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ALL THE TUTORIAL FILES YOU NEED Available to download from

Free step-by-step tutorials online

Discover the latest artwork from the Gallery on page 8

Join thousands of like-minded creatives

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follow us @pshopcreative

01 Design a retro poster Discover the simple techniques you need to create a colourful vintage-style poster from scratch

02 Create with the Pen tool Make paths around difficult selections and use strokes to create beautiful photo artwork

03 Use Wet Media brushes Learn how to use Photoshop’s Wet Media brush set to create the look of a watercolour painting

04 Make a creative composite

I’ve been using Photoshop for years but I still haven’t quite mastered masks. These powerful tools can be used to control a host of different effects, whether you want to edit photos, manipulate them or produce digital art. If, like me, you want to get to grips with masks, then this is the magazine for you. We start with a feature on how masks can help you improve your photo portraits (p12), and then move on to a range of fun and creative projects, from poster design (p20) to photomanipulation (p24 and p32) to digital painting (p38). Thanks to these I’ll be mastering masks in no time, and so will you! This issue is also packed with loads more to do in Photoshop, from creating a scratch foil effect (p58) to producing photo compositions (p44). Enjoy the issue!

Combine photos and use blend modes and lighting to create an out-of-this-world composition

05 Get the acrylic paint look Use brushes, selections and layers to build up the unique look of real acrylic paint in Photoshop

April Madden Editor



Contents Q&A Your Photoshop


Visit the Photoshop Creative online shop at

for back issues, books and merchandise

Readers’ gallery

06 Did your work make it to our readers’ gallery?

challenge 10 Readers’ Your chance to win a fantastic creative effects plug-in

Take control 12 Feature: of masks Improve your portraits with these clever mask editing techniques

20 Tutorials Your Photoshop tutorials begin with a graphic-art project

80 Reviews A camera, animation tool and plug-in put through their paces

86 Subscribe Never miss an issue when you have it delivered (US readers p64)

essentials 88 Q&A Your Photoshop Elements, CS


and CC problems solved

interview 98 Expert A Q&A with creative Photoshop artist Edvan Lima

Top tips 42

Top five


Top ten

The best layer styles revealed Showcase your art online

Discover how masks can transform the way you edit photos and help you to create beautiful portraits today

Readers’ gallery 06


questions answered P88

now SAVE Subscribe Turn to page 86 to get this


amazing deal! US page 64


20 Design a retro

38 Wet Media brushes


Simple techniques for bold graphical artwork

24 Create with the Pen tool

Master difďŹ cult selections and learn to use Paths


Design a retro poster Simple ways to create




bold graphic-art effects


unique piece of artwork

50 Get the acrylic paint look

Grab your brushes and learn to create the look of acrylics

in ReStyle

Get the most from the free full software on your disc


56 Create a scratch foil effect

Use layers to achieve the look and feel of scratch foil art

Create a ghostly effect

Use layer styles and blend modes for a spooky style



composite 44 Creative Combine photos to create a

28 Photo effects



Load up and use this built-in brush set to paint watercolours









Learn 3D modelling in Photoshop


Infinite Skills share eight hours of 3D modelling know-how


New to Photoshop? Check out our introductory guide


Use Wet Media brushes Create a realistic watercolour look

Shapes 66 Custom Create your own designs using the shape tool

Edit with textures 68 Discover how textures can transform images

problems 74 Photo Fix the three most common photo problems easily

duotone 78 Creative Create a subtle two-tone effect in Elements

actions 72 Use Improve your images with

one-click edits



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



Jacek Radwan www.photoshop uk/user/Sareth

“I wanted to make my car something similar to the Mad Max car. In Photoshop I added effects and adjustment layers, and used a Topaz Labs plug-in with a couple of filters.”

Leonardo Barros www.photoshop creative. LeonardoBarros

“My first idea was to put an elephant in a boat on this lake. A forest in the background, along with the birds flying, helps to give the impression of a calm environment.”


Photoshop Creative

Get in touch Send us your images now for the chance to appear in future galleries

Create your own gallery online

Yago Martins www.photoshop creative. YagoMartins95

“The main idea here was to show the contrast between two images, but with both having the same sense of distortion in the eyes of the characters, giving the image a fun atmosphere.”

Upload your images to Facebook PhotoshopCreative

Tweet us your creative artwork @PshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email:

Milos Karanovic www.photoshop user/PlaviDemon

“I used a few stock photos for this composition. The snow effect was created using a Noise filter and stock photos. The smoke and fog were made using fire images with a saturation of -100.”

Eddy Yong www.photoshop user/Eddie_Young

“To make this artwork look like it was painted on a piece of real rice paper, I added an image of old parchment paper on top and set the blend mode to Linear Burn. I gave this artwork a truly authentic Asian effect by adding some Chinese calligraphy and a red seal.”


Urszula Jodlowska

www.photoshop user/Eresdiria

“A model and her innocence inspired My Heaven. The use of white helps to portray a dream-like state.”

Martin Benes www.photoshop user/MartinBenes

“I used Camera Raw software with multiple smart objects in Photoshop to give the image a high dynamic range. I composited the background using a few stock images, and a lot of dodge, burn and manual painting with layer masks was undertaken for the final look.”

Paulo Otsuka www.photoshop user/paulodroid

“I tried to symbolise the creation of the universe and all things. This is the first of my VITA projects where I’ll be showing the creation of the universe. I used brushes and blending techniques to create the universe and the supernova effect.”


Photoshop Creative Nazário Carlos www.photoshop user/Nc4Design

“This image was composed using 12 layers, where I worked with different Hue/Saturation adjustments and alternated between different colours to achieve a variety of looks.” “I took a picture of water splashes and placed it on top of the model image using the Soft Light blend mode. I then applied the Oil Paint filter to give a slight touch of a paintbrush. The Lens Flare filter set to Movie Prime was used to complete the effect.”

Luca Polizzotto www.photoshop user/HansenART

“The first step was drawing some general lines of body kit in order to proceed with the creation. After finishing all the pieces there was time for texturing carbon fibre parts, and at the end was the most important part of this work: colour change and post-production.”

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 PhotoshopCreative

Tweet us your creative artwork @PshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email:

Photoshop Creative

9 READERS’ CHALLENGE Upload your images to

Challenge entries The best entries and


Reade Chall rs’ WINNenge ER

overall challenge winner

1 Jacek Radvan

Simon Skellon

Need For Go-Kart “I cut out some parts of the go-kart to create a steering wheel, added a background and used Radial Blur.”

“We really can’t tell anymore if that’s a toy racecar or a real one! Which is the best compliment for a composite.”

2 Tricia Parry View from the Backseats “I took the cinema image and put curtains all around, added the movie, then added some pictures of my friends and popcorn.”

3 Roger Webb Stage Fright “I used Liquify and the Clone Stamp to change the face, then added some different stock images.”

4 Franks Cervantes Watercolour Portrait “I edited the challenge images through a series of filters and adjustment layers.”


Download our images Think you can do better? Prove it! Get creative with the images on your disc and you could win a fantastic prize! You can use as many of the images as you like (from previous issues too!) and include your own photos if you wish. Just head over to and hit the Challenge link. Good luck!


Photoshop Creative



THE PRIZE Eye Candy 7 plug-in

Enter and you could win a copy of Eye Candy 7, an incredible plug-in by Alien Skin (www.alienskin. com). Eye Candy renders realistic effects such as animal fur, smoke, fire, glass, chrome and many more to your layers for taking your creativity a step further.



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 Control edits  Accurate selections  Merge images Shoot, edit and create your next big composition with our guide to perfecting portraits with the help of masks, adjustments and more If there’s one tool in Photoshop that will really help you take your portrait editing to the next level, it’s masks. From dealing with difficult edits such as hair to improving lighting, retouching skin and adding creative effects, masks are the tool for the job. Best of all they’re non-destructive editing tools, which means that they won’t permanently affect your photo until you merge the layers, and you can remove and retry the effect any time you make a mistake. We’ll show you how to approach the portrait-editing process, from shooting to retouching and on to adding creative effects.

CREATE DEPTH The blurriness of the bokeh complements the sharpness of the model’s features and creates a balanced effect.

On the disc Perfect your portraits with the start files







Take control of your camera and discover how to edit in RAW

Enhance highlights and shadows with Dodge and Burn

Capture detail and smooth skin for flawless portrait images

Mask out hair for very accurate compositions

Photoshop Creative CREATIVE PLACEMENT Placing the shapes is a purely experimental process. So play around with different variations to achieve an original look.

KEEP IT REAL The process of dodge and burn is subtle. Avoid overdoing the facial retouch to preserve the natural look.

MASK COLOURS Use masks in order to make selective colour edits and ensure you only affect the parts you want to.



Improve colour and tweak the mood with adjustments

Create this by incorporating masks and different layers

Photoshop Creative



Rather than blur the background in Photoshop, set your camera to a wide aperture, for example 2.5-5.6. This keeps the attention focused on the main subject.

SHOOT IT! The process for setting up and executing

professional shots ready for post-production Having a professional camera and a well-equipped studio will certainly help you take professional portrait photos, but most photographers will upgrade their kit many times in order to keep pushing the quality of their images. With compact and smartphone cameras becoming more commonplace, and the price of modern DSLRs becoming more affordable, the business of shooting has become more available. In this section a number of key photography skills will be explained, and are applicable regardless of your photographic equipment.



So that the image is easier to edit when you take it into Photoshop, it’s vitally important to have enough light coming in from the front.

The light coming from the background was just right and should provide ample light to bring out the details in the person’s hair.

CASUAL INDOOR PORTRAITS In this shot an indoor three-point lighting setup was used to light the scene. The setup uses no professional studio rigs, as the three points are: light from an open window, an overhead lamp set opposite to the window and a homemade reflector, made out of aluminium foil wrapped around a flattened cardboard box. The reflector was used to fill the shadows from the two main light sources.

Step by step Edit in Camera Raw


This image was shot for a news report. The challenge with journalistic portraits is the lack of control over the model and lighting. To overcome this, set your DSLR to manual mode, and prepare a number of test shots to achieve the correct exposure beforehand. For general portrait shots a wider aperture does well to separate the subject from the background. Just remember to compensate this excess of light by lowering the camera’s ISO setting.

EXPERT TIP Composition is key Photoshop’s Crop tool is a fast way to gradually remove unwanted areas from behind a portrait. But depending on what’s happening in the image, it could be worth capturing as much of the person as possible, and then leaving cropping for later.

Presenting the key features of Camera Raw

Enhance colour

Mask the eyes

Enhance the eyes




Locate this image from the supplied files. To open in Camera Raw, go to File>Browse in Bridge, Ctrl/right-click on the image, select Open in Camera Raw. Click the Basic tab, set Contrast: +15, Shadows: +30, Clarity: +15, Vibrance: +35 and Saturation: +5.


Photoshop Creative

Use the Adjustments brush (K) set to 3px, and set Feather, Flow and Density to 100%. Carefully paint over the eyes of the model. By doing this, the enhancement effect that will follow in the next step will be restricted to the eyes.

We can now enhance the eyes to make them stand out from the rest of the image. To do this, adjust the Shadows to +55, Clarity to +30, Saturation to +45 and Sharpness to +50. Experiment with these settings for different types of images.

Lighting effects Control and readjust the IMPROVE LIGHTING Useful ways to quickly and effectively correct the lighting of an image

lighting of the portrait

Start image

Once the shot is taken and the post-production stage begins, one of the most important parts of the workflow is to adjust the lighting of the scene. This even goes for well-lit images; not necessarily to correct them but rather to enhance and get the most out of the original. In this section, we’ll be examining the uses of the Dodge and Burn tools to control the highlights and shadows of a portrait. We’ll also see how the exposure can be adjusted slightly in post-production to recover an overexposed image.

Prepare the layers


EXPERT TIP Adjust the temperature The temperature of the light in the scene can be readjusted using any number of techniques. If the image is shot in RAW, use the Temperature and Tint adjustments in Camera Raw. Alternatively, Curves in Photoshop, can tweak the colour balance.

NATURAL LIGHTING Lighting is a tricky part of photography. The Curves adjustment provides access to all three primary colours. Tweak each one for a better image.


Add a new layer and name it Burn. Then go to Edit>Fill; select 50% Gray from the Contents tab and set the layer’s blend mode to Overlay. Repeat this exact step with a second layer named Dodge. The lighting of the model will take place on these two layers.

Control the shadows


Select the Burn tool (O) and set its range to Midtones and Exposure between 5-10%. Using a soft brush, begin to trace over the dark areas of the model’s face to better define the shadows. Make sure this is applied on the Burn layer to keep the process non-destructive.

The Color Balance splits up highlights, shadows and midtones. The warmth or coolness can be boosted in all three areas.


Slightly underexposing a portrait in postproduction can be used to generate an artistic effect. To create a grainy, washedout film look, go to Layer>New Adjustments Layer>Exposure, and increase the Offset slider. This will underexpose your image, but since it’s been applied non-destructively, it can always be removed or readjusted. To add the graininess, duplicate the Background layer and use a Noise filter such as Add Noise set to Monochromatic.

Define the highlights


Counterpoint to the previous step, now use the Dodge tool (O) on the Dodge layer, with the same settings used for the Burn tool. Retrace over the brightest points of the model’s face to highlight them. Continue this process until the lights become more defined.

Photoshop Creative



PERFECT SKIN Learn the basic adjustments and techniques to heal skin imperfections When flash is used to shoot a portrait image, it can bounce off all the details of the skin, exposing and exaggerating the imperfections and blemishes. Retouching skin is therefore important to get rid of some of the more obvious imperfections, but striking a balance is necessary to make sure the skin retains a natural texture. Too much skin retouching usually results in an overdone, plastic retouch effect, that can sometimes look worse than the original.

A softer complexion Adjustment layers such as Exposure and Levels can both help to lighten the image and reduce garish contrast over a person’s face. In Exposure, the lightness of a person’s skin can be boosted by shifting the Gamma Correction slider to the left just slightly.

Smudge rough transitions Mix styles for a realistic sketch effect


Step by step Smooth skin

Reduce rough skin using the Exposure adjustment .

Heal blemishes and smooth out hard edges

Smudge rough transitions


Portraits lit by multiple light sources can have harsh transitions from the highlights and shadows. Soften them using the Blur tool set to a Strength of 3px.

Clone out unwanted areas

Heal skin imperfections



Add a new layer beneath the Burn and Dodge layers; select the Clone Stamp tool (S), and set this to Sample All Layers. Opt/Alt-click on a region of the skin close to the unwanted hair strands, and using a soft brush carefully paint over them.

Select the Spot Healing Brush tool and set its Hardness to 0% to turn it into a soft brush. On the same layer used in the previous step, carefully paint over the minor blemishes on the skin. Make sure the brush’s size is close to that of the blemishes.

Smooth using masks


Another way is to apply the Gaussian Blur filter to a duplicate layer, and then to mask the blur from the entire image except the skin using a soft brush.

Bring out the flush

Sample and apply



Create a new layer above the healing layer. Select the Brush tool (B) and choose a soft brush of approximately 100px, with the brush’s Opacity set to 15%. Sample a pink hue from the face and paint over the cheeks to add more vibrancy to them.


