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Free step-by-step tutorials online

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01 Paint from photos

Perfect your brush skills with an inspiring step-bystep tutorial on all things painterly

02 Retouching projects

Add new backgrounds, work with textures and retouch portraits for brilliant new imagery

03 Shoot for Photoshop stock Turn your photos into Photoshop-worthy resources like brushes and backgrounds

04 Super-easy 3D

Photoshop is as successful as it is largely because of one key function: layers. With clever layering and creative blending, imaginative creations are limitless. Head to page 12 for the ultimate layer breakdown. Learn everything from the power of adjustments and masks to beautiful blending and beyond. There’s some great creative resources this issue too, including a bumper scrapbooking pack. Turn to page 26 for some inspiration on how to get creative with the resources. Use the supplied shapes to build a beautifully colourful scene and understand the power of vectors over on page 44, too. We’re on the lookout for new art to feature in our readers’ gallery, so if you fancy seeing your creations in the next issue, drop us a line at: Happy Photoshopping!

Five pages of great Photoshop CS, Elements and CC fixes including how to make an amazing 3D efect

05 Secrets to perfect compositions

Build better photocomposites with expert tricks

Charis Webster Editor




for back issues, books and merchandise

gallery 06 Readers’ Did your work make it to our


readers’ gallery?

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

All you need to 12 Feature: know about layers The basics and beyond, discover the power of layers

22 Tutorials Your Photoshop tutorials begin with a painterly guide

82 Reviews A camera, a plug-in and a website get our honest opinions

88 Subscribe Never miss an issue when you have it delivered (US readers p66)

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

interview 98 Expert A Q&A with talented Photoshop artist Fabrizio Calicchia

Top tips 48 58

Top ten

12 Perfect your editing skills with an 8-page special on the essential layering basics and beyond

Vivid paint effects using filters for quick results Top tips to shoot for Photoshop stock

Readers’ gallery 06


questions answered P90

Visit the Photoshop Creative online shop at


Top five

Q&A Your Photoshop

now SAVE Subscribe Turn to page 88 to get this


amazing deal! US page 66

Tutorials 22 Paint from

44 Work with vectors


Test your brush skills and achieve incredible effects

26 Design a digital scrapbook

Work with vectors Ready-made vectors for beautiful effects

bokeh 50 Beautiful Give your photos the wow-factor with light effects

Capture memories and display photos creatively


Build colourful montages from beautiful vector shapes

54 Smartphone photos fixed

32 5 projects for

Repair and improve the photos you take on-the-go


Learn five new techniques for revamping photographs


60 Mixed media portraits

Create arresting art with textures and layering

10 secrets for compositions Incredible tips and tricks from the composition king





Watch and learn with video tutorials A step-by-step guide and a breakdown of your free videos

New to Photoshop? Check out our introductory guide


Mixed media portraits Apply fresh new skills to your pictures

commands of bounds 68 Auto 76 Out Unlock creative potential with Get the best from these great one-click wonders

selections 70 Perfect with Refine Edge Tough outlines made easy

this eye-catching effect

resolution 80 Understand The importance of image resolution broken down

colours 74 Correct Go from lacklustre to colour-rich in minutes


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



Everson Sousa

www.photoshop uk/user/Everson

“The concept behind this image was to portray the elements of water and fire living together in perfect harmony, and it represents those two elements within a delicate animal.”

Sergey Likhachev

www.photoshop user/Batkya

“This was originally created for a contest, but then I decided to add details and a plot, and it became a new image altogether. The idea appeared spontaneously.”


Photoshop Creative

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

Upload your images to Facebook Search PhotoshopCreative

Tweet us your creative artwork @PshopCreative

Alternatively, you can email:

Randy Monteith www.photoshop SnowDog

“I wanted to give this stock photo of a female rocker a distressed look showing a lot of intensity, so I started throwing layers of black ink blobs layer after layer. Then I made up some layers of watercolours and put them on top. A canvas texture was then applied and blended to complete this artwork.”

Lina Garzon www.photoshop user/gohan98

“I wanted to create something interesting and play around with colours. Making this took me about four to five hours, making around 80 layers.”

Juliana Soave www.photoshop creative. JuliSnowWhite

“This photomanipulation was done using Photoshop CS6. I wanted to create something for Halloween, so I put several images together to create this magical scene.”


Qusay Abobaker Abubaker

www.photoshop user/Qusay_

“The idea came from being stressed at work. This was a mixed-media design comprising of the screaming man stock photo, simple abstract renders, some brushes, and a little creativity.”

Manjula Gamage inbox

www.photoshop user/gamage.

“This is one of my favourites, and was done in Photoshop CS6 using different layers, masks, filters, brushes and various adjustments.” “After having cropped the main image with the Pen tool, I then placed it in a playground environment. I created some custom shapes with the Pen tool and applied a motion blur, after that I used the Warp command to achieve the final motion effects.”


Photoshop Creative

Uiljan Cavalcante www.photoshop user/Uillsam

“It took me about 18 hours to create this image, and three days researching images. I was very happy with the result because I tried to make it as real as possible.”

Gerson Boy www.photoshop user/GersonBoy

“I always wanted to create a fantasy image, and with a few hours of dedication I got this result.”

Shaban Asim www.photoshop user/shaban

“I was working on my Lost Planet series and created this new piece of artwork.”

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

Reade Chall rs’ WINNenge ER

overall challenge winner

Simon’s choice “The blending and blur effects used in Andre’s image makes for a stunning composition.”

1 Andre Van Graan Invasion “I used the building and eye images. A bit of thinking and layering and it all came together. I finished it off with a motion blur effect and a touch of sharpening.”

2 Roger Webb Shooting Giants “I wanted the feeling of having giants all around. There’s a big moon in the background, large walking boots and a giant girl destroying buildings all towering over a tiny man with his camera in the corner.””

3 Brian Naylor Beauty and the Beast “The idea is that the wolf is the ‘beauty’, I used different aged photos to cover the female’s face, and then light layers blended in. The Liquify filter was used to change her features. The wolf was designed with a displacement layer to help it blend in with the trees.”




4 Franks Cervantes Natural Concept “For this image I tried to design boots that claim to be based on a zebra.”

Download our images Think you can do better? Prove it!

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


Photoshop Creative


Eye Candy 7 plug-in

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



Focal Press and You.

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Discover the roots of making amazing artwork by uncovering the potential of your Layers palette


How to apply shading, glows and many more artistic effects.


Photoshop Creative

ADJUSTMENTS AND FILLS Control colour and lighting inside images using these incredibly powerful layers.


Edit with precision by adding masks to your layers.


Create better artwork with blend mode techniques.



Mixing up 3D shapes with photo-based layers helps to make the composition more interesting.

Fill layers are helpful for applying colours to certain areas, and these are all set up with masks ready to edit.

The Layers palette Here are the key features of layers

GROUPS Group folders keep similar layers together as well as any adjustments that are linked to those layers. Groups can be made inside Groups for more complex layering.

MASKS Masks are essential for removing parts of a layer without actually destroying the pixels.

CLIPPING MASKS Clipped layers appear with a small arrow on their layers and can be used with adjustments to only affect the layers directly beneath them.

SHAPE LAYERS Shapes are added to the image to balance the composition. These include directional arrows to guide the eye, or crosses to grab the viewer’s attention.

RETOUCH SKILLS Working with a portrait, it’s important to edit on new layers as you retouch certain areas of the face.

ADJUSTMENT LAYERS Add as many adjustment layers as you need, controlling opacities for subtle changes to colour and exposure.

Photoshop Creative



LAYER STYLES Treat your layers to a new look using

FREE RESOUR Check ou CES! t som

easy-to-apply layer styles

awesome e (by Desig layer styles with the t n Panoply), uto on your drial files isc.

Light, texture and special effects describe just some of the creative treatments possible with layer styles. Found inside the Layer menu, or by double-clicking a layer, you have access to endless artistic effects. From a Drop Shadow effect for making a layer appear to float, to Pattern Overlays for adding texture to a design; layer styles are key to creating your own unique look. Here we take a look at some of the styles that have gone into enhancing this typeface. The trick is to really dig in and roam about the Layer Style menu, and to try out each and every one of them.



By adding the Stroke style, letters can be made to look more rounded and stylish. The colour and size of the stroke effect will make them stand out even more.

Outer Glow styles add that important finishing touch to your layers, and they help blend them with the background. Adapt their shapes using the Contour options found inside the menu.

A THIRD DIMENSION Make a layer look 3D by using the Bevel & Emboss style. This gives a layer both a highlight and chiselled edge.

COLOUR SCHEMES Add a subtle colour blend to a layer using the Gradient Overlay style. Define the colours yourself as well as the type of gradient such as circular or reflected.

MAKE YOUR LAYERS JUMP Drop Shadow styles will make your layers appear as though they’ve been lifted off the canvas. For this letter we reduced its Fill to 0% to reveal the photo.


Change the Fill Type of a stroke from Color, Pattern or Gradient to alter its appearance. Browse the range of preset Patterns for adding texture and a personal touch to your image. The Position settings will determine where the Stroke effect sits: either inside, central, or outside the edge of a layer.

A look at the menu

A glance at the key Layer Style functions BALANCED MODES The Bevel & Emboss style has two modes: Highlight and Shadow. These enable the mix of colours and opacities to give variation.


Photoshop Creative

LIGHTING Define the intensity and direction of the lighting that falls onto the layer using the Depth and Direction options.

STYLE PREVIEW See what happens to your custom style as you go, using this small preview inside the Layer Style menu.

Creative mix

Combine adjustment with fill layers for a creative edge

ADJUSTMENTS AND FILLS Layers come in many Start image

Creating an image that is believable to the viewer is something we can come close to achieving by using adjustment and fill layers. Fill layers are used to change the colour of an image and adjustment layers will adapt light, as well as having some other uses. What can happen so often when composing images together is seeing a mismatch of colour or exposure. We can use adjustments and fills to bring this discord to an end and make for a more cohesive composition.


Color Fill


different guises to help you create a sense of harmony between colour and light

Go to the Layer menu and down to New Fill Layer>Solid Color to apply a tint to the image. This helps to set the mood. Change blend mode to Color or Soft Light.

COLOUR CONTROL Fill layers help to bring colours together to make for a more appealing image. Balancing the hue and tones is vital for this to happen.

Shape layers

As adjustment layers come with their own masks, there’s nothing stopping you removing parts of an adjustment from an area of your image using the Brush or Eraser tools.


Simple shapes were added using the Custom Shape tools (U). Layer styles were also used, as well as filled shapes, with their opacities lowered for subtle effect.

Text layers


Apply words using the Type tool (T). Use extra shapes to embellish the design. The text was set on a green banner to make the Bevel & Emboss stand out.


Duplicating layer styles

Once you’ve found the perfect Layer Style recipe, you can reapply the same styles and settings to another layer or image. To do this, Ctrl/right-click the layer and select the option Copy Layer Style. On a different layer, simply select the Paste Layer Style option from the same list.

LIGHT-SENSITIVE ADJUSTMENTS Problem areas, where there might be too much light, can be fixed with a Curves or Levels adjustment layer.

CLIPPED EDITING Clipping an adjustment layer will affect just one of your layers, and can be done by Opt/Alt-clicking between them in the Layers palette.

Blend in texture


Texture was applied to a new layer. A layer mask was used to reduce the texture over parts of the face. Use Overlay or Screen blend modes to vary the look.

Photoshop Creative



DOUBLE-EXPOSURE EFFECT Masks enable you to combine one or more images. Pixels can be hidden by a mask (rather than deleted), so you’re free to adjust and then re-adjust the blending between the two images.

Combine masks with photos


Use masks with new layers to build an engaging image

Masks appear as black and white boxes on each layer. To show the layer mask over your main image, Opt/Alt-click on its box. This makes it easier to edit the mask.

TOOLS FOR MASKING Editing a layer mask is done using the Brush or Eraser tools (or even the Gradient tool if you’re feeling adventurous). Parts of a mask are removed using black, white or grey paint.

Create the base

SELECTION METHODS Tools such as the Rectangular Marquee can be used to remove large sections of a mask in one go. Once the selection is applied hit Opt/ Alt+Backspace or Cmd/ Ctrl+Backspace to apply.


Overexposed areas were singled out from the rest of the image using a soft brush and a layer mask. The Levels adjustment is ideal for bringing exposure down in certain areas and bringing it back in others.

MASTER THE ART OF MASKING Stay clear of destroying your pixels for good by mastering layer masks Rarely should a layer be applied without a mask. Masks act as ‘first aid’ tools, coming to the rescue for whatever may happen to your image, good or bad. They help prevent any pixels being completely deleted, and can be edited to the


The Quick Mask function is a faint red overlay that shows the areas of your image being masked. Start by making a selection using one the tools, such as the Magic Wand, and then press Q. Use the Brush or Eraser tools to remove or add to the Quick Mask area. When you’re happy with the Quick Mask, press Q again, and then click the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers palette to apply as an active mask


Photoshop Creative

same level as any other layer using brushes and gradients. This helps to create the effect you’re going for, and applying a mask before going any further is a good habit to get into. You’re layers will thank you for it!

Layer masks


Get creative with multiple layers inside your composition using layer masks. Creating a visual balance for each layer is key before continuing with other effects.

Final tweaks


Using the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and its mask we were able to pinpoint just the right area to apply colour. Apply the adjustment first, and then use brushes to hide or reveal parts.


Start image

Add dimension and colour to portraits When you work with compositions like this, it soon becomes clear how important layers are. There are no restrictions as to what can be done with layers, helping you reach your final goal. This composition uses some of Photoshop’s 3D elements, available in Extended versions and Photoshop CC. They make for great optional extras and to help complete the overall piece with extra flare.

Create portrait effects with layers CREATE 3D OBJECTS

Prepare the portrait

Build up layers



Add details

Retouch the model

Begin by creating a new document and add a blue backdrop. The portrait is placed within the document, situated and resized before being edited. Add a layer mask and use a soft brush with black to fade out edges.


The Custom Shape tool (U) lets you add vector shapes, while Photoshop CC’s improved 3D features can convert layers into objects. Using the 3D features in Photoshop Extended, there is a lot of scope.

Add stock photos and vector shapes into the composition, using blend modes to mix. Areas that need to be hidden can be painted with black on a layer mask. To restore hidden areas, paint back in these parts with white.


