Available to download from



Amazing compositions Lighting effects Adjustment layers Stunning portraits



Discover mixed-media e ects for edgy digital designs


Incorporate your own sketches for personalised artwork



Hidden secrets to fix common photographic problems

Non-destructive edits ✓ The Recompose tool ✓ Fix bad lens distortion ✓ Master auto corrections ✓








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This beautiful image was created by Photoshop Creative reader Antonio Figueiredo. See what our other readers have made in our gallery, which begins on page 6

5 things you will learn this issue
01 Best-ever tips 02 Build a fantasy landscape
The essential steps for compositing explained 100 of our best-ever editing tricks and tips to make you faster, better and more confident with Photoshop

03 Retouching masterclass 04 Eerie lighting effects

Learn impressive skills with our guide to retouching Add special spooky e ects to revamp your landscapes

Welcome to a special issue 100! To celebrate this milestone we’ve got a fantastic 14-page feature with our best-ever tips (p16). Don’t miss out, become faster, better and more efficient in Photoshop now! Head to page 62 to perfect your Pen tool skills and revamp your portraits, or page 52 to give them a monochrome makeover. Also, have you ever wanted to turn your doodles into real Photoshop vectors? Your imagination really is your only limitation when you learn this nifty skill (p32). Check out the bumper disc too, with more creative resources than you can shake a proverbial stick at. Enjoy the issue, learn lots, create lots and don’t forget to send your work in to for a chance to appear in the next issue!

05 Impressive new techniques

Learn the power of blend modes for creative e ects

Charis Webster Deputy Editor



now SAVE Subscribe Turn to page 98 to get this


amazing deal! US page 78

Create cool compositions

Mastering 40 urban style

32 Turn your sketches
Learn how to scan in your sketches for personalised art

into vectors

the 36 Using Channel Mixer

Discover key skills to give your photos a colour boost

urban art 40 Create Master urban style with these
funky mixed-media effects


46 Add eerie

light effects

Turn normal ordinary photos into extraordinary creations

portraits 52 Bold Revamp portraits for

beautiful monochromes

56 Build a fantasy



A look at how to use everyday images for unusual montages

effects 62 Cutout Perfect the Pen tool for

amazing creative portraits

66 Record edits

74 60 56 76

Discover the secrets behind Actions for a faster workflow

with Actions

74 Make a magical
flying carpet
Utilise adjustment layers and uncover super editing skills
shop at Visit the Photoshop Creative online

Fantasy landscapes
Perfect your compositioning skills for surreal landscape scenes

for back issues, books and merchand ise

New to Photoshop? Check out our introductory guide

80 Ultimate

Repair problems from colour casts to underexposure

photo fixes

auto corrections 86 Master Make default auto-fixes
work for your images

84 The Recompose tool

editing 90 Non-destructive Why it’s easy and advisable to
work with adjustment layers

Fix a photo’s composition with this clever tool


his issue shows just what you’re capable of creating with Photoshop. From an awe-inspiring landscape by Welison Alexandre, to Markus Müller’s fantastic new world that simply shouts at you – there’s plenty to keep your creative engines churning away with ideas.

Get in touch
Create your own gallery online Upload your images to Facebook. Search PhotoshopCreative Tweet us your creative art work @PshopCreative Alternatively, you can email:

Sit back and enjoy an exciting collection of creative works uploaded by your fellow readers
Rick Gill and Jean Bates both reveal how their images were inspired by tutorials featured in previous issues of Photoshop Creative and present their interpretations on the techniques. Also, while it may be spring in the Northern Hemisphere, Maryanne Carman’s

beautiful autumnal painting has really caught our attention this issue. Want to get involved and have your work printed in this gallery? Send us your artwork and your work may just appear in the next issue. Create your online gallery at


Photoshop Creative

Welison Alexandre

“This work expresses the greatness of children and hope for the future. I worked in Camera Raw, using masks and colour adjustments, changing light and shadows, as well as highlight detail. I finished with a vignette effect.”

www.photoshop welison_alexandre



Markus Müller

“The composition looks simple, but consists of 15 images. The working time was six hours in Photoshop CS5. The idea was to create an example of a movie poster for a fantasy film.”


Photoshop Creative


Jean Bates

“I was inspired by the tutorial ‘Digital Kaleidoscopes’ in issue 97. After each of the elements was removed, I applied the Cutout filter for simplification. I adjusted the tones on some of the elements. After many variations and careful placement, I ended up with two layer groups for the final image. [To finish] I added a green Stroke with a Bevel and a Drop Shadow around the kaleidoscope.”