Photoshop Creative

Hold Opt/Alt while using the Brush tool to sample colours from the model’s face, and then paint over these sampled areas to smooth them out. Do this on the same layer used in the previous step, using the same brush settings.

Less is more


Open the image in Camera Raw and reduce the Clarity slider to -30. Also reduce the Contrast and Saturation. The result is an image with a smoother feel.



Retouch hair Remove unwanted hair for a MASK AROUND HAIR Explore all the essential hair selection techniques and make masking easier Retouching hair is without a doubt, the most tedious and timeconsuming part of the retouching process. To get silky smooth hair that is also realistic, there are no shortcuts. The techniques themselves however, aren’t very difficult; they just involve a lot of repetition. Depending on the nature of the shoot and the desired outcome, some steps may not be required if the hair outline is already satisfactory. In any case, this section will cover the important techniques that are used in highend retouching, to present you with the full picture of hair retouching.

silky smooth finish


Mask stray hairs


Using the Clone Stamp tool (S), sample from areas of the background close to the stray hairs then paint over them to mask them. You need only sample once.

HAIR NIGHTMARE! Trying to separate each wisp of hair from the background is easier using the Smart Radius box in Refine Edge.

Smooth hair


Set the Clone Stamp to a soft brush, approximately 3px. Sample from the model’s hair and paint directly over the strands of hair that are going against the flow.

SAVE SETTINGS Tick Remember Settings once you’re happy about the refinements made in this menu. This will call up your preferred settings for hair selections each time.

Paint new hair




Hairs at edges are sometimes overexposed. To fix this, paint new locks of hair using the soft brush. Set the Hardness to 50% and Radius between 1-3px.

The Layers palette reveals what’s happening with a black and white mask. Opt/Alt-click over this mask to view its intricate weavings over the hair in your photograph.

When making a selection of hair, traditional tools such as the Lasso tool and Pen tool take too much time and don’t actually result in a smooth selection. To overcome this, your best bet is to make a rough selection of hair using the Quick Selection tool (W), and then mask away the background with a brush. Then, click on the mask and go to Select>Refine Mask and tick the Smart Radius box. Increasing the Radius slider will refine the selection further. The aim is to have clean lines around the selection, with no hint of the original background.

EXPERT TIP Test the selection Mask results are usually presented on a dark background. This can be deceiving, since all the dark shades of the original image will disappear, giving the false impression that the selection is seamless. To test the quality of the mask, insert an image containing light and dark colours.

Highlights and shadows


Deepen the shadows and define the highlights using the Burn and Dodge tools. Use this to create a pleasant contrast, adding more depth.

Photoshop Creative



Mask your edits Bring the image to life by adding colours

EXPERT TIP Whitening the teeth Using the Magic Wand tool (W), select the teeth by clicking on them while holding Shift to add to the selection. Go to Select>Modify>Feather, then apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment. Lower the Saturation and increase the Lightness until the teeth look white.

Before Colour in the eyes


Set a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, Saturation to +50. Click the layer mask, hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Using the Brush tool, paint in white over the eyes on the layer mask.


Add a blue tone


PORTRAIT COLOUR EFFECTS We’ll cover a myriad of Photoshop’s most

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves, select the Blue channel. Raise the left edge of the curve and lower the right edge to apply a blue tone.

powerful colour adjustments and photo edits This section is where the magic of Photoshop’s colour adjustments shine. No two images can absorb the same effects, so breaking free from the ready-made ones is vital. Learning how to manually apply them is one the most important stages of learning how to edit, and it will set your work on a new level. The expressiveness of colour is what draws the eye to look at an image for more than an instant, and to dictate the mood of a piece, colour adjustments are absolutely key.

EYE CONTACT Using Photoshop, enhancing the eyes can make them a much bigger part of the image.




Getting the eyes to stand out isn’t difficult at all. The rule of thumb is to increase the sharpness, contrast and hue. The sharpness can be increased by applying Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen, and keeping the effect over the eyes only. The contrast can be increased by using the Burn tool to deepen the shadows of the eyes, and the hue by applying the Hue/Saturation adjustment and masking around the eyes.

Tonal adjustments


Set a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer; Reds Saturation: +15; Yellows Saturation: -26, Lightness: +30. Add a blue/ orange Gradient Map, on Color at 10% opacity.

Selective vibrance


Set a Vibrance adjustment layer, Vibrance: +80. Click the layer mask, go to Select>Color Range, click the hair and then OK. Repeat for the lips and jacket.

ADD SOME CREATIVE EFFECTS Add an artistic atmosphere


This image has come a long way; with new lighting and better colours, it is a more interesting portrait.

to a portrait using shapes, textures, brushes and bokeh lighting


With the tremendous leaps in software capabilities, the fields of digital art and graphic design have become intertwined. Motion effect with blur Digital artists are often asked to add their The Blur filters are vital for blending in stylish finishes to a project, very often backgrounds. The Gaussian Blur filter containing models. For this reason in is used to give a softer appearance, particular, it’s important to know how whereas applying the Motion Blur artistic techniques and elements can be will turn static objects into moving melded with real-life images, so that they ones. Just convert your layers complement each other. The aim of this to a Smart Object first! section is to take all the edits done so far and create something spectacular to finish.


Step by step Creative effects

BASIC PORTRAIT A good starting image is crucial for ending up with an even better composition when taken into Photoshop.

Tips and tricks to transform a portrait

Add in design elements

Depth to the background



It’s time to fill up the background with something more interesting. Open up ‘Shapes. psd’ and place the abstract shapes around the model until you achieve a balanced composition.

Load the ‘Clouds.abr’ brush pack, and on a new layer, brush over the background to add clouds. Add a new layer and using the soft brush, add pink and purple shades.

Bokeh and light

Final touches



To increase the energy of the image, add a number of the supplied bokeh images. When blending in bokeh, set the blend mode to either Screen or Lighten, and mask away unwanted lights.

Open ‘Texture.jpg’, place it on top of the layers. Set blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 30%. On a new layer, create a vignette by painting in dark blue around the edges.


A number of ready-made artistic shapes have been provided, but you can make your own. Use the Pen tool to draw some shapes and then carefully tweak the anchor points to get some smooth edges. Copy areas of the model’s leather jacket and link them so they only appear through the actual shapes. This is done with a clipping mask by Opt/Alt-clicking between the two layers in the Layers palette.

Photoshop Creative


Start images

Tutorial Design a retro poster On the disc Use the supplied files to follow along

Essentials Works with

Design a retro poster TAKE



Photoshop CS and above, and Photoshop CC

What you’ll learn Discover how to get the most out of selection tools and layers

Time taken

1 hour

Expert Henry Rivers “The style I’ve used for the design, inspired by iconic Soviet-era posters, is inherently high impact. I trained as an architect at university but was soon side-tracked by a love affair with Photoshop. A few years down the line I now work as a freelance book cover designer and illustrator.”

Combine bold saturated colours with illustrated elements using a range of selection and mask techniques


e’re heading to the future… this space-age tutorial will teach you how to achieve truly dramatic results from a simple palette of just three colours. You’ll have fun assembling hand-drawn poster elements while learning all the essential skills behind creating artwork in this iconic retro-influenced style. To break things down, the techniques we’ll be covering here can be divided into two key areas. First, learn how to get the most from selection tools. You may well be familiar with some of the

Step-by-step How to create the poster Get your selection tools at the ready, here we go!

Set up your canvas

Use selection shortcuts



Create a new page (Cmd/Ctrl+N), 240mm wide by 310mm high. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer, enter the name as Space and hit OK. Set Background colour (the lower of the two small squares on the left side menu) to a rich blue; we used #3b57b7.


basic selection tools already, but the goal here is using tricks and shortcuts to make them do the work for you. Use selection tools smartly and you’ll find that suddenly everything becomes that little bit easier. Second, we’ll be exploring the basics of working with layers and masks. Get used to switching between layers in the Layers panel, and use masks to selectively hide parts of each layer. This tutorial has it all; it’s fun, it covers loads of ground, and it has an awesome end result!

Photoshop Creative

Use Cmd/Ctrl+A to select the whole canvas, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+Backspace to fill with the Background colour. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T; in the menu at the top enter W:92% and H:93% to scale the selection (don’t press Enter yet).

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Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Design a retro poster

Create a layer mask


Holding down the Shift key (restricts the direction of movement) and Cmd/Ctrl key (to distort the shape), drag each of the lower points upwards to create the diagonal area for text. Press Enter to apply the transformation then click the Add Layer Mask button.

Enter your text


Choose the Type tool (T) and drag a text box across your canvas, starting in the bottom left corner. Go to Window>Character and change the font to ‘Kremlin’ (in the supplied files), colour to #d12e12c, and Size to 98pt. Write your slogan, which should fill the text box neatly.

Distort your text

Use the Elliptical Marquee



Right-click the text layer in the Layers panel and choose Rasterize Type. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to Free Transform then, holding down the Shift and Cmd/Ctrl keys again, drag the top-right corner upwards until the text runs parallel with the blue border. Press Enter to apply.

Fill your planet

Work with vector art



Press Alt+S+T and enter W:92% and H:98%. Set the Foreground colour to red #e33636 for your planet. Hit Alt+Backspace to fill your selection with the Foreground colour then click outside the circle to deselect.


Activate the Space layer and grab the Elliptical Marquee tool. Drag a circle out from the middle of the letter T. Holding down Shift will constrain proportions and Alt will start your selection from the midpoint. Hit Backspace to clear.

Photoshop Creative

Head to File>Place and choose ‘Earth.eps’ (supplied). Drag the vector into position and hit Enter. Repeat with ‘Spaceship.eps’, positioning it between Earth and Mars. When placing an object you can resize it by holding down Shift (as we did earlier) and dragging the corners.

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Expert tip Unlink layer masks

Use the Magic Wand


With the Spaceship layer selected, grab the Magic Wand and click on the spaceship. Activate the Space layer mask and set the Background colour to black. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selection, and then delete the Spaceship layer. Repeat step for the Earth layer.

Use Color Range


Activate the main Space layer and File>Place ‘Astronauts.eps’. Move into position, resize and hit Enter. Right-click> Rasterize Smart Object. Navigate to Select>Color Range and click once on the grey colour of the spacesuit to highlight that colour. Hit OK.

Subtract selections


Grab the Elliptical Marquee and drag diagonally downwards to draw an outline for the spaceship’s orbit. Holding down Alt to subtract, draw a smaller ellipse inside the first that overlaps above the spaceship. Fill the resulting crescent shaped selection with black, activating the Space layer mask to apply.

A great benefit of using layer masks is that they allow you to move or resize the layer associated with it while keeping the mask fixed. This enables you to fine-tune the position of elements within a basic frame. In the Layers panel you’ll see there’s a little chain icon between the layer and the mask. Click this to unlink the Astronauts and Space layers from their masks. Now try free transforming (Cmd/Ctrl+T) the main layers and you’ll see the border remains fixed.

Transfer your layer mask

Use the Burn tool



Right-click>Fill, and select Use: Color. Enter #ff6530, hit OK, then deselect. Right-click the Space layer mask and choose Add Mask to Selection. Activate the Astronauts layer and click the Add Layer Mask button to duplicate.

Select the Space layer and grab the Burn tool. In the top menu set the Brush Diameter to 1300px, Range to Midtones, and Exposure to 100%. Run your mouse over the top of the sky and bottom of the planet several times to darken.

Use blending modes

Get creative with the Lasso



Head to File>Place and choose ‘oldpaper.jpg’, drag the corners to fit and hit Enter. In the Layers panel drag Oldpaper to the top and where it says Normal, use the drop-down to select Multiply. This will apply the layer to everything below it as a texture.

To finish, add some detail to the Space layer by filling more black shapes in the layer mask. We used the Polygonal Lasso to make star and asteroid-shaped selections. Sometimes you can’t beat the good old-fashioned Lasso!

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Create with the Pen tool On the disc Essential files for creating this image

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS5 and above, Creative Cloud

What you’ll learn Use masks, brushes, and the Pen tool to merge photos with graphics

Time taken

1.5 hours

Expert Andre Villanueva “I fell in love with graffiti in my teenage years, skateboarding around the Washington DC metro area. I first discovered Photoshop in the early 2000s while in school for web design. After graduation, I taught for several years in the Media Arts department. I’m now art director for a tech company in the Southeast US.”

Create with the Pen Tool

Get to grips with the Pen tool, and use masks and brushes to blend photos and graffiti


rab your virtual spraycans; it’s time to hit the streets! We’ll create an urban composition inspired by the legally questionable but nonetheless beautiful art style of graffiti. This colourful form is an explosion of abstract shapes, flowing typography, and renditions of imaginary or socially relevant personalities. We’ll start with a graffiti wall as a base. The Pen tool will help us outline forms using vector paths. These can be converted to selections, which we can use to copy and reiterate the graffiti shapes. We’ll extract our model with the help of Refine Edge, and then incorporate her into the evolving piece. We’ll utilise a brush pack courtesy of mediamilitia. com to add splatters and graffiti tags. Various photos, including an old film texture from 2LO, will be mixed in with blend modes to blunt the digital sheen with a delicious dose of weathering.

Create a bubbly stroke

Set the stage


Open ‘Start.psd’. Select the Brush tool and choose the Watercolor Loaded Wet Flat Tip brush from the Brush Preset picker. Set the brush Opacity to 100% and Size to 120px. Set the Foreground colour to white. Select the Pen tool; choose Path in the Options Bar.


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Click and drag to create your first anchor point. Add more points by clicking and dragging until you circle back to the original point. Create a new layer. In the Paths palette, click Stroke Path with Brush. Click an empty area at the bottom of the palette to deactivate the path.

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Tutorial Create with the Pen tool Expert tip Anchor points

Trace graffiti shape


Open ‘graffiti.jpg’. Use the Pen tool to trace around a shape until you return to the origin point. For corners, simply click. For curved segments, click and drag in the desired direction. It may take practice. Keep at it! See the Expert tip for more info.


After completing the path, press Cmd/ Ctrl+Return/Enter to convert it to a selection. The solid line will turn into ‘marching ants.’ With the Move tool, click and drag from within the selection into the ‘Start.psd’ document.

Add more shapes

Make a rough selection

Refine the edge

Return to ‘Graffiti.jpg’. In the Paths palette, click Create New Path. Follow the previous two steps. Repeat several times, creating a new path each time. Experiment with blend modes like Lighten. Use Free Transform to scale and rotate.


Open ‘Model.jpg’. Pick the Quick Selection tool. Click and drag in the background, hold Option/Alt to remove areas. Adjust brush size and zoom in for details. When done, press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert. Go to Select>Refine Edge.



Clean up the selection

Transplant model

Add some depth




Select the Brush tool and a soft, round brush at 80% Opacity. In the layer mask, use white to restore missing areas and black to remove. Zoom in for details. Size brush as needed. To adjust hardness, use Cmd/Ctrl with the brackets.


Convert to selection

Anchor points dictate the flow of a path created with the Pen tool. Click to create a corner point. Smooth points are needed for curves. Click and drag in the direction you want the curve to go. How far you drag determines the curvature of the path segment. If you’re creating a smooth point and need to change direction, hold Opt/ Alt. After creating a path, use the Direct Selection tool to adjust the points, and the Convert Point tool to change one type into another.

