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PAINT SIMPLE LANDSCAPES Essential techniques for painting textured outdoor scenes

Use real media


Create cool effects

Work up in Photoshop

Produce artwork

PLUSs!of ge

14 pa ers’ Create fractal beginnes animal images guid Get creative with selections Design your own newspaper Drop rain into your photos Manipulate a variety of images Apply spooky ISSUE 132 to create a fantasy world special effects


A ARTISTIC PHOTO EFFECTS Learn how to create a stunning double exposure using photos, blending modes and layer masks


Free step-by-step tutorials online Join thousands of like-minded creatives

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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 material across its entire portfolio, in print, online and digital, and to deliver the material 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.

Making your own resources to use in Photoshop is becoming more and more popular. Most of us like to demonstrate originality in our artwork, and customising assets from the outset is the perfect way to achieve this. Turn to p12 and follow the step-by-step guides that show you how to make your own brushes, textures, backgrounds, gradients, fonts, stock images and actions. And to accompany these practical guides, we have a bumper FileSilo this issue. With 2,000 free resources for you to download, you’ll be inspired to put all those hands-on tips into practice and create your own! The issue is also packed full of creative tutorials, such as compositing a double exposure, making out-of-bounds images, adding special effects with layer masks, designing your own newspaper in Elements, and much more. Enjoy the issue!

© Imagine Publishing Ltd 2015 ISSN 1747-7816

Sarah Bankes Editor




Essentials gallery 06 Readers’ Take a look at what your fellow readers have been up to this issue


Your Photoshop questions answered P90

Tutorials a double exposure 24 Create Mix photos and textures using layer masks and blend modes

challenge 10 Readers’ surreal art with masks 28 Make Enter our competition for a chance Create a fantasy landscape using to win a top prize worth $145!


Feature: Make your own brushes and more Learn how to make your own assets to use in Photoshop

24 Tutorials Start learning new skills this issue with a host of creative tutorials

82 Reviews A Panasonic camera, an Epson printer and a Totally Rad! plug-in

88 Never miss an issue when you Subscribe

essential Photoshop tools

your photos 34 Supercharge Add fire effects to portraits with a range of filters and brushes

how to play with 40 Learn out-of-bounds effects Make a steam train pop out of an image from the past

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

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

a simple landscape 44 Paint Discover how to paint a basic but eye-catching landscape painting

have it delivered (US readers p66)

essentials 90 Q&A Your Photoshop Elements, CS and CC problems solved

94 FileSilo This issue we have a whopping 2,000 free resources for you

98 We talk to Helder Borghi about his Expert interview

surreal work in Photoshop

special effects with 48 Add layer masks Create a sinister effect to transform your portrait shots

creative compositions 52 Build Essential techniques to create a


person swimming in concrete

free resources!

fractal animal art 58 Create Use brushes, layer styles and the Pen tool to make glowing effects

selections creatively to 62 Use make a puzzle face


Jumble up facial features and turn them into 3D segments

Photoshop for beginners Top tips of the best stock-photo 38 10 internet sites Find out which sites you must visit for great stock images

of the best tips for 56 5creative macro effects Learn how to make macro magic with these essential tricks


Photoshop Creative

the Content-Aware 68 Master Fill Move tool Learn how to quickly move subjects in your photos

your own 70 Design personalised newspaper Make your own newspaper using photos and personalised text

composition in 76 Improve your photos Apply the rule of thirds, add a vignette and straighten horizons

multi-coloured hair 80 Create Take ordinary-looking hair and give it a rainbow-style makeover

SUBSCRIBE NOW! rain to your photos 74 Add Create realistic rain effects to apply Turn to page 88 to get this amazing to images for added atmosphere

deal! US page 66



Visit the Photoshop Creative online shop at


for back issues, books an


your own Learn essential skills and techniques for creating p projects osho Phot al origin and oke besp ve resources to achie





24 Photoshop Creative



inspirational round-up of great Photoshop ated by none other than your fellow readers

BE A PART OF IT! first volume digital ‘Hall of Fame’ series is out now! We’re continuing to select our favourite entries from the Readers’ Gallery o showcase in forthcoming volumes. To be in with a chance of being featured, submit your best digital art today!

Jimnah Njue www.photoshopcreative.

Image of the issue “I used the Pen tool a lot on this project, as well as the Soft Light and Color blend modes. I then used the Dodge and Burn tools right at the end of the editing.”

Elissandro Pinto www.photoshopcreative.

“These two pictures were created with the help of a few friends for a Photoshop contest. The main focus for both of them was on all the textures that I integrated into each piece.”


Photoshop Creative

Jim Gade user/Jimmyg

“I gathered the images I needed: the elephant, monkey, water slide tube and water. The water I used for the splashes came from everything from ocean pictures to images of clear splashing water.”

Lisa Bagherpour www.photoshopcreative.

“I love hummingbirds. I already had the picture of them and kept trying to find something that worked well with the image. I wanted something vibrant and summery so I played with these images and found out they worked well together.”

Ocelio Targino user/Ocelio%20Targino

“This composition used a number of contradictory stock images, such as the two subjects, plus the fire and the lightning images, to create a fantasy effect.”

Photoshop Creative


Arvydas Butautas www.photoshop Arvi

“The layers of broken glass in this picture were drawn using the Pen tool, filled with a black and white gradient and duplicated. I then applied two blend modes: Multiply and Overlay.”


Photoshop Creative

Marcos Nogueira Marcos%20%20Nogueira

“This image was based on Japanese traditions of the samurai. It was created for a Photoshop challenge in Brazil and the colours were important to get right in the picture.”

Tibor Nagy Adax

“First I masked out the original picture, then I inserted two different pictures with different blend modes (Normal and Lighten). I colourised it using a sepia-cyan gradient map, and after that I played a little with the colours and Levels.”

Robart Kaeler NOMIE87

“My ideas come from everyday life, what I see and experience. With this image, I wanted to convey how children are manipulated through TV.”

Get in touch Send us your images now for the chance to appear in future galleries Create your own gallery online

Upload your images to Facebook Search PhotoshopCreative

Tweet us your creative artwork @PshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email:

Photoshop Creative


READERS’ CHALLENGE Upload your images to

Challenge entries The best entries and

rs’ Readleen ge Chal ER WINN

overall challenge winner

1 Zoran Bojovic Out of the Box “I managed to use all four of these images, turning the leaf image into my own brush that was then scattered across the sky, to help create this final composition.”

2 Samir Jagtap Limited Freedom “This image used the box image and the girl to form the focus, along with a colourful background to help pad out the image.”

3 Bob Parsi The Sound of Music “I created this piece using all the elements provided. All kinds of techniques were used, including clipping masks, blending, brushes, blurs and much more.”

4 Anita Elder Floating Away “I opted to turn my images into more of a cartoon look, using adjustment levels, blending modes, the Pen tool and more. All four pictures were used for this composition.”


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

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

2 10

Photoshop Creative

We challenged you


In Issue 130, we challenged you to get creative with these four images. You were allowed to use any or all of the pictures, and whatever other resources you chose.




InstantLab Universal

Thewinnerofourchallengethisissue willwinanamazingInstantLabUniversal worth$145,courtesyofTheImpossible Project.TheInstantLabUniversalisa portable,easy-to-use,analoguedevice thattransformsdigitalimagesinto classicPolaroid-typeinstantphotos.It’s compatiblewithiOSandAndroid,and allyouhavetodoisdownloadtheappin ordertogetstarted!

WORTH$145! RUNNERS’-UP PRIZE… Replichrome III: Archive

Aswellasthis,thewinneralongwiththree luckyrunners-upwillreceiveacopyof ReplichromeIII:ArchivefromTotallyRad! ReplichromeIIIincludes183totalpresets basedonrare,expiredandeclecticfilms fromacrosstheworld.


4 Photoshop Creative


STOCK PHOTOS If you’re tired of trawling through stock sites or want something specific, have a go at shooting your own imagery. We have top photography tips, as well as advice on how to keep your shots organised.

r own resources to Learn essential skills and techniques for creating youprojects achieve bespoke and original Photoshop s your projects will

in aking your own resources either in Photoshop or is on later shop Photo into the real world to then take so up opens It ar. popul more and more ing becom to the many possibilities and means you’re not restricted et. intern the on here elsew or shop Photo in tools you find aren’t ble availa fonts and b ushes ometimes you might want eing able to customise your work

M 12

Photoshop Creative

by making your own resources mean to show achieve a higher level of originality. We are going es, textur es, brush own your you how easy it is to make actions. and s photo stock fonts, nts, gradie s, round backg real Whether you’re creating your own effects in the if you’re or shop, Photo to in scan or graph photo to world lf creating some new assets within the progra fun! some have to going you’re

TEXTURES Capture textures from objects around you, whether that be fabric, road surfaces, rusted metal or something even more abstract like macro shots of ornaments or cupboard doors.

BRUSHES Learn how to photograph realworld effects, such as ink splatters and smoke, and turn them into brushes. Plus, transform existing photos into brushes.

FREE RESOURCE S! This issue th ere are mo reso re

urces th assets inclu an ever! The 2,000 de and more fr images, brushes o Head to ww m this feature. w.ďŹ lesilo.c /photosho pcrea download th tive to em!



One of the great differences bet digital art and real media tends to be the lack of random energy that flows from ou physical world. Drops of paint, swirls of smoke, ripples of water… all beautiful in their own right and created by a different set of rules than the mathematical perfection of a machine built on binary codes. To help bridge that gap, digital artists can capture images of real media and use them as assets in their digital wo This approach brings a welcome sense of disorder and energy to any design.

AL-MEDIA SPLATTERS Convert real-media ink splatters into a digital brush in order to add realistic grunge effects to your next project.

A common method of making your own brushes is to create paint or ink splatters using real paint and ink, as we have done here. It’s easy and amazingly effective.

CREATIVE APPLICATIONS Use the splatters as direct paint, with blending modes, or on a layer mask to create a variety of eyecatching effects.

Gather the materials


The materials for good splatter brushes are simple and easy to obtain. Start with a brush, a bottle of black ink, and high-quality cardstock that is thick enough to resist wrinkling when it gets wet with the ink.

Paint splatter


Scan and adjust

Define the brush




Dip the brush into the ink and use a quick flick of the wrist to splash it onto the dstock. It’s surprising just how much the ink splash, so be sure to work in an area where flying ink won’t ruin anything.

hotoshop Creative

Once the ink dries, scan or photograph the cardstock to digitise the splatter. Open the image in Photoshop and go to Image> Adjustments>Levels. Use the adjustment handles to increase the contrast of the image.

Clean up the image with a soft white brush to remove any marks near the image edges. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset and give the new brush a name. Then t will be available in your Brush Preset lib


Black and white splatters

Colour splatters




From the FileSilo, open ‘TexturePaper. jpg’ and ‘PrettyProfile.jpg’. Layer the profile over the texture and add a mask. Use the new splatter brush on the layer mask and vary the Opacity and Angle to start the grunge effect.

Add new layers for black splatters and white splatters. Use the splatter brush to create a chaotic effect around the profile. To get the black ink to fit around her facial features, use the Eraser tool to shape the splats.

Add more layers for colour splatte Experiment with different blend m and layer opacity settings to get various ef Here we used a blonde colour with the ble mode of Color Burn d O ity of 79%.

Turn photos into brushes

Splattered adjustments


Add a Black & White adjustment layer clipped to the profile layer. This desaturates the photo. Now use the splatter brush with black paint on the mask to reveal the colour again in literal splashes of colour!

It can be easy to forget that brushes can be used to enhance any photo, and you might choose to create some specific to a photograph or project you’re trying to enhance, such as this tree. Rather like actions, brushes can be a quick way to apply a shape all over a picture; here, we simply altered the Scattering settings from the Brush palette to create a scattered leaf effect, blowing from this tree.

ADOBE BRUSH APP You can create brushes from all sorts of objects and items. Just by photographing things around you and turning them into brushes with Photoshop, you can build a bank of resources to use in all kinds of projects. Anything at all can be turned into a brush in Photoshop. This smoke, for example, was photographed and used as a brush to make the delicate image below.

Smoke effect

The Adobe Brush app is a great way to create brushes wherever you are. You can place any object onto a white surface, capture, and the app will create a Photoshop brush.



an de the most resting textures.

EXPERT TIP Use default colours

When creating any textures with filters, it’s always a good idea to use default colours (black and white) to get the most traction out of your filters. Begin your textures using a filter that creates something you can easily work with, like Clouds, Fibers or Lens Flare.

The best way to find high-quality, interesting textures and patterns is to simply look closer at the world around yo Almost every physical surface has an interesting texture that might be useful a a digital asset, whether it’s a tree, road, rock or desk. We often overlook these textures simply due to their familiarity. The very chair you are sitting on might have a captivating fabric pattern that could bring an interesting visual element to a digital design. Check out the step-by-step guide below and see how we created eye-catching artwork using the texture from an old armchair!

Start with a photo

Clean up the texture

Layer and clip




Start by photographing some fabric. Find the flattest, tightest area of the fabric to work with. Try to compose the shot with the least amount of perspective and as even lighting as you can manage.

Open the photo in Photoshop and crop the photo down to remove any edge wrinkles. Use the Spot Healing Brush to remove any small spots or stains and a Levels adjustment to create better contrast.

dother effects


With the base effect complete, consider additional effects, like a layer style with a ern Overlay to simulate wrinkles. Or a grey d layer set to Overlay blend mode to use for ge and burning.

hotoshop Creative

LAYER STYLES Creative use of layer styles is a great way to enhance the final appearance of textured elements.

Open the ‘WoodenMap.psd’ file from the FileSilo. Place the fabric texture into the file as a layer and clip it to the World Map layer by going to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. Move the fabric for the best pattern position.

SAVE TIME To avoid re-creating textures, set up as an action. Get the action for this texture on the FileSilo!

Textures can take your imagery to the next level. We’ve shown how you can use photos as textures, but did you know you can make your own within Photoshop? Combining filters can result in some incredible texturing. We’ll show you how to create a texture in just a few steps. We’ll then apply it to a photo for an instant boost. Afterwards, see what you can come up with by using the Filter Gallery to combine multiple effects.



Open up the document that could b from some texture. Create a new lay press D for the default colours (black and w then fill with the Background colour (Cmd/ Ctrl+Delete/Backspace).

oughen the layer


Now let’s roughen the layer. Go to Filter>Render>Fibers. Fibers is a great arting point for filter-borne textures. Set riance to 17 and Strength to 17. You can click ndomize button to shake things up.

TEXTURED ARTWORK This texture was created with just a few filters. Use the recommended settings we give, modify them, or experiment and create your own texture.

nderpainting filter


We’ll follow with another filter. Go to Filter>Artistic>Underpainting. Set Brush Size to 0, Texture Coverage to 40, Texture to Canvas, Scaling to 58%, Relief to 19, Light to Top, and keep Invert unchecked. Click OK.


Once you begin to train your eye to find textures in the world around you, every surface you see becomes a treasure trove of available textures and patterns. Even the most mundane objects can hold a fascinating surface texture that can be used to add depth, realism and visual interest to your digital work. So grab your camera and go for a walk to find some textures. You’ll b at what you find.



An excellent rough texture. Try to get even lighting on the rounded surface of the trunk.

Wonderfully bumpy and evenly coloured, just be sure you et don’t get in the shot!



The pattern of grain and

Me tex to a

Blend it in ome s.


Now it’s time to meld the texture into the image. Use the blend mode drop-down at the top of the Layers palette to test out various modes. Here we used Overlay. If you need to reduce, lower the layer’s opacity.


DETAIL IN IMAGES In recognisable images like this dog, use smaller triangles to achieve the necessary detail.

To create a low-poly effect in Photoshop requires patience, but the final result is worth it. Go to View and check Rulers and Snap. Now go to View>Show>Grid and then Edit>Preferences>Guides, Grid & Slices. In the Grid section choose Style: Lines, set the Gridline Every: 20 pixels, Subdivision: 1 then click OK. Grab the Polygonal Lasso tool and create a triangle. Apply the Average Blur filter to create flat colours for each triangle. Continue creating adjacent triangles and applying the Average Blur filter until you fill your image. Use this technique for eyecatching graphic designs.


PERSONALISE GADGETS Be sure to save your image with the correct screen size. Then plug your device into a computer and copy the image.