If the portrait is covered in texture, copy the original face and move it to the top of the layer stack. A layer mask controls what areas receive attention. Extra copies of the face are added, and blend modes deepen colours.

To make your own 3D objects, open a blank canvas and select one of the Shape tools (the Rectangle tool, for example). Draw a circle shape onto the canvas, and then go to 3D>New 3D Extrusion From Selected Layer. The 3D interface will load up, and use the Shape Presets to get started.

Final adjustments


Use adjustment layers to control tone. The Gradient tool creates white glares. Set it to Radial Gradient and Foreground to Transparent preset, with a light colour, click and drag on a blank layer to create glares.

Photoshop Creative



SKILFUL BLENDS Control light, colour and contrast with blend modes Blend modes help mix the colour and exposure between two layers. By default, layers are set to Normal, so no blending is applied. View all the blend modes in Photoshop using the Layers palette. These are divided into categories

according to which parts of the image they’ll affect, such as colour or contrast. Blend modes can sometimes produce dramatic changes, which can spoil a good image. Use the Opacity slider in the Layers palette to reduce their impact.

EXPERT TIP Speed up the process

Quickly cycle through your blend modes by holding the Shift key and tapping either the – or + keys. Use the number keys 1-0 to control the Opacity percentage of a layer, so you can blend a layer into the composition with no real need to go to your Layers palette at all!

OVERLAY Add a dose of contrast and make shadows darker.

COLOR BURN Make colours more intense with added contrast.

SCREEN Lighten images and reveal detail in darker areas.

LINEAR BURN Dims highlights for a moodier atmosphere.

SOFT LIGHT Gently add contrast and saturation.

BLEND ADJUSTMENTS Adjustment layers can also have blend modes applied to them. Depending on the effect you’re going for, try combining colour adjustments, for example the Photo Filter with the Color blend mode. The Levels adjustment is best matched with Luminosity, so as to not affect the colours and just the exposure. The differences can be subtle, but the end results are much better and more noticeable if you’re looking to print your artwork on photo-quality paper.


Photoshop Creative


Textures are ideal for adding a vintage look to your image. Using the contrast blend modes, such as Overlay or Soft Light, textures can be blended into a photo. Overlay will boost the contrast quite a bit so be warned! Without blend modes you have to rely on lowering the Opacity of the texture, which would make the image look flat.

Bigger and better art

Apply these skills for creating a dynamic composition

PUT YOUR SKILLS TO THE TEST Don’t hold back when creating

Start image

Starting out on a new composition is never an easy task. Once you’ve worked out what you want to create, it’s then down to figuring out where to begin putting it all together. Working with layers and layer groups will help you stay organised and free to adapt the artwork as you go along. It’s that age-old saying that practice makes perfect, and layers are no exception!

Base layers


Decide how your background layer will look. Use a Color Fill layer and Vibrance adjustment layer to blend the stock photo. A layer mask hides unwanted areas.

Fan effect


To create a fan effect, use Rotate (Edit>Transform). Create duplicates by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J. Use the Move tool to pan them away from each other.

Add vector layers


Shape layers are vector-based. Apply Outer Glow and Gradient Overlay layer styles to give them an extra edge instead of keeping them a solid colour.


Smart objects are created by Ctrl/ right-clicking on a layer and going down to Convert to Smart Object. To edit a smart object, double-click on the converted layer and you’ll be taken to a new document. Use this to apply edits that you don’t want to make in the main composition, making complex layering easier to manage away from everything else.

Complete the project


Don’t restrict yourself on adjustments. Texture and colours were added selectively to the composition to make the image come together visually.

Photoshop Creative


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Tutorial Paint from photos On the disc The beautiful start photo to create this!

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS and above and Creative Cloud

What you’ll learn Use the Mixer Brush tool and colour edits to paint over photos

Time taken

2-3 hours

Expert Amro Ashry “I am a digital artist and graphic designer. I started using Photoshop since I was 12 as a hobby but since then I became a loyal user of Adobe products. I use Photoshop CS5 and CS6 to make my digital paintings and enjoy exploring the power of Photoshop brushes. The key is to perfect your own style.”

Paint from photos Photoshop’s Mixer Brush is a great tool; here’s how to use it to create painterly pictures like this


n this tutorial you will learn how to draw flowers in the same way as a traditional artist by calling upon the brushes in Photoshop. The steps can be followed whether you use a mouse or a graphics tablet, so no special equipment is required. While the steps are simple, you will have to be patient and build up detail if you want to achieve a realistic effect. As a traditional artist applies layers of paint on top of each other to build up form, a digital artist can duplicate layers and add new layers for details and textures. Blending

Tracing stage


Create a document, 3,453 x 3,453px, 300ppi resolution. Place the flower image in the document and create a new layer. Reduce Opacity to 65% and trace the flowers with a round brush, 6-9px , Hardness 0%, Opacity 100% , Flow 100%.


Photoshop Creative

these layers gives wonderful results and can be achieved whatever your skill level. In addition to the Mixer Brush, which is used to make the forms in the painting, the Adjustment tools are also essential. Color Balance, Vibrance and Levels are fundamental in enhancing your image. A major advantage of using Photoshop is that you can control the strength of anything you apply. ThereÕs a brush set online too which you can download free from tutorial-files.

Base colour for background


It is an idea to colour the background, as this helps control the shadows. It is also a technique used by traditional artists. On a new layer, below the tracing, flood with the colour #687f5e.

Indulge your love of digital painting

Start image

Š Zachi Evenor at 


Search for photoshopcreative

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Paint from photos

Start with the Mixer Brush

Colour the flowers


Select the Mixer Brush and select the Flat Angle Low Bristle Count, Size: 17px, Wet: 8%, Load: 8%, Flow: 30% and activate Sample All Layers. Start painting over the background and flowers.


Continue to build up the colour, using layers for each new bit. Stick with the same brush, adding extra colour to the flowers and also the detail in the background.

Use the Selective Color command


Continue to complete colouring the flowers and the background foliage. Once complete, merge all the layers. A good way to edit the colours is the Selective Color command, from Image>Adjustments> Selective Color. Activate Absolute and adjust Red, Yellow, Green and White. Merge all layers.

Edit colours again


Visit the Selective Color command once more, but this time activate Relative instead of Absolute. This helps balance the colours. Pick Reds and set Cyan to -36% and the rest to 0%. Then pick Whites and set Black to -100% and the rest to 0%. This will introduce a subtle texture effect.


Photoshop Creative

Blend the colours


Duplicate your merged layer and then paint over the whole image once more with the Mixer Brush, using the same settings as before.

Go bespoke


The next four steps will help create the traditional look, and although simple, they do take time so be patient! You can play with different Mixer Brush settings or you can load our special ones into it. Try brush number ‘2216’, Size: 360px, Wet: 8%, Load: 8%, Mix: 8%, Flow: 30% and make sure Sample all Layers is activated.

Indulge your love of digital painting

Search for photoshopcreative

Expert tip Set up your brushes

Scatter texture


Add a new layer. We’re going to use the Mixer Brush (Flat Angle Low Bristle Count, size 5px for fine lines and 83px for larger areas) to brush over the painting. But first, open Brush Presets. Activate Scattering and set Scatter: 30%, Count Jitter: 1%. If you have a stylus, set the Control to Pen Pressure.


Add more details

Increase depth


Add another new layer for extra details. Use our supplied Artistic Brushes (loaded into the normal Brush tool), or pick your own. Reduce the layer Opacity to 64% and use the brushes at 52% Opacity, with a Flow of 100%.

Add more texture Continue painting the flowers and branches. Use the same brush as in step 3, but also go to the Brush palette and select Texture. Set Scale: 88%, Mode: Height, Depth Jitter: 30%, brush size of 3-24%. Merge the layers again.


In addition to adding detail with brushes, it’s possible to add depth and create focus on the flowers using the Color Balance and Selective Color commands. Use them to increase the contrast in the background.

It is easier than you think to create your own brushes. Create a new document, 2,750 x 2,750px, Resolution 100ppi. Select the Flat Angle Low Bristle Count at Size 300px. Go to the Brush palette and click on Scattering. Set Scatter: 30%, Count: 6 and Count Jitter: 0%. Make a mark on the document. Pick the Lasso tool and select the brush mark you made. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset. Name the brush.

Enhance the colours


To add more detail to the flower edges, create a new layer and set the Foreground colour to #ebfeea. With a soft round brush, Size: 3px and Opacity: 56%, brush around the edges of the flowers to make them look sharper.

Sharpen more

The final adjustments

Merge all of the layers and duplicate. Convert this duplicated layer to a Smart Object and go to Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen More. Set the Mode to Normal and set Opacity to 43%.

Once you are happy with the painting details and level of sharpening, do a final merge of the layers. Use adjustment layers to enhance colours and contrast. Color Balance and Selective Colors are particularly useful for completing artwork.



Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Design a digital scrapbook

On the disc

Start s image

All the resources you need for this tutorial!

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS5 and above, CC and Elements compatible through step 18

What you’ll learn Arrange scraps and photos into a composition, make a slideshow in Bridge

Time taken

2 hours

Expert Kate Rose “I am a freelance illustrator and designer in Honolulu, Hawaii. As a photomanipulator, my favourite aspect of Photoshop is the ability to transform photos into magical images, merging the real with the surreal. It enables the artist to take pieces of reality and use them to create fantasy. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination!”


Photoshop Creative

Share your hard work and precious memories in a fun and unique way with a digital scrapbook!


igital scrapbooking is becoming more popular, and its easy to see why. The rise in digital camera and smartphone camera use has contributed to the trend. It is a creative and inexpensive medium for gifts, photobooks, and expression of your imagination. The benefits of digital scrapbooking are many. They are easy to share, your materials are easily obtained and manipulated, anything can be quickly changed or undone and best of all, your materials can all be

found or made for free! In addition, it is simply more convenient to create layouts digitally than to print photos and assemble materials to create a traditional scrapbook. Digital scrapbookers use many techniques to embellish layouts, such as creating collages or montages, applying sepia or monotones, and creating shadows to give the layout a realistic layered look. Your digital creation will preserve your family and friends’ most treasured moments for years to come!


Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Design a digital scrapbook

Getting started


Open ‘Scrapbook Template’. The file is 12”x12” at 300ppi. This is standard scrapbooking paper size, so that after you are finished you will have the option to print. The template comes with space for four to five photos, but more can be easily added.

Fill in the blanks


Select ‘layer shape1’, and give it the layer style shown (with the files provided). Add the same drop shadow setting to the other shape layers. Select four photographs, clip them to the shape layers, resizing and positioning as needed.

Add text bubbles


Determine where to place captions for the photos. Place ‘clouds.jpg’ and ‘clouds2.jpg’ on top of and between the layers. Feel free to make them different sizes to accommodate the length of each caption, but don’t worry about adding text yet.

Create depth with adjustments


To create a little depth, use the Hue/ Saturation adjustment (Ctrl/ Cmd+U) to make images in the background a little darker by moving the Lightness slider to the left. Make images in the foreground a little bigger and brighter.


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Select the Brush tool, and load the lace brushes. On a layer above the background, use them to establish a bit of frame. For it to look like the example, use brush 172 sized to 1200px and 415 at 600px.

Paste in some scraps


Open ‘flower2.png’ and Copy/Paste it into the file just above the lace layer, so that it is behind all the photographs and clouds. Do the same for ‘branch.jpg’, ‘leaf.png’, ‘bird.png’, and ‘flower.png’. Arrange into a pleasing arrangement.

Add light to background


Custom brushes

To draw in the viewer’s eye, make a large soft circle of ‘light’ on a layer above the background with a round fuzzy brush at 2500 px. This small detail accentuates the focus point and makes the composition more dynamic. The colour used is fff9a0.

Add some text


As a general rule, it is wise to use no more than two or three different fonts per page to avoid busyness. A scroll or script font usually pairs well with a basic traditional font. The fonts chosen should be readable, placed on top layers.

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Once the main composition and text is in place, the addition of small embellishments such as buttons, pattern strips, or bits of cloth will enhance the image. This is where you can really get creative! However, have care to avoid clutter.

Sharpen the image


With the very top layer selected, go to Select>All and then Edit>Copy Merged and then Edit>Paste. Sharpen the image by using Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and use the settings shown.

Add a gradient mask



Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Curves. Create a curve as shown on the histogram, with Output at 53 and Input at 87. This will deepen the shadows and enhance the highlights a tiny bit.


Duplicate the layer. Go to Image> Adjustments>Photo Filter and choose a filter to enhance the feel of the image. For the winter themed tutorial image, a Cooling Filter is applied.

Make it snow

Give the merged layer a layer mask and apply a white to black gradient from the top down. This will make the bottom half of the layer transparent, and the image will be warmer on the bottom and cooler on top.

Adjust contrast

Apply a Photo Filter


Create a new layer, and load the snow brush file. With white as your Foreground colour, paint a swash of snow on the new layer with the brush sized to 150 px. Turn the layer mode to Overlay and reduce Opacity to 85%.

Touch up Curves adjustment


The Curves adjustment may have made some areas too dark, especially on faces. Click on the layer mask of the Curves layer. With a round fuzzy brush and black as the Foreground colour, click the areas that need to be lightened back up.

Easy lighting effects


Create a new layer, and select the Gradient tool. Hit D on the keyboard to reset the Foreground and Background colours to black and white. With a Radial gradient, apply a gradient to the image. Set the layer mode to Overlay. Reduce the Opacity to 17%.

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Tutorial Design a digital scrapbook

Extra stage Make a slideshow in Bridge Use Photoshop Bridge to create more pages for a special-occasion slideshow

Assemble more images


Open ‘sample templates.psd’ and fill the photo frames with your own images. Save each finished page as a jpg, and put all of them in a new folder. Launch Bridge from the icon at the top of the screen. Elements users won’t be able to use Bridge; other options are PowerPoint or Picasa.

Making a slideshow in Bridge


Open Bridge and navigate to Vacation Scrapbook Slideshow folder. All the images should be visible in the Content window. You have a few options in the View menu. The shown images display as Details to verify they are all the same size.

More options


Knockout effects

Knockout options let you specify which layers ‘punch through’ to reveal content from other layers below. The shape of the pixels on the top layer determines the shape of the knockout window to the background layer. Bring up the Layer Style dialog box to manipulate the options for the knockout by selecting the Blending Options tab. This is a fun tool to use for creating layer effects without masking or transparencies, and is perfect for scrapbooking.


