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This issue, we’re very excited to bring you an in-depth feature on blend modes and the many ways we can use them to make our art look the best it can. You’ll notice some new touches, that may look like small additions, but hopefully give you a richer insight into how you can make Photoshop work to your advantage. This includes even more direct insight from our great range of experts, and a layer stack on selected artworks to show you exactly how some of the artworks in our feature are composed. This issue also comes with its usual variety of tutorials, such as how to create a fully fleshed out comic character (p28), how to turn a sardine can into a fully fitted – if a little snug – apartment (p68), and how to employ the brushes added to the latest version of Photoshop CC (p46), which has jjust come out. We hope p you y enjoy the issue!

Erlingur Einarsson Editor erlingur einarsson@futuren



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Essentials 06 FileSilo This issue there are over 290 free

Tutorials a film noir poster 22 Design Use gradient maps, adjustments

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gallery 08 Trending Check out some of the most stunning artworks trending this month

and layers to create an awesome poster effect

a comic character 28 Cra Create your own character in Photoshop using brushes and a little perspective

gallery 10 Readers’ Take a look at what your fellow readers have been making this issue

Readers’ challenge

12 Win the amazing new CrazyTalk

a vintage photo 38 Create Go retro with layers, masks and classic effects with this tutorial

Animator soware!

Text effects with depth Build better projects 42 perception 14 Feature: with blend modes

Create a text poster with added depth and dynamism

Harness the power of Photoshop’s digital art tools

I Made 36 How How Tomás Oleksák created Ghost

layers created a beautiful final effect in his image

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Transformers competition awesome Transformers art

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moonfalls 52 Magical Blend surreal elements into a composition for a dreamlike scene

a halone portrait 58 Make Unleash your creativity and build a comic-esque halone image

Project focus

74 José Bernabé talks us through

 This issue: frame mockups, overlays,

art with the new 46 Create Brush and Pen tools

Rider fan art with Photoshop brushes

I Made 50 How Tavo Montañez on how masking fill



90 Reviews Check out our latest hardware, soware and book reviews


Portfolio interview

96 Learn how Dexter Maurer creates artwork with this in-depth interview

interview 98 Reader Surreal photo-based tips and tricks

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a genius 62 Create caricature

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room sardine can 68 Living Create an incredible miniature scene within a can using layers and masks










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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, created by some of the world’s most exciting artists and designers.

Johnny Cardoso

This is a piece Johnny originally uploaded to Tumblr, and we love how he’s used 3D tools in Photoshop as a reference for something flat. It goes to show that there are multiple ways to use every tool in Photoshop.

I made this illustration for an indie rock/electro party in my city, and the idea was to create a cosmonaut rider in space. I used the Photoshop 3D tool to make the motorcycle; I downloaded a sample bike, and set the position before sketching above it.


This work is made from a photograph. We cut the roads out to leave a smooth background, and then we played with multiple colour adjustments, curves and selective correction.

Retoka’s art is big, bright and oen neon-coloured: something that’s really in right now. Among others, the duo have created work for Adobe MAX – returning this autumn – and this is one of our favourite pieces from them in a while.

Sometimes simple is best and this is a minimal yet beautiful illustration that’s captured attention online; 13,000 people have viewed this project, and Loris has been featured by Wacom, among others.

Loris Alessandria

I was lucky to work on this children’s interactive book with Wonderlust and also to understand how much beauty there is in the ocean. This was completely painted in Photoshop and is part of a much bigger project.


Neil Stevens http://www. crayonfire.

Hue/Saturation within Photoshop helped me brighten the colours of this illustration and work out the best palette to make it pop. I added a 4% noise grain too, to give it that little bit extra.

Neil’s work has been seen over 700,000 times online and it’s no surprise; geometric art is hugely popular, and the way that Neil organises the elements within his images is flawless.

Anxo Vizcaíno

Kerem has over 200,000 online views, and this is a classic fantasy piece that caught our attention. The detail on both the subject and the creature is excellent, and the colour tone really completes the image.

I created this piece in Photoshop CC, using photos, vector Smart Objects and some 3D tools. The key was to apply the same finish to all the elements to get them integrated into a homogeneous artwork.

Kerem Beyit

I made this character design as a slot game illustration. My task was to design four characters, and this one is for the spring. I used Photoshop CS4 with my graphics tablet and I used photo references. Colour is striking in artwork, but the lack of it in this piece is equally as arresting. This is one of a series that Anxo created that received a badge from Adobe Illustrator’s Behance gallery.


created by none other than your fellow readers

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

Alternatively, you can email:

Nova Villanueva https://www. user/s899

Image of the issue The artwork was inspired by Argentina’s boating ports. I started on one layer drawing the boats, then added highlights and shadows on a So Light layer. An Overlay layer was created at the end to unify the image with fog.

Ann Wehner

This image was created with a start image of a subject and a nebula. Blend modes were important in bringing this image together, and the finishing touches consisted of adding Curves, Vibrance and Color Lookup.

Leonardo Lima

I made this with the idea that many people are unaware of the true brightness of the moon. On the moon I put internal and external brightness and used the Pen Tool to create cables. I added several scratches on the floor of the scene, too.


Robert Schlenker https://www. photoshopcreative.

This image was set up in VUE Infinite 3D soware. The motorcycle was added in Photoshop and brushes were added to create the tyre splash. The Motion Blur filter was used to give the composition a little movement.

Lucy Liew https://www. user/lucyliew

This surreal image was done using masks and layers to create the perspective of a road shiing 90 degrees. I used a few adjustment layers to change the tones across the image.

Piotr Pozarlik https://www. photoshop creative.

I take inspiration from the world around me. I merged a few of my photos in Photoshop using masking tricks, filters and gradients. I used High Pass to sharpen at the end.


We challenged you In Issue 157, we challenged you to get creative with these four images. You were allowed to use any or all of the pictures, and whatever other resources you chose. Here’s what you created.


Challenge entries

Readers’ Challeng WINNERe

The best entries and overall challenge winner

1 Pamela Woerst Earth - And Everything In It Images were taken from Pixabay and Unsplash, such as the tree and mountains, and were used in addition to the four start images in order to create a panoramic planetstyle composition.

2 Jim Ferran The Encounter The landscape and dinosaur that were provided were used in the final image. The witch was my own picture taken in France in July 2017 at a medieval fair.

3 Jonathan Schieffer Corrupted By The Mountain All images were used plus a few more, and this was put together using masks and some filters.

4 Trevor Budd A Dangerous Alien Selfie This image is made from just the four pictures supplied. As the man looked like he was taking a selfie, I decided to create an alien landscape feel by turning the ball into a planet. I also used the dinosaur as an alien creature and colourised the image.



THE PRIZE… Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator 3.2


If you’re a Photoshop user looking to get into animating, or perhaps an animator who uses Photoshop for designing characters, CrazyTalk Animator is a software package that can provide a user-friendly interface and quality results. In the new 3.2 update though, CrazyTalk is even more in sync with Photoshop; you can export your character library, motion library and pose generation to Photoshop, and also export your fast content design, graphics editing and image effects from Photoshop to CrazyTalk Animator!


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


This issue, we’re not giving you any images, just a theme, which is: Liquid. Create an image you think incorporates the theme and tell us why in the description when you upload it! Head to and simply hit the Challenge link. Closing date: 17 December 2017.




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

Meet the Photoshop command that will help you turn a selection of stock images into a realistic composition


hat would Photoshop projects look like without blend modes? Well, for the most part, they’d just look like collages. This is because blend modes are what turn a collection of photos into a true composition. If you’re working with water, fire, colour effects or just trying to retouch your pictures, it’s almost impossible to achieve a realistic effect without them.

Layering your images is good for organisation, and masks can help you show or hide elements of these layers, but blend modes bring the project together. Over the next few pages, our trusted Photoshop experts will share with you their top tips on a range of different projects, from vintage portraits to vibrant polar-bear compositions. These are the tips and tricks that will not only make your work more

realistic, but save you bags of time; blend modes can also help you achieve instant results in a flash. If you have all the necessary stock images for a picture, then blend modes are the missing ingredient. Use them to Screen your light pixels, Multiply your dark ones, re-Color your layers and Overlay exciting effects; they really can make the Difference. Where would we be without them?



RIZZOTTI Blend modes go beyond Blend modes save time just applying details to an I created the Northern and offer efficient and Lights image on page 21, image. They are precise blending and find using blend extremely handy for operations. They also modes can be both retouching, creating facilitate experimentation double-exposure catastrophic and and let newcomers enjoy compositions, replacing beneficial; you just need immediate and potentially colours, adding some to know what your mind-blowing results special effects and much pictures can take. It’s all a within a few clicks. matter of practice! more besides.




SKELLON I’ve been using Photoshop for years now, Without blend modes, and I’m still learning new I’m unable to combine my layers and create tricks from the blend mode menu. I worked on subtle effects. When I’m the fiery portrait and the improving images and retouching – like I did on double exposure, and page 17 – blend modes learned loads from really do make a big creating two completely difference to the result. different pictures.

RANDOM FUN Hit a creative wall with a layer? Spin the blend mode lottery wheel to try and hit unexpected glory! Press Shi-Plus and Shi-Minus to cycle through the blend modes.

TONE DOWN If a blend is nice but too overpowering, you can try reducing it. For a uniform reduction, lower the layer’s opacity. For a more selective approach, use a layer mask.

ADJUSTMENT BLENDS GROUP BLENDS In Photoshop/CC, you can apply blend modes to groups. This is a timesaver if you have a series of layers that all need to be set to the same mode.

Did you know you can set adjustment/fill layers to various blend modes? Set Levels to Luminosity to prevent colour change. Try Overlay and So Light on gradient fill layers.




Double exposures

Cut out the moon image and set to Overlay.

Add the clouds, set to Multiply, reduce opacity to 60%. Duplicate sparks layer, nudge 20px le; clip a layer filled with #f6204e, set to Multiply. Duplicate sparks layer, move 20px right; clip a layer filled with #00ffee, set to Multiply.

Insert sparks image and set to Screen. Mask over the subject. Insert the marble texture, Desaturate and set to Multiply over the hand. Insert foggy trees, Desaturate (Cmd/Ctrl+Shi+U), set to Screen over the bottom.

Insert the mountains, set to Screen and mask out the face.

Cut out your subject and merge with the background layer.



INSTANT SURFACE CONTRAST Set the Brush Tool to white and its blend mode to Vivid Light. At 10% opacity, in one brush stroke, paint over the water in a landscape to give an instant boost to contrast for a more dramatic scene.

BIG BOOST TO COLOUR Be sure to edit on a blank layer set to the Overlay blend mode for this effect to work. Sample a green colour from a landscape, and then use the Brush tool to paint over the foliage.

Photo editing Draw attention to the eyes, nose and whiskers of your favourite pet using the Dodge tool (O) for the highlights and the Burn ttool (Shift+O) for the shadows. Set one layer by going to Layer>New>Layer and choosing Overlay from Mode, and then tick ‘Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% grey)’. On

“Apply the Dodge tool set to Highlights at 30% Exposure to boost brightness” this new layer, apply the Dodge tool set to Highlights at 30% Exposure to boost brightness in eyes and fur. Use the Burn tool set to Midtones at 40% to make dark fur more intense and shadows deeper around the edges. Set your Brush tool to 50% grey to undo changes.

ADJUST TOOL EXPOSURE Try to avoid setting the Exposure reading to 100%, as this will oen overcook the effect. Stay within the 30-70% bracket for best results when dodging and burning.




Harris Shutter effect Want to play around with a fun, colourful technique? How about replicating the Harris Shutter effect in Photoshop? This process is traditionally accomplished with a camera and multiple exposures, but of course you can use a series of layers to mimic it digitally. Start by capturing your model in several poses, or simply find various stock of the same model. Add a colour fill layer above one of the models and try setting to Screen or Color. Merge the layer and continue on with the next pose. In the final stage, overlap the model images and blend them with Multiply.

MASK Some of the overlapping portions might produce areas that are too dark. Reduce by adding a layer mask and lightly painting black in the mask with a so-edged brush at an appropriate opacity.

PLACED PSDS You can keep each photo in its own PSD and place them in a master PSD. This makes it easier to tweak the adjustments and levels within the individual PSDs.

Vintage poster

OLD PAPER Keep a repository of old paper scans and images on hand. Drop some paper over a layer and set to Overlay or So Light for quick texture. Lower opacity to reduce.


It’s an enjoyable challenge to create something digital that looks old, or at least pays homage to design styles of yore. Integrating old paper into the mix (for its textural properties, its colouring, or both) can really set the clock back on an image. Adjustments can further accentuate the aging process begun by textures. Use Levels and Curves to fade, and suggest some yellowing with adjustments such as Photo Filter and Color Balance. Round out with elements suitable for the design’s epoch. Here, old-timey script, vintage flowers and a decorative element are all thrown into the PSD and baked to vintage perfection.

Fiery portraits If you’re looking to create a dramatic scene in Photoshop, sometimes the best way is simply to fight fire with, well… fire. Fiery portraits look fantastic in Photoshop, and blend modes are key in building them. If you find stock photos of fire against black backgrounds, all you have to do is set them to Screen to blend them into your project. A good job, as fire photographs look best against black. Remember to create a merged layer at the end (Cmd/ Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E), go to Filter> Filter Gallery> Glass and mask over the fire, before reducing the Opacity to 30%. It will leave a more realistic distorted effect.

Create adjustments, such as Vibrance and Photo Filter. Create a new merged layer, High Pass, set to Linear Light. Create a new layer, set to Overlay, and brush in black and white to dodge and burn. Bring in the smoke image again, and set to Screen over the fire. Copy fire on the other arm, warp (Cmd/Ctrl+T) in place.

Place the fire image over one arm; set to Screen and mask.

Add a gradient map with the supplied gradient. Mask over the arms and set to So Light.

Drag in the smoke stock image behind the subject, set to Screen, 50% opacity.

Cut out the subject and place him on the city background.

19 9



Compositions Start with the background, place the sky, mask the cave and use the Tree Filter to create leaves. Add the moon and change its blend to Screen, then blur the background a bit. Place the animals and the pizza boxes, use the Levels adjustment layer to fine-tune each image. Finally, add a Solid Color layer (#2c4372) over each image to create a night-time scene. Clip the layers and then change the blend mode to Multiply. Add a layer mask, grab a soft brush, control the pressure or opacity and paint on the mask to reveal the highlights.

USE NEUTRAL LAYERS FOR SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS Press Shi+Cmd/Ctrl+N, check ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’. Set Mode to Overlay and check ‘Fill with Overlay-neutral colour’. Use the Dodge/Burn Tool to paint the shadows and highlights.

MATCH THE COLOURS Place the underwater images. Add a bluish colour layer on top of them, clip the layers and then apply the blend modes. This technique helps to keep the colours uniform.

Isometric art

CONTROL THE OPACITY Aer applying the blending modes, reduce the layer’s opacity a bit, or add a layer mask and gradually paint over it to control the levels of transparency for each image.


To create an underwater isometric image, use the Rectangular Marquee tool to draw a selection, fill it with a light colour and apply the 3D filter. Adjust the Size, Angle and the Light position, then Render and Rasterise it. Now, let’s work with blending modes, layer masks, clipping masks and layer opacity to create the effect. Place the textures around the 3D object (keep the blend Normal), create a layer mask and clip the layers. Bring more images on top of the textures and set the blend to Multiply. Vary the layer’s opacity or paint over it for best results.

Northern Lights The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of the most beautiful sights of the natural world. The splash of colour across the sky is caused by solar winds and charged particles, but it’s easy to replicate with blend modes and a little imagination.

This beautiful composition is heavily reliant on colour, from the vibrant sky to the blending of the bears into the scene. But rather than just using the Color blend mode, this is a project that combines all kinds of modes for different effects.

Create a merged layer at the top, desaturate, set to So Light. Place stars (50% opacity) and aurora colours (Screen on one layer, Overlay for another).

Add the northern lights, and then set to Screen, 85% opacity. Drag in a purple to black gradient and then set to So Light. Add the clouds; set to Hard Light, 60% opacity.

