Use layers, masks and the bare necessities of Photoshop to create a surreal forest scene


he key to any good composition is in the details, but if you’re ambitious enough to try and place subjects where you wouldn’t expect them, you’re going to have to pay even more attention to edges, shading and lighting. This composition might look fairly simple, but its success rests on details. The sofas, for example, have been warped to make it look as if the bear and the man are sinking into them, and each of the subjects have been reshaped with Puppet Warp.

The same detail applied to each of the subjects was also put into creating the tables and the lamps. They were created by selecting a rectangle from a mahogany texture and transforming it; the base of the lamp was selected with the Elliptical Marquee. Great artists will tell you they owe their talents to hard work, and it’s the same with creating a detailed composition. Spend time studying pictures of where light should fall. Just because an image is surreal, it doesn’t mean it can’t be realistic!

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Expert edit Construct a table

Add the sofa Build the background


Start off with ‘forest.jpg’; make preliminary adjustments and use the Clone Stamp tool to stretch the path further down. Add a Hue/Saturation layer and tweak the path to give it a redder feel.


Place ‘sofa.jpg’ into the image. Use the Pen or Polygonal Lasso to trace around the outline and hit the Mask icon. Adjust the object by clipping a Curves adjustment to the layer (Elements users: use Levels), add a new layer, clip that too, and brush black onto the legs.

Create a diamond


Select a rectangle from ‘mahogany. jpg’. Duplicate and move up and right of your original layer. Duplicate again and transform; the aim is to join the edges of the two rectangles.

Liquify the sofa


Go to Filter>Liquify and drag the sofa to create dents where the man and the bear can realistically sit. Photoshop users: use the Freeze Mask tool to lock the outline; Elements users: duplicate the layer before you liquify and mask the original layer back in to get rid of any mistakes.

Make a lid


Select a perfect square from ‘mahogany.jpg’ and transform it so that it fits between the four corners of your diamond. Adjust each side to make the lighting realistic.

Add some legs


Select a long rectangle from ‘mahogany.jpg’ and paste below the tabletop. Position one on each corner and use the Elliptical Marquee to round the bottom of the legs.

Create some lamps

Enter the bear



Give the forest a homely feel by creating some lamps. Mask the ‘lamp.jpg’ lampshade to start; beneath that, create a long rectangle and clip ‘mahogany. jpg’ to it. Use adjustments and clip gradients to give depth. Check out the Expert Edit for a more in-depth edit.

Insert ‘bear2.jpg’ into your image. Mask around the bear and place him on the sofa. Add ‘bear1.jpg’ and mask around his head. Place over ‘bear2.jpg’ and mask with a soft brush to blend the two together. Use the Clone Stamp to mask over the green around his paws.

Adjust the elements


Clip a layer to each table leg. Add a black and white gradient set to Soft Light, 50% Opacity. Clip a similar gradient to the tabletop to give a sheen.


Tutorial Create a surreal animal scene

Expert tip Cover up spaces Editing bears onto sofas and bringing lamps into the forest can be difficult enough, so don’t feel guilty about employing a few tricks. If there are any objects that are difficult to mask, save some time and simply cover them up with other objects! The TV is quite narrow, so position it at the edge of the screen; the snake is a similar yellow to the light, so position them together; and the tiger’s fur can be hard to mask around, so place the popcorn over any imperfect edges.

Place the man


Place ‘man.jpg’. Mask around him and place him towards the arm of the sofa, before masking some more to reveal the sofa around him. Go to Edit> Puppet Warp (Elements users: use Liquify) to alter his posture and point his arm in the same direction that the bear is looking in.

Mask the monkey


Just as you’ve done with the man and bear, add ‘monkey.jpg’, and mask around him; mask over the green plant in his hand too, as we’re going to replace this. You can use brushes, Refine Edge or just the Pen tool to select any of these subjects.

Insert cups and a television Bring in some tables


Follow the Expert Edit to discover how you can create realistic-looking tables in Photoshop. We’re going to need one in front of the sofa, and another further away to place the television onto.


Add ‘tv.jpg’ and ‘cup.jpg’ to the image. Resize ‘tv.jpg’, place on its table and clip ‘texture.jpg’ to it for a vintage feel. Duplicate ‘cup.jpg’ twice and give each of our three characters their own one; place the monkey’s cup in his hand by masking around his fingers.

Place the wolf and tiger


Next, add ‘cub.jpg’ and ‘tiger.jpg’ into the image. Place the tiger in front of the lamp and the wolf cub half under the table. Mask the pair of these as before, and use Puppet Warp or Liquify to reposition them so they are looking at the television.


Warp the snake


Place ‘Snake.jpg’ into the picture. Use the Clone Stamp tool along with Liquify to warp the snake into an ‘S’ shape, ready to place around the lamp. Mask around parts of the lamp to make it look like the snake is weaving around it.

Correct the lighting


Create a bright Curves adjustment. Elements users: merge all (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E) and up the Levels. Mask this brightness over the lamps. Clip yellow (#ffe786) layers to this brightness; one at Soft Light, 32% Opacity; one at Color Burn 20%. Photoshop users: clip a Hue Saturation layer as above.

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Make a popcorn bucket

Shade, dodge and burn



Use the techniques from creating the table to create a popcorn bucket, only instead of transforming wood textures, transform ‘stripes.jpg’. Use adjustments to tweak the sides and mask ‘popcorn.jpg’ into the middle of the box. Add a text layer saying ‘Popcorn’ to complete the object.

Now to bring a little depth into the image. Create a neutral grey Overlay layer (#808080) and use the Dodge and Burn tools over the highlights and shadows of the image; take into account where the lamps are. On a new layer, use a 20% Opacity brush over where the shadows should appear.

Adjust for perfection


Tweak each animal

Adjustments are key for an ambitious composition, so experiment with whatever you like. Photoshop users might want to use Curves, Color Lookup and Vibrance; Elements users might want to merge all and add Smart Looks. Finish with Camera Raw, and check out the adjustments we used below.


When you add lots of individual pictures from completely different scenes into the one composition, it’s important to then edit each layer to make sure it looks natural in the scene. Photoshop users: clip Curves and Hue/Saturation adjustments to the animals and objects; Elements users: use Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L).

Apply finishing touches


Finally, add any finishing touches that you need to; we’ve provided some SparkleStock smoke brushes to subtly improve your cups, and you might want to blur or smudge elements of the picture to blend it together better. CAMERA RAW

Closer look The right adjustments

Merge all your layers into one (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/ Opt+Shi+E) and go to Filter>Camera Raw. Increase the Warmth and Clarity, and add a Split Tone to give this image a realistic feel.

CURVES In Photoshop, Curves add instant brightness to a picture; use a Curves adjustment in this image to lighten up what is quite a dark composition.

COLOR LOOKUP The Color Lookup adjustment in Photoshop is great for adding a colour tint to pictures; the Foggy Night option set to So Light can really help to unify colours.

HIGH PASS Merge everything and go to Filter> Other>High Pass. Choose 4px and set to Overlay. Then, mask out the background so that your foreground will look sharper.


Tutorial Add dynamism with paint

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Use layers, masking, blending modes, blending options and the Brush tool

Time taken 6-8 hours

Expe BÜRO UFHO “We love the textures and depth ink can bring to a digital artwork, and we find splattered paint textures can help to convey movement to an otherwise still image. “We are both artists under the moniker kittozutto, have a graphic design studio, BÜRO UFHO, and have been using Photoshop for more than 10 years.”


Add dynamism with paint Create a dynamic illustration with the use of ink splats in Photoshop


n the world of 2D illustrations, things can look pretty still. It can be even more challenging with sports illustrations – how do we freeze that golden moment in time, yet convey a sense of movement and impact? Ever wondered why there’s often white powder whenever someone gets hit in Chinese martial arts films? It is a technique used to accentuate the power of blows. Taking inspiration from that for our solution, we are going to

introduce a little dynamism through the use of interesting composition and some splattered paint to accentuate the power of movement in our illustration. We’ll take you through the process in this tutorial and show you how we add textures by calling upon layer masks in Photoshop. It is very handy to create your own library of paint splats or you can just use the ones that we have created and included on the FileSilo.

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

Create basic line work


Begin by sourcing references to help you with your illustration. Place them in the document and position them so that the ball is about two-thirds into the composition. Next, use a Hard Round Pressure Size brush at about size 10 to begin drawing on a new layer above.

Refine the sketch


On a new layer, go over the rough sketch, this time with more precise lines and details. Use slightly smaller brushstrokes for details and thicker for outlines. We’ve changed the expression of the main face with another reference image to help convey the energy of the illustration.


Tutorial Add dynamism with paint

Expert tip Nested mask selections To make complex selections, we can put a layer mask within a group mask. We used the silhouette path of our hero, originally used for the base colour, as a group mask. All layers within this group will be clipped within the silhouette shape. If we want textures to only affect the jersey, it would just be a case of selecting the shirt path within this group and applying a layer mask. This texture is masked within the shirt path that is then masked within the hero’s silhouette.

Add shadows

Draw some clouds



On a new layer, use a Black Hard Round brush to roughly go over the areas where the shadows on your players would be. Once finalised, you can use the Eraser tool to clean up the edges. Set the layer to 30% Opacity.

Create opponents

Block in colours


Add colours by pathing the individual parts out and then filling them with your desired colours. Using these paths as masks, mask the shadow layer to only affect what he is wearing. Set this layer to Color Burn, Opacity 30%. Duplicate this layer, this time only affecting the skin tones.


Invert the black outlines of the opponents to white. Select the path layer>right-click>Blending Options> Gradient Overlay. Choose your desired colours, rotate the angle of the gradient parallel to adjust the transition. We chose orange for their jerseys to blend with the background and be in contrast to our main subject.

Add gradient details

Create more gradients

Design the jerseys




Add more detail using Gradient Overlay. This is similar to how we added gradients previously, only this time choosing a white-to-beige colour, with blend mode set to Soft Light. Do this for all of the base skin-colour layers of our hero.


Swirling clouds help to add a sense of motion. First, fill up the sky area with grey. On a second layer, use a White Hard Round Pressure Opacity brush, Opacity 40%, to draw some swirls. Repeat on a third layer and add some thin, black outlines for the clouds.

Repeat this for all the shadows of our hero, this time setting the blend mode to Multiply. You have created a subtle four-tone detailed colouring for the main subject. At this stage, you can add additional details to the hair and face on a new layer.

Path out a strip on the side of the jersey, fill it with purple, add a Stroke of 3px, with Position set to Outside. Repeat this for the sleeves as well. Group the sleeves layer and add a group mask to easily mask out areas with too much black outline.

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Expert edit Adding jersey numbers

Continue the jersey design

Add body paint textures


Import the ink texture ‘PE_blob08.psd’ Use a Soft Round brush, set the into your artwork, and set the layer colour to #8affcf, and brush in slightly blending mode to Soft Light. Using the on the jersey and shorts to create a transition. shadow paths created earlier, mask the Use the paths you have created previously to texture within. Repeat this step for the rest mask within them. Repeat this step, this time of the shadows. We will do the same for the using an orange colour to brush the top of clothes and skin layers, this time using the the socks. ‘PE_brush53.psd’ texture.


Select a font


Download Stadium font from font for our hero’s jersey and Mexcellent 3D from mexcellent_3d.font for our opponent’s jersey. Rotate the numbers into position and rasterise the layers.

Grass details


On a new Soft Light layer with an Opacity of 75%, use a Hard Round brush to brush in the shadows. Use a white Hard Round brush, set it to Soft Light, and brush in the midtones on a new layer. Finally, use a white Hard Round brush to brush in the highlights.

Warp and Perspective


Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform and select Warp. Under the Warp drop-down, select Arch, set Bend to 20%. Cmd/Ctrl+T again and use the Perspective transformation to make the bottom bigger and the right smaller.

Displacement map


Hide away all texture layers, select all and copy merge the image to a new file. Desaturate the image. Add a Levels adjustment. Drag the black slider to 173. Save this file as displace01.psd.

Create crowds


Load the ‘Crowd.abr’ brush. Fill the seat area with a black brush with one swipe. Repeat this on a new layer, this time in a slightly higher position and using grey. Finally, swipe just once over the top of the row, this time using a white colour.

Colour the crowds


Using a Color Overlay, fill these layers with different colours. On a new layer, set the Spacing from 5% to 50% under Brush Tip Shape and begin brushing. Fill this layer with a different colour. Repeat this step a few times with different Spacing settings to create random colour dots.

Distort the number


Go to Filter>Distort>Displace. Set Horizontal Scale to 3 and Vertical to 0. Check Stretch to fit and Repeat Edge Pixels. Select ‘displace01.psd’ to make the numbers distort realistically.


Tutorial Add dynamism with paint

Texture the crowds

Make it painterly

Import the paint splats




Add a Curves adjustment layer and pull down the centre slightly to darken the crowd layers. Import ‘Paint.jpg’, desaturate it and set to Hard Light at 50% Opacity. Curve it to fit the flow of the crowd using Warp>Arch transformation. You have now created rows with random crowds.

Repeat the previous step for the bottom row. Opt/Alt-click the two layer groups to make a selection. Hide any overlapping layers above. Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+C to Copy Merge the layers. Paste this on a new layer. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery>Poster Edges. Apply the settings 2, 1, 2.

Make colour adjustments

Bring in the paper textures


Import the paint splats: 03, 06, 08, 18, 19, 20, 25 and 35. Position them behind our hero. Colour the main splats yellow, ink sprinkles to green, and those behind our hero to dark blue. Import ‘Custom_splash.psd’ and ‘Scratchy paper.jpg’, invert it and set to Lighten, and place them above our hero.

Import the rest of the image textures. Set ‘Old paper.jpg’ to Soft Light, 50% Opacity. Set ‘Paper.jpg’ to Darken. Set ‘Texture.jpg’ to Soft Light. Set ‘Watercolour.jpg’ to Screen. Group them into a Texture folder and set to Multiply with 50% Opacity.