POLYGON SIZE The triangular polygon size will vary; try to follow the areas of your image that have specific angles or colours.

oose your tool

Draw the paths

Repeat the steps




Go to File>Open ‘background.jpg’. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it. Now grab the gon Lasso tool. In the Options bar, click the w Selection icon and uncheck Anti-alias to id having any transparency along their edges.

hotoshop Creative

To create the polygons, click the corner of the grid and start creating triangular shapes. When complete, it automatically changes into a selection. To create flat colours go to Filter>Blur and apply the Average Blur.

Make more triangles adjacent to each other. Vary the size and angle. Hit Cmd/ Ctrl+F to re-apply the Average Blur filter. Continue all over the image. When you with the results, hit Cmd/Ctrl+S to sav

Producing your own background is a lot easier than going online and hunting for one. By creating your own, you can design the exact style you are after and reuse it as many times as you like. Discover how to design your own floral background by using the Brush tool, layer styles, custom shape tool and channels in four very easy steps. You can apply this technique with any illustration or even a photograph.



Draw an illustration or use ‘Flower_SI.jpg’. Go to the Channels palett click the Blue one to make a selection. Go to Select>Inverse, duplicate the background layer.

On the duplicated layer, set the Stroke layer style to Size: 1px and Position: Inside. Create a new layer behind the cut-out illustration. Select a soft brush and colour in

EXPERT TIP Use a black pen

After you have drawn your illustration and before you scan it, ready to be used in Photoshop, it’s a good idea to use a black ink pen or ballpoint pen to draw over your illustration. By doing this, you will find that cutting out your illustration is a lot easier.

4. FINISHING TOUCHES Create a green to white gradient behind the image. Select the top layer, Cmd/Ctrl/Alt/Shift+E to merge. Go Filters>Render>Lens Flare, move the plus to the top-left hand corner, change Brightness to 100% and pick 150mm Prime.

3. BOKEH EFFECT With the hexagon Custom Shape tool (U), draw white hexagons. On a new layer, with a soft white brush, dot a few circles. Change Opacity of both layers to 35%.

ADD COLOUR Create a new layer and fill with your favourite colours. You can use the Gradient tool to create an interesting background colour.

Creating seamless patterns in Photoshop is very straightforward. First you need to create a square document. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+N then set the Width to 400px, Height to 400px and click OK. Go to File>Place ‘Ornament.png’ and hit Return/Enter. To create the pattern, go to Filter>Other>Offset. In the Offset window, set the Horizontal to 100px right and Vertical to 100 pixels down, select Wrap Around and click OK. Now go to Edit>Define Pattern, rename it and click OK.

APPLY THE PAT Go to Layer>New Fi In the new layer win In the Pattern Fill wi Scale and then click

multiple ll layers and is the FileSilo!


Gradients let you create blends of colour, which you can unleash upon your artwork. Choose from the plethora of presets or find packs on the FileSilo. Create noise We’ll show you how to start You are able to create noise gradients easily and quickly, just by changing the Gradient with a preset and Type in the Gradient Editor. By doing this, personalise it, altering colour you’ll find that colours are randomly and even adding areas of distributed using your specified colour range. It’s a great way transparency. After naming and to achieve unexpected saving the preset, you can then results. deploy it as a raster fill using the Gradient tool, a non-destructive gradient fill, a layer style or gradient map.



Set up


Set your Foreground/Background colours. Select the Gradient tool. Click the gradient sample in the options bar. Choose the Foreground to Background gradient to blend between those two colours.

GRADIENT FILL A gradient fill layer is perfect for laying out non-destructive colour blends. Add black to the mask to reduce.

Use a gradient map

Not only can you deploy gradients as solid blends of colours, you can apply them to images. Choose a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Pick your gradient. The image’s grayscale range will now be mapped to the gradient’s colours

tthe gradient


The gradient is displayed at the bottom. Use the colour stops below it to edit the urs. Click to add a new stop. To introduce sparency, use the opacity stops above the ient. Slide midpoints to adjust the blend.

hotoshop Creative

Save it


When finished, change the name, then click the New button. Your gradient will be added to the presets. You can now choose it when working with the Gradient tool. You can also use it for Gradient Fill, Overlay and Map.

CU Apply clipping grouped le merge group

FONTS Photoshop isn’t the first program you might associate with creating fonts, but it does have its benefits. By creating high-resolution characters and saving them as a PSD file, you can edit your font easily and adapt it. The other great thing about creating a font in Photoshop is that you’re not limited by monochrome; you can add photos or icons to your characters.

Create the guidelines

Start drawing lines

Draw rounded elements




To create the font, we’re going to need to insert five guidelines (View>New Guide) for the letters to fit into. Place them at 1cm, 5cm, 8cm, 11cm and 15cm respectively. Lower case fits between the middle three.

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+’ to show the Grid and start drawing a letter with the Pen tool. We’re going for an Art Deco font with plenty of individual lines; hold Shift down for perfectly straight lines and drag for curved lines.

Create in the real world Mask further


You can get creative with masking with an Art Deco font; we’ve touched up the intersections of the letter here to create this fancy effect, but you might just want to mask the ends of letters for perfectly straight edges.

Make the rest


With one letter complete, group your lines and go ahead to create a whole alphabet. Duplicate elements of your fon e first letter on low

Making a font can also be a physical process, particularly if you’re into calligraphy or you just want to create a font of your own handwriting. Photoshop can be great for editing individual characters, if you draw out your alphabet and scan it into your computer. Use Select>Color Range to get rid of the white from your scanned letters, so you can place them anywhere.

Use the Elliptical Marquee, holding S to keep a perfectly circular ratio, to c rounded elements of letters. Use the same t to select within your circles, and hit the mask to erase the middle sections.



otos available to you iting stage if you shoot amera’s RAW format. The files e bigger but the results are worth it.

One of the most potentially lucrative resources that you can create for yourself relatively easily is a catalogue of stock imagery. You don’t necessarily have to be the world’s most accomplished photographer to do this, particularly not if you are able to make use of your Photoshop skills to enhance your work. However, it’s not just as easy as pointing your camera at absolutely anything and everything and hoping for the best. Follow th ti to improve your chances of s

Practise gett ing central autofo images in focus. Your cam era’s cu locking onto th s point is usually reliable; e subject with accuracy, and gr being more se eater speed and nsitive in poor light.

Keyword images At the end of the day, all of the effort that you’ve taken to research potential topics, capture strong images and retouch your photos to perfection will be wasted if, when someone asks you if you’ve got a photo depicting love, you cannot find the files in question. The solution to this is keywording. Applications like Bridge and Lightroom are both ideal for this.

hotoshop Creative

USE A ZOOM The most useful bit of kit to have is a zoom lens. It gives you complete compositional flexibility and enables you to capture the widest possible variety of images without the need to change optics.

this can give a’s histogram, as Check your camer about your exposure. Auto ion rfect job you vital informat e usually does a pe es. od m ce lan Ba e tim Whit all at is th e us ce, so of the colour balan

Look at the images use d in editorial pieces online. These are the instances in which you r stock images might be used. Consider theme s and concepts that mi ght have pote

No matter how good your photography skills, your images will almost always benefit from some time in Photoshop. The basic Exposure and White Balance sliders are obvious starting points, but you should also consider boosting contrast and adding local contrast enhancement in the form of the Clarity slider. A little extra Saturation can also help, but be cautious here, as you don’t want to end up with garish results. Finally, consider adding a little bit of extra sharpening.

ACTIONS Many of us would welcome the ability to speed up our workflow, and this is where recording actions comes in. Actions can speed up your workflow dramatically. You’ll find an array of actions online, but creating your own will inevitably have its advantages, as you can be more specific to suit your personal requirements. Actions are shortcuts for commonly used tasks that you find yourself needing to perform time and again, such as quick sharpening or photo-editing techniques, but they’re also useful for making all kinds of long, laborious tasks flash by. Most commonly, actions are used for making edits to photos, such as applying a retro filter. Record the process once and you have it ready to apply to other pictures with just one click.

EXPERT TI Common uses

It’s not just creative photo-editing ta that actions can have a role in, althou they can be useful for cutting out th repetitive effort of sharpening, blurr or adding a vignette. Actions can a be used for resizing your images or saving in a certain format.

Create a new set ACTION PANEL


Click on the arrow icon on the right-hand menu and in there, you’ll find all of your actions. Click the Create New Set button: this is where you can store actions. These ones are going to be a set of retro filters for photos.

Use the Actions panel on the right-hand side to store all your action sets and return to them when you need them.

Create a new action

Build your action

Hit Stop




You create actions within the set. Click the Create New Action icon: from here, you can also choose to give your action a keyboard shortcut and assign it with a colour for e of use. Hit Record to get started.

Edit your photo, and the action will record what you do. Remember that any edit you make specifically to your photo will not work on other pictures. For retro actions, stick to the Filter menu and Adjustments.

When finished, g palette and click save. Think of actions as t action to do little things a things, such as setting a

Tutorial Create a double exposure On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.


Create a double exposure

Andre Villanueva

Mix photos and textures using layer masks and blend modes to create a nature-themed, double-exposure portrait

Essentials Works with




What you’ll learn How to blend photos with layer masks and blending modes

Time taken


“Blending images is one of my passions, whether it’s thematically linked photos or wild juxtapositions. I remember learning how to use layer masks and dreaming of the possibilities for imagery, especially when allying with blend modes. I discovered Photoshop when studying web design. I’m now art director for a tech company, soothing my inner instructor by sharing techniques with readers.”


ayer masks are one of the cornerstones of creative Photoshop imaging. Without them, we’d be hard-pressed to blend imagery with any degree of subtlety or elegance. A mask attaches to a layer and enables you to add black to it to hide parts of the layer. You can then paint back with white to reveal. When using a soft-edged brush or smooth gradients, you can fade the edges of boxy photos to make seamless transitions. When you add in the power of blend modes, which alter the rules whereby a layer blends with the image below, you have the ability to make just about any type of merge.

Here we’re inspired by the double-exposure imagery that’s so popular these days. Marrying two (or more) images via masks and blend modes can be just what your next project needs. Use compatible images or even unlikely pairings to form presentations. In the tutorial, we’ll mix a model with wildlife and forest imagery to create a nature-themed portrait. Textures and various adjustments will be recruited to make sure everything meshes just right. After completing the tutorial, try using your own choice of images and be sure to upload your creations to your free Photoshop Creative gallery.

Blend the forest


Open ‘Start.psd’ from the FileSilo. Go to File>Place (Place Embedded in CC) and grab ‘Forest.jpg’. Situate it at the bottom and confirm. Set blend mode to Hard Light. Click the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers palette. Select the Brush tool. Paint black with a Soft Round brush at 60-80% Opacity to blend.


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Add a waterfall


Start image

Next, place ‘Waterfall1.jpg’ and confirm. Set the blend mode to Subtract (try Exclusion if you don’t have that mode). Drop Opacity to 50%. Add a layer mask, as in the first step, then paint black at 40-60% Opacity to reduce on the model.

Mountain and trees


Place ‘Mountain.jpg’ in the upperright section. Option/Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate, move down a bit with the Move tool, and set the blend mode to Darken. Paint white in both masks at 40% Opacity to add trees. Paint black to remove excess.

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Tutorial Create a double exposure Experttip Mastering composition In creative writing, it’s often a good idea to write your first draft freely. Just write; let your words come out without excessive censure, then edit and fine-tune later. Exactly the same can apply to creative imagery. Just start blending and layering, letting intuition guide you. Your main goal is to get the base composition as you want it. You can refine adjustments, masking and positioning afterwards. The more you do it, the easier this process can become.


Place ‘Tree.jpg’, set the blend mode to Pin Light, position to get a part of the tree on top of the model’s head, then confirm. Rotate with Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) if needed. Option/Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button. Paint back with white at 60% Opacity to add.


Place ‘Birds1.jpg’, set to Hard Light, and position in the left central area and confirm. Place ‘Birds 2.jpg’, set to Hard Light, position to the right of the model and confirm. For each, select the layer and Option/Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button. Paint white at 40-60% Opacity to add.


Add some texture

Insert woods and deer




Place ‘Waterfall2.jpg’, set to Hard Light, and position on the right side of the model’s head before confirming. Add another Hide All layer mask (Option/Alt+click the Add Layer Mask button). Paint white at 60-80% Opacity to add.

Place ‘Woods1.jpg’ and confirm. Drop Opacity to 10%. Place ‘Sky1.jpg’ and confirm. Set both layers to the Color Burn blend mode and add layer masks to them. Paint black at 60-80% Opacity to reduce the effect.

Place ‘Woods2.jpg’, set to Overlay, position to the left of the centre and confirm. Place ‘Deer.jpg’. Position on the model’s body and confirm. Add a Hide All layer mask to both layers. Paint white at 60-80% Opacity to add back.


Use the Divide mode



Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button located in the Layers palette and choose Hue/Saturation. Slide Saturation all the way left to -100. Paint black at 60-80% Opacity to reduce, bringing back some colour.


Introduce some birds

Place a tree

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Place ‘Sky2.jpg’ and confirm. Set the blend mode to Divide (try Linear Dodge if you don’t have that mode). Drop Opacity to 70%. Add a layer mask, then paint black at 40-80% to reduce.

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Use texture

Add a cool colour



Place ‘Texture.jpg’ and confirm. Set the blend mode to Hard Light and drop Opacity to 20%. Add a layer mask. Press Cmd/Ctrl+j to duplicate. Set the duplicate’s blend mode to Vivid Light. Paint black at 30-60% on each mask to reduce.

Increase saturation

Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette, and choose Solid Color. Pick #126fcd. Set the blend mode to Hue. Click the mask and press Cmd/Ctrl+I. Paint white at 30-60% to add a bit of coolness to the right side.


Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette and choose Hue/Saturation. Increase Saturation to +10. Next, add a Levels adjustment layer. Set the blend mode to Soft Light and drop Opacity to 75%. Paint black in each mask at 20-40% to reduce.

Adjust Color Balance

Add more colour



Photoshop only: Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer button’ in the Layers palette and choose Color Balance. Set Midtones to (from top to bottom): 0, +24, +100. Duplicate with Cmd/ Ctrl+J. Adjust the duplicate to: 0, +100, 0. Paint black at 40-60% in each mask to reduce.

Add a Color Fill layer (#c1c720) and set the blend mode to Color Burn. Add two others (#16adf0 – Color Dodge, #9bafe0 – Color Burn). Drop the third Color Fill to 10% Opacity. For the first two, click on each mask and Invert (Cmd/Ctrl+I). Paint white at 20-50% to add.

What can go wrong Blending correctly When creating a double exposure (or if you’re simply blending multiple images together), you need to be able to really scrutinise your work. Zoom in and out and sweat the details. If you see any chinks in the armour of your illusion, it’s crucial to shore them up. Layer masks factor heavily when blending images. Using the right brush to paint on a layer mask is key. A Soft Round brush at a fairly large size can be great for getting a good amount of transitional fading. Adjust the size and/or hardness for detail work, and be ready to swap the Foreground colour between black and white to hide and reveal respectively. Inspect all edges to ensure they’re properly faded.

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Essentials Works with




What you’ll learn Manipulate different images with adjustment layers and simple masks

Time taken

2 hours

Exper Daniel Sinoca “I enjoy creating surreal worlds using simple tools, and you can transform and blend images using just masks and adjustment layers. I started to get involved in the digital world more than 10 years ago and have been working as a freelance artist ever since, creating all kinds of multimedia projects and tutorial guides.”


Photoshop Creative

Make surreal art with masks Create an incredible fantasy landscape using basic Photoshop tools


n this tutorial you’ll learn basic techniques to create an entire surreal landscape from scratch. We’ll work with multiple images and show you how to edit them using adjustment layers, layer masks and basic tools. You’ll learn how important layer masks are when it comes to making elements blend together. We’ll take a look at how Levels, Hue/Saturation and Color Balance adjustment layers can be used to make tonal corrections.

In addition to that, you’ll learn how to work with embedded and linked Smart Objects. Remember to take a look at the Expert Tip to discover the difference between them. Finally, you’ll work with basic selections and painting tools to create this fantastic landscape scene. Visit the FileSilo to download all of the images to get started, master our techniques and then apply to your own images!