Place the mountains behind the bears. Create a blue to black gradient, set to Multiply. Mask around the bears. Insert bears, cut out, add a Multiply layer behind them; brush in shadows. Cut out the ridge with the Pen tool and place it over the scenery.


Tutorial Create a film noir poster On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to use gradient maps, adjustment layers, masks and Dodge and Burn

Time taken 1 hour

Expert Sarah Cousens It amazes me how much you can change the look of a photo with just a handful of Photoshop layers and some experimentation. I really like the classic film noir look applied to this image. I am a designer and illustrator and have been using Photoshop ever since forming my own design and illustration company, Cool Surface Ltd, 10 years ago.

Create a film noir poster Transform a humble portrait shot into a stunning film noir poster with a bold splash of colour


t may seem that turning a colour photo into black and white is a simple affair. And it can be; simply hit Cmd/Ctrl+U and an image is instantly desaturated. But this alone is never going to create an attractive piece of artwork. Without making a few extra adjustments or increasing the contrast, you’ll only be left with something flat and uninspiring. To avoid this sad state of affairs, we are going to show you how to combine gradient maps, colour layers, blend modes, dodge and burn techniques, gradients and layer masks to give a portrait shot a classic film noir effect.

Select the background


Open ‘pix_2440021_woman.jpg’. Select the Magic Wand tool (W), set the Tolerance to 14 and click the main area of white background to select it. Hold Shift and click the small section of background to the left of the hair to add it to the selection.


For the portrait itself, we will be giving the subject a radiant soft-focus appearance using the Spot Healing Brush and Gaussian Blur filter. The Dodge and Burn tools can help create an exaggerated level of contrast between highlights and shadows, which really make the features stand out. Feel free to try this method out with your own photograph; the basic principles will be the same, however you will need to experiment with values and settings to find what works with your image. Alternatively, you can follow along using the stock photo provided on the FileSilo.

Invert and refine


Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the selection, then click Refine Edge in the top navigation bar. Enter the following values; Smooth: 34, Feather: 4.5px, Shift Edge: -25%, Output: Selection. Click OK.

Quick Mask mode


Press Q to switch to Quick Mask mode, and use a black, soft round brush to tidy the selection, for example removing the white edge along the brim of the hat. Now press Q again to exit the Quick Mask mode.

Tutorial Create a film noir poster

Paste in and position


Press Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy the selected woman. Create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl+N) at 240mm wide by 320mm high and 300ppi. Paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) the woman in. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to shrink her down and then position her centrally on the canvas.

Remove details

Black and white



Use the Spot Healing Brush (press J) to remove fine details and smooth the skin; click and drag slightly over pores, one at a time, and stray eyebrow hairs. Click and drag along any lines, for example beneath the eyes.

Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer, choose the Black/White gradient map. Click on the gradient colour bar, and in the window that opens, move the black colour stop to 7%, and the white colour stop to 85%. Click OK.

Mask the lips


On the gradient map’s layer mask, use a soft round black brush to paint over the lips, so that the colour beneath shows. Leave a slight amount of the gradient map visible in the shaded areas of the lips, such as the corner of the mouth.

Adjust the lip colour


Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer immediately above the photo layer, Ctrl/right-click its layer name and click Create Clipping Mask. Set the Hue to -16 and the Saturation to +12 to change the lip colour to red.

Dodge and Burn layer

Emphasise the contrast



Add a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N), name it Dodge and Burn. Tick the ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’ box and set the mode to Soft Light. Select the Fill tool (press G) and fill the layer with a colour of R:127, G:127, B:127.


Use the Dodge and Burn tools (press O) to emphasise and exaggerate the highlights and shadows of the face, painting with the Dodge tool on lighter areas and the Burn tool on dark areas and shadows.

Press Shift and a tool shortcut to cycle through them

Expert edit Dodge and Burn

Duplicate and blur


Hide the background layer (click the eyeball next to its layer name). Press Cmd/Ctrl+A to select the whole canvas, Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy from every visible layer, then Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste in place. Move this layer to the top of the layer stack, and set its blending mode to Overlay.

Blur and mask


Go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur, enter a value of 9.0px and click OK. Add a layer mask and use a black soft round brush to obscure the blurred overlay from the irises of the eyes.

Tool settings


Both Dodge and Burn share the same tool icon; click and hold to access them. Set the tool’s Exposure to 30-50% to build up the effect gradually.



Use the Dodge tool over highlighted areas (the nose, top of the cheekbones, and top of the brow line) and also to brighten the white of the eyes.

Add a background texture


Open ‘pix_1533939_texture.jpg’, and copy and paste the texture into your artwork directly above the background in the layer stack. Go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur, enter 22px and then click OK.

…and Burn


With the Burn tool, use a large brush size over the cheek, neck and ear, and then a small brush size to enhance the detailed shading around the nose and mouth.

Transform into place


Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, Ctrl/right-click within the transformation bounding box and choose ‘Rotate 90 degrees CCW’. Ctrl/right-click again and choose Flip Horizontal. Resize and position the texture to fill the width of the canvas behind the woman and hit Enter.

Black bar layer


Add a new layer at the top of the layer stack (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N), name it Black Bars. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) to select the empty area at the top of the canvas, lining up with the top of the image of the woman.

Final touches


You can revisit this layer at the end of the tutorial if you find you need to enhance it further, especially any shadows that have been made lighter during editing.


Tutorial Create a film noir poster

Fill with black


Hold Shift and use the Rectangular Marquee to add the bottom empty area to the selection, again lining this up with the bottom edge of the image of the woman. Fill the selections with black. Press Cmd/ Ctrl+D to deselect.

Type the title

Select a font


Select the Type Tool (T) and choose an appropriate font for your film noir title. We have used a classic film-style font called Limelight, which is provided on the FileSilo. Set the font size to 98pt.


Choose an appropriate font size (for the Limelight font, we used 98pt), click the colour palette in the top navigation bar to set the font colour, and pick a rich red from the woman’s lips. Type out the movie title along the top of the canvas.

Warp the text


Click the Create Warped Text icon in the top navigation bar. Choose the Arch style, set to Horizontal, and enter values of Bend: +25%, Horizontal Distortion: -35%. Click OK. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, make the text a touch taller and rotate it counterclockwise slightly.

Add the extra text


Using the Type tool again, but with a smaller font size (we used 14pt and 16pt) and a colour of white, type out the remaining information at the bottom of the canvas. This could be anything appropriate to your poster; names, dates or locations.


Apply a drop shadow


Add a Drop Shadow layer style. Change the blending mode to Normal, the Angle to 45 degrees, opacity to 100% and set the colour to a mid-grey (R:188, G:188, B:188). Enter Distance: 45px, Spread: 0% and Size: 3px. Click OK.

Shadow gradient


Add a new layer above the black bars in the layer stack. Select the Gradient tool set to Foreground to Transparent, Linear, 100% opacity and a colour of black. Click and drag from above the woman’s ear toward the middle of the canvas to add a shadow.





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Tutorial Illustrate with brushes and perspective

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

Exper Rebekkaa Hearl I have been using Photoshop to create comics and tell visual stories since my teens, and it is still a vital part of my workflow to this day. I don’t know how I survived so many years without my trusty Wacom Cintiq 13HD, and my favourite Photoshop tool is without a doubt the Brush tool.


Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to get the most out of the Brush Tool and create perspective grids

Time taken 6 hours


Tutorial Illustrate with brushes and perspective

Illustrate with brushes and perspective Discover how to achieve a comic style and master perspective using only the Brush tool


hanks to the explosive popularity of the superhero movie genre, comics have received a sort of ‘nerdy-yet-trendy’ status, and now find themselves standing somewhere between niche and mainstream culture. Although they are widely considered a specialised interest, you’d be hard pressed to enter any bookshop and not stumble upon a teeming comics and manga section. And anyone who’s ever been in London during convention season knows just how incredibly popular MCM London Comic Con has become. If you have even a passing interest in comics, and want to try producing comic work of your own, there’s never been a better time. The internet provides a very comfortable home for comic creators. Webcomic hosting sites, such as Smack Jeeves and Tapas, have

become thriving online communities all centred around their users’ shared love of comics. Creators have taken their projects from digital to print thanks to crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter, and print services like PrintNinja. Never feel like you’re limiting yourself by working with comics. This is a community bursting with opportunity, and Photoshop can help you get your work noticed online. Photoshop’s versatility and customisable presets solidify it as a mainstay in any comic artist’s digital repertoire. For this tutorial, we’ll be making use of the Brush, Ruler, and Filter tools, in addition to blend modes and perspective techniques, to create a striking piece of digital art that would be well at home within the pages of a comic book.

Reference material

Prepare your canvas



Trawl the internet for reference images of comic styles that feature female characters and cities. If you’re not sure what kind of style you’d like to work with, search sites like DeviantArt and ArtStation for some excellent examples.

In Photoshop, press Cmd/Ctrl+N to open a new project, and set the canvas settings to 445mm Width and 300mm Height. Set the ppi to 300 regardless of whether or not you intend to print this image; you can adjust the ppi for web later.

Ruler tool

Draw perspective grid



Press Cmd/Ctrl+R to reveal the ruler. You can easily click and drag guidelines from the horizontal and vertical rulers on to your canvas. These guides won’t show in your final piece. We’ll use these to position our perspective guide.


Using the Ruler tool as a guide, select the Line tool, set to 4px and below, to draw a perspective grid. We’ll be working at a slight angle in this image, so avoid straight horizontal and vertical lines. On a new layer, sketch your character.

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Sketch setting

Introduce the character



Create a new layer above your perspective grid and, using the Line Tool set to 7px, draw in the railings and wall your character will be sitting on. Use a brush set to 7px to draw in details and imperfections in the ground and metal.

Refine inks


With your main subject completed, take the opportunity to go back over your work with a fine brush, set to 5px or smaller, and fill in the tiny details. Use a very fine brush, at 3px or smaller, to cross-hatch some light texture into the rooftop and rails.

Create a new layer above your character sketch. Finish the drawing using a hard brush set to 6px and below. Comic styles often make use of spot blacks and broad line variation; try implementing these techniques in your drawing.

Colour palette


Time to design a palette for your main character. Create a new layer above the character’s inks, and switch off the background layer if it helps you to focus. Using the Colour Picker and a large brush at 50px+, create blobs of colour. Select them using the Eye Dropper tool when colouring.

Create background grid


On a layer set beneath all the others, use the Line tool to draw another perspective grid. Map out a simple city street crossroads, with pavements and a tall building. Remember to refer to photo references if you need help. We’ll return to this later.

Quick flats


Create a new layer beneath your character’s inks and use the Paint Bucket tool to fill with white. Select the Magic Wand tool, and select everywhere outside of the character’s inks. Go back to your white layer and press delete. This will give you a solid colour mask, making the colouring process much easier.

Character colour

Add fine details

Start the setting




On the Layers panel, click the Preserve Transparency button. This will make it impossible to colour outside the white mask area. Use the Eye Dropper tool to select the colours from your palette. Blend the hair colours using a large airbrush.

Once the flats are complete, make your character art pop with a few extra details. Create a new layer above the inks layer, and use a 5px hard brush to add some stark white eye highlights, in addition to some stray hairs.

Employ the same techniques to quickly colour in the setting. The Magic Wand and Line tools will speed up the colouring process. Keep the colours muted, but not entirely void of colour. Include a crushed drinks can for flavour.


Tutorial Illustrate with brushes and perspective Expert edit Define the character

Bright colours


Make sure your character stands out from the background! Colours that vary from the setting are the first step, especially if they’re vivid and bright.

Background flats


Return to the background layer. Use the perspective grid you made earlier as a guide. To create the street, use the Polygonal Lasso tool to block out selections, and use the Paint Bucket tool to fill them. Draw cars and road lines on a separate layer.

Shade the character


With all the flats in place, you’re ready to start shading. Create a new layer above your character’s flats, Ctrl/right-click and select Create Clipping Mask. Set the layer to Multiply, 30% opacity and, using a hard round brush, shade the character using a dark grey-purple.

Increase contrast


Pay close attention to the colour contrast on your character. Create a clipping mask layer, set to opacity, and airbrush on some light.

Gradient shadows

Highlights and details



To give your character a better sense of depth, create another clipping mask layer above your shading layer, set it to Multiply and 25% opacity. Use a large airbrush at 150px+ to gently paint in some shadows around the back and bottom of your character.

Create another clipping layer, but instead of Multiply, set this one to Soft Light. Using a large airbrush at 100px+, select a light pink and lightly paint the head and torso of your character. Select an airbrush eraser at 40px to remove highlights from shaded areas.

In the spotlight


Make sure the light direction is pointing towards them. If it isn’t, create an Overlay layer and add a white gradient. Make sure the face is highlighted.

Little touches


If this still isn’t enough, employ this commonly used comic trick: select the background colour with the Eye Dropper tool, and use the brush to draw around the character lines.


Apply texture


With your character complete you can now shape the setting around her. Paste in a scratchy, grungy texture, and attach it to your flats by making it a clipping mask. Set the blend mode to Soft Light, and reduce opacity to 20%.

More shading


Apply another clipping mask to your setting layer, set it to Multiply, 40% opacity, and use a hard round brush to shade the rooftop. Be sure to shade the metal bars with a darker colour than the one you use for the building; contrasting colours will make the bars look more metallic.

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Expert tip Contrast is the key

Shade the background

Background texture



Create a new layer set to Multiply, 40% opacity, and use the hard brush to shade the background. Make sure the shadow on the building passes over both the face of the building and the windows. On another layer set to Overlay, use an airbrush to add lights.

To really make your background pop, apply some texture the same way you applied it to the setting layer. To avoid making this layer stand out more than the rooftop, apply a Gaussian Blur filter (set to 10%) to the texture layer.

Add lighting


We started out with using dull colours in the background on Gaussian Blur filter purpose: so we could make them pop later. And to really make sure the Create a new layer just below your character. background doesn’t take focus away Use the Gradient tool, set to Radial, from the main character, put the background Foreground to Background, to fill the layer completely out of focus by flattening all of its with a pink and purple gradient. Set to layers and applying a 15% Gaussian Blur filter. Overlay, 25% opacity.


Practise working colour and value contrast into your work as often as you can. It’s the key for creating beautiful colour work. It’s easiest to apply contrast at the end of the painting process, using Levels and Brightness/Contrast, but you can only do so much to save a bland, flat colour palette. Note how we quickly applied a colour overlay during this tutorial before we made the final adjustments. If we hadn’t, the end result would have ended up looking unsaturated and unappealing.

Flatten and adjust contrast


With all of the major colour work complete, prepare your piece for its final touches by combining all of the layers. Select them all, Ctrl/right-click, and choose Flatten. If you would like to protect your layers before combining, put them all in a folder and duplicate it.

Sharpen with High Pass

Poster Edges filter

Final touches




With the flat layer selected, drag it to the New Layer icon to quickly duplicate it. Navigate to Filter> Other> High Pass, and set to the Radius setting to 8-9. Click OK, and set the layer to Overlay. This will sharpen the image up nicely without affecting contrast.

Duplicate the original flattened layer again, and drag it to the top of the pile. Navigate to Filter> Filter Gallery> Poster Edges, and adjust the settings to 4, 4, 3. Click OK, and set the layer to Soft Light, 30% opacity. Zoom in to see the cool edges the effect has added to your shadows.

Lastly, combine all the layers again, and make some final adjustments using Image> Adjustments> Brightness/ Contrast. Set Brightness to 20 and Contrast to 45. Add some additional spot blacks to your character and main setting using a hard round brush, and you’re done!