Ross Eaglesham

“This is my first attempt at anything even remotely like this, so I am fairly pleased as it’s almost exactly what I had in mind when I started out.”

www.photoshopcreative. eagleshamphotography

Rodrigo Pessanha
“I used the plug-in Fractalius, [then] changed the colours and the result was this.”

Antonio Figueiredo

“An image created through music, ‘White Rose’ has an air of fantasy and a little melancholy.“

www.photoshopcreative. figueiredo

Photoshop Creative


Miguel Acosta

“This image was made using Photoshop CS5, with artistic and bezel effects created on a new canvas.”


Yago Martins França

“A hectic lifestyle – this was the main concept that I used to create my image that I call ‘Time’.”

www.photoshopcreative. YagoMartins95


Photoshop Creative

Maryanne Carman

“‘Autumn’ was created using two images - the model and the background. Rather than crop the images I chose to mask them instead. I retouched the model to give her a painted look and everything after that was a series of colour overlays. I used different blend modes and opacities to achieve the soft orangey-yellow tone. The [addition of] leaves was kind of an afterthought.”


Photoshop Creative


Paulo Braga

“I started with the Clone Stamp tool, [applying it] to the parts I wanted more of. The wings of the light-blue bird were given the Motion Blur filter treatment and the bird in the background has a slight Gaussian Blur [applied]. With enough patience [using] the Pen tool, I cut out the model’s long dress.”



David Dixon

“I made this up from about 20 different photographs taken by myself in various parts of the world. There are about 36 layers in the composite. That’s me standing on the left.”



Photoshop Creative

Rick Gill

“I followed the tutorial ‘Mixed Media’ in issue 98 almost to the letter, as I hadn’t tried anything like this before. I decided to personalise it to my son’s band by adding their logo and some photos I had previously taken of them at a gig. I ended up with 21 layers!”


Photoshop Creative


Challenge entries
Simon’s Choice


The winner of our Challenge is…

he prize for our Challenge this issue goes to digital artist Haik Ahekian, who used a combination of images – with the landscape as the background – for his piece. Other images created for the competition use the landscape, mu n and motorbike images, not forgetting our model featured in Job Wanis’s Portrait. Jenni Sanders and Brian Ibinson also deserve a round of applause for making these incredible pieces. For your chance to appear next issue, have a go at the Challenge competition and email in, or upload your entries online – you could win a fantastic prize.

“Haik has made use of our images to create this wonderful fantasy landscape. The blend from clouds to the focus point really draws in the eye.”

Readers’ Challenge

1 Haik Ahekian

Surrealistic City “I started by cutting buildings from the skyline image and placed them on top of the cakes… I [then] added some gradients [set] to Color Burn and Overlay…”

2 Brian Ibinson

Beyond The Finish Line “I edited the background landscape by using Levels and Spherize, then blended in adjustments with gradients… I used brushes for the ripples.”

1 2

3 Job Wanis

Portrait “The girl’s skin was edited then cut out. I applied adjustments and used the Gaussian Blur filter. For the background the buildings were cut out and the clouds [were darkened].”

4 Jenni Sanders

Hot Hair Balloon “The piece features a silhouetted tower as well as the basket from a balloon. [This is] made of the portrait’s hair… the cake’s tonality was used to add [warmth].”


Photoshop Creative

Upload your images to

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! Remember, 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 www. and hit the Challenge link to get hold of previous images, check out the competition and submit your entries. Good luck!

3 4

Enter the competition and you could win this fantastic photo effects software, Dfx Photo Plug-in, by digital experts Tiffen ( Choose among 125 photo filters and thousands of presets to layer up and simulate specialised lenses, authentic filters, film types and traditional lab processes. This could all be yours, so get creating and upload your entries for a chance to win!

Tiffen Dfx Photo Plug-in

WORTH £132!
Photoshop Creative




We present 100 of our most valuable creative tips and tricks to help you become a Photoshop wizard
techniques for making themed layouts without the mess! If painting is more your thing, flick through to our advice for controlling brushes and filters to achieve impressive portraits. Retouching is a big part of what makes Photoshop special, so we’ve explored the tools and adjustments that are at your disposal to make model images look even better. Rounding all this off is our guide to a more-efficient workflow and how you can make sure everything runs smoothly. So, what are you waiting for? There’s something to satisfy any artistic mind and we’re sure you’ll come away with newfound knowledge to make working in Photoshop easier than ever before.