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

Set the stage

Place the first image



Go to File>New (Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Surreal Landscape. Set the Width to 460mm, the Height to 190mm, the Resolution to 300ppi, then click OK. Now that the stage is ready, let’s start by placing our chosen images.

Go to File>Place (Embedded) and add ‘Sky.jpg’. On the tool option bar, set the Width to 170%, align the image and hit Return/Enter. Now go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Levels. Set the Midtone Input Level to 0.70.

Work with masks


Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Night Sky.jpg’. Scale the image and hit Return/Enter. Go to Layer>Layer Mask> Reveal All. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a large, soft brush, set the Opacity to 20% and gently start painting to blend the image. Now set the layer’s Opacity to 80%.

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Tutorial Make surreal art with masks Experttip Place Smart Objects Since Photoshop CC, you have had the option to Place Embedded or Place Linked Smart Objects. But, what exactly is the difference between them? Basically, Place Embedded places the Smart Object inside the Photoshop file, so if you want to make changes you have to open the PSD file to edit it. However, the Place Linked option puts a link to an external file so you can directly edit the file and Photoshop will update every time you change it.

Place the moon

Create the planet ring



Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Moon.jpg’. Resize it around 55% and hit Return/Enter. Change the blend mode to Screen and Fill to 60%. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Clip the layers (click on the first icon at the bottom of the Properties panel). Set the Input levels to 40, 1.20, 255.

Add a layer mask


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input levels to 40, 1.10, 255 and clip the layer. Now create a layer mask. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a small, soft-tip brush and paint over the mask to hide part of the ring, to make it look like it surrounds the moon.

Refine edges


Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Landscape.jpg’ and hit Enter. Grab the Quick Selection tool and select the mountains. Now go to Select>Refine Edge. Set Smooth to 25, Shift Edge to -100%. Choose ‘Output to layer mask’ and click OK.

Place the statue head


Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Statue.jpg’. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the head. Create a layer mask and again use a soft-tip brush (B) to blend the hard edges with the mountain.


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Now go to File>Place ‘Planet ring.jpg’. On the tool option bar, set the Width to 50% and the Height to 5%, rotate the image around 45 degrees and then place over the moon. Now go to the blend modes and set it to Screen.

Bring in more images


Go to File>Place (Embedded) and add ‘Mountain.jpg’. Grab the Lasso tool (L) and select around the mountain. Now create a layer mask and use a soft-tip brush (B) to brush away the hard edges.

Correct the colour


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Set the Hue to 0, Saturation: -14 and Lightness: +9. Add a Levels adjustment layer and set the Input levels to 0, 1.00 and 211. Finally, add a Color Balance adjustment layer. Choose Tone: Midtones, Cyan/Red +38, Magenta/Green -14, Yellow/Blue -25 and check Preserve Luminosity.

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Add another image

Place the waterfall

Bring in the columns




Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘River. jpg’. Add a layer mask and brush away the hard edges, the sky and the mountains. Now let’s boost the colours. Go to Layer> New Adjustment Layer>Vibrance, clip the layer and set the Vibrance to +50.

Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Waterfall.jpg’. Grab the Lasso tool (L). Select the waterfall and create a layer mask. Drag the image to the bottom left. Now add a Levels adjustment layer, clip it and set the Input levels to 0, 1.25 and 230.

Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Columns.png’. Resize the image and then place it over the waterfall. Create a layer mask and then with a soft brush mask the bottom of each column to ensure it blends with the rocks.

Use shadows

Place the linked file



Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Fill. Set colour #796447 and click OK. Add a layer mask. Grab a small, soft brush and paint the top and the front area of each column. Add a Levels adjustment layer, clip the layer and set the Input levels to 0, 1.00 and 220.

Go to File>Place (linked) ‘Tree.psd’. Go to Window>Properties and choose Edit Content (the original image will open as a separate PSD file). Go to Window>Channel. Select the Blue channel and duplicate it by clicking and dragging over the Create New Channel icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Make adjustments Adjust the channel


Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to open the Levels. Set the Input levels to 172, 0.70, 247 and click OK. Press F7 and go to Select>Load Selection. Choose Channel: Blue copy, check Invert and click OK. Now add a layer mask and save the image (Cmd/Ctrl+S).


Free transform


Go back to the Surreal landscape file. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to open the Free Transform command. Scale the image, rotate and place over the waterfall. Add a layer mask and hide the tree base.

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Set Hue: -30, Saturation: -46 and Lightness: +4. Add a Color Balance adjustment layer. Choose Tone: Midtones, Cyan/Red +25, Magenta/ Green -11, Yellow/Blue +5 and check Preserve Luminosity. Boost the colour using a Vibrance adjustment layer. Set Vibrance: +75 and Saturation: +14.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Make surreal art with masks

Create a light source

Place more images

Complete the landscape




Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N) and name it Light. Grab the Paint Bucket tool (G) and fill it with black. Go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. Choose 105mm Prime, Brightness: 110% and hit OK. Go to Filter>Blur and apply a 50% Gaussian Blur. Change the blend mode to Screen.

Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Rock. jpg’. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the rock. Add a layer mask and move the image to the bottom right. Now go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Camels. png’, ‘Tree2.png’ and ‘Eagle.png’. Resize and place over the rocks.

Load brushes

Add final touches



Select the Brush tool (B) and press F5. Click Brush Preset. Click the upper-right menu and pick Load Brush. Select ‘Brush pack’ and hit Load. Create a new layer. Set the Foreground colour to white and add some little splashes over the waterfall.

Expert tip Add shadows & highlights You can use neutral layers to add extra shadows or highlights to your images. To create a neutral layer go to Layer>New>Layer. In the dialog box, name it Neutral layer, check ‘Use previous layer to create a clipping mask’, change the Mode to Overlay, check ‘Fill with overlay-neutral colour (50% gray)’ and hit OK. Now grab the Dodge/Burn tool (Shift+O). On the tool option bar set the Range to Midtones and use a low Exposure of around 25%. Vary the brush size and gently start painting with the Dodge tool to add the highlights, and the Burn tool to add the shadows.


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Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Temple.jpg’. Grab the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the temple. Add a layer mask and brush away the hard edges to blend with the trees. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set Hue to 0, Saturation to -25 and Lightness to +3.

Create a new layer and use the Starburst brush over the tree. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set Radius to 40 pixels and then change the layer’s Opacity to 70%. Now go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Lookup. Click Load Devicelink Profile and pick Smokey. Set the layer’s Fill to 60%.

Tutorial Supercharge your photos


Photoshop Creative

Check out the latest blog On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Essentials Works with




What you’ll learn Use the Render Flame filter and incorporate it into compositions

Time taken

3 hours

Exper Mark White “There are so many different superpowers that you can create in Photoshop – you might want to assemble a team of heroes with different effects using photos of your friends. I love fiery effects in Photoshop because they really grab your attention. As senior staff writer on Photoshop Creative, I’ve learned all kinds of quick tips to help with even the most impressive-looking effects.”

Use filters and brushes to turn an ordinary portrait into a dazzling, fiery superhero composition


ost of us have had a conversation at some point about which superpower we’d love to have. Photoshop is a kind of superpower itself: it supercharges your imagination and enables you to create things that you never thought possible before. The appeal of superhero effects is clear to see. They are vibrant, exciting and demand your attention from the offset. Fiery effects are just as thrilling, and the warm shades can ignite any portrait with a passionate blaze of colour. Photoshop CC’s Render Flame filter is perfect for adding simple blazes to your work; the truly

creative side of this project is how you use it and what you do with it. The Liquify tool is capable of twisting licks of flame into fantastical shapes, and adding sparks and colour effects can really bring a picture to life. At its essence, creating a superhero like this is simply a lighting tutorial. The skill comes with applying the yellow brushwork on the reflection of your subject and judging the overall light in the picture. It’s a stunning effect if you study exactly where the light should fall in your picture. Let’s delve into how to add superhero effects to your portrait and reveal techniques you can use in other images.

Cut out your subject

Insert your background

Make a flame




Open ‘superhero_before.psd’. If using your own image, photograph your subject (or find an image of someone) raising a hand. We’ve used an image where the subject has a flat palm to place the effect onto. Use Quick Selection to cut the subject out and Refine Edge to tidy edges.

Open ‘City.jpg’ to add a background. We’ve chosen a dark city to enhance the flame effect and evoke the superhero spirit. Over the background, add a new layer with 20% Opacity and paint an area of black with a big soft brush around the subject, so she stands out more.

Grab the Pen tool and make a basic ‘S’ shape resembling a flame, like we have. Go to Filter>Render>Flame, and choose One Flame Along Path, adjusting width and colour to suit the effect you’d like to create. CS users can use yellow and white brushes to create a similar effect.

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Tutorial Supercharge your photos

Layer structure A breakdown of the process

Camera Raw

Swirl with Liquify Final adjustments



Head to Filter>Liquify. This is where you can create swirly effects for your fire; you can be as realistic as you like, or simply create fantasy-like effects. Pick the Forward Warp option, and simply push the flame wherever you want it to go. Use the Smooth tool to correct.

Add sparks


A nice touch with any fiery image is to place sparks into the flames (File>Place). You can find brushes all over the internet that create spark effects, and you can download some royalty-free ones from WeGraphic (

Glowing hand




Recolour the hand



Once you’ve built up a good collection of fire layers, group them and click the mask icon. Using a soft, black brush, mask the fingers back into the picture. Don’t mask up to the edges, to help suggest the fire swirling around the hand.

Build up colour

Enhance the eyes



Soft Light and Overlay reflect colour, Hard Light absorbs. Add layers with yellow shades in places that would reflect on the subject, and add black in places you want to darken. Reduce these layers in opacity and set to Soft Light and Overlay. Add clipping masks for these layers.


Mask fingers in

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Give your subject bright, comic book-like eyes by adding a Curves layer and tweaking the individual channels, before masking just over the irises. Alternatively, you can download our set of actions from the FileSilo, press Play on one and simply mask in the colour.

With a soft brush selected, hit Alt/ Opt and select a yellow from your fire. On a new layer, brush over the hand and set your layer to Soft Light, Opacity: 75%. Duplicate this layer, reduce to 30% and set to Hard Light. This will make the hand glow.

Recolour the hair


As you’ve altered the colour of the eyes, you might also want to edit the hair. Bright hair suits comic-style heroes, so use the same Curves and masking technique as you did for the eyes. Clip this layer to the subject layer to avoid bleed.

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Add smoke

Apply more shading



Add a new layer and fill with white, making sure you have black and white selected in your swatches. Go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Hit the mask icon on your clouds and then Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Turn the layer to Screen, 25% Opacity and mask in over the fire to create smoke.

We’re going to step up the shading by creating another new layer, selecting a big, black, soft brush and painting over the subject where the fire wouldn’t reflect. Reduce this layer to 25% Opacity, duplicate and set to Soft Light.

Make adjustments

Add an HDR effect and sharpen



To tweak the colour of the picture, add a Curves layer similar to this one. Add a Warming Photo Filter (20% Density), a Soft Warming Colour Lookup, a black-to-white gradient map set to Soft Light, and a Vibrance layer of +75.

Finally, press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E to merge all layers to one. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to Desaturate, and change to Overlay, 25% Opacity for a subtle HDR look. Merge all layers again, go to Filter>High Pass, Radius 2.5 and set layer to Linear Light, 60% Opacity to sharpen.

Closer look Add superhero effects ADJUSTMENTS Your adjustments should create a dark and eerie tone, as they have here; be sure not to make your picture too bright or vibrant to avoid a whimsical tone.

EYE/HAIR COLOUR Your eye and hair colour should complement the overall tone of the picture; the red of this subject’s hair reflects the colour of the fire well.

FLAMES You can create flames of any colour using the Render Flames tool, but the most natural-looking are the preset orangey-yellow fire settings. Add a gradient map to tweak this shade.

FIRE REFLECTION The reflection of the fire should be most prominent on your subject’s chest, under their neck and on their face. Avoid brushing yellow reflection anywhere else.

Photoshop Creative




stock photo sites to source images

Improve projects with high-quality pictures

02 ADOBESTOCK Launched this year, Adobe Stock is the perfect answer for CC users because it allows you to try photos in projects before you buy. Plans start from £19.99/$29.99 a month.

03 PIXABAY Pixabay has over 440,000 images and most of them are really very high quality. The licenses can vary, but it’s all completely free, and it also contains images from other top sites, such as Unsplash.

01 SHUTTERSTOCK With over 60,000,000 incredible images, Shutterstock is perhaps the leading stock site on the web. Prices start from £32/$49 for five photos.

04 STOCKSNAP StockSnap has a search bar for scouring through the shots. There are hundreds of uploads every week, so there are always new ones to find.





If you’re working on a vintage project, New Old Stock is the site for you; it collects vintage photos of yesteryear, completely clear of known restrictions – and it’s all free!

SplitShire is completely free and contains various different categories of stock images, including some mockups, and even a few low-poly backgrounds.

Snapwire uploads seven free images every week. They’re mostly of landscapes, and there’s even a button to contribute your own to the site if you’re a budding photographer.




Dutch photographer Folkert Gorter’s Superfamous site consists mostly of aerial photographs, which are all free to use in projects, so long as Superfamous is credited.

Ryan McGuire’s Gratisography offers free images every week, mostly consisting of subjects in quirky situations. Every image has a download icon hovering over it.

Tookapic is a stock site that includes both free and premium pictures. You are able to filter between the two, and even search specific categories.

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Available from all good newsagents and supermarkets





ON SALE NOW > Paint like a pro > 15 secrets for success > Expert type techniques > Perfect lighting RETOUCHING





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

Tutorial Play with out-of-bounds effects


On the FileSilo

Works with

Download your free resources at www.filesilo. Elements



What you’ll learn Use layers and masks, Shape properties, blend modes and adjustments

Time taken

1 hour

Exper Kirk Nelson “I love crafting images that are impossible to take with a camera. Out-of-bounds images are lots of fun, and spark the imagination. I’m a pro graphics artist with nearly 20 years of experience in photomanipulation and digital illustration. At the heart of it, though, I’m just your friendly neighbourhood graphics geek.”


Photoshop Creative

Createafuneffectofatrain driving right out of a vintage photo


he very idea of a photograph being a window into a different place and time is fun and intriguing. It’s certainly tantalising to think about what it would look like if that window could be breached, and objects could pass from one world into another. The bigger and bolder the object, the more fun the idea becomes. In this project we explore the concept of having a vintage train break through from an old photograph into a modern world. Photoshop lets us bring that type of fantasy to life with a few simple photomanipulation

techniques. The basic approach is to use a vintage train photo and cut away enough of it so it appears that the massive steel locomotive has emerged from a flat photo. The addition of a white border photo frame provides the visual cue that the photo is a physical piece of material that somehow spawned a train! To make the effect believable, we will use a sepia tone to indicate the vintage photo and differentiate it from the modern environment. The techniques are not difficult, and once you use them here, we hope you will use them on your own images to make all sorts of out-of-bounds fun!

Download free resources here

Work on the railroad


Open up both ‘BlurryCity.jpg’ and ‘Tracks.jpg’ from the FileSilo. Layer the track image over the city image. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool to create a selection around the tracks and the platform. Use that selection as a layer mask.

Enter the train


Open up the vintage train image, ‘steam-locomotive-588647.jpg’, and position it as a layer above the tracks. Use Edit>Free Transform to scale and position the train image to fit on the tracks. Use the tracks in front of the train as a reference for positioning.

Add a picture frame


Use the Rectangle tool with a white stroke of about 10pt and no fill, to draw out a box for the photo frame. Use the Edit>Transform>Perspective tool to add a touch of perspective to the frame to make it fit better in the scene.





Duplicate the train layer and move the copy above the frame, then hide it. Click on the original train layer to make it active. Then Cmd/Ctrl+click on the picture frame layer to create a selection. Use that selection as a layer mask on the train layer.

Now select the Pen tool set to Path and then take your time to carefully trace along the outline of the train engine. The Pen provides a smoother selection around curves and mechanical objects than any other tool in Photoshop. (Elements users can use the Quick Selection tool.) Use the path as a vector mask around the train layer.

Darken the tracks

Add night lights



Add a Curves adjustment layer over the tracks. Clip it to the tracks layer with Layer>Create Clipping Mask. Then deepen the curve to dramatically darken the track layer. Elements users should use a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.