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How I Made Ghost Rider The artist Tomáš Olekšák I’m a self-taught 25-year-old concept artist and illustrator in Bratislava, Slovakia. I’ve always been a huge fan of video games, movies and comic books, which was the main reason why I decided to have a career in the video game industry. Currently I am a freelancer focused on projects for my clients and AAA game production. I’m always looking for new interesting work opportunities. Please see

Essentials Time taken 15 hours


Show us your compositions Search for photoshopcreative

Ghost Rider How Tomáš created a tribute piece of art to one of his favourite superheroes with Photoshop brushes and lighting effects


hen I am working on my personal stuff I usually don’t start drawing until I have a good idea in my head,” says Tomáš Olekšák, a Slovakian artist who taught himself how to use Photoshop. “I use these projects to train my drawing technique and as a reason to work on themes I personally like. I also consider this a good way to fill up my portfolio.” Tomáš’s work clearly has a lot of passion in it, and Ghost Rider is an illustration you can really feel the enthusiasm for. “Most of the time I create artwork about things I liked when I was a little kid,” explains Tomáš. “Ghost Rider is one of those; he was one of my favourite superheroes for years and I decided it was time to make a nice tribute illustration for him.”

Sketch drawing

Line art



As a first step I did a really rough sketchy drawing. I only played with the composition and general shapes. It was important for me to not be afraid and just try some cool ideas without restrictions. This stage is only about brainstorming.

It’s not uncommon for an artist to create fan art, and Tomáš’s illustration was always intended as a poster. “I imagined it as a portrait with dark atmosphere and flames, which would add unique flavour to the picture. For me it’s very important to stay true to the original character I am trying to draw, but also to add my personal touch,” he says. “I like to add a little bit of originality to an already established character or environment.” Tomáš’s whole process was completed in Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos tablet. “I use only basic Photoshop tools like brushes, gradients and some colour filters at the end,” he reveals. “It’s great to have the freedom of a digital medium; you don’t need to worry about mistakes so much. Everything is easily fixable at early stages of the illustration.”

When I was happy with the general composition, I made a new clean drawing on the top of the sketchy base. This was the final line art I used in the image. At this stage I was focusing on nice clean lines and I fixed some mistakes.



I created shadows on Multiply layers. It’s important to know where your light source is and how it interacts with the material. At this stage I built values and the picture started to feel like the Ghost Rider was a 3D character in 3D space.

Flat colours


I then filled shapes with basic flat colours. I was thinking about the atmosphere of the picture and I played with gradients to achieve the precise effect I wanted. I often joke that this stage of the illustration is like doing a colouring book for kids. It’s very relaxing.

Final render


The final steps were all about rendering materials, creating better atmosphere and to make the artistic flame feel more like actual fire. I also added a secondary red light at the bottom of the picture so I could render the skull and jacket a little bit more.


Tutorial Create a vintage portrait look On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn Smooth skin, improve colour selectively and tint your portraits

Time taken 2 hours

Expert Simon Skellon This vintage portrait style is always a fun one to apply to your images. It is also a good reminder that sometimes it is the simplest technique that can make the biggest difference to a photo. I’ve been working with Photoshop for as long as I can remember, but my techniques are constantly changing as I learn new tools and try out new effects.

Create a vintage portrait look Master the techniques involved in achieving a classy vintage portrait effect using layers, adjustments and brushes


et’s hark back to the days of classic portrait images when, around the mid-20th century, a style of photography grew in popularity. Commonly known as ‘pin-up portraits’, this genre became an artform in itself for different media including magazines, calendars and postcards. In this tutorial, we’re going to take you through the steps of turning an ordinary portrait photograph into this cool, vintage postcard. The key is in having a good cutout, and then from there we can go ahead and apply brushes and filters to build up the effect. To help us achieve this style, we’re aiming for smoother skin tones and bold

Begin with a path

Shortcut the selection

Apply a layer mask




Load the start image from the FileSilo and open in Photoshop. Locate the Pen tool (P) and begin by making paths around the edge of the portrait, pressing Opt/Alt on each point as you go (use the Quick Selection tool in Elements).


colours. There’s a clever way in which we can smooth skin using brushes, and it doesn’t require expert knowledge or hours of editing; so read on to find out how to do just that. You’ll also discover a few other tricks to boosting colour using adjustment layers that come in handy for this effect, which help distort tones and make the whole image appear more vintage. All the resources used in these steps can be grabbed from the FileSilo, and there’s nothing stopping you from adding your own interesting vintage elements around the edges of the frame to complete the effect and really make it your own.

Click and drag each point while holding Cmd/Ctrl to reshape the paths around the contours of the portrait. Cut across the car seat to include that in the selection and go around the hand instead of selecting each finger, which can be tricky.

Once your path is complete, Ctrl/ right-click over the image and pick Make Selection. Hit OK in the pop-up box to convert the path to an active selection. In the Layers panel, click on the Add A Mask button to hide the background.


Tutorial Create a vintage portrait look

A new background colour

Control the exposure

Set up the Brush tool




Add a blank layer to the Layers panel and drag it beneath the portrait’s layer. Go to Edit> Fill, and under Contents (Use) choose Color. Set the Color Picker to a light blue (#c5f0fe), or select a colour of your choosing for the background.

Add a new Curves adjustment layer to the top of the Layers panel by going to Layer> New Adjustment Layer (in Elements, use Levels). Lift up the adjustment’s diagonal line in the centre to lighten the overall tones of the image.

Add a new blank layer between the Curves adjustment and the image’s layer, and change its blend mode to Lighten. Select the Brush tool (B) and sample a mid-to-dark skin tone from the image by holding Opt/Alt.

Pump up lip colour


Add a new Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer and position it beneath the Curves adjustment layer. Select Reds from the drop-down (default to Master) and increase the Saturation slider up to +35. This will boost all the reds in the image.

Quick retouch


Lower the Opacity of the layer to 40%. With a soft-edge brush, paint over the portrait’s skin to lighten it. Avoid spilling onto the car seat and her dress. This is a quick way to retouch and smooth skin, and to reduce any harsh shadows.

Brush over lips


As we just want to alter the colour of the lips, invert the adjustment layer’s mask (Cmd/Ctrl+I) and use a soft brush, set to white, to paint over the lips. This will reveal the improved red tones on the lips created from the adjustment layer.


Select the dress


Click on the portrait layer’s thumbnail and use the Quick Selection tool (W) to select just the blue clothing (including the shoulder straps). Then, add a new layer and set its blend mode to Screen.

Lighten the dress


Locate the Brush tool and sample a blue tone from the clothes. Simply paint inside the active selection over the clothes to lighten the shadows and apply a lighter tone. Reduce the layer’s opacity down to 40% for subtlety.

Use the number keys to quickly change a layer’s opacity

Expert edit Add a frame and stamp

Alter dress colour

Add a High Pass filter



Cmd/Ctrl-click on the dress layer’s thumbnail to activate it as a selection again, and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Change Master to Blues and increase the Saturation slider up to +50 to strengthen the colour of the dress.

Click on the very top layer and press Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E to create a stamp visible on a new layer. Change this layer’s mode to Hard Light and then head to Filter> Other> High Pass. Set the Radius to 33px and hit OK.

Place frame


Go to File> Place Embedded and locate the frame file from the FileSilo. Resize it to fit over the image and move it to the top of the Layers panel.

Apply texture and clip

02 Improve face detail

Channel Mixer layer

Load the texture file, resize it to fit over the image and press Enter. Go to Layer> Create Clipping Mask, and reduce the opacity to 50%.


Add a new Channel Mixer adjustment Add a layer mask to the High Pass (Elements users skip to step 17). layer and press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert From the Layers panel, change its blend the mask. Using a white soft brush, paint mode from Normal to Luminosity. In the over the model’s face to reveal the High Pass adjustment, set Output Channel to Red and filter just on the face. The filter should make slide Red to +113%, Green to +29%, Blue to the face appear more accentuated and bold. -21% and Constant to +14%.


Insert more elements


Load the stamp files and position them at the top. The large stamp can be used to hide the cut-out part of the shoe. Set the air mail stamp’s blend mode to Multiply to remove the white areas.

Adjust blue channel

Tweak colour and tone



Set Blue as the Output Channel and slide Red to +69%, Green to +13%, Blue to +14% and Constant to -46%. This adjustment will help balance the tone and flatten exposure. You can play around with the sliders in this adjustment for different looks and styles.

Further adjust colour using a Levels adjustment layer. Set the adjustment to Color for its blend mode and inside change from RGB to Green from the drop-down. Set the black left slider to 33, and adjust the midpoint in order to give the image a red tint in the shadows.

Change colours


You can change the colour of the stamp by double-clicking its layer and adding a Color Overlay layer style. Set the Mode to Color and use the Color Picker to select a new tone for the stamp.


Tutorial Play with depth perception using type


Use groups to keep your shape layers organised On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to combine layer styles, shapes and the Pen, while adding subtle lighting

Time taken 1.5hours

Expert Moe Hezwan ni Text effects are always handy when creating marketing material. Using typography effectively on a flyer or a poster will get the job done a lot easier. I enjoy making my text stand out, and there is always plenty of room to be very creative. I’m a professional graphic designer/illustrator and Photoshop is the go-to platform for my designs.

Play with depth perception using type Discover a handful of tips and tricks to create flowing 3D text, in an out-of-this-world typographic piece of artwork


he relationship between typography and imagery is an important factor in creating effective graphic design. No matter how good an image is, its relationship with type can make or break a piece of artwork. If you want to communicate with your audience at a higher level, why not make your message really stand out? Size is the easiest way to create contrast between different typographic elements in your design, especially if you’re only working with one typeface. With three levels of typography, the font size generally starts out largest on top and then decreases in size as you move within the page.

Create a gradient background


Start by creating a new document at 232x310mm and then hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to create a new layer. Next, double-click on the layer to bring up the layer styles and select Gradient Overlay. Now create a light to dark purple Radial gradient and amend the Scale to 99%.

Hierarchy is helpful in creating depth perception, and you want to place the most important letters in the foreground in conjunction to the least important, eg by placing common words like ‘in’ and ‘the’ in the background, you can place ‘diamond’ in the foreground, so that it’s noticed. Within this tutorial you’ll learn how to combine the use of basic tools and techniques in Photoshop to create 3D type with real impact. You’ll also discover the importance of subtle lighting techniques to create depth perception with your type. You’ll then be able to use these tips when experimenting with your own work.

Make a diamond


Grab the Rounded Rectangular Tool and set its Radius to 50px. Hold Shift to create a large square. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to bring up Free Transform Path and rotate the square by 40°. Finally distort the square into a diamond shape.

Add depth


First create the same Gradient Overlay layer style as in step 1. To create the embossed effect, use Inner Shadow to make a shadow within the border of the diamond. Select Inner Shadow and amend the following settings: Opacity: 35%, Size: 250px, Contour: Half Round.


Tutorial Play with depth perception using type

Duplicate the diamond

Make a stroke gradient


Add a glowing stroke to the diamond, do this by selecting Stroke and use these settings: Size: 4px, Position: Outside, Blend Mode: Color Dodge, Opacity: 55px, Fill type: Gradient and make a dark purple to white gradient, Angle: 90° and Scale: 50%.

Outline fonts


Download Jaapokki front from: and install it. Next grab the Horizontal Type tool and write ‘Like a Diamond in the Sky’. Ensure each letter is on its own individual layer and make each letter different sizes. Finally select all the letter layers and go Type> Convert to Shape.

Copy vector masks


The most important aspect of this artwork is the depth effect, so you need to make some of the letters and stars appear as though they are emerging from the diamond shapes. Do this by selecting the diamond’s vector mask, then hold down Alt and drag it to the chosen letter or stars folder.



Start by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the diamond shape layer and then hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to bring up Free Transform Path. In the top Free Transform toolbar, amend the Scale box from 100% to 65% and ensure Maintain Aspect Ratio (chain icon) is clicked. Repeat this four additional times.

Make star shapes


Go to the Custom Shape Tool and select the Point Star Frame and draw two of these stars at different sizes and locations around the letters. Then use the Pen tool to draw a four-point star frame. Once you have drawn one, duplicate it three times and place them around the letters.

Add a drop shadow


Begin to add drop shadows to all the folders (CS6 and above). To do this, double-click on a folder to bring up its layer style, select Drop Shadow and use the following settings for each folder; Opacity: 30%, Angle: 90°, Distance: 35px, Size: 15px.

Draw a 3D effect


Place each letter and star layer into individual folders. To do this, select a layer and click the folder icon on the bottom of the Layers panel. Next, using the Pen tool, draw the 3D effect onto each letter and star.

Create more gradients


Now you’ll need to create a gradient on each of your layers. The gradient can generally be the same for each layer, however the angle, tone and scale will have to vary. For example, front letters will have a brighter gradient, unlike the background letters, which will be darker.

Use groups to keep your shape layers organised

Glow with gradient strokes


Add a gradient stroke to all letters and stars (but not the 3D shapes). Select Stroke and use the following settings; Size: 3px, Position: Inside, Blend Mode: Color Dodge, tick Overprint, Fill Type: Gradient: dark purple to pale purple, Style: Radius, Scale: 92%. Use higher opacity for the foreground letters and lower for background.

Make depth with shadows


Add a drop shadow to each of the letters and stars (but not the 3D shapes) to help enhance their gradients and strokes. Select Drop Shadow from the layer styles and use the following settings for all: Opacity: 50%, Angle: 90°, Distance: 40px, Speed: 5%, Size: 150px.

Enhance shadows


To enhance the illusion that the shapes are flowing, you want to place more shadows over the shapes. To do this, duplicate each of the diamond shapes and place on top of each letter, star and diamond depth layer. Once placed, remove the duplicate diamond shape gradients and change the Fill to 0%.

Create a galaxy

Add shiny stars

Colourful brushes




To further enhance the illusion that the letters and stars are floating, it’s time to place your artwork in space. Start by copying and pasting ‘pix_2616989_galaxy.jpg’ onto your canvas. Once the galaxy image is in your canvas, change its layer blend mode to Soft Light.

Open up ‘pix_2797611_starsky.jpg’ and paste it into your canvas. Change its blend mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and add a mask to it. Grab a soft brush and set the brush opacity to 40%, then lightly brush over the stars around the corner of the canvas to dull them down.

Vignette boarder


Grab the Ellipse Tool and draw a large oval shape, then select Subtract from Shape Area from the options (located in the top Shapes toolbar). Convert the shape to a Smart Object and go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur and make the Radius 158.9px. Change the blend mode to Hard Light and set the opacity to 70%.

Create two new layers and change both blend modes to Linear Dodge (Add). Grab a soft brush and set the brush Opacity to 60%. Use a pastel blue for the first layer to paint over the areas around the ‘D’. For the second, use a pastel purple and paint over the ‘K’ and ‘A’.

Adjustment layers for depth


Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and make the Brightness 20. Then add a Hue/Saturation one and make Saturation +40. Finally, add a Selective Colour one, pick Black from the drop-down menu and set it to +14.


Tutorial Create art with the Brush and Pen tools


Brighten up your portraits with Hue/Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl+U) On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to create a colourful portrait primarily with the Brush and Pen

Time taken 2 hours

Experrt Mark White For me, colour is the most important aspect of any picture I create. It can turn an average piece into something a lot more interesting to look at, so it’s worth spending an extra ten minutes agonising over how it looks. 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 art with the Brush and Pen tools Use Photoshop CC 2018’s new features to create smoother, more organised work


he Brush and Pen tools are key elements of Photoshop these days: what started as a retouching program for your photos has evolved into the ultimate beast for digital art. And as Photoshop becomes bigger and better with every release, so do these fantastic tools. The CC 2018 edition of the program we all know and love contains simple yet game-changing tweaks to the Brush and Pen tools. There are now smoothing options for the brush strokes on your layers, meaning you needn’t create a stroke and just hope it looks good. Similarly, there’s a new curvature option for the Pen tool, so creating bends

and arcs in your digital art just became easier than ever. And on the subject of making things easy, you can now arrange your brushes into folders. It’s good news all round. The project we’re about to share is perfect for demonstrating how you can unleash your creativity with these newly updated tools. We’re going to be using controlled brushes, blocks of colour created by the Pen tool, sketchy sections, thick coloured strokes and tons of adjustment layers to make this image look bright, wild and heavily saturated. The Brush and Pen tools are far more powerful than you may have ever realised…

Trace the outline

Brush the colour

Add the details




Some artists are talented enough to sketch a face unassisted, but if you need to trace a stock photo, we’ve supplied one. Use the new Smoothing feature with the Brush tool on a new layer to ensure all your outlines are strong and even.