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Click the Output menu on the toolbar and choose Output to Web or PDF. You can change the image order by dragging their thumbnails.

Save the slideshow

In the Content window, select all the images for the slideshow. All the images that will appear in the slideshow will display in the Preview window. In the Output options (right), enter the options shown.

Expert tip

Slideshow options

Final results


The finished file will be a PDF slideshow that is set to open to full screen. Most computers come with a PDF reader installed so a PDF is a good option for a slideshow. When launching the slideshow, click Yes on the Full Screen notification.


Click Save. In the Save As dialog, first enter a file name and choose a location. A PDF file will be created. The PDF file will open onscreen, and then finally the slideshow will start. To stop the show at any time, press Esc.


Available from all good newsagents and supermarkets

ON SALE NOW > Pro layer techniques > 20 Expert vector tips > 3D type projects RETOUCHING






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

Tutorial Top 5 retouching projects On the disc All the start images to test your retouching!

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS3 and above, CC and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn Essential retouching techniques to improve your everyday photos

TOP 5 RETOUCHING PROJECTS Retouching is not just for models; any image can benefit from a little tender loving care!

Time taken 30 mins each

Expert Stewart Wood “When I first started taking photos of my family I started to notice errors in my photography that I would need to fix like messy backgrounds, bad framing or crooked horizons. I had to teach myself the basics of retouching images in Adobe Photoshop. I’ll now share that basic knowledge with you.”





etouching is one of the most popular areas in which Adobe Photoshop is used extensively. There are two simple reasons for this. First, Photoshop offers a variety of advanced tools to edit images and enhance details. Second, if you have some experience with Photoshop it is easy to learn the basics and quickly produce very impressive results. Retouching photos is not just about making beauty images and smoothing skin. Retouching can include anything from removing objects to adding textures or adjusting the colour.



For a lot of people, the retouching process is needed for family photos to correct errors that were made during the photography process, such as forgetting to check the background or photographing a moving subject which will always need a little help from Photoshop. In the next five tutorials, we’ll cover the basic techniques to fix these problems and more. In addition to retouching family shots, we’ll look at sorting out landscapes as well as tackling the primary retouching task; beautifying a model’s face.

PROJECT 1 Creative backgrounds Get a studio look with backgrounds

Add a gradient

Make the selections


Open ‘Texture background.jpg’. Select the Quick Selection tool (W) and select the background. Go to Select>Inverse so only the boy is selected.


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Add a layer mask


Go to Refine Edge and shift the Edge to -10% with a Feather of 0.5 pixels. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Rename this layer to Boy.


Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient. Name this layer Colour. Click the gradient to edit it; in the left stop enter a7c4d8 and in the right enter 1b4e72. Change the style to Radial and Scale to 200%. Move the layer below the Boy layer.

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Add more texture


Repeat the last step but select the image ‘Antique (Cool)’, resize and press Enter when you’re happy. Set the blend mode of this texture to Screen.

Adding textures


With the Colour layer still selected go to File> Place. Select the image ‘Vintage (Cool).jpg’, this should load as a Smart Object. Resize the texture to fit the image and press Enter when done. Set the blend mode of this layer to Soft Light.

Reduce the saturation


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer Hue/Saturation and call it Colour Reduction. Set the Hue to -5 and reduce Saturation to -35.

Prep for a vignette


Create a new layer, call it Vignette and set the blend mode to Soft Light with a tick in the box ‘Fill with Soft-lightneutral color (50% gray)’.

Add a vignette


Go to Filter>Lens Correction. Go to the Custom tab and move Amount to -80 and Midpoint to +20. Click OK. Set the Opacity to 50%.

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Tutorial Top 5 retouching projects

PROJECT 2 Retouch head shots Give any portrait a magazine makeover

02 Start image Healing is simple


Open the image ‘headshot.jpg’, duplicate the layer and call it Edits. Pick the Spot Healing Brush and fix blemishes simply by clicking on them. Adjust the size of the brush to match the blemish.

Mask out the skin



Duplicate the Edits layer and call it Basic Smooth Skin. Go to Layer> Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object (skip if you’re using Elements). Now to go Filter>Blur>Surface Blur. Set Radius to 33 and Threshold to 17.

Add detail back in

Eye sparkle

Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. This creates a black layer mask to hide the smooth skin effect. With a soft white brush at 100% Opacity, paint over the skin avoiding detailed areas like the eyes. Set the layer Opacity to 50%.



Mask out the eyes

Brighten the eyes

Adjust the colour


Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. This will create a black layer mask which will hide the eye sparkle effect. Now with a soft white brush (B) at 100% Opacity paint over the eyes


Smooth skin

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Press Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Option+ E. Name the layer Details and convert to a Smart Object. Go to Filter> Other>High Pass, set Radius to 25. Set blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 35%.


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels and call it Brighten Eyes. Don’t change any settings, but change blend mode to Screen and Opacity to 15%. Mask out the eyes as before.

Press Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Option+E. Rename the layer to Eye Sparkle and convert to a Smart Object. Go to Filter>Other>High Pass, set Radius to 15. Set blend mode to Overlay and Opacity to 50%.


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels and call it Colour Adjustment. Select the blue channel and in the adjust shadow output level, enter 20 to add a little blue.

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PROJECT 3 Fix a landscape Remove objects and edit colours for ideal vistas

Straighten the layer


Go to File>Open and select ‘landscape.jpg’. Select the Ruler tool, which is hidden under the Eye Dropper. Draw a line along the cost and click on the Straighten Layer button.

Content Aware Fill


Elements users skip to the next step. Pick the Lasso tool and select an empty area created from straightening. Go to Edit>Fill and select Content Aware Fill from Use. Repeat for all empty areas.

Clone and fix


If you have Elements, use the Clone Stamp tool. Select it, press the Alt key to select a clone source and clone away. Use this to correct any issues and also to remove the fisherman.

Editing the gradient


Gradient maps

Double-click the gradient layer and click the gradient to edit it. From here it is possible to edit the colours that the gradient uses. Click the left colour stop and enter a hex colour of 0a1159. Click OK.


Let’s play with the colour. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. Name this layer Colour Edits. This will replace the entire colour in the image with the colour of the gradient.


Finish the gradient


Now do the same for the right colour stop, only enter a hex colour of ff7c00. Click OK. Set the blend mode of the gradient map to Color and change the Opacity to 50%.

Set up a vignette


Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl/Cmd N). Name this layer Vignette and set the blend mode to Soft Light. Ensure the ‘Fill with Soft-light-neutral color (50% gray)’ box is checked.

Apply the vignette


Go to Filter>Lens Correction. Go to the Custom tab and move the vignette Amount slider to -100 and Midpoint to 0. Click OK. Finally, set the Opacity of the layer to 75%.

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ouching uching projects

PROJECT 4 Add speed to an image Inject some drama into shots with blur effects

Crop the image

01 04

Go to File>Open and select ‘bike.jpg’. Rename this layer to ‘Motorcycle’. Select the Crop tool (C) and select Original Ratio. Crop in tight so the motorcycle is dominant. Press Enter when you’re happy.

Clone away the edges


A bit of prep is needed to protect the bike from any blur. Create a new layer and name it Edits. Select the Clone Stamp tool and then clone away the edges of the motorcycle.

Start image

Motion blur


Change the colour


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Black and White. Call this layer Colour. Click on the Tint box, click the colour box and use a hex colour of e1d3b3, or any colour of your choice.


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Restore the motorcycle

Press Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Option+ E. Rename to Blur. Convert to a Smart Object by going to Layer>Smart Objects> Convert to Smart Object (skip if you’re using Elements). Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, enter an Angle of 25 and a Distance of 150.


More colour

Add a vignette


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels, change the channel to blue. In the Adjust Shadow Input Level, enter 20 and in the Adjust Shadow Output Levels, enter 40.

Make a copy of the motorcycle layer and move it above the Blur layer. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. With a soft white brush (B) bring back the motorcycle by painting in the mask.


Add a vignette as in the previous projects, but this time choose your own settings. Move the Vignette layer below the Levels adjustment layer to complete the edit on the image.

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Tweet us @pshopcreative Bring the baby back

PROJECT 5 Boost baby portraits 02

Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Paint the baby back in with a soft black brush keeping the background blurred. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Enter 10 for Adjust Shadow Input and 245 for Adjust Highlight Input.

Protect memories by improving family shots

Simple fixes



Go to File>Open and select ‘baby.jpg’. The background needs to be fixed but we don’t need complicated methods for this. Duplicate the layer (Ctrl/ Cmd+J) and name this layer Baby. Go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur, enter a Radius of 25 pixels.

Change the colour


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Black and White. Name this layer Colour Adjustment and keep the settings as they are but if you’re feeling creative you can adjust the settings to your choice.

Start image

Add even more contrast


Time for more contrast. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. In the Adjust Shadow Input Level enter a value of 25. In the Adjust Highlight Input Level enter a value of 235.

Add a tint


Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. Use a hex value of 120c86. Change the blend mode to Color and set the Opacity to 10%.

Add a vignette


Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl/Cmd N). Name this layer Vignette and select the blend mode of Soft Light with a tick in the box ‘Fill with Soft-light-neutral color (50% gray)’.

Finishing touches


With the Vignette layer selected, go to Filter>Lens Correction. Go to the Custom tab and set Amount to -100 and Midpoint to 0. Click OK. Finally, set the Opacity to 50%.

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Workshop Add cinematic photo effects

ON THE DISC! Head to your cover disc for ten expert videos teaching you how to create an assortment of great effects

Start image

Watch & Learn Photoshop Video Academy The video guidance on the disc is supplied from Photoshop Video Academy (www.photoshop Head to the site for full, easy-to -follow video guides for Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and more. Head to the site to discover more and chose from a variety of courses with downloadable source files to work from.


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Add cinematic photo effects Get to grips with adjustment layers and filters to create a stunning scene taken straight out of a film


his issue we’ve teamed up with Photoshop Video Academy (www. to bring you a set of ten expert training videos. YouÕll be taken through the creation process of many different sorts of effects, including how to add colour back into black and white photographs and installing layer styles to get more creative. Follow along with these easy steps to explore the making of this cinematic still, using a clever adjustment layer, known as the Color Lookup.

What this does is tone your image using a set of pre-installed effects. These create popular looks that have been used throughout the film industry, and are extremely quick to apply. But to make this effect more believable, black bars have been added to the top and bottom of this image, as well as a touch of film grain to make it seem more like it is from an original film reel. Load up the supplied files to get all these exciting videos for free! Check out what you can learn on the opposite page.

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Step-by-step Apply Color Lookup Transform photos into movie stills with simple adjustments

Closer look More excellent video tutorials Check out some of the other videos on your disc 01 Colourise a black and white photo

Add film grain

Fill with black


Open up the start image. Add a new layer and select the Paint Bucket tool (G). Set the Foreground colour to black and click on the canvas to fill it.


Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and set Amount to 100%. Set Distribution to Gaussian and tick Monochromatic. Hit OK. Change the blend mode of the layer to Overlay and reduce Opacity to 15%.

02 Create great Photoshop brushes 03 Enhance your skies 04 Create watercolour borders

Load adjustment


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Lookup. Hit OK to continue. Inside the adjustment change the Abstract drop-down option to Gold-Blue. Lower the adjustment’s Opacity to 75%.

And another‌


Add a second Color Lookup adjustment layer, this time changing the 3DLUT File option to Filmstock_50. By combining adjustments we can quickly achieve the cinematic look.

05 How to use Photoshop styles 06 Master out-ofbounds 07 Make a rusty vintage tin sign 08 Six ways to achieve vignettes

Widescreen mode


Using the Rectangle tool (U), click once on the image to load the Create Rectangle dialog, and enter 1,920px by 100px. Hit OK. Use the Move tool (V) to position the rectangle along the top.

Control lighting effects


Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the bar and move it to the bottom. Add a Curves adjustment layer above the Background layer. Drag the line downwards in the centre to darken the image.

09 Vintage cross processing effect

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Feature 10 secrets for perfect compositions

These incredible tricks will transform the way you layer your photos forever more…


hotoshop as an artistic application excels in many areas, but at its core is the photomanipulation and compositing feature set. That was the original purpose for the program, and now more than two decades later the features have matured and evolved. In honour of this, we take a look at 10 of the most useful tools and features for

compositing photos that Photoshop has to offer users. Creating good composites is not a one-step process. It often involves several techniques working in unison. One of the most fundamental is the ability to create a good selection, so it’s no surprise that a good number of our tips revolve around features

that generate those selections. On top of that, good compositing involves getting a subject to match its surroundings in a believable way. The subject’s shape, size, position, lighting, outline and noise are all factors to address when crafting a seamless composite. We’ve got tips to help you deal with all of them!

Start image BLEND MAGIC Time spent experimenting with blend modes leads to incredible effects such as this example.

Noise and sharpening


Even with perfect lighting, scale, and placement, if the grain and sharpness of a composited element doesn’t match with the background, it will never look realistic. Remember, it’s not always the subject that should be adjusted; sometimes it’s easier to add noise or blurriness to the background instead.

Blend modes


Blend modes control how a layer interacts with the layers beneath it. Extensive use of blend modes contributes to realistic and believable effects as each pixel is not simply sitting on top of other pixels, but actually blended with the appearance of them.


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Join the composite crew GET PERSPECTIVE Getting the perspective right is key to fooling people your image was never comped in the first place!

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Keeping composited elements in perspective is key to convincing compositing. Without extensive experience, you can’t just trust your eye. Instead draw out the perspective lines to the vanishing points and use these as guides.

Pen selections


Don’t fear the Pen tool! There is no better tool for generating crisp, clean, precise selections. Especially around objects with curves that would be difficult to select otherwise. When using the path as a vector mask, check the properties panel for Feather and Density adjustments.

Refine Edge


Pairing the Quick Selection Tool with the Refine Edge feature is one of the quickest ways to generate a good selection around hair. Increase the Radius setting to get a base edge, then use the brush-like Refine Radius Tool to craft the selection.

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Feature 10 secrets for perfect com PAINT WITH TRANSPARENCY Layer masks enable you to hide and reveal parts of layers.

Layer masks


HOW LAYERS INTERACT By using a mask you can achieve creative effects easily.

Layer masks provide the critical ability to define how visible each pixel is in a layer. By using a mask, you can literally paint with transparency. Layer masks can also be edited with all the other image-editing features like filters and adjustments, too.

CLEVER SELECTIONS Select some image elements without drawing an outline!