With the textures in, it’s time to balance the colours. Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer set to 20. Add a Cooling Filter (80) Photo Filter. Add a Curves adjustment, with the Red Channel input at 22. Finally desaturate slightly with a Hue/ Saturation layer with Saturation at -10.


What you’ll learn Key techniques

Using a combination of the Warp tool, Perspective transformation and Displace filter, we can create great-looking distortions to the numbers on their jerseys.

ADD DEPTH WITH GRADIENT OVERLAY We applied Gradient Overlay to the base skin colour layers, shadow layers, shorts, socks, shoes, grass, background pillar and sky to add depth.

CREATING A CROWD With a custom dot brush supplied, we can create random colour dots to represent stadium crowds. Applying the Poster Edge Filter will help to gel the illustration style together.


ADD DEPTH USING TEXTURES Using the path shapes created as masks, we can use imported ink textures within these shapes, adding subtle depth.

Tutorial Make magic with the Liquify filter

Essentials Works with



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


Whatyou’lllearn Warp and transform with the Liquify filter, add shadows with blend modes

Time taken 2 hours

Exper Sarah Cousens “Building a fictional world is easy with so many online resources. I had my daughter pose for me though; this made it even more enjoyable. “Working as a freelance designer, I have been using Photoshop extensively ever since forming my own design and illustration company,, over 10 years ago.”


Make magic with the Liquify filter Transform an everyday scene into something magical using the Liquify filter, warping and multiple photo resources


s children it seemed like anything was possible; with unlimited imagination the world was a magical and mysterious place. Recapture that sense of awe and wonder by creating this colourful, magical world hidden beneath an otherwise normal pavement. The Liquify filter helps to reveal the secret land beneath, while adjustment layers, blending modes and warping will bring this vibrant world to life. To make a piece of artwork that will be even more

special, you can apply the techniques in this tutorial to a photo of your own familiar surroundings. For the best results, have your subject pose on site. Think about the angle and composition of your shot; allow enough empty space around the subject to add in your magical underworld, and look for a defined edge on the floor that they can ‘lift’. Once you have your start photo sorted, and the other resources we’ve supplied, then it’s time to get started. Use our start photo if you’d prefer.

ct from a selection? Hold Alt when sel

Duplicate the floor Select the girl


Open ‘Start image.psd’. Use the Quick Select tool (W), and set to Add to Selection to select the girl. Go to Select>Refine Edge. Set Smooth: 6 and Output To: New Layer. Click OK. Rename the new layer Girl.


Use the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) to select a section of the light concrete floor, following the bottom edge. On the Background layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+J and rename the new layer Raised Floor. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, and stretch it across the full width of the canvas.

Clone Stamp the edge

Liquify the floor

Concrete edge selection

Go to Filter>Liquify, tick Show Backdrop, with Use: All Layers and Mode: Behind. Use the Forward Push tool to arch the concrete floor. Click OK and add a layer mask. Use a black airbrush to blend the Raised Floor layer with the background.



Clone some cracks

Paste in the grass

Distort and mask the grass




Move the black slider to 65 and the grey slider to 0.71. On the Raised Floor layer, use the Clone Stamp tool to select cracked areas of concrete and apply them to the top of the Raised Concrete layer to give it more texture.

Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click the Raised Concrete layer’s thumbnail. Go to Select>Transform Selection and move it down slightly, hit enter to apply. Add a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N) below Raised Floor in the layer stack and name it Concrete Edge.

Open ‘Forest.jpg’. Use the Lasso tool to select an area of grass at the bottom of the image. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and then paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) it into your artwork. Move the layer below Concrete Edge and rename it Grass.


Select the Clone Stamp tool (press S), set to Sample: All Layers. Alt+click an area of pavement, then apply it over the concrete edge. Press Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect. Add a Levels adjustment layer, right-click its layer name in the Layers palette and click Create Clipping Mask.

Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, right-click and choose Distort. Drag the corners so the perspective of the grass closely fits with the scene. Add a layer mask and use a black airbrush to obscure the grass above the Raised Floor and blend along the bottom.


Create a shadow

Hue/Saturation adjustments



Add a new layer, name it Grass Shadow and create a clipping mask. Set the layer’s blending mode to Multiply. Use an airbrush at 50% Opacity with R:14, G:26, B:7 to paint in a shadow beneath the raised concrete, making it darker further back beneath the concrete.

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, right-click it and choose Create Clipping Mask. Enter Hue: +6, Saturation: +50 and Lightness: +4. Click the Background layer and add another Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, again create a clipping mask, and reduce Saturation to -45.


Add a new layer at the top of the Layers palette and name it Lights. Set its blending mode to Screen. Select the Brush tool and use the Star Scattered brush with R:255, G:252, B:222 to add sparkly lights over and around the opening.

Paste in vines

Rename and position



Open ‘Vine.jpg’. Use the Quick Selection tool to select the vine and leaves, go to Refine Edge and enter Smooth: 9 and Shift Edge: -48. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) three copies into your artwork directly above the Girl layer.

Name them Vine 1, Vine 2 and Vine 3, then hide 2 and 3 (click the eyeball next to their layers in the Layers palette). On the Vine 1 layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+T. Shrink it and position so that it is emerging from underneath the raised concrete.

Warp the vine

Add shading

Edit the other vines




Right-click and choose Warp from the fly-out menu; drag the grid lines and handles to a layer mas would be h


Add some sparkle

Add a new layer, name it Vine 1 Shading and create a clipping mask. blending mode to Multiply and use an sh with R:14, G:26, B:7 to add shadow to ar leaves shaded by the raised concrete.

Repeat the process for Vines 2 and 3, first flipping them horizontally then positioning one on the far left of the opening and one in the centre. Warp each vine differently to give it a unique shape.

Want to deduct from a selectio


Decorate with flowers

Create a vine shadow



Open ‘Flowers.jpg’. Use the Quick Select tool and Refine Edge to select and copy individual flowers, and paste several of each into your artwork above the Vine layers. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and resize and position each one at various positions along the vines.

Add a new layer below Vine 1, name it Vine 1 Shadow. Set it to Multiply and 40% Opacity. Hold Shift and Cmd/Ctrl+click the thumbnails of Vine 1 and all the flowers that are along that vine, so that they form one selection, then fill it with R:34, G:34, B:43.

Add the butterflies Warp and blur


Move the shadow down and right, and warp so it’s lower where the vine is raised higher from the ground. Go to Filter> Blur>Gaussian Blur, enter 4.5px. Repeat this process to add shadows for Vines 2 and 3.


Open ‘Butterfly.jpg’, select the butterfly and paste several copies above the flower layers. Resize and position them as desired. Add clipped Hue/Saturation adjustment layers to alter their colours. Use the process from steps 18 and 19 to add shadows beneath the butterflies.

Most artwork benefits from a few final touches and adjustments. A Photo Filter adjustment layer helps to tie all the different elements together; here we’ve used the Sepia filter at 40% Density. A Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer gives the whole image a boost; try increasing Contrast to 40. Finally, add a Curves adjustment layer, click one third of the way up the line and drag downwards slightly, then two thirds of the way up and drag upwards slightly.

Introduce centipedes


Open the centipede images, use the Quick Select tool, Quick Mask mode and Refine Edge to select them. Paste into your artwork, press Cmd/Ctrl+T, resize and position them. Add a layer below them, set to Multiply and use an airbrush to add shadows.

Select for glow

Add a layer below the butterflies, name it Glows and set Apply and blur glows the blending mode to Screen. Use the Polygonal Lasso Drag from the bottom of the selection upwards. Deselect, to select an area extending upwards and outwards from a crack use the Lasso to select narrow vertical strips within the glow. on the arched concrete. Select the Radial Gradient tool with R:255, Apply another gradient, then deselect. Repeat to add glows from other G:252, B:222 at 40% Opacity. cracks. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and enter 4.1px, then click OK.




Resource project Make your own smoke brushes INCENSE AND HOLDER Incense sticks and holders can both be bought online together, and don’t cost much at all.

BLACK BLANKET Be sure that whatever you use for a black background is fireproof and not flammable, just to be safe.

On the FileSilo

LIGHTER You could use a lighter or matches for this project. Just take care when lighting the incense sticks.

Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Make your own smoke brushes

Photograph incense and edit the images in Photoshop to create smokey Photoshop resources


he way that incense smoke dances is mesmerising, as it can produce all kinds of amazing shapes, curls and clouds. This kind of smoke can make a fantastic addition to a Photoshop project if you photograph it to be turned into a brush. Smoke brushes can be useful for a whole host of Photoshop projects. For a start, anything that uses a fire texture needs smoke,


but if you capture the smoke created by incense sticks, it looks elegant and unique enough that you can use it in creative projects. It can look like ink droplets in water if you apply the correct colouring, or it can be used to create a nebula if you’re working on a space-themed composition. Although it might seem a lot of effort to actually make your own smoke brushes, it

doesn’t have to be. You only need to take a few photos of the smoke as the incense burns, and thanks to the supplied action that we’ve provided on the FileSilo, it’s really easy to go through all the photos you take and isolate the smoke from the background before capturing it as a brush. Check our guide on how to do it, and learn what kind of artwork you can create.

Download free resources here

Photograph and edit the smoke From lighting the incense to capturing the brush

Prep the shoot

Light the flame

Bring into Photoshop

When photographing incense, shoot onto a black background so you can capture the lighter smoke against it. You can do this either by putting up a black blanket or shooting against a black wall. Set up the incense and light the end of it.


With the incense lit, blow lightly to leave the stick glowing and producing a faint, orange glow, with smoke emanating. Shoot the smoke with your camera; the smoke will produce different shapes, so try and capture as many as you can.



Edit the image

Select colour

Save the brush




With a big, soft, white brush at 100% Opacity, gently touch over the areas that you don’t want to be visible in the smoke brush. This might include the incense stick if you’ve photographed it; it’s easier to brush onto white, which is why we inverted.

Head to Select>Color Range. Use the Quick Mask option from the drop-down menu and you’ll see your smoke image selected. Use the Fuzziness slider to add to or subtract from the selection. Hit OK, hit the mask icon, and then hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert.

Once you’ve taken enough images of your smoke, bring the pictures into Photoshop, either via Camera Raw or just by importing. Use our supplied action to correct the contrast of each one quickly, resize to 5000 pixels wide and invert the image.

Apply the mask, and Cmd/Ctrl+click the preview window of the layer in the Layers palette. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset; this will create a brush from the selection. Brushes can be a maximum of 5000px, which is why the action resized the document.

Studying the smoke effect Which parts of a smokey cloud make good resources? STRAIGHT WISPS


Incense smoke tends to stream out of the stick straight to begin with before curling. Photograph straight and curly smoke.

The clouds can build up when smoke accumulates. Blow at the clouds slightly to clear the space for more smoke.

CURLY WISPS The smoke becomes curlier further into the cloud. Tap the incense stick to make the smoke jump slightly.


Resource project Make your own smoke brushes

Use it for pixel dispersal Incorporate your new resources into some artwork

Cut out the subject

Mask out the subject

Embellish and edit




Make a rough outline around the subject that you want to use in your work, and copy to a new layer. With the same outline selected, Ctrl/right-click and Fill; choose Content-Aware, so you have clear background and subject layers.

On the subject layer, hit the mask button and with your smoke brushes selected, mask out the subject so that she looks as if she’s actually made of smoke. Be sure to cover the main facial features, but leave brushing sparse at the edges.

50 Smoke images Make brushes with 50 smoke images, or use the 50 pre-made smoke brushes.


On new layers above and below the subject layer, Eyedrop colours (I) and then add more smokey brushstrokes onto the picture to give the effect that the subject is really made of the smoke. Change Size, Direction and Opacity for full effect.

Flower Girl How I made

Essentials Time taken 10 hours

The artist Felipe Kimio “I work in the mobile gaming industry as an illustrator and concept artist for a company, but also take on commissions on a freelance basis. I would describe most of my illustrations as revolving around the female figure. I am based in São Paulo, Brazil.” If you would like to have a look at more of Felipe’s artwork, you can check it out on Behance by visiting https://www.

Flower Girl

Brazilian illustrator Felipe Kimio breaks down how he created such a vibrant portrait in Photoshop


hotoshop is my main tool for painting and sketching,” says Felipe, an illustrator from Brazil who has a penchant for drawing pin-ups. Flower Girl is one of many illustrations on his Behance site that have helped him amass over 130,000 views. His secret? Simplicity. “I try to keep things simple in Photoshop,” says Felipe. “My main tools for sketching and painting are the Brush and Eraser, and just a few layers. Sometimes I use the Lasso and the Liquify filter, just to correct the minor things in my artwork.” This simplicity really shines through. For this particular piece, Felipe used just a regular, round, hard brush to apply colour, along with a few texture brushes. The outline is accentuated – Felipe explains he likes to make the figures of his subject clear and obvious – and the colours used are bright and bold

enough to draw attention. Such simplicity means that the work remains extremely clean, and the eye is drawn to the picture as a whole rather than specific areas. Simple as this picture appears, though, it wasn’t without its challenges for Felipe. “In this piece, I definitely wanted to convey a sense of movement,” he explains. “I wanted to create a breeze through the picture, along the dress and with the falling petals of the flowers.” Felipe also took inspiration from the Art Nouveau scene for this particular piece of artwork, and paid a significant amount of attention to picking the colours and finessing the gradient in the subject’s hair. This is a standalone piece, but it’s clearly caught the imagination of Behance, having been viewed over 2,500 times.

Sketching the girl


This sketch was created from a blank canvas. I started with a loose sketch of a girl and worked on it until I formed a basic shape to work with further. I added a coloured background to help form the picture, and worked up the outline on a new layer.

Painting the girl


After sketching, I started to paint right on top of that layer, on a single layer, with a simple, round brush. I always try to create a clean silhouette when I’m figuring out the lighting, and I wanted this to have simple details and easy-to-see shapes.

Finishing textures


After painting the girl, I worked up the background and improved texture with textured brushes; this image has an inked feel which is applied to the image as a whole. The lighting and shading was worked on and the frame was added later.