With a thicker brush, Alt/Opt to pick colours, and brush them on a layer beneath the outline. Turn the Smoothing option down slightly, and pay attention to the tones of the image, so you have a good contrast between light and dark.

Go back to a thinner brush and add the details for your portrait. This will include individual strands of hair, the colour and swirls in the eyes and the eyebrows. It will help just give a bit more likeness to the final image.


Tutorial Create art with the Brush and Pen tools

Block in shapes

Gradient Map adjustment

Double the colour

Cmd/Ctrl-click the layer preview of the layer with the colour strokes, to select all the pixels on that layer. Create a Gradient Map below your Pen strokes and apply the supplied ‘Gradient 1’ file from your resources. Set it to Color.



Apply another Gradient Map

Complete the recolour

Bring the details forward

Duplicate the last Gradient Map, and again, fill the mask in black. Apply ‘Gradient 3’. This time, select all the pixels of the blue Pen block layer and use a big, soft, white brush to add a little more colour to some of these blocks.




Layer up the background

Reduce Noise filter




Grab the Pen tool and create shapes using the new curved options in CC 2018. Create light and dark sections over the light and dark of the portrait. Fill the light in white and set to Soft Light. Fill the dark in #001c6e and set to Hard Light, 50% opacity.

We’ve supplied a splatter texture you can use for the background. Mask in sections of it and then use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change its colour, depending on how you want the background to look.


Finally, use ‘Gradient 4’ to give a completely different colour to the image, and use the masking techniques we’ve just practised to give a greeny, yellowy glow to areas of the portrait. Create a Curves layer, boosting red and green to perfect.

Merge everything into a stamp layer at the top of the layer stack, by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E. Go to Filter> Noise> Reduce Noise and choose Strength: 20, Preserve Details: 5%, with the other values at 0. Hit OK.

Duplicate your Gradient Map, and apply ‘Gradient 2’. Fill the mask in black, and select all the pixels of the same coloured layer, again by Cmd/Ctrl-clicking. With a soft, white brush, click over the edges of the subject.

Alt/Opt-drag the layer that you drew all the details – such as the eyes, hair strands and eyebrows – above all the colour layers, to duplicate it. Feel free to mask out some of the details of this layer if you’d like to.

Sketch some more tone


With a thin, sketchy brush on a new layer, make some rough hatching over the light and dark tones of your portrait. This will add a bit more texture to the final image, as well as contrast over the face.

Brighten up your portraits with Hue/Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl+U)

Create a frame


Make a selection around the subject. If needed, select the whole canvas (Cmd/Ctrl+A), Ctrl/right-click and hold Alt/ Opt while using Transform Selection to create it. Ctrl/right-click, choose Stroke; make a white, 25px stroke inside the box you’ve just selected.

Closer look

Blur the image


Create a stamp layer of your image, go to Filter> Blur Gallery> Field Blur. Increase the bokeh sliders until you have a bright, blurred layer. Click OK, hit Mask then Invert (Cmd/Ctrl+I). With a soft, white brush, blend in the shine over certain areas.

Finish it off


Create more curves over the portrait with the Pen tool to give more shape and definition to the face. Create one more stamp layer and go to Filter> Other> High Pass, choose 4px and then set to Overlay.

Photoshop CC 2018 updates



Creating brush strokes is easier than ever using the new Smoothing feature; simply use the top bar to adjust the smoothing and drag the brush as usual.

Get organised with all your brush files using the folders added to CC 2018. If you’re someone who collects hundreds of brushes, this is just the thing for you!

CURVATURE PEN TOOL The Curvature Pen tool certainly makes creating curves simple; just click the points you wish to make, and drag to edit.

CONVERT TOOL FILES If you have any tool files you use as brushes, you can convert them to brushes now in Photoshop, making it easy to find all your brush files in the same place.


How I Made Ghost Rider

La Pluma es Femenina How Tavo added solid colour to a pencil drawing in Photoshop

Essentials Time taken 10 hours


Show us your compositions Search for photoshopcreative

The artist Tavo Montañez Hi, my name is Tavo Montañez. I work and live in Mexico. I am an illustrator and graphic designer working mostly for clients in editorial, but also publishing, media and advertising. My process usually involves drawing with pencil or ink on paper and digital colouring. I have worked with Converse, Kazoo Creative, Te Design, Grupo Expansion and Picnic magazine. Check out more of my work at


his illustration was a commission by the graphic editor Mara Hernández from Accent magazine,” says Gustavo Díaz Montañez, the artist who goes simply by the name Tavo Montañez. “I was asked to prepare a set of illustrations for an article about five writers: Doris Lessing, Joan Didion, Isabel Allende, Joyce Carol Oates and JK Rowling.” The first stage of the process was for Tavo to immerse himself in research. “I found some inspiration in the article and in the stage of research and mood boards, based in nature elements, like flowers, plants, trees, textures and a woman’s figure,” he explains. “There was something that just clicked during this stage, so I hurried up and made some sketches, notes and doodles. The sketches included women’s hands, feathers, pens, flowers and some moving lines like water waves or hair, so I sent some test sketches to Mara and after receiving feedback, I just tried to make the artwork come alive, brushing

over the lines and making digital brushstrokes on a lot of layers.” Tavo has had lots of experience in creating artwork of a similar style, but this was one piece that really pushed his own creativity. As usual though, Tavo

“There was something that just clicked… so I hurried up and made some sketches” used only the finest tools for the job. “My favourite medium has always been pencil drawing on paper, followed by ink on paper, then the application of digital colour in Adobe Photoshop,” he says. “I used a Staedtler Mars Lumograph Graphite 3H Pencil on A3 Fabriano paper for this one. It was scanned in two parts and then put together, remastered and coloured in Adobe Photoshop CC with Wacom Cintiq 13HD.”

Remaster the original

Colour filter

I scanned the original pencil drawing in two parts without automatic adjustments but with high resolution. I put the image together in Photoshop, and then I made some adjustments; first I desaturated the image and adjusted Levels to have more intense black in the lines of the drawing.



Colour the illustration

Shade the illustration

Finish it off




In the group of layers named Colour, I added a new fill layer for the colour base of every object in the composition, using the Brush tool to add colour on each layer mask. I repeated this process for every colour in every object or group of objects in the composition.

I created a new fill layer above the layer of the original drawing. In this case I selected a blue that combined with the rest of the colour scheme. Then I set the fill layer to Screen. I experimented until I found the best opacity for this layer, which turned out to be 80%.

For shading, above all fill layers I added a new fill layer in the Colour group. For this new fill layer I selected a dark blue, set Multiply as the blend mode and the opacity to 30% to represent a kind of light but sharp shadow. I repeated this process for every layer of darkness in the composition.

Prepare the colouring


I made a new 29.5x44cm file and placed a linked image (a PSD file of the remastered original drawing). Below the layer of the linked file, I added a new group of layers named Colour, and a new fill layer as a background colour.

Above all layers I added a new set of layers. For the first new fill layer I selected white, and I set the blend mode to Overlay, opacity to 90% to represent a kind of light. I added two gradient fill layers, one red gradient from top to bottom and another blue gradient from bottom to top.


Tutorial Combine assets to build scenes On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




Whatyou’lllearn How to create a surreal scene using adjustment layers and blend modes

Time taken 4 hours

Experrt José Augusto Hykavy Manipulation and retouching is one of my favourite ways to design. I dedicate myself to getting the best result and love using my imagination, being careful with the colour contrast and all the details. I work as a freelancer. My first contact with Photoshop was in 2009, practising tutorials, then I started learning techniques.


Combine assets to build scenes Let’s learn how to create a beautiful and surreal moonlight scene using techniques for combining assets


ver the course of this tutorial, you will learn how to achieve harmony across separate elements. We will use the basic tools of Photoshop in addition to the correction tools (Color Balance, Vibrance and more) to create a uniformity of colour and lighting to the elements, as well as transform options, masks and adjustment layers. Layer masks and clipping masks are always useful in an image such as this; layer masks enable you to add effects only to the desired area, while erasing unnecessary areas on the layer mask returns you to the appropriate part.

When assembling the composition, you should be very careful with the proportion, brightness, contrast and lighting of the images. It’s important to pay attention to the direction of the light. If necessary, adjust with Brightness/Contrast, Curves, etc, or adjust the shadow and highlight areas with the Dodge and Burn tool. The organisation of the layers facilitates and streamlines the work progress, so rename and group the layers to keep your file neat and in order. Feel free to use different images to compose beautiful and surreal scenes.

Show us your creative edits Tweet us @pshopcreative

Start to compose


Go to File> New (Cmd/Ctrl+N), set Width: 230mm, Height: 180mm, Resolution: 300ppi and click OK. Insert ‘pex_479848_lake.jpg’, remove the unnecessary parts, add a Color Balance adjustment layer, set Cyan: -76, Blue: +52 and isolate the effect to the rocks near the river.

One more waterfall

Insert the rock


Insert ‘pix_1852954_rock.jpg’, remove the unnecessary parts like the example using a layer mask. Insert ‘pex_53518_waterfall front.jpg’, flip horizontally and remove unnecessary parts.

Place the sky

First corrections



Insert ‘pex_552788_sky.jpg’ behind all the layers. Add a Color Balance adjustment layer (Red: +34, Yellow: +27), so the sky looks less blue.


Insert ‘pex_339738 waterfall behind. jpg’ behind the lake and remove the unnecessary parts like the example using the layer mask. Add a Color Balance adjustment layer (Cyan: -12, Blue: +54, Green: +29), disable both effects on the water.

The scene needs more blue; add a Color Balance adjustment layer (Cyan: -13, Blue: +29). To give more volume to the image, add a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer, with Brightness set to 5 and Contrast set to 70.

More corrections

Add the moons



To lend a nocturnal mood to the image, add a Curves adjustment layer and drag the line down as in the example. Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N), fill with the colour #2a333a and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Insert ‘pex_53153_moon.jpg’, duplicate three times (Cmd/Ctrl+J), place above the three waterfalls, adjust size and rotation and remove the unnecessary parts to merge with the rocks.


Tutorial Combine assets to build scenes

Change the water’s colour


Create a new layer (Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+N), select the colour #2a333a and use the Brush tool (B) to paint the water. Change the blend mode to Color.

Waterfall light

Create the moon’s reflection



Create a new layer (Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+N), select the colour #2a333a again and use the Brush tool (B) to paint around the waterfall’s water, control the size and opacity of the brush. Change the blend mode to Color.

Create a new layer behind the moon, use the colour #e3c470 and the Brush tool (B) – brush size should be larger than the moon, 700px, with Hardness: 0%. To paint around the moon, change the blend mode to Color Dodge.

The moon’s light


Create a new layer above the moon, use the colour #ffffff and the Brush tool (B) to paint inside and a little around the moon, control the size of the brush. Change the blend mode to Overlay and the layer opacity to 70%.

Other moons


Repeat steps 8-11 for the other moons, be careful to not overdo the lights – try to maintain a visual pattern for the three moons.

Add some smoke


Insert ‘pix_2437886_1920_smoke.jpg’, change the blend mode to Screen, create a new layer, fill with the colour #74440f, change the blend mode to Color and create a clipping mask on the smoke layer. Change the position, size and rotation, then duplicate for all moon layers.


Insert some particles


Insert ‘pe_particles.jpg’ under the moons, change the blend mode to Screen and adjust the position, size and rotation according to the moons.

Show us your creative edits Tweet us @pshopcreative

Expert tip Final adjustment

Liquify the moons

More smoke



To simulate the melting of the moons, press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+X, select the Forward Warp Tool (H) – Size: 19, Pressure: 53, Density: 14 – and slowly pull down like the example shows. Repeat this step for the three moons.

Duplicate the smoke, change the group opacity to 40%, adjust the position and rotation to differentiate from the last smoke applied; this will make the effect more visible.

Change the lake’s colour

Insert light into the waterfall



Create a new layer above the moon, use the colour #bca56e and the Brush tool (B) to paint all the water from the lake. Change the blend mode to Color. Duplicate the layer, change the blend mode to Overlay and set the layer opacity to 72%.

Waterfall water


Open ‘pex_464327_waterfall lake. jpg’, select only the part where the water touches the river and paste into the composition. Remove the black parts using the Background Eraser tool and position like the example.

Create a new layer above the moon, use the colour #ffffff and the Brush tool (B) to paint where the water from the waterfall touches the lake. Change the blend mode to Overlay and then set the layer opacity to 80%.

Final corrections


Add a Vibrance adjustment layer, with Vibrance set to -10 and Saturation set to -2. Apply a Curves adjustment layer, drag the line up, add another Curves adjustment and drag the line down.

In the latest versions of Photoshop (CS6+), you can use the Color Lookup adjustment layer to get a more enhanced colour correction. This option gives you a quick way to try out different combinations for elements just by choosing a new ‘look’ from a list of presets. Another benefit of using an adjustment layer is that we can further adjust and fine-tune the results simply by changing the opacity setting or blend mode of the Color Lookup layer.

Create rock reflection


Add a Color Balance adjustment layer (Cyan: +34, Yellow: -70). Press Cmd/ Ctrl+I to invert the layer mask and enable the effect near the water and around the moons to create a reflection of light.

More final corrections


Add a Color Balance adjustment layer, with Cyan: -16, Yellow: +17. Apply an Exposure adjustment layer, and change Offset to +0,0042. Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N), fill with the colour #283138 and change the layer opacity to 16%.



TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT FAN ART COMPETITION AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL, DVD, BLU-RAY™, AND 4K ULTRA HD™ NOW Get ready for the ultimate timate adventure addventure as Michael Michael h lB Bay ay andd Steven Steven v S Spielberg piielbe lb rg present the new and explosive addition to the Transformers family, Transformers: The Last Knight, which is available now on digital, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. To celebrate, we are teaming up with Paramount to host an exclusive fan art competition. Humans and Transformers are at war with each other, Optimus Prime is gone. The only key to saving our future lies buried deep in the secrets of the

past in in the he hidden hid iddden history hi Transfformers on Earth. Earth h Saving Saving i our world falls past, off Transformers upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock). There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.

COMPETITION: We are tasking you with creating your very own fan art inspired by Transformers: The Last Knight. All you have to do is design your Transformers artwork and submit it on social media using the hashtag #TransformersArt. If you are under 16 please ask your parent or legal guardian to upload your image for you.

THE PRIZE: Submit your Transformers art for a chance to win a terriďŹ c Transformers toy prize bundle worth over ÂŁ100 and Transformers: The Last Knight DVD, along with a selection of Photoshop Creative bookazines. Two runners up will receive a copy of Transformers: The Last Knight on DVD and a selection of Photoshop Creative bookazines. Like Transformers on Facebook and follow #Transformers on Instagram for all the latest news and information.

TRANSFORMERS  SEE IT ON DIGITAL, DVD, BLURAY™ AND 4K ULTRA HD™ NOW Transformers Š 2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved


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Tutorial Use halftone effects to enhance your illustration On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with



Whatyou’lllearn How to use bitmap halone, channel splitting, Paint Daubs, Poster Edges

Time taken 1-3 hours

Experrt BÜRO UFHO The use of halone patterns can add an interesting comicbook effect to your images. Being both an artist, under the moniker kittozutto, and graphic design studio, BÜRO UFHO, we have been using Photoshop for over 10 years. In 2015, we had the privilege to be invited by Adobe, together with 70 artists, to celebrate its 25th Anniversary of Photoshop.

Use halftone effects to enhance your illustration Create futuristic halftone effects with the help of bitmaps


lade Runner 2049 is a stunning visual feast with breathtaking scenes. Every wide shot is perfectly composed, with equally powerful colour schemes. Although there has been criticism of the story being a bit thin, it still manages to be an inspirational film. There’s one particular scene where Joi, as a gigantic holographic billboard, interacts with the main protagonist, K. It is a rather short scene yet somehow it makes K feel small and helpless in the grand scheme of things. We really love that and in this tutorial, we’ll create an illustration inspired by this scene from the movie.