elebrating our 100th issue in true creative style, we’ve compiled a whopping 100 tips and tricks for Photoshop. Over the next 13 pages you can absorb vital tips for taking images further and exploring the true potential of Photoshop. We’ve even divided these into sections to make them more digestible. To kick things off we look at how layers and blending techniques can help enhance your work. We also explore the vital art of photomanipulation, with some helpful techniques to unravel this fundamental method. There’s a section dedicated to the tricks and tools you need to get more artistic with your editing, as well as scrapbooking


Photoshop Creative

Upload your images to our website

The power of layers
Gain ultimate control of your layers and blend a path to your next Photoshop masterpiece

Need to shop for a blend mode? Instead of trying each one from the dropdown menu at the top of the Layers palette, you can cycle through them. Hit Shift and the + key or Shift and the - key to quickly find the perfect blend.


Put the spotlight on a layer by Opt/Altclicking its Visibility icon (the eyeball). This hides all other layers and enables you to view the target layer without any distractions. Opt/Alt-click the eyeball again to reveal the hidden layers.


Move a layer up and down the stacking order with Cmd/Ctrl+ ( or ), the left and right bracket keys, or move to the very top and bottom by adding Shift to the keyboard combination. You can also have multiple layers selected while performing this. If the selected layers are non-contiguous, they will be made contiguous if moved.


Start with an asymmetrical blend of layers. Create a new layer at the top and hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E to merge all the layers. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T, Ctrl/right-click, choose Flip Horizontal and confirm. Play with various blend modes on the merged layer until you get a pleasing mix with the rest of the image. Now you can add further symmetrical merges.


Change a layer’s opacity by selecting the Move tool and rapidly entering the numerical value (hit 3 then 2 for 32%). Hit 0 For 100%, or 00 in Photoshop CS6 will give you 0%.


Scan in some notes or an old quiz and place it on top of your composition. Adjust the blend mode to mix it in (try Multiply or Color Burn), then add a layer mask and paint black in surplus areas.




Cmd/Ctrl+Z will undo your last edit, but add in Shift and you can step back through your History palette.

Photoshop Creative


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33 32
The Dodge tool is quite nifty at lighting parts of an image that look too dark. On a duplicate copy of the image, set Midtones in the Options bar, then use a soft brush at a low Opacity of 10% to carefully bring back details in those areas.



The Color Range option under the Select menu is a powerful tool that enables you to pick a tone from your image and make it a selection. Use the Add and Subtract eyedroppers inside the Color Range menu to control just what has been added and refine the selection.

34 35

Depth of field, or background blurring, adds impact to the main subject. If you didn’t capture this at the time of shooting, use Photoshop CS6’s Field Blur filter to add points of blur into the background and control their strengths according to distance.


To create a duplicate of your image to work in Photoshop, go to Layer>Duplicate Layer and set Document to New. You can name this new file before confirming. You now have two versions of the same image open and ready to edit with.



Perhaps you’re already familiar with the Hue/ Saturation adjustment, but did you know that if you combine it with the Overlay blend mode you can boost your tones even more?


Photoshop Creative



Digital painting
Use these tips to enhance your workflow and create a unique masterpiece!

Used carefully, the Lighting E ects filter under Render enables you to assign a number of lights. From Spotlights to Soft Omni lighting, the properties of the light source are adaptable to take into account the texture of the subject.

52 53

Draft out your idea, considering composition, possible colours and lighting as you go. It’s important to sketch until you’re satisfied, as a strong sketch will likely make for a strong outcome.



Basic round brushes are ideal for blocking in shapes and areas of colour. Consider the light source as you work and apply tone accordingly. Use the Color Picker often to grab colours and blend as you go by hitting Opt/Alt.


In Photoshop CS6, the Oil Painting filter re-creates a painterly style using strokes of paint. It provides full control over the direction and size of these. Get creative with the range of blur filters that can soften the background or foreground of a painting. Apply the filters as Smart Filters to be able to mask away the e ect. Layer up filters inside the Filter Gallery for even further artistic flare. For instance, combine texture filters with the Sketch options.


54 56

Make quick and easy work of blending with the Smudge tool. Custom brushes or basic round brushes can be used for this. Alter the settings of the brushes to enhance the strength of your preference.




Create a new layer for each additional element used (namely skin, hair and jewellery). This separation will enable you to make changes to areas that overlap other layers without disturbing them.

You can adjust the shape of facial features in a portrait image by using the Liquify filter and its Forward Warp tool. A bigger brush and lower Pressure setting will make sure that any changes won’t be instantly noticeable.

Use Marquee tools (the Polygonal Lasso is great for straight edges) to create selections when working in complex areas. For instance, in this image we’ve used them to build up the jewellery.