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Drag the refined model layer into ‘Start.psd’. Place it with the Move tool. Clean up the layer mask if needed. Then use a soft, round brush at about 40% Opacity and at a fairly large size to fade areas, revealing some graffiti.

Use the Refine Radius tool to paint on the selection edge. This aids in capturing fine detail. Size the brush as needed using the square bracket keys. For Output To, choose New Layer with Layer Mask. Click OK when done.

Use the Move tool to adjust the graffiti pieces if needed. Create a new layer below the Model layer. Set the Foreground colour to black. With a soft, round brush at 60% Opacity, paint some shadows to help establish depth.

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Paint some graffiti

Add more paint

Lay on some grunge




With the Brush tool still active, load ‘media-militia-graffiti.abr’ using the Brush Preset flyout menu. Play with the brushes to add spatters and extra graffiti on new layers above the model. Use colours such as white, #5be8f1, and #c7d99d.

Now use some of the default Photoshop brush presets to sling some extra paint throughout. Here we’ve employed the Sponge Brush Projection and Spatter presets using colours similar to those in the previous step.

Go to File>Place and add ‘Grunge.jpg’. Set the blend mode to Vivid Light and drop Opacity to 50%. Set Foreground colour to black. Add a layer mask and use a soft, round brush at 60% Opacity to remove in areas and tone down.

Add more texture

Shift towards cyan



Go to File>Place and add ‘OldFilm.jpg’. Borrow some wood Set the blend mode to Hard Light Place ‘Desk.jpg’. Set the blend mode and drop Opacity to 70%. Add a layer mask to Hard Light and drop Opacity to and paint with black around the face. Now 60%. Add a layer mask and paint with black place ‘Scrawl.jpg’. Set the blend mode to to tone down, especially in areas to the left Darken and move to the top-right area. of the model.


Reinforce the model


The model is now texturally buried. Opt/Alt+click and drag the model layer all the way to the top to duplicate and reinforce. Paint with black in the mask to blend her into the final composition.

Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette and choose Color Balance. With Midtones selected, drag the topmost slider all the way to the left towards Cyan. Paint with black in the mask to tone down the adjustment.

Darken edges


Add a new layer at the top. Use a soft round brush at 40% Opacity to paint black around the edges and corners. This vignette effect will help the viewer’s gaze to gently roll inward.

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Tutorial Photo effects in ReStyle

ReStyle ON YOUR DISC! Enjoy ReStyle for free by loading

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your disc and downloading, or head to pscreative. Offer expires on 31 May 2014.

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS4 and above, CC, Elements 6 and above

What you’ll learn Apply colourful effects to images using ReStyle as a plug-in

Time taken

30 mins

Expert Simon Skellon “Instagram-style effects are an instant catch. To have them inside a plug-in puts them right on your editing doorstep. As Photoshop Creative’s features editor, I’ve used Photoshop ever since version 7 and have managed to build up a large catalogue of editing techniques.”


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Photo effects in ReStyle Take control of colour with your free plug-in!


e’ve teamed up with Topaz Labs to offer every one of our readers this great plug-in. ReStyle is a highly creative plug-in that gives you all the right tools for making thousands of colourful photo effects quickly. We all love a good retro effect to transform an ordinary image into something nostalgically beautiful, and with ReStyle there is no shortage. There are many presets that form a big part of this plug-in, and with each you have the ability to adapt their mixture of colours and distortion for a multitude of finishes. Each preset comprises of five colours that are applied to an image to create a

unique colour palette. Saving you the hard work is the Collections panel, categorised by the type of image that’s being edited. Whether you’re editing a fashion, graphical, underwater, landscape or nighttime image, these presets have been designed so you can achieve the best style of effect for any given genre. Follow the steps opposite to create the effect above, and turn the page to see what else this plug-in is capable of. Get started by heading over to your resource disc where you can grab this incredible plug-in for free! Check out www. for more great plug-ins like this.

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Step-by-step Explore the Collections



Adapt these quick presets into your own images

Up and running

Smart layers



Installing this plug-in is quite straightforward. After downloading ReStyle for either Mac or Windows, follow the instructions to install. The plug-in should go straight into your plug-ins folder (you may need to restart Photoshop for it to show up).

Choose Collection


ReStyle keeps its ready-made effects inside Collections and Presets down the left. There are 11 categories in all, which include Fashion, Graphic, and Seascape. For this effect, click on the Fashion Collection.

Open up the image ‘Beach.jpg’ from the supplied files and load it into Photoshop. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to create a duplicate of the Background layer, then head to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters. ReStyle will be now be applied as a Smart Filter.

Select a preset


Inside the Presets is a list of effects with variations of five colours. Locate the Faded Tangerine preset, and click on the star symbol to save the preset in case you need to find it for a different image.

Edit the style


This effect boosts the contrast in the highlights, and in some areas of the image highlights lose all detail. Head over to the right side of the interface and tick the Color Style box. All five colours in this preset can be adapted to better suit your image

Expert tip One step too far ReStyle gives you lots of control with the help of the five colour adjustment sliders. But overdo things and you’ll find your shot may present image artefacts or noise, which is down to the colours being pushed too far.

Exposure control


Retrieve lost detail in the highlight regions by clicking the LUM button. Set the Primary colour to -0.42 and the Third colour to -0.64. This will reduce the exposure in the clouds and rocks.

Red vignette


The dark vignette looks good on this image, but by sliding the Fifth colour slider up to 0.30, more red can be added to the heavy black. Going in the opposite direction will darken the vignette more.

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Tutorial Photo effects in ReStyle

Real grain

Adjust mood



Ticking the Texture box will offer up some authentic photographic grain. Slide the Strength bar up and zoom into the image (or press 1:1 at the top) to see the texture gradually appear. For this image we used 0.69.

Soften up


As the aim is a retro photo effect, we can imitate poor lens quality by softening the details. Do this by reducing the Sharpness slider within the Detail section down to -0.12.

Move onto the Tone adjustments underneath the Color options on the right. Controlling exposure is easy with these. Set Black Level to 0.09, Midtones to 0.59 and White Level to -0.39. Use the Loupe mode (top-right) to view the changes to the lighting and colour close up.

Prepare your mask


To create a new mask, click the Mask button at the top of the interface (between Loupe and Histogram). Tick the Masks box and then click on Hide. Set Brush to Color Aware, then using the eyedropper click on a colour in the image.

Brush out colour


For the brush, set Strength to 0.63, Brush Size to 0.12 and Hardness to 0. Brushing over the image will hide parts from the effects. This can help to reduce any colour banding that may occur in the image.

Closer look at ReStyle Creating the ultimate effect is extremely easy COLLECTIONS


The Collections box is where you can choose which type of image you’re working on. Your saved presets also appear here.

ReStyle divides the image into five colours to produce endless variations of vintage and classic image effects for you to play with.


PRESET EFFECTS This shows you the colours that make up each preset effect. There are thousands to choose from, each changing your image in a slightly different way.


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The Color Style options enable you to adapt the hue, saturation and luminosity of each of the five colours that make up the effect.

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Alternative effects in ReStyle Here’s a selection of the best effects from this vast plug-in

Brush out colour

Ochre Film

Pale Taupe

Tomato Red and Acid Green

Dark Goldenrod Sunset

Wintergreen Tint

Cobalt Coating

Cream and Redwood

Neutral BW II

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Tutorial Create a ghostly effect Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS4 and above, CC and Elements

What you’ll learn Create a stunning composition using filters, a clipping mask and brushes

Time taken

1.5 hours

Expert Daniel Sinoca “Creating a ghostly image is fairly easy, just by combining the right filters and custom brushes. I started to get involved in the digital world more than ten years ago and I’ve been working as a freelance artist ever since, creating all kinds of multimedia projects.”

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Explore Layer Styles, the Filters Gallery and blending modes to create a supernatural effect


ou are about to experience something supernatural, and super-cool – how to create a ghostly effect in Photoshop. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use a variety of filters and tools to create special effects and a beautiful composition. Creating a ghost image is fairly easy, but there are some factors to consider. First, use a dark background to set the ambiance; this will help


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with the layer blending modes. Second, always duplicate the layers. If you are using Elements the Pen tool isn’t available, so an alternative method is to grab the Brush tool and draw the lines as explained in step 15. Download the resources to get started and make your own spooktacular image with the aid of Layer Styles, blend modes and the Filters Gallery.

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Create a new document

Start image


Begin a new document. Go to File>New or hit Cmd/Ctrl+N. Name it Ghostly Effect, setting the Width to 240mm and Height to 310mm. Set the Resolution to 300ppi then click OK.

Make a background


Set the Foreground swatch to #397973 and the Background to #000000. Grab the Rectangular Marquee tool (M), draw a small square selection and then go to Filter>Render>Cloud. Hit Cmd/ Ctrl+T and resize to fit the canvas.

Use lighting effects

Create a composition



Go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effect. Choose the Light Type: Spot, set the Intensity to 10, Hotspot to 60, Exposure to 75, Gloss to 40, Metallic to 0 and Ambiance to 25. Use the Preview window to rotate and place the light from top to bottom. Hit OK.

Go to File>Place>Tree.png. On the toolbar click Maintain aspect ratio and set the width to 25%. Hit Enter. Rightclick on the layer thumbnail, choose Rasterize (Elements users choose Simplify). Adjust Saturation to -60, Lightness to -35.

Place the branches

05 On the disc All the start files needed for this image

Head to File>Place>’Cherry.png’. Hold Shift and drag the handles to adjust the size, place the image on the top-right corner. Hit Enter. Hold Opt/Alt and drag the image to duplicate it. Go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal and place in the position. (Elements users go to Image>Rotate>Flip Layer Horizontal.)

Place the grass


Go to File>Place>’Grass.jpg’. Adjust the size and hit Enter. Right-click and pick Rasterize Layer (Elements use Simplify). Grab the Clone Stamp tool. Hit F5, select the Dune Grass brush, check Scattering and set Scatter to 70%. Alt-click to define the source and paint over the edges.

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Tutorial Create a ghostly effect Expert tip Go a step further Enhance the composition by adding an extra layer and applying the Motion Blur filter. Unhide the Woman layer. Go to Filter> Blur>Motion Blur, set Angle to 0 and Distance to 300 and click OK. Now change the blend mode to Color Dodge. Go to File>Place ‘Petals.png’. Right-click and choose Rasterize Layer. Select the layer, grab the Move tool. Hold Alt key and drag to duplicate the petals. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T, resize, rotate and place into position.

Create an adjustment layer


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/ Saturation. In the New Layer dialog box, check the Use Previous Layer to Create a Clipping Mask and hit OK. In the Properties panel, set the Hue to 35, Saturation to 15 and Lightness to -15.

Place the figure

Apply filters



Head to File>Place‘Woman.png’ (stock photo by Daniella Koontz). Hold Shift and drag to adjust the size and then press Enter. Right-click and choose Rasterize Layer (Elements pick Simplify). Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer.

Duplicate and merge


Hold the Shift key, select the ‘Woman’ and the ‘Woman copy’ layers. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate and press Cmd/ Ctrl+E to merge. Change the blend mode to Screen and hide the other two extra layers.


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Open Hue/Saturation, set Saturation to -100 and hit OK. Go to Filter> Stylize>Glowing Edges. Set the Edge Width to 3, Edge Brightness to 20, Smoothness to 15, and click OK. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, Radius 3 pixels, and hit OK.

Create shadows


Select the Grass layer. Go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. Set Light Type: Spot, Intensity: 20, Hotspot: 70, Exposure: 80, Gloss: 40, Metallic: 0 and Ambiance: 35. Use the Preview to rotate and scale the light and place over the grass.

Mix in more filters


Change the mode for ‘Woman copy’ to Lighten. Select the Woman layer and go to Filter>Stylize>Solarize. Press Cmd/ Ctrl+U, set the Saturation to -100. Increase contrast by adjusting the input Levels (Cmd/ Ctrl+L). Change the blending mode for the layer to Screen.

Load the brushes

Warp tool



Create a new layer, name it Smoke. Select the Brush tool and open the brush presets. Click the upper-right menu and hit Load Brush. Select ‘Smoke.abr’ and hit Load. Make the Foreground colour white and paint the smoke around the image.

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T and select the Warp mode (Elements use Filter>Distort> Liquify). Drag the handle to an interesting effect. Now select the Woman copy3 layer. Grab the Eraser with a soft tip, set Opacity to 60%, and rub out the edges to blend.

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Stroke effect

Use the Pen tool

Glow effect




Create a new layer, name it Strokes. Select the Brush tool and press F5. Select the Soft Round brush size 20 (Elements users open the Brush Preset picker and choose Pen Pressure brushes, draw the curves and apply the Glow layer style from step 17).

Grab the Pen tool (P). Click and release to create the first anchor point. Now drag, click and hold the mouse button to add a second point and drag again to create a curve. Release the button and drag. Hold the mouse button and drag to create an S-curve.

What you’ll learn Ghost art Discover how filters can combine for a ghoulish effect

Right-click over the last point and choose Stroke Path. Pick Tool: Brush, check the Simulate Pressure box and click OK. Right-click again and choose Delete Path. Now go to Layer>Layer Style>Outer Glow. Set Spread: 1%, Size: 130 pixels and then click OK. Draw a few S-curves.

BLENDING MODES The overall effect on the image can be dramatically changed by switching the layer’s blend mode. Try out the different modes until you get the results that you’re looking for.

FILTER GALLERY Use the Filter Gallery to preview and apply filters. You can combine multiple filters, rearrange the order, edit and delete the effects.

ADJUSTMENT LAYERS Use the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to make tonal adjustments to your image. The most important benefit is that they create a separate layer, so it doesn’t affect the original image.

PEN TOOL Create shapes and paths using the Pen tool. Hold the Cmd/Ctrl key to switch the Pen tool to the Direct Selection tool, and then drag the points into different positions.



The glow effect was created using the Outer Glow in the Layer Style panel. Choose a different colour and play with the settings to enhance the effect.

Use different sizes, change the opacity, flip and rotate the brushes when you paint the smoke around the image. This will help to create a more convincing effect.

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Tutorial Whiten teeth and eyes On the disc Practise the technique with the start photo

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS3 and above

What you’ll learn How to whiten teeth and eyes to improve your portrait pictures

Time taken

5 minutes

Expert Hayley Paterek Portrait photography can be challenging, but provided you’ve done everything possible in camera, you can use Photoshop to help enhance features and the overall photograph. I often use this simple technique on my own portraits, as it’s so quick and easy.

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Whiten teeth and eyes Enhance your portraits with this teeth and eye whitening editing technique in Photoshop


e’re naturally drawn to bright eyes and big toothy smiles when looking at a portrait, so it makes sense to make the most of them in your photos. Photographing a portrait in difficult lighting conditions, however, can make it tricky to highlight your subject’s best features but there are ways you can brighten things up in Photoshop. In this five-step tutorial we’ll show you how to enhance the dull areas of your image to ensure your subject’s smile stands out by dodging where necessary using layers, clipping masks and the trusted Curves adjustment tool. Using this technique you can build up on the adjustments gradually and avoid any unnatural results. What’s more, it’s a simple procedure and not as costly as a trip to the dentist! Follow along with each step that we’ve outlined and you’ll be able make your portrait pop in under five minutes.