Import the image


Begin by opening up the start image, which can be downloaded from the FileSilo. Add a Levels adjustment layer and pull the whites and blacks in to get hard whites and blacks from the image. Select the layers and Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge layers.


In this tutorial, we’ll take you through the process of how we created this illustration, and show you how we make use of bitmap halftones in Photoshop in order to achieve an interesting effect. The effects used in this tutorial can also easily be applied to your own starting image, so feel free to use any photo that you like. Be sure to check out our Expert Tip for more specific advice on the Blend-If sliders. The images used in this tutorial are all provided on the FileSilo. You can also download the layered PSD in order to get a better understanding of how you can build up your artwork.

Select Color Range

Colorise your layers



Go to Select>Color Range, pick the white areas of the cheeks. Set Fuzziness to 60. Click OK to commit. Cmd/ Ctrl+J to duplicate this selection. Name the layer White. Repeat the steps and select a darker tone each time until you get four layers: white, light grey, dark grey, and black.

Ctrl/right-click on the White layer, select Blending Options. Check Color Overlay to set the colour to 50% grey – R:128, G:128, B:128. Fill a new layer below with white. Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+C to copy merge. Paste the copied image on a new file.

Soft edges work best for halones


Tutorial Use halftone effects to enhance your illustration

Bitmap halftone

Mask your white halftone



On our new file, go to Image> Mode> Grayscale. Flatten the image. Go to Image> Mode again, this time select Bitmap. Set Output to 300px, use Halftone Screen Method. Set Screen Frequency to 15, Angle to 45 and Shape to Round. We’ve created our first halftone pattern using the white highlights.

Copy and paste this back to the canvas. Cmd/Ctrl-click on the white layer thumbnail to make a selection. Select the halftone layer, and click on Add Layer Mask. Name this layer as White Halftone. Ctrl/right-click on the previous white layer, select Copy Layer Style, and Paste Layer Style onto the light grey layer.

Proceed to light grey layer


Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 for the light grey layer. Set Image Mode to Bitmap. Set Output to 300px, use Halftone Screen Method. Set Screen Frequency to 15, Angle to 45. This time select Line as Halftone Screen Shape. Copy and paste this back to the canvas and then mask for the halftone.



Import ‘PCR_159_start_ outline.jpg’ as the top layer, set blending mode to Multiply. Using the Pen Tool, start pathing the skin areas. Set colour to pink, #ff58cc. Repeat the pathing for hair. Set colour to blue, #0078ff. Group the two paths, set group blending mode to Soft Light. Duplicate group to intensify the colours.

Repeat previous steps


Repeat previous steps for the dark grey and black layers. Set Line as Halftone Screen Shape, Angle at 90 for dark grey layer. Set Round as Halftone Screen Shape, Angle at 45 for black layer. With all the halftone layers in our canvas, we should achieve something like the screenshot above.


mport images



Create a Radial gradient with the following colours: #7630c8 and Import the following: Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert ‘glitch-2722503. #311a67. Group this gradient as Background group. Select the jpg’, set layer blending mode to Color Dodge. Invert both black outline layer, click W for the Magic Wand tool, select the area outside ‘glitch-2722505.jpg’ and ‘glitch-2717634.jpg’, set both to Screen. the illustration and use this as a mask for the group. Make sure to uncheck Resize the layers accordingly. Group these layers as Images, and Sample All Layers. set group blending mode to Soft Light.


Soft edges work best for halones

Expert tip Halone blending

Halftone blending

Colour adjustments



Set the Halftone group to be visible. Set black halftone layer to Multiply. Set dark grey layer to Soft Light, Opacity 75%. Set both light grey and white layer to Soft Light, Opacity: 50%. See the Expert Tip on using Blend-If sliders.

Introduce glitches


Select all and copy merge the illustration. Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Ctrl/ right-click, select Blending Options. Under Advanced Blending, uncheck channels Red and Green. Nudge the layer to the left. Select a few areas with the Rectangular Marquee tool and click the Add Layer Mask button.

Fill a new layer with orange, #ff6633, set to Soft Light. Use the Pink Skin layer as a mask. Using the Pen Tool, path the area within the mouth and set the colour to purple, #990066. Similarly, path along the shadow areas of the hair. Set colour to black and layer to Soft Light.

More glitches




Repeat the previous steps, this time leaving only the Green channel. Nudge the layer to the left and add a layer mask by selecting a few areas with the Rectangular Marquee tool. Do the same for the Red channel.

Selective colour adjustments


Add a Selective Color adjustment layer. Set Reds to C: +100, M: +34, Y: -17. Set Yellows to C: -34, M: +100, Y: +100. Set Greens to C: -100, M: -100, Y: -100. Set Cyans to C: +100, M: -26, Y: +100. Set Blues to C: +100, M: +52, Y: -17. Set Magentas to C: -33, M: -34, Y: +100. Set Whites to C: -12, M: +34, Y: +100. Set Neutrals to C: -42, M: +9, Y: -5. Set Blacks to C: +16, M: +3, Y: -12.

Blend-If is a powerful tool for layer blending that enables you to manipulate areas to blend based on light and dark tone. Under layer Blending Options, hold down the Opt/ Alt key and drag the Blend-If slider out. Holding down the Opt/Alt key causes the slider to split in half. This will smooth your layer blending and help create more transition between the two layers. We’ve used this to only aect the darker tones of the halone patterns on the image.

Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all, Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+C to copy merge. Paste image above. Go to Filter> Pixelate> Mosaic. Set Cell Size to 50. Go to Filter> Blur> Motion Blur. Set Angle to 90, Distance to 100px. Set this layer to Lighten.

Add details


Select all and copy merge. Go to Filter> Pixelate> Mosaic. Set Cell Size to 25. Go to Filter> Filter Gallery> Paint Daubs. Set Brush Size to 35, Sharpness: 25. Go to Filter Gallery again, this time choose Poster Edges. Set Thickness to 10, Intensity at 1, Posterization to 6. Set layer opacity to 75%.


Advanced Create a genius caricature

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

Essentials Time taken 8-10 hours

Expert Costis Papatheodorou I love drawing digital paintings, portraits and caricatures. In order to draw digitally you don’t have to get lost in many different techniques and brushes. A simple brush can help you explore your creativity and sharpen your skills. I am a professional freelance illustrator who has used Photoshop as my main tool for the last 15 years, either to draw images or to edit them.

Create a genius caricature

Learn the process of drawing a caricature from scratch


rawing a caricature is always a challenging and fun process. You may use any brush you like, but it’s best to stick with a simple round one first, in order to learn the basics and evolve your current skills. Once you’ve achieved that, you can then progress to more complex brushes. This way you won’t get lost, frustrated or be tempted to give up. It is always very helpful to have a basic knowledge of anatomy as well as an understanding of colour, tonal values and lighting in order to become a better illustrator and make your artwork stand out.

Choose a base colour


First let’s switch the Color panel’s sliders from RGB to HSB. The HSB slider is very useful because you can easily control the colour and tone value. Then pick a colour to use as the base colour. Here we used H:23, S:40, and B:40


In this tutorial, we are going to learn basic rendering techniques. First we start making our palette and a basic sketch. Then we move step-bystep to our final rendering. The same steps can be followed every time you want to draw a caricature or a portrait. It’s a good idea to start drawing faces familiar to you – friends or even yourself – using a photograph for reference. You will notice that mistakes will be made, but you can always correct them in the process. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all learn from them. As Albert Einstein himself said: “a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”.

New canvas


Let’s start with a canvas the colour or the tone of the skin. Create a new canvas, 23x31cm at 300ppi. From Background Contents, pick the base colour. Alternatively you can fill a white canvas with the colour by going to Edit> Fill> Foreground Color.

Learn keyboard shortcuts and create your own to save time


Advanced Create a genius caricature Expert edit Tricks for success

Make a brush Background colour


Start with midtone colours on your background. From midtone colours you can create the brighter and darker values you need to start drawing.


Let’s create a brush with a Hardness of 37% and Spacing between 0% and 14%. Set the opacity of the brush to 80% in the Options window (the top of the screen). We will be changing the size of the brush using the keyboard shortcuts [ and ].

Colour palette


Let’s create a palette with some flesh tones and some green and blue colours to start with. Notice that the darkest colour we have here is not black but a dark-brown colour. The lightest and darkest tones of these colours will be made using the B from the Color tab.

Flip Horizontal


When our eyes look at the same image for a long time, they miss things. Use the Flip Horizontal command as a way of spotting what needs fixing.

Let’s draw!


Create a new layer and start drawing using a reddish colour, with a darker tone than the background colour. Avoid using black. You don’t want to mix black with your base colour or any other. Otherwise you will end up with an artwork filled with dull colours!

Defining shapes


The next step of our drawing is to create a new layer and keep defining shapes using colours from our palette. It’s a good time to start grouping the layers into folders. At the end we will flatten these folders to single layers.

Become better


Avoid using the Undo/Redo command all the time. Making the right decisions will make you a better artist. Set your History State to 400 and use it only when necessary.

Experiment with temperature


If your artwork has a very warm or cold feeling once you’ve finished, you can always create a Color Balance adjustment layer to change that. Experiment to see what works!


Feeling blue


At this point we have to make our brush bigger in order to draw the background. Let’s choose a dark blue colour. This will not only make the face look brighter, but also help us define the tones of the hair and the coat.

Adding colour


Now we can start working on the coat, showing the darkest areas. We can rework the face drawing the darkest areas (chin and moustache) and define the shape of the hair more. Drawing the darkest areas helps us understand and establish the direction of the light.

Learn keyboard shortcuts and create your own to save time

Detailing features

Draw with contrast


In order to guide viewer’s eyes to the face, we have to darken the background more on the left and add a backlight source behind Albert’s neck. This kind of contrast will help the face pop out more.

More light please


Our image still seems to be flat. Let’s add a second yellow light source from the right. This means that we can use a bigger brush to put some yellow colour on the hair and a smaller one to draw on the right of the face.


We change the brush to a smaller size to start adding detail to the face. Pick a flesh tone from the nose and make it a bit lighter to highlight the facial features. We will define the lips and the jaw. We can also add a button to the coat.

Oops! Mistakes


At this point let’s change the coat button’s position and move it higher. Let’s redraw it and put on the highlights. Don’t forget that the button should have shadow as well and try to blend it with the colour of the coat. Don’t hesitate to lower the opacity of your brush if needed.

Zoom in/out


Zoom in and out all the time to get a good idea of what needs to be corrected. Don’t hesitate to redraw what you don’t like. Like that chin, for example… that should be shorter. After that we can add some details.

Hair and moustache

15 Adding details


Now we can continue detailing the face more. Use a small brush (3px or 4px) with opacity set to 80% to add wrinkles or moles and small facial hairs. Try to remember how all these are affected by the lights we have set.

When you are done with detailing, the next step is to work the hair and moustache more. Change the size of your brush to a bigger one and start defining the shape of the hairs to be a bit more dynamic, which will give a stronger personality.


Advanced Create a genius caricature

Start detailing hairs


When you are happy with the general shape, add details to the hair. Make your brush small again (3px or 4px) and create a new layer. Pick colours from a lighter – but not too bright – area and start drawing smaller hairs that follow the general direction of the hair.

Bring in more details


Use an Eraser with a low opacity to erase the tips of the hairs wherever it is needed. Create more layers to draw more hairs. When drawing the hairs, use a variation of tones (from dark to light), because this will give depth.

Apply shadow


Now we should enhance the shadows of the hairs. Go to Image> Adjustments> Levels. Change the middle tones from 1 to 0.64. Now click on the mask and draw with a very soft brush (at a low opacity setting) the area of the hair you want to darken more.

Introduce more details


Now we will make the hairs look brighter. Set a new layer to Normal. Pick white as the colour and set your brush to a low opacity. Redraw some of the hair and the moustache. Pick the areas of the hair that will reflect more light.

Final touches


Set a new layer to Overlay and use a smooth brush with a very low opacity (10%). Pick a bright yellow colour to draw on the right side of the hair, the face and the body as well. You can repeat with a bright blue colour on the left side.

A cherry on the cake


Now it is time to copy all of the layers and flatten them. Pick this new layer and go to Filter> Blur Gallery> Iris Blur. Adjust the focus circle and set the Blur to 15px. We want to create a depth of field effect. Press OK.


Final touches


On the layer you applied the blur effect, create a mask. Use a smooth brush with low opacity. When working on a mask, you can draw only with black and white colour – black to show and white to hide. Use the mask to hide some of the blurred areas.

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Advanced Work with Photoshop 3D

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Essentials Time taken 3 hours

Expert Daniel Sinoca It is incredible how powerful the Photoshop 3D tools and Adobe Fuse are. I can create basic geometric shapes in Photoshop, use the 3D tools to make 3D objects and then use Adobe Fuse to create impressive 3D characters. I became involved in the digital world over 15 years ago and have been working as a freelance artist ever since, creating all kinds of multimedia projects and tutorial guides.


Advanced Work with Photoshop 3D

Work with Photoshop 3D Create an unbelievably realistic livable space in a sardine can using basic extrusion techniques and essential Photoshop tools


n this tutorial, we will look at the basics of Photoshop 3D. You’ll learn how to create 3D shapes using the Extrusion command, apply materials, adjust the lighting, merge 3D layers and render the final object. Next, you’ll work with 2D images and the familiar Photoshop tools to complete the project. The 3D workspace consists of the View window and three different panels; the Layers panel, 3D panel, and the Properties panel. You’ll work simultaneously with all three. To move and select objects, the

Move Tool (V) must be active all the time. Use the on-image controls and the secondary camera/view to adjust and place the objects in the correct position. You can also Ctrl/right-click on the object to quickly access its properties. The best way to learn the 3D tools is to explore each panel and try different settings. You’ll soon understand how each panel works and will be able to create amazing 3D objects. We’re also going to cover how to use Adobe Fuse (CC users only) to create 3D characters and incorporate them into the scene.

Create the base

Transform in 3D



Create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl+N). Set the Width to 220mm, Height to 150mm and Resolution to 300ppi. Now, go to File>Place Embedded ‘pix_1047377_floor.png’. Reduce its size around 25% and then click Return/Enter.

Go to 3D>New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer. Click Yes to switch to the 3D workspace. In Properties, set the Extrusion Depth to 1 pixels. Now click in Coordinates and set the X Rotation Angle to 90°, then click Move to Ground.

Adjust the material settings


Let’s get the floor ready to reflect the objects. In the 3D panel, click on ‘pix_1047377_floor Front Inflation Material’. Now, in Properties, set Shine to 10% and Reflection to 20%.


Build the walls


Place the image: ‘fo_wall_texture.jpg’. Resize the image and transform into a 3D object as in step 2. Open the Layers panel. Hold Shift and select the 3D wall and floor layers. Merge the layers. Go to 3D> Merge 3D Layers.

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Put in place


Open the 3D panel and click on ‘fo_wall_texture’. Grab the Move Tool (V). Hover the cursor over the arrows to access the controls, choose the appropriate command and then scale and move the wall. Use the Secondary view to place the wall in the correct spot.

Create more objects


Open the Layers panel, place ‘fo_cabinet_texture.png’. Transform into a 3D object. Set the Extrusion Depth to 300 pixels. Apply a new material. Open the 3D panel and click on ‘fo_cabinet texture Extrusion Material’. In Properties set the Diffuse colour to H: 33, S: 49 and B: 68.

Duplicate the 3D wall


Now, duplicate the 3D wall. In the 3D panel, click on the ‘fo_wall_ texture’ and then Ctrl/right-click and choose Duplicate Objects. Rotate 90° around the Y-axis, drag the object to the left and move to the ground to complete the base.

Merge the 3D layers


Merge the 3D layers as in step 4. Open the 3D panel, locate the fo-cabinet texture and use the on-screen controllers to put the object in place. Swap the Main and Secondary view to see the 3D object in different angles.