Create custom brushes to add unique textures to your image. Ideas for this are limitless and in this portrait we’ve used a custom dotted brush for the skin. A multi-lined brush was used to make delicate locks of hair with a single stroke.


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As you’re working, avoid adding too much detail early on. Instead, focus on getting the shapes and colours, working from the largest shapes and gradually down into the details.



Choose varied hues to act as highlights (light and less saturated), midtones and shadows (dark and more saturated) for each element. The subtle differences will keep the image from looking flat.


65 66
The Dodge and Burn tools can add dramatic shadows and highlights. Be sure to use these tools in moderation and set the Exposure low to get the desired effect gradually.


Be sure that all elements in your image obey the same main light source(s). Additional light sources can also be added to complement and enhance the effect.





Hit Opt/Alt with Backspace to use the Foreground colour as the fill.

Photoshop Creative



Master retouching
68 69
It’s tempting to view the Toolbar as the heartbeat of Photoshop when you’re first getting acquainted with it, but the Layers palette is really the main event. Make it your business to use adjustment layers and duplicate layers wherever possible and you’ll see your editing prowess improve immediately.

Here’s our guide to some of the best methods for giving photos some love

Photoshop’s Curves adjustment is one of the most powerful features that the software has to o er. It provides you with expert control over the contrast in your images, even enabling you to preview where clipping or loss of information has occurred. Use this ahead of Brightness/ Contrast for tweaking contrast.


70 71

Shadows/Highlights will do a decent job of bringing back highlight detail, but a really great job of recovering shadow information. Try this ahead of using Levels or Curves to brighten the entire image. You can easily create a bleach bypass e ect by duplicating your Background layer, changing the blend mode to Soft Light, then hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate it. Ensure the Foreground is set to black and the Background is set to white, then go to Filter>Distort>Di use Glow. Try setting Graininess to 1, Glow Amount to 5 and Clear Amount to 10.



This is a type of sharpening and as such employs the Unsharp Mask feature. However, to a ect the largescale rather than small-scale contrast, you need to use a much higher Radius, together with a lower Amount.




Photoshop Creative




Hold the Spacebar for instant access to the Hand tool to pan across the canvas.

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The Curves adjustment can restore detail to heavily lit on a person’s face. Inside the adjustment is a hand button that enables you to click and drag any point of the image to adjust the exposure. This is handy for bringing back details in shaded regions such as under the eyes and cheeks.




Add a new layer, change the blend mode to Color and select a suitable shade using the Color Picker (doubleclick on the Foreground swatch). Activate a soft-edged brush (B), set 100% Opacity with 1% Flow and you’re ready to apply digital make-up!


Nearly every portrait can benefit from having sharp eyes, so use Unsharp Mask to boost the sharpness of the eyes and a layer mask to ensure other areas of the image are una ected. Skin is rarely perfect and there are many ways of retouching imperfections in Photoshop, but the Patch tool is often criminally overlooked. Use a duplicate layer and then, when you’ve obliterated every pimple in sight, lower the opacity to bring back some realism!

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Add the Exposure adjustment set to Luminosity. Increase the Exposure, Gamma and O set, then invert the mask and paint over the eyes.




Retouching with the Spot Healing Brush on an image made up of many layers can present problems. Tick the Sample All Layers option along the top of the interface and add a new layer so as to apply healed pixels non-destructively.


The Vibrance adjustment shouldn’t be dismissed, because it’s been designed to boost while reducing the impact of a person’s skin tone. This is unlike the Saturation slider, which alters the entire image.



The Liquify filter can be used to perform a touch of nip ‘n’ tuck plastic surgery. Used with caution and precision it can produce remarkable – and almost undetectable – results.

This refers to the light caught in the eyes of a person when the photo is taken. You can add this in using Photoshop, either via a brush set to white and 90% Hardness, or an image so small that it looks like a tiny reflection in the eyes.



Most people’s teeth are not a lovely shade of Californian white, but Photoshop’s Sponge (set to Desaturate to remove any yellowing) and Dodge tools can fix this quickly. Use low opacities and build the e ect gradually.




Go to Window>Preferences and select the colour of your grids and rulers.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Turn sketches into vectors

Turn sketches into vectors
On the disc
Use the image on the disc to re-create this!