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Create a selection

Make a new layer



Open your image and zoom in close to the model’s teeth. Select the Magnetic lasso tool from the Tools palette on left-hand side of the screen. Start to create a selection of the teeth by adding an anchor point at the top of one of the teeth.

Continue tracing around the teeth, adding anchor points along the way until you have a complete selection. To edit the teeth on a separate layer, inverse the selection via Select>Inverse and then go to Layer>New>Layer via copy. Name it Teeth.

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Select Curves

Brighten the teeth

Enhance the eyes




Now set a Curves adjustment layer and then right-click on the new Curves layer and select Create Clipping Mask. This will ensure your adjustment only affects the teeth layer below and not the entire image.

In the Curves dialog box add an anchor point near the top of the horizontal line and drag it slowly to the left to brighten the teeth. Now click on the original background layer and make a new selection around both white areas of the eyes.

Follow the same steps to brighten up the eyes as you did to whiten the teeth. If results appear a little too bright you can lower the layer’s opacity on each. Once you’re happy with the results, flatten all of the layers and save your smiley shot.

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Tutorial Wet Media brushes


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Show us your favourite brush creation

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On the disc Load the start file and follow along



Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS4 and above, Photoshop CC, Elements

What you’ll learn Use the Wet Media brushes to create a still-life digital illustration

Time taken

8 hours +

Expert Benjamin Mounsey I am a digital artist and illustrator from Bristol, England. I am a traditionalist when it comes to art, especially drawing and painting, and I love to try and enthuse people about these skills. My main medium, though, is Photoshop.


Use Wet Media brushes

Discover how to use Photoshop’s built-in Wet Media brushes to create a naturalistic still-life illustration


t can be tricky to create a natural-looking watercolour or traditional paint effect in Photoshop. One of the reasons for this is the difference in process between Photoshop and traditional wet media. When you’re painting with watercolours or acrylics there are no layers and no eraser to help you out when you make a mistake, you just have to try again. With this piece you will want to adopt a more traditional process. If you make a mistake, just paint over it! This will create many subtle tonal

differences that you would never find using a typical non-destructive workflow in Photoshop. We’ll be looking at how to use the brushes from the Wet Media set to create a naturalistic watercolour painting effect, and how you can tweak the settings to add a crucial touch of fluidity to your image. Try and keep your number of layers to a bare minimum. Give it a try, it’s a pretty liberating feeling, abandoning the maze of layers. Get started by opening up the Brush fly-out menu and loading the Wet Media Brushes.

Paint a greyscale mock-up

Create the line art


Start images

You can use the line art from the supplied files, but if you feel like being adventurous you can create your own by setting up and drawing a still life. Try and have a natural arrangement of objects, and distribute them from shallow to deep space to create some depth cues.


Here you’ll want to paint a greyscale first to help assess the value structure of the piece. Use a simple round brush like Watercolor Heavy Loaded, and make sure there is plenty of contrast and a good distribution of lights and darks. Observe the supplied photos and replicate the tones.

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Tutorial Wet Media brushes

Create a mask

Add a Color layer


Time to plan the colours. Create a layer with the blend mode set to Color, and roughly mock up the colours. This doesn’t need to be precise – the idea here is just to get a loose feel for the overall colours in the image.


Now create a mask using the watercolour texture from the supplied files. Paste it, group the illustration layers, select the texture and Ctrl/Cmd-click the layer thumbnail. Go to Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Hide the black watercolour mask layer by clicking on the eye icon. Blend the edges with the Watercolor brush.

Add a texture background

Start working up

Blend and soften




Next you’re going to create a textured background. You can get some great free textures from www. Any old paper texture will work fine, just do a quick search and drop your texture behind the masked painting.

Merge the illustration together and start adding details. There were no flowers in the line art, so just roughly block them in with a round texture brush such as Watercolor Textured Surface, and add some blue stripes to the tablecloth.

Using Brush Heavy Flow Scattered, soften the stripes and add some tonal variation to the background. Try adjusting it with the Foreground/Background jitter setting from the Brush panel, and keep switching background colours.

Render the jam jar Further detail


We can start working up the rendering on the cherries, and painting in a few of the flowers. Start tidying up the edges of the jam jar, and add a bit of detail to the stems of the cherry blossom.


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The jam jar is a complex object, because it’s transparent. It should mainly be the colour of the objects behind it, Now we’re going to give a bit more but the hollows on the surface will warp the attention to the cherries. Create some nice strokes with the textured brushes, image behind them, and the curved surface add a white highlight with a slight yellow tinge, will also warp the image, particularly toward the edges. Reflections will make it clear this is and don’t forget some reflected light from a glass surface. the tablecloth across the bottom.

Finish off the cherries


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Expert tip Know when to stop

Finish blossom


Let’s pay attention to the cherry blossoms. We want to keep a looseness to the painting to enhance the naturalistic aesthetic, so we don’t want to render out every flower. Concentrate detail in particular parts of the composition.


Warm up the image

Detail the sprigs



The palette is looking a little cold in places, so we can add some touches of yellow to the background and to the cherry blossoms, and a few touches of vivid red to the cherries.

Cover the line art We want to cover all traces of the line art, so take a look around the illustration and render out any parts of the image where the lines might still show through.

The springs will benefit from a bit of contrast and depth. Use a bit of yellow for the highlights. Complementary colours work well for shadows so use a desaturated purple colour here.

Tweak the Levels

Finish up



We can add a bit of contrast to the image by using the Levels command. Use the left-hand slider to darken the shadows and the right-hand slider to lighten the highlights. Exercise a bit of restraint here.

It’s sometimes difficult to know when to call an illustration finished and when to keep working on it. This is quite an individual thing; some people like to keep going longer than others. This is a digital painting though, and the aim isn’t to make it look like a 3D render. For this style of art we really want to keep those visible brushstrokes. They add texture and charm, and they are more reminiscent of a hand-painted image.

Add some texture


Use some textured brushes to add visible strokes. If you have a tablet, use the brush settings to activate pen pressure on the Opacity and Flow settings to control the visibility of the stroke. You can edit the Opacity and Flow manually.

The illustration is just about finished now. You can keep working as long as you want, tidying up elements and adding detail, but don’t sacrifice the looseness as that will detract from the naturalistic effect we wanted to achieve.

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Join Simon Skellon as he reveals the most creative layer styles

5 of the best layer styles


Give your layers extra creative edge with layer styles


ayer styles are powerful tools that transform flat layers in seconds. At first glance they may seem just like a boring list, but their immensity soon becomes clearer when you apply them to layers. They come in many shapes and sizes, from the basic Drop Shadow to the more complex Bevel & Emboss; here’s our pick of five of the best.

01 CAST SHADOWS The Drop Shadow layer style is number one for making an object or typeface look as though it’s in the third dimension. Shadows play a key role in dictating the direction of the lighting, and with one of these you can define the shape, size and direction of the shadow being cast.

02 DESIGNER OUTLINES A Stroke layer style applies a coloured edge to a layer. This can be any colour and also any size. Stroke styles can be used to make text look cartoony, or can give a selected part of your image a border.

DROP SHADOWS Ensure an object is anchored in a scene by adding shadows.

03 THE 3D EFFECT Subtlety is key when it comes to using Inner Shadow layer styles. These help to transform layers and make them appear stamped in or cut out of the canvas. Tick the Use Global Light box to make sure the shadow matches with other layer styles that use shadows.


04 TANGIBLE LAYERS Pattern Overlays offer a fast way to add texture to part of an image or layer. Using the Pattern presets inside the menu, a texture or pattern can be applied to a layer to make it fit in with part of the composition. You can even step away from the preset ones and upload your own.

05 HAND-CRAFTED The Bevel & Emboss layer style is split into two – Contour and Texture. This particular layer style is designed for rounding off the corners of objects or letters, and will help make them appear more chiselled. This is another layer style that is most effective when used in small doses.


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INNER SHADOW Make your objects look as though they are 3D with the help of Inner Shadows.

04 USE PATTERNS Pattern Overlay is a quick and easy way to give objects a texture or pattern.

BEVEL & EMBOSS Enjoy a chiselled effect with the Bevel & Emboss layer style.


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Tutorial Make a creative composite

Make a creative composite Bored of reality? Subvert it by creating a composite of everyday objects


have no shame in admitting that as a 30-year-old man, I wept like a child in the middle of a full cinema when I went to see Pixar’s Up. Unlike the previous films that focused on anthropomorphic fish in search of their offspring or rats with a penchant for the culinary arts, Up was very much set in reality. Despite the madcap capers that ensue in the film, Up actually only asks the viewer to suspend their belief on one premise; that a house is able to be carried into the air by helium inflated balloons. Perhaps it is the fact the film is so in keeping with our everyday reality that this one subversion makes the film all the more fantastical and astonishing to watch. In this tutorial, we take this idea of subtle subversion to create an extraordinary scene by photo-manipulating very ordinary objects. So without further ado, much like Carl, Russell and Dug, let’s seize the Spirit of Adventure and get started.


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Share your composite tips

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On the disc Grab the source files and start to soar!

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS5 and above, Creative Cloud

What you’ll learn Manipulate objects from disparate images to create a seamless scene

Time taken

5 hours

Expert Andy Hau “I am a London-based Architect and Graphic Designer, and the owner of A.H.A Design Ltd, a multidisciplinary design studio. In all of my work, from a largest of buildings to the smallest of logos, I believe that all design should have an element of joy about it – from its inception to the final product. Design is an escape from the futility of modern life, not an endorsement of it.”

Start images

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Tutorial Make a creative composite

Paint the sky

Add clouds



Start by creating the sky. This will be instrumental in creating atmosphere for the image and determine the direction of light. Use a soft round brush to paint in the sky and change the opacity of the brush to help blend the colours together.

Clouds are brilliant for creating a sense of dynamism. Using a cloud brush of medium opacity, create areas of cloud in a light grey. Tidy edges by selecting and deleting them with the Polygonal Lasso and a high Feather setting.

Add a nebula


Supercharge your image with atmosphere by adding stars to the sky. Select and delete the bottom half of the nebula image using the Polygonal Lasso tool with a high Feather setting and change the blending mode of the layer to Soft Light to help it blend into the sky.



To exaggerate the floating nature of the house, we need to see the underside of it. Using the Polygonal Lasso, create a boundary for the bottom face of the house and fill it using a Gradient Fill.


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Glorious sun


There’s nothing quite like a gigantic burst of sunlight to bring a sense of euphoria and vastness to the image. Using a large soft brush, fill in an area of light in white.

Bring in the house


Cut the house out using the Polygonal Lasso tool. To change the perspective of the house so that it looks like we are looking up at it, use the Perspective Transform (Edit>Transform>Perspective) and skew the top of the house inwards to create a false perspective.


Sun burst



To blend the house into the sky, adjust the hues (Image> Adjustments>Hue/Saturation) and soften the edges slightly by creating a boundary with a high Feather setting near to the edge of the house and deleting it.

To help achieve that feeling of being almost blinded by the sunlight, create a new layer and using a large soft brush, obscure the house slightly with a white colour. Change the Opacity of the layer to create the appropriate brightness.

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Expert tip Uncanny Valley



To extend the image of the fields, select the layer and draw a boundary using the Polygonal Lasso where you want additional grass. Select ContentAware under Edit>Fill and Photoshop will add grassy areas using the current image.

Distant hills


Tidy up areas where the Content-Aware Fill has filled incorrectly using the Clone Stamp. Create a new layer underneath the fields layer and create hills in the distance using the Polygonal Lasso with a high Feather setting. Lower the Opacity.

Bring in shadows

Cherry blossom tree



Using the Polygonal Lasso with a very high Feather, draw underneath the house to create a shadow. Fill with black. Select the shadow with the Polygonal Lasso and apply a Motion Blur (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur). Lower the layer Opacity.

Cut out the tree using the Polygonal Lasso with a high Feather. To select and delete the background between the blossom, select the Color Range command (Select>Color Range) and click on an area of background that you want to delete.

Boy’s best friend


Use the same technique as Step 13 to create the dog silhouette. Delete the bottom portion of the child and the dog using a Polygonal Lasso with a high Feather setting to blend them into the grass. Create shadows for both in the same way as Step 11.

You’ll often see photomanipulated images containing people that are correct in terms of perspective but something isn’t quite right. This is known as the Uncanny Valley, a hypothesis that when human features look almost – but not quite – natural, it causes revulsion among some. Sometimes it’s better just to create an impressionistic portrayal. We are in the position of creating imagery that transcends reality – embrace it!

The astonished child


Silhouettes are good because they blend into the image better. Cut out the child carefully and turn it into a silhouette by double-clicking on the layer and applying a black Color Overlay layer style.

Now for the balloons


Cut out the balloon and create copies by duplicating the layer. Change the colour of the balloons by changing the Hue setting (Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation). Layer the balloons up to create the flying component of your makeshift airship.

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Tutorial Make a creative composite

Some strings attached


Thanks for the adventure…




Using the Line Tool (U), create lines to connect the balloons to the house. Merge these layers and double-click on the layer. Apply a Drop Shadow layer style. For the balloons that have flown away, use the Pen tool (P) to create long flowing strings.

Using birds is another method of creating dynamism in an image, which helps to convince the viewer that the house is flying. Cut out the flock of birds using the Magic Wand (W) and lower the Opacity of the layer to fade the birds into the sky.

What you’ll learn Composite art

We made it! Zoom out to check that you are happy with the composition as a whole and that the image looks balanced in terms of colour and contrast. Change the brightness and contrast levels where necessary.


Gather together the tools needed to make a great composite

Easily create a star-filled sky using an existing photo by altering the blending mode. To emphasise the gentle glow from the stars, try using the Soft Light option.

BRUSH TOOL Rather than using a photograph, the sky has been painted using a soft round brush with a low opacity to help produce a smooth transitional colour change.

PERSPECTIVE TRANSFORM The perspective of the house has been changed using Perspective Transform and an underside has been created to reinforce the illusion that you are looking up at the house.

COLOR RANGE Cutting out trees can be a nightmare. The Color Range select tool can make the job a lot easier by enabling you to select specific colours to isolate and delete.


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Gone are the days of having to use the Clone Stamp to try and extend an image. Photoshop’s ContentAware Fill takes your image and fills in the gaps for you.

Create silhouettes by using the Color Overlay layer style. You can even adjust the opacity of the overlay to allow some of the original image to show through. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING

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Tutorial the acrylic paint look


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Start image

On the disc Follow along with the start files

Essentials Works with


Get the acrylic paint look

Bex Glover

Learn how to create an image in an acrylic paint style with brushes, selections and layers

Works with Photoshop CS6, CC and Elements

What you’ll learn Achieve an acrylic style using brushes, layer effects and useful tips

Time taken

5 hours

“I will show you how to create an image in an acrylic paint effect using Photoshop. I am an illustrator, artist and graphic designer running my own freelance practice based in Bristol. I work in both digital and hand rendered mediums including paintings and murals in acrylic and spray paint. My work has a hand rendered, urban style.”


his tutorial will guide you through tips and techniques to create an image with an acrylic paint effect. We want to create something with thick brushstrokes and bold colours. Why not try using the template provided, which is a Photoshop file with layered line work, to give you a head start? Techniques covered in the tutorial involve using selection tools, working with layers and folders, simple information about brushes, as well as scaling, opacity and layer

effects. It’s worth noting that for this tutorial (and in general when trying to replicate artistic effects in Photoshop), you really need to use a graphics tablet for a much more effective way of working and to get the best results. Once you have completed this tutorial you will be able to start creating your own scenes. By drawing your own line work and following the same principles in this tutorial, you can have fun perfecting your acrylic paint style.