Luminosity selection


Using the image itself to create selections is the best method to create perfect, seamless selection edges. By Ctrl/Cmd+clicking on the composite colour channel, a selection is created from the image luminosity values. Intersecting that selection with itself generates a selection of the brighter of the bright areas!


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Layer structure


Layers are arguably the most powerful tool available for compositing. By distributing separate elements onto individual layers, it becomes an easy task to position and manipulate them into a new composition. Think of layers as clear sheets of plastic, each holding a different photo element, stacked on top of each other.

UTILISE LAYERS Never underestimate layer structure. Getting it right leads to creative effects.

Lighting effects


Mismatched lighting can be one of the most obvious signs of a poor composite. Sometimes it’s easier to create a new, stylised lighting effect for the entire composite. That way all of the separate elements appear to fit together.

Channel selection


Frequently a better way to select a challenging area is to use the colour channels of the image itself. Look for the channel that has the greatest contrast around the subject, make a copy of that channel and increase the contrast with a Levels adjustment.

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Tutorial Work with vectors




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Show us how you use vectors

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Start images

Work with vectors Learn how to create a colourful vector design using basic tools and easy to use techniques


hen it comes to vector-based images, most people think of Adobe Illustrator. Photoshop along the years has become well known as a photo editor program, and not as a drawing program. However, since CS6 was released, Photoshop has incorporated better tools for creating vector-based elements.

Despite all limitations, creating vector drawings in Photoshop has become easier than ever. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process of how to create a very colourful vector-based artwork entirely in Photoshop. You’ll learn how easy it is to import vector-based files and incorporate them into your project. We’ll cover how to use

the Shape tools to draw vector shapes, along with many useful techniques to create graphic elements. What’s more, you will find an incredible vector pack to use in the project in the supplied resources, as well as the files to help you understand the layer structure. So grab your free vector pack, follow the steps and learn new skills.

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS and above, CC and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn Grab the Shape tools and create your own vector image in Photoshop

Time taken

1 hour

Add a background

Create a new document


Create a new blank file. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+N, name your project Vector and then set the Width to 240mm, the Height to 300mm and the Resolution to 300. Confirm this by clicking OK.


Select the Gradient tool (G) and click on Edit to open the Gradient Editor. Create a new gradient using light and dark blue colours. Set it to Linear, hold down the Shift key and drag it from top to bottom.

Expert Daniel Sinoca “I really like to work with the Shape tools to create vector paths. It’s really fun to be able to create vector images with colourful designs. I started to get involved in the digital world of editing more than ten years ago and have been working as a freelance artist ever since, working on all kinds of inspiring projects and writing tutorials.”

Create the sun ray


Create a new layer. Grab the Polygonal Lasso tool and draw a triangle. Begin by clicking on the left side of the canvas and moving to the top right. Right-click inside the selection, choose Fill>Contents: White, hit OK.

Sunburst effect


Keep the sun ray selected. Open the Free Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T), and drag the registration point to the bottom left, Rotate 20° and hit Enter. Now hold Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+Shift and press the letter T several times to create the effect.

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Tutorial Work with vectors Expert tip Working with paths You can open a vector-based file and convert them into a work path. Open the file and press Cmd/Ctrl+click on the layer to select it. Click M on the keyboard and mouse/ right-click the selection and choose Make Work Path. In the dialog box enter a Tolerance value and click OK. Now go to Window>Paths, open the menu and choose Save Path. Name the path and click OK. Use this technique to convert selections into paths.

Merge layers


Create a new layer. Grab the Elliptical Marquee tool (M), hold Shift a draw a circle to create the sun, fill it with White. Hold Shift and select the Sunburst layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge the layers. Change the blending mode to Soft Light.

Create an adjustment layer

Transform tool

Choose a Gradient adjustment layer. Open the Gradient Editor and choose Gradient Type: Noise, hit the Randomize button few times and choose a high contrast gradient.

Right-click the Gradient Fill layer and choose Rasterize (Elements users click Simplify). Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate. Open the Free Transform tool, squeeze the image, and then hit Enter.


Gradient map


Go to Layer>New Adjustment layer>Gradient Map and hit OK. Open the Gradient Editor set the left stop colour to #ffffff, Location 20%, set the midpoint to 65%, the right stop colour to #00a9e0 and Location 85%. Hit OK. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+G to create a clipping mask.


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Pen tool


Create a new layer, name it Splatter. Press F5, choose a hard brush size 50 and Spacing: 1%. Grab the Pen tool (P) (Elements users use the Brush tool), draw a path around the wave. Right-click, choose Stroke Path, click OK and press Delete.

Add a layer mask


Click the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers palette. Grab the Rectangular Marquee, select the bottom half of the canvas. Right-click in the selection, choose Fill>Contents: Black, and hit OK.

Warp tool


Open the Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L), drag the black and white points to increase the lights and dark areas. Open the Free Transform tool, click the Warp tool and drag the handles to create a wave shape. (Elements users can use the Liquify filter).

Load brushes


Select the Brush tool and press F5. Click Brush Presets. Click the upperright menu and pick Load Brush. Select ’30 Grunge and splatter brushes pack’ and hit Load. Choose white, use different brushes and paint along the path just created.

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Custom Shapes

Duplicate the shapes



Drag the Waves layer on top of the Sunburst layer. Duplicate the layer by holding the Alt key and dragging up. Repeat this step a few times. Hold Shift; select the duplicated layers and merge (Cmd/Ctrl+E). Change the blending mode to Overlay and Opacity to 10%.


Create a smooth gradient

Place EPS files

Final touches

Grab the Custom Shape tool (Elements users grab the Cookie Cutter tool (Q)). Click on the preview thumbnail from the Options bar. Click the upper-right menu, choose Nature and select Waves. To draw the shape, click and hold the mouse button and drag out.


Click the left colour stop, set to #fdf402 , Location: 1%. Add a second stop, #f0ab07, Location: 37%. The third stop, # 34d2c9, Location: 54% and the fourth stop to # 005269, Location: 100%, click OK. Hold Shift and drag from top to bottom.


The supplied resources contain EPS files ready to use. Choose the files you like and place on top of the Colour layer. Go to File>Place>Aquatic live vector pack>Fish1. Resize and hit Enter to commit to the transform. Add as many as you want.

Website focus A closer look at the site that supplied the vector pack on the disc ACTIONS

Gradient layer

Let’s change the background by adding some colours. Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N), name it Colour and drag on top of the Background layer. Grab the Gradient tool (G), and open the Gradient Editor.


To blend the EPS files with the background, change the layer’s blending mode to Overlay and also use the layer styles (Layer>Layer Style) to create different effects, try the Color Overlay to add new colours.

GRAPHIC TEMPLATES Template designs can be an extremely useful timesaver when you need to create business cards, flyers, catalogues and other print material.

Actions are extremely useful to maximize your time when you find yourself performing the same steps over and over again on an image.

VECTOR PACKS TEXTURES AND BACKGROUNDS Using high resolution textures and backgrounds are an essential part in any graphic design project.

Create beautiful graphics designs with stock vectors. Vector illustrations are ideal for flyers, posters, fashion design, web design and more.

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Start image

Expert advice for instant Photoshop art with Cybele Eloy

Vivid paint effects Give photos an artistic twist with Photoshop filters



ere we reveal five ways of achieving art effects with photos and simple Photoshop tools. Each painting will take about 15 to 30 minutes, and use a variety of filters and layer blend modes to create different adjustments to obtain the desired result. The outcome will depend on the chosen photo, so experiment with settings to get the best result on your image. As you repeat the process, you will discover ways of achieving variations of the same effect.


For a watercolour effect, duplicate the photo layer three times. Each layer will use different blend modes and filters. On the first layer, apply the Cutout filter (from the Artistic set) and change the blend mode to Luminosity. On the second layer, apply the Dry Brush filter (again from the Artistic set) and change the blend mode to Screen. On the third layer, apply the Median filter (from the Noise group) and set the Radius to 12.


For an oil painting effect, duplicate the photo layer and pick the Hue/Saturation command to enhance saturation of the image; try +40. Apply the Glass filter from the Distort group and then duplicate the layer. Now apply the Paint Daubs filter (from the Artistic set) and duplicate the layer. Finally apply the Texturizer filter from the Texture set (use Canvas as the texture) and duplicate the layer once more. Change the blend mode to Overlay on the top layer. Explore the settings of the other Artistic filters for different effects.



To emulate pastels, duplicate the photo layer and go to Filter>Artistic>Fresco. Duplicate and apply the Artistic>Dark Stokes filter. Duplicate the layer once more and apply the Artistic>Rough Pastels filter. To give a smudged effect, use Blur>Smart Blur. For more intensity, duplicate the layer, apply the Other>High Pass filter and change the mode to Overlay.


To go abstract, duplicate the background layer. Use Levels to enhance the intensity of colour, duplicate the layer and apply Brush Strokes>Accented Edges. Duplicate the layer again and apply Artistic>Film Grain filter, then Brush Strokes>Crosshatch.


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Created using layered ďŹ lters, this is probably the easiest effect to achieve.

Go Gothic for intense drama. Duplicate the background layer. On this layer, use the Replace Color tool to change the pink to red. Use Levels to enhance the intensity of colour and then duplicate the layer. Use the Hue/Saturation command to remove all saturation and make the image black and white. Use a Levels adjustment to increase the contrast and shadows, plus emphasise the highlights. Select the Eraser tool with a low Opacity setting and erase the rose gradually, bringing the desaturated layer through in areas. Merge the two layers and apply the Artistic>Rough Pastels filter.




The key to this effect is in the texture. Strengthen it as you wish or go for more subtle results.

ABSTRACT The use of artistic ďŹ lm grain gives a great abstract feel and adds an interesting vibe.



To create a pastel effect we get to show off the Fresco ďŹ lter and experiment with hue and saturation.


GOTHIC This vivid, stunning and dark effect shows the power of portraying mood and impression in digital art.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Beautiful bokeh effects On the disc Download the start image we used here.

Essentials Works with

Start image

Works with Photoshop CS and above, CC and Elements

What you’ll learn Control brushes and bring together gradients and blend modes

Time taken

1 hour

Expert Jenni Sanders “Bokeh is a lovely technique that can really enhance a photograph. My first experience with photomanipulation was watching my Dad clone out holidaymakers from our family photographs. From that moment I was hooked.”

Beautiful bokeh effects Make your portraits pop with a beautiful, eye-catching bokeh in just a few easy brush strokes!


oft, lazy circles surrounding your subject add a whole new element to your photography, and are very easy to create! Bokeh is a Japanese word to describe the hazy shape of the aperture created by elements being outside of your depth of field; essentially the blurry, out of focus bits. But it can be hard to achieve on modern digital cameras, and sometimes impossible to achieve with certain lighting conditions. But have no fear, Photoshop to the rescue! You can add a

Prepare your image


Open the image up in Photoshop. If it’s a portrait, use the Healing Brush tool to give it a quick retouch. Also, use the Dodge/Burn tools to make eyes stand out by burning the pupils and outside of the iris and dodging the whites.


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bokeh to any image using the default circle brush with a few dynamic twists, giving you freedom to add as much or as little as you like, realistic or artistic, subtle or bold. This tutorial will also run through enhancing lighting and adding colour to really bring out your image with gradient layers and blending modes. Using all these elements you can really make your image your own work of art, manipulating and controlling your own depth of field.

Add rustic colour


To create the soft look to go with the bokeh, apply some light colours to the photo. Add a new gradient layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient) and select a three-colour, linear gradient. Now pick three light/pastel colours. Hit OK.

More gradients


Set the blending mode of this layer to Screen, 45% Opacity. Create a new gradient layer, this time, pick a black/ pink, linear gradient. Change the colour to an accent to the gradient, going dark to light. Set this layer to Soft Light, 45% Opacity.

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Bring back contrast


To bring back some of the contrast that was lost through adding colours, go back to the original layer and duplicate (Ctrl/Cmd+J) and drag it to the top. Set the blend mode to Soft Light, and adjust the opacity until happy.

Prepare the bokeh


Go back to the original layer and hit Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N to make a new layer above it. Select the Brush tool (B) and open up the Brush Panel either by clicking the icon on the Brush toolbar, or pressing F5.

Create a brush


In Brush Tip Shape, set a size suitable for the image. Set Hardness to 73%, Spacing to 140%. Select Scattering and set Scatter to 240%, Count to 2%. Select Transfer and set Opacity Jitter to 100%, Flow Jitter to 40%.

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Tutorial Beautiful bokeh effects

Paint the bokeh


Select a bright off-white colour and begin to paint in the bokeh! The adjustments will create the effect for you. Be careful not to cover any important detail, and don’t adjust the size of the brush to ensure realism.

Fine tuning


Continue to paint the bokeh. If you make a mistake, add a layer mask and remove unwanted bokeh using the Eraser on the mask. This will ensure the brush settings you made aren’t lost.

Finishing touches


With a bright image with a big bokeh, lots of light is needed. On a new layer, paint with the white brush in some of the corners and set the layer to Soft Light. To make the effect even more intense, duplicate the layer.

A different effect Black & white soft focus Add a touch of monochrome magic for a more emotive result

BLACK AND WHITE You can turn your image black and white by adding a Black & White Adjustment layer or a Hue/Saturation layer with the Saturation set to 0. Or Desaturate the layer itself by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+U.

GAUSSIAN BLUR Create a soft focus effect by adding Gaussian Blur. Duplicate the layer (Ctrl/Cmd+J) then go to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Adjust the slider so the image is slightly out of focus. Hit OK. Lower the opacity until happy.


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TWEAK THE FOCUS If using a portrait, it’s best to keep the facial features sharp. To ensure the Gaussian Blur doesn’t take too much away, add a layer mask and paint with a 30-60% Opacity black brush (B) over the face.

ADDING CONTRAST Add easy contrast by duplicating the Gaussian Blur layer (Ctrl/Cmd+J) and setting the blend mode to Soft Light. This makes the image much more dramatic and emotive which works well with the bokeh.

Not just for dummies


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


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

Tutorial Smartphone photos fixed On the disc Learn new skills using the same start files.

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS and above, CC and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn Boost lighting and colour vibrance without creating excess noise

Time taken

30 mins

Expert Henry Rivers “My mobile phone camera is a real luxury for me. Rather than carrying a heavy SLR I can get great results from something that fits in my pocket. I trained as an architect at university but was soon sidetracked by a love affair with Photoshop.”