Project focus Behind Google Doodles

Behind Google Doodles Meet a digital artist tasked with redesigning one of the most recognisable logos on the internet, and discover how Sophie Diao uses Photoshop to bring international events to life

About the artist Sophie Diao @sophiediao Sophie Diao is an artist currently working at Google, but she freelances for the animation industry. Her previous clients create an illustrious list, including Cartoon Network, Warner Bros Animation and Disney TV. She cites Rumiko Takahashi as the artist who has inspired her the most. Prints of her work can be purchased from her website.

Name of the project Google Doodles: Earth Day



f Sophie Diao’s work looks familiar, you are one of the few billion who have seen it. Sophie started creating artwork for Google’s occasional Doodles in 2012, celebrating events from Mothers’ Day to the coldest temperature ever recorded in North America. This year she was given the task of creating the company’s iconic Earth Day Doodles, and produced five beautiful illustrations highlighting our effect on the planet. What inspires artwork like that, and is it overwhelming to have your artwork shown on the internet’s biggest site? We caught up with Sophie to ask her about her experience.

How did Google first approach you to create artwork? I actually approached them! Back in 2012 when I was a third-year student at CalArts, I

saw a Charles Dickens Doodle that really piqued my interest. I looked up the artist, really loved his work, and ended up emailing him for portfolio advice. He showed my work to the team and they thought I might be a good fit for an intern position. My work over that summer was a mix of creating animated assets for the 2012 London Olympics, some static Doodles for the same series, and Independence Day Doodles for Latin America. After my internship ended, I was offered the opportunity to come back as a full-time employee post-graduation. I took it!

Google processes 3.5 billion searches a day. Is it overwhelming that so many see your work? Honestly, it’s such a huge number that it’s really hard for me to process. So to avoid that, I just focus on the feedback from my immediate team, friends, family and the strangers who will reach out on the internet when they like a Doodle. Making a personal connection with people through my work makes me the happiest; I do get emails and comments from people saying: “You did this one, right?” or “I thought that Doodle might have been you!” I’m glad to have the opportunity to let my personal voice out in my day job.

How do you even start when you create a Doodle? It changes with each one. Sometimes a topic warrants a fully fleshed-out, lush illustration, and sometimes a simple portrait or letter replacement is enough. In the case of the former, I try to find the subtlest possible way to incorporate the logo – it’s a personal challenge. This usually means I’ll think about the logo and composition concurrently, adjusting elements so nothing either sticks out or disappears too much. Focusing on the composition first makes it harder to include the logo elegantly, but wrapping a composition around the logo can look stilted as well. Balance is key.

Does a lot of research go into it? Desert


Each Doodle requires a lot of research. When we celebrate people, we try to look at their whole life and see which legacies stand out.



“Growing up I was really inspired by Disney movies and other animated films, as well as Japanese anime. I tend to reference music, books and TV/film more than art these days.”

“Colour is critical to my artwork. Sometimes I start with a colour or feeling that I want to get across before I nail down a composition or line drawing.”

AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION “My favourite Doodles are the ones that are unexpectedly educational and/or moving. Doodles are a way to bring attention to pieces of history that might otherwise be forgotten.” Grasslands


Places tend to be more straightforward, so we mostly gather reference images. Events are commonly celebrated every year, so it’s a challenge to come up with something new, especially if there’s a lot of specific tradition involved. We work with Google employees around the world to consult with us when we’re making something for a foreign locale.

what I wanted to do while in Beijing. Probably due to the air quality in China, I really wanted to make something that would get people thinking about the environment and humanity’s impact on it. Last year for Earth Day, we made an interactive quiz for which I drew the animal results, which was a more light-hearted take. This time I wanted to inspire more awe and contemplation.

Google has celebrated Earth Day in Doodle form since 2001. What influenced your Doodles?

How does Photoshop help with your creative process?

I didn’t look at previous Earth Day Doodles too much when I started thinking about these. I was travelling in China when I got the assignment, and had some time to think about

I have a bunch of custom brushes made by friends and colleagues that I’ve collected over the years. I use Kyle Webster’s set of Photoshop brushes from time to time as well.

All images © Sophie Diao


When animating in Photoshop, I use the AnimDessin plug-in – it makes working with the timeline a lot easier! I also love adjustment layers and layer styles, because they let me quickly test out a different colour palette or type of lighting.

What advice would you give for portraying an event in a picture? Don’t get overwhelmed – it’s tempting to try to fit every single piece of trivia in there, but as an audience member, it’s hard to digest all that information. Focus on clarity and the essence of what the subject is about. Remember that no amount of information will stick unless there’s an emotional connection.


From the makers of

Photography In Photography Tips, Tricks & Fixes, you’ll discover essential techniques to enliven your landscapes, enhance your portraits, sharpen your macro shots and more. Every step of the process is covered, from preparation & shooting to post-production.

Also available‌

A world of content at your fingertips Whether you love gaming, history, animals, photography, Photoshop, sci-fi or anything in between, every magazine and bookazine from Imagine Publishing is packed with expert advice and fascinating facts.


Print edition available at Digital edition available at


POSTER COMPETITION Design artwork for the release of Suicide Squad this August To celebrate the release of Suicide Squad on August 5, in association with Warner Bros. Pictures and ODEON, we are giving you the chance to show off your creative skills in the ultimate fan artwork competition. Exclusive to Photoshop Creative, we are challenging you to design an alternative poster that will be judged by Suicide Squad ďŹ lm director David Ayer, and also displayed in selected ODEON cinemas across the UK.

The prize Not only will the winning poster be displayed at selected ODEON cinemas throughout the UK this summer for all to admire, but the winner will also receive ŊěŊ#2(%-ŊŊ/.23#1 a special print of their poster.

ěŊ 4"%#"Ŋ 8Ŋ"(1#!3.1Ŋ 5("Ŋ8#1 ěŊ(2/+8#"Ŋ(-Ŋ Ŋ Ŋ!(-#,2 Taking inspiration from the trailer, we ěŊ#!#(5#ŊŊ/1(-3

What you have to do

Š 2016 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. TM & Š DC Comics.

want you to show us your take on a poster for Suicide Squad. We’re looking for something unique and iconic that’s in keeping with the theme of the film. Remember, David Ayer will choose the winner and it will be displayed in selected ODEON cinemas throughout the UK. To find out how to enter this competition and for full terms and conditions, visit competitions/suicide-squad For more information: Follow @SuicideSquadUK

Suicide Squad It feels good to be bad‌ Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission

to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they

realize they weren t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?


ADVANCED 3D SHADING TECHNIQUE “I make clipping masks of the coloured 3D portions of the lettering to then add shading using a textured brush.”

COMPOSE BY EYE “Aer I scan in my hand-drawn lettering, I manually adjust the kerning and leading by nudging each individual letter while squinting my eyes.”

© Lauren Hom



Lauren Hom ( has mastered her own hand-drawn lettering technique, where she uses Photoshop to add another dimension. She explains: “You should always take into consideration your message first. This will help dictate your layout and lettering choices.” What’s more, she has developed a technique when tackling the more difficult design choices such as kerning and leading: “For some reason, squinting helps me to better visualise the spacing between the characters.”

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Ensure straight lines Keep kerning consistent


Tighten up 45°



Push up slightly

TECHNIQUES Discover what it takes to create sensational typography, as we reveal the tools and techniques applied by some of the best artistic minds

hen words and imagery meet, the result is typography; an art style that can take many forms, from three dimensions to carefully crafted hand-written lettering that is scanned into Photoshop and enhanced. Every typographical artist not only brings their own techniques to the table, but also different viewpoints about how they prefer to work with type. And it’s combining images with words that helps to give typography an extra


depth of potential meaning over nontypographical work. We ask some of the best typographers about their working methods, and to gain a better understanding of how they use Photoshop to form the perfect message. With every new instalment of Photoshop brings an even greater level of potential artistry. Read on as they share some of their best tips and techniques to inspire and promote good practice for typographers.

From using layer styles for whole new meaning, to using Photoshop’s 3D features to create striking typography artwork with incredible depth, there is a wide number of techniques used by today’s artists. But we’re also interested in finding out more about the thought processes that go into choosing and selecting a typeface to work with. After all, the wrong font could make or break a design, and so for these artists, every decision counts.







“After creating a background by colourising a map, I brought in my scanned hand-drawn lettering on a layer with a transparent background. I pixel-locked the layer and filled it with white so it stood out.”

“I duplicated the lettering, pixel-locked it, and filled it with a colour. I then placed it behind the original white lettering, nudged at a 45-degree angle. I used the Brush tool to manually paint in the rest of the colour.”

“I made a copy of all the lettering layers, flattened them into one layer, then filled it with black. I lowered the Opacity to 15% and positioned it behind the original lettering to make a long shadow.”


ADVANCED ADDING DEPTH AND COLOUR “For the highlights, I chose +30 for Brightness in the adjustment window. To make sure the shadows and highlights were perfectly shaped, I put both adjustment layers in a group and made a mask with the lettering’s shape.”


© Eduardo Bertone |

“I created an adjustment layer for applying shadows to the lettering. I chose Brightness/Contrast, then -30 for Brightness and inverted the adjustment’s mask to fill it in black. I then used the Brush tool with 10px to paint in white for the shadows on a mask.”

STICK TO THE BRIEF Eduardo Bertone ( created this typographical illustration for Monsieur Gordo Brewery. With creative direction from Eduardo Martinez Gil and help from artist Ausias Pérez, Eduardo talks about how he had to craft this piece in line with the client’s proposal: “This was created to reflect the product’s taste and also the target market. The colour palette was very important, as I had to create an atmosphere desired by the client.” He describes one particular challenge: “To find a middle point between legibility and playfulness… I included some popular iconic imagery, such as skateboarding as well as California.”

IMAGINE THE LIGHT SOURCE Jan Daniel Wolters ( re-imagined a 3D logo for Antea Group in collaboration with BVH Identity Driven Thinking. But what were Jan’s go-to Photoshop tools for this image? “As this was done in 3D, I would say that the main tool I used was 3D Extrusion From Selected Layer and working with 3D settings to tweak things. Another feature that can be very helpful is to use the Vanishing Point filter for perspective, and then use this for the perspective in your 3D scene. Try to picture in your mind what the object would be like if it were there in real life and define the light source, in this case the sun.”

FONT CHOICE “For type projects like this, I use a mix of two fonts that are quite bold for prominent words, and a condensed or script font for supporting copy.” © Andrew Footit


© Jan Daniel Wolters |


Font and logo designer Andrew Footit ( applied his knowledge of adjustments, brushes and tools in Photoshop to create this piece: “If you are working on type that requires shadows and shading, the important thing is to know where your light source is coming from and how it will affect your type. The tools I used in this piece were mostly the Brush, Burn and Dodge to create the shading, and the Pen and Polygonal selection tools for masking. To boost the overall lighting effect, I used the Levels and Hue/Saturation adjustments.”

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REPOUSSÉ PRESETS “Some objects are created with the Repoussé 3D option plus the Inflate Sides and Band Shape presets.” © Alexandra Fomicheva

Alexandra Fomicheva ( describes his own creative process when it comes to making 3D food typography: “I used bold shapes which were based on the shapes from silhouettes of the food. For example, two eggs next to each other look like an 8. Crossed pieces of French fries create either Z or W letters, and the round shape of a burger makes an O letter. Smaller details such as onions, tomatoes, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard are created with the regular flat shapes and simple layer style effects.” To create texture, Alexandra calls upon Photoshop’s 3D features: “The green salad leaves and bacon texture were created with the Mesh from Grayscale option. This is a very useful tool as it helps to create surface relief by using the greyscale texture highlights for embossed areas and shadows for depths.”





“The fried eggs were created using shapes and layer style effects. The irregular contours of the white area were processed with a regular round brush, and small round holes were erased with the Eraser tool in order to create natural-looking bubbles.”

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER Poster artist Krzysztof Iwanski (www.behance. net/ivvanski) believes that typefaces are key to a poster’s design and message, but how does font size impact the poster? “It doesn’t mean that it has to be big and bold, the size of the font has nothing to do with it. Posters need to pass on a certain message and the best way to do it is with the written word.” Krzysztof shares some of his best advice: “There is no such thing as a good or bad font; typography is about creating emotions by combining signals. And when you start to look at a typeface in this way you will discover a whole new perspective. Work as much as you can and be involved in many different projects, even when there is no money behind it. Do not worry about money, it will come!”

“You can create a natural yolk shape with the Ellipse tool and two layer styles; a yellow gradient with a Bevel & Emboss. For the reflection of the yolk I added a translucent Bevel & Emboss style to the larger ellipse shape above the yellow one.”


“The bacon effect for the number 7 was more complicated. It was created with the 3D features. I created rounded rectangles, then applied a bacon texture to them, which was created only with layer styles – a brown/orange/ yellow gradient and the preset Strings and Molecular patterns. Then it was a case of going to 3D>Depth Map to Plane.”

FONT FOUNDATIONS “Because I try to keep my work simple, I mostly use the Pen tool to copy, paste and move objects. I strongly believe that type is a base structure; it’s a fundamental of the poster.”

© Krzysztof Iwanski


ADVANCED THE RIGHT SHAPE “In this composition, the lettering needed to be proportionally tall to work successfully as a resort or hotel, and to be the dominant feature on the magazine’s cover.”

FIT FOR PURPOSE Luke Lucas (www.lukelucas. com) created this bright and breezy typeface for the cover of Luxury Travel magazine, to represent a round-up of the best tropical resorts of the year. He explains how he likes to get a project started: “For images like this, the first thing I do is define the composition, the horizon line and perspective, followed by a rough sketch or a wireframe. Once I’m happy with the composition I break down the image into the background and foreground, and commence creating layer groups for each of the individual elements.” Luke found that the more condensed the lettering was, the better he could fit it into the required space. He explains his own thought process: “I wanted a lettering style that had very straight sides to allow for a tower-like appearance once extruded. What I created was a customised condensed sans serif.”