Prepare your outlines

Get to know the layers

Work with a colour palette




You can find the sample file ‘stag_ painting_template’ with the supplied files, which includes the line work as separate layers. Once you have completed this tutorial you could try the same process with your own line drawings.

To help build up the painting, the scene is split into folders; background, middle and foreground. Within each folder are different elements. The stag has its own folder and there is also an Extras folder which we will look at shortly.

We’re going to start adding some colour in the background. In the Extras folder in the Layers palette, you will see a layer called Colour Palette. Click the eye symbol next to it and a layer of preselected colours will appear.

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Tutorial the acrylic paint look Expert tip Finishing touches A couple of final tips to enhance your acrylic painting. Add some highlights to areas that would catch the light. I’ve mainly picked out leaves and branches and on a separate Highlights layer, have applied touches of white here and there. Finally think about adding a touch of texture to give your image a more tangible, realistic look. I’ve included a canvas texture (set at a very low opacity) in the Extras which you can switch on.

Choose your colours

Start at the back



Switch the Colour Palette layer on and off as you need to and pick colours from it using the Eyedropper tool (or by pressing I as a shortcut). Feel free to change the colours if you’d like to work with a different palette.

Start to add colour

Continue to build colour

Remove outline layers

Continue to add colours until you have reached something like the example shown. It doesn’t have to be too polished, as these are just background colours upon which you will build your acrylic painting and add detail.




Select the right brushes

Build up the background





Create a new layer under Hills to add the colour via Layer>New layer. Fill with your selected colour using Edit>Fill, then Select>Deselect. Repeat for all areas where you want to add an initial wash. Try to keep different colours on separate layers to give more control over editing.

For this acrylic painting we want to create a thick, expressionist feel and so have selected a small range of brushes that help achieve this effect. Click on the Brush Preset palette or open using Window>Brush Preset.


To add colour washes, start with the background (switch off all other layers) and select the Hills layer. Use the Magic Wand to select areas to fill, then choose the colour to use from the palette.

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In the very top-right corner of the Brush Preset panel, click the drop-down menu and select Thick Heavy Brushes. Choose Yes when it asks to replace the current Brushes. Choose the Brush tool (or press B).

Now you have added your initial fills of colour you can delete the outline layers. It’s worth saving a copy of your file before removing these outlines, in case you want to go back again and work with them. Alternatively just switch the layers off.

Select the Flat Bristle brush and create a new folder for your background colours. On a new layer, start to add detail to the background with small brushstrokes in a mix of colours. A graphics tablet makes this process much easier!

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Adjust your brush

Use layers

Build up the mid ground

Remember to create plenty of layers, for example for different colours or areas of the painting. On new layers start to add base colours and details on the moon and sky. Be experimental and expressive as you create the strokes.



Duplicate details

Scale and adjust

Continue the process





Remember to decrease the size of the brush as you paint towards the background. Do this either in the Brush Preset panel or at the top of the window under the menu headings, where you can also experiment with Opacity of the paint and the Flow.

When drawing areas like the grass, duplicating sections is a quick way to build details. Using the Lasso tool, draw around an area to copy, then Edit>Copy, Edit>Paste. This creates a new layer, which you can move, scale down, rotate or flip.

Use Edit>Transform to scale elements. Hold down the Shift key to retain proportions. For more variety, adjust colours using a Layer Style. Double-click the layer and select Color Overlay. Click the colour swatch to open the Color Picker.

Final outlines The Stroke layer style Use this nifty trick to quickly add outlines to foreground elements

In a new folder add detail to the middle, including bark, leaves and grasses. Try a small, smooth round bristle brush. Strokes should be more precise than for the background, so take time to draw each element carefully.

Using the previous techniques, continue to draw in more detail, increasing in scale towards the foreground. Create new layers for the various elements and remember to duplicate and transform elements as well as adjust the colour.

QUICK LINES The Stroke layer style enables you to add an outline, keeping control over colour and size.

Add some outlines to enhance the expressionist style. You can do this by hand but as a quick tip, this technique allows you to quickly add a layer effect. We’re mainly adding this effect to the foreground elements and some of the bigger trees, to bring them out. Double-click on the layer you want to outline, to open the Layer Style palette. Click on the Stroke button to switch it on and reveal the options. In here you can click on the colour box and pick a colour, as well as adjust the width of the line.

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TOP 10

Expert tips for getting your art on the web with April Madden

Showcase your art online

35% discount on

Website X5 Evolution 10

Stand out from the crowd and make sure your Photoshop work gets noticed on the web with these simple tips for success


he internet is packed with artists’ websites vying for attention. If you want to successfully showcase your work online, there are some common pitfalls to avoid and some simple strategies to implement to ensure you not only get – but also keep – an audience. If you’re looking for a way to set up a pro-quality website quickly and cheaply, then our friends at Incomedia are offering you a discount on Website X5 Evolution 10. Simply visit, order your copy and enter the code PHOTOX5 at checkout to get 35% off the regular price of £59.99 / $84.99.




In fact, join several. Art communities are a great way to get your work in front of other Photoshop enthusiasts and pick up some interest before going it alone. Check out deviantART, Behance, Illustration Mundo and of course our very own gallery website – they’re perfect places to get started.

When you take the plunge and set up your own site, ensure that you keep the URL simple and easy to search for. Use your name or (if you have one) the name of your business. Keep it short and easy to spell so that when people search for you they’re more likely to get the right result first time. Try and stick to common domains like .com or rather than newer or more complicated ones.

Embedding animation on your website can look cool but unfortunately in practice it often puts users off. Not all types of web animation can be viewed on all devices (notably Flash, which is unavailable on Apple phones and tablets) and it can also slow down loading times and distract the viewer. Remember, you want users to look at your artwork first and foremost!


The vast majority of us now access the web via tablets and smartphones rather than the traditional desktop or laptop computer. Optimising your site for mobile users – with lower file sizes, smaller images and an easy-to-scroll interface – won’t affect how regular computer users see it, it’ll just make it easier and nicer to use for those accessing via their phone or tablet.

02 GET SUPPORT WITH YOUR SALES If you want to sell your artwork, then start with community-focused sites that will help you do just that, like Redbubble. Here users can purchase your artwork in a variety of formats, from prints to t-shirts and iPhone cases. The company takes care of the ordering, printing and postage side of things and sends you a share of the item price, so you have no set-up or admin costs and your payments are safe.



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When designing your site, don’t go in for lots of bells and whistles, fancy fonts, rollover animations and the like – they cause slower loading times which means viewers rapidly get impatient and may even leave. Stick to simple, elegant designs that let the beauty of your artwork speak for itself.


05 07

06 09




Do you hate web galleries that randomly open images in new windows, lag, or have an awful zoom function? So does everybody else. Keep your portfolio section simple – scroll to look through thumbnails, click to view an enlarged image in a new window.

Once your website is established and you want to control sales, find a reputable printer for the items you want to sell and then set up your own online store. Many commercial web design programs, like Website X5 Evolution 10, have this functionality built in, so it’s ready to roll out when you are.

08 SUBTLE WATERMARKS Nobody wants their art stolen and reproduced without permission or credit, but covering your artwork up with a big fat watermark means that your potential viewers won’t be able to see it properly – essential if you want them to buy it! Instead, hide smaller watermarks and credits in unobtrusive parts of the image – they won’t bother your viewers, and your images are still provably protected.

10 STAY IN TOUCH Remember that community site you started out on? Keep posting your artwork there, with links to your main site. Connect with users via social media to raise consumer awareness of your website and build relationships with potential customers and other art fans. More people being aware of what you do means more people visiting your art site and hopefully buying your prints!

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Tutorial Create a scratch foil effect On the disc Get scratching with the supplied files

Essentials Works with

CS3 and above, CC and Elements 11 and above

What you’ll learn Use filters, brushes and adjustments to create a scratch foil effect

Time taken

2 hours

Expert Stewart Wood As a boy, I used to love scratch foil art boards. As an adult, I love Photoshop. Now I can do scratch foil art in Photoshop. Making use of filters and adjustments, I will show you how to scratch off a Photoshop layer to reveal artwork and have just as much fun as I did as a child.


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Create a scratch foil effect

Start images

Learn to create a scratch foil effect and scratch it away with brushes in Photoshop


cratch foil art boards are a fun way to create your own foil artwork. Most common is a black-and-white technique. Also popular are metallic backgrounds. Scratchboard is a paper (or foil) board that is covered with wax or gesso and coated over with black ink. Using scratch tools, you can scratch off the black ink and reveal the board beneath. We achieve the same effect in Photoshop with photos. Using filters and adjustment layers, we can first create the effect of the scratch foil board itself. Once this is done we can then create a scratch-like brush and begin to scratch off the effect just like in real life. You can use a variety of strokes as you scratch. As a rule, use small strokes, though. The smaller the stroke, the easier it is to control the scratching process. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started and create a scratch foil image!

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Tutorial Create a scratch foil effect

Copy and desaturate

Smart Objects



First go to File>Open and select ‘Scratchfoil.jpg’ from the supplied files. Then go to Layer>Duplicate Layer and name this layer Effects. Go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate to remove all of the colour from the layer.

Go to Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object; Elements users can skip this step. Now go to Filter>Filter Gallery. Choose the Cutout option from the Artistic folder. Enter 6 for the number of Levels and Edge Simplicity and 2 for the Edge Fidelity.

Black sky

Keep it non-destructive



Select the Magic Wand Tool (W), this is hidden under the Quick Selection Tool. Now click on the sky to select it. Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+N) and name this layer Sky. Now go to Edit>Fill and fill the selection with black. Press Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect.

Colour fill layers

Add a texture



Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. In the hex colour dialog box, input a value of ea682c or choose your own favourite colour (or colours, for a rainbow scratchboard effect). Change the blend mode to Color.


We need to adjust the contrast of the effects layer but let’s keep it non-destructive. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness and Contrast. Tick the Use Legacy box and enter -60 for Brightness and -10 for Contrast.

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Go to File> Place – in Photoshop CC this is called Place Embedded. Choose the file ‘Foil.jpg’. Resize the texture to fit the image and then press Enter when you are done. Now set the blend mode to Overlay.

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Expert tip Add more objects

The scratch foil layer

Add more texture



Let’s create a new colour layer that will be the main scratch effect layer. Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. Pick black as the colour, and then change the layer Opacity to 85%.

Custom brushes


We now need to scratch away the black layer. Choose your brush (B) and open the Brush panel. Choose a brush that looks like scratches; brush 100 is good, or use the one supplied on the disc.

Go to File>Place (in Photoshop CC this is Place Embedded). Choose the file ‘2LO - Old Film Set 1-10.jpg’ from the 2lilowls texture set. Rotate and resize the texture to fit the image and press Enter. Set the blend mode to Difference and Opacity to 10%.

When we added the Cutout filter, it removed detail such as the hill. We can add it back in easily. Select the Background layer and make a selection of the hill. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy this to a new layer. Move the new layer above the black sky layer. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal all. Now paint away the edges of the hill to blend it in with the rest of the image. Once you are done, you can simply scratch away at this feature of the scene in exactly the same way as before.

Refine the brush

Scratch away



Select the Shape Dynamics option. Change Size Jitter to 20% and Minimum Roundness to 30%. If using a tablet, set the control option of Pen Pressure. Select the Dual Brush option and change Size to 10, Spacing to 30% and Count to 2.

More control

Final image



To add more control you can reduce the opacity of your brush; then paint lightly on the dark areas and paint at 100% on the brighter areas. If you are using a tablet, try setting the Fill to 50% for even greater control.

If you are not good at setting up a brush, you will find one in the supplied files. Simply load that brush up in the Brush panel. Select the black colour fill layer and on the layer mask, paint with black to revel the foil effect underneath.

Continue to scratch away until you are happy with the final result. When you have finished scratching, reduce the opacity of the black fill layer to 65%. This will help to fill in any of the gaps.

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Tutorial Improve the atmosphere in your shots On the disc Light up the start photo to practise your skills

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS4 and above, Photoshop CC

What you’ll learn How to change the mood in your shots and enhance the atmosphere

Time taken

15 mins

Expert Hayley Paterek “As I photographer I regularly need to change camera settings to suit the scene I’m shooting but that’s not always foolproof. Curves and Color Balance adjustment tools are great for enhancing light and colour, but Lighting Effects is fantastic for adding punch.”

Improve the atmosphere in your shots Discover how to warm up and accentuate the lighting in a cool colour-cast image


t’s not always easy to capture the atmosphere of a location in a still image. Adjusting your exposure and white balance settings in-camera, however, can go some way to help. If you’ve stuck to shooting in auto settings, though, you’ll have had little control over the outcome of the final image. You may find that locations that were bathed in a warm natural light can appear washed out and cooler on screen than you remember. This is commonly due to the camera selecting an incorrect white balance setting. Light can also appear flat in some photographs as the camera is

Select Curves

Duplicate the layer


Open your image and begin by duplicating the original layer by right-clicking and selecting Duplicate layer. Rename to Lighting and click OK. Set a Curves adjustment layer.


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likely to have focused on getting a good even exposure all round. Changing your metering mode to suit the scene will improve results in-camera and particularly so if you want to capture shafts of light, which requires the spot metering mode. Fortunately all is not lost and there are things you can do to enhance the atmosphere in your images using Photoshop. In this tutorial we’ll show you to bring back the appearance of warm natural light and accentuate light shafts using the Lighting Effects filter. Follow along and find out how easy it is to change the mood in your shots.


Enhance the highlights by adding an anchor point near the top of the diagonal line. Slowly pull the anchor point towards the left. You can click on the eye preview icon to see what effect this adjustment has made to the original image and make further tweaks if necessary.

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Start image

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Tutorial Improve the atmosphere in your shots Expert tip No Lighting Effects?

Enhance the exposure

Apply a photo filter



Add another anchor point in the middle of the diagonal line, which will affect the midtones. Pull this anchor towards the left gradually to enhance the midtones in your image. You can now add another anchor point near the bottom of the diagonal line and pull to the right in order to lift the shadows.

Once you have finished enhancing the exposure, warm up the shot by adding a Photo Filter adjustment layer. In the dialog box select the Preserve Luminosity icon and choose the Warming Filter (85) with the Density slider increased to 85%.

If you have a 64-bit version of Mac OS and you can’t see the Lighting Effects filter, don’t panic, it is there. You just have to do a bit of tweakery. From the Finder’s Go menu, choose Applications. Look in the Photoshop folder and then right-click on the Photoshop icon. Pick Get Info. In the General section of the resulting window, select the Open in 32-bit Mode option. Close the window, restart Photoshop and enjoy the Lighting Effects!

Add lighting effects Merge existing layers without flattening the image by holding down Cmd+Alt+Shift+E. Select the Lighting effect filter via Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. This will enable you to accentuate the shaft of light coming in through the window. Select Spotlight from the Light type menu in the dialog box to start.