Bring in the 2D images


Open the Layers panel then go to File> Place Embedded ‘pix_825606_sardine can.jpg’. Now, let’s empty the can. Grab the Pen tool and create a path around of the sardines. In Options, choose Selection and click OK. Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the selection and then create a layer mask.

Extra 3D objects


Follow the previous steps to create more cabinets, add a refrigerator and a table to complete the scene. Remember to merge the 3D layers and use the controllers to scale and rotate the objects. You can also duplicate the 3D objects to add more elements.

Tweak the perspective


In the Layers panel, click on the 3D scene. Keep the Move tool active (V). On the bottom-left corner of the workspace there are three controls, You can use these to adjust the perspective and move the entire scene inside the sardine can.


Advanced Work with Photoshop 3D Expert edit Adobe Fuse

Build a character


Open Adobe Fuse (CC users only). Choose your character from the presets and customise the model by adding textures, clothes and props. Name it and save to your CC Library.

Adjust the light


In the 3D panel, click on Environment. In Properties set the Shadows opacity to 45%. Go back to the 3D panel and click on Infinite Light. Grab the on-screen controller and move around to adjust the light angle as in the image above.

Render the scene


Now it is time to render the project. Go to 3D> Render 3D Layer. Depending on your computer, the process can be very time-consuming. The good thing is that you don’t need to wait to complete 100%. A partial render of around 50% will work fine.

Place in your project


Go to Windows> Library. Click and drag the model into the project, then go to Window> 3D. Double-click the ‘Tops_Skeleton’ feature and pick a pose.

Edit with the Levels


Click on the sardine can layer and adjust the tones using Levels. Go to Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Levels. Check ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’ and click OK. Set the Input levels to 10, 0.70, 252.



If you choose an animated pose, go to Window>Timeline. Scrub the frames in the timeline to find the best position. Rotate the image if necessary and adjust the lighting.



Go to 3D> Render 3D layer. Render your 3D model and save it. You can apply adjustment layers and masks just as with any other layer, and incorporate into your projects.


Place images


Bring new images, like dishes, fruits and bottles, to add more realism to the project. Place the images and adjust the size. Zoom in and position everything, using the Drop Shadow layer style to add shadows. Use your creativity to arrange the scene.

Show us your creative edits Tweet us @pshopcreative

Expert tip Separate ďŹ les Creating a 3D scene isn’t complicated, but can take a long time to render. Instead of merging the Fuse models with the 3D scene, create a separate document to place the figures, adjust the pose and render the file. The file will be smaller and the rendering process faster. Save the file as PNG and place in the original composition. To adjust the angle, use the sardine can as a reference or copy the scene and place behind the models. Use the on-screen controllers to rotate and move the objects.

Adobe Fuse


Open Adobe Fuse and create a couple of 3D figures. Check the Expert Tip for more information. Save into your Library. Create a new document, 100mmx100mm. Go to Windows> Libraries. Find the images and drag into your project.

Pose your model


Open the 3D panel and click on Tops_Skeleton. In Properties, click in Body and choose a pose from the presets. Go to Window> Timeline. Move through the timeline to find the right posture. Adjust the Infinite Light and use the Orbit button to rotate the image. Render the 3D layer.

Add shadows




Create a new layer on top of the 3D scene and clip the layers (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+G). Paint the shadows under the wrapped area and around the top edges. Adjust the opacity to 50%. On top of the layer stack, press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/ Alt+E and transform into a Smart Object.

Place the 3D figures


Save your model as a PNG file. Go back to the original project and place the figures in the scene. Add a layer mask and hide the shadow if necessary. Repeat the steps to add more characters to the composition.

Open the Camera Raw filter and tweak the settings to increase the Exposure, Contrast, Shadows and Clarity, then reduce the Highlights to -40. Apply the Vignette effect and click OK. Go to Filter> Render> Lighting Effects and play with the settings to enhance the composition further.


Project focus Music sounds better with brushes

Music sounds better with brushes How did Amsterdam-based José Bernabé create tributes to his favourite songs with vibrant type artworks in Photoshop?

About the artist José Bernabé www.behance. net/josebernabe I’m a Spanish designer and digital artist based in the city of Amsterdam. I’m always in continuous exploration, finding visual solutions for commercial and artistic projects. From lettering to illustration, from logo design to image manipulation, I’ve been involved in projects for Nike, Adobe, Nickelodeon, Steel Series, Gategroup, BMW, PostNL, Citroën, Etos, Opel, ING, Jamin, Peugeot and Nutricia. My work has been published by Inspiration Now, Taxi, Fubiz, Adobe, Fahrenheit Magazine, Betype, TrendHunter and Abduzeedo, among others.

Name of the project Life Tracks



usic is an inspiration to so many artists, but it’s not often that a painter creates art specifically and explicitly about certain songs. That didn’t stop José Bernabé though, a Spanish artist who’s been celebrated on online art communities for his use of colour and liquid-style paint effects in Photoshop. He decided to take a handful of his favourite songs, from the likes of Pharrell Williams to David Bowie, and interpret the titles using his technicolour typography style in Photoshop. But how did he create this series, what are the secrets of creating type, and has this project opened new doors for José?

Have you always loved using colour, José? Yes, I always remember myself drawing and playing with colours like all children do, I guess. I just continued doing it, and I have the pleasure of making a living doing what I love to do. I had the opportunity to study design and illustration but I have to say the most I’ve

learned has been self-taught, combining my experiments and studying the work of other artist and designers. In this profession I think is very important to keep exploring techniques and new creative ways.

Who do you think have been your biggest influences? It’s difficult to mention all my artistic influences, as it’s a huge number of amazing designers, illustrators, painters, sculptors, video artists, musicians, calligraphers, and digital artists. Social media gives me the opportunity to discover the work of classics and discover new emerging artists every day. I love Herb Lubalin, Milton Glaser, Victor Vasarely and painters like Marc Chagall, Picasso and Dalí. Music is also a big influence to me and has been since I was a child, particularly Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Iggy Pop and David Bowie to name a few. I guess the mixing of styles is always present in my artistic preferences and also present in my personal work.


OTHER PROJECTS “Thanks to my Life Tracks project, I was glad to be commissioned by the Gategroup company to make artwork using a similar style, to be used at a trade fair in Hamburg.”

“The very first time I saw Photoshop in action was when I was quite young, when a friend of mine was colouring and retouching some pictures. I was impressed by the possibilities of the soware. I felt I wanted to experiment by myself.”


All images © José Bernabé

“I’m planning to do some experiments with lettering and digital animation. Also I’m feeling quite interested in experimenting with lettering and real materials like food and liquids.”

desired result. Also the colour features of the software are enormous and allow me to make unexpected turns with a few clicks. I create my custom brushes to achieve interesting textures and effects and then I organise the strokes in layers to work with them separately.

And how important can type be to artists? Type was always important to me because it’s the base of visual communication. In terms of applying styles, the possibilities of playing with type are infinite. Digital media has opened a new frontier and a wide new range of possibilities to apply textures and effects.

Music was the backbone of this project; how did it begin? I wanted to make something with some of the songs I like. Some of these songs have accompanied me my whole life, so this was kind of a payment of appreciation, a tribute to these songs and to the bands that composed them. At the same time it was the perfect opportunity for me to experiment with lettering and colours. So in terms of the art direction, I had freedom. Of course, the songs influenced some of the artworks but for me, and because it was a personal project and not made for a client, it was more important to achieve and perfect my painting style.

How did you create these pieces? Mainly the effect is made using customised brushes, the Mixer Brush and Liquify. There is

no big secret or complicated steps to achieve this. I guess the most important thing is to make an interesting composition and use an attractive combination of colours; then I work the lights and shadows to overlap the letters and achieve a 3D effect. In this step it’s important to keep everything nicely organised in layers. After this, sometimes I merge all the layers and I continue applying textures, lights and shadows to give the final touch. Practise is the key to getting a desired result.

Your type in particular has really caught the imagination of people online though, and opened a range of possibilities for yourself Definitely. The most remarkable thing was that I created a font named Chemical Cloud Typo. It became quite popular and Adobe approached me to use its style for the 25th Anniversary of Photoshop.

How important is Photoshop to an artist like you?

Do you think you could return to this project in the future and create some more songinfluenced type?

I guess a good thing about Photoshop is that there are different ways to achieve the same solution. The composition of the artwork is very important to me and Photoshop has some nice selection tools to quickly move all elements in the artboard until you get the

Certainly yes! This is an open project and I will make some new artworks when I have the chance and the motivation to do more. I would love to make a certain number of pieces and to exhibit them in a gallery if I have the chance.


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Ele m e

12 pages of practical guides Surreal project…


CREATE A CATZILLA Follow our fun, surreal step-by-step Elements project on p86

Create more in Elements… Discover Photoshop Elements 2018.......78 Design your own stamp......................................80 Change the seasons in Elements..............84

Essential techniques Follow our step-by-step tutorials

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ts n e m Ele NEW FEATURES Discover all the new features of Adobe Elements 18 in full, as well as the purchasing options, at products/photoshop-elements/

What does it mean?

PREMIERE ELEMENTS – Elements comes in three different strands: Organizer, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. Premiere Elements takes the best features of the Premiere brand, which is used to edit video content. Premiere Elements is available with Photoshop Elements for £130.36.

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Tool focus…

Discover Photoshop Elements 2018 What’s new in the 2018 update to the program? Adobe first released Photoshop Elements for beginners and users in a hurry or on a budget; it contained many of Photoshop’s best features, but at a fraction of the price. Since those early days of Elements, the software has become more powerful than some early versions of Photoshop, but still retains its core principles of being simple to use, fun for all kinds of users and a budget alternative to Photoshop. Elements 2018 is no different: it’s packed with all the features and tools that make it great, and it includes an array of new ones to make it easier and more intuitive than ever.


The Guided Edit mode within the program has become particularly popular in recent years, offering step-by-step walkthroughs for all kinds of projects, and 2018 sees a fair few new ones. You can now create watercolour digital paintings, incredible double exposures, and even replace backgrounds with ease and speed. Elsewhere, use the Auto Selection option for an even smarter workflow. Elements is a brilliant option for creatives, and there’s plenty in the new version for us to get our teeth stuck into. Let’s look at what’s new, and how you can use it in your work.

Ele m en ts

Discover the Elements Delving deep into all the hot new tools 01



Open Closed Eyes

Auto Selection

Double Exposure

A brand-new selection tool, Auto Selection is even quicker and more intuitive than anything Elements has ever had. To use it, simply make a selection somewhere in your image and the program will automatically judge the edges that you’re creating.

With a wealth of new Guided Edits, Elements has added even more editing possibilities for users in a hurry. The Double Exposure option, though, is of genuine quality as well as being quick to apply, and even offers you stock options to add over your images.


When snapping a few images, it’s likely that there will be elements of some you don’t want to keep. The new Open Closed Eyes feature enables you to take the eyes of one image and substitute it over another, meaning that you needn’t settle for an imperfect image again.



Click the cog on the start-up menu to open Photo Editor


Replace Background

The Organiser section of Elements has also seen tweaks in this edition. Photos are now organised automatically, there’s an Auto Curate feature added and slideshows have seen a significant update, in that they select the best images themselves now.

While replacing backgrounds is one of the most time-consuming and pernickety things you can do in Elements, the new Replace Background edit can significantly cut time. Simply use the selection tools and import an image, or choose a preset background.


Shape Overlay The Shape Overlay option is another Guided Edit that boasts quality as well as efficiency. It places a specific shape overlay over an image and you get to decide on the effect inside and outside the shape.


Watercolour Creating cool digital art from default options within tool settings can be tricky. However, the Watercolour feature in Elements 2018 creates beautiful effects from your images and can make art from even the most ordinary of pictures.


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What does it mean?

FILTERS – There is a huge number of filters available in Elements. The quickest way to access them is to click the Filters tab at the bottom of the workspace. You are then presented with filters such as Blur, Distort and Stylise, each with their own icon representing the effect. Click to apply.

Creative project…

Start image

Design a stamp

Use filters to create a classic postage stamp design Postage stamps have long been a medium for showcasing illustration and artwork, with special edition stamps and seasonal designs becoming popular collectors’ items. They can also make attractive works of art themselves! In this tutorial, we’ll be using the classic design and layout of a postage stamp to transform a photo into a piece of art with a hand illustrated effect. The majority of the process is achieved using filters; often applying just one filter to an image doesn’t give a very polished or realistic effect. However, by combining several different filters we can create the illusion that our artwork is hand illustrated and then printed onto a stamp.


The theme of the pigeon seems an appropriate choice for such a concept, with the long history of carrier pigeons transporting messages around the world before the existence of a reliable postal service. If you want to take the image in a different direction with a different theme, you can simply use a start photo of your choosing. If you decide to do this, simply follow the tutorial steps but with some minor alterations to adapt the process to your photo; with the application of each filter, experiment with the settings to achieve the same look as our pigeon, and choose colours that complement your image.

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STAGE 1 Edit the pigeon with filters

Cut out the pigeon and give it an illustrated effect We are going to begin with the focal point of our artwork: the pigeon. From the provided stock photo, we will be creating a grainy printed illustration effect using a variety of filters, including Gaussian Blur, a noise filter and the Comic filter. If you are using a different photo, you can still follow the steps but you may need to use different values and settings. So grab your start image, open up Photoshop Elements and choose the Expert workspace.

Select the pigeon


Open ‘pix_2523828_bird.jpg’. Use the Quick Select tool (A), to select the pigeon, switch to the Selection Brush (A again) and use it to tidy the selection. Click Refine Edge, enter Smooth: 21, Feather: 1.4px, Shift Edge: -35%, Output: New Layer. Click OK.

Use filters

Apply a blur


Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click the pigeon’s thumbnail in the Layers panel to select its contents. Go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur, enter 0.7px and click OK. Press Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect.


Press Cmd/Ctrl+F to reapply the most recently used filter


Go to Filter>Sketch>Comic. Enter Soften: 5, Shades: 9, Steepness: 1, Vibrance: 1, Thickness: 0, click OK. Go to Filter> Artistic> Film Grain, enter Grain: 4, Highlight Area: 18, Intensity: 1, click OK. Go to Filter> Noise> Add Noise, enter 4.86%, tick Gaussian and Monochromatic, click OK.

FILTER GALLERY Go to Filter> Filter Gallery to open this window, which enables you to access Elements’ many filters.


SELECTION TOOL SETTINGS Press A repeatedly to cycle through the different selection tools, and edit their settings here in Tool Options.


Move the sliders to adjust your filter, and the preview will show you how the final result will look.

Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click a layer’s thumbnail here to make a selection of the contents of that layer.


ts n e m Ele

STAGE 2 Build the background

Create the stamp onto which we can place the pigeon Now the pigeon is edited, we need to make the stamp itself. A blue gradient provides a quick background to build upon, and with the addition of a stylised cloud using the Elliptical Marquee and several noise filters, we will have a sky for our pigeon to soar across. The background needs to remain simple, so it doesn’t draw attention away from our focal point – the pigeon – so keep the clouds a basic shape and not too fuzzy.

Set up your canvas


Create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl+N), make it 222mm wide by 180mm high, at 300ppi. Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon at the top of the Layers panel and pick Gradient Fill. Choose Gradient: Foreground to Transparent, Style: Linear, tick Reverse and set Scale to 180%.

Cloud selection


Select the Elliptical Marquee tool (press M), and click and drag while holding Shift to create four overlapping circles forming a cloud shape in the bottom left of the canvas. Add a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N), name it Clouds, and fill the selection with white on this layer.

Add noise


Add a layer mask to the Clouds layer, and go to Filter> Noise> Add Noise. Enter a value of 90%, tick Gaussian, and then click OK. Go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur, enter 0.7px and click OK.

Edit the gradient


Click the colour bar, then in the new window that opens, click the left colour stop and set its location to 70% and its colour to R:62, G:121, B:180. Click OK on each window.