Now add a new Solid Color fill layer above the Curves layer and clip it. Use a dark blue colour of #2f405c, set the blend mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 74%. This helps to give the tracks a night-time hue.

Reveal some steam


Copy the train layer. Delete the copy’s vector mask. Desaturate this layer with Image>Adjustments>Desaturate (Elements: Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color). Hold the Alt/opt key while adding a new mask then use a soft white brush on the mask to reveal the steam around the wheels.

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Tutorial Play with out-of-bounds effects Experttip No shape stroke Elements doesn’t have the same shape properties as Photoshop, so you can’t use the Shape tool for the frame. Instead, draw out the selection using the Rectangular Marquee tool. Use the Select>Transform Selection and hold down Cmd/Ctrl to drag the corners and add perspective. Fill the selection with white and use Select>Modify>Contract to reduce by 50 pixels. Finally hit Delete to remove the inner portion and leave the outer frame.

Insert the vintage photo

Treat the transition



Clip a Black & White adjustment layer to the train layer that is within the photo frame. Check the Tint option for the adjustment layer and use a sepia tone (#e1d3b3). This gives the photo an older, vintage appearance.

Place a train shadow

Let off more steam



Add a new layer for the train’s shadow under the engine layer, but above the photo frame layer. Then use the Soft Round brush with black paint to paint in dark shadows underneath the train. Reduce the brush Opacity to 50% so you can build up the shadows gradually as you paint.

A good cloud of steam will add some drama to the shot, plus help the transition between the train and the tracks. Open the ‘Steam1.jpg’ file and layer it over the train layer along the front wheels. Change the blending mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 56%.

Add steam at the front


Use the ‘TopSteam.jpg’ file from the FileSilo to layer in steam coming from the top stack at the head of the train. Change the blending mode to Screen and use a layer mask to remove the hard edges and fit the steam to the rest of the image.

Work on the headlights

Form the cone of light



Add a new layer for the headlights. Use the Elliptical Marquee tool to create a selection around one of the headlights. Then add to this selection with the Polygonal Lasso tool to create a cone shape in front of the train.


The transition between the colour effects is too abrupt, so use a soft, round brush on the mask of the Black & White adjustment layer. Paint with black to soften the transition.

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Use a Radial gradient going from a pale blue (#bae0ee) to transparent to fill the selection and form the cone of light. Cancel the selection, use a Gaussian Blur of 25 pixels and set the blending mode to Overlay. Then copy the layer to form the second headlight effect.

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Adjust ground effects

Add even more steam

Apply extra effects




The headlights need to look like they are shining on the dark ground in front of the train. Go to the Curves layer that is clipped to the tracks layer and use a soft brush on the mask to remove the darkening effect inside the cones of light.

What you’ll learn

Add in more steam layers to give the entire scene more life and atmosphere. Not only does the steam effect enhance the overall image, but it also serves well to hide the difficult transitions between the train and the background.

Putting it all together

Finish off the piece by adding your favourite finishing effects. We added a Dodge and Burn layer to enhance the shadows and highlights, then created a merged layer and used the Camera Raw filter to add clarity, vibrance and a vignette.

THE STEAM The added steam images are what really add to the illusion of realism in the overall scene. Pay attention to how the steam reflects the transition between classic and modern.

ORIGINAL PHOTO It’s critical to start with an original photo that contains the entire object in the original setting. In this case it was the classic locomotive.

MODERN CITY The choice of colour palettes is intentional. The warm sepia tone is visually offset by the cooler toned lights of the city backdrop.

VINTAGE PHOTO By adding a sepia tone and a white border, the effect of the photograph is unmistakable. But making the shape have a slight perspective cements it as part of the scene.

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Credit: thinboyfatter

Tutorial Paintasimplelandscape Reference images Credit: Jeffrey Beall



Works with

Download your free resources at www.filesilo.




What you’ll learn


Paint a simple landscape

Rebekka Hearl

Learnessentialtechniques for painting your favourite scenery with thiseasy-to-followdigital-painting tutorial

Use brushes, choose colours and discover basic painting techniques

Time taken

2 hours

“I thoroughly enjoy painting landscapes, and my favourite Photoshop tool is definitely the Brush tool. I also illustrate stories in my spare time. I’m a designer, illustrator and animator, and have been using Photoshop since I was young. As the designer of Advanced Photoshop magazine, I’m happy it’s now part of my day job.”


Photoshop Creative


f your interest in digital painting has ever led you to browse the internet for the work of established digital artists, you may have stumbled across a stunning landscape painting or two – or more likely a few hundred! It’s a very popular subject among concept artists, and you can find some absolutely stunning examples. Although, depending on how you look at it, you might find this work to be very inspiring, or very intimidating. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, this tutorial is a great place to start.

Before you begin, you’ll find it useful to have a photo to hand – one you have taken yourself (perhaps while on holiday) is a good choice. We’ve included a few on the FileSilo that inspired us to paint this piece and make good reference images. We’ll cover the landscape basics here: which colours to choose, how to best prepare your digital painting, and how to paint trees and mountains using textured brushes. We’ll also touch on a few more advanced techniques, such as how to give your work a sense of depth and perspective.

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Choose your colours


Before we begin, we must prepare! Create a new canvas at 2800 width and 5300px height, and decide on your colour palette. We’ve selected a natural colour range of greens and blues.

Arrange the palette

Ready your brushes



Use the Color Picker to select a deep, saturated green; create a new layer, and use a hard brush to draw a circle. Select the next colour (a little bluer, a little brighter), and draw a circle for that, too. Repeat until you have two blue-white colours in your palette.

We’ll be using two brush presets to paint our trees: a textured brush and a leaf brush. To use the leaf brush, load up Photoshop’s Special Effects brush set, and find the brush called Falling Ivy Leaves (83 pixels). Open up Brush Settings and turn off the Scatter setting.





Start the basic sketch of your landscape painting. Use the textured brush and your darkest colour to draw a straight line across your canvas, which will indicate the top of your landscape’s horizon. Plan out each ‘layer’ of trees (which should get thinner as they get closer to the horizon line).

Sketch the trees


Using your leaf brush (83 pixels) and the darkest green, sketch in the first layer of trees in the foreground. Draw in sharp peaks and troughs to make the trees look tall and thin. Then select a Hard Round brush (100px) and fill in the trees.

Create a new layer beneath your sketch, fill it with blue, then create a new layer above that. Starting from the horizon line and working your way to the foreground, lay down the basic colours. Use a normal hard brush at 200px, and your second lightest blue-white.

Add some leaves

Repeat the process



Now select the textured brush (83px) and use it to draw over the basic tree outlines you’ve just drawn. Define a recognisable tree shape as you draw. Try drawing in zig-zag motions as you move down the tree, sketching left to right to draw leafy branches.

Create a new layer below, select the next, lighter colour in the palette, and repeat the process, but make sure the trees aren’t as steep. If you’re using CC, you can quickly select the leaf brush from the Brush window. If you’re using CS6 or earlier, use the History window.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Paint a simple landscape Experttip Don’t stick to your sketch Remember your sketch is there to guide you, not control everything you do. Your final product doesn’t have to match your initial sketch. You’ll find it rewarding to look back at your original, messy sketch, and compare it to your final work. See how you expanded upon your ideas as you went, how you made it better than you first imagined. Allow yourself the creative freedom to experiment! The same also goes for any reference photos you use.

Finish off the foreground

Start the middle ground



Repeat the last step, remembering to select the next brightest colour in your palette, and make sure that the trees you draw aren’t quite as tall. Be sure to taper the trees using a textured Eraser brush for a more natural-looking finish. And your foreground is done!

Sketch smaller trees

Draw a hill



Forego the leaf brush in favour of the textured brush and eraser (50 pixels) and, much like we did with the foreground trees, sketch in some more defined tree shapes. Again, make them smaller than you did in the previous layer, and use the textured eraser to refine their shapes.

Create a new layer below, select the next brightest colour and the leaf brush (50px), and draw a hill on that side, too. Make sure it overlaps with the trees on the above layer to give it depth. Use the textured brush and eraser (50 pixels) to refine the trees.

Create distant hills


Create a new layer below, select the next brightest colour, and repeat the process, but draw a hill that stretches horizontally across the canvas. These hills are getting pretty far away now, so the details should not be as defined!

Finish off the trees

Start the mountain



Take up your textured brush and eraser, set to 30 pixels or less, and draw some trees. Keep your zig-zag motions short and controlled so the trees look smaller. Once done, repeat two more times until you have three distant hills.


The middle trees shouldn’t be as finely detailed. Create a new layer beneath the foreground layers, grab the leaf brush again (84 pixels) and, starting from about a third of the way into the canvas from the left, draw a hill shape.

Photoshop Creative

Next is the mountain. Select a white-blue colour. From the default Photoshop brush collection, select the Pastel on Charcoal Paper (63 pixels) brush if you’re using CC, or the Watercolor brush if you’re using CS. Use this brush to both draw and erase the edges of the mountain.

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Finish off the mountain

Paint some clouds

Draw the river




Create a new layer below, and select your second brightest colour, which should be a blue-white. Repeat the process in the last step, making sure the next layer of mountain is slightly taller than the last, and positioned slightly off to the right, to ensure a sense of depth.

Make your sky layer visible again. Using your brightest blue-white, create a new layer above the sky layer, and use a large airbrush (500 pixels) to roughly paint in some cloud shapes. Use a smaller airbrush eraser (100-250 pixels) to taper the shapes of the clouds.

Select the blue you used in the first mountain layer. Create a new layer above everything except the three tree layers in the foreground. Select the Pastel/ Watercolor brush (63 pixels) you used earlier, and draw a meandering line from the base of the mountains to the foreground.

Taper the shape

Add the final touches



Using the Pastel/Watercolor brush as an eraser (30-50 pixels), taper the shape of the line you just drew. Erase more of the sides of the river that are closest to the foreground to make it look like there are trees standing in front of it.

Return to the first three layers of trees in the foreground. Create a new layer above the first layer of trees; right-click and select Create Clipping Mask. Set the layer to Multiply, and use an airbrush (1000 pixels+) to softly shade it. Repeat this for the other two tree layers.

Whatyoucandowithit Frame your painting To showcase your work, print and frame it! You can use a home printer, or opt for a more professional look by sending the image to a printing company. If you choose the latter, remember that printing companies will prefer the image to be set to CMYK colour mode (Image>Mode>CMYK). So, instead of framing a typical holiday photo, why not transform it into a simple painting that no one else will have on their walls? This is especially effective if a holiday shot hasn’t turned out quite the way you had hoped.

RESTORE PHOTOS If a holiday snap just isn’t doing the location justice, be original and turn it into a simple landscape painting, like this. Then print and frame it. You will feel proud to have it on your wall!

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Add spe


Photoshop Creative

Get 30% off your subscription On the FileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.


Start image


Add special effects with layer masks

Sarah Cousens

Makethissinister,horror-themedimageusinglayermasks,a custombrushandadjustmentlayers

Works with




What you’ll learn Use masks, transform, add adjustment layers, apply blurs and Liquify

Time taken

2 hours

“As a fan of horror, I’ve seen a lot of monster movies and TV shows, and they often have a certain mood. Photoshop’s editing tools are brilliant for emulating that feel in an image like this. I am a freelance illustrator, designer and writer, and have been using Photoshop extensively since forming my own illustration and design company, Cool Surface, eight years ago.”


he horror genre has always had a huge fan base, with zombies, vampires (sparkly or otherwise) and werewolves featuring heavily in popular culture over recent years. As technology improves and special effects become ever more impressive, and the monsters become more terrifying and vivid, you may have wondered what you would look like as one of these creatures. So, we’re going to show you how to create this creepy and menacing monster effect. Is it a zombie? Is it a demon? Who knows! But it certainly doesn’t look friendly.

Get started


Open the ‘media_militia_skulls_040. JPG’ image from the Media Militia Skulls download pack, press Cmd/Ctrl+A then Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy it, open ‘skull face start image.psd’ and paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) in the skull. Change the skull layer’s blending mode to Multiply.

So, if you fancy giving your friends and family a fright, you could take one of your own photos and give yourself a monster makeover. You’ll need a high-resolution portrait shot, and we’d recommend you adopt your most menacing stare. Or download our start image from the FileSilo. The skull image we’ll be using in this tutorial is taken from a free download pack from Media Militia (http://bit. ly/1JAJxGT), which is on this issue’s FileSilo. It contains 54 skull photos taken from various angles, so if you use your own portrait photo, you should be able to find an appropriate skull image in there.





Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, right-click it and then choose Flip Horizontal. Transform it to roughly fit the woman’s face. Then move the skull layer below the face layer, and change its blending mode settings back to Normal.

Add a layer mask to the face layer, and use a black hard-edged brush to reveal the lower portion of the skull, down to the chin. Use the ‘cs scratches’ brush and go over the edges gradually, using a variety of brush sizes, to create a rough appearance.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Add special effects with layer masks Experttip Match the colours One of the key areas to creating an effective and realistic photocomposite image such as this is ensuring that the colours of the different photos all relate to each other. If you are using your own photo, then the adjustment layers that we have used won’t necessarily work for your image. You will therefore need to experiment in order to bring it all together. This is why adjustment layers are so useful; they can be edited at any point in the process.

Add a drop shadow

Adjust the teeth



On the portrait layer, click the ‘Add a layer style’ icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Drop Shadow from the fly-out menu. Set the Blend Mode to Multiply, Opacity: 75%, Angle: 51, Distance 45px, Spread: 4% and Size: 116px.

Levels adjustment layer

Change the colours

Use shading




Hold Alt while clicking the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon in the Layers palette, choose Levels, tick the ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’ box and hit enter. Move the black slider to 10, grey slider to 1.38 and white slider to 237.

Add a Solid Color fill layer, again with a clipping mask, and choose a colour of R:167 G:0 B:0, click OK. Change the fill layer’s Opacity to 10%. Now add a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer, again with clipping mask, and change Saturation to -40.

Add a new layer (press Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N) below the portrait layer and name it Shadows. Change its blending mode to Multiply and layer Opacity to 55%. Use a black airbrush to add shadows either side of the exposed jaw.

Make red grooves

Make black grooves



Add a new layer below Shadows, named Red Lines. Use a 30px airbrush with R:173 G:0 B:0 to paint vertical lines in the grooves above and below the teeth. Change the blending mode to Multiply and Opacity: 50%. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, and enter a value of 20px.


On the skull layer, go to Filter>Liquify. Use the Forward Push Tool to make the upper teeth shorter and bring the jaw inwards slightly from the right side. Click OK to apply the changes.

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Create another new layer, name it Black Lines and repeat the previous process to add blurred black lines to the grooves above and below the teeth, this time setting the layer to Multiply and 40% Opacity.

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Make the eye black

Make the eye red



Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N), move it above the Portrait layer, name it Black Eye, then paint over the left eye with a black airbrush. Add a layer mask and use the black airbrush to reveal the iris.

Add a new layer below the Black Eye, then name it Red Eye. Change the layer’s blending mode to Multiply, then use the airbrush with R:185 G:0 B:0 to colour the iris red. Add a new layer above Black Eye, and name it Red Glow.

Inject some glow

Place a paper texture



Change the blending mode to Screen and use the red airbrush again to add a glow to the eye. Add layer masks to the Red Eye and Red Glow layers and use a black airbrush to conceal the glow over the pupil and the skin around the eye.

Open ‘cs dirty paper.psd’, select the canvas (Cmd/ Ctrl+A), copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) it at the top of the layer stack. Change its blend mode to Multiply. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and transform to fit the canvas.

What you can do with it Display your handiwork An image like this is so fun to make when you use a photo of yourself or a friend or family member. In fact, it’s too fun not to show it off! This particular effect would be a great addition to the décor for a horror-themed party. Why not transform every member of your household, print the images, frame them and hang them up ready to greet your unsuspecting guests? You could even send the images off to specialist printers to have them printed onto edible paper, making the perfect toppings for spooky cupcakes!

FIND A RESOLUTION Ensure your image is an appropriate resolution for the size you plan on printing it. We recommend a minimum of 300ppi.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Build creative compo

Essentials On the FileSilo

Works with

Download your free resources at www.filesilo. Elements



What you’ll learn Essential editing skills and how to use the Camera Raw filter

Time taken

2 hours

Exper Daniel Sinoca “There are so many incredible tools in Photoshop that have helped me to develop a wide range of editing styles and photomontages. I started to get involved in the digital world more than 10 years ago and have been working as a freelance artist ever since, creating all kinds of multimedia projects and tutorial guides.”