Warm the hues


To warm up specific hues within the shadows, midtones and highlight areas, select a Color Balance adjustment layer. Pick Midtones from the Tone dropdown menu and gradually push the coloured sliders towards the warmer hues.


Create a shaft of light

Adjust the intensity

Flatten layers and save




Reposition the light shaft over the image so the hotspot sits over the window. Rotate the light and alter its size by adjusting the anchor points around the oval shape. Click on the Color box and select a warm orange hue in the Color Picker palette.



Select Color Balance

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Once you’ve enhanced the midtone hues, adjust the colours in the shadows and then the highlights via the Tone menu. Use the preview icon to check what affect each adjustment you have made has on your photo.

Increase the Intensity slider to 22 to accentuate the light shaft and reduce the Hotspot slider to 12. Enhance the warm glow by increasing the Exposure slider and add definition to the light by reducing the Ambience slider to around 55.

It’s possible to add more lighting effects to the image by selecting another light icon at the top of the screen; the new light will appear in the box titled Lights on the right. Once happy with the results, click OK and flatten the layers. PHOTOS MADE EASY

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The easy way to learn Adobe Photoshop

Essential tool guides 14 pages of essential guides

Tool focus…

Custom Shapes

Stagret ima

Easy ways to create your own art on p66

FIX THE 3 MOST COMMON Photo editing…



Essential editing guides Master the Custom Shape tool ........................ 66 Edit with textures ............................................................. 68 Use actions in Photoshop Elements............ 72 Fix 3 common photo problems .......................... 74 Creative duotone effect............................................. 78

Learn how to use Elements to deal with shadows, distortion and softness on p74

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IZE hape RASTER in effects to s arning that w ta r r a e c appe layer. ge may ze your messa t ďŹ rst rasteri will convert s you mu ans Elements It allows for . e m is h T bitmap plied, but p tor to a the vec ffects to be a rm the more e you transfo ome when lose s it may shape quality.

Tool focus‌

Master the Custom Shape tool in Elements Learn to create your own illustrations using simple shapes and quick techniques Shapes exist within Photoshop and Photoshop Elements as pre-made vectors that can be used with pixel-based tools such as the Brush. Vectors can be scaled up or down, transformed and adjusted without losing any quality and keeping perfectly straight edges. As a result, they are perfect for creating illustrations or cartoon additions to photographs. Elements contains a wide range of shapes as standard, from a basic rectangle to a full face, giving you lots of creativity for making your images. Each shape can be customised individually to alter the


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colours, proportions and style to get them looking just the way you want them. Options also exist to add, subtract or combine shapes allowing for even more to be made of Custom Shapes. By default, each is created on a new layer granting control over the order, meaning some shapes could be hidden underneath other layers, with just the required bits visible. Those using Photoshop Elements 5 or higher can also use the Effects panel to add cool extras such as a stroke or a drop shadow to add a whole new dimension to projects. Create with Custom Shapes Draw out your shapes with just a few clicks

Select shapes

Transform and adjust

Add effects and more




Select the Custom Shapes tool (U) and with Custom selected, click the shape preview. Make sure All Elements Shapes are loaded using the top drop-down box. Pick a shape, click and drag it out onto your canvas.

With your shape selected, press Cmd/ Ctrl+T and then Ctrl/right-click to bring up transform options. When you’re happy, hit Enter. To change the colour, double-click on the layer preview and select a new colour.

Add more shapes by reselecting the Custom Shapes tool (U) and draw them out. If you want to add layer effects, select the FX, or select the shape, and go to Layer>Layer Style>Style Settings.

More customisation Learn to alter your custom shapes for a truly unique project Creating your shapes is only the beginning! By using vectors, every aspect of a shape is still editable: size, colour, proportions, and options to add effects and styles. You can also choose to add adjustment layers to interact with the shapes. For example, add a Gradient layer by clicking the blackand-white circle icon at the top of your Layers panel and select Gradient. Set the blend mode from Normal to Color and step back to admire.

Build new shapes Create new shapes using layer tools on the Custom Shapes

Shape options Each shape can be customised before you draw it. Drawing a

banner. The default option is “Create new shape layer”, but you can also select Add, Subtract, Intersect or Exclude.

star or a polygon allows you to choose the amount of points or sides, as well as allowing for smoothing and the corners.

Vector illustration Simple art with Custom Shapes

CUSTOM SHAPES Selecting Custom Shapes will make this menu of shapes available. Make sure to set this to All Elements Shapes.

EDIT GEOMETRY These tools enable you to adjust the proportions of the shapes using Add To, Subtract From, Intersect, or Exclude, for even greater shape customisation.



Make sure the Layers panel is in view when using vector shapes. Adjust the layer order to control which areas are visible.

When you first click on the Custom Shapes tool (U) these eight shapes will make an appearance.

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Photoshop for Beginners

W does ithmaet REFINE an?

EDG great fo E The Refine Ed edges th r when you’re w ge tool is o a hair and t include tricky rking on objects fur, beca like use you Radius to ca can also give a fluffier e n set the dge set and Smo the amount of . You Feathe oth to g partial tr ive your edges r anspare ncy.


Photoshop Creative TAKE


Creative Project…


Edit with textures Give your photos increased zing using textures and blending techniques Editing photos is one thing, but it’s another to bring them together with other components in order to produce a neat piece of artwork. One easy way of adding that little bit extra to your photos is by using textures. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you easily provide your own by simply taking some close-up shots of walls, doors and even animals.

TECHNIQUE 1 Create a vintage portrait

Start images

One of the great things about Elements is that it comes packed full of helpful filters and effects that are ready for you to use. You needn’t worry about having to be an expert to use them either, as they come within the Quick mode in Elements. Using textures can give your photos added edge without too much effort. Use them wisely and you can produce a great piece of art in no time at all.



Selecting this will show you how much Radius you have selected and what it looks like in its current state.

Checking Smart Radius will enable Elements to automatically adapt the Radius to suit the image’s edges.

Use textures and in-built effects to create vintage portraits With Instagram being all the rage you can often find yourself wanting to be able to recreate the effect without having to crop your images or upload them to the internet. But it’s easy to replicate a whole manner of different filters using textures and Elements’ own in-built colouring effects.


Here you can decide how your refined edge will appear on your document. To edit nondestructively, always output to a new layer or new layer mask.

The higher the number the more you will soften the edges of your selection; a lower number will result in a harsher edge.

Retro effects Combine textures and colour edits for a vintage portrait

Make your selection


Open ‘Portrait.png’ and select the Expert tab. Now use the Quick Selection tool (A) to select your subject. Go to Select>Refine Edge. Here we used the settings: Radius 1.8, Smooth 10, Feather 10, Contrast 15%. Check Decontaminate Colors and Output to New Layer with Mask.

Add texture layer

Add an effect



Load up ‘Stone-texture2.jpg’ and copy it into a new layer. Rotate the layer 90 degrees and ensure that it covers your image. Now click and drag it between your layer mask layer and your start image. Set the Opacity to 35%, but set the layer mask’s to 70%.

Now switch to the Basic mode. Select Effects in the bottom-right of the screen. Here you’ll see previews of what the different effects will do to your image. Try out different ones to see which you like most. We went for Vintage.

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Photoshop for Beginners



Don’t hesitate to change the lightness and darkness of your image, as you could create something really moody with darker colours.

Easily add an editable effect to the whole image by using adjustment layers.

TECHNIQUE 2 Change mood with texture Blue skies are great, but change the atmosphere and add some mood

OPACITY When you have placed your texture, fiddle with the opacity of the layer until you get the right effect.

Grey skies can be helpful for adding mood to an image. Wanting to change your pictures to take away the beautiful blue sky may seem odd, but when you’ve got a subject such as this you could make the whole personality of the picture change in a few simple steps.


Start image

Adding a texture to an image will instantly transform it. Be inventive; you can use any number of textures in different ways.

COLOUR TWEAKS Play around with the colours on the texture as well, and don’t feel like you have to stick to what you started out with.

Adjustments and textures Create a spooky atmosphere in a few easy steps

Open and adjust


Open ‘Castle.png’ in Photoshop Elements. Reduce the brightness and colour, and with your layer selected go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Enter the values Hue: +93, Saturation: -79 and Lightness: -18.


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Position your texture


Copy ‘Stone-texture1.jpg’ into your image and below the adjustment layer. Using the Transform tool (T), rotate your texture layer until you’re happy. We went for 90 degrees. Change its Opacity to 30%, but play with this until you have reached your desired effect.

Highlights, Midtones and Shadows


Now we’re going to play with the texture. With the texture layer selected, go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Highlights/Shadows. Experiment with the sliders. We used Lighten Shadows: 0, Darken Highlights: 76, Midtone Contrast: -13. TECHNIQUE 3 Edit images with Fill layers

Start image

Add texture with Fill layers in Elements Adding adjustment layers isn’t the only way you can apply texture to your photos. Elements has another kind of layer called Fill. You can access these in much the same way, by entering the Layer menu and selecting New Fill Layer, then you can decide which of them you wish to use: Solid, Gradient or Pattern. For this tutorial, we’ll explore the Solid Fill Layer.

SOLID FILL Use the different Fill layers to edit photos; in this case a Solid Fill was used on order to make tweaks to the colours.

Fill layer edits Explore this often overlooked editing technique

The start photo

Brightness and contrast

Import the texture

Open ‘Beach.jpg’ by going to File>Open and selecting the file from the supplied files. As you can see, the image is slightly dark. As we shall be applying textures to this, it’s best to brighten it up first.


Go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Brightness/Contrast. Using the sliders, brighten the image until you’re happy. We’ve used the settings of Brightness 40 and Contrast 75.



Select the sky

Clear the sky

Solid Fill layer




Select the Background layer, then choose the Magic Wand tool (W). Here we have used the settings of Tolerance: 32, with Contagious and Anti-alias selected. Now click on the sky to select it.

Select the texture layer with the selection still highlighted. Hit Delete; this will clear the texture from the sky, as it was overpowered before. Clearing the texture takes away from the heaviness of the image.

Open ‘Wall texture.jpg’ by going to File>Place and selecting it. Then Ctrl/ right-click on the layer and select Simplify Layer. Set the Opacity to 30%, or to a setting you prefer.

If you want to add something more you can use a Fill layer. Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. Select the colour of your choosing and click OK. Here we used #a17c1a

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Photoshop for Beginners


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Quick edit…

On the disc

Use actions in Photoshop Elements 12 Re-create this with the start files

How to improve your image with these one-click edits Actions are used to speed up your regular edits to make for greater efficiency. They only made an appearance in Photoshop Elements in version 11, so are still relatively new in the grand scheme of things. If you’ve never come across them before and have no idea what they do, then here’s a look at


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where you can find actions and what they’re used for. There are plenty of free actions online for you to practise with and expand on the kinds of image effects you can perform. From a simple colour enhancement to the more stylish photo finishes, actions can be used

to accomplish a vast range of potential improvements to your photos. There are lots actions out there; just visit our website for some creative effects, or head to and enter ‘free actions’ in the search field to download actions to try out in Elements. Get to know actions Work with the Actions panel for applying creative edits

Find the actions

Load it up

Stored actions




Actions are identified by the ‘.atn’ file extension. Once you’ve downloaded an action, keep it in a safe place such as in a new folder on your desktop. Open an image in Photoshop Elements, go to the Window menu and down to Actions to load the panel.

The Actions panel contains presets ready to fire away. Actions are kept in folders in this panel. To load a new action into this panel, click on the small arrow button in the top-right. Select Load Actions from this list to view the Open menu.

Locate the action just downloaded using the Open menu and press Enter to load it. Loaded actions will remain in here permanently, but to remove an action, click on the trashcan icon and then OK in the warning dialog box that pops up.

Edit with actions Time to apply an action to your image

View your actions

Distort colours

History states




A folder contains the actions for each set. By clicking the grey arrow next to the folder icon, all actions inside the set will be visible. To use an action, for example one from the Special Effects set, open the folder and click on the first action in the list.

Click on the Play button at the top of the panel. Wait for Elements to finish running a series of commands that will transform your image. This particular action distorts colour. Try out additional actions to create more elaborate effects.

All edits are recorded and stored inside the History panel. Go to Window>History to open the panel, and click back through the states to undo parts, or all, of the action. Your layers should update whenever a History state is selected.

At a glance What’s inside the Actions panel

THE PANEL The actions are all kept inside this panel, which in turn is kept next to all other panels in Elements. The panel can dragged out if you want to separate it from the others.

STOP IT! If at any stage during an action’s playback you want to freeze it, just click on the square Stop button in the Actions panel.



The descriptions give you an idea of what the action does. But it’s not until you apply it that you really know if it’s the right one!

Use the Play button at the top of the panel to get an action rolling. You know when it’s finished when no more layers and adjustments are added to the Layers panel.

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Photoshop for Beginners

On the disc

Use the start files to learn essential tricks

Photo editing...

Fix the 3 most common photo problems Start image

Find out how to use the tools in Elements to combat these everyday photographic issues There are certain problems that crop up time and again, but in the digital age, there are few problems that can’t be solved. You don’t have to be a Photoshop expert to be able to make edits to your snaps and give them a new lease of life. Digital cameras enable us to keep on snapping, therefore we’re likely to have plenty of good shots to choose from. However, there are always pictures that we wish had come out better, or that we won’t have a chance to capture again.


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Over these pages, we’ll be looking at some common problems that everyone will encounter at some point. From rescuing detail from shadows when shooting towards the sun, to straightening lens distortion and fixing purple fringing, to fixing camera blur for supersharp shots; we reveal what you need to know. Photoshop Elements has many built-in tools that make correcting faults easy, and essentially do most of the hard work for you. TECHNIQUE 1 Retrieve shadow detail Backlighting can leave details hiding in the darkness; fix it Shooting into the sun is a difficult task. Often you can’t really see what’s happening, and you are left with an overly bright background and the thing that you were actually trying to photograph is a black shape in the foreground. Sometimes it is possible to reveal these details that are lurking in the shadows and restore your image. Follow along to learn how.

Start image

Find the tool

Change the default



Open up the supplied image, or one of your own photos, and go to Expert mode. Go to Layer>Duplicate Layer. Next, go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/ Highlights to open the tool.

The Lighten Shadows slider is automatically set to 35% by default. This won’t work for every image, so it is often best to bring the slider back to 0% and build up from there. Make sure Preview is ticked.

Make the adjustment


Begin to pull the Shadows slider to the right to get a good balance of detail, without introducing noise into the image. You may also need to slide the Darken Highlights control slightly – it’s all about trial and error to get the look that you want.

Rescue lost detail Tease out information that is lurking in the shadows DUPLICATE LAYER

SHOW DETAIL The Lighten Shadows slider reveals detail in the darker areas of a shot by brightening the shadowy parts.

Work on a duplicate layer so that if you’re unhappy with the changes, you can always revert back and start again.


BACK TO LIFE The final image has much more detail, and the background and foreground are more balanced.

This is a typical backlit image, where the sun creates a silhouette effect.

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Photoshop for Beginners Correct lens distortion We’ll show you how to remove distortion and purple fringing from your photos

Adjust camera distortion

Taking photos of buildings can be problematic. We often have to point the camera up, rather than straight on. We also have to shoot against a bright sky. This can cause two key problems. First, the building will look wonky due to the angle of the shot. Second, you might see purple fringing, or chromatic aberration.