FINAL FLOURISHES “Once all of the elements within the image have been treated, I might look at applying grain, and tweaking colour and contrast across the entire image.” © Luke Lucas

COMMUNICATE CLEARLY EXTRUSION EFFECTS “For my artwork, I quite like how I can simply create a 45-degree extrusion to maximise the pseudo-3D effect.”

For digital artist Oscar Llorens (www., “Illustration is not just a nice drawing, but a way of communication.” This is a mantra that runs throughout all of his work, whether it is for typographical pieces or hand-drawn imagery. But for effective typography, he adds: “The most important thing is not to forget the message you need to communicate.”

EMBELLISH THE FONT “The Photoshop tool I used the most was the Brush tool (B) with a standard brush. Most of the time I finish my designs with an adjustment layer such as Levels or Color Balance.”

© Mardo El-Noor |

CUSTOM 3D TYPE Professional digital artist Mardo El-Noor ( believes in creating bespoke preset actions for effects: “Although there are available extrusion actions, I tend to create them manually by duplicating the text layer, nudging it 45 degrees and repeating the process 30-40 times sequentially. I merge all nudged layers, then shade the resulting extruded layer.” Mardo talks to us about what it takes to become a successful typographer: “You don’t have to make your own typefaces to create typographic artwork. You don’t have to be great at hand lettering, either. What you really need is a concept, an eye for detail and a good command of Photoshop. That will take a letter, a word, or a phrase to another level; from the written to the illustrated.”


© Oscar Llorens |

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REAL MATERIALS “Use a lined sketchbook and practise drawing letters with pencils or calligraphy brushes rather than playing on a smartphone.”

STUDY THE TYPEFACE Marcus Byrne (www. marcusbyrnephotography. com) shares some top advice: “Get familiar with typefaces; study the spacing, leading and kerning. Practise writing the same word or sentence over and over again. Be patient; over time you will feel more relaxed and the letters will be more fluid. Scan in your masterpiece and go crazy!” He also adds: “Use your phone and take pictures of signage that inspires you. You will be surprised that there is a massive resurgence of hand-drawn lettering everywhere.”

© Marcus Byrne







“Sketch out the lettering idea roughly to get the feel. Place the sketch into Photoshop and draw around it to create a vector. Refine the design and add stroke weighting until the letters feel right. Iterate until the composition comes together.”

“Create a Smart Object and build up layers with strokes and various thicknesses. Use Inner Shadow and Inner Glow and experiment until the type feels smooth and silky. Duplicate the layer, place underneath, and apply a fill overlay and offset the bottom right.”

“Repeat until the desired look is achieved with various layers and colours. The crafting of the strokes that overlap is created by copying the sections and applying drop shadows. This gives a fluid feel and makes the flat design pop out in 3D.”


© Jesse Wilds

Graphic designer Jesse Wilds ( dethronedship) describes how she started on this project: “I got an image of the person I was seeking to draw and repeatedly used the Transform tools to warp the text into the shape I needed.” For other artists looking to achieve a similar type of effect, Jesse says: “My advice is to cram in as much detail as you can by using text, and warp it to any shape you need it to be regardless of how difficult it is to read.”

© Christoph Voorn |


Christoph Voorn (www. is a graphic designer and animator who created this poster to tell a story: “I wanted to make [the poster] look like a film poster, so viewers would get the feeling something was going to happen. I often use a visual to draw in the viewers’ attention, but the client wanted their logo big, so I tried to make it part of the story I was telling.” For simple yet powerful typography, Christoph has developed his own way of working: “I made sure there wasn’t much going on behind the typography. A trick I’ve been using for years is to add a black layer on top and use the Eraser tool to reveal the parts of the image I want to show underneath.”

INJECT LIFE AND COLOUR “To make the typography come alive, I used the Dodge tool to light up certain areas, and I duplicated the text layer and changed its colour and erased some parts.”


Advanced Match colour with adjustments


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

Essentials Time taken 5 hours

Expert Rodrigo Marinelli “I’ve enjoyed watching sci-fi movies ever since I was a child. I used to think it was fascinating that filmmakers could imagine a world that doesn’t exist, and how they used visual effects to make the scenes so believable that we actually think they’re real. “Another thing that always catches my attention is the movie poster that advertises the movie. I love the bright colours, and the main image, so it was impossible not to be tempted to use Photoshop to create my own sci-fi scene. “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 tutorials.” For more of Rodrigo’s work, visit http://rodrigo_

Match colour with adjustments Discover how to create a sci-fi scene using different techniques to adjust the colour tone of multiple stock photos


ci-fi movies are always a great inspiration for getting creative. The genre encourages you to play with reality so you can give wings to your imagination and mix everything that you want – such as astronauts, rockets and planets – and create a scene that is unique to you. As with any creation process, though, it’s always a good idea to gather some reference images first. In the case of sci-fi images, they usually have vibrant colours and flawless photomanipulation work. Keep the focus on every detail to make a perfect composition. A very important tip that

helps a lot is to try and imagine the scene as if you were actually there, living that moment. This makes it much easier to work out factors such as the light source and shadows. To create this scene, we’re going to work with photomanipulation and various adjustments. The adjustments are essential for achieving a sci-fi effect, so we’ll be calling upon the Gradient tool, the Photo Filter, Brightness/Contrast and Levels, while always working with the blend modes. As a finishing touch, we’ll visit the Filter Gallery to create a fire effect with just a few clicks.

Add the night sky

Create some planets

Introduce a spaceship




Create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl+N) that is 230x310mm, then add the background photo ‘Night sky.jpg’. Correct the colour tone using the Brightness/Contrast command from the Adjustment Layer menu with the configuration 20, 30.

Let’s add some planets to the scene with ‘Planets.psd’. Use the Color Balance tool to adjust the blue tone of the big planet layer, with the configuration -20, 0, +31. Finally change the blend mode of the Sun layer to Screen.

To create an immersive sci-fi image, it’s important to have lots of details for a rich environment. Add ‘Space ship.psd’ and set the Feather to 2px. To make it look sharp, apply Filter>Other>High Pass set to 1px, then change the blend mode to Overlay.


Advanced Match colour with adjustments

Expert tip Cutting out images If you plan on creating a complex scene like this one, you will have to use many photos. However, before placing them in the scene, it’s essential that you spend time carefully cutting out the images. There are many tools you can use to do this, such as the Magic Wand tool or the Polygonal Lasso tool, but for complex images, the best choice is the Pen tool (P). This offers more flexibility to cut out all of the details and, once you’ve finished, you can save the selection using a path.


Let’s add some colours to the sky. Add ‘Red nebula.jpg’. Change the blend mode to Lighten and make a mask to erase the red part in front of the big planet. Also add ‘Night light.jpg’ and change the blend mode to Screen.


Add the space city in the scene, using ‘Space city.jpg’. To adjust the colour tone only for this layer, select a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt and link the adjustment layer to the city layer. Use the configuration 5, 10.

Form a bridge

Create a mountain

Extend the mountain




Add ‘Bridge.psd’. Use the Color Balance tool set to -100, 0, +557 to adjust the colour tone and apply a 2px feather. After that, add ‘Walkway.psd’, put it above the bridge, change the blend mode to Overlay with 50% Opacity and with the Warp tool, adjust the perspective.

Time for some elements in the scene, starting with ‘Mountain.psd’. Position it in front of the space city, and with the Color Balance tool, change the colour tone using the configuration -57, 0, 10, then set Feather to 2px. Finally, apply the High Pass filter set to 2px.

Bring in the same photo (‘Mountain. psd’) on the left side. Follow the same procedure as the previous step, then to give more depth, make a new layer and with the Brush tool, paint the top of the mountain with the colour #bbbcc0 and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Launch the rocket

Introduce the astronaut



Add ‘Rocket.jpg’ in front of the Mountain_01 layer. With the Polygonal Lasso tool, select the smoke area, Ctrl/ Cmd-click and pick the Layer via Copy option. Put this in front of the men on the bridge and change the blend mode to Screen.


Build a space city

Colour the sky

Now for the main character of the scene. Use ‘Astronaut.psd’, set the Feather to 2px and the High Pass filter to 2px. With the Brush tool, paint the front of the astronaut with yellow (#fffaba) and change the blend mode to Color with 50% Opacity.

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Make your own filter


Observe the highlights of the scene and draw over them with the Pen tool to add a colour filter effect. The right side is predominantly yellow and the left is blue. After drawing highlights, apply a Gaussian Blur (30px) and the Soft Light blend mode.

Adjust the helmet


With the Pen tool, select the front of the helmet and make a mask folder, add ‘Helmet reflection.psd’, adjust the colour tone with Color Balance (-66, 0, 63) and Hue/ Saturation (0, -40, 0). Draw the highlights and the shadows, apply a Gaussian Blur (36px) and change the blend mode to Soft Light.


Let’s add lights to the city that will be below the purple bridge. Add ‘City light.jpg’, apply the High Pass filter set to 2px, then link a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, as in step 5, with the configuration 0, 1,00, 220. Finally make a mask and erase the sky from the photo.


Use ‘Bridge 2.jpg’ again to add the second purple bridge. With the Free Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T), rotate the bridge as shown in the screenshot above. To enhance the highlights and shadows of the bridge, use the Dodge and the Burn tools.


Now let’s work on the left side of the space city. Add ‘Bridge 2.jpg’. To make it look more shiny, add the layer Purple_ bridge from ‘Colourful nebula.psd’ in front of the bridge and change the blend mode to Screen at 40% Opacity.

City smoke

Light up the city

Add the second bridge

Create a purple bridge


Always think about every possible detail; because the rocket is being launched, it stands to reason that there will be smoke everywhere. Add the smoke part from ‘Rocket.jpg’ to the city and with the Brush tool, make a mask and erase unnecessary parts. Use the Color Balance tool with -25, -17, +39.

Create more stars


Let’s add one more detail to the space sky: add ‘Star light.jpg’, flip it horizontally and change the blend mode to Screen. With the Warp tool, adjust the light so that it reaches the shining star.

Brighten it up


To make the space city brighter, add ‘Space city lights.jpg’ above the city and the rocket. Change the blend mode to Screen and enhance the highlights and the shadows with the Levels command set to a configuration of 18, 1,00, 221.


Advanced Match colour with adjustments

Use the Gradient tool

Work on the foreground detail


To add some detail to the left and right foreground, use the layer Font_detail from the photo ‘Colourful nebula.psd’ and change the blend mode to Screen with 80% Opacity. Finally, add the photo ‘Sparks.psd’ in the centre and change the blend mode to Screen.

Add more gradients


Select the colour #e3d990 and with the Gradient tool, choose Foreground to Transparent. Drag to paint the bottom of the image. Change the blend mode to Color with 40% Opacity. Now set your Foreground colour to #162b79, blend mode Color, 40% Opacity and paint the top of the image.


Let’s start to emulate colour filters. Set the Foreground colour to #e3d990 and the Background colour to #808e98. Pick the Gradient tool, select the Linear style and fill the scene. Make a mask as shown above and change the blend mode to Soft Light at 70% Opacity. Now duplicate the layer.

Make colour adjustments


The image could do with being more colourful, so use the Adjustments menu. First use Hue/Saturation set to 0, +29, 0, then use Brightness/Contrast set to 24, 09. Finally use the Photo Filter set to Warming Filter 85 and 25% Density. Make masks to erase the spaces where the colours overexpose the image.

Use the fire effect filter


Since the rocket is being launched, the area around the astronaut would be very hot. Therefore the image should be a bit shaky, to emulate heat haze. Go to the Filter Gallery and select Distort>Glass with the configuration 8, 15, 200.

SMART OBJECT The Smart Object is another fantastic tool. Select the astronaut layer and transform it into a Smart Object. Now you can change the size without affecting the resolution.

Expert tip Using Smart Filters Photoshop has many tools to help you enhance your creativity, but there’s one that is particularly fantastic, and that’s the Smart Filter. This enables you to apply many types of filters, without losing any information from the original photo. All you have to do is select the layer and go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filter, then open the Filter Gallery and start to choose the filter that you want. This tool is very helpful because if you choose a filter combination that you don’t like, you can drop it into the Trash and start all over again.


MIX THE COLOR To set the colour tone of the scene, mix colour gradients using the blending modes. Make different gradients with different colours and change to So Light.


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Advanced Build a 3D scene with Photoshop


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Essentials Time taken 4 hours

Exper Daniel Sinoca “With a little planning and creativity, anyone can take advantage of Photoshop’s 3D capabilities to build realistic 3D objects without having to use dedicated 3D soware. Sometimes I prefer to create a 3D model for compositions instead of trying to find or shoot a photo. The advanced and intuitive 3D features mean I can create the models and shapes I need. Then I use the regular Photoshop tools to enhance and create beautiful photomontages. “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.” For more of Daniel’s eyecatching work, visit http://

Build a 3D scene wit Photosho

Get to grips with Photoshop 3D and learn how to create amazing 3D objects to use in your projects


orking in the 3D environment requires planning. Start by creating geometric shapes and textures in the 2D environment. Save each file as a .png; this makes it easier to build the objects and apply textures. In the first part of this tutorial you’ll get to grips with the 3D tools, discover how to create 3D shapes, apply different textures and materials, adjust the lighting and render the final object. In the second part you’ll bring in 2D elements and work in the regular Photoshop workspace to create a fantastic composition.

Prepare your canvas


First go to Window>Workspace>3D to open the panels. Start off by creating a transparent canvas measuring 230 x 310mm. Name it House and set the Resolution to 72 pixels/inch. This will keep the file smaller, meaning a faster render. Grab the Move tool (V).

There are a couple of things you must pay attention to when working in 3D. For a start, you need to work with three different panels simultaneously; the Layers panel, the 3D panel and the Properties panel. Also, use the on-image controls or the secondary camera/view to move and place the objects in the correct position. You can also right-click on the object to quickly access all of its properties. Working in the 3D workspace is a little different to working in 2D, but with just a bit of practice you’ll be able to create stunning 3D models.

Build the house


Place ‘Floor.png’ and create a 3D layer. In the 3D panel, check 3D Extrusion and click Create. In the Properties panel, set the Extrusion Depth to 5mm, then click on Coordinates, set the Rotation X to 90° and click Move to Ground.