Photoshop Creative

Smartphone photos fixed Learn a few easy tricks that will help turn your phone snaps into something special


veryone has shots on their phone that they thought were great when taking them, only to discover that on second glance they didn’t quite capture the moment. Instead of deleting these, though, a quick fix in Photoshop can make a dramatic difference. Low resolution shots often won’t have the depth of detail to handle harsh global adjustments like

Saturation, Brightness and Contrast; the secret is being gentle. We’ll take a look at editing lighting and colour by applying filters gradually to specific parts of the image. We will also show you how to tackle the classic camera phone problems of noise and visible compression. Follow this tutorial and afterwards you’ll be eager to search your camera phone folders to create winning images.

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Expert tip Save edits for later

Import photos

Connect your mobile


There are a few different methods but here’s one of the easiest. Most smartphones come with a USB charger. Detach the wall plug and you use this to connect your phone to a USB port.


An Autoplay box will pop up. To transfer everything select Import Pictures and Videos. Alternatively open My Computer (Finder>Devices on a Mac) to browse and manually copy images across.

Alternative methods

Polygonal lasso


If you only need to transfer a few photographs and don’t have a USB cable to hand, a quick solution is to send the files to yourself as email attachments (or if you prefer you can use Bluetooth or MMS).

Boost brightness


Hit Ctrl/Cmd+L to open the Levels box. Set the black slider to 35, the grey slider to 1.35 and the white slider to 235 and hit OK. This will enhance the brightness and clarity of the subject.

These days we take so many photographs on our mobiles; friends, pets or landscapes, it’s all too easy to take a handful of shots rather than just one. If you fall into this category try marking out your best images as you go. Why not keep a special folder on your mobile for shots that you think have potential to be fixed up later? The alternative is ending up with a handful of photographic gems that are lost forever in a sea of mediocre images!


To start we’re going to take a look at a few common issues affecting this handsome cat portrait. Open up file ‘IMG679.jpg’ from the supplied files, select Polygonal Lasso and set Feather to 35px. Make a rough selection around the edge of the cat.

Fade the background


To further improve the lighting, right-click and hit Select Inverse. Press Ctrl/Cmd+L again and this time move the grey slider to 0.80 and the white Output slider underneath to 230. To deselect click once anywhere on the image and hit enter.

White balance


You’ll notice the white balance is a little too warm. Hit Ctrl/Cmd+B to open up Color Balance. To restore a more natural light change the top Cyan/Red value to -7 for all three tones. Keep Preserve Luminosity checked and hit OK.

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Tutorial Smartphone photos fixed

Improve colour


Adjusting Saturation is best avoided with mobile shots as this can enhance noise. To improve washed-out colours, use the Brush tool instead. Hit B on the keyboard and change blend mode to Color and Opacity to 20%.

Painting the trees


Repeat the previous step to bring out other elements of the image that look faded, try with the trees in the background. Remember to keep the Opacity low; it’s easy to go over the top and lose realism!

A more realistic pink


Hold the Alt key and click on the cat’s nose. Now click the Foreground colour box. Move the colour selector upwards and right slightly to choose a true pink. Paint the cat’s nose with a soft brush.



As a final touch we’ll fix the overexposed patch on the top of the bench. Select the Clone Stamp Tool (S) and set the Opacity to around 20%. Hold down Alt and click once on the top of the bench where the exposure is correct.

Restoring texture


Starting from the lowest point, paint the grainy texture back into the blown out area. You may have to reset the reference point a few times for a neat finish (Alt+click).

Fix colour Restore shadows and boost colour

Restoring shadows


Open up the second sample shot from the supplied files, ‘IMG663. jpg’. Grab the Polygonal Lasso tool again (Feather 60px) and roughly select everything apart from the sky & sea. Go to Image>Adjustments>Shadows/Highlights and change the Shadows amount to 18%.


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Further restore shadows


Switch to Subtract From Selection from the top panel and reduce the selection to just the immediate foreground. Boost shadows again by 20%. Now reduce the selection once more to only the top third of the immediate foreground and boost shadows by 15%.

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Remove noise


Go to Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise and set Strength to 5, Preserve Details to 50% and Reduce Colour Noise to 75%, hit OK. In the Layers panel right-click on Background and select Duplicate Layer. With the copied layer selected go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set to 5px.

Apply selectively


Set your Background colour to black and add a layer mask, hit Ctrl/ Cmd+Backscape to fill the mask black. Paint over the mask with a white brush to remove noise selectively. Start with the orange wall, avoiding areas with detail.

Hard edges



Finally we’ll be a bit cheeky and add a vignette to make the photograph look as if it was taken with a more professional lens. Grab the Elliptical Marquee tool, set Feather to 250px and drag a selection across the whole image.


Next paint over the sky (be careful to paint around the cloud formations preserving sharpness). When you’re finished go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise, apply a Uniform noise of 2% for a more realistic finish to this layer.

Expert tip

Hit Ctrl/Cmd+E to flatten the image. You’ll notice there are some ‘hard edges’ where the foreground that was previously in shadow meets the sky. Select the Blur tool and zoom to 200%. Run your mouse over the hard edges a couple of times to soften.

Apply a vignette

A realistic finish

Upsizing for print A major drawback of mobile phone photographs is their low resolution. This may be okay for web use, but the first thing to do when you’re planning to print an image is resize. Navigate to Image>Image Size from the Photoshop menu and enter a resolution of 300 pixels/inch. Choose Resample Image mode: Bicubic Smoother, and enter a size to fit your requirements (keep Constrain Styles checked as you don’t want to distort the image). This process won’t add detail but it will help minimise ugly pixelation.

Colour the vignette


Hit Ctrl/Cmd+L and drag the grey slider to 1.10, press OK. Right-click and select Inverse. Hit Ctrl/Cmd+L again and this time drag the grey slider to 0.80 and the white Output slider to 226. Press OK and you’re done!

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TOP 10

Tips to become a better Photoshop photographer with James Sheppard

Shoot for Photoshop stock Create your own stock resources with these handy expert tips


common issue when creating new artwork is starting with good, copyright-free, stock photos, brushes and textures. While there are many sites that offer these resources for free, itÕs often the way that they canÕt be used for

commercial work or theyÕre just not exactly what youÕre looking for. So, instead of trawling the internet for specific textures, for example, why not shoot your own? Read on and follow these ten top tips to help you generate great stock resources.

MACRO LENSES Investing in a macro lens could end up cost-effective as you could capture your own perfect close-ups.



LIGHT EFFECTS Shooting fairy lights out of focus can give beautiful effects like bokeh, creating sought-after backdrops.


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Shoot with an array of clients in mind by leaving space around the main subject matter for them to work with.





GET TO KNOW YOUR KIT All too often photographers buy the best kit but don’t get the best out of it! Research and improve your skills.


If you are looking to specialise in textures and detail work, a macro lens could prove a good investment. A macro function is also useful if you don’t own a DSLR. Check your camera for this function and don’t be scared of it; the best way is to experiment. If you do own a DSLR, then a macro lens can be bought online, brand new or even second-hand. This type of lens is specifically designed to focus in close on tiny objects, but can also be used for other styles of photography such as landscapes, as the range of depth of field can yield some interesting results.



Being able to angle a flash is essential to get the best portraits. Alternatively, buy or create a reflector.


Shooting textures is sometimes overlooked as it is assumed that you can point and shoot for results, but take into account the difference a light source can make when shooting texture, especially thick wood grain or corroded metal. Try angling a desk lamp to the side of the wood to get more impact and atmosphere out of your texture.

03 CONSIDER CROPPING AND TEXT SPACE When shooting landscapes, it is wise to consider a designer using your image to create something entirely different to what you would envisage. Why not vary the shot by adding space for text above and to the side of your image? This will also lend itself to both horizontal and vertical images, and offer more buying options.

04 CREATE BOKEH AND LIGHT TRAILS For false depth of field tricks and effective backgrounds, soft, out of focused lights can add a sophisticated look to an image. In a dark room, set up some fairy lights, set up your camera on a tripod and why not shoot the lights deliberately out of focus? Or alternatively, street lights and car lights as they move past can yield some great results.



Know how to use your kit effectively in different situations, and try and have a tripod to avoid camera shake. Use a camera that will allow you to shoot in a high enough resolution (12MP or more is ideal) and offers quality lenses that will deliver crisp results. This will ensure that any images supplied by you will be available in a range of size formats with clarity.


Shoot your landscapes both horizontal and vertical, as well as at different times of the day and year. Consider using slow shutter speeds and glass filters for creative effects. Mornings and sunsets each have tonal and atmospheric differences that will appeal to different tastes, as will seasonal differences when shooting at different times of year.


Shooting people and pets requires consideration in lighting and how it will affect hair and skin tones. Too bright a light will bleach out skin, and inappropriate light will fail to lighten hair. To get around this, use a flash gun with a positional head so you can angle it for better results. For extra control, invest in a remote trigger and a flash diffuser. If this isn’t an option, reflectors can be bought, or made from tinfoil and card, and will reflect the natural light.


When taking an image of a common item, consider different angles to make it look interesting. Depth of field and compositional rules work wonders and can make an ordinary image appear to be extraordinary. Try shooting on aperture priority, at F2.8, and set up a shot with an item in the background, and crop the shot in camera to the rule of thirds, and then, methodically, shoot low, high and side on angles to compare.


Some of the most desired resources in stock imagery are brush textures, so why not shoot textures such as rust, wood grain and oil stains? When shooting these, remember that Photoshop will only accept brush stamps of 2,500px by 2,500px and the image will become black and white, so consider your tonal range and contrast.

10 JUDGE RETOUCHING WORK WISELY When shooting, look through the viewfinder and ask yourself what is wrong with the shot; it’s a great trick to keep you looking out for mistakes, imperfections or distractions. If you do need to edit, view your images at 200% or above. This will give you the edge when cloning and patching, or dodging and burning detail back into an area. Editing is a minefield though; the last thing you want is for your images to appear sloppy and untreated, but you also don’t want to go overboard in retouching, so judge wisely.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Mixed media portraits


Photoshop Creative

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Start images

On the disc The portrait, photo and texture you need

Essentials Works with

Photoshop CS4 and above, CC and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn Use blend modes, masks, and filters to create a mixed media portrait

Time taken

1.5-2 hrs

Expert Andre Villanueva “Mixed media is one of my favourite forms of art, on and off the computer. I love incorporating random and surprising items into the work. I first discovered Photoshop in the early 2000s while in school for Web Design. After graduation, I taught for several years in the Media Arts department. I’m now Art Director for a tech company in the Southeast US, soothing my inner instructor by sharing techniques with readers.”

Mixed media portraits

Blend photos, filters, and textures to transform a photo into a colourful work of art


reating digital mixed media is one of the most exhilarating artistic quests. You can use anything in your journey to create something beautiful. Employ a close-up of a sofa to replicate erratic brushing? Sure. Steal colour and mood from a discarded piece of cardboard? Yeah, it’s all good. This, ladies and gents, is no-holds-barred creativity. We’ll start with a portrait courtesy of Alaskan Dude Frank Kovalchek, then process it with a few filters to ease its transition into mixed mediahood. Find Edges helps produce quick line work, and Colored Pencil lends a sketchy vibe.

We’ll then use a motley assortment of photos and textures to forge the composition. A sofa, a wooden plank, a flower, and more will be thrown in the Photoshop mixer. Blend modes help each successive layer meld with the rest, and masks enable us to safely hide areas of our choosing. Once the base composite is done, it’s time to fine-tune. Various adjustment layers let us finesse colour, while the High Pass filter allows us to sharpen things up. And we can’t forget the watercolour images courtesy of http://, which add a lovely painterly feel to the final image.

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Tutorial Mixed media portraits Expert tip Duplicate to intensify Ever had a layer that just seemed a little weak? Perhaps you brushed at a too-low opacity, or you’ve brought in an asset made ghostly with excessive feathering. Don’t worry about wrestling with contrast commands to fix things. Try duplicating the layer with a quick Cmd/Ctrl+J. Keep duplicating until you get the desired concentration. If the last duplicate is a tad much, finesse its Opacity down until it’s just right. Merge layers by selecting them all and pressing Cmd/Ctrl+E.

Find Edges


Open ‘Start.psd’ from the supplied files. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer, then go to Filter>Stylize>Find Edges. To banish the colour, press Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+U, a shortcut for Desaturate.



Press Cmd/Ctrl+L to bring up Levels. Slide the Shadows slider inward to strengthen the lines, and drag the Highlights slider inward to remove intermediate detail. Click OK when done.

Mask it


Museum wall


Go to File>Place, add ‘Wall.jpg’ from the supplied files. Set the blend mode to Multiply. Add a layer mask and paint out some of the texture, especially in the facial area.


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Colored Pencil

Add a layer mask with the icon in the Layers palette. Set Foreground to black. With a soft, round brush at 80% opacity, paint in the mask in the facial, shoulder, and upper left areas.


Duplicate the Background layer and move to the top. Go to Filter> Artistic>Colored Pencil. Use these settings: 7, 14, 38. Click OK. Set Opacity to 80%. Use a mask to paint out some of the effect.

Some old cardboard


Go to File>Place, add ‘Cardboard.jpg’ from the supplied files. Set the blend mode to Overlay. Add a layer mask and paint out some of the texture in the right side and the bottom left.

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The family sofa


Now place ‘Sofa.jpg’ from the supplied files. Set the blend mode to Color Burn and drop Opacity to 50%. Add a layer mask and paint out some of the texture, especially in the facial area.

Flower power

Add a flower


Next, place ‘Flower.jpg’. Set the blend mode to Overlay. Add a layer mask to paint out some of the bottom-right area. We need to boost the flower’s presence, so we’ll duplicate in the next step.

Borrow some bubbles



Old wooden plank

Reinforce the model

Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the Next, place ‘Bubbles.jpg’. Set the flower. Change the blend mode to blend mode to Pin Light. Opt/ Multiply. This will darken a lot of the area. Alt+Click the Layer Mask icon. Set Click the mask and paint black in those areas. Foreground colour to white, then paint in Keep the flower intact. areas to add a light presence of the bubbles.


Now place ‘Wood.jpg’ from the supplied files. Set the blend mode to Multiply. Opt/Alt+click the Layer Mask icon. Carefully paint white in select areas such as the cheek and back/shoulder area to add a touch of wood texturing.