Open this photo and go to the Filter menu. Open Correct Camera Distortion, which takes away a lot of the hard work. A new dialog box will open and a basic correction will be made automatically.

Essential preview


You can use the Preview box to view the original image (unticked) or the corrected one (ticked). There are lots of options here; each is designed to correct a specific type of distortion.

Vignette It’s possible to add or remove a vignette Vignette is an effect where the corner edges of an image are darkened. It can be a great effect, drawing the eye to the centre of the frame. However, it might be less desirable. In Elements, inside the Correct Camera Distortion dialog, you’ll see that there is a slider for Vignette, and this lets you remove it quickly and easily, or add one if you want the effect but didn’t happen to capture it in-camera.

Remove Distortion


The Remove Distortion button removes lens barrelling or pincushion distortion. For our image, we need to drag the slider to the right, as we’re looking to try and make the lines straighter using the grid.


Next problem!

Purple be gone




Some of the vertical lines are still not straight, so the Vertical Perspective slider will help. If your image starts to disappear off the edges, drag the Scale slider down to bring it back into frame.


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Click OK. If there are blank areas, select the Crop tool to remove them. Next, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer) to the top of the Layers panel.

Zoom in. In the Hue/Saturation dialog, change the Channel to Magentas. Drag the Saturation down to remove the purple. If you find that you introduce a green/blue fringe, do the same with the Channel set to Cyan. Sharpen soft images Enhance the detail in your shots with the handy tools in Elements When you’re taking photos, it can be hard to see all common problems. It’s easy to miss the fact that an image is on the soft side, as we tend to only notice detail that isn’t very sharp on a computer screen or when printed out. Luckily, it is easy to sharpen an image.

Start image

Quickly sharpen images Banish blur with ease in Elements SHARPEN THUMBNAILS

MORE CONTROL Enter Expert mode and go to Enhance>Adjust Sharpness to tweak your photo.

Click any of the thumbnails to apply an increasing degree of sharpening to your image automatically.



It’s easier to work on an image if you can view the before and after at the same time in order to see the effect of the edit.

You can hit Auto to let Photoshop Elements apply an amount of sharpening that it calculates is fitting for your image.

Change your view

Sharpen options

Precision sharpening




Open this image and start in Quick mode. Use the View drop-down menu to select Before and After Horizontal. Zoom in using Cmd/Ctrl and ‘+’ to focus on the area suffering from softness.

In the right-hand panel, select Adjustments and go to the Sharpen section. There is a slider to manually apply sharpening, or hit Auto. It’s best to use the thumbnails, as they apply different levels.

To have more control over sharpening, go into Expert mode. From the main menu, select Enhance>Adjust Sharpness. For this image, set Remove to Lens Blur, and then tweak the Amount and Radius sliders to suit.

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Photoshop for Beginners

Creative Edits‌


Creative duotone effect Create a subtle two-tone effect with the help of a simple adjustment in Elements A duotone image is, as the name implies, comprised of two colours. This type of imagery is well known in the photographic arena and despite its age, duotone is still popular among artists and consumers. Duotone images can send a powerful message depending on how they are created and used. With bold highlights and shadows, contrasting or complementing colours, duotone images can evoke a range of emotions. Any colours can be used to achieve the desired effect of


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a duotone image, and although there are different ways to go about it, here we look at the basics. Using the Desaturation adjustment, along with the Gradient Map adjustment, we can add new colour. Upon completion of this tutorial you will be able use this trick in your own art – be it paintings or photography. One thing to keep in mind is that if at the end your image seems to be too dull or too dark, the Levels adjustment can be used to easily take care of those nitpicky adjustments. Colour effects Use the Gradient Map adjustment to add a duotone effect to your image

Remove colour

Choose gradient

Gradient Editor




Start by opening up this image. The next job is to remove any colour information in the image. To do this, simply press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate, leaving the image in black and white.

To add a duotone, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon (the circle shape that is half white and half grey) in the Layers panel, and choose Gradient Map from the drop-down menu.

In the Gradient Map panel, click on the gradient swatch to bring up the Gradient Editor. Since we’re making a duotone photo, we will just need two colours, one at each end of the gradient bar.

Shadow colour

Adjust highlights



Click on the left colour stop, and then on the colour swatch to choose your own preferred colour. Any colour can be used for this, but when it comes to shadows, darker colours work best. For this effect we used #000d4c.

Anatomy of a gradient

After you’ve chosen the shadow colour, finish by adding the highlight colour. Click on the opposite colour stop, and change the colour by using the same method as before. For highlights, lighter colours tend to look best. We used #ffc995.

Learn what’s inside the Gradient Editor menu OPACITY STOPS


While these aren’t needed for a duotone effect, it’s handy to know that these stops control the opacity of the gradient.

Save your custom gradients and make your own personal library that you can use when needed.


These sliders indicate your chosen colours in a gradient. New ones can easily be added to introduce more colours.

This area is the Midpoint, which is where two or more colours blend into each other.

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Price £299/$279.99US Web

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS

The specs Company Canon Additional specs ’ ;>’ f]^bWQOZh]][ ’6gP`WR/cb][]RS’5>A

We couldn’t wait to get our hands on this intelligent compact from Canon


inding the perfect camera for shooting stock images could be a life-long pursuit, and the search isn’t made any easier if you’re after a camera that’s compact and a high performer. Most cameras of the compact variety inherently have faults; whether that’s poor image quality, a sluggish response time, or a less than desirable build quality. So when picking up this camera from Canon, we believe we’ve come one step closer to finding the perfect model. The PowerShot SX280 HS is supported by a number of high-performance features, which includes the on-board GPS. As long as we were outdoors with a clear view of the sky, GPS could run smoothly. We could also use the camera’s GPS logging feature to record our location throughout the day to use as a handy reference later on. If you’re an Elements user, then the GPS feature will be helpful to connect to the map feature in Organizer. Canon’s HS system (which stands for ‘high sensitivity’ and goes some way to improve shots taken indoors under low light or

outdoors at night), means that shots look bright and natural, even at the higher ISO settings. There’s also no need for a tripod or flash due to some very clever and advanced processing. In broad daylight, with ISO settings as low as 80 available to shoot with, noise is barely visible. The lens isn’t the widest, though, which may feel restrictive in tight spaces. But this minor issue is outweighed by its long 20x optical zoom. When it comes to getting the best out of exposures, having a host of manual modes goes a long way. As well as these, the Live mode gave us the chance to adapt colour, brightness and tonal sliders directly over the scene before pressing the shutter button. Having the camera’s iContrast mode switched on all the time is a smart decision to make. This improves outdoor shots, such as preventing the sky from bleaching out to white and the foreground from looking too dark. The SX280 HS also has artistic touches, with a Creative Filters mode presenting a range of popular image effects. The My

Colors mode, now commonplace with compact cameras, provides adjustments depending on the type of subject being photographed. These include Darker Skin Tone, Positive Film and Vivid Red, enabling a more satisfactory image. The camera isn’t blessed with the most impressive macro, but at 5cm we could still get close enough to small subjects to capture interesting details. If you’re looking for a new compact to bolster your Photoshop stock then this is certainly a strong contender. An amount of editing is going to be required to tweak images before using as part of a Photoshop project, but with lots to offer, this well-built powerful compact leaves a lasting impression.

The verdict


This is a flexible compact camera that doesn’t shy away from offering manual controls, and even has GPS to record your every move.

Keep track with Elements Organizer Use the GPS for recording your location

Switch on GPS

Tag your shots

Import to Organizer




Press the Menu button and go down to GPS Settings. Switch GPS to the ‘on’ position and also GPS Logger. Use the Assisted GPS option to speed up how long it takes to find your location (requires Wi-Fi).


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The GPS antenna is positioned on top of the camera. GPS is most effective outdoors with an unobstructed view of the sky. Date, time and time zone also need to be set before using GPS.

Once you’ve shot the images, open Elements Organizer and load them into the Media section using the Import button. Find the camera’s memory card and click on the Get Media button. FULLY EQUIPPED The camera screams highquality optics, with a lens that comprises 14 individual elements across nine groups to produce a long 20x optical reach.

ROBUST FEEL The camera’s tough shell feels sturdy and weighty, and overall it’s not a bad fit in the pocket.

POWER TO THE PROCESSOR The camera is capable of shooting seven frames in half a second, and that’s in full 12.1 MP resolution as well.

COLOUR OF CHOICE In terms of design, the SX280 HS combines sleekness with practicality. It’s available in two great colours – black and red.

Standout feature Hybrid Auto mode Hybrid Auto has its own spot on the camera’s Mode select dial, and records four seconds prior to a photo being taken to give you a short movie clip. At first this seemed like a gimmick, but after a day’s shoot we were able to string all our short movies together for a summary of the events. We found this not only entertaining but also a good way to capture a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into the people and surroundings being captured.

View on a map

Re-pin and adjust



The camera’s GPS records the longitude, latitude and elevation of your position to provide an approximate location of where you took the image. Click on Add Places to enter the map section.

Elements Organizer will detect the GPS data. A pin will appear on the map. Although not entirely accurate, pins can be moved to the exact street you were on. Hit Done to save the changes.

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Photoshop images and textures can always be imported, to replace generic backgrounds or provide scenery for your actors.


We’re giving away five digital copies of CrazyTalk 7 Pro. For your chance of winning, send your full name to by 31 May 2014. Winners will be picked at random.

MOBILE EDITING If you own the free CrazyTalk iOS app, then projects can not only be viewed on the go but also edited directly on your mobile.

The specs Company Reallusion

Additional specs Mac OS X 10.6 or later Windows XP or later 8GB RAM Open GL graphics card or Intel HD 3000 or later


UPLOAD YOUR ANIMATIONS In addition to these, it is possible for your animations to be shared across various social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

Price Approx £60/$99.95US Web

CrazyTalk 7 Pro

MASK EDITOR Transplant a Photoshop image into an animated scene using the handy tools in the Mask Editor.

Say hello to Reallusion’s latest character animation software


razyTalk 7 Pro is a character animation software that gives you all the freedom you need to incorporate your Photoshop imagery into animated environments. This quirky software can create dynamic facial animations using your own voice as the framework. New to version 7 is a bundle of auto-animation templates offering a variety of emotions and movements for your actors’ faces. CrazyTalk 7 Pro enables you to control the smoothness and size of movements according to volume settings, and expressions can even be tweaked to better match the sound of the recorded voice. In version 7 you can edit projects straight from your desktop by dragging-and-dropping content. Palettes can also be undocked from the interface and repositioned, and the new bigger tabs and simple controls keep otherwise complex animation processes simple. Also featured is a bundle of readymade voice and motion templates and the Mask Editor helps to incorporate Photoshop


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images into an animated scene using a set of quick-select tools and brushes, which makes isolating parts of an actor easy. When we weren’t recording our own voice, we could play with the Text to Speech Editor and match a predetermined script with the chosen actor. Alternatively, by heading to the Auto Motion Settings, reactions can defined according to how expressive you want your actor to be. If you’re looking to step away from the more cartoon-style animations then there are the options to adapt eyes and teeth for more photo-realistic animations. The software offers some very basic photo-editing, too. Dipping into other genres of art can present new challenges, and CrazyTalk 7 Pro is no exception. This software provides the right tools for making fun and comical characters, whether that’s from a person’s face or from an animated cartoon using your own Photoshop files and photos. All in all, CrazyTalk 7 Pro makes for a very entertaining and efficient way to create characters.

The verdict


Character animation can be tricky but with CrazyTalk 7 Pro, it has never been so easy, with tools for editing to suit your own voice for greater realism.

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Price £77 approx/$129 Web

Photo Ninja How does this new RAW processor from Picture Code shape up against the big names?


hotographers who shoot using their camera’s RAW mode are usually, by definition, pretty demanding when it comes to achieving top-drawer image quality. That is, after all, the chief reason for using a file format that takes up a lot more room on your card, requires more storage space on your hard drives and lays claim to considerably more of your time when it comes to post-processing. Many of those who capture RAW files as a matter of routine are devoted to the big names in RAW image processing – namely, Photoshop’s proprietary converter, Camera Raw, Lightroom and Capture One Pro. It’s no surprise that this is the case, seeing as these are the big hitters in the industry and if you’re well versed in how one piece of software works, changing things around can seem like too much trouble. Choice of RAW converter extends beyond familiarity and ease of use, though; they have a significant impact on resulting image quality depending on the noise handling and dynamic range-preserving capabilities of the software’s algorithms. Photo Ninja, which comes from the Picture Code team behind the widely acclaimed noise reduction plug-in Noise Ninja, is well worth taking a closer look at, even if superficial impressions of the converter may be a little mixed. The interface does look as though it could do with further refinement, with some of the type employed not quite as easy on the eye as that of other converters. This is purely an aesthetic judgment, and the interface will no doubt be developed across any future updates that Picture Code will inevitably issue for Photo Ninja. Perhaps a bigger concern is that Photo Ninja eats up more memory than Adobe Camera Raw typically does, in order for it to function quickly and smoothly. If you’ve got a computer with plenty of processing power and spare memory then this shouldn’t pose much of a problem, but it’s certainly something to be aware of. These issues aside, Photo Ninja is capable of producing excellent results with


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your RAW files – and it can work with JPEGs too, though not with quite the same level of flexibility. When you double-click on a file in the Inbox – a mini-browser that runs along the bottom of the interface – Photo Ninja will get busy running an automatic highlight recovery algorithm while it loads the file into the main interface. This does a really impressive job of pulling back detail. The default settings for this can be switched between Low, Medium and High, and Photo Ninja is remarkable at restoring colour in highlight areas. The Smart Lighting feature gives you an excellent starting point for adjusting an image’s exposure. In fact, the ability to coax exceptional dynamic range from your RAW files really does make Photo Ninja stand out and is testament to the potential that Picture Code has tapped into with the software. Just as impressive is the way that Photo Ninja deals with chromatic aberration; colour fringing is banished effortlessly and effectively. It’s fair to say that your RAW files have the potential to look fantastic thanks to the capabilities of Photo Ninja. The big problem

with the software – at least for the time being – is that there are no localised adjustment brushes or graduated filters on offer, which does feel very limiting. So there is no denying that Photo Ninja has some way to go, but Picture Code has certainly made a very promising start.

The specs Company Picture Code Additional specs Mac OS X 10.6 or later Windows XP or later Photoshop CS4 and above

The verdict


Photo Ninja obviously has potential in abundance but there are some areas that need finesse and some very important tools currently missing.

Process a RAW file in Photo Ninja Take a closer look at how this software rescues highlights

Highlight recovery

Colour correction



When an image is loaded from the Inbox, an automated highlight recovery algorithm is performed on the image to improve the dynamic range. The default levels for this can be set to Low, Medium or High.

Unlike Camera Raw, you need to make adjustments one at a time using the options that are listed at the left of the main interface. You can control the white balance and the handling of the recovered highlights.

Start image


Some of the fonts look a bit unrefined, particularly the tip bubbles that appear when you hover over some of the options.

ADJUSTMENT OPTIONS You have to go into each stage of the image adjustment process one at a time and opt to cancel or apply your changes, which is rather different to Adobe Camera Raw.