Photoshop Creative

Build creative compositions CreateafunphotomontageandimproveyourPhotoshopskills usingmasktechniquesandtonaladjustments


orking with photomontages is one of the best ways to improve your Photoshop skills. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to create fun artwork using masks, adjustment layers, filters and brushes. We’ll start by working with layer masks to mask out the images, then we’ll apply several adjustment layers to make tonal and colour corrections. Finally we’ll use filters to create a cool water-reflection effect, then custom brushes to complete our work.

There are several basic techniques involved here; the more you practise creating images like this, the more you will evolve in the digital world and these techniques will become natural. You’ll soon be able to apply the right tools and techniques, knowing exactly the results you are going to get. In the final part of the tutorial we’ll explore the Camera Raw filter. Despite this tool being designed to work best with raw files, you will be amazed with the results using common JPEG files.

Watch our videos on YouTube Photoshop Creative Magazine

Set up the document


Create a new blank file. Go to File>New (Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name your project Swimmer, set the Width to 230mm, Height to 200mm, resolution to 300ppi. Click OK. Add a guide line; go to View>New Guide. Set Orientation to Horizontal, Position 100mm and hit OK.

Place the buildings


Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Buildings.jpg’. From the top options bar, set the Horizontal/Vertical scale to 100%. Drag the image up until the yellow cars are directly above the guide line, then hit return/Enter.

Place the sky


Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Sky.jpg’. Move the image up. Grab the middle-bottom handle and drag it over the guide line and then hit Return/Enter. Lower the saturation a bit; go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Set the Saturation to -30.

Make the adjustments

Add a layer mask


Now let’s mask the buildings in the background. Grab the Pen tool (P) and create a path around the buildings. From the tool options bar, hit Make: Selection and click OK. Go to Select>Inverse (Shift>Cmd/Ctrl>I), then go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection.


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input levels to 5, 1.30,255. Clip the layers (click the first icon at the bottom of the Layers palette). Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set Saturation to -35 and Lightness to -5. Apply a Photo Filter adjustment layer and choose Filter: Warming Filter(81).

Place more images

Adjustment layers



Now go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Asphalt.jpg’. From the tool options bar, set the Horizontal/Vertical scale to 150% and hit Return/Enter. Add a layer mask. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a soft brush and start masking out the asphalt to blend with the street.

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Balance. Set the Tones to Midtones, Cyan/Red to -15, Magenta/ Green: +5, Yellow/Blue: -15 and uncheck Preserve Luminosity. Clip the layers. Now add a Hue/Saturation layer and set Hue: 0, Saturation: -40 and Lightness to 0.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Build creative compositions

Place the fin

Refine and adjust

Add the swimmer




Go to File>Place (Embedded) ‘Fin. jpg’. Set the Horizontal/Vertical scale to 45% and hit Return/Enter. Now grab the Magic Wand tool (W), set the Tolerance to 30 and select the water. Hit Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+I to invert the selection. Now go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection.

Grab the Brush tool (B). Choose a small, soft brush and start refining the mask around the fin. Painting with black hides areas and white reveals areas. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/ Saturation. Set Hue to -30, Saturation to -55 and Lightness to 0.

Adjust Hue and Saturation


Let’s apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the colour of the water. Grab the Lasso tool (L). Set the Feather to 5 pixels and make a selection just around the water. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+U and set Hue to -15, Saturation to -80, Lightness to 5, then hit OK. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect the image.

Duplicate and merge


Hold Shift and click on the Swimmer, Vibrance and Brightness/Contrast layers. Now hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate and Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge. Rename the layer Reflection. Go to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical. Drag the Reflection layer and place under the Swimmer layer.


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Make more adjustments


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Vibrance. Set Vibrance to -35 and Saturation to 0. Clip the layer. Now add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Set Brightness to 20 and Contrast to 10, and clip the layer again.

Apply filters


Now go to File>Place(Embedded) ‘Swimmer.jpg’. Resize and hit Return/ Enter. Grab the Pen tool (P) and create a path around the swimmer. From the tool options bar, click Make: Selection and create a layer mask. Grab a soft brush (B) and refine the mask.

Let’s turn the image into a Smart Object. Go to Layer>Smart Objects> Convert to Smart Object. Go to Filter>Blur> Motion Blur. Set the Angle: 90, Distance: 100 pixels and hit OK. Go to Filter>Distort>Ripple. Set the Amount: 500%.

Mask and blend


Add a layer mask. Grab the Gradient tool (G). Open the Gradient Editor and choose the Preset: Foreground to Background. Make sure the mask is active. Place the cursor over the swimmer reflection and drag down. Change the blend mode to Hard Light and Fill to 60%.

Watch our videos on YouTube Photoshop Creative Magazine

Experttip Use Adobe Bridge

Load brushes

Choose a custom brush



Download the supplied brushes from this issue’s FileSilo and go to Edit> Presets>Preset Manager. Click Load and find the ‘Brush132.abr’ file, then click Load. Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N) and name it Brushes.

Select a layer style


Go to Layer>Layer Style>Bevel & Emboss. Set the Style: Stroke Emboss; Technique: Chisel Soft; Depth: 100%; Soften: 10 pixels; Angle: 90°; check Global Light; Altitude: 30°. Now click the Stroke. Set the Size: 10 pixels, Position: Inside and then click OK. Set layer Opacity to 80%.

Grab the Brush tool (B) and hit F5. Set the Foreground colour to white. Choose a custom brush, set the appropriate size, and paint over the arms and hand. Now create a layer mask. Grab another custom brush, resize it and paint over the mask to hide unwanted areas.

It may not be something you do very often, but without doubt, the very best way to open any image in Camera Raw is by implementing Adobe Bridge. Launch Adobe Bridge, select the image, then go to File>Open in Camera Raw. The Camera Raw dialog box will give you precise control over how to edit your image. Even if you are using JPEG files, you can still greatly improve the colours and the overall quality by exploring the Camera Raw interface.

Apply the Camera Raw filter


Hit Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+E to create a snapshot. Now go to Filter>Camera Raw filter. Set the Exposure to 0.45; Contrast: 9; Highlights: -25; Shadows: 40; Whites: -15; Blacks: 10; Clarity: +10; Vibrance: 5; Saturation: 10. Select HSL/ Grayscale, click on the Saturation panel and set the Greens and Aquas to -100.

Make final adjustments


Keep the Camera Raw filter open. Under the HSL/Grayscale tab select Luminance and set the Reds to 20; Oranges: 5; Yellows: 10; Greens -100; Aquas: -100; Blues: 10; leave the Purples and Magentas: 0, and then click OK.

Closer look Discover simple commands WORK WITH BRUSHES Use a low opacity value to create partially covered effects and resize your brush as many times as needed to paint the masks or create other effects.

HIGH PASS FILTER Duplicate the final image, change the blend mode to Overlay and then apply the High Pass filter to sharpen and add more detail to your work.

FREE TRANSFORM TOOL Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+T every time you need to transform, change the size of or adjust the perspective of an image.

AUTO ADJUSTMENTS Most of the adjustment layers have an Auto command available. This adjusts colours, levels, brightness and contrast automatically, and usually produces good results.

Photoshop Creative




tips for creative macro effects

Make macro magic with these tricks


01 PICKTINYSUBJECTS The idea of a macro shot is to magnify small subjects to bigger sizes, so by picking small subjects for your pictures, you can create a realistic macro effect. Birds, flowers and bugs are particularly popular, but you might want to create a fantasy shot of a miniaturised person; the key is to make it look believable.



Placing detail on the subject is one of the most important things to remember in any kind of composition, but when creating macro effects it’s even more key. Sharpening your subject directs attention to the scale of the composition, so duplicate your layer, set to Overlay and head to Filter>Other>High Pass to add a little more detail to your picture. You might also choose to go to Filter>Sharpen> Sharpen More to add even more detail.

While sharpening your subject can really draw attention to the action of the image, blurring the background can also help with this. There are all kinds of blurs for all kinds of images you can use too; the Blur Gallery is particularly useful here (Filter>Blur Gallery) and the Field Blur is great for keeping focus on the subject in your image. The Tilt Shift can also help radiate a subtle blur from the centre of a focus out to the edges of your picture.



If you’re an artist who prefers to shoot your subjects before you create in Photoshop, shooting with a macro lens can do a lot of the hard work for you. Macro lenses are ‘flat field’, meaning that they curve slightly differently to ordinary lenses. This means that they’re better at magnifying your subject before you shoot, and this cuts the amount of sharpening you’ll have to make on your subject before you add it to the composition.

As with all kinds of compositions, lighting and shading is imperative for believable artwork. It has even more importance in macro shots though, as it helps blend together the small subject with the bigger surroundings. Use the Lighting Effects filter (Filter>Lighting Effects) to place a Point Light on your finished picture. This can add to the contrast between the blurring and sharpening in your picture, and create a subtle vignette.

Photoshop Creative


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Print edition available at Digital edition available at Available on the following platforms

Tutorial Create fr


On the FileSilo

Works with

Download your free resources at www.filesilo. Elements



What you’ll learn Use the Pen tool, paths, shape layers, layer styles and blur

Time taken

2 hours

Expert Moe Hezwani “I really enjoy experimenting in Photoshop; I can easily spend an entire day finding new ways to transform any photo and give it a totally new look. I particularly like mixing photography and illustration to build up a piece of artwork. I’m a professional graphic designer/illustrator, and Photoshop is my go-to platform for my designs.”


Photoshop Creative

Create fractal animal art

Use simple brush, layer-style and Pen-tool techniques to turn an ordinary photo of a tiger into an electrifying silhouette


hen creating digital art, the temptation to use a large selection of resources often lurks in the background. There is a preconception that using plug-ins and so on will give a better result. However, if you enjoy the challenge of enhancing and transforming a photo without add-ons, this is the glowing tutorial for you. It is possible to get an advanced-looking piece of artwork by combining several relatively straightforward techniques. In this tutorial, we’ll examine methods that involve no extraneous

materials. Absolutely everything we add to this tiger will be generated using tools and filters. We’ll reveal lighting, colour, Brush and Pen-tool techniques to create bright, glowing neon lines. If you’re working in Elements, check the Expert tip. You’ll also discover how to boost the vibrancy of artwork using adjustment layers, plus how to fake fur with a grass brush and the Smudge tool. The final result may look complex, but the actual process is surprisingly straightforward. It is just a matter of trial and error.

Want a more vibrant light and glow? Set the Color Mode to RGB!

Sharpen the image

Add light



Open ‘tiger-407007.jpg’ from this issue’s FileSilo and duplicate the Background layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). To sharpen the image in order to bring out some detail, head over to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and change the following: Amount: 90%, Radius: 5.0px, leave Threshold: 0 levels, then hit OK.

It’s time to completely transform the tiger to make him glow. Begin by duplicating the new sharpened layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J), then go to Filter>Stylize>Glowing Edges. Change the following settings: Edge Width: 5, Edge Brightness: 14 and Smoothness: 15.

Darken the background

Bring back the eyes

Adjust midtones & shadows




After making the tiger glow, you will notice the leaves in the background were also affected and they are quite distracting. To remove them, create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N), grab a soft black brush and simply paint around the tiger to darken the background.

After creating the glow edges, the eyes of the tiger look alien. To bring his eyes back, select the layer with the glow effect and create a layer mask by clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Use a soft brush to brush around his eyes.

Make a channel selection


Head to the Channels palette and click on the Blue thumbnail to make a selection. Go back to the Layers palette and with the glowing edge layer selected, hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it. You’ll notice that only parts of the image have been duplicated.

To brighten the tiger, adjust the midtones and shadows. Click the adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, select Color Balance. Alter the following: select Midtones and make Cyan: -49, Magenta: -42. Select Shadows and make Cyan: -56 and Yellow: +20.

Select Outer Glow


With the new duplicated channel layer selected, double-click on the layer to open the Layer Style window and select Outer Glow. Change the Opacity to 80%, Size: 10 and the colour to #00ffff. Next create a new layer, fill it black and place it below the duplicated layer.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Create fractal animal art Experttip Don’t have the Pen tool? We have marked this up as a Photoshop tutorial because of using the Pen tool. However, if you are working with Elements, you can use the Brush tool (B) to create a similar effect. For example, in step 8 when drawing the whiskers, use the tool to paint them onto the tiger using a medium to small brush. The Pen tool lets you create a Simulated Path Stoke that thins out the edges, but you can manipulate this by using a smaller brush to flick out.

Draw the whiskers

Stroke a path



Start by creating a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N) above the Color Balance layer. To create the whiskers, select the Pen tool (P) and set to Paths in the Options bar. Draw a curved line by clicking once to create your first anchor point and then click again, but before releasing the mouse move it to curve the line.

Make the whiskers glow

Give it some extra glow

Create a glowing outline




Double-click on the whisker’s layer to access the layer styles and select Outer Glow. Set to: Opacity: 75%, Size: 13px and colour: #00ffff to create a glow around the newly drawn whisker. Repeat steps 9 and 10 to draw the rest of the whiskers. Ensure all his whiskers are drawn on the same layer.

Duplicate the glowing whiskers layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J), Ctrl/right-click on the duplicated layer and select Clear Layer Style from the menu. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and change the Radius to 20 pixels to make the whiskers pop out a little more from the rest of the tiger’s face.

Add stripe details

Create fur



Boost the detail of the stripes because they diminish slightly from the Glowing Edge filter. Create new layer and, using the tiger’s existing stripes, trace over them using the Pen tool. Create a path stroke but this time with a Brush Size of 15px, 40% Hardness, and add an Outer Glow layer style.


Now select a soft, white brush and change the Size to 5px and 40% Hardness, with 100% Opacity. Next Ctrl/ right-click on the newly drawn path and select Stroke Path from the menu. When the dialog box appears, select Brush and check Simulate Pressure.

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Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+ N) above the whiskers layer, grab the Pen tool (P), then draw an outline around the outside of the tiger. Create a path stroke using the same technique as step 9. Add an Outer Glow layer style using the same settings as step 10.

Hide the layers from steps 8-13 and select the Color Balance layer. Merge the layers below (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E) and duplicate the merged layer. Next, grab the Smudge tool and change the Strength to 75%, then pick a 8px hard-edge brush. Now pull out parts of the whole animal to create hair strands.

Want a more vibrant light and glow? Set the Color Mode to RGB!

Dodge and burn

Fake the fur

Duplicate the fur layer and select the Dodge tool. Set Exposure to 70% and use a large, soft brush. Start painting over the stripes to increase the highlights. Switch to the Burn tool and set Exposure to 70%, then brush around the darker areas to enhance the shadow of the tiger.



Fake fur glow

Apply finishing touches

Add some pink




Create an Outer Glow layer style, set to: Opacity: 75%, Size: 13px and colour #00ffff. Duplicate the layer and turn the layer style off. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set Radius to 3.6 pixels. Next, select the Levels adjustment and change the settings to 23, 1.00 and 255.

Create a new layer at the top of the Layers palette, and change the Opacity to 30% and blend mode to Color Dodge. Select the Brush tool, set Foreground colour to white and go to Window>Brushes to bring up the Brushes palette. Select the Dune Grass brush.

Create a new layer and apply the same Outer Glow settings as in step 18. Grab the Dune Grass Brush once again and make the brush size 200px (but play around with this). Create larger strands of hair around the body, and work round the eyes and stripes of the tiger.

Brush the fur


Using the Dune Grass brush, start dabbing around the darker areas of the tiger to create tufts of fur. Move the Angle circle around in the Brushes palette to alter the angle of the brush, and also be sure to vary the brush size.

Set the Foreground colour to #ed008c, create a new layer and fill it with pink by going Edit>Fill and setting Content to Foreground Color. Change the blend mode to Hue and apply a layer mask. Select a large, soft brush and brush away to bring back some areas of blue.