Add materials


Now it’s time to fill the extrusion area with a material. In the 3D panel, select the Floor_Extrusion_Material. Now go to Properties and open the Material Picker window, then select Fabric Leather (Brown).


Advanced Build a 3D scene with Photoshop

Expert tip Changing materials You can easily access the materials by clicking twice over the object. The first click will select the object, the second click will select part of the object where you can apply or edit the material. Selecting the appropriate area of the object will also select the Materials in the Properties panel. For example click on the roof twice and notice the Properties panel changed to Materials. If you want to select a different area, just place the cursor over the object and click twice.

Merge 3D layers

Place the walls


In the Layers panel, place ‘Front_View.png’. Now create a 3D layer. In the Properties panel, set the Extrusion Depth to 5mm and fill it with the Fabric Leather (Brown) material.

Build more walls

Duplicate 3D objects



Place ‘Side_Wall.png’ and create a 3D layer. Extrude and apply the same material as before. Now merge the 3D layers. Use the 3D controllers to rotate and move the image in the correct position. Shift to Secondary View/Camera to know exactly where the objects are in the 3D scene.

In the 3D panel, right-click on the Side_Wall layer and choose Duplicate Objects. Drag the image, placing it on the opposite side. Rename it Side_Wall_ Left. Now complete the house, placing the ‘Back_View.png’ file and repeating the steps above to create and merge the 3D layer.

Apply a texture


Now let’s transfer a texture directly over the 3D object surface. In the Layers panel, place ‘Roof_Texture.png’. Adjust the size and position it over the roof. Right-click on the roof’s layer and choose Merge Down to apply the texture.



Keep the Front_View selected. Hold Shift and select the 3D Floor, then go to 3D>Merge 3D. Now click on the Front_ View image to access the 3D box controls on the image. Drag the Y axis to place the image on the floor.

Place the roof


In the Layers panel, place ‘Roof_ Shape.png’ and create a 3D layer. Shift to Right View/Camera and adjust the Extrusion Length. Use the 3D controllers to move and resize the image.

Adjust the texture


To adjust the texture, go to the 3D panel and select the Roof_Extrusion_Material. In the Properties panel, click on the Diffuse folder and choose Edit Texture. Duplicate the image, invert it and place it adjacent to the texture. Duplicate it again, fill the canvas, then save it (Cmd/Ctrl+S).

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Expert tip Group objects

Edit UV Properties

Add more elements


First, merge the roof in the 3D scene. Now bring in more elements. In the Layers panel place ‘Chimney_top.png’. Create a 3D object and merge the 3D layers. In the Properties panel adjust the Extrusion Depth and use the controllers to adjust the size and place over the roof.

Bring in more objects


Place the door and windows. Repeat the steps above to create the 3D object and merge it into the scene. Duplicate, rotate and place around the house. Switch to Cameras/View to place each object correctly, or use the three scene-moving icons at the bottom-left corner of the window.


In the 3D panel, select the Chimney_ Top Extrusion Material. In Properties open the Diffuse folder, choose Replace Texture and then choose ‘Chimney_Texture. png’. Select the Chimney_Top Extrusion Material again and open the Diffuse folder. Choose Edit UV Properties and change the settings to edit the texture.

When you start building a 3D object, you may find yourself creating multiple 3D elements, which can end up being hard to manage. If you need to move or transform all objects at once, the process will be easier if you place the element into a group. Select the top object, hold Shift and then select the bottom one – this will select all the elements in between as well. Then right-click and choose Group Objects. Always place complex 3D objects into a group.

Group objects

Create a 3D barrel



Now the house is complete, let’s place all the objects into a group (this will help you to keep all the 3D elements organised). In the 3D panel, hold Shift and select all the 3D objects, then right-click and choose Group Objects. Rename it House.

In the Layers panel, place ‘Barrel.png’ and create a 3D object. In Properties, set the Extrusion Depth to 0mm. Now click on the Deform button. Select the top-right Deformation Axis and set the Horizontal Angle (X) to 360° to close the shape.

Apply texture

Create the ladder



In Layers, place ‘Barrel_Texture.png’ and apply the texture as in step 9. Select the Barrel_Extrusion Material and edit the texture if needed. In Layers, place the ‘Barrel_2.png’ and create a 3D object. Adjust the depth, merge it and place it over the barrel, then merge it again into the 3D scene.

To create the ladder, apply the same techniques you’ve just learned. Place ‘Ladder.png’, create a 3D object, apply the material and bring it into the 3D scene. Duplicate, rotate, scale and move the objects. Place the ‘Ladder_Step.png’ and repeat the process.


Advanced Build a 3D scene with Photoshop Expert edit Create the bridge

Place the image


Place ‘Bridge.png’ and then switch to Warp Mode. In the Options bar, choose the Arc preset, set the Bend to -70% and press Enter.

Create the columns


In the 3D panel, right-click the House group folder and choose Add Cylinder. Set X: 20 then click OK. Drag the cylinder, and make it smaller and longer by adjusting the scales. Select all the Cylinder Materials and apply the Fabric Leather (Brown). Duplicate and place around the house.

Adjust the light source


Add more objects like the wooden box or create your own elements. In the 3D panel select all objects and then go to 3D>Move Objects to Ground Plane. Use the Orbit 3D camera to put the house in position and then click on the Infinite Light and adjust the light source. Now render the 3D object; go to 3D>Render 3D Layer.

Save PNG files


After rendering the object, save it in the .png format. Now create different houses, a windmill or a bigger house. Add more elements, use different camera angles and positions, adjust the lighting, then render and save each 3D object using the .png format.

Create a 3D object


In the 3D panel, check 3D Extrusion and click Create. Adjust the Extrusion Depth to 5mm and then change the Extrusion Material, applying the ‘bridge. png’ as a texture.

Rotate the image


Rotate the image using threescene-moving icons and place it into position. In the Layers panel, rightclick over the layer and then choose the Rasterize 3D Layer option.

Create a new document Use the Transform tool


Now use the Free Transform tool to adjust the perspective and then drag it to behind the trees. Grab the Blur tool and blur the area on the foreground.



In Photoshop, create a 230 x 310mm document. Grab the Gradient tool and create a light blue/white gradient, then apply it. Now place the ‘Background_image.jpg’. Use a layer mask to blend and apply the Gaussian Blur filter to blur the image.

Complete the background


Place ‘Grass.jpg’. Apply a Levels adjustment layer to enhance the tones and a Hue/Saturation one to desaturate a bit; set the Saturation to -35. Load ‘Brushes141.abr’, choose the Cloud brush and apply it on a new layer. Add a Gaussian Blur filter to the grass and cloud.

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Mask the trees


Open the ‘Tree1.jpg’. Go to Channels and duplicate the Blue Channel. Open the Levels and adjust the Inputs to create a high-contrast image. Grab the Dodge/Burn tool and enhance the image, then create a layer mask. Save it in .png format. Repeat this step for ‘Tree2.jpg. and ‘Tree3.jpg’.

Bring in the flowers

Place the houses


Place the houses you’ve just created on top of each other. Now place the trees and insert between the layers to create a beautiful composition. Use a Levels adjustment layer to adjust the shadows and highlights in each layer.


First, place some trees in the foreground and then apply the Gaussian Blur filter to create a separation between the elements, keeping only the main image in focus. Place the sunflowers and the orchid between the trees. Scale the images and apply a Levels adjustment if needed.

Create a neutral layer


Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N to create a new layer. Name it Shadows and Highlights, check ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’, Mode: Overlay, check ‘Fill with Overlayneutral colour’ and click OK. Grab the Dodge/Burn tool, set the Exposure to 35% and start painting the shadows and highlights over the image.

Apply final touches


Place the 3D ‘Bridge.png’ under the trees in the foreground. Switch to Warp mode and adjust the perspective. Use the custom brushes to paint the chimney smoke and dandelions. Now place the butterflies, boy, man and fairy image courtesy of Marcus Ranum (

What you’ll learn On-screen controls SECONDARY VIEW Make use of the Secondary camera/view to see different angles. This enables you to know precisely where the objects are in the 3D space.


MOVING THE CAMERA Quickly adjust the camera position by clicking and dragging over the threescene-moving icons at the bottom le of the 3D workspace.

3D AXIS CONTROL Activate the 3D controls and then move the mouse cursor over the axis to access the Move, Scale and Rotation commands.

Click an object to activate the 3D controls then press V on your keyboard to access the different distortion controllers directly on the image. Drag it to different areas.


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Ele m en ts

Elements 18 pages of practical guides Create more in Elements… Make art with the Gradient tool ................................................... 84 Design professional business cards ......................................86 Create a curious composition........................................................ 92 Stylise your portraits with filters ................................................96 Q&A: Common problems in Elements...............................100

Essential techniques Follow the step-by-step tutorials

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Photo edit…

A PHOTO INTO A REFLECTION Transform your portrait pictures by applying adjustment layers, masks and blend modes p90

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ADDING THE CAMELS Open ‘camels.jpg’, go to Filter>Adjustments>Threshold and set to Multiply; this gives you the perfect silhouette to complete your desert scene.

What does it mean?

SOLID AND NOISE – The Gradient tool has the option to choose between a Solid or Noise gradient. The Solid gradient produces a smooth fade from one colour to another, while the Noise option produces a series of fibres, which you can alter the colour of by changing the values.

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Tool focus…

Start images

Make art with the Gradient tool Use a simple fill tool to add toned colour to your pictures Colour can add excitement to your photos – it’s one of the most important aspects of any picture and crucial to get perfect. Gradients can add more than just colour to your pictures though; they also add tone, shade and light. They’re fantastic tools for illustrators as well as photomanipulators and photo editors, but the best thing is that all you have to do is drag them to apply. Gradients might feel like one of the most simple tools in Elements, but it takes practice to know when to use them, whether you’re trying to make an entire landscape of gradient-filled shapes – such as our evening Sahara scene above – or you just want to add a subtle filter effect to a photo.


The fun part of learning about gradients is being able to pick and choose the colours you’re going to use for your scene. It can be difficult to get it exactly right, but use the Eyedropper (I) to select colours and then tweak the shades in your Swatches. A really useful tool for making your shades more cohesive is the Gradient Map adjustment (Filter>Adjustments>Gradient Map). Simply select one gradient and it will apply it over the entire image, as we’ve done with our desert scene. Colour is one of the most enjoyable things about photo editing, so remember to have fun and experiment with gradients. We’ve supplied 50 for you to use on the FileSilo.

Ele m en ts

Make gradient art Select and fill to create a scene from gradients


Simply hit the G key to select the Gradient tool quickly

Select a shape


If you simply drag a gradient onto your document, it will cover the entire page in colour. To refine where you’re dragging it, use selection tools to create a shape before applying the gradient. Here, we’ve used the Polygonal Lasso to create a sand dune; use ‘Desert.jpg’ as a reference.

Pick a second colour


Now, click on the bottom-right stopper and select a second colour. There’s a small arrow on the bottom of the gradient preview; slide this to adjust the fade of your first colour to your second. You can add as many colours as you like.

Choose a first colour


Once in the Gradient tool, you’ll have the option to select one of a few preset gradients, or create your own. Click on the bottom-left stopper; this controls the left-hand colour. A window will appear for you to pick a colour for the first half of the gradient.

Drag the gradient


With your gradient chosen, drag from one half of your selected area to the other. This will apply it in this chosen area; you can drag it as often as you like to perfect the exact gradient.

Additional uses Where can you use gradients in photo editing?

Gradient maps Gradient maps are one of the most common

Light leaks Light leaks are a phenomenon in which

Vignettes Vignettes are darkened corners of an image.

adjustments in Elements. They rely principally on gradients, taking the lights and darks of an image and replacing them with the colours on your gradient’s spectrum. Go to Filter>Adjustments>Gradient Map to apply; these gradient maps oen work best as a subtle colourchanging layer when set to So Light or Overlay.

bright bursts of colour seep into the corners of photographs, and they’re simple to add in Elements. Select a yellow or pink in your Swatches, and select the Gradient tool. Choose Foreground to Transparent and on a new layer, drag from one corner into the middle of the picture. Set this layer to Screen.

They look great in retro pictures but they can help to add more focus to the centre of an image. On a new layer, select the Gradient tool, make sure black and white are set in your Swatches and hit OK. Choose the Radial option in the bottom bar and drag. Set to Multiply to hide the white, and reduce opacity if needed.


ts n e m Ele

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Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/ Opt+; to lock the guides that you create

Creative project…

Design professional business cards Give yourself a professional edge with Elements, using layers, graphics and shapes Elements is fantastic for creating digital art and work that you can view online, but it can be exciting to see something you’ve created in Elements in the real world. Actually getting to print off and use your work is exciting, but business cards are great because you can literally pass your work around to friends and people you meet. Business cards by their nature are simple, small and minimal, so this makes a fantastic project for anyone looking to expand their skills in Elements or just discover a few vital tools. By the same token, business cards are something that any freelance graphic


designer might fancy creating to further their career; this is a useful project for all kinds of reasons. You can get as personal as you like with this tutorial. The template we’ve created is just a suggestion of how you can create a business card; you can add whichever pictures you like, whatever details you like, more or less shapes, or whatever else you fancy. Check out our three-stage masterclass and transform your business idea into a business card; print it out using the third stage and you can bring your Elements work to life.

Ele m en ts

STAGE 1 Create the basic template Get guides in place and add a background to begin

What does it mean?

GRAPHICS – The Graphics tab at the bottom of Elements is a bank of textures, stock images and backgrounds to apply to your work. It provides a basis for you to start working on in Elements – perfect for creative projects such as this – and can be applied just by clicking on your chosen graphic.

Every project starts with creating a new document and setting out some guidelines. But when you’re creating business cards, it’s useful to set up the specific size and shape of your document so you can create to this template. Elements makes it really easy for you to organise the layout of your business card before you get started on the really fun side of designing it. Guides can shape your work; just hit Cmd/Ctrl+’ to bring them up, and get help aligning everything.