Make a duplicate of the background and move it to the top. Option/ Alt+click the Layer Mask icon. Paint white in a few select areas to reinforce the original model and override the barrage of textures. Be sure to touch the eyes.

Leaf veins


Place ‘Leaf.jpg’ from the supplied files. Set the blend mode to Overlay. Add a layer mask, set Foreground colour to black, and paint out some of the texture, especially in the facial area and the upper flower area.



Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette; choose Vibrance. Drag Vibrance all the way to the left and increase Saturation to +25. Paint black in select areas to restore colour.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Mixed media portraits Expert tip Asset library

If this tutorial has whet your whistle to take more mixed media adventures, consider cultivating a healthy library of photos and scans. Invest in a good camera and scanner so you can capture and create your own assets. Be sure to organise your files in easy-toperuse folders. However, you may soon find that your asset library grows beyond your initial hard drive allotment. Consider purchasing a rugged, high capacity external hard drive for extra or exclusive storage.

Color Balance


Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Color Balance. Set Midtones to (top to bottom) 0, -100, +100. Paint black in the right and select areas to remove the adjustment. Duplicate the adjustment layer and fine-tune the mask until happy.

Drain surrounding colour

Darken with Overlay


Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Vibrance. Drag both sliders to the left. Paint black in the upper left area to restore colour.

Add some watercolour


Place ‘Watercolors_V1_1004.jpg’. Situate to the right and confirm the place. Set the blend mode to Darken. Duplicate, move slightly to offset, apply a layer mask, and paint black to lessen areas.


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Place ‘Blur.jpg’ from the supplied files. Set the blend mode to Overlay and drop Opacity to 50%. Add a layer mask and paint out some of the texture in the facial area and lower right quadrant.

More watercolour


Place ‘Watercolors_V1_1006.jpg’. Enlarge slightly before confirming. Set the blend mode to Darken. Apply a layer mask and paint out the bottom and central areas. Duplicate, scale down, set to Darker Color, and paint black in the mask to reduce.

Colour Fill


Click the Create New Fill Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Solid Color. Pick #e7db18. Change the blend mode to Darker Color. Paint black in select areas to remove colour.

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Tweet us @pshopcreative Reinforce the model

Layer structure


Let’s reinforce the model again. Make a duplicate of the background and move it to the top. Set the blend mode to Soft Light. Option/Alt+click the Layer Mask icon. Paint white in various areas to beef up the woman’s presence.

A breakdown of the process High Pass filter

Colour adjustments

Creative leaf textures

Floral photograph

Effective textures

Cyan love


Click the Create New Adjustment All together now Layer button, choose Color Balance. With the top-most layer selected, Set Midtones Cyan/Red to -100. Paint black press Cmd/Ctrl+Option/Alt+Shift+E. in areas to remove the cyan cast. Duplicate This will merge all layers into one and enable the adjustment layer twice and fine-tune us to apply an effect such as a filter to the the masks until satisfied. entire composite.


Colored Pencil filter

Sharpen with High Pass


Go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Set Radius to 10.0 pixels, then click OK. Add a layer mask and paint black at the edges and anywhere else you want to remove sharpening.

Find Edges filter

Start portrait

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Essential tool guides 14 pages of essential guides

Essential edits…

Boost colours

Learn how to add vibrancy to your everyday shots on page 74

Start image Vital tools…


Essential editing guides

Make light work of awkward outlines and flyaway hairs on page 70

Get the best from Auto commands............. 68 Perfect selections with Refine Edge............ 70 Correct colours .................................................................... 74 Out of bounds made easy........................................ 76 Understand image resolution ............................. 76

Photoshop for Beginners

Bare essentials…

Get the best from Auto commands Work with the Auto commands to speed up your everyday edits and apply instant fixes When Photoshop Elements version 12 was released, users wanting swift editing solutions rejoiced in the fact that the number of Auto commands were increased, including the new Auto Smart Tone. This not only fixes lighting, colour and tone, but also has an intelligent memory for recalling the last used settings. This enables them to be adapted and applied to new images. These handy little fixes don’t stop there, though. Do a bit of exploring and you will find many more quick one-click edits located inside the Adjustment (Photoshop) and Enhancement menus (Photoshop Elements). They’ve been designed to control contrast, tone and colour using clever algorithms to find the right settings that Photoshop deems will be best for the job. Although Photoshop does have auto options. Elements has more to choose from when compared to Photoshop, such as Auto Levels and Sharpness, which all in all, go a long way to reducing the time taken to edit a big batch of images.

IN ELEMENTS The range of Auto fixes in Elements provides just the right edit for improving different aspects of your image – such as colour.

What ? meaqnuantity of does it fers to the

. re EXPOSURE g a photographic film gh in u h ro ac th re ts t h lig that ge eed nt of light This amou ed by the shutter sp is determin erture of the camera s and lens ap ount of light reflect am is to o Th h . p d a f use outcome o the overall n, of course, be ca h ic h w Photoshop. adjusted in


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IN PHOTOSHOP The three options in Photoshop will help you edit multiple images quickly, applying enhancements to tone, colour and contrast.

Auto fixes in Photoshop Elements Make the most of these handy one-click edits

Auto Smart Tone Introduced in Elements 12, dragging a target over the image towards an

Auto Smart Fix The Auto Smart Fix option in Elements is a very effective way to quickly

edge or corner changes the overall balance of exposure and contrast. Four previews adorn this menu, helping you to reach the best end result.

improve an image. The command takes into account all manner of different aspects, such as lighting, contrast, colour and sharpness.

Auto Sharpen Make your image appear sharper and crisper with this instant fix.

Auto Levels This one deals with lighting, and makes midtones, highlights and shadows

Sharpness isn’t always visible from a distance, but zoom into your image before using this one, and then apply it to notice the difference.

more lively. Using these quick fixes will go far to reduce the amount of time spent in editing.

Instant fix for tone, colour and contrast Photoshop’s three Auto commands for quick improvements

Auto Tone

Auto Color

This Auto option works best on dull images which lack a certain amount of vibrancy. The changes can be quite big in some cases, and not so big in others.

This command fixes any problems in the colour and contrast areas of an image. A handy one for removing orange or blue tints that images can sometimes acquire.

Better exposures The Auto Contrast command (Image>Auto Contrast) detects the brightest and darkest parts of your image. This then adjusts your image’s dynamic range for improving the overall lighting.

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ACHIEVE BETTER COMPOSITIONS When objects are perfectly selected, layers merge together seamlessly.

Start image

MAKE LIFE EASIER Awkward outlines become far easier to select.

On the disc

Tool special…

Practice selections skills on the photos provided.

Use Refine Edge for perfect selections Turn rough selections into detailed ones with a few clicks! Cutting out that pesky hair has never easier When you don’t have the luxury of a green screen, selecting subjects can be very tricky – especially if that subject has delicate and fine edges, such as hair, fur or tiny details. The Refine Edge tool is a life saver for those difficult images and allows you to turn a rough selection into a much more accurate one. The Refine Edge tool has six main parameters: Radius, Smooth, Feather, Contrast, Shift Edge and Decontaminate Colors. Radius is the size of the edge around your selection the tool ‘looks at’ for analysis; Smooth removes


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jagged edges; Feather softens the whole edge – useful for out of focus selections; Contrast sharpens the selection, leaving more solid, rather than semi-transparent areas. Shift Edge is a final fixer to expand or contract the edge selection. Decontaminate Colors is to remove remnants of background colour left within the selection which can be useful but a bit tricky to perfect! Unfortunately there is no magic formula for the Refine Edge; it’s a matter of playing with the sliders until you find what works best for your image!

Flyaway hairs Using Refine Edge can make light work of fiddly outlines

Make your selection

Prepare Refine Edge

Adjust the Radius




Use the Polygonal Lasso tool to roughly select inside the subject edge. When you’ve gone all the way around, click back onto the first point to close. It will turn to marching ants.

In the top banner, go to Select> Refine Edge. Here you can chose a view to see how accurate their edges are. For now, select the On Layers option to give the checkered background.

Keep refining

Refine Edge

Flip back and forth using (J) to check the effect. Adjust the brush size with [ and ]. To reveal an area, paint without holding Alt. Remember this isn’t a selection, but the area the tool is analysing. Stay on the image when happy.



Using layer masks

Tidy edges



There are a couple of areas which are still not quite perfect though, so the layer mask can be used to tidy them up. Select the Black & White layer mask next to the thumbnail preview and select the Brush (B).

Increase the Radius to 65%. Tick Show Radius (J). The image will be mainly black. Visible areas are where the tool is hunting an edge. Hold Alt and paint black onto the image, making the visible area thinner.

Now to can start adjusting the sliders. Because this image is pretty sharp, increase Smooth slightly and leave Feather. Increase Contrast by 35% to add sharpness to her hair and tick Decontaminate Colours. Set Output to New Layer with Layer Mask.

Press D to set Foreground and Background colour. Paint black onto the layer mask areas which need to be hidden, and white on the areas to be revealed. Use X to switch between the colours quickly. Paint until everything is fixed.

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Photoshop for Beginners

Start image

Intricate details

Removing all traces of background made easier At first glance, this set of yellow and green flowers is against a completely contrasting, vibrant red background looks like a simple cut out, right? But notice the small details on the buds on the left-hand side, which are also slightly out of focus. The Refine tool can step in here to make this no problem at all.

EASY DOES IT Remove a sold background with Refine Edge.

Rough selection


Using the Polygonal Lasso tool (L), roughly draw a line around the flowers. Make sure to draw the line inside the edge of the subject as the Refine Edge tool will work much better. Close the selection by joining the last point to the first.


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Refine Edge


In the top banner, click Select>Refine Edge. Set Radius to around 55px, Smooth & Feather to 1 to account for the soft focus, Contrast to 37% and Shift Edge back to -15%. Change Output To: to New Layer with Layer Mask. Hit OK.

Tidy the mask


Refine Edge has done a pretty good job. Now, use the layer mask to tidy up the areas it struggled with such as the red in between the buds. Use the Brush tool to paint black to hide unwanted sections, and white to reveal areas.

Frustrating fluffy cutouts Don’t shy away from using animals in compositions

Start image

The feathers and similar background colours of this owl photo are going to cause some problems when selecting with the usual Magic Wand or Quick Selection tools. Here the Refine Edge can be used to manually select the edge, without having to get too fiddly – once a rough edge is selected, Refine Edge will refine it for you!

CLEAN EDGE Enjoy precise selections on difficult subjects.

Make the selection


Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to draw a rough selection by clicking just inside the edge of the owl. Start at the bottom and carefully go all the way around. Then double-click or click back to the first point to complete the selection.

Be smart


Go to Select>Refine Edge. Increase the Radius to 60-70% to include all the tiny feathers of the owl. The edges will be very soft, so tick Smart Radius. Smart Radius attempts to detect the edge of the subject itself, making it more accurate.

Further detail


For sharper edges, increase the Feather to 3.5-4px, increase the Contrast to 45-50% to bring back sharpness and Shift Edge down slightly to -5%. Tick Decontaminate Colours and slightly increase to 54% to keep the greys.

Refine with masks


Set Output to New Layer with Mask. Hit OK. If there are any areas that aren’t perfect, select the layer mask next to the layer thumbnail. Pick the Brush tool (B) and paint with black to hide areas and white to reveal. Adjust brush size with [ and ].

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Revamp photos…

Boost colours

Discover how to make a dull image shine using Photoshop Elements The colours in a photograph have the potential to make it or break it. If you’ve got a fabulous image but the colours don’t cut the mustard, you can say goodbye to showing off that piece on the wall. Similarly, if an image isn’t working but you can’t work out why, in most cases a quick splash of colour know-how will give the image a whole new direction.


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Photoshop Elements 12 has plenty of colour tools waiting to be discovered. If you want give a photo a big dollop of kaleidoscopic charm, or tone down the hues for a soft and muted approach, there’s guaranteed to be a tool for the job. Here we will go through a few of the simplest and most effective edits to make your colours pop and your artwork sparkle.

©Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photoshop for Beginners

Improve colour Six steps to better photographs

Open it up

Adjust the Levels

Brighten it up

Begin by launching Elements 12, pick the Expert mode and open up a problem image that needs a colour boost. In our example, the coral reef that should be bright and enticing is dull and gloomy. To combat this, begin with a click on Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels.


Once the palette opens, select the black eyedropper from the three options on the right-hand side. Then click on an area of the image that ought to be deep shadow. In this example, we’ve clicked in a dark shadow. The image’s shadow areas will immediately change.



Switch up the colour

Adjust Color Curves

Fix up small details




Delve into the Enhance menu again and this time pick out Adjust Colors>Hue/Saturation. The Hue slider can be used to alter the range of colours in the image. Just a slight tweak can make a big difference. Then grab the Saturation slider to alter the intensity of the colour.

Open up the palette via Enhance>Adjust Colors>Adjust Color Curves. The window shows a before and after version of the image, and below this a small menu of preset settings to the left. Use the sliders to make tweaks, or try dragging the line of the curve to the right.

Head once again to Enhance>Adjust Lighting but this time click on Brightness/Contrast. This option opens a palette with two sliders; one for the Brightness of the image and another for Contrast. Click and drag these sliders until happy with the effect.

To make colour adjustments on specific areas, select the Sponge tool (O) from the Toolbar. In the options at the bottom, select Saturate from the drop-down box. Use the [ and ] icons on your keyboard to adjust the brush size then simply paint over the areas you want to brighten up.

Shadows and Highlights Achieve extra editing powers with this command SHOW DETAIL


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

Always ensure that you have the Preview box checked so that you can see the effect of the edits as they are made.

COMBAT GLOW Darken Highlights tones down the brighter parts in an image to bring out any blown-out details. Pure white areas are not affected.

MIDDLE GROUND This slider called Midtone Contrast can be used to tweak the contrast of the middle tones of the photo or artwork.

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Start images

On the disc Download the photos to try this yourself!


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Creative projects…

Out of bounds made easy

Think professional looking effects take hours? Think again! Photoshop Elements makes it easy to create this cool manipulation Using the Photoshop Elements Guided mode is a quick and easy way to create advanced-looking photomanipulations. But what makes them even more special is the inclusion of Expert Mode, where you can adjust layers, add your own layers, use tools such as the paintbrush, and much more. But it’s not as hard as it sounds. Starting with the images provided, this tutorial will take you through

Open the images


Select Guided from the top banner and open ‘Snake.jpg’ and ‘Flower.jpg’. Click the Photo Bin and select the Snake image. On the right-hand banner, go to Photo Play and select Out of Bounds.