What can go wrong Simulate pressure You have to make sure your brush is set correctly to mimic different pressure. Before you go to Stroke Path after drawing your lines, ensure you have selected a fairly soft brush. Have the brush set to about 40% and make sure that ‘Tablet Pressure Controls Opacity’ is selected, which is found next to Opacity in your Brushes menu. If this isn’t selected, the stroke will have a curved edge. After you have picked the correct brush, go back to the Pen tool, Ctrl/right-click on your path and select Stroke Path from the menu. When the dialog box appears, be sure to select Brushes and that Simulate Pressure is checked, then you will end up with the correct results.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial U

Start images

Essentials On the FileSilo

Works with

Download your free resources at www.filesilo. Elements



What you’ll learn Make selections, paste into defined areas, edit layer masks and shade

Time taken

2 hours

Exper Sarah Cousens “I sometimes enjoy taking a traditional approach with artwork; painting in the shading for this image takes time, but that makes it more satisfying. I am a freelance illustrator, designer and writer, and have been using Photoshop extensively since forming my own illustration and design company, Cool Surface, eight years ago.”


Photoshop Creative

Use selections for a puzzle face Have fun getting your head round this bright and cheery multifeatured jumbled-up face effect


n this tutorial, we’ll be getting our heads in a muddle – literally! With some cutting, pasting, manipulation of layer masks and handiwork with the Brush tool, we’ll be turning a head into a jumbled 3D puzzle. Elements users are able to do the tutorial too, but should check the Expert Tip for some alternative methods. All of the files needed here are available on the FileSilo. The model stock images used to create this image were all sourced from, a

fantastic online resource with thousands of free-to-download images. And there are plenty more images available to choose from. Better yet, apply this method to yourself! Find a willing accomplice to take a good variety of portrait shots, with different angles and expressions, and combine them to make a sliced-and-diced version of yourself. Why not pull some funny faces? Once you have the method down, the possibility for fun and experimentation is endless.

Show us your own jumbled faces! Search for photoshopcreative

Experttip Elements users

Select with the Pen tool

Open ‘apple-18721.jpg’ from the Cut and paste FileSilo. Select the Pen tool (P) set to Press Cmd/Ctrl+C, open ‘flower background. Paths and use it to trace a path around the psd’ and press Cmd/Ctrl+V. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, figure, excluding the hair and the hand and and resize and reposition the figure accordingly. Use apple (Elements users: check the Expert tip). the Pen tool to create a path separating the head In the Paths palette, click the ‘Load path as a from the neck, load the path as a selection and press selection’ icon. Cmd/Ctrl+X then Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+V.



If you are using Elements you will have noticed that you don’t have access to the Pen tool. No need to worry, you just need an alternative method for steps 1, 2 and 15. Use the Magnetic Lasso tool or Freeform Lasso to make an initial selection, then switch to Quick Mask mode (Q) and use the Brush tool with a hard-edged brush to refine it. Use white to add to the selection and then black to deduct from it. Press Q again when you want to exit Quick Mask mode.

Draw a guide

Deselect it

Add a mouth




Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/ Ctrl+N) and name it Sketch. Use the Brush tool (B) with a round hard-edged brush at a size of 30px and any colour. Use it to draw out a grid over the face, splitting it into the different sections, as shown in the final artwork.

Ensure no lines are over the ear, and follow the 3D form of the head. When finished, hold Cmd/Ctrl and click the Sketch layer’s thumbnail in the Layers palette, hide the Sketch layer, go to the Head layer and press backspace. Press Cmd/ Ctrl+D to deselect.

Go back to ‘apple-18721’, use the Lasso tool to select the mouth area and press Cmd/Ctrl+C. In your artwork, use the Magic Wand tool with Tolerance: 255 to select the section to the right of the mouth. Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+V to paste the mouth into the area with a layer mask.

Flip and Distort

Add more features



Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, right-click and choose Flip Horizontal. Resize and adjust the angle to fit the curve of the face. Right-click and choose Distort, and adjust the right-hand corners to make the mouth shorter. Use a black airbrush on the layer mask to blend the mouth in.

Repeat this process to copy and paste in features from the various stock photos, transforming, distorting and blending them in as necessary. Try to match the angles of the features with the angles of the face.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Use selections for a puzzle face

Make features stand out


Use a white hard-edged brush on the layer masks to make any features protruding over the edge of the face visible (such as the lips on the left of the forehead and the nose on the back of the head), enhancing the 3D effect.

Add some shading



Create a new layer beneath the Shoulders layer. Select the Brush tool with a hard-edged brush and a colour of R:249 G:212 B:186. Use it to draw in the interior of the sections of the face, creating angled edges on the outer sections to give the segments a 3D effect.

Refine the shading

Add highlights



Use the Eraser with a 10px airbrush to create the harder edges of shading. Be sure to visualise the angle and direction that the corners would recede towards the centre of the head. Use the Brush tool and Eraser with a large-sized airbrush, and 25% brush Opacity to blend the shading in.

Transform the hair


Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and transform the hair to fit the top of the head. Add a layer mask and use a black airbrush to remove the hair layer from the gaps between segments.


Paint the interior

Photoshop Creative

Add a new layer at the top of the layer stack, set the blending mode to Screen and the layer Opacity to 25%. Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click the Face layer to select it, then use a white airbrush to paint in narrow lines along the ‘cut’ edges of the segments. Then deselect.

Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N, name the layer Shading, tick ‘Use previous layer to create clipping mask’. Set blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 45%. Use an 80px size airbrush and a colour of R:100 G:43 B:0 to add some soft shading far back within each segment.

Copy the hair


Go to ‘apple-18721’ and use the Lasso tool to select just the top of the head. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and Paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) it into your artwork just above the Background layer, and set the blending mode to Multiply.

Add a mouth

Place hand shadows



Go back to ‘apple-18721’, use the Lasso tool to select the mouth area and press Cmd/Ctrl+C. In your artwork, use the Magic Wand tool with Tolerance: 255 to select the section to the right of the mouth. Press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+V to paste the mouth into the area with a layer mask.

Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and position them so they appear to be moving the sections of face around. Add a layer below the hands, set the blending mode to Multiply and layer Opacity to 30%. Use an airbrush with R:115 G:51 B:0 to add shadows beneath the hands. And you’re done!


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The easy way to learn Adobe Photoshop


Essential editing guides Master the Content-Aware Fill Move tool................ 68 Design your own newspaper ..................................................70 Improve composition in photos ..........................................76 Create multi-coloured hair ....................................................... 80

Photo edit‌

AIN TO YOUR PHOTOS Create realistic rain effects and add them to your images for a bit of atmosphere p74


Essential tool guides 14 pages of essential guides

PFB What does it mean? TRANSFORM ON DROP – This command lets you transform an object before it’s placed. It’s good to get in the habit of keeping this box checked, as there are often tweaks that you can make to a subject, even if you don’t use the resize handles every time you use the Content-Aware Fill Move tool.

OntheFileSilo Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Tool focus…

Start image

Master the Con Aware Fill Move tool Use the power of content aware to fill in the blanks on your artwork When you’re turning a sketch into a digital masterpiece, or building a composition from existing photos, Photoshop is fantastic for creating something out of nothing. But it also has a set of tools that can do the opposite; taking a complete photograph and magically removing an object or subject from the picture. The Content-Aware Fill command is similar to the Clone Stamp; it covers a patch of your picture with a patch from somewhere else to seamlessly cover over something. It’s most commonly used by Ctrl/ right-clicking and selecting Fill – it’s available on the drop-down option


Photoshop Creative

that appears – but also comes in useful when you’re moving objects in your picture. Content-Aware Fill Move combines the intuition of the ContentAware technology with the basic Move tool. It’s a great option for anyone touching up a portrait, but it can also handle bigger edits, such as moving a subject to a completely different area of an image. It’s a versatile tool, and one that’s been improved further with the latest Transform On Drop checkbox from the CC 2015 update, so let’s explore how to make a quick but ambitious photo fix with it.

PFB Move and fill Merge the power of two Photoshop tools into one, quick action

Make a selection

Alter Structure and Color

Start off by selecting what you want to move in your image. Grab the Polygonal Lasso to select with, as you don’t want to be too precise; the Content-Aware Fill Move tool feathers greatly, so it’s important to leave a big enough area around the subject.



Move your subject

Clone to finish



Once you’re happy with how you’ve primed your tool and selected your subject, drag it to wherever you like in the image. Photoshop helpfully provides a pink line once you’ve dragged to the centre of the image; simply double-click to drop the image.

Once selected, grab the Content-Aware Fill Move tool. Across the bar at the top, you’ll see options to adjust Structure and Color. This will handle detail and colour inconsistencies; slide to 7 and 8 to cut down the amount of cloning you have to make.

It’s rare that you won’t be able to notice a moved subject; you can often tell at its edges, so it’s important to tidy everything up. Select the Clone Stamp with an Opacity of 50%, a soft tip and just gently touch up to remove any inconsistency.

Transform on Drop Use CC 2015’s new checkbox for even more possibility

Make a selection

Move and transform





As before, select whatever you want to move in the picture. We’ve chosen to use the Rectangular Marquee this time, but the Polygonal Lasso works just as well. Check the Transform on Drop box.

Move the object that you’ve selected, just as before, and use the corner handles of your selection to resize it. You can skew your selection too, by holding Cmd/Ctrl and dragging.

Again, clone around where you’ve dropped the object with a 50% opaque, soft brush to hide any noticeable edges. In this case, clone over the now bigger waves to hide the fact that they’ve been transformed.

Photoshop Creative



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


Photoshop Creative

PFB Creative project…

Design your own newspaper Make a personalised family newspaper to remember special times We’re going to show you how to create a fun family newspaper to send to relatives and friends, or maybe have professionally printed. You can use a simple email or file transfer to send it to recipients, giving individuals their own preference of printing options. A newspaper page is relatively easy to produce if you are strict with your layout. Making the theme something special that has been a fun time or holds lots of memories will ensure it is a great keepsake. By using layers you can build up a project easily and change elements

as it develops. This means that if a photo or section doesn’t look right, it’s easy to change with one click. Remember that the Text tool will automatically create a new layer and name it with what you have written in the text box. This makes your writing easy to change and spelling easy to check. Experiment with genres, colours, illustrations, family photos, pet photos, and anything else you can write a story about. The most important thing to remember is to make your newspaper the talk of the town!

TECHNIQUE 1 Prepare the basics Set the structure of the newspaper

Create a colour layer

Add a header

Make a box and edging




Once you have a new file, you’ll need a colour for the background. Go to the Layer tab and click a new layer. Click the top colour box in the bottom left-hand corner of the interface and choose your colour. Use the Paint Bucket tool (K) to fill the blank layer.

Create your title using the Text tool in a central header position. Click the space bar to open up a space big enough for your picture, then use the Move tool to position the text until it is central. File>Place the picture in the space.

Create a new layer, name it Outlines. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and drag across. Edit>Stroke and select the width and colour in the pop-up box. Click the Move tool to deselect. Use this technique to add a box around the edge.

SELECT THE TEXT Always select the Text tool with the required working layer selected when editing text, or it will automatically create a new one.


Insert the date


Select the Text tool and insert a date, month and year. Select the Move tool, drag over to the right-hand side or the middle and position in between the two outlines. You can write this as numbers or words, whichever you prefer.

Always make sure you click off the Text tool when finished. This keeps it in the place you left it.

DON’T BE AFRAID If you are not happy with your work don’t be afraid to change it, but always save before you change anything.

Photoshop Creative



What does it mean?

TECHNIQUE 2 Add the imagery Start to add your chosen images to create the final visuals of your story Place your images into the file and create the outlines using Edit>Stroke. Use a line size of 3px, which gives outlines that are visible but not really noticed. Make

sure images are in the location you need before creating the outlines, as all the lines are on one layer and can be awkward to erase.

RULERS – The Rulers are useful for making sure images are level and in the correct area when placing them. However, even if Photoshop is telling you that this is the case, it doesn’t always mean that images are in the right place for the human eye. Judge the layout by using your own inner ruler too!

Place the sisters

Now the brothers

Add the other images

Use the File>Place function to add ‘sisters.jpg’. It will appear in a box with two lines corner to corner, and needs to be resized. Use the small boxes attached to the corners and sides to move in to the desired position. Click the Move tool when finished.



Place ‘brothers.jpg’ using the same technique as before. Place it in the opposite direction so they are not directly underneath one another. This means you can add the text either side of them without it looking like one piece of writing.


Keep the images level

Add the outlines

Outline the text boxes




The placed images need to be level with each other, so take note of the measurements that pop up next to the cursor when dragging the images into place. It doesn’t matter where you place them as long as they all sit directly under each other.

A LITTLE COMPOSITION Make sure the images look right in their position; think about composition and where it is that they will look the most striking.


Now add the outlines of the images. Select the Outlines layer you created earlier and use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M). Use the same methods shown in Technique 1, step 3, to make sure that all of the outlines are uniformed.

Position the other three images down the left-hand column. Place the dog at the bottom and both parents at the top. Zoom in using Cmd/Ctrl+ to have better judgement of the position and get the best fit. Leave room underneath the dog to add text later on.

Create the rest of the boxes needed for adding your text. Make sure they are in the correct places using the Marquee tool before you commit to the Stroke, as having all outlines on one singular layer can make removing them tricky.

SIZE AND SHIFT The Place function adds the image to fit the file, so hold down Shift when resizing to keep the proportions.



Remember to keep all the refined Stroke edge outlines together by creating them on the one layer and name it Outlines.

Create a box at the bottom for one final bit of text and add something personal inside it.

Photoshop Creative

TECHNIQUE 3 Insert your chosen text It is now time to add your text to the newspaper and give the whole project a story Now for the imaginative part; adding your story to the newspaper. It’s best to write this in a word-processing program such as Text Edit, Pages or Microsoft Word, and use the spell checker before cutting and pasting it into your document. To cut and paste, highlight the text, then use Cmd/Ctrl+C to cut and Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste.

Use a catchy headline


Start off by thinking of a memorable headline that will stand out and catch people’s attention. Then use the Text tool to drag over the area you want your text to be. Use a bold font at 48px, and one that is readable rather than stylish, so keep the fancy fonts for the header.

Add the subtitle

Insert the story

Finish it off




For the subtitles, use bold again but a much smaller size of 16px, and just type a flash of information. Poignant and to the point is all that’s needed to make the viewer read on. Use the Text tool in the same way as before.

For the main story text, stretch the Text tool over the box created earlier. Choose a small 13px font and change to regular. Cut and paste the prepared text. You may have to highlight the text and resize it, as it may paste at a larger or smaller font size.

Insert some text to the box at the bottom. You could even leave this blank and when it has been printed, all the people in the story could sign it before it is displayed. Just be imaginative and have a great time creating your own newspaper.

Photoshop Creative


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

Photo edit…

Add rain to your photos Create a simple spattering of rain to inject a touch more atmosphere into your picture Weather can determine the entire mood of your pictures. A bright sky can give a feeling of joy or happiness to an image, whereas grey skies can evoke moodiness. Often, you have to transform your whole image to change mood so dramatically; it’s rarely a quick fix that you can make to a picture. Adding rain is good for a few reasons, though. Not only is it extremely simple to create a basic but realistic sheet of rain over your images, but it’s an effect that can create a number of moods. Adding it to a dark, night-time composition can give a dramatic atmosphere, perfect for an action shot. Adding rain to a landscape can evoke a sad feeling, and sometimes rain can just be the missing ingredient from a photo shoot that turned out to be sunny. It’s easy to add a few showers to your pictures in just a few steps, and by altering opacity, you can decide exactly how heavy you want your rain to be. Check out our quick guide of how to achieve the effect.

Start image


Photoshop Creative

ADD HDR LAYER Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E to create a snapshot, Desaturate (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U) and turn to Overlay to create an HDR effect that complements the rain.

What does it mean?

STYLES – The Styles tab is there to showcase some of the most popular and most-used layer styles that you can apply to your pictures. You can download more styles online, and you can find styles that create colour effects, add patterns or simply change whether your layer is bevelled or embossed.

PFB Make it rain Use filters to give the illusion of a downpour

Add noise

Blur the rain

Create a new layer and fill it with either black or white. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise, choose the Gaussian option and check the Monochromatic box. Set the Amount right up to the maximum 400%, and click OK. This is going to form the basis from which we’ll create the rain.



Set the Levels




Now we’re going to bring more of the white raindrops into the picture and remove the grey blurring. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels panel and move the three stoppers closer together. Adjust them to up the contrast; this will not only make the whole image clearer, but it will make it look more realistic, too.