Create margins


Next, we’re going to create margins; these are useful not only for printing but also for keeping our information central and clear. Head to View>New Guide and add one at 5mm horizontally, one at 5mm vertically, one at 50mm horizontally and one at 80mm vertically.

Set up the dimensions


First, let’s set up the size of the document for the business card. A standard size is 85mm in width, and 55mm in height; you can alter these, though, depending on how big or small you want the business card to be.

Add a background


You can use any kind of image, texture or pattern for the background of the card, but we’re going to take advantage of the generous bank Elements already offers. Click the Graphics tab along the bottom and select a cool texture; we’re going to alter it extensively later.

UNDOWNLOADED GRAPHIC A blue corner on one of the previews indicates that the graphic has never been used before in Elements and isn’t downloaded.

CLICK TO APPLY All you have to do is click once to apply a graphic; they download quickly, too.

SORT FURTHER The drop-down menu on the right helps you to sort through graphics even further, and find the one you want quicker.

SORT BY Use the le-hand drop-down menu to sort which type of graphics to apply, from seasonal to mood.


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STAGE 2 Build the business card


Add shapes, colours and text to your project

Add all kinds of shapes to your image to embellish it; these icons have had a Bevel applied via Layer Styles.

With the basic template all set and in place for your business card, now’s the time to get into the creative side of things. Adding a picture, big clear fonts and a good colour scheme will really help the card come to life, and it’s the personal touches that will make it unique. You can adapt the tutorial too, depending on your subject; feel free to change the colours, shapes or even fonts.

Choose your colours

Create a title

Add more information

Grab the Text tool. Click onto the project to add a box, and then write the name of whoever you want the business card to be for. Make sure you pick a clear, bold font – we chose Helvetica Neue Bold – and don’t worry about positioning just now.



Place an image

Make some icons






Turn the Background layer to white to leave just the texture, by adding Fill layers of white (#FFFFFF); set one to Soft Light, and one to Color. On a new layer, brush some colours that you’d like to use for your business card. Our chosen colours are #000000, #0f6291 and #7ce5f1.

An image isn’t essential but it can brighten up the card and make it stand out. Choose something representative of the job or service, or just pick an image that works colour-wise with the rest of the design. Paste it onto the card, resize and hit Enter.


We’re going to add some icons to the business card now. Click on the shapes icon in the toolbar and look for the telephone and envelope ones. Drag them into your project and place by the phone number and email address respectively.

In smaller lettering – perhaps lighter versions of the same font – add some more information. You might want to add social-media addresses, but the key things to include are the job title, possibly the company, a phone number and an email address.

Now embellish what you’ve done already. Select around the margins on a new layer and fill with a colour to create a border; add more shapes to the image, and add drop shadows to the icons by going to Layer>Layer Styles>Style Settings.

Ele m en ts

STAGE 3 Print it Create a reverse side and print your cards off With the design locked down now, all that’s left is to take your business cards into the real world. Business cards don’t need a reverse side to them, but it makes for a more professional finish if you can create a minimal back to the colourful, exciting front side of the card. Check out how you can print them too, and remember to print double-sided to get the full effect.

GET READY TO PRINT Instead of professionally printing your business cards, why not print a set of ten at a time onto A4 card, before cutting them out?

SELECT PRINT SIZE Click on the Select Print Size drop-down menu, and go down to Custom to pick a size.

SCALE TO FIT MEDIA Click on the Scale to Fit Media box. This will print your business cards at a natural size instead of shrinking them.

Copy onto A4

Create the back



Merge everything into a new layer by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/ Opt+Shift+E. Go to File>New>Blank File and choose an A4 document. Paste your merged layer ten times onto the A4 document and spread each of the cards out on the page.

Go back to your business card document. Hide certain layers – the text, shapes and picture – to be left with a minimal basic background of your business card. Again, merge all into a new layer. This will be the reverse side of your card.


Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+V to paste in the same position

Duplicate the back


Go to your A4 document and select all layers. Ctrl/rightclick>Duplicate and choose to duplicate to a new document entirely. Now, just as you pasted the business card ten times on your first A4 document, paste the reverse side layer over each of the ten business card layers.

Print it all


Head to File>Print to print each of the A4 documents. By creating an A4 document of both the front side and reverse side of the business card, you can print onto both sides of an A4 piece of card and cut out each one ready to hand out.


ts n e m Ele What does it mean?

BLENDING PHOTOS Use adjustment layers and blending modes to merge your photo with the scene and create this reflection effect.

CLIPPING MASKS – When you create a clipping mask, the contents of the layer below determines, which areas of the clipped layer remain visible. Our Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in step 3 is ‘clipped’ to the girl layer, so it is only applied to where the girl is visible, rather than the entire canvas.

DECORATIONS Make sure foreground elements are complementary, without attracting too much attention away from your subject.

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Photo edit…

Turn a photo into a reflection

Start images

Transform photos using adjustment layers, masks and blend modes There is something undeniably beautiful about portraits set within nature, whether it’s family photo shoots set against a backdrop of bluebells, or wedding photos taken in the garden of a grand country estate. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to quickly and easily take a simple portrait photo and set it very much within nature. With the right combinations and settings of adjustment layers and blending modes, this is a wonderfully simple technique, which can transform almost any of your portrait photos into a subtle and realistic reflection in water.


If you’d like to get started using the same photo we have used here, then it is available on the FileSilo along with two stock images of water, which we will be blending together to create the scene. As a finishing touch, and to give your artwork a bit more depth and context, it’s a good idea to add some decorative elements bordering the image or floating on the surface. Perhaps reeds or grass overlapping from the edges, or leaves or lily pads in the corners. Choose something that suits your portrait photo, and create a personal and unique piece of artwork.

Ele m en ts

Create the main effect Layer your photo between stock images of water

Place your photo

Screen and mask



Open ‘Water.psd’. Go to File>Place and choose ‘Girl.jpg’. Ensure that Constrain Proportions is ticked, enlarge the image and turn it slightly clockwise, positioning it towards the bottom-left corner of the canvas.

Adjust the contrast


Change the Hue to +9, Saturation to -52 and Lightness to -9. Now add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, again right-click its layer name and click Create Clipping Mask. Change the Brightness to -64 and Contrast to +100.

Change the layer’s blending mode to Screen. Add a layer mask to the girl layer, select the Brush tool (B) and use a black Airbrush to mask out the background around the girl’s head and hands.

Duplicate the photo


On the girl layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it. Drag the lower copy to the top of the layer stack. Set its blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 50%. Add a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer, create a clipping mask, and change Saturation to -72 and Lightness to +9.

Hue/Saturation adjustment


Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon at the top of the Layers palette and choose Hue/Saturation from the fly-out menu. Right-click the Hue/Saturation layer name and click Create Clipping Mask to clip it to the girl layer below.

Add some water ripples


Go to File>Place and choose ‘Ripples. jpg’. Enlarge it to fill the canvas. Change its blending mode to Overlay and Opacity to 40%. Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer at the top of the layer stack and set the Contrast to 22.

Add the water lily Include a foreground element to create an extra layer of depth


To create clipping masks, Alt+click the line between the layers

Place the lily Go to File>Place and choose ‘Lily.jpg’. Move it to the bottom-right corner of the canvas. Use the Quick Selection tool (A) to select the black areas to the left of the lily. Click Refine Edge, set Smooth to 10 and Feather to 2.0px, set Output to Selection and click OK.

Paint in shadows Blur and desaturate Add a new layer below the lily layer and name it Press backspace to delete the selected area. Shadows. Change its blending mode to Multiply Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, enter a value of 8.2px and click OK. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, create a clipping mask and set the Saturation to -35 and Lightness to -12.

and Opacity to 62%. Use the Brush tool with an Airbrush at 125px and a colour of R:34, G:44, B:60 to paint in some shadows beneath the edges of the lily and lily pads.


ts n e m Ele BLENDING NATURE Use layer masks to blend the birds and dandelion spores, creating this surreal transformation effect.

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

Surreal art…

Create a curious composition Start images

Blend together several images for an imaginative composition Nature is fascinating; when you actually take the time to stop and look, there are so many wonders, some of which almost seem to border on the surreal. From the intricate detailing of a spider’s web to the gravity defying bumble bee. But what if we push nature even further, and take one more step into the surreal; create bizarre transformations that mesh one natural element with another? In some ways it isn’t even that unusual, when you consider the incredible metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly. With Photoshop Elements you can let your imagination run wild. In this tutorial we will be using layer masks to blend dandelion spores


and birds to create a gradual transformation between the two. You’ll create a sunny outdoor scene by combining several source photos, and applying adjustment layers and gradients to give a warm, bright mood. The positioning of the birds and dandelion spores is key to creating a natural-looking effect, so feel free to shuffle and reposition them at any point during the tutorial if you want to. By using layer masks, we are also able to modify the transforming birds at any point, because they remain fully editable. So grab all the tutorial files, load up Elements, get settled in the Expert workspace, and start creating some wonderful imagery.

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Set the scene Start building a background, before adding the dandelion and birds

Select the dandelion

Create the canvas


Create a new file, 240mm wide by 210mm high and 300ppi. Select the Paint Bucket tool (K) and fill the background with R:73 G:152 B:212. Go to File> Place, choose ‘Tree.jpg’. Position and enlarge the image so that it fills the canvas as shown.

Mask the tree line


Add a layer mask to the Tree layer and use a black Soft Round brush to mask out the sky, zooming in close to mask carefully along the tree line.


Open ‘Dandelion.jpg’. Use the Quick Select tool to select the stalk and leaves. Switch to the Selection Brush tool and use a Soft Round brush at 30px to smooth and refine the selection. Increase brush size to 300px to make a soft-edged selection of the dandelion fluff.

Blend the dandelion Position the dandelion


Copy (Ctrl/Cmd+C) and paste (Ctrl/Cmd+V) it into your artwork. Press Ctrl/Cmd+T, right-click the dandelion and choose Flip Horizontal then click the green tick to apply. Position it in the left corner. Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the top of the Layers palette.


Press A in order to cycle through all of the selection tools


Use a black Soft Round brush to obscure the dandelion fluff over the grass and trees. Press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate the dandelion layer, set the copy’s blend mode to Hard Light, press Ctrl/ Cmd+U and reduce Saturation to -100. Click its layer mask and press Ctrl/Cmd+I to invert it.

TIDYING UP Use the Dandelion’s layer mask to tidy any remaining bits of blue sky around the leaves.


What does it mean?

QUICK SELECTION TOOL – This works intelligently to detect edges and generate a selection as you click and drag. It’s a great starting point for selecting objects, but final results might not be quite up to scratch, so it’s best used with the Selection Brush and Refine Edge to tidy things up.

Desaturating and using the Hard Light blending mode has removed the blue sky from over the grass.

BRUSH TOOL Using a So Round brush for making selections keeps the edges smooth, giving better results.

INVERTING MASKS Inverting the layer mask switches the black and white, so these layer masks are exact opposites of each other.


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Expert tip Edit colour with gradients

Paste in the spores


Go to ‘Dandelion.jpg’, use the Quick Selection tool and Selection Brush tool to select an individual spore. Copy and paste it into your artwork five times. Press Ctrl/Cmd+T on each one to rotate, flip, position and resize so that they’re floating up and right, getting progressively smaller.

Select a bird


Open ‘Flock.jpg’. Use the Quick Selection tool to select the lowest bird. Click the Refine Edge button in the Tool Options panel and enter Smooth: 10, Feather: 1.2, Shift Edge: -52% and click OK. Copy and paste five copies into your artwork.

A brilliant way of boosting colours in an image is to add gradients on a So Light layer at the top of the layer stack. It is important to choose a colour that is going to create the right mood for your artwork. Here we have gone for a sunny feel, by using a pale creamy yellow. In order to prevent the effect from being too overpowering, the colour needs to stay quite subtle, so pale colours are best. When using this effect in other images, consider the hue, saturation and opacity of the gradients to achieve the result you want.

Line them up


Press Ctrl/Cmd+T on each bird in turn and position one underneath each dandelion spore, except for the first spore. The final bird in the top right should not have a spore above it. Rotate, flip and resize as necessary, lining them up so that the wings align with the fluff.

KEEP THEM DIFFERENT Use a combination of transformations, such as Flip and Rotate, to help make each one appear unique.

COMBINE BRUSHES Two different brushes have been used in combination in order to create this feathery masking effect.


Start masking the birds


In the layer stack, place each bird layer directly above its respective spore layer. Add a layer mask to the first bird layer. Use a black Soft Round brush to remove the wings, tail and bottom half of the body.

Continue masking


Repeat for the next bird, leaving slightly more of the body. Switch to the Grass brush and use it with white to bring back some of the wings. You will need to click Brush Settings and adjust the brush Angle to match the angle of each wing.

NAME YOUR LAYERS For easier navigation in the Layers palette, make sure you name your layers something you can recognise.

QUICK COLOUR CHANGE When masking, press X on your keyboard to switch the Foreground and Background colours between black and white.

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Mask the spores

Paste in the flock

Tweak Hue/Saturation




Continue to mask the bird layers, leaving more of the bird visible each time. Apply layer masks to the spore layers and do the same in reverse; concealing more of the spore until the last one is almost entirely hidden.

Open ‘Flock.jpg’. Use the Quick Selection tool and Refine Edge to select the entire flock of birds excluding the lower one, and copy and paste it into your artwork. Press Ctrl/Cmd+T to shrink it and position it in the top-left corner.

Blur the man

Add gradients



Shrink him and position far back in the field. Add a layer mask and use a Soft Round brush to blend his legs in with the field. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, create a clipping mask and enter Saturation: -10. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and enter 0.8px.

Taking it further Extra tips for a realistic finish Now that the final image is assembled, there are so many small finishing touches you can add to give your artwork a more realistic appearance. For example, try adding slight Gaussian Blurs to the birds that are further in the distance to emulate depth of field. You can also add clipped Hue/Saturation layers to them and reduce the Saturation and Lightness slightly. Objects that are further away appear less saturated, darker and more out of focus, so adjust the amount of desaturation and blur according to how far away you want the object to seem. When an image is made up of elements form different photo sources, a Photo Filter added at the top of the layer stack can also help to unify them.