INBOX The image browser at the bottom of the image is referred to as the Inbox. Double-click on an image here and it will be loaded up into the main interface.

Standout feature Noise Ninja built-in Noise Ninja is a long-standing and popular noise handling plug-in from Picture Code, and has been incorporated into Photo Ninja, so you’ve got the advantage of using a RAW converter with first-class noise reduction built into it. Featuring three different engines, you can juggle speed and quality and Photo Ninja does an exemplary job of dealing with both luminance and colour noise.

VIEWING MODE In addition to the imageediting interface, Photo Ninja has its own built-in browser. You can easily switch between the two at the top of the screen.

Exposure adjustment






The Smart Lighting facility enhances and builds the highlight recovery, intelligently adjusting the exposure to avoid the problem of clipped highlight details. The sliders here replicate those in Camera Raw.

If you come up with a recipe that works, you can save presets to access specific combinations of settings later on. To help, Photo Ninja comes with several content-specific presets already available.

A plug-in can also be installed that allows Photo Ninja to be accessed from within Photoshop. Keep in mind that Photo Ninja can also be used for JPEG files, as it’s not solely intended for RAW.

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USA readers turn to page 64


We put a range of niggling questions to our panel of editing experts!

Meet your experts… Jenni Sanders “In Elements the tools are stripped back to the basics, enabling users to explore their creativity without any added complication.”


Daniel Sinoca “Photoshop Elements has a powerful and incredibly useful batch processing tool to edit multiple images automatically.”

Kirk Nelson “Getting a shot right in camera is always best. But if it’s too late for that, we can fix pretty much any problem once in Photoshop.”

Andre Villanueva “I use Photoshop for all types of visuals, from moody photos to lighthearted shape-based creations.”

Get in touch Share your tips with us on Twitter @PshopCreative Post queries on our Facebook page PhotoshopCreative Alternatively, you can email:


Photoshop Creative

HOW CAN I GET CREATIVE WITH BRUSHES IN ELEMENTS? This is one of the coolest and easiest effects to create in Elements. The best way to turn an ice cream to clouds is using brushes. Search online for a cloud-based brush, or create your own, then find an image of an ice cream cone and open in Photoshop Elements. Start by placing the ice cream cone image and grab the Quick Selection tool to select just

the cone, using Refine Edges to enhance the selection. Now create a new layer, and select the Brush tool. To load a brush, click to open the Brush Preset Picker and then click on the topright menu; select Load Brushes, locate your brush and click Load. Use a large size brush, set the Hardness to 100% and paint the clouds over the cone. Now the effect is completed.

PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS Common problems solved

Andre’s expert edit What are actions in Photoshop?


In the Actions palette, click The Record button is red. Create New Set, name it, then Duplicate, invoke Free click OK. Click Create New Action, Transform, input a 45-degree name it and then hit Record. rotation in the Options bar.




Press the Stop button. Your Now you can press the new action is now complete. Play button when you want Click its name in the Actions palette to replay your action. Here we’ve to select it. played the action a couple of times.

WHAT IS THE GRAPHICS PANEL FOR IN ELEMENTS? You can be very inventive when using the Graphics panel in Photoshop Elements to create travel-inspired collages. There is a large collection of pre-designed frames, background, shapes, text and graphics, and many of them are related to travel or vacations. To open the Graphics panel, go to Windows>Graphics or hit F7. You can choose the designs from the Category menu. Each section has thumbnail examples of the artwork. To add a graphic, double-click it or drag the thumbnail over the canvas. Use the Move tool to relocate the graphic and the Free Transform tool to resize. One cool thing you can add to your composition is the Frames. When you add a frame to a photo project, the frame appears with a blank grey area for the image; just click and select your best shots to create beautiful compositions. Use the layer styles and the warped text to add different effects. Before

HOW CAN I CREATE SIMPLE ILLUSTRATIONS IN ELEMENTS? Select the Shapes tool (U) and a menu opens up displaying a variety of different vector shapes you can use and customise. Different shapes have different options: Rounded Rectangle enables you to change the radius of the corners, Polygon lets you choose how many sides it has, and similarly the Star has options to adjust the number of sides and size of the indent. All of them, though, have a Fill colour and a Style option, which can be used to create cool new effects. The best thing about using vectors is that the colour and style can be adjusted after drawing the shapes by double-clicking on the layer preview. Last but not least are custom shapes. When choosing a custom shape, make sure you change Default to All Elements Shapes to give you more choice. All these shapes can be drawn together to create a simple illustration.

Photoshop Creative


Common problems solved PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS HOW CAN I MAKE MY OWN BRUSHES IN ELEMENTS? A good way to learn this technique is to start with custom shapes. Open Elements and select Expert Mode. Go to File>New>Blank File and create a large canvas for a high-quality brush. Select the Custom Shapes tool (U) and pick a shape. Draw it out as big as the canvas in black. Ctrl/right-click on the layer preview on the right side toolbar and select Simplify Layer. Cmd/Ctrl-click on the layer preview to create a selection – marching ants will appear around your shape – and go to Edit>Define Brush. Here you can rename your brush, and now whenever you use the Brush tool (B), Eraser (E) and Pencil (N), it will appear at the bottom of the brush shapes menu. A brush can be made out of absolutely anything on your canvas in Elements, so have fun experimenting!




If an image has a strong colour cast, there are a number of methods to correct it in Photoshop Elements. In the Quick module, look in the Color adjustment panel and try the Auto button. If those results are not acceptable, the Balance adjustments contain a Temperature and a Tint control that allow for manual correction. A more reliable method is found in the Guided and Expert modules. In the Guided module choose the Remove a Color Cast guide under the Touchups set. The program prompts you to select a region of pure grey, white, or black with the Eyedropper tool. Seeking out a midtone grey usually yields the best results. If the first click doesn’t look good, keep searching for a better spot. In the Expert module go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color Cast to get a similar dialog box that uses the same mechanism for detecting and correcting colour casts.

WHAT ARE CLIPPING MASKS USED FOR IN PHOTOSHOP? A clipping mask is a layer that defines the visibility of other layers. You need at least two layers to create one. The bottom layer will dictate what is visible on the layer above. To create the clipping mask, Opt/Alt-click between the two layers. So, let’s say you have a circle shape on one layer and a texture spanning the whole layer right above it. If you create a clipping mask, the texture will only appear where the circle is. The layers remain independent, so you can use the Move tool to shift each one. You can have any number of layers clipped inside a single clipping mask. Just move another layer right above the topmost clipped layer, then Opt/Alt-click between those layers. Here we’ve used clipping masks to populate a set of flat shapes with photos and texture, adding depth and colour.



Photoshop Creative

PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS Common problems solved

Andre’s expert edit Get creative with Photoshop filters


Go to Filter>Camera Raw Use Flower 5 Preset with Apply a Curves adjustment Pick top layer, merge layers Filter. Adjust Temperature. the Custom Shape tool. Go layer, adjust each Channel. (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E). Under Post Crop Vignetting, slide Place a bokeh image, set to Screen, Go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. Set to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, use 35 Amount to the left. Add an Exposure reduced Opacity. Use a paper scan, to 65%, use 50-300mm Zoom Lens pixel Radius. Go to Filter>Blur>Radial adjustment layer, slide Exposure left. set to Darken, reduced Opacity. Blur, 55 Amount set to Zoom. Type. Set Foreground to #d7b027.




SUN FLARE This flare started with the Flower 5 shape preset, which was rendered hazy with the Gaussian and Radial Blurs.

BORROW BOKEH A bokeh shot (a link to this one can be found with your supplied files) was placed and set to the Screen blend mode. The Opacity was reduced to keep it understated.

VIGNETTE The darkened corners and edges both guide the viewers’ eyes inward and also help contribute to the moodiness.



A Curves adjustment layer tweaks the colouring. Each channel was edited separately to get a Lomo-inspired look.

A lowered exposure via an Exposure adjustment layer helps establish a dark and moody look.

Photoshop Creative


Common problems solved PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS Before

HOW CAN I TAKE CONTROL OF THE EXPOSURE OF IMAGES IN ELEMENTS? If an image is so overexposed that the pixels are completely white, there’s not much you can do. But if the pixels still contain some variation in luminosity, there are many more options. In the Expert panel first make a duplicate of the Background layer. On this copy go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/Highlights. The key setting in this feature is the Lighten Shadows slider. Adjust that until the details in the shadow areas even out. Then use the Darken Highlights and Midtone Contrast to address the brighter areas. This will likely create an area that appears a bit oversaturated and strangely sharpened, almost like a faux HDR effect. If this isn’t the desired effect, use a gradient on a layer mask to hide those regions. Finish the effect by adding a Levels adjustment layer. Pull the sliders inwards to meet the edges of the histogram chart to give additional contrast to the corrected image.

IS THERE A WAY TO EDIT MULTIPLE IMAGES AT ONCE IN ELEMENTS? The Process Multiple Files command in Elements is used to apply edits to a group of images automatically. If you have a number of photos you want to resize, add a watermark to or rename; instead of opening each one and applying the new settings, you can use a single menu command to change the whole folder of pictures or multiple images at once. Go to File>Process Multiple Files. Select the Source files you want to work with, and then select the Destination folder to save your new images. You can also rename the images and choose the compatibility. You can resize and apply quick fixes such as Levels, Contrast, Color and Sharpen to enhance your images automatically. You can add watermarks and convert your files to different formats. After After you apply the changes, just hit OK and let Photoshop Elements do the work for you.



Photoshop Creative

Not just for dummies


A clear, comprehensive series for people who want to start learning about iPhone, iPad, Mac, Photoshop, photography and more

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY Print edition available at Digital edition available at Available on the following platforms





Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS6, works with CS5 Extended and above

What you’ll learn Create and model a range of 3D objects using Photoshop’s tools

Time taken

8 hours

Expert Infinite Skills “Use the 3D tools in Photoshop to create and render high-quality 3D models and animations. Photoshop is not just for editing photos, the 3D tools that you have at your fingertips will allow you to quickly and easily create 3D models. Infinite Skills is a leading creator and provider of project-based computer software training videos.”


Photoshop Creative

Learn 3D modelling Discover how you can use Photoshop to create and model 3D objects, from simple shapes to animations


n this issue’s disc we’re delighted to bring you over eight hours of video tuition from Infinite Skills ( All Infinite Skills courses are available as individually priced downloads (This one is worth $99.95; approximately £60) but you can get an even better deal on Infinite Skills’ exhaustive catalogue of training with their Unlimited Online Learning Library, which costs just $25 per month (around £15) or $250 per year (£150). Updated with new courses every week, it includes tutorials on

everything from graphic design and animation to engineering, programming and certified training courses. The Learning Library is compatible with both Mac and Windows, and if you have an iPad or iPhone you can access it through an app and download clips to view offline. You can track your progress through each course, download work files and best of all, you can view videos in both fullscreen and windowed modes, so you can watch the course and follow along in Photoshop at the same time. Give it a try today!

Share your 3D Photoshop creations

Follow along Learn 3D modelling Discover what you’ll learn in this video course from Infinite Skills

Get started with 3D

Pre-made presets

Your first 3D object




Start by learning the basics of how to use 3D in Photoshop. Here you’ll learn how 3D layers offer a wide range of controls when the Move tool is activated, and discover what those controls are for.

As you begin to use 3D in Photoshop you’ll discover a selection of pre-made meshes (basic structures) for simple objects. On a new layer, go to Mesh from Preset to create a simple shape.

Now you’ll learn how to make a 3D object. Go to the 3D panel, choose 3D Postcard and click Create. A ground plane will appear – that’s the red line at the bottom, indicating 3D space.

Work with 3D text

Warp 3D text



3D text is easy and fun to create. Grab the Type tool and type in your chosen text. With the text layer active, go to the 3D Panel and choose 3D Extrusion. Hit Create. Now you’ll learn how to apply Extrusion Materials to give your text a realistic 3D look.

You can warp 3D text in the same way as warping regular text. Create your 3D text as in the previous step, then go to Warped>Edit Source on the 3D Panel. This will open the Warp Text dialog. Warp your text, save, and it will be applied.

Use Materials presets

Animate 3D objects



Create a sphere via the 3D Panel>Mesh from Preset>Sphere>Create. Double-click the sphere to select the material. Click the Texture Map icon beside Diffuse and select a different material like this green moss texture.

Once you’ve got to grips with creating 3D objects, you can animate them. Make some 3D text then go to Window>Timeline. From the dropdown menu, choose Create video timeline. Now use the stopwatch icon next to the Text layer on the lower left to make keyframes.

Photoshop Creative



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Disclaimer The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. Photoshop is either a registered trademark or trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries and is used with express permission. If you submit material to Imagine Publishing via post, email, social network or any other means, you automatically grant Imagine Publishing an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free license to use the images across its entire portfolio, in print, online and digital, and to deliver the images to existing and future clients, including but not limited to international licensees for reproduction in international, licensed editions of Imagine products. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Imagine Publishing nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for the loss or damage.

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O Último Samurai


The Making Of Aquariun Edvan shares some of his best editing tricks used in this creative composition

Transform layers I added the base layers, including the sky, the model and the water, and then worked out the proportions of each based on the idea I had in mind.

Stranger Paradise

Universo Paralelo

Edvan Lima

We talk tools, textures and mood with Brazilian digital artist Edvan Lima or some artists, discovering Photoshop can What advice can you give to people starting out with Photoshop? be life-changing. Freelancer Edvan Lima


talks to Photoshop Creative about his introduction to Photoshop and how it changed his career path. Find out the techniques behind his favourite image and how he combined texture with stock photos to develop a creative photomontage, which he views as one of the highlights of his work to date. He also shares his advice for artists starting out with Photoshop.

How did it all begin? When a friend of mine introduced me to Photoshop, straight away I saw that I could let my imagination run free. I was practicing and practising until I reached what I know today. I think if it wasn’t for curiosity, I’d still be working as a salesman.

What do you hope to achieve? I always look to portray something unique in my images. I believe that everyone who creates art in Photoshop wants to evoke something in others, a feeling perhaps, no matter what it is.


Photoshop Creative

Never stop practising. Photoshop helps me to relax and play with my imagination, and that relieves the stresses of the day. I found it very difficult at first, so don’t give up.

Do you have any favourite tools? I don’t have a favourite part, as I see Photoshop as a tool where everything works together. I enjoy working with all parts, but especially the Pen and Brush tools, Dodge and Burn, and lots of layers.

What’s your favourite image? I like all my images, they all have a story, but there’s one in particular that I like a lot and that is Aquariun. I created this image because I wanted to do something different. I thought of a story, a guardian of a secluded chateau, which is almost impossible to reach. For more work by Edvan Lima, visit www.

Mask and adjust I applied adjustments to the colours, added tints, and cut out the castle and water. Gradually the image came to life.

Combine with texture The third step is one of my favourites: adding texture. By applying certain effects to the texture and the image, greater realism can be had.

A touch of personality Finally it’s lighting, shadows and defining the overall mood. This is very important to get right. I also added fish to the water and characters around the castle.

A fusion of creativity Brilliant technology. Amazing art. It’s a match that helps deliver great images and videos to creative professionals like you. 30 million images 1.2 million videos 20,000 new ďŹ les added daily

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Photoshop creative issue no 112  
Photoshop creative issue no 112