Distress cloud edges


Select the Brush tool (B) and load the Natural Brushes set. Select the Stipple Dense 56px brush, and use it like a stamp at various brush sizes by clicking along the edges of the cloud. The aim is to create a distressed edge.


Create a noise layer


Create a new layer, set its blend mode to Overlay. Fill it with black and go to Filter> Noise> Add Noise. Enter 45% and tick Uniform and Monochromatic, click OK. Now go to Blur> Gaussian Blur, enter 0.7px and click OK. Copy and paste the edited pigeon into your artwork.


Choose a background colour that complements your image; a pinkish sky could also work well in this instance.

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STAGE 3 Final touches

PHOTO FILTER COLOURS There are plenty of preset photo filters to choose from, or you can pick a colour manually by selecting Colour.

Borders and text give the image the realistic appearance of a stamp

With the main elements in place, all that’s left is to finish off our design with adjustments, a stamp edge border and some text. Applying a photo filter at the top of the layer stack will help to tie the whole image together and give it a consistent tone. The stamp border, provided on the FileSilo, and the text are then all that’s needed to make your artwork look like a genuine stamp.

UNDERLINE IT Add an underline to your text by highlighting it and clicking the underline icon here in Tool Options.

FOCAL POINT Make sure the pigeon is the main focal point of your image by enlarging him and positioning centrally.


When transforming, use Shift to stop constraints

Transform and photo filter


Press Cmd/Ctrl+T on the pigeon layer, Ctrl/right-click the pigeon and choose Flip Horizontal. Slightly enlarge and rotate the pigeon, and position it overlapping the cloud. Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer, choose the Deep Red filter, and then reduce the Density to 15%.

Paint in the gaps


Add a new layer directly below the border layer, and use the Brush tool with a hard round brush and colour of R:65, G:72, B:98 to paint the area outside of the stamp edge border.

Add the border


Open ‘pix_713213_stamp_border.png’. Press Cmd/Ctrl+A, then Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy the border, and paste it (Cmd/Ctrl+V) into your artwork. Make sure it is at the top of the layer stack, and press Cmd/Ctrl+T to resize it to fit the canvas.

Write the text


Finally, select the Type tool with the Times New Roman font and a colour of white, and type out the ‘1ST’ text, with a font size of 100pt for the ‘1’ and 50pt for the ‘ST’. Add an underline and position it in the top-right corner.


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RECOLOUR INDIVIDUAL TREES On a new layer, brush a different hue over a few individual trees to give less uniformity to the forest.

What does it mean?


PHOTO FILTER – The Photo Filter adjustment layer basically adds block colour over your image as a subtle tint to the final result. You can choose from the options either based on temperature, tint, or by picking a colour of your own choice. Vary the blend mode to tweak the effect.

Be sure to change any reflection colours so that the image looks cohesive and part of the same season.

Start imag e

Photo edit…

Change the Use brushes, filters and recolouring to shift the tone of a photo Every year, someone will tell you how this year’s going particularly fast; blink, and we’re suddenly in December. With the changing of the months, though, come seasonal shifts in colour and tone when you look out the window. The leaves change colour from green to orange and brown before falling off in the winter, so it’s sometimes pretty obvious what time of year a picture’s been taken, just by looking at the trees. But what if you wanted to trick time, by making it seem as though an image was taken in a different season? The colouring tools can be useful for this. There are plenty of options for filters in the Quick


mode, but a lot of these are just simply colour layers set to a blend mode. There are much more in-depth ways to ensure your image feels like it belongs to a specific time of year, involving brushes, adjustments and colouring techniques. Ultimately, every image is different. Each image you’ll find may require a different treatment to bring it in line with the time of year you want to portray, so by learning some of these techniques, you can then go ahead and apply them to whatever pictures you want to. You might just want to turn the leaves a little more green or pink, or even just give a warmer tone to a particularly wintery shot.

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Start of the season Begin to tonally tweak your image in four steps

Add a photo filter


Hit Cmd/Ctrl+U to change the Hue/ Saturation of an image

Create a gradient map

We’re going to start by adding a colder filter to our image, because this will set the weather for a harsher tone before we turn the leaves brown. Go to the Fill Layer icon and choose Photo Filter, before selecting a cooling filter. Reduce accordingly.



Recolour the trees

Quick filters


Set the gradient map to Soft Light and invert the mask (Cmd/ Ctrl+I). Brush the colour into the photo. Do the same thing on other layers with shades of yellow and orange, varying the blend mode between Soft Light, Color and Overlay.

Again, go to the Fill Layer icon and this time, choose Gradient Map. Add colour stoppers of brown, orange and yellow in shades that you’d find in autumnal trees; we went with #915b33, #e9975a and #eeee5b. Hit OK when you’re happy.


Head to the Quick mode of Photoshop Elements by using the tab on the top left. Click on the Seasons tab; there you will find four options for varying tone. Click on the Autumnal option and then head back to Expert. Reduce the opacity to 30%.

Take it further Other seasonal effects Throw other colours in the mix



Trying to make your pictures look spring-like can be difficult; it doesn’t have the distinctive orange glow of autumn. But by increasing saturation, adding a warm photo filter and a green photo filter, you can brighten up pictures.



A blue sky and some sun often defines summery photos. Create a new layer and brush in yellow for the sun, before giving a Hue/Saturation boost to the image to make it brighter. Then use the Summer option in Quick mode.



There are two options in Quick mode for creating a wintery picture: Snow and Winter. Make sure to apply a cold coloured filter to the photo before applying the seasonal look, and reduce the Saturation of your image to -50.


ts n e m Ele

Start image

TAKE PHOTOS YOURSELF The cat used in this picture was photographed specifically on her hind legs while playing. Add a personal touch by importing your own pets into the composition.

MASTER THE PERSPECTIVE If you use your own photos, make sure to choose objects that fit the perspective and scale of the city and cat.

What does it mean?

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


GAUSSIAN BLUR – This can be used for all kinds of effects, but the most common is to suggest distance and motion. Use the Gaussian Blur on the helicopter blades to suggest they’re spinning, and duplicate the helicopter before blurring to suggest this duplicate is a little further away.

Ele m en ts

Surreal art…

Create a Catzilla composition

Blend stock images into a surreal scene of devastation For decades, cinema has been interested in the idea of giant animals taking over our cities, whether it’s King Kong or Godzilla. But what the residents of this particular city probably never expected to see on the horizon was this white, fluffy cat, pawing at helicopters and setting whole skyscrapers on fire. That’s the beauty of Photoshop Elements: creating the surreal from existing photos – even photos you’ve taken yourself. The magic lies in how you go from snapping a hungry feline to blending

her seamlessly into a city scene complete with tanks and rubble. We’re going to be using a lot of masking, colouring techniques, and learning some simple tips for ensuring the final image looks as realistic as a giant cat taking over a city possibly can. As ever in Elements, the key is in the detail, whether it’s adding more definition to the fur with brushes, or making sure the rubble is the same colour as the buildings. With all this considered, let’s dive in to this surreal project!

Unleash the beast Turn a cute furry friend into a menacing destroyer of cities


Hit Cmd/Ctrl+F to repeat the last filter you applied

Reduce the shake


The start image of the cat we’re using for this composition isn’t the clearest, but that’s okay, because Photoshop Elements has a Shake Reduction feature that’s ideal for correcting such issues. Head to Enhance> Shake Reduction, and use the slider to alter the sensitivity.

Cut the cat out


Hit the mask icon, and using a black brush, trace around the outside of the cat until you’ve completely worked around the outline. Use a softer brush (Shift+[) around the super fluffy areas of fur.

Add a helicopter


Place your helicopter into the photo and cut it out. Select a hard, round brush and alter the Angle like you can see in the image above. With 75% opacity, press the brush once over the blades of the helicopter, on a layer below, to suggest motion.

Place and shade


Cut around the edges of buildings with the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) and fill this in black on the mask of the cat layer. Clip a new layer (Alt/Opt-click) to the cat layer and with a 20% black, soft brush, add some shadows to the cat.

Work on the blades


Clip a new layer to the ellipsis you just made. Using the Polygonal Lasso, create a ‘+’ shape like you can see and fill in black. Reduce to 30% Opacity. Do this again, and then go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur for more realism and motion.


ts n e m Ele

Expert tip Add more detail

Recolour the sky


Bring in the supplied sunset file and set it to Multiply. With a big, soft brush, Alt/Opt-click to eyedrop colours from this palette and then brush over the layer to spread the colour a little. Reduce the opacity of the layer depending on how dark you want the sky to be.

Screen the fire


Insert the supplied fire files and place them over the building. Set them all to Screen and using masks, tidy up the edges of where the fire should end, for example, over the building closest to the left.

Render clouds


Set your swatches to black and white (D), and on a new Multiply layer, go to Render> Clouds. Reduce this layer to 30% opacity, hit Mask, Invert (Cmd/Ctrl+I), and brush in with a soft brush over the fire, to create plumes of smoke.


Set a building alight


Create a gradient map with the following colours left to right: #151610, #d24c16, #ffff70 and #ffffff. Set to Colour, and invert the mask (Cmd/Ctrl+I). With a white, soft brush, paint over the building on the left. With 20% opacity, brush a little over the cat’s side closest the building.

Add a burned car

Brushes are a simple feature, but they’re still capable of incredibly powerful edits if you know how to use them. Select a small, 80% hard brush on a new layer above the cat. Set the brush to 50% opacity and experiment with selecting colours from the cat’s fur before applying them in a wider sense to other parts of its fur. By using this technique, you can add more definition to the fur, around the eyes and under the chin. Create more of a stereotypically shaped paw with this technique, and with darker shades, create defined fur around the neck and legs.

Call in the army

With all this devastation happening in the city, we’re going to need to add a little more debris to the streets below. A burned-out car or two should certainly help to add to the effect; cut it out with masks and place it wherever you feel it fits best.



Create more smoke

Fix up the shadows


With thick black smoke in the air, we’re going to need some lighter smoke on the ground. Repeat the Render> Clouds technique, only this time set the layer to Screen rather than Multiply.

A tank will definitely elevate the look of this image. Again, place it somewhere on the street for a sense of scale. If needed, clip the sunset image over it and set to 20% opacity so it feels a little more like a part of the scene.


On a new layer beneath both the tank and the car, grab a soft, black brush and just make sure that the shadows are realistic. This will add a sense of realism to the objects in the composition.

Ele m en ts

Sharpen up

Bring the city to rubble


Insert the supplied rubble images and again, clip the sunset layers to these rubble layers. Hit Mask and Invert again, and with a soft, white brush, fade in the rubble at the edges of the composition.


Create a stamp layer of the whole composition. Go to Filter> Other> High Pass and choose a Radius of around 4.0px. Hit OK and set this layer to Overlay to sharpen the whole image. Repeat this step if needed and mask the sharpness over specific objects or the cat itself.

Overall gradients

Switch the Levels


Go to the Fill Layer icon and choose Levels. Tweak the stoppers to alter the brightness and contrast, before using the drop-down menu to alter the red, blue and green channels to improve the tone.

Apply the final effects Reduce noise, add motion and give a glassy finish


Again, go to the Fill Layer icon. Create a black to white gradient map. Set this layer to Soft Light, 30% opacity to create a slight HDR sheen to the composition. Create a black-to-white gradient and angle from top left to bottom right. Set to Soft Light, 30% opacity.

Blend the composition


Create another stamp layer and go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. Choose 20px and click OK, then go to Hue/Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl+U). Reduce Saturation to -20 and increase Lightness to +15. Set to Soft Light, 50% opacity. This will just blend the composition a little more.

Dodge and burn


Create two more stamp layers; set one to Multiply, one to Screen. Hit mask for each and then invert both masks. With a white brush, mask in the highlights on the Screen layer and the shadows on the Multiply layer.


Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/ Opt+Shift+E to create a stamp layer

With any composition, there are several finishing touches you can make to improve your image. Start by creating another stamp layer, and go to Filter> Noise> Reduce Noise. Leave the Strength as 10 with other values set to 0 for a cartoony effect. Create another stamp layer and go to Filter> Filter Gallery. Find the Glass filter, apply it, mask and invert. With a white, so brush, fade in the filter over the fiery aspects of the image. Finally, on one more stamp layer, go to Filter> Blur> Motion Blur. Add about 15px of blur at -33 degrees. Mask, invert, and brush it over the other paw of the cat.




Price £2,749.99/ $2,999.95 US Web

PEN POWER The Pro Pen 2 requires no batteries or charging. It sits comfortably on its own removable holder that plugs into the side of the device.



There are few controls on the body of the device. You’ll find the volume and rotation lock controls on the side.

The screen measures 15.6 inches with 94% Adobe RGB colour accuracy. There is also a smaller model available with a 13.3-inch screen.

Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 i7 Cast off the restraints of a tethered desktop with this mobile powerhouse


he MobileStudio Pro is a multi-tasker’s dream. The pen computer lets you take your work on the go, and has the processing power to enable you to run multiple 2D, 3D and video-editing softwares at the same time. It’s the perfect choice for professional artists, photographers and designers, but with prices starting at £2,199.98/$2,399.95, you had better make sure it’s the workstation for you. Inside the box you’ll receive a power pack and cable, a quickstart guide, a cleaning cloth, and one of its biggest selling points – the top-of-its-class Pro Pen 2, with case, nibs and colour rings. The Pro Pen 2 really makes the drawing experience feel natural on the MobileStudio Pro, as there is virtually no lag and no parallax. The matte screen of the tablet adds to the authentic drawing experience as well as boasting an Ultra HD display from a powerful 4GB GDDR5 graphics card. As a tablet computer, it’s incredibly lightweight with a sturdy, sleek design and a silicone grip. The forward facing 5MP camera sits on the opposite side and the Intel®


RealDense™ 3D capture camera sits on the rear, making it a perfect tool to find assets and inspiration wherever you are. On the front you’ll find the multi-touch ExpressKeys™, which are fully customisable and application-specific, although the set-up interface could be more intuitive. Once set up though, it means you don’t need to also have a wireless keyboard with you to work effectively. However, the onboard buttons aren’t really a substitute for a keyboard’s worth of shortcuts, especially in Photoshop. Wacom has plenty of accessories on offer as extras, but one of the biggest bugbears of the MobileStudio Pro is that it does not come with a case or a stand. Another drawback might be that, apart from one audio input, the device only uses USB-C. There are three of these ports on the side and these are also used for charging. The Wacom link is sold separately but does enable you to convert to your preferred cable and also link with a Mac if desired. On the whole, the MobileStudio Pro a very impressive device with only minor surmountable drawbacks. The price is high

and on a busy day the battery might scrape 2.5 hours, but if you are someone who enjoys working on the go without switching between several devices and requires the reliability, multi-functionality and processing speed of a quality computer, then this could definitely be for you.

The specs Company Wacom

Additional specs

15.6in (39.6cm) display p Ultra HD (3,840px x 2,160px) pÐIntel® Core™ i7 processor p 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM

The verdict


A truly impressive device that offers creative freedom. However, for the price, some of the ‘optional extras’ really should have been included in the box.




Price £1,399.99 / $1,499.95 US Web

Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 A creative pen display that will seriously upgrade your studio


he lightweight design of the Cintiq Pro creative pen display is really lovely to handle. The glare free screen scores 282ppi without the thick glass causing any problems with the stylus parallax. The tablet also boasts the same display specifications as the MobileStudio Pro, reaching up to 4K. A nice feature is the light-up touch bar in the top right, with five preset functions including touch recognition on and off. Out of the box, the Cintiq Pro has a 5° angle but also comes with built-in legs propping the screen up to 20°. If you plan to use a third-party stand, make sure the fans on the back are not being obstructed. Like the MobileStudio Pro, the Cintiq Pro comes with the Pro Pen 2, which really shines

as a top-end stylus. Also included in the box is a cleaning cloth, a pen holder/nib storage and the Wacom Link. The tablet only uses USB-C, so it is possible to connect to your computer with just the one cable. However, the Wacom Link will convert to Thunderbolt and USB for display and data respectively. This does mean there is a slight drop from 4K compared with using just the USB-C cable. The extra cables also get pretty cumbersome, especially as the Cintiq Pro is not powered by the computer but by a separate power cable. One of the main problems with the Cintiq Pro on release were wavy lines, especially when going slowly. However a recent driver update seems to have fixed this for the most part and we are now left with the same



On the back of the device are two legs that flip out to make a stand with a viewing angle of 20°.