Set your noise layer to Screen to reveal the white of the noise but make the black invisible. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and tweak the Angle to make it believable with the picture; here, the subject is tipping her umbrella back, so it makes sense for the rain to come from behind. Set the Distance to 40.

Right now, the rain looks like it’s falling down in sheets everywhere, evenly and all in the same direction. This isn’t how rain falls naturally, so hit the mask icon and grab a big, soft, black brush, with 20% Opacity, and just touch over areas of the image to lessen the effect in certain places, such as over the subject.

Use styles Create the effect using Photoshop’s built-in Rain style

Load Image Effects

Create your layer

Edit further




Over by the Adjustments panel in Photoshop, you’ll see a tab for Styles. Click this, then on the four lines to the right of the styles to find the Image Effects option. This is where the Rain style is.

Create a new layer and just the same as with the noise method, fill with either black or white. Click on the Rain style to apply it to your picture; you might choose to finish here, as the effect might be fine.

If you want to edit your effect a little bit more, Ctrl/right-click the layer and choose Layer Style. Alter the Opacity or choose to tweak the scale of the rain, just as with any other Pattern Overlay.

Photoshop Creative


PFB SPACE Think about how an image falls in the grid and how much dead space is in the final image. Space isn’t necessarily a bad thing when used correctly.

Photo fix...

Improve composition in photos Fix the basics of your photos with these three simple projects

What does it mean?

RULE OF THIRDS – The rule of thirds is a common term and states that an image is most pleasing when its subjects or regions are composed The rules of composition in photography are along imaginary lines that divide the often overlooked. Many photographers image into both horizontal and vertical thirds. Use Photoshop’s simply shoot on instinct rather than angles, guides to align the subject and it’s not particularly vital to give your picture with an intersecting the perfect crop or vignette if it looks great as it is. point.

There are certain rules, though, that can improve any picture, and they’re some of the subtlest tweaks that you could possibly make to a project. Cropping and straightening your pictures is a given, but Elements and Photoshop make it easier than ever to be 100 per cent accurate. Whether you’re a photographer who has taken the perfect snap, or you’ve created a composition with hundreds of layers, using one of these simple composition-fixers as a finishing touch can be a great way to end your work. Ultimately, these are the kinds of fixes that correct the structure of your pictures, shift the focus to the right part of the image, and give your shots the correct perspective and visual balance. These aren’t the most creative projects that you’ll ever master, but they’re some of the most important. There’s more to a picture than what’s in it: it’s about how you frame it, too.

Start image

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TECHNIQUE 1 Rule of thirds Learn to correct any picture with a crop using the precision of thirds Cropping your images is important to control the focus. Get in the habit of seeing your pictures through a viewer’s eye, and notice what your attention is drawn to. Photoshop and Elements can make your cropping even more accurate with its Rule of Thirds option.


Photoshop Creative

Enter ratio


Hit the Crop icon, and use the two boxes from the top panel to enter a ratio to crop to. A drop-down menu contains some popular preset ratios too; this just keeps your crop neater.


OFF-CENTRE Don’t automatically place subjects in the middle of the frame – an off-centre arrangement works well.

RULE OF THIRDS This splits your preview into nine squares. Keep the focus on the intersecting points for the ultimum impact.

Set Rule of Thirds




To the right of the Straighten icon, you’ll see an icon with a grid on it. Click this to see the Rule of Thirds option. Click on this, along with Always Show Overlay, and you’re ready to crop.

GRID The Grid option splits your picture into multiple squares. The Grid is particularly useful when it comes to busier pictures of cities or crowds.

Using the corner handles, resize your crop area to fit over your subject. Ensure that the main subject fits over the intersection of the Crop preview grid, and simply hit Enter/Return to apply.

Photoshop Creative


PFB DARKER EDGES Vignettes make your image look cinematic but they’re also good for focusing in on the main subject of your picture.

TECHNIQUE 2 How to add a vignette Use simple layer techniques in Elements to create darkened edges A vignette is often seen as a creative technique. It’s an effect that can add drama or style to your pictures, and it’s possible to create in the Camera Raw section of Photoshop. But if you’re simply looking to create a centre of attention in your picture, a vignette is perfect for adding focus and dulling the edges. Use your cropping skills to give your picture a neater finish.

Start image

Duplicate your layer

Darken the layer

Add a gradient mask

This effect works best on pictures with a strong subject that isn’t as prominent from the background as you would like. Open your image and begin by duplicating your layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J).


Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to access the Levels. Move the middle stopper to the right and the white stopper of the output levels into the centre to darken the image. This is the basis of your vignette.





Lower opacity




Using the Gradient tool, hold down Shift and drag from the centre of your subject to the edge of your picture to create a perfect vignette. You may have to do this a couple of times to get the right amount of darkness from the edges.


Photoshop Creative

Grab the Crop tool and resize the box to take the centre of your subject into account. This is going to frame the picture and the vignette helps; you can now see exactly what needs to be cropped out, as it’s darker than the rest of the shot.

Press the mask icon on your darkened layer. Go to the Gradient tool, select a white to black gradient and click OK. The gradient will give a perfect finish on the mask to bring the subject back into the picture.

You can inject a little more subtlety into your vignette by lowering the Opacity slightly down to 85%. You might want to go for a stylish, fully opaque vignette, but even the lightest ones can still enhance your pictures hugely.

PFB STRAIGHT ON A wonky horizon can ruin an otherwise stunning shot, but it’s easy to fix.

TECHNIQUE 3 Straighten horizons Use the Straighten tool in Elements to correct those annoying crooked skylines It can often be hard to tell if a picture is straight or not, whether it’s a framed painting on a wall, or just a photograph you’re editing in Photoshop or Elements. Unlike the other two techniques here, this is a project that you can undertake before you start editing, rather than afte Straightening shots is a great habit to get into, and makes you a better picture editor.

Start image

Select the Straighten tool

Prime the tool

Go to the left-hand menu of Elements, where you’ll find the spirit-level icon for the Straighten tool. You can straighten by rotating or transforming your image, but this is the easiest way to swiftly level off a wonky horizon.




Crop to finish



Now it’s a case of simply dragging your cursor from left to right across your horizon to straighten your picture. Elements will automatically crop your shot with this line as parallel to the top and bottom edges of your picture.

Across the bottom menu of Elements are the options for the Straighten tool. Click the Remove Background option to prevent needing to crop afterwards, and if you’re straightening a composition, hit Rotate All Layers to apply your straightening to everything.

Finally, grab the Crop tool again and use the Rule of Thirds grid to re-frame the shot. This is only an optional final step, but sometimes it’s a necessary one, as straightening your picture can affect the original composition.

Photoshop Creative


PFB OntheFileSilo


Download your free resources at www.filesilo.

Reds and yellows are good to throw into the mix of hair, but use bright, different shades like blues and pinks.

Creative colour…

Create multicoloured hair Re-colour a subject’s hair with brilliant, vibrant highlights using Elements Altering the colour of a subject’s hair is a great creative edit. While you might want to enhance natural tone, there is great fun to be had breaking from convention and creating incredible highlights. Elements can excel at creative photo fixes for a number of reasons. The Brush tool makes it easy to apply any colour to a subject’s hair, and both the Color and Soft


Photoshop Creative

Light modes can blend colour to create a less obvious edit. But why stop at one colour? By mixing shades you can create a dramatic and eye-catching multi-coloured set of highlights in no time at all. Check out how to create the effect in just four simple steps, and learn also how to use the Pen tool in Photoshop to give the look more precision and finesse.

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PFB Dye the hair Use layers, colours and brushes to create the look

Start brushing

Add another colour

Grab a soft-tipped brush and select a bright colour, such as pink, that you can paint onto your subject’s hair. Follow the contours of the hair from the root to the tip, and brush big strokes over the hair to create wide sections of colour. Don’t worry about straying over the edges right now.




Soft Light layer



Repeat the first two steps over the subject’s hair until it is completely re-coloured. Go through your layers, lowering the Opacity of each one to anywhere between 20 and 50% depending on how bright you want the look, and then mask where the colour spills over the edges of the hair and onto the subject.

Select a new colour in the swatches; pick something that complements the first colour you’ve added, but looks different enough for you to notice. Repeat the same technique of adding big swathes of colour to the hair, in the same direction that the hair falls over the subject. Change the blend mode of this layer to Color.

Adjust each layer’s colour by altering the Hue/Saturation (Cmd/ Ctrl+U) to get the perfect finish. Select all of your colour layers and duplicate, before merging to create one final, finished layer. Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to no more than 20% to give the hair more tone.

Use the Pen tool Create the effect in Photoshop

Wield the Pen


Repeat and mask




Grab the Pen tool and click at the root of the subject’s hair. Drag to follow the direction of the hair. Simply hit Cmd/Ctrl+Z to undo a move if you find that you have dragged in the wrong direction.

Go to the Path tab. Select a brush first, and choose a size that you would like this strand of coloured hair to be. Select a soft tip, and then click on your path, Ctrl/ right-click and Stroke Path.

You will have to mask the ends of the hair to keep the realism, as well as change the blend mode and lower the opacity. An advantage of using the Pen tool is that curves are more fluid.

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Price FromÂŁ1,049/$1,199.99US Web

The specs

Panasonic GX8 The CSC marketplace is already a crowded one – can the GX8 outplay the competition?


t’s important first to note that this is not an instant upgrade of the recently launched G7 – the GX range is a separate product line. This is the latest GX camera from Panasonic, replacing the 16-megapixel GX7. If you’ve glanced at the tech specs, you’ll have already noted that the GX8 boasts an increased megapixel count of 25%. This is, of course, good news, but we’re talking about a fourthirds sensor here, not the rather larger APS-C sensor size that you’ll find in many comparable cameras on the market. Having 20.3-megapixels on a camera with a (relatively) small sensor is rather a lot – indeed, it’s Panasonic’s first four-thirds sensor with more than 16-megapixels on offer – and so a high-quality performance is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. Digital photography is not all about megapixels. One of the main reasons to use a dedicated digital camera instead of your smartphone is the increase in sensor size, not an increase in megapixels. Megapixels produce better results when they have space, rather than packed in as tightly as possible, so is the sensor in the GX8 pushing its luck? According to Panasonic, it’s not. It says that, in conjunction with the Venus Engine image

processor – which has previously featured in other Panasonic cameras – with quad-core CPU, there’s a 15% increase in resolution in the GX8 when compared to the GX7. In fact, Panasonic says Venus Engine boosts a range of key performance characteristics, including clarity and colour. The good news is that the images the camera produces are indeed very attractive. If you’re moving up from a smartphone or camera with a 1-inch sensor or smaller, you will be delighted with the results. Detail is readily apparent, with lots of clarity without any hint of over-sharpening. Zoom in close and you’ll be impressed. The camera’s sensor and processor seems to handle exposures superbly. Shadow detail is retained but so is contrast and highlight detail. Colours are punchy but not excessively so. Noise is well-handled, with perfectly satisfactory results right up to ISO 3200. At ISO 6400, chroma noise is more apparent but not really a significant issue, though at ISO 12800 and ISO 25600, chroma noise and luminance noise both have more of a destructive influence. Incidentally, it was hard to see a huge difference between ISO 12800 and ISO 25600 in terms of noise handling.

Company Panasonic Additional specs Â’ !UO^WfSZaS\a]` Â’"9dWRS] Â’2cOZabOPWZWaObW]\ Â’/`bWQcZObSR:12aQ`SS\

The ergonomic performance of the GX8 is excellent. The camera feels really good in your hand and the buttons and dials are positioned intelligently. The GX8 is unabashed in its retro styling and it’s a good-looking camera, but there’s no suggestion of style over substance here. It’s very easy to pick the GX8 up and start using it immediately. However, it should be noted that some may consider the body a touch bulkier than ideal. It’s bigger than the GX7 and bigger than a four-thirds sensor really demands. The articulated LCD makes composition trouble-free and focusing via the touchscreen is quick and effective. The new Dual Image Stabiliser system (based around a combination of both stabilisation systems in both lens and body) and the camera’s 4K Video capability are both great features to have onboard.

The verdict


The GX8 is a very good camera and a pleasure to use. It’s not the cheapest camera on the market and at this price-point you are better served by a DSLR.

Capture shallow depth of field Draw attention to specific subjects within the scene

Set the aperture

Extend the lens

Focus close




Set a wide aperture using the command dial on top of the camera; f5.6 or wider is preferable for shallow depth of ďŹ eld, but the very widest aperture you can access with the lens you’re using is ideal.


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If you are using a zoom lens, extend to its longest focal length. The depth of ďŹ eld will appear shallower if you use a longer focal length. If you only have a wider angle, you can make up for this in the next step.

Focus as closely to the main subject as you can in order to make the depth of ďŹ eld as shallow as possible. If you have a wider-angle lens, you will be able to focus a little more closely than with a telephoto lens.

ARTICULATED SCREEN The camera features a flip-out articulated LCD screen, which is touch enabled. It can be rotated to enable easy composition even at difficult angles.

SUNSHINE EFFECT There are plenty of in-camera special effects. Thankfully, you can set the camera to record a normal version alongside, but they’re fun to try.

TRADITIONAL CONTROL The camera is equipped with plenty of controls and dials that will be familiar to traditional photographers, making it easy to use. The exposure compensation dial is excellent.



Though it’s hardly anything new these days, the retro-inspired design of the GX8 is undeniably appealing and serves to make the camera very attractive.

The camera boasts a dual stabilisation system that combines stabilisation functionality in both the lens and the body.

Create an adjustment layer

Adjust the reds



Now head into Photoshop. Head over to the Layers palette and look for the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon at the bottom of the palette. Create a new Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer.

Standout feature Tilting EVF Yes, the GX8 retains the lovely tilting electronic viewfinder that was showcased on the GX7. Better still, it’s not excessively squinty, unlike so many EVFs. In other words, it doesn’t feel like Panasonic is assuming users of the GX8 will automatically favour the LCD screen. With automatic eye detection, this really is a lovely feature.

Go to the Reds in the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer dialog box. The goal is to adjust the Saturation and the Luminosity (via the Lightness slider), decreasing both to draw attention away from the red flowers.

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Price £140/$216US Web

Epson Expression Photo XP-55

The specs

How does the low-cost XP-55 compare to other Expression models?

Company Epson Additional specs ’#%$f"2>7^`W\bW\U ’!'f!!&f"[[ ’=\Zg#YU


Five great features Where does the XP-55 really excel?

Detailed print

Dual trays

Step-by-step guides




Although the colours might not be as crisp and precise as other Expression printers, printing high-resolution artwork is still a relatively satisfying process, and the XP-55 delivers on detail.


As well as a cable to plug into the back of your computer, the XP-55 can also print wirelessly, via Epson’s own iPrint app.

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The dual-tray setup is easy to load any kind of paper into, with the plastic sliders meaning you can adjust the size of paper that you’re printing onto. There’s even a slider at the bottom for printing onto CDs.

The printer might not be the most futuristic-looking, but it’s adorned with step-by-step illustrations in various places, explaining tasks, such as replacing ink cartridges or loading sheets of paper.

SIX-INK PRINT All of Epson’s Expression range of printers use Claria six-ink print, which incorporates an added magenta channel and an added cyan channel.

CARD TRAY The XP-55 has a specific tray located at the back of the printer, for when you want to print onto more professional-feeling paper.


echnology might be moving online, but that doesn’t mean that printers have become obsolete. These days if you create something in Photoshop, you’re more likely to export for web than you are to head to File>Print onto A4 paper, and social media has become the prime location for sharing your shots. But printers can be useful for a whole host of reasons, and Epson’s Expression Photo XP-55 is one that aims to slot into a modern artist’s life. Epson’s Expression Photo XP-55 is one of a series, and places itself as the most costeffective, lightest member of the family, yet it still has Epson’s six-ink print and offers a wide range of paper-size options. It may be the one in the range that you’d go for if you were a beginner, or on a budget, and it’s one that you might choose as a printer to print your work as you’re creating. Printing as you work gives perspective, as you can judge colours, how your picture resolution looks, and generally just take a step back. The XP-55 is quick enough, quiet enough and compact enough to deliver. It is designed for photo enthusiasts to print their work, but can be more resourceful than that.