Add the frame

Select the pop out


Click Add Frame. A selection box will appear, use the corner handles to adjust the size. Hold Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt while dragging corners to skew the frame. Press the tick when happy and then click it again.

Out of bounds


the Guided Out of Bounds feature of Elements 12 before leading you into Expert mode. Here, you’ll learn to merge two images, edit them and make them interact to create a much more advanced edit. Once learned, these step can be applied to any number of images, allowing you to get creative and imaginative, using family portraits, photos of pets or some dynamic jumping or driving shots.

When finished, click Out of Bounds Effect. Now it’s possible to add a background gradient and a shadow using the final two steps. Add a simple gradient and a Medium shadow for now as these will be adjusted later. Press Done.


Click on Selection Tool. Use the Brush to draw over the snake head that’s positioned out of the frame. Zoom in for more accuracy and hold Alt while drawing to delete any selection mistakes.

Edit the flower


Open the Photo Bin again and select ‘Flower.jpg’. Repeating the earlier steps, select Out of Bounds from the right-hand banner. Add a frame and adjust leaving the left-hand petals outside of the frame. Then use the Selection tool to draw around these petals.

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Photoshop for Beginners

Finish the flower

Expert mode



Select Out of Bounds and add a simple gradient and then a Medium shadow. There is no need to worry if some green is still visible on the edge of the petals. This will be refined in the coming steps. Press Done.

Select Expert Mode from the top banner. Go to File>New>Blank File and create a Blank Canvas 240mm x 300mm at 300 ppi. Three documents are now open. On the bottom toolbar, click the Layout icon and select Columns and Rows to make them all visible.

Merge the photos

Move the flowers



Click the Snake image and in the Layers panel, select the top layer. Hold Shift and select the top three layers. Select the Move tool (V). Drag these three layers onto the new blank canvas.

Scale down the snake layers using the corner handles. Select the flower image, select the top three layers and drag them to the blank canvas. With all three still selected, drag them below the snake layers.

At a glance The Guided edit holds your hand

Realistic shadows


Close the snake and flower images. To make the shadows more realistic, start with the masked layer of the snake, doubleclick on the small fx. Increase the size and distance and decrease the opacity. Repeat on all four fx shadows; adjust until satisfied!

CHOOSE THE DISPLAY Pick whether to see the before and after simultaneously or just the after, alone.

START WITH A FRAME Elements allows a basic frame choice, which can be embellished in Expert mode.

MANUALLY SELECT It is easy to draw around what part of the image should be ‘out of bounds’.

ONE-CLICK WONDER Once Elements has all the relevent information, click this button to apply the effect.


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Refine the masks


Now refine selection mistakes from the first stage. Notice the two layers with layer masks on. Select the layer mask of the flower first and zoom into the edge of the petals. Select the Paint Brush (B), and set Foreground colour to Black.

Expert tip Go further with the effect The key to this effect is to experiment, try different backgrounds and colours for varying effects. Once you’re comfortable with the out of bounds technique, consider adding to it. For example, out of bounds works well with water images, and using water brushes (easy to download online), you can create some fantastic and eye-catching results while learning valuable Photoshop tricks and techniques along the way!

Tidy the edges


Use the Brush to paint in black over the sections that shouldn’t be there. If too much is removed, use White to paint detail back in. Repeat these steps with the snake layer mask. For this to work, the mask has to be selected, not the layer.

Pick a background


Now add a background to bring the snake and flower together. This can be a gradient, solid colour or another image. Try filling the Background layer with pale green and insert ‘Background.jpg’ just above. Lower the layer Opacity slider to 30%.

A NEW BACKGROUND Try a more realistic backdrop like a photo, and overlay a colour-filled background to help with tone-matching.

DELETE ELEMENTS Erase the rest of the flower photo using a mixture of soft and hard brushes and varying opacities .

BE CREATIVE Different backgrounds suit different images. Experiment with some stock photos first.

Originael imag

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Photoshop for Beginners

Back to basics…

Understand image resolution The lowdown on what resolution actually is, and how to use it

Image resolution is to do with the quality and size of images once they are printed. Measured in ‘pixels per inch’ (ppi), this describes how many individual dots of ink are printed into every square inch of a photo. The more pixels crammed into a shot, the

to either downscale a photo for use on the web or upscale an image for maximumquality prints. Be wary of upping the resolution too much though, as this can’t be used as a quick fix for an image that was of poor quality to begin with.

higher the resolution and thus the higher the quality. Resolution is also directly related to the size of an image, and you can tweak and change the resolution and size of your images in Photoshop Elements 12 using the Image Size palette. You may want to do this

Start image


Photoshop Creative

© Ben Fredericson

What does it mean? PPI stands for Pixels Per Inch and is a broadly used term in imaging industries and in Photoshop. It refers to the actual number of pixels from your original image that will be used to tell the printer to print on one inch of paper. Put basically, the higher the PPI, the better the quality print you can achieve.

The Image Size panel Understand what all the settings refer to CURRENT STATE


The Pixel Dimensions box shows you exactly how many pixels are contained within your image. You’ll see these values change once you alter the resolution value.

The Document Size box shows you the height and width of your image. Use the drop-down menus to view in inches, millimetres, percent or other unit values.

KEEP IN SYNC If you’ve applied any styles to your image before resizing, checking the Scale Styles box will mean that the style adjusts along with the image.

AUTO ADJUST Checking the Constrain Proportions box will mean that when you change the image height, the width automatically updates and vice versa, ensuring that the image doesn’t stretch or shrink.

KEEP QUALITY By ticking this box, you can change the size of the image without altering the resolution. The dropdown box offers up different resampling options depending on your needs.

Get the best resolution Check and edit your image resolution

Make a copy

Size it up

Edit resolution




Open Elements 12, select Expert mode and load the image. To begin, go to File>Save As and make a copy – the first rule of resolution is that you can’t usually reverse any changes that are made without a huge loss of quality, so it’s always good to keep an original file.

Head to Image>Resize>Image Size and open the palette. Here you’ll see two boxes; Pixel Dimensions at the top and Document Size at the bottom. At the moment the image is at 72ppi at 68cm wide and 38cm high. Use the drop-down boxes next to these values to change the units.

Click on the Resolution box and enter a value to boost the image resolution. High-quality print images need to be 300ppi. You’ll see that the Width and Height values become lower as this value is entered. This is because there are loads more pixels squeezed in to boost the image’s quality.

Photoshop Creative




Nikon D3200 Price £399.99/$599.95US (body only) Web

The specs Company Nikon Additional specs

When it comes to entry-level DSLR photography, the D3200 ticks all the right boxes – but can it produce Photoshop-worthy images?


ikon is no stranger to entry-level DSLRs, as this is a company wellversed at making easy-to-use cameras for the beginner. If you’ve never picked up a camera like this, then the D3200 will ease you in gently with its range of instructional and straight-talking photography guides. Designed as a compact DSLR for newbies, the D3200 sports a number of positive features for anyone wanting to learn photography from the ground up. With its Guide mode being one of those features, capturing the correct exposure is actually quite easy to do. If at any stage we felt a bit perplexed by any of the settings or options, then we could use the camera’s dedicated Help button to reveal tips for using that particular feature. The camera is compact and uncluttered, which leads to it being lightweight and very mobile; ideal for shooting in a range of locations. This makes the D3200 a great first camera for those looking to step into the realms of DSLR imaging. Some of the highlights include a 24.2MP CMOS sensor, which proved to be very effective in low-lighting as well as brightly lit conditions under the sun. Being a DSLR, we could enjoy a full range of manual settings for tweaking exposure and improving the final

look of our stills. The camera uses its large 3-inch LCD to present your current camera settings, which can be easily adapted while shooting takes place. The standard lens (18-55mm, 1:3.5-5.6G VR) supplied with the basic kit, is substantial for everyday photos, but it’s worth considering an upgrade to a better lens to improve the potential focal range as well as overall quality of the images. But the standard lens is there to serve one purpose and that’s to get you started. There is a lot of choice when it comes to picking out other NIKKOR DX lenses, and with any DSLR, image quality always starts with the lens. The Live View mode is something we’ve come to expect with an entry-level DSLR, and the D3200 delivers on this front. Using the LCD screen to frame a scene felt much easier and gave a better representation of the final image quality. A key feature of its Live View mode is the automatic scene selection technology. Using this, the camera will analyse the image and pick the right combination of settings for best exposure. The display updates automatically to show you how the scene will turn out after rendering. The camera is powered by Nikon’s EXPEED 3 technology, which although is not the latest

• 24.2 MP • Live View mode • SD memory card • Full HD Movies and greatest of processors, it still runs smoothly and renders efficiently enough for everyday photography. The ISO ratings start at 100 and go all the way to 12,800 for darker conditions. Active D-Lighting is essential when tackling bright scenes to control details in the highlights and shadows of a scene. Being a camera for beginners, another interesting feature is the Retouch menu, which is available after taking pictures. This particular menu is quite extensive, and meant we could tweak images in many aspects including cropping, colour balancing, resizing and controlling barrel distortion. With very few complaints, the D3200 offers much more than the usual compact camera can, such as extensive manual and retouch commands. But it’s having larger optics and the option to upgrade lenses which makes opting for a DSLR such as this so appealing for photographers.

The verdict


For a first camera, Nikon’s D3200 is a good place to start. At just under the £400 mark, this is one of the most affordable models out there in the DSLR range.

Preparing for Photoshop Using the in-camera creative modes for saving time

Retouch menu

Cross Screen effect

Adapt settings




After taking images, hit the Play button to cycle through them. To enter the Retouch menu, hit OK. Retouch contains options for editing and improving images. Select Filter Effects for creative options.


Photoshop Creative

Select the desired effect from the next menu. We’ve gone for Cross Screen for adding small flares to the highlight regions. Choose one of the Intensifiers or the Warm Filter to improve colour.

The Cross Screen filter changes the number of points to 4, 6 or 8, and also the angle of the flare. Hit Confirm and Save to store a copy of the image with effect onto the memory card.

STEADY ON The end results were vastly improved with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) technology activate.

COMFORTABLE RIDE The camera fits neatly into one hand, with front and back finger grips for keeping a firm hold while moving about.

CAPTURE VIDEO If you’re a keen movie-maker then the D3200 includes a Full HD (1080p) shooting mode and features Nikon’s ME-1 stereo microphone for good audio feed.

BEGINNER-FRIENDLY Settings are presented clearly making it straightforward to change the exposure and quality of images.

OPTICAL RANGE The standard lens that comes bundled with the D3200 is equivalent to a 3x optical zoom on a compact camera.

In Photoshop…


Create a soft focus effect to match the Cross Screen by duplicating the Background layer and applying Gaussian Blur to the top layer. Set the Radius of the blur to around 73px and hit OK.

Standout feature Guide mode The camera’s Guide mode is a feature that sets up the camera to match the type of photography you plan on doing. Whether looking to freeze motion, soften backgrounds, or capture a landscape, the Guide can do all the hard work and prepare the camera for the scene. There are also guides for setting up the camera. New features include Capture Reds in Sunsets and Reduce Blur, which are both featured inside the Advanced section.

Soft focusing


With the Gaussian Blur applied, change its blend mode to Screen. This will give a soft glow to the detail and colour, and is a great way to give portraits and nature photos a sense of mystery.

Photoshop Creative




FORUMS Under the Forums tab you can interact with other users to ask questions, discuss topics and get some help with your work.

TUTORIALS The Tutorials tab contains instructions for creating all sorts of photo effects from other Worth1000 users, or you could even add your own.

HALL OF FAME This is the list of the best Worth1000 users as determined by how many contests they’ve won as well as other factors.

Standout feature Photo Effects


The Photo Effects tab is where you can find all the contests for Photoshop creations. You can enter any photo-realistic work or non-photorealistic work that is unrestricted by reality. However, heavily illustrated creations are not permitted unless stated in the rules.



Compete with fellow Photoshop artists in creative competitions


ntering competitions is a great way to get feedback on your Photoshop creations, as well as a way to boost confidence if you win., which borrows its name from the expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, is a website packed full of competitions for creative types. The website is split into several ‘arenas’ covering topics that include photo efects for Photoshop artists, as well as other categories such as photography, writing and illustration. To make it fair, each of these topics is also split into diferent skill levels, so that beginners and advanced users can have their own contests. The website’s layout is very simple and easy to navigate, but getting to grips with the rules is a little more challenging. The


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extensive FAQ page explains everything well enough, but you will need to leave yourself a bit of time to read through it all. The site even has its own form of slang, known as ‘Worthisms’, but again the FAQ page has a handy jargon-buster to help any newcomers. All of the competitions are free to enter, however, if you do not pay then you can only ‘play for fun’, so you won’t win trophies or credits. If you do buy credits, then you can also choose to sponsor another unpaid user if you’re feeling generous. Once you have registered with the site you are free to vote in any of the contests by giving each entry a score out of 10. However, the weight of your vote depends on your ‘voting karma’. To increase your karma, you have to make sure you vote fairly on all of the entries in each competition. This could

become quite time-consuming, but at least it stops it from becoming a popularity contest with users only voting for their friends. Worth1000 has over 700,000 members and counting, and hosts around 40-50 contests a week, providing users with something new to enter or vote for each time they log in. It also serves as a friendly online space for creatives to interact, learn new skills or simply show of their work.

The verdict


This is a great website for creative types who want to compete and join an online community. However, casual users might be put off by the list of rules.