In the top-right corner of the display are five touch buttons, including the keyboard.

accuracy and natural drawing experience that you get on the MobileStudio Pro. Coupled with the Photoshop shortcuts as you know and love them on a keyboard, it’s the best of both drawing on paper and benefitting from the functionality of Photoshop. When we’ve being spoiled by edge-to-edge displays, it seems a shame that the Cintiq Pro has such a thick non functioning border – ignoring the touch bar. This seems a little dated for a state-of-the-art tablet. However, the smooth drawing and photo-editing experience on the crystal clear screen more than make up for this. In fact, the thick border actually becomes like a frame for the beautiful work you will have had tons of fun making with this tablet.

The specs Company p Wacom Additional specs 15.6in (39.6cm) display p Ultra HD (3,840px x 2,160px) p Mac or Windows compatible p Wacom Pro Pen 2 DISPLAY PRO PEN 2 The Pro Pen 2 is a joy to use, giving an experience akin to pen on paper.

The Cintiq Pro 16 offers the same display specs as the MobileStudio Pro 16, with up to 4K resolution.

The verdict


While there are a few issues that give the impression the Cintiq wasn’t quite ready for release, it is top of its game and is a joy to use.




Price £52.34 / $69 US Web

The specs Company

CrazyTalk Animator 3


Additional specs Dual-core CPU or higher 2 GB RAM or higher recommended 5 GB HD space or higher recommended Display Resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher

CrazyTalk Animator 3 is a 2D animation package, compatible with Photoshop CC, that enables you to animate your characters TOOLS ON THE LEFT


CTA is extremely userfriendly, and you can find all the features that you need to edit and tweak your characters along the le-hand panel, rather like Photoshop.

The right of the interface is where you’ll find everything you might want to customise your character with, including presets, colouring options and poses.

BIG EDITING AREA Your character is editable from the middle panel in CrazyTalk Animator, where you can really get to grips its poses, movements, and how it reacts against backgrounds.

From Photoshop to CrazyTalk Prepare a character and then animate it

Prepare your character

Import the template



With your character completed, you need to prepare it for the G3 human template from CrazyTalk Animator 3. To do this, separate the character into layers. In this example, we have separated the character up into ten different layers.


You can download the human template for free from the CrazyTalk Animator 3 website. This will have a few PSD files but in this case, we only need the ‘Human_Front_FullTemplate.psd’. Once this is downloaded, just open it up in Photoshop.

Place bone pivots


We can now bring our character into the template scene and start to match it up so the markers fit the character. These will create the positioning for our joints in CrazyTalk Animator 3


razyTalk Animator 3 (CTA) is a great piece of software that makes it possible for an artist to quickly and easily bring life to their characters, backgrounds or props. For a beginner just getting started, CTA provides many default layouts and templates to take your art and start animating it straight away. For example, using the G3 Character human template, which is a free download from the website, you can quickly set up a joint layout on your character in your Photoshop file. The artist only needs to separate their character into layers, eg torso, left arm, head, etc. When you are happy with everything, you can simply load the PSD file into CTA 3 and the software uses your layout to build a skeleton structure, ready for you to start animating with. Reallusion also provides many useful tutorials, ranging from basic introductions to more advanced topics. CTA 3 comes with a

range of resources as standard to get users animating quickly and easily. It also has a store if you want to purchase more characters or other assets. Moving on from using default templa artists can create assets in Photoshop t imported into CTA and use the project manager to build up and organise a library of assets for larger projects. If an asset needs to be edited, you simply open it back into Photoshop to make any changes and reimport it back into CTA. The custom set-up tools are great for artists who haven’t done any computer rigging before. By translating or rotating the bones, the user can get both Inverse Kinematic (IK) and Forward Kinematic (FK) functionality. However, there isn’t a way to edit how much the image is affected by the bone. Instead, the user needs to separate their character into different layers to be able to specify what parts of the body are

. , , because the software is geared toward artists who want to easily start animation without having to learn complicated rigging techniques. Overall, CrazyTalk Animator 3 is a very good tool to create nice, smooth twodimensional animations. The tool provides a handy platform for artists with no previous rigging or animation experience to take the step from illustrations to animated cartoons and graphics.

The verdict


CrazyTalk Animator 3 is an enjoyable and reliable tool. However, there seems to be limited customisation for creating bone structures.

Standout feature Photoshop integration

Create hierarchy


Once happy with the joint placement, it’s time to put the character layers into the respective layers within the RL_Image folder. This is very important, because it will create the joint hierarchy. Once done, save the PSD file ready for CrazyTalk Animator 3.

Open in CrazyTalk Animator 3


In CrazyTalk Animator 3, go to ‘Create G3 Free Bone Actor’ on the left toolbar and open the PSD file just saved. The file will open with the skeleton created from the template in the file. Once this is done, animation can start!

With the new version of CTA, it’s even easier than ever to edit through PSD Templates. CrazyTalk lets you launch Photoshop and synchronise updates on character layers, and graphic designers can easily tweak animated content with new styles, accessories, and poses via CTA. The two programs are more easily intertwined than ever before, making it a credible alternative to Aer Effects.




Publisher Phaidon Price £24.95 / $39.95 Author Nicholas Bonner Release date Out now

Made in North Korea Graphics from Everyday Life in The DPRK Paying a visit to the hermit kingdom and a world of spectacular design


traight out of the super-secretive state of North Korea comes Nicholas Bonner’s compilation of everyday designs, from sweet wrappers and cigarette boxes to postcards and invitations. The book itself is absolutely beautiful – its bright pink cover is emblazoned with a gold foil, in its simplicity setting you up for what’s in store. Every page inside is premium, with large visuals, matte paper and short succinct captions to help keep your eyes roving over every image. Not one single, everyday object has been overlooked – from watercolour boxes and envelopes to books and comics, Bonner gives you an intimate insight into the visuals of daily life in North Korea – and what you discover is truly incredible. Nothing is too small, too insignificant to look beautiful. It’s a refreshing concept that’s sadly so often overlooked in our own lives, but it’s motivation enough to kick-start your own drive to make everything beautiful. But from a nation so infamously secretive, what do we learn? North Korean artwork feels familiar yet fresh; dated yet timeless. If you were to compare it to Western art, you’d think it harks back to interwar and propaganda art in terms of the style. Broken down into sections, each introductory page features a short essay on

The verdict


Brimming with artwork that feels somehow otherworldly, Made in North Korea shines a light of the state’s hidden treasures.

If you like this then check out North Korea isn’t the only nation with design secrets – check out Soviet Bus Stops to discover some of the most elaborate public transport stops from the former USSR.


North Korean life and culture. Initially this feels superfluous, a half-hearted attempt to give editorial value to what’s essentially a visual book. But bear with it – it might initially seem irrelevant and illogical, but the further you explore through these essays, the more you appreciate their value. These essays provide an element of context in a society that baffles the Western world, and hammers home this North Korean identity that is so shrouded in mystery. And far from the stereotype, we discover a heritage and culture defined by design. A nation that is well renowned for its struggles, strife and secrecy, Made in North Korea manages to portray a true emotion; far from a cold and calculating image of the state, this visual guide reveals a nation obsessed with its identity. Made in North Korea is evidence that North Korea champions itself through design – and it’s a truly spectacular feat.



Publisher Cassell Price £20 Author Paul Lowe (General Editor) Release date Out now

1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die A whistle-stop tour of the world’s most iconic captures


t’s likely you’ve already stumbled across the 1001 series, published by Cassell. From roads you must drive and plants you must grow, to several iterations devoted to telling you about the movies you must see, the series has catapulted to fame for its (relatively) succinct guides to the world’s most popular… well, everything. After several editions explaining the paintings you must see, the series creators have devoted a brand-new tome to some of the most spectacular photography in history. From the oldest surviving photograph, dating from 1826 and depicting a view from a window, to the day Trump won the US presidential election, 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die jam-packs in 999 other photographs that, in some shape or form, have changed the way millions of people worldwide perceive the world. And jam-packed is certainly one way to talk about 1001 Photographs. At a whopping 960 pages, you’d expect almost a photograph a page – and certainly with some of the more legendary images, you won’t be unimpressed. But these full-bleed

reproductions are few and far between. Reams of text infiltrate almost every page, and between the images and the editorial, a solid majority of these 1001 photographs fill less than half a page – often images trimmed down to less than a quarter of a page, too. It’s somewhat baffling that a book devoted to imagery can place such little emphasis on the visuals. That’s not to understate the importance of the text, which serves to add context and character – but surely the photography itself should be able to do the talking? Perhaps if a capture is significant enough to feature in such a prized series as 1001, it should earn it of its own merit. Yet this is a flaw of the series itself – a style that works for one book devoted to explaining the world’s best wine, for example, won’t necessarily translate to imagery. All in all, it’s an intriguing insight into the general editor’s subjective preferences – and as a widely acclaimed photographer, you’d expect Paul Lowe’s tastes to be on point – but the 1001 series hasn’t done the photographers, nor their exceptional captures, the justice they deserve.

The verdict


A great compilation of some of the most inspiring photos out there, but its diminutive page size can leave you squinting.

If you like this then check out While this format doesn’t quite work for images, perhaps 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die will serve to feed your creative desires instead?


Portfolio interview

Best of both worlds From hand sketching ideas to drawing inspiration from different sources, we find out about Dexter’s “crazy laboratory” of Photoshop http://dextermaurer.


he path from traditional art to digital is one that is familiar to many Photoshop users and digital artists in general. Dexter Maurer certainly knows this trajectory well himself; the son of an artist, he honed his craft at art school before turning back to Photoshop for his work. And what a journey it’s been since then…

How did your relationship with Photoshop begin? When I was a kid, I used to draw a lot in my spare time; my favourite heroes of cartoons, comics, video games, etc. I went to art school, and I used to colour my illustrations with colour pencils or paint, but it was after completing a lot of drawings I realised that I was playing too much with the same colour combinations, simply because I knew that they worked together. I wanted to change that, so I moved to Photoshop to exchange my old habits and explore the infinity of possibilities when it came to colour matching and compositions. I had a friend whose father had Photoshop on his computer. We were so happy to use professional software to colour our little comics, so we both got a graphics tablet because it was hard to draw with the mouse.

Who would you say are your biggest artistic influences? My father is an art teacher so he taught me a lot of technical skills and exercises and gave me the passion for this profession. I went to Wallis, EPAC (Professional School of Contemporary Art) too, to follow art lessons. During my studies, I had the chance to meet a lot of artists and to participate in different exhibitions. After all these experiences, I discovered that I wanted to be an illustrator, and nowadays I’m a fan of Eyvind Earle, Hiroshi Yoshida, Gustave Doré, Tadanori Yokoo and Wes Anderson. I’m also really inspired by Disney and Studio Ghibli animations. I’m also


influenced by random stuff like toys, fashion, music, legends and stories.

What makes a great piece of art in your opinion? I think that I’m really sensitive to narration in art. I love to imagine stories inside the different art pieces I’m seeing. On the flip side I do also get inspired by graphic materials just on a basic level, like the architecture of buildings, the pattern of a carpet or typography. It really depends of the mood or the project I’m working on.

So as someone with a background in traditional art, would you recommend starting on paper before you take on a project in Photoshop? I think it depends how comfortable you feel to start digitally. Personally I always make sketches by hand. I have a better feeling with the paper and I like to collect them in a book. You don’t have all the choices of Photoshop either, so it’s easier to get straight to the point. Of course, after I scan it, I make some corrections with Photoshop before starting the final render. So I would recommend choosing the platform that inspires you and with which you feel most efficient.

result that I want. Also, I love to play with the Gradient Tool, to give a 3D feeling and to try some effects with the different layer types. I always add a texture to cut the sharp and cold feeling of the digital render, too.

Again, great tips! Is it overwhelming to think that thousands of people have seen your artwork now? To be honest I was really surprised! I’m really glad that people like them. It’s very motivating to share your world with other artists. And it motivates me to persevere and progress in my art!

Can you tell us what pieces you have done recently that you’re really proud of? This spring I was working on a series of four illustrations called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse for an exhibition in Spain. I was really happy with these pieces because it was the first time that I used textiles. I love middle-age tapestries and I wanted to have this kind of render. I’m proud of it because it was a new experience and it opens a new world to express my ideas.

Any other advice? In my opinion, reading some tips and watching some tutorials of an artist you like is really helpful for Photoshop beginners. Photoshop is a crazy laboratory to experiment in; you can always move back, save different versions and change whatever you want. So you are safe to try and try, until you feel it’s a comfortable tool for you.

What are your favourite tools and features in Photoshop? By far the Brush Tool. And I don’t download special custom brushes, either! When I change the opacity or move to a smooth airbrush, it is enough for the

This was a piece created in 2016, involving a flying house and a lot of movement with the Brush tool

Another piece created in 2016, this bubble-based image used colours and texture on the bubbles in a similar way to how Brand Knight shows plastic casing

Death This was one piece from the The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse project, entitled Death. The colour palette was limited to oranges, purples, blues and yellows, and plenty of attention was paid to detail.

This was a psychedelic piece created in 2016. Details include the boats in the foreground, the erupting volcano in the distance and the lighthouse toward the right of the piece.

Conquest Another piece from the The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse project, this one is entitled Conquest. It’s richer in tone than Death, and the use of water and topiary makes it look more ostentatious.

All images Š Dexter Maurer

Dream & Nightmare This is designed to convey a nightmare. It was one of two commissioned images by private clients.


Reader interview


Are You There?


The making of Life Begets Life How Tom created a surreal image from just a couple of photos in Photoshop

Remove elements Select an appropriate background image and remove unwanted material with the Clone Stamp tool. I had to remove a couple of distracting elements in the background.

Cut out the watering can

Slipping Away

Life Begets Life

Tom Cornish

How drawing inspiration from all kinds of sources helps 28-year-old Tom Cornish to create dreamlike images in Photoshop


or many, the principle of Photoshop is to create something surreal and removed from the real world. This is exactly how Tom Cornish sees the soware, as he creates dreamlike compositions from photos he’s taken. “Until recently photography was only a hobby, taking second place to a science PhD,” says Tom, “but now that’s finished I have more time to concentrate on creative projects.”

How do you usually begin an image?

sometimes ‘sleeping’ subjects. I love to use clouds in my work as I feel they add a strong dreamlike feel.

What are your favourite tools to create these effects? I’ve been experimenting a lot with Selective Color adjustment layers in Photoshop recently. For me it’s been a way to add vibrancy or unusual colours to my images to make them more dreamlike. I’m also beginning to play with the Liquify tool in order to distort backgrounds a little.

I usually start with a sketchbook that I’ve filled with blank boxes, set a timer for an hour and sketch as What advice would you give to many ideas as I can, drawing from inspiration I’ve Photoshop beginners? recently seen. I’ll then choose one of these as an idea to photograph. Occasionally though, I’m lucky I think the best advice I can offer is to draw enough to be out and about with my camera and an inspiration and tips from many sources. Photoshop Creative has been a good source for idea will just strike me from nowhere! me to gete started with ideas. You can also buy Was t Onc Wha How would you describe the art that keyboards that help you to memorise tool you make? hotkeys, which are great! A recurring theme I like to draw on is the sense of something being dreamlike. It’s represented in my Check out more of Tom’s work at www. images with surreal imagery, vibrant colours and


Using the Pen tool, I drew an outline of the watering can from a separate image, then isolated the selection and pasted on my background image.

Repeat the second step I did the same as step 2 with the water layer, only this time setting the blending mode of the layer to Lighten.

Adjustments I then added Selective Color, Curves and Hue/Saturation adjustment layers to the final composition to enhance the colours, clouds and brightness of the photo’s elements.


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Photoshop creative february 2018  
Photoshop creative february 2018