The XP-55 fits really well into your home or office. It’s lightweight, sleek and compact, and though the white glossy finish means that it isn’t the most stylish of the Expression family, it is simple to work once you’ve installed the drivers and got the hang of it. There’s a slot for inserting card or photo paper at the back, and there are different sizes of paper trays at the front. There’s even the option to print straight onto CDs; if you’re someone who burns files to discs, the XP-55 can help you customise them. The wireless capabilities of the XP-55 are good too, and it prints quickly and quietly with little fuss. It runs from Epson’s iPrint app, which makes your life even easier when printing from your phone and tablet, and it slots in perfectly with the rest of your life too, as it’s great for printing copy. The only thing that it really lacks from the rest of the Expression printers is a scanner, which would actually be extremely useful for creative minds, but that’s only a slight drawback, as it would contribute significantly to the size and weight of the machine. Ironically though, what lets down the Expression XP-55 somewhat is the feature

that you’re buying it for in the first place. The print quality lacks somewhat on normal paper when compared to other Expression printers in Epson’s arsenal, especially when printing darker colours. Despite the six-ink Claria print, colours can look washed out and can be replicated from screen badly. The detail and print quality is good with bright images, providing you convert to CMYK and up the saturation slightly, but the XP-55 has a tendency to dull your images. It’s a small fly in the ointment for the printer because, aside from the print quality, it’s a good all-rounder and easy to get the hang of. Despite the washed-out quality of the print, it’s still a good option for a beginner, and if you’re someone looking to print your drafts as you create, it’s a great printer to help with your workflow.



A good printer let down by its print quality, the XP-55 is still a useful bit of kit, just not as strong as other printers in the Expression range.

Standout feature Ease of use Once set up, the Expression XP-55 is one of the easiest printers of its range to navigate through. With separate trays for different paper sizes, it’s versatile enough for any kind of job, and the lift-up lid makes it easy to replace ink. It’s great for beginners and can even print via Wi-Fi.

Speed of print

Weight and compactness



The speed of the printer is another advantage. Epson claims that the XP-55 can print a sheet of paper in around 10 seconds, and this is accompanied by very little noise.

Perfect for home printing or even the office, you might not want to take the XP-55 on the go, but it’s light and compact enough for the home. It’s unassuming, understated and easy to transport if need be.

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Price £65/$99US Web

PREVIEW Camera Raw has a huge viewing space for the picture you’re working on, which makes it great for comparing presets.

CAMERA MODELS Explore all kinds of cameras for all kinds of photos with just one click, using the righthand preset panel.

Replichrome III: Archive

The specs Company Totally Rad! Additional specs ’;OQ ’>1 ’>V]b]aV]^1A$ ’:WUVb`]]["

Step back in time with this classic guide to photography filters from Totally Rad!


t’s a complete paradox of modern society that despite technology evolving, retro culture is still big. Apps like Instagram have made it possible for you to turn your smartphone snaps into classic photographs, and analogue cameras from companies like Polaroid are more popular than ever. Photoshop has ways to inject a little nostalgia into your pictures, not least of which is adjustment layers. These options involve building up retro filters yourself though;


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Replichrome aims to cut out the tweaking of adjustments, as it creates a filter in just a click; similar to an action. Totally Rad!’s Replichrome series aims to make filters even simpler than actions, by making them available with a single click via the Camera Raw filter. Archive is the third plug-in of the series, following Slide and Icon, and is similarly based on old camera effects and retro filters. The first two in the series focused on iconic cameras and mostly

discontinued slides, whereas Archive places itself as something that everyone can enjoy, from the photography enthusiast to the casual Photoshop artist. This versatility is reflected in the fact that Archive is compatible with both Lightroom and Photoshop’s Camera Raw, and the plug-in is quick and easy to install. Using Replichrome as a final touch to your pictures is both wonderfully subtle and really easy. Simply head to Filter>Camera Raw and the Archive filters are located on the furthest

Kodak Pro 160 (Frontier)

Centuria Super 100 (Noritsu)

Replichrome III at a glance Which of Archive’s presets are worth returning back to?

Agfa HDC 200 (Noritsu +)


Colour – Darken Skies + + right tab, Presets. On from there, all you have to do is click on a preset to apply it to your picture; if you’re not familiar with the models of camera that they’re based on, you will probably see the pack mostly as subtle additions that you can make to your pictures, such as a touch of sepia, noise or a total brightness lift of the picture. Even a Photoshop user who isn’t an expert on photography, though, can see the difference that an Archive filter can give to your picture; they may be understated tweaks to add to your images, but they add a touch of class and professionalism to your projects. Archive offers 183 beautiful tints for your pictures based on classic camera models from the likes of Kodak, Konika and Fuji, and there are some fantastic presets that you’ll return to time and time again. For example, the black-and-white Fuji set gives a cool sophistication to your photos, and at the other end of the spectrum, the Agfa presets are bright and exciting without being oversaturated and noisy. There are plenty to play

Kodak Pro 160 Kodak is a huge photography name, and Archive offers a few presets scanned from its cameras. One of the most impressive, though, is the Kodak Pro 160, which can add a touch more saturation to your picture, along with a light grain. Centuria Super 100 (Noritsu) The Centuria Super 100 set adds a simple warm filter and grain to your photos that you can manage in Photoshop without the Camera Raw filter. The balance is perfect, and the sepia tone looks great. Agfa HDC 200 (Noritsu +) Archive includes presets from the Agfa HDC, Pro, Ultra and XRG, but the HDC is the pick of the bunch. It adds subtle noise and a vivid colour boost without making your whole picture too oversaturated. Colour – Darken Skies + + One of the presets created to complement the established camera names, the Darken Skies option can inject a sense of moody dread into previously summer shots in just a click. It’s a powerful preset, and doesn’t have a quick Photoshop equivalent. Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (BW) Monochrome photography can be a lot more difficult to master than it looks. The black-and-white presets from Fuji, though, can transform any colour shot into a perfect monochrome one instantly, without having to adjust levels or contrast.

and p , ‘Tweak Kit’ from Totally Rad! of simple adjustments – such as vignettes, sharpness, contrast and grain – so that you can delicately adjust your presets with a click. Some may argue that aside from the Tweak Kit, Archive doesn’t offer users much in the way of customisation options, but then that’s what actions and adjustments are for, not a plug-in based on existing camera settings. The price might seem a little steep for this pack, but then it is collating the very best options from a wide range of cameras. It provides classy finishes to your pictures, and it’s something that can be enjoyed by all levels of Photoshop user.

The verdict


A beautiful set of presets that can improve any project, Archive is a must-have for any photography nerd and a useful addition to any digital artist or designer’s arsenal.

Tweak Kit It is possible to make the slightest of adjustments to your pictures with this handy set of basic presets that work in conjunction with the camerainspired presets. You can make all kinds of cool adjustments to your edited picture, including adding a simple vignette or even adding a slight split tone, which works particularly well when paired with the monochrome options.

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We put forward some burning questions to our panel of experts

HOW CAN I MAKE CREATIVE COLLAGES IN PHOTOSHOP? When assembling collages in the real world, you have to be careful when laying out your composition An arrangement may look perfect one moment, but upon returning to it later, you might be wishing you had placed an element elsewhere or coloured something differently. Layers and history states in Photoshop let you be adventurous with your collage. Place your objects and re-arrange them as much as you like. Keep layers as Smart Objects so you can scale and transform them without any pixel degradation. Use the History palette to back out of compositional dead-ends, and don’t be afraid to save multiple versions of your PSD as options. To get a cut-and-paste look, employ the Polygonal Lasso to make jaggedy selections of photos and scanned papers, then copy and paste into your composition. To keep things from appearing too digitally pristine, throw in some rough textures and old paper, then mix them in with blend modes. When working in the lawless realm of collage, keep your Layers palette very well-organised. This will facilitate edits and provide interface feng shui.

GET IN TOUCH Send us your questions via email, Facebook or Twitter!


Meet your experts… Mark White “It’s good to know that even the simplest tools in Photoshop can help you create the most amazing final effects.”

Get in touch


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Sarah Shirtcliffe

Andre Villanueva

”Obtaining fresh colour gives a wider creative range and opportunity to make elements distinctive and appealing.”

Share on Twitter @PshopCreative

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Moe Hezwani “I’m always illustrating using the Pen tool (P) and constantly learning a new trick with it every day.”

Alternatively, you can email:


Common problems solved

PICK STRONG COLOURS Picking contrasting colours means that your images will show up nicely against both the black background and each other.

WHAT CAN I CREATE WITH THE SCREEN AND MULTIPLY BLEND MODES? Screen and Multiply are two of the most important blend modes. They’re opposites too; Screen is used to keep light shades and get rid of the dark ones, and Multiply does the reverse. But by using clipping masks and applying these contrasting blend modes to objects in the same picture, you can bring these two blend modes together to create all kinds of effects.

DESATURATE FIRST Desaturating your layer first means that when you Multiply a colour, you’ll only be left with that particular hue.

Mark’s expert edit Create cool blend mode effects


Start off by getting your first picture, and adding a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer of -100 Saturation to non-destructively desaturate. Clip it to your picture.


Add a coloured layer above your image and turn the blend mode to Multiply. On another layer, brush black to erase everything but your subject.



Set your new image’s layer Insert another image to blend mode to Screen to overlay with your first. Repeat the desaturation and Multiply erase the dark in it, and then blend layer steps. Clip these layers to your the colour with your first image to get your desired effect. new image.

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Common problems solved PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS WHICH SELECTION TOOLS SHOULD I USE IN MY WORK? Photoshop offers a whole host of selection tools, and it can be difficult sometimes to judge which one to go for when you’re creating a composition. But some offer different advantages to others. The Quick Selection is one of the most common, and as the name suggests, it’s great for making rough outlines around subjects ready for refining with the Refine Edge tool. The Lassos are always good for this, particularly the Magnetic Lasso, and the Polygonal Lasso’s straight edges make it an option for skylines. Overall though, the Pen tool is perhaps the most accurate. It has the pinpoint precision of the Polygonal Lasso, the curves of the Magnetic Lasso and you can save your selections as paths. Try them all out yourself to find your favourite.

Before DIFFERENT EDGES Drag the Pen tool to bend the edge and click to create a simple, straight line to get the best of both worlds.

HOW CAN I ADD A LIGHT SABER TO ANY IMAGE? First, open ‘golf.jpg’ from the FileSilo. Delete the golf club head using the Spot Healing Brush (J) so it looks like she’s holding a stick. Create a new layer (Shift>Cmd/Ctrl+N) and use the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) to create a thin line. This will be the centre of the saber. Fill with white using the Paint Bucket tool (G) and deselect. Now choose a vibrant green colour using the Color palette (F6) and cut (Cmd/Ctrl+C) the code in the box. The bright green shown is swatch code #07f907. Create a new layer style (Layer>Layer Style>Outer Glow) and click the small colour square. The colour palette box will appear, so paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) your code into the box. Hit OK and make sure you select the neighbouring gradient box instead. Play around with the Spread and Size sliders until you have the perfect light saber.

REFINE EDGE Once you’ve made your selection, use the Refine Edge tool to tidy up the edges and create a feathered selection.




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Sharpening is a must for any photographer, but it’s also paramount to sharpen after creating a composition or after creating a digital painting. It adds detail, and it makes your work clearer and often more professional-looking. While there are numerous ways of sharpening in Photoshop, there is a simple way to do so with layers. Duplicate your layer – or hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E to merge all your layers into a new layer at the top of the stack – and go to Filter>Other>High Pass. This will create a mostly monochrome layer, with the highlights and lowlights of your picture in tact, for you to blend into the image to reveal more detail. Set this High Pass according to how sharp you want your image to be. Usually around 5px is enough, and then set the layer to Overlay to bring out the detail in your image. You can also set this High Pass layer to Linear Light for even more extreme cases of sharpening, and Soft Light for a more subtle sharpen to your pictures.

PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS CREATE SHAPES Even though you might have accidentally created a path, once it is converted, it means you can reuse the shape whenever you want.


Common problems solved HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CONVERTING A PATH INTO A VECTOR SHAPE? It can be very frustrating when you have accidently drawn a path, thinking it was going to be a vector shape. However, there is a really simple way to convert that path into the shape you intended. In case you didn’t already know, shape layers are simply paths that can hold fills and outlines. A path is simply a series of points like an outline, which can become a selection. It’s the raw material of shapes but not quite a shape in itself. If you have accidently drawn a path, create a new layer (Shift/Cmd/Ctrl+N) and select the path you created by using the Path Selection tool (A). Then go to Edit>Define Custom Shape… and name it if you like. Now go to your Custom Shapes tool (cycle through pressing U) and you will see the Custom Shapes Picker icon. Click the arrow to open it up and your new custom shape will be at the bottom.


Quick tip

Gradient maps can be useful for a whole host Before of reasons. They’re similar to the Photo Filter command, only they can incorporate more than one colour into your picture. The Gradient Map adjustment assigns colours to the light and dark shades of your picture, in the form of a gradient. You might want to add a simple black to white to enhance the natural light and shade of your picture, or you might want to get more creative, adding various hues to replace the duller colours in an image. By combining a gradient map with a blend mode though, most often Soft Light, you can enable these added colours to filter into your artwork. They make a perfect final adjustment for providing allover tone and colour correction to your pictures, and they’re great for subtly injecting a completely different shade to your layers.

If you want to mimic the kind of vignette that’s created around a model when using a flash light in a studio, try using the Gradient tool (G), with a gradient that goes from Black to Transparent. Set to Radial in the Options bar. Click and drag from the face to outside the canvas on a new layer to apply the effect. This is a quick and simple technique that adds a subtle but realistic vignette to any image.

Mimic a vignette

HOW CAN I GET INFO ABOUT COLOURS IN MY IMAGE? Colour can make or break a piece of work and if you spot a colour you really need but don’t know the Hex number, it is very easy to obtain. Make the colour source visible. Select the Eyedropper tool and keep it clicked down while dragging anywhere over the colour source. You will see a circle and every time it passes over a colour it changes in the box. Also drag the Eyedropper across the image you’re using on the interface – as long as it’s on the screen it is available. Once you know the information, you can use the Color Picker to create the hue and use it in an edit.

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The Making Of New Life Village of Fruits

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Helder Borghi Helder shares some of his Photoshop wisdom, along with the source of his inspiration


elder Borghi may not have been working in Photoshop for very long, but he’s already made great friends from his hobby. “I have about a year’s experience of using Photoshop,” he says. “I entered challenges and met a lot of nice people of whom I studied the art to hone my techniques.” What advice does Helder have to new Photoshop users though? We asked him his secrets.

You’vecreatedalotofgreatartwork, Helder.Whatmakesagoodpicture? I don’t think there’s one thing that will make your picture stand out; it’s a mixture of elements, really. If you spend time perfecting the lighting and colour in your work though, this will draw the attention of your viewer. That’s what I’ve learned!

you open up the software! Photoshop can give wings to your imagination, so as long as your imagination is limitless, your artwork can be, too.

Doyouhaveanytipsonhowagood artistcanfindimagination? I like finding inspiration from everywhere. Movies are a big inspiration for me, and I like to sketch. Always check out your friends’ artwork, and just draw things that you’re interested in. You never know, you could sketch something that could make an amazing picture! To see more of Helder’s imaginative art visit: helder%20Borghi

Whatadvicewouldyougiveto beginners,basedonthethings you’velearned? I’ve learned a lot, but I’d say impeccable lighting and shading is the most important aspect of most pictures. Make skies as realistic as possible, and learn from your friends, as I have. My other secret is simplicity: don’t embellish everything in your image.

Start off with your basic mushroom and add your door and windows. This is going to be the focal point of the image, so it’s important to take care crafting it.

Lighting and shadows Find somewhere appropriate to place your house. Add a light inside the window, and judge exactly where the lighting and shadows should fall.

Add more elements This is the time to add a path, to perfect your lighting and to add other elements to the picture, such as a few birds in the distance.

Finally, an overall tonal fix to the picture can totally transform it. Look at adjustment layers and lighting effects to help give your picture more colour.

I just try to show that anything is possible when The Prisoner

Photoshop Creative

The basic house

Finish off your work

Doyoutrytoshowanymessagesin yourartwork?


Learn how to create a mushroom house in just four imaginative stages

Photoshop creative 132  
Photoshop creative 132