Works with


Learn how to transform your sketches into fullyfledged vectors to use in your Photoshop work
ou’ve probably noticed illustrations made with wonderfully smooth lines, which are created using vectors and the Pen tool. Let’s face it, while the results are great, using the Pen tool can be really tedious. Luckily there are ways of using vectors where you barely have to use the Pen tool! This makes the whole process from pen to Photoshop very easy and enjoyable. We’re going to start by grabbing a sketchbook and a pencil to begin scribbling. When we’ve made our sketch, we’re going to scan it, then use Photoshop to clean up the scan and generate some vector paths. This means a lot of the hard work will already be done! We’ll use the Pen tool to tidy up the paths, make the lines smoother, then turn the paths into custom shapes that you can use again and again. Try it out with our sketch, or scan in your own doodles!


Photoshop CS2 and above

What you’ll learn

Clean up scans with adjustment layers, make paths from selections and edit anchor points or custom shapes

Time taken

1 hour

David Cousens
”I’m always impressed how working digitally offers so many solutions to any task. It’s great to find new methods for drawing vectors in a less time-consuming way, for instance. I’ve been drawing fun and fantastical things like dragons, robots and barrels full of monkeys professionally for seven years now!”


Start out rough

Start sketching your subject with your blue pencil (or you’ll find our eagle supplied). Feel free to make your sketch as messy as you like as we’ll be making the blue lines invisible later.


Build up the line work

With your construction lines developed, use a dark pencil to draw your final lines. At this stage your line work should be cleaner and as dark and crisp as possible to help the scanning stage.


Photoshop Creative

Show us your illustrative genius

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Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Turn sketches into vectors


Scan your sketch

With your line work finished, it’s time to scan. Every scanner is different, but each model will let you configure your scan settings. Scan in RGB mode and 300dpi (this is the minimum resolution for high-quality printing).


Into Photoshop

Create a new file (300 x 300mm, 300dpi). Open your scanned image (or use the scanned image supplied), then click and drag the Background layer from the Layers palette into your new document and close the scanned sketch.


Change channels

On the scanned artwork layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all the canvas, then click on the Channels tab in the Layers palette. Click on the Blue channel so that it’s the only visible one. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy.


Click back to the Layers tab and create a new layer, then hit Cmd/ Ctrl+V to paste in the contents of the Blue channel into this. You should be left with only black lines in this new layer.

Paste into a new layer


Clean up the scan

It’s highly likely your scanner picked up various bits of grime and pencil smudges that you don’t want in your final artwork. To fix this, first add a new Levels adjustment layer by clicking on the small black-and-white circle icon. This is found at the bottom of the Layers palette.


Adjust the contrast

In the Levels layer’s Properties tab, move the white slider to the left to make the image brighter and clear of noise. Move the black slider far to the right to make the lines darker. Stamp the visible layers of the image via Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E.

Expert tip
Choosing your pencils
Here we’ve chosen to use Prismacolor Col-Erase blue pencils for our sketches. These are much easier to erase than generic colour pencils. Also, they won’t smudge (which is why animators use them) but any blue pencil of your choice will do if you don’t mind mess. Here we need to ensure that the colour is easily distinguished from the pencilled line work. We chose mechanical pencils as they give dark solid lines. Strong contrast is helpful for the methods used in this project.


Remove remaining noise

Now you can use the visible stamped layer to clean up any noise caught by the scan. Pick a hard-edged brush, then apply white over the noise and black to strengthen any lines that need to be more opaque.


Use the Cutout filter

Go to Filter>Artistic>Cutout (or Filter>Filter Gallery in later versions of Photoshop) and use the following settings to smooth out the variations in your line work: Number of Levels: 8, Edge Simplicity: 5, Edge Fidelity: 2. Please note: you may have to alter the settings depending on your image.


Photoshop Creative

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Expert tip
Get easier vectors with Illustrator
If you’re serious about using vectors you can place your scan directly into Illustrator and click on Image Trace. This will generate paths for you based on the sketch, without you altering it at all. Image Trace also offers you a variety of style presets including Line Art, Technical Drawing and Sketched Art.


Now go to Select>Color Range, move the eyedropper over to the lines and select them. Set Fuzziness to 200 and click OK. You can make a working path from the selection by going to the Paths tab and clicking Make Work Path From Selection.

Make a path from a selection


Achieve smoother lines

Photoshop has now generated a series of anchor points that trace the outline of the line work. However, the main benefit of using vectors is how smooth you can get your lines, so we need to get rid of a lot of these anchor points.


Hide distracting layers

Switch to the Layers tab and hide all the layers by clicking on the eyeball icons next to each name. This lets you see the outline of the selection clearly. Now go to the Paths tab and click on the Work path.