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Snap Art 4

Alien Skin releases another solid product to easily emulate hand-painted artistic effects


ainting is not an easy task. Accomplished painters take decades to refine and hone their skills. Even digital artists will tell you that the computer is just another medium, and there’s no shortcut to developing artistic skill. Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 has taken a lot of the toil out of the process, though, and developed a reasonable method of emulating the hand-produced effect. Snap Art 4’s primary workflow is a familiar one, as the interface and features feel very similar to those of Photoshop. Essentially, the interface places a large preview window in the centre, while the controls are found in folders on the right. This makes Snap Art feel less like an add-on and more like an extended feature set out of Photoshop. But, the plug-in is reliable and intuitive, just like we’ve come to expect from any Alien Skin offering. Alien Skin’s reputation for producing rock solid plug-ins is one of the reasons its customers keep going back for more. Snap Art 4 is no exception to this. The product works in Photoshop CS6 and CC, and even Photoshop Elements 12, for both Mac and Windows. In the unlikely event that you want to avoid the Photoshop plug-in route and prefer a separate solution, Snap Art is available as a standalone product as well. One of the impressive new features with this fourth offering of Snap Art is the Detail Masking. You begin by creating a selective area or mask, by using a round brush to paint over the desired area. This area is represented by a pin and then additional slider controls are assigned to the masked area. These controls are found inside the Detail Masking folder with the other controls. While some settings are limiting, Alien Skin has made sure that the controls are the exact ones you really want to have for editing small sections at a time. This feature alone goes a long way towards breaking up the mechanical repetition that is so typical of emulators of artistic hand-painted effects. The paint-based effects (Oil Paint and Impasto) are likely the most useful and well implemented of the entire style library, while others like the Line Art and Comics effects


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still look primarily like they were created by a mechanical filter. Compared to Adobe’s Mercury Graphics Engine, Snap Art’s noticeable lag feels that much slower. To be fair, there’s a lot of intense calculations being well handled by the program, so it’s not surprising that the plug-in needs to take time to render the effects. One surprisingly valuable aspect of the plug-in is that it has full Smart Object support in Photoshop. So even though the effects generated by the plug-in are flattened and baked, by using it as a Smart Filter you can always go back and easily revise the settings. When looking at the actual results of the artistic emulation, for the most part painted effects are passable. They would never stand up to any careful scrutiny by a trained eye, as they can appear mechanical. An experienced Photoshop user could probably mimic the results by clever application of the Filter Gallery and Layers palette, but as far as plug-ins go, this is certainly one of the best. The ease of use and speed of achieving variations upon variations go a long way.




Save 15% off the when you pu price of Snap Art 4 rc April 2014. E hase before 30th nter the spe cial code PSC1401 to ac exclusive dis tivate this count offer.

The specs Company Alien Skin Software Additional specs • Photoshop CS6 or above, Elements 12 or above • Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or later • Windows 7 or later • Intel Core 2 processor or compatible

The verdict


For emulators of hand-painted techniques, this is as good as they come. The plug-in is easy to use, has a solid performance and achieves good results.

Painted landscape effect Transform a photo into a colourful painted sunset landscape shot without even picking up a brush!

Launch the plug-in

Impasto style



Once the Alien Skin Snap Art 4 plug-in is installed, it can be used as a standalone application. But it’s more likely to be used as part of Photoshop, so find it in the Filter menu under Alien Skin.

Half way down the style Presets, find the Impasto folder. Open and browse through the different sub-styles. Choose one that appeals; here we found the Impressionist preset was closest to the desired effect.



For easy, one-click solutions, the Effects Tour provides a variety of different effects all set up and ready to go.

Photoshop users will be comfortable with the familiar Navigator panel as well as the control sliders along the right-hand side.

WIDE RANGE OF EFFECTS Each style preset comes with a handful of substyles to assist with dialing in the exact effect and appearance you’re looking for.

FINE CONTROL Snap Art 4 provides a high level of control over details of the effects such as lighting and texture.

Start image

Standout feature Detail Masking One of the tell-tale signs that an effect is mechanical is that every area of the image contains the same stroke detail and application. In reality, an artist would paint a face with much more detail than the background. Snap Art’s Detail Masking feature let’s you do just that, by creating a masked area and refining the details independently to the rest of the image.

Adjust settings


In the Settings panel, scroll down to the Vignette section. Use the Classic preset and increase the Distortion to 50. Then in the Canvas section set the Thickness to 30 and the texture to ‘Paper, natural fiber’.

Detail Mask


In the Detail Masking area, press the New Area button and roughly brush over the focal area of the image. This isn’t going to change the appearance, it’s only to define the area that needs to be changed.

Detail adjustments


With the focal area masked out, change the Effect to Structure to better render the details of the architecture. Make any other tweaks as desired. These settings will only impact the masked area.

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USA readers turn to page 66

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

Meet your experts… Andre Villanueva “Camera Raw in filter form is an absolute godsend! It’s my favourite improvement in Photoshop CC.”


Daniel Sinoca “One thing that really strikes me in Elements is the ability to create eye-catching compositions using simple tools.”

Kirk Nelson “The Photoshop Elements Guided effects expertly walk you through each step of creating an edit and are a great learning tool.”

Amro Ashry “The Swatches palette in Photoshop is an extremely useful tool for painters or illustrators and is definitely worth exploring.”

Charis Webster “It’s amazing how a simple sharpening edit can not only banish camera blur but make an image look completely different!”

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


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HOW CAN I MAKE A CITY LOOK AS IF IT IS UNDERWATER USING ELEMENTS? To begin, create a gradient (G) background using a dark and light blue colour. Place a cityscape image (this one’s with the supplied files), and use the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) to select the sky behind the buildings and hit Delete. Open the Hue/Saturation adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl+U), check the Colorize box, and drag the slider to get a nice blue or green colour. Now select the buildings and apply the Gaussian Blur filter (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) to keep them with less focus. Place a water reflection image and

create a layer mask, use a soft brush and paint the borders to blend the image. Duplicate the water reflection layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J), flip the layer vertically (Image>Rotate>Flip Layer Vertical) and place over the street. Now add other images such as fishes, sharks and aquatic plants to add more realism to your composition. Search online and download some brushes to create the bubbles and the sunrays. As a final touch, apply the Underwater Photo Filter (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Photo Filter).


Common problems solved


TRANSFER YOUR COLOURS The purpose of this palette is if you want to use the colours from one project in your current project.

SELECT COLOUR First go to Window> Swatches. Then add your favourite colours by using the Eyedropper tool (I).

NEW SWATCHES Use the Create New Swatch of Foreground Color button to add the current colour in as a new swatch.

PRESETS SWATCHES The palette is considered the easiest way for picking colours and creating your own palettes, or just using Photoshop’s preset swatches.

DELETE A SWATCH You can remove one of the colour swatches from the palette using Opt/Alt-click.

Amro’s expert edit Build up a digital painting


A brown background layer was added by going to Edit>Fill. Colour was chosen to form the basis of this painting effect.


The Mixer Brush tool was used to bring this painting to life, using the original photo as a reference image.


Small splashes of colour were added with the Brush tool around the model’s face on a separate layer to create depth.


Colours were tweaked using numerous adjustments, including Selective Color, Vibrance and Levels. A subtle yellow tint finished the painting.

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Common problems solved PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS Andre’s expert edit How do I make 3D text in CC?


Use the Type tool to add words to your document, then click on the 3D button in the Options bar. Switch to the 3D workspace. Select the Move tool.




When everything is set, In the 3D palette select In the 3D palette select make sure your 3D type your type. Rotate/Roll with the 3D type again. In the layer is selected in the Layers the 3D Mode tools in the Options Properties palette, choose Bevel bar. Adjust Current View and Infinite from the Shape Presets and increase palette, then go to 3D>Render. Be patient while the 3D text finalises. Light, also in the 3D palette. the Extrusion Depth.



The 3D palette shows the various elements that comprise the 3D scene, including 3D objects, lights, and views. The Properties palette will change depending on what’s selected.

Use the Move tool’s 3D Mode subset of tools to Rotate, Roll, Drag, Slide, and Scale 3D objects. They may feel awkward at first, but keep practicing.

SHADOWS With the 3D Type selected, you’ll have Catch Shadows and Cast Shadows available in the Properties palette. Turn them on and off to see how they look.


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EDIT SOURCE Need to change your text? No problem. Click Edit Source, update the source file, then save and close it. You’ll return to your scene with revised content.

PROPERTIES PALETTE This context-sensitive palette works hand-in-hand with the 3D palette, showing settings relevant to the currently selected element. Keep both palettes open to stay ultra-productive.


Common problems solved


Sometimes removing a colour from a photo may result in a flat or uninteresting image. Photoshop Elements allows you to precisely convert a colour image into black and white by increasing or decreasing the light in different channels and the contrast, which gives you better control over the conversion resulting in a superior image. To start, open the image and duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Now go to Enhance and select Convert to Black and White (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+B). In the Convert to Black and White dialog box, you can choose one of the preset Styles from the list on the left and use the sliders on the right to adjust the intensity of the light in each channel. Pick a slider position that works best for your particular image. You can undo and redo each adjustment one step at a time or use the Reset button to start over.




With the help of masks and filters, you can easily combat the inherent boxy-ness of your Photoshop compositions with a beautifully ragged border. First, create a new layer behind the Background layer and fill it with white (if your layer is the Background layer, first turn it into a standard layer by doubleclicking on it, then renaming). Select the target layer and use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) to create a selection inside the boundaries of your document where you’d like the border to be. Click the Layer Mask icon in the Layers palette to turn the selection into a layer mask. With the mask selected, go to Filter>Brush Strokes>Spatter. Max out Spray Radius and set Smoothness to 10. If you want to increase the raggedness, reapply the filter with Cmd/Ctrl+F. Break up the regularity by using the Smudge tool here and there.

WHAT’S THE CAMERA RAW FILTER USED FOR IN PHOTOSHOP CC? Camera Raw is now a filter in Photoshop CC and is packaged into a more easily deployable form, allowing you to apply Camera Raw’s superior photo adjustments to virtually any layer. To keep the enhancements nondestructive, you must first turn the target layer to a Smart Object by Ctrl/ right-clicking on the layer and choosing Convert to Smart Object. Next, go to Filer>Camera Raw Filter. Your layer will appear in a dialog, showing you a myriad of options. Don’t worry, as it’s very intuitive. Use the icons on the right to switch between the various categories, then use the sliders to fine-tune the adjustments. Key adjustments we used on the bug here are the Basic’s Temperature and Clarity sliders to increase warmth and detail respectively. Under the fx section, we used the Post Crop Vignetting sliders to darken the edges, gently rolling the viewer’s gaze inward.

Photoshop Creative




One of the best ways to make a portrait photo stand out is to increase the depth of field around the subject. This creates a softer, blurred background that contrasts against the sharpness of the individual. Photoshop Elements provides an easy method to accomplish this by walking you through each step. Open this photo in Photoshop Elements and go to the Guided editing module. In the Photo Effects section, the top entry is Depth of Field. This provides a choice of Simple or Custom. The Custom track usually yields better results. The program will prompt you to use the Quick Selection tool to create a selection around the subject. Brush just inside the subject contours to create the selection. Hold down the Shift key to add to the selection, if needed. Then use the Add Blur button and the accompanied slider to adjust the blur’s intensity. When you’re satisfied with the effect click the Done button.



HOW CAN I MAKE A PHOTO LOOK OLD FASHIONED IN ELEMENTS? Photoshop Elements includes a nice Old Fashioned Photo Guided edit that will offer several options for crafting your own aged photograph. Start with an open image in the Guided editing mode. Look down through the available Guided edit options, and the Photo Effects group contains an Old Fashioned Photo entry. This Guided edit gives a four-step process to age your image. The first is to convert it to a black and white image. The guide offers three different options: Newspaper, Urban and Vivid. Each photo is different but we find the Urban setting to produce the best results, especially on architectural photos. The second step is to adjust the Tone; this step is very subtle and may not give obvious changes if your photo has a good exposure. The third step is to add texture; additional texture is added with each press of the button. Finally there’s the Add Hue/Saturation button to apply the sepia tone coloration to the photo.

Charis’s expert edit Sharpen close-ups with High Pass


While not classed as a sharpening filter, High Pass does a fine job nonetheless. Duplicate your background layer by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J.


Photoshop Creative


Change the blend mode of this duplicated layer to Hard Light by using the drop-down list in the Layers palette. The contrast will dramatically increase.



By pushing the Radius slider Go to Filter>Other>High right up to its maximum Pass. Slide the Radius setting, the overall lighting in the adjustment all the way down to 0.1, then boost it up to around 5px to see image is altered, making it much more dramatic. an improvement to sharpness.

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The Making Of Painting

Fabrizio takes us behind the scenes of this Photoshop image Climbing


Fabrizio Calicchia

Italian Photoshop artist Fabrizio talks about his creative techniques and how he came to use Photoshop abrizio Calicchia is passionate about How important are Photoshop. He describes himself as a adjustment layers in editing?


normal guy that loves music, sports and to have fun, but with a big passion for art. We couldn’t wait to find out how it all began for him, and also his preferred tools for the job.

Why did you start learning Photoshop in the first place? Digital art is my passion, and when I decided that it was going to be my job I needed to learn an image-editing program. I picked up Photoshop because in my humble opinion it’s the best one available. I know it’s a huge software and I have to admit the beginning wasn’t easy at all, but I had a great teacher that helped and supported me a lot: he was able to instil a passion for digital art in me.

What are your favourite tools? Well, actually I don’t use a lot of tools. Usually I use adjustments layers, masks and smart objects. I like my process to be editable, so I prefer to use masks. My favourite tool is the Brush. I like to use the default ones and create my own brushes. As I said, I use the Selective Color adjustment layer; it’s the tool I use the most for changing the mood of a photo.


Photoshop Creative

Adjustment layers are very important: my techniques are based around them. Mostly I use Levels, Curves, Gradient Maps and Selective Color, and play with the blend modes and opacity. Thanks to them my work process is reversible and that is essential for me. Selective Color is awesome and no doubt it’s my favourite, you can change the mood of an image very quickly.

What advice can you give to budding digital artists? To learn the software and to have a lot of passion. In digital art you never stop learning, so you need a lot of passion to go on and to be successful. When you first get into this field and see the artworks of some professional artists, it’s very easy to get discouraged. I spend my days practising and learning new techniques and if you don’t have passion you can’t do that. Plus Photoshop is a powerful software, so the best advice I can give is not to be afraid to experiment! For more work by Fabrizio, visit www.

The right blend For the background I mixed different textures and blend modes. The sprays have been made using some brushes and adding a Gradient Overlay layer style.

Special effects Then I added the other elements. The flair is a photo with a black background in Screen mode: you can easily achieve nice effects.

Set the mood I wanted the image to look like an illustration so I added depth using the dodging and burning technique, and changed the mood using the Selective Color adjustment layer.

Final tweaks I then changed the tone of the image using a Solid Color adjustment in different blend modes and also increased the contrast using a quick Unsharp Mask filter.

3D digital painting Now available on Mac

Imagined by

Justin Holt Created with


Photoshop creative issue no 110  
Photoshop creative issue no 110