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, right-click it and choose Create Clipping Mask, then enter Saturation: -25 and Lightness: -25. Open ‘Man.jpg’. Use the Quick Selection tool to select and then copy and paste him in.

Add a new layer at the top of the layer stack, change its blending mode to Soft Light. Select the Gradient tool set to Radial, Opacity: 30% and Transparency ticked, with a colour of R:255, G:253, B:219. Click and drag from the top-left corner towards the middle.


Press V to access the Move tool, then arrow keys to nudge


ts n e m Ele EMBRACE THE EXPERT Don’t be scared of the Expert mode – it’s where the cool tools are, and really isn’t complicated.

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

Digital art…

Stylise your portraits with filters Start image

Use a mix of filters and masks to transform photos This tutorial makes use of three filters found inside the Filter Gallery: Glowing Edges, Halftone and Cutout. Together you can use these to transform a portrait into a funky piece of art. Filters are very easy to use, with full previews and sliders that you can play with until you get the look you want. Aside from that, they also enable you to create sometimes complicated effects very quickly. The base image for this tutorial can be found on the FileSilo, but if you’d like to use your own then bear in mind that the filters we apply will be calculated based on the entire image, so where possible keep the background empty and a different colour to your main subject.


Throughout you’ll be utilising the power of layer masks: being able to hide sections of your layer non-destructively. They can be used on adjustment layers or standard image layers, and it’s good to get into the habit of using them rather than deleting content directly – by the end you’ll be a pro! After the overall effect has been achieved, you’ll be able to adjust colours freely to create different versions and styles. Other finishes can also be achieved quickly just by adjusting the filter values at various stages of the tutorial, creating thicker or thinner lines, alternative halftone shapes and different levels of detail. Learn the basics, then start to play!

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Create funky outlines Transforms photographs with just a few layers Shortcut

Ctrl/right-click the eye symbol of a layer to turn off other ones

Select Glowing Edges


Open your image into Elements, or open ‘Girl.jpg’ from the FileSilo. Duplicate with Cmd/Ctrl+J. Select the top copy and go to Filter>Filter Gallery. Inside, click on the Stylize tab and select Glowing Edges. Play with the sliders until the main edges (head, eyes, mouth and so on) are clearly defined.

Add Threshold layers


Add a Threshold adjustment layer via Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Threshold. This clips your image to black and white. Leave the first Threshold layer at 128, and then create a second on top at 58.

Neaten the Thresholds


Draw black on the 128 Threshold layer over areas where you want to show more white. Create a new layer (Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+N) and on here, paint using black to create neat lines and areas. Use a hard paint brush (100% Opacity) for cleaner edges.

Duplicate and Halftone


Duplicate the original photo layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and drag it to the top. Set your Foreground colour to white and the Background colour to black. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery. Select the Sketch tab and choose Halftone Pattern. Change Pattern Type to Lines, Size to around 5, and Contrast to around 50.

Mask the layer


Hit OK and change the layer’s blend mode to Screen. Add a layer mask. Use the brush to paint black on the mask to hide almost the entire layer, except for the lower half of her face and her hand.

BLEND MODES Scroll through blend modes using Shi + +/- on a Mac or the up and down arrows on a PC.

What does it mean?

LAYER MASKS – A layer mask is, quite simply, a mask for a layer. It shows or hides areas depending on what shade of grey you put onto the mask: black hides completely, white shows completely, with all shades on a scale in between. They are powerful and let you remove parts of layers and bring them back again.

QUICKLY ADD LAYER MASKS Use this button to quickly add layer masks to a layer with one click.


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Expert tip Retain your data

Create Halftone circles


Duplicate the original photo layer again and drag it to the top. With your Foreground and Background colours set to white and black respectively, go to Filter> Filter Gallery and again navigate to Halftone. This time, change the Pattern Type to Circle. Set Size to 5 and Contrast to 50. Hit OK.

Mask and screen


Set the blend mode of this layer to Screen and add a mask. Like before, use the mask to block out all areas except for her forehead and torso using black and white brushes.

Once we apply new filters to each layer in Elements, it is not possible to go back to the original without undo-ing any work done aer the filter was applied. To avoid having to do this, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of creating a copy of the original layer first. You can do this by selecting the layer and using the shortcut Cmd/ Ctrl+J. Then, click the eye icon next to the original to hide it until such a time that it might be needed. If your computer starts to struggle with the increased number of layers, copy them onto a new canvas instead, call it Backup and close until needed.

Use the Cutout filter


Create a stamp of your canvas so far by selecting the top layer and hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E. With this new layer selected, go to Filter>Filter Gallery and find Cutout inside the Artistic filters. Keep the settings quite subtle, just using this filter to remove any rough edges.

Create a gradient


Next, go to Layer>New Fill Layer and select Gradient. Choose a Linear Gradient, Angle: 0, Scale: 100, then doubleclick the gradient preview to edit the colours. Click under the scale to set up five markers.

Set up your gradient


Arrange the five markers so that one is in the centre; double-click to assign it with colour #f4e58c. Place two symmetrically further out either side with #edbd4b, then two even further out with #b85c30. Hit OK. Set the blend mode to Multiply.

ADJUSTMENT LAYERS SHORTCUT GRADIENT PREVIEW This shows you how your gradient will appear on your canvas. Double-click to edit colours.

Click this icon to add a new adjustment layer. This menu holds the most common adjustments; simply click to apply.

OPACITY STOPS These stops control the opacity of the gradient. Click these and then adjust opacity to make a gradient fade to transparent.

COLOUR STOPS These stops indicate when a new colour starts. The further apart they are, the soer the transition between colours.


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Edit the hand gradient Create the body gradient

Edit the body gradient



Use a layer mask to restrict the original gradient only to her face. Duplicate your gradient. Double-click to edit the gradient. Change the Angle to 90°, and then enter the colour editor.

Spread out the two darker colours closer to the edges, move the centre three to the left side. Hit OK and apply the gradient, keeping the blend mode at Multiply. Use the layer mask to only affect the torso.


Duplicate your gradient layer again. Change the Angle back to 0 and enter the colour editor. This time, bring the outside markers closer to the others. Bring the centre and left-centre markers towards the left so that the bright colour lines up with the hand. Mask all but the hand.

Adjust the colours

Apply finishing touches



To give the colours a bit more ‘pop’, add a Levels adjustment layer. Set the black marker to around 16 and the white marker to around 216. Hit OK. Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer. Chose Warming Filter (85) from the drop-down menu and set Density to 25%.

How to master layer masks Take your editing to the next step

Now that the main portrait is complete, you can add any extra finishing touches you like, for example a border in the same style, adjust the colours, or even go back to the previous layers and neaten up any areas you weren’t quite happy with!


Select a layer mask and hit Cmd/ Ctrl+Backspace to fill it

Layer masks are extremely useful; it’s hard to get through a good photo edit without using them. When you delete something using the Eraser tool, it’s known as ‘destructive’ editing, meaning that once it’s been erased, you can’t get it back. Layer masks are ‘non-destructive’; they delete nothing and you can always bring back anything that was hidden at any time. Add a mask to any layer, even shape layers, and use the Brush tool to paint either black to hide or white to show, using all tones of grey in between for varying opacity. Hold Alt+click on the mask thumbnail to preview the mask fully on the canvas for more accurate editing.


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Get in touch

Ask on Twitter @PshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email: KEEP OBJECTS SHARP

HOW CAN I ENHANCE A SUBJECT’S EYES? Eyes are oen the first thing that we look at in a portrait so it’s important to get them as clear, bright and exciting as you possibly can. It’s easy to do in Elements, and just requires a bit of masking. Start off by duplicating your original layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels panel. Here, play around with the stoppers to improve the contrast of the picture, focusing on what looks good with the eyes. Use the drop-down menu to change the individual strands of Red, Blue and Green. Once you’ve done this, hit the mask icon and then choose Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the mask. With a so white brush, mask the irises back in. Improve the saturation and alter the hue of the eyes by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+U and playing with the sliders to change the inputs.

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While landscapes can benefit from sharpening, it’s objects in your foreground that can most oen do with a little sharpening.


USE BRUSHES TOO If you want to add more colour, grab a brush, set blend mode to Color and paint over the iris.

WHAT’S THE EASIEST WAY TO SHARPEN A PHOTO IN ELEMENTS? There are all kinds of ways to make sure that your pictures are as crisp and sharp as they possibly can be. You can duplicate your layer, go to Filter>Other>High Pass and apply the filter before setting the layer to Overlay or Linear Light; there is also a sharpening tool in the toolbar on the le-hand side of Elements and you can always use Camera Raw to get your pictures looking even sharper. But one of the easiest ways to make sure your entire picture stays sharp and detailed is to go to the Guided section of Elements and use the Sharpening option there. It’s one of the simplest sections of the entire program, consisting of a single slider and an option to apply automatic sharpness, based on the kind of edit that your picture specifically requires. It’s good to get into the habit of sharpening all of your pictures when you download them from your camera to your computer. This sharpening technique is the quickest one that you can use, which is perfect if you’re editing in bulk, or just in a bit of a hurry.


Ele m en ts WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR EMBELLISHING TEXT? If you’re creating a poster with text, you’re going to want to make it stand out. There are all kinds of ways that you can make sure your text looks unique and refreshing. Layer styles are perhaps the first port of call when it comes to text. They can add bevels, glows, drop shadows or strokes to your letters to make them stand out against the background, so it’s a good idea to use them if you have a busy backdrop. You can also add clipping masks to your text – we’ve added this blue gradient – so that you can brighten up boring type with a picture, texture or more colour. Finally, try masking text; you can create worn effects and it can give a unique look to a popular font.

PICK THE RIGHT FONT Big, bold fonts look great with bevels, and they have enough space so masking them won’t make the writing unreadable.

IS THERE A WAY TO ADD LIGHT LEAKS IN ELEMENTS? Instagram-style and retro photos are surprisingly really popular in the digital age. There are all kinds of apps, programs and even textures that you can download to make your pictures vintage. Elements also has a quick fix that can add a burst of light to any picture. Head to the Quick section of Elements and the Light Leak option is available to add to your pictures. Elements offers you various styles that might suit your particular picture, and they can be added in just a click; they also come with a Color Fill layer set with a different blend mode over the top of the picture to alter the tone and atmosphere. Use the Expert section to tweak the picture further, and remember you can add more than one light leak to a single image.

Quick tip

Use filters creatively The Filter Gallery is perfect for anyone wanting to create an artistic, sketchy or illustrative finish, ranging from a simple pencil sketch to watercolour-style art. While the Filter Gallery is useful for one-click edits, it’s capable of more indepth effects for all kinds of projects. The Cutout filter, for example, is the perfect option for simplifying your pictures into low poly, and the Glowing Edges filter can be used for an X-ray effect. Experiment with different filters and see what wonders you can create.




It’s a key thing to remember with compositions: any image with an object next to some water is going to need a reflection. Adding a reflection can be easy; ll you have to do is duplicate your mage, flip vertically, and then mask what you’d like to be reflected in the water. Lower the Opacity to around 0%, set the layer to Multiply and our reflection is complete if you’d ke to leave it there; otherwise go to Filter>Distort>Ripple to add a touch more realism to the reflection.




Price Free (brushes range in price) Web

GrutBrushes plug-in Unleash your inner artist with the power of custom brushes and the free GrutBrushes plug-in

The specs Company GrutBrushes Additional specs Photoshop CC



For anything denser than an outline, there are hundreds of potential styles that GrutBrushes offers, such as oil and watercolour.

The brushes are also great for masking; here, we’ve applied a paint filter to the background and masked it back in with an oily brush.

Five great free brushes Which brushes should you experiment with?

Cherry Pectin

Hatch Cranny

Lanas Mark




The GrutBrushes watercolours feel watery, yet can create dense colour when you apply pressure. Cherry Pectin, the free example from the Sampler, is a great brush to start with.


You might be used to selecting a thin brush and cross-hatching; the free Hatch Cranny can quickly add cross-hatching for you. There are other paid versions if you love adding shade to your paintings.

This is a gouache brush with the ability to paint lightly or with full opacity, depending on how much pressure you apply. It can be used in all kinds of paintings and is a great addition to your brush palette.

OUTLINES The GrutBrushes are precise enough for you to get really detailed when you sketch, and they’re great for illustration.


hotoshop offers a plethora of fantastic tools, and anyone who has used the Brush tool will know the supplied brush tips cater for many creative endeavours. There are all kinds of brushes for sketching, illustrating and painting, but as with anything to do with Photoshop, the default options are just the tip of the iceberg. Search online, and you will find thousands of custom brushes to use in your projects; they are easy to install, can add a personalised finish to your work, and for digital artists, offer new possibilities and the ability to create incredibly realistic traditional media effects in Photoshop. GrutBrushes is a company that has been producing realistic Photoshop brushes for a while now, but has only recently branched into the plug-in market. GrutBrushes work differently to your average Photoshop brush; they are .tpl files rather than .abr, meaning that they respond slightly differently to pressure, speed and direction of brush strokes. While they can be integrated into Photoshop alone, the addition of the GrutBrushes plug-in means that you can have them all organised in one library, with handy

preview images of each of the brushes for you to use. You can show and hide the brushes, and the plug-in fits in stylistically with the rest of Photoshop. The GrutBrushes plug-in does draw on a major strength of the website, however. GrutBrushes regularly uploads a lot of new brushes – for example, it has recently added a set of realistic cloud brushes – and the plug-in has a tab specifically for letting you know about any new brushes to install. For a busy digital artist who doesn’t have the time to trawl the internet for new tools, this is perfect, and for anyone who loves the feel and style of the GrutBrushes, it’s extremely useful to have everything in one place. It’s easy to see why you might love GrutBrushes, too. There are brushes that are free to download – the website constantly offers freebies and reduced brushes for you to install, including a free brush of the week – and the free Sampler set of ten brushes is more than enough to get you started and help you discover which brushes you enjoy playing with most. It’s possible to use GrutBrushes without ever having to pay for anything, but

given the depth of the website’s brush catalogue, why not discover some of the sets that you can buy? The company has brushes in all kinds of styles and they’re all of a fantastic quality. The aforementioned cloud brushes are great for subtly enhancing skies in compositions or photos; there are ballpoint rollers for penbased artwork; and the watercolour sets feel realistic yet easily controllable. There are cross-hatching brushes that you can apply on low-opacity layers to add a touch of shade to your work, and there are even Impasto oil brushes, which mimic the look and feel of thick, oil-painted pictures when applied. A set of a few brushes can range from $2 to $20 and you can buy brushes individually for $1 or $2 each. If you’re someone who loves painting in a particular style, you may wish to purchase one of these sets, but otherwise, picking a mix of different brushes from each of the packs is just as sensible. Photomanipulators might find the plug-in useful – especially for the cloud brushes – and there are various erasers on the site, which can also come in handy for a range of project styles. GrutBrushes might actually change how you digitally paint, and it can help you to discover amazing new brushes for reasonable prices. All of the brushes in the shop are responsive, high quality and realistic, and there’s plenty of choice. This is an absolute must for any digital artist, especially if you’re only just getting into digital painting.