Start deleting anchor points

Select the Pen tool (P), hover it over an anchor point and the cursor will change to a minus. You can delete the point with a simple click. The fewer anchor points in a line, the smoother the line will appear.


Which points to remove?

Deleting anchor points will require trial and error, but you can navigate the History palette if you’ve deleted one and it doesn’t work. Delete points from the middle of a line to make it seem smoother.


When the Work path looks smooth enough, Cmd/Ctrl-click its thumbnail and switch back to the Layers tab. Create a new layer, hit Shift+Backspace to access the Fill options and use: Foreground Color. Click OK to confirm. Or Ctrl/right-click over its thumbnail and select Stroke Path. Try setting your Brush tool with different colours.

Fill the path


Change the path into a custom shape by going back into the Paths tab (making sure the Work path is active). With the Pen tool selected, Ctrl/right-click above the path and select Define Custom Shape. Name the custom shape and click OK.

Change paths to shapes


Apply custom shapes

Your custom shape can be formed of paths, shapes or pixels at any size. Hold Shift to constrain the proportions so it becomes a stamp. To add colour once your shapes are in position, Cmd/Ctrl-click over the thumbnail in the Layers palette and hit Edit>Fill setting Contents to Color. Play with the opacity for unusual effects.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Use the Channel Mixer

After Before


Photoshop Creative

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On the site

Works with

Download this effect at http:// blog.photoshopcreative.

Photoshop CS4 and above

What you’ll learn
Work with Photo and High Pass filters as well as adjustments for an instant visual boost

Time taken

30 mins

Cybele Eloy
“Photoshop is one software that I like to use at work and in my spare time. I enjoy a mix of different styles and digital effects, applying these to celebrity images, as well as HDR photos. I find this expresses the whole vitality of an image, especially when working with natural imagery. In my spare time I focus on photographing different places, creating stock images and editing the results.”

Use the Channel Mixer
shot taken at night is often problematic when printed. However, as long as there’s some sort of light source in the original scene, you can dramatically improve the photo by using a few creative editing techniques. By re-creating the look of infrared photography, we’ll use filters and colour channels to turn an everyday image into something eye-catching.

Bring colour to your night photos for instantly dramatic effects
We’ll be using adjustment layers for nondestructive edits, specifically the Channel Mixer, to adjust how much impact each individual tone has on the image. We’ll also be including a few different layer blend modes to experiment with interesting effects. However, the results you’ll get with this effect depend a lot on which type of photo you’re using.


You can download the image being used here straight from our site ( or choose one of your own nighttime images to practise your skills on. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the main image.

Duplicate and invert colours


Apply blend modes

Invert the colours of the duplicate layer by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+I and set the blend mode to Color. You can preview the complete effect of this inversion by activating and deactivating the eye icon on the Background layer.


Select Create a New Adjustment Layer and choose the Channel Mixer. In the following dialog box, configure the Red Output Channel to: Blue: +100; the Blue Channel to Red: +100 and the Green Channel to Green: +90.

Move to the Channel Mixer

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Use the Channel Mixer


Apply Color Balance (Cmd/Ctrl+B) and for Shadows use Red: -10, Blue: +10 and Green: 0. For Highlights set Red: -10, Green: +10 and Blue: +10. For Midtones set Red: +10, Green: -10 and Blue: +10.

Balance the colours


Insert a Hue/Saturation layer (Cmd/ Ctrl+U). Under the Red channel set Hue: +0, Saturation: +14 and Lightness: +40. Under Magenta, set Hue: +20, Saturation: +30 and Lightness: +20.

Apply Hue/Saturation


Now add a Vibrance layer, adjusting the Vibrance slider to -20 and the Saturation slider below it to +10.

Boost the vibrancy

Tweak shadows and highlights



Duplicate and merge layers

Select all your adjustment layers, as well as the inverted colour layers, and duplicate them. Now select all these duplicated layers and merge them (Cmd/Ctrl+E). From this step onwards we’ll be using this new merged layer.

Next navigate to Images> Shadows/Highlights and apply the following settings (see screenshot). For Shadows set Amount: 30%, Tonal Width: 60%, Radius: 80px. For Highlights set Amount: 20%, Tonal Width: 30%, Radius: 30px. Finally for Adjustments, adjust Color Correction: +20 and Midtone Contrast: -10.


Add some drama

Duplicate the merged layer, but lock the original layer. Apply a High Pass filter with a 10-pixel Radius, then change the layer to Overlay blend mode with 100% Opacity. Now merge these two layers.


Go to Adjustment>Photo Filter, then in the dialog select Warming Filter (85) and keep the Density by default at 25%. Select Preserve Luminosity and click OK.

Use the Photo Filter

Vector shapes


Now select the Custom Shape tool. With white and #57b711, create various shapes using the presets Circle Frame, Circle Thin Frame and Boom 1 & 2. Feel free to add other shapes as you see fit.

Photoshop Creative

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Tutorial Create urban art

On the disc
Use the images on the disc to re-create this!

Works with

Create urban art
ime to earn some street cred’! Here we’ll use a variety of shapes and techniques to construct a sprawling city scene. First we’ll extract a row of buildings and place it on top of a starburst backdrop. After populating this with a few skaters and a b-boy (courtesy of, we’ll build a theme based on rings, 3D renders and speaker grilles. To tap into the urban pulse, we’ll use grunge brushes to layer on visual wear ‘n’ tear, then add

Enlist a motley crew of photos, shapes and grunge brushes to create a gritty city composition
some hand-drawn drips and a snippet of graffiti. An old paper scan will lend its grit via a blend mode and various adjustment layers will provide the final touches. Photoshop users: when using the Shape tools, set them to Shape Layer in the options bar. Elements users: for the drips step, use the Lasso tool instead of the Freeform Pen tool, then fill with the Paint Bucket. If you don’t have layer masks, apply the Eraser tool with a soft brush.

Photoshop CS versions and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn
Combine textures, photos and adjustment layers to create an urban-style composition

Time taken

2 hours


Photoshop Creative

For tips on creating compositions

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Andre Villanueva
“I spent a great deal of time on a skateboard growing up in the Washington D.C. metro area. My exposure to free-flowing street art, sketchy skate spots and chaotic ads from magazines like Thrasher is like radiation I can’t easily shake. Much of my art is informed by what my young mind absorbed and I’m thankful for all those experiences (but not the banged-up shins).”


Open ‘Buildings.jpg’ and use the Polygonal Lasso tool to select the buildings. You don’t need to capture every architectural detail, just the main forms. When this is done, hit Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy and open the ‘Start.psd’ file.

Extract the buildings


Relocate the scene

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste, then Cmd/Ctrl+T, Ctrl/right-click, choose Flip Horizontal, scale and confirm. Now add a layer mask via the icon in the Layers palette. Select a brush, set the Foreground to black, then fade the edges with a soft round brush at around 80% Opacity.


Open ‘Building.jpg’, select the tower, then copy and paste it into the main document. Go to File>Place, locate ‘Sphere01a.png’ and add this in the centre behind the buildings. Place ‘Sphere01b.png’ and position it in the upper-right corner.

Extra building and spheres


Establish a grunge base

Now select the Brush tool. From the Brush Presets dropdown menu, load up the ‘Urban.abr’ file supplied. Set the Foreground colour to black and use the Base brush at 25% Opacity to lightly apply to the base of the buildings.


Add some adjustments

Click the New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette and choose Hue/Saturation. Tick Colorize, then set Hue to 50 and Saturation to 25. Paint black in the mask with a soft round brush to restore some of the original colour.

07 06
Insert a figure
Open ‘Alley.jpg’ and use the Polygonal Lasso tool to make a jagged selection around the tough guy. Copy and paste this into the main document. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T, hold Shift, then scale with a corner handle. Hit Enter, then use the Move tool to reposition him.

Apply silhouettes

Set the Foreground to white, select the Custom Shape tool and then load ‘Extreme.csh’ from the Presets dropdown menu. Select a shape, hold Shift, then click and drag in the canvas. Add a few more, then apply soft Drop Shadows to each via the fx button.

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Tutorial Urban cityscape
Expert tip
If you need assets for a piece, always go to the source. For this urban-inspired work, we journeyed deep downtown to capture the unique spirit of the inner-city. We snapped photos of questionable alleyways and brick walls slathered with grime and graffiti. You may take more photos than you need, so it’s wise to invest in memory cards or flash sticks that hold plenty of data. On our way out, we took some general cityscape shots from afar.

Authentic textures


Add in speaker grilles

Open ‘Speaker01.jpg’ and ‘Speaker02.jpg’. Use the Elliptical Marquee tool to select the various grilles and Copy>Paste them into the main document. Duplicate these by holding Opt/Alt, clicking and dragging with the Move tool. Use Free Transform to vary the scale and apply Strokes via the fx button.


Select the Custom Shape tool, then create various shapes using white, #57b711 and the presets Circle Frame, Circle Thin Frame and Boom 1 & 2. Feel free to add any other shapes you prefer.