The verdict


GrutBrushes is a simple plugin, but it keeps all the brushes you install organised as well as helping you to discover more for your work.

Standout feature Buy more brushes Most plug-ins come with updates, but few as exciting as GrutBrushes. You can add whatever brushes you like to the plug-in, and even download a free weekly brush to your collection, all without actually having to leave the plug-in. Most brushes range in price, but all have great control and sensitivity.

Mud Slice

Stump Trough



Mud Slice is the free ballpoint brush that you can download. The entire ballpoint set only costs $2, and they’re great for illustration or outlining subjects in bigger digital paintings.

Stump Trough, the free oil brush, is one of the less dense oil brushes available, which means that it can apply some great texture to your paintings, and it’s versatile enough for all kinds of projects.





Price £140 (approx) / $199 US Web

AlienSkin Exposure X Bundle

The triple threat from AlienSkin that can edit pictures, add paint effects and resize to perfection

The specs Company AlienSkin Additional specs OS X 10.10 Yosemite or above Windows 8 64-bit or above Adobe Photoshop CS6 or above Adobe Lightroom 6 or above

PHOTOEDITING ABILITIES Make all kinds of edits to your image, including brightness, warmth and sharpening before delving deeper into the controls.

LIGHT LEAKS Choose from a series of bright leaks in different colours and even add lens flares or brightness directly onto your image.

Create a painting to print Use the Exposure X bundle to work on a complete project

Make subtle tweaks


Just like Camera Raw, Exposure X can be used to make all sorts of simple edits to your photos. Sharpen up your picture, adjust the colour and tone, and perfect it until you’re happy.


Add cool effects

Pick a preset



Where Camera Raw can only really manage the basics, Exposure X thrives on producing all kinds of awesome photo effects. Add sunbursts or textures to really individualise your pictures and take them further.

With the editing of your picture complete, use the Snap Art 4 app to turn it into a painting. There are dozens of brilliant presets to pick from, and this makes it easier to build a painting, rather than starting from scratch.

BORDERS AND DUST Place textures, scratches and even borders onto your photos; this can give them a retro look or be a final touch for a painting.


ome plug-ins feel like they were made to be used with other plug-ins. A lot of companies release full collections of plug-ins, sometimes ten or 12 at a time, which are all intended to work with Photoshop, but sometimes produce the best results when you combine them. AlienSkin’s Exposure X Bundle can therefore seem like a strange mix of just three plug-ins, because on first glance, it doesn’t seem like these software packages were intended to be used together. The titular Exposure X is a photo editor used to perfect your pictures; Snap Art 4 is a painting-style package; and Blow Up 3 is used to resize and crop your projects either for web or printing. Each app feels a world away from the last one, and each has different strengths. This is a good thing; it means that you can use something from the bundle no matter what you’re working on, but despite the differences between the three apps, they can be used together. Exposure X, at its heart, just

improves start pictures; Snap Art 4 is there for embellishing your pictures; and Blow Up 3 works as an exporting tool. Starting with the first of the three apps, Exposure X might seem a little underwhelming to begin with. As you scroll through the right-hand panel of the plug-in, the sliders almost mirror the Camera Raw filter completely. The light leaks, lens flares, borders and textures are fantastic, though, and can really add a lot of colour and tone to your pictures. There are dozens of great options, and coupled with the preset effect options the plug-in offers, along with some useful sliders on the right of the window, the Exposure X package is extremely useful, if not the most novel software out there. Snap Art 4, though, is something completely different to anything offered in Photoshop. It works in the same way as a painting or sketching filter from the Filter Gallery, but it’s far more detailed and nuanced. There are all kinds of painted styles

to choose from – again, you can pick a quick filter to either stick with or build upon – and you can alter anything about the painting style, from the direction of the brush strokes, to their size and even the lighting and saturation. For anyone who doesn’t already have a painting plug-in, this amalgamates all the features that you could possibly want to either create basic digital paintings or enhance your work with canvases and paint effects. That just leaves Blow Up 3. It might feel tagged on to the end of the other two, but in many ways it’s the most useful of the trio: it can be used with either Snap Art 4, Exposure X or just with Photoshop, and regardless of how you plan to share your artwork, it can come in handy and help when you’ve finished a project. It may seem like a simple piece of software, but it’s massively effective in resizing pictures up to 1,000% bigger than they actually are. There’s a drop-down box that enables you to choose whether you’re resizing for web or to print, and there’s the option to choose your paper. It’s such an underrated tool, but it’s one that you won’t be able to live without. The Exposure X bundle might feel like a lot of different features in one package but for anyone who likes experimenting with their artwork, it’s the plug-in set for you. It has plenty of useful tools, no matter what you like creating, and they work well either separately or merged together.

The verdict


This might feel like a mix of packages but the Exposure X bundle has some of the finest editing, painting and resizing features on the market.

Standout feature Blow Up resizing capabilities It’s hard to resize any photo; adding detail into a picture that isn’t there already might seem like an impossible task, however, not only is Blow Up 3 capable of making pictures bigger, but it can also do it with impressive detail. Choose a preset of how you intend to use the resized image for even more control.

Prime for printing Edit further


Use the sliders on the right-hand side of Snap Art 4 to take your picture even further; alter the focus and detail, add a vignette, and perfect the brush strokes in your painting to create something unique.


Once you’ve finished, apply and head to Blow Up 3. Crop your image as you wish and decide on the size you want to make your photo. The software will handle the detail, and leave you with an image in Photoshop ready to export.

















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Portfolio interview @emihaze

Discovering double exposure secrets We catch up with Adobe-featured artist Emi Haze to unearth the secrets behind double exposure and find out how Adobe can help launch a career


f Emi Haze’s work looks familiar to you, it’s really no great surprise. So far, the Italian artist has been featured by Wacom, created two book covers for best-selling author Lauren Oliver, and was even chosen to take part in Adobe’s huge 25th anniversary television commercial. But what are the secrets behind such a distinctive style? We asked Emi how a double exposure image is born.

If you had to describe the atmosphere of your artwork in five words, what would they be? Ethereal, imaginative, dreamy, colourful, eternal. In my work, the human being melts with nature and its four elements; there’s a balance between reality, dream and fantasy, and colour and sensitivity has a prominent role. There are common themes throughout my work too: tree branches, clouds forming hair, faces that blend with sky, and human silhouettes that rise from Earth. I like art that binds humans and nature.

You’re perhaps best known for double exposure images. What is it that you love most about them? Bringing together two or more photos creates a coherent image that can be beautiful, nostalgic or unsettling, depending on what photos you use and how you combine them. With double exposure, you can create something really surreal; the reason for using the technique varies from picture to picture, but I find that I can create beautiful and unique work with double exposures.

blend them with the double exposure. I love depicting nature and the four elements.

Emmy. I’m so proud to have been a part of something this big.

Which tools are key for this process then? And which blend modes are best to use?

Your work has clocked up nearly 2,000,000 views on Behance – are you surprised by the reaction?

I use blend modes all the time, mainly Multiply, Overlay and Soft Light, to form a distinctive look for each photo. Blending allows me to combine different elements in different ways, and it can add colours and shapes that wouldn’t normally look natural enough to appear in that picture. Adjustment layers are another essential tool; for me, colour is absolutely vital to the final artwork, and thanks to colour adjustments such as Curves, Levels, Hue/Saturation and Selective Color, I always have complete control of the colour.

Yes, it’s awesome. The advert gave me massive visibility. Every day I receive news of publications on websites, blogs and digital art magazines, and I get loads of requests. People are still discovering my work, becoming fans and starting to follow my new works. Behance is a fantastic platform and a huge community; every time you publish a project, you’re not just showcasing your work, you’re showing the world a little bit of yourself as a designer. Presentation is key.

How did it feel being involved in Adobe’s 25th anniversary? It was a huge honour! I was approached by the agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco to be part of the Photoshop 25th anniversary special advertising campaign, and they used Cosmogony Reloaded in the Adobe Photoshop 25th anniversary ‘Dream On’ commercial, which was broadcast during the Oscars. It was amazing to see the piece in the whole campaign, but the ad has been watched over 2 million times on YouTube, won three prizes in Cannes and been nominated for an

What does the future hold? I’m very proud to have just created the Italian covers for two books by bestselling author Lauren Oliver. I’m going to be working on the cover of Glitter too, a new, young adult novel by Aprilynne Pike. I have lots of ideas I want to try in the future, though. My style is constantly evolving, too; I hope to work and collaborate with so many different people. Digital art is nowadays becoming increasingly important and it will grow even more in the future. The potential being offered by technology is endless and it can perfectly fuse with manual skills. The only limit is our imagination.

I combine hundreds of Photoshop layers with so many graphic elements and textures. I use blend modes, layer masks and adjustment layers, and the starting image becomes less photographic and more like a painting or drawing. I like selecting different images, such as trees, plants, leaves or clouds, and try to


All images © Emi Haze

Can you share your secrets about how you approach creating images like this?

Passenger: This is a double exposure that was created in the same vein as Cosmogony Reloaded. Colour is of primary importance in my work.

Intimacy: This was created using the same techniques as some of the other pictures I’ve created. There was a second version, which was mostly black and white, with touches of blue. Crystalline: I was approached for this piece, along with the Cosmogony Reloaded picture, to be used in the Adobe ‘Dream On’ advert. This image didn’t make it into the final edit though. Watercolour and acrylic paint were used along with Photoshop to create this image.

Like Diamonds in the Nature: This is a much more minimal double exposure image that eschews bright, bold colours in favour of subtler shades and more grey.

Another Earth Reloaded: This is one of the more subtle double exposures in my portfolio. The customary clouds are still present, but this one has a darker, starker colour scheme.

Cosmogony Reloaded: This image, like Crystalline was created with Photoshop, acrylic paint and watercolour. Cosmogony Reloaded, though, actually made it into the final Adobe advert, along with other media as part of a bigger international campaign. It was also featured by Wacom’s gallery.

Zephirus: This image was published by both Adobe’s and Behance’s Facebook pages. It has over 275,000 views on Behance and was created with the same techniques as Cosmogony Reloaded and Crystalline. I also created more minimal colour versions of this image.

Mnemosine: I was approached by Wacom Art Studio of Washington to license two of my works – this one and Cosmogony: Origin of the Universe – for the Wacom Intuos tablet’s 2015 advertising campaigns. It has been viewed over 280,000 times on Behance.



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Reader interview A View to my Imagination

After Us

Animal Kingdom

A View to my Imagina Discover how Stefan brought this evocative image to life in Photoshop

Build the scene I started to build up the scene as I imagined it using different stock images. The floating islands were made on separate layers from mountain stock images. Suburban Dino Going Down

Stefan Dall Denmark-based, self-taught photographer Stefan Dall talks us through his creative process, and shares his best tips


riginally a photographer who bought Photoshop to help him edit his nature photography, it was the weather that forced Stefan Dall to become more creative with his editing. “It was so damn wet during winter 2012. I really missed being creative without catching a cold so I thought to myself, ‘Why not take a more in-depth look at Photoshop?’” We caught up with Stefan to find out what he’s learned on his Photoshop journey.

How does your process begin? When I start an image, I already have the scene visualised in my head, and sometimes I change things along the way, but the main ideas remain consistent. When I create photomanipulations, I spend a long time looking for the right stock images to use. I have a small book where I write down my ideas so I don’t forget them.

Do you have a message or recurring theme you convey in your work? Sometimes. With Animal Kingdom, I was trying to illustrate how humans have lost their ability to

preserve the Earth. I’m also in the process of making a series of pictures called ‘Smile, you’re on candid camera’, to illustrate the power of images. I guess most artists have a specific style though, and I’m still searching for mine.

Add more elements Next, I began adding more elements: stars, meteors and then building the islands. The moon and Earth images were added along with spaceships and some trees.

What tips can you give to someone just starting to use Photoshop? Don’t give up. Learn the basic tools, such as the Transform tools, Brush and Clone Stamp tool. Learn to use layers. In the beginning, I thought I’d never learn Photoshop fully, but YouTube and Photoshop Creative both helped me with great tutorials. Finally, get a graphics tablet!

Begin blending The moon and Earth layers were set to Screen. All the towers, the man and the two small beetles were added. Some lighting was added and I began to colour correct the whole scene.

What makes a great composition? For me, lighting. Practice makes perfect but if your lighting is good then your image will be better. Everything is subjective though. I always thinkt Onc thate Was art is like food: the best chef can Wha make the most exquisite meal, but there will always be those that don’t like it! Discover more of Stefan’s work at www.

Dodge and burn I then dodged and burned to adjust the lighting and shade in the picture, and I created some depth by adjusting the Opacity sliders, adding fog and making final adjustments.







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Photoshop Creative - Shots | Muhammad Osama  
Photoshop Creative - Shots | Muhammad Osama  

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