Use vector shapes


Shape some clouds

Still using the Custom Shape tool, create several clouds using the Cloud 1 preset. The tones used here are: #767676 , #2d2d2d, #a6c291 and #a89a3d. You can adjust the opacity, then try applying Strokes and Drop Shadows via the fx button.

Insert ‘Sphere02.png’ and ‘Sphere03. png’ into the composition. Open ‘Graffiti.jpg’, make a selection around the lettering, then copy and paste it into the main document. Apply a Drop Shadow to each. You can also go ahead and set the Foreground to black for the next step.


Place some street art

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Drip effects

Create a new layer below the speaker grilles. Select the Freeform Pen tool with the Shape Layer option, then create various drips throughout using both black and a toxic green (#19ea09).

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Layer on some splats!


Go to File>Place and add ‘Splat01.jpg’. Set the Blend mode to Darken, hit Cmd/Ctrl+T, hold Shift, then scale with a corner handle. Rotate by click-dragging outside the bounding box. Hit Enter to confirm, then use the Move tool to reposition it.

Repeat the previous steps for ‘Splat02.jpg’. We can recycle these two by duplicating. Select one of the splats and, with the Move tool selected, Opt/ Alt-click or drag. Use Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to scale and rotate each duplicate for variation.


Add more splats


Apply grunge brushes

Now create a new layer at the top. Set the Foreground to white and select the Brush tool. Lightly paint with the Grunge 01 and Grunge 02 brushes from the Urban set at 50% to add a gritty and weathered look throughout.

Expert tip
3D spheres
We’ve provided rendered 3D spheres for you to use when creating this urban piece, but if you have Photoshop CS4 Extended or higher you can make your own! Find a photo or flattened composition you’d like to use. In CS4/CS5, go to 3D>New Shape From Layer>Sphere (3D>New Mesh from Layer>Mesh Preset>Sphere in CS6). Be sure to explore the other presets, such as Cone, Cylinder and Pyramid. To render a 3D object you’ve created, first make a selection around it, then go to 3D>Progressive Render Selection (3D>Render in CS6).


Use a Color Balance adjustment

Click Create New Adjustment Layer in the Layers palette and choose Color Balance. Set Midtones (from top to bottom): -50, +75 and -25. Fill the mask with black, set the Foreground to white, then use a soft brush at 80% Opacity to paint selected areas.

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Tutorial Urban cityscape
In the details
Shape yourself a bursting backdrop for added impact


Go to File>Place and add ‘Texture.jpg’. Set the Vivid Light blend and add a layer mask via the icon in the Layers palette. Select the Brush tool, set the Foreground to black and paint out the mask’s centre.

Build up the textures

Add a Vibrance adjustment layer, set both Vibrance and Saturation to +100 and fill the mask with black. Set the Foreground to white, then use a soft brush at 80% Opacity to paint areas.


Add vibrancy


Begin with your background and set the Foreground colour to the chosen strip colour. Use the Rectangle tool to create your first strip, top to bottom, and flush against the left edge.

Start the strip


Select the Create New Fill layer button in the Layers palette and choose Solid Color. Pick #76700c and set the Foreground to black, then paint out selected areas such as the green cloud in the centre and the octopus graffiti sphere.

Use a Color Fill


Duplicate the strip

With the Move tool, hold Opt/ Alt+Shift then click and drag to the right to duplicate. Make sure you leave a gap between the last strip and the right edge.


In the Layers palette, select the top-most strip layer, then Shiftclick the bottom strip to select all the strips. With the Move tool still selected, click Distribute Horizontal Centers in the options bar.

Distribute evenly


Finish with a Levels adjustment

Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette and choose Levels. Set the Midtone Input level to 1.26. With black, paint out the edges and central areas you don’t want to brighten.


Polar Coordinates

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge the strip layers, go to Filter> Distort>Polar Coordinates and select Rectangular to Polar. Click OK to confirm.

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Tutorial Add eerie light effects


Photoshop Creative

Share your spooky edits with us


Works with

What you’ll learn
Add simple lighting effects to an image to achieve eerily atmospheric results

Photoshop CS versions and Photoshop Elements

Time taken

2 hours

Add eerie light effects
Turn your photos into moody and enchanting works of art with these simple lighting techniques
ver the next few steps you’ll learn new ideas and techniques that can be used to give your images impressively creepy lighting effects. Here we’ll cover the basics – such as lightning, window lighting and moonlit skies – to get your imagination started. Nothing says creepy like a dark night, so changing a brightly coloured castle image into a dark and mysterious night scene is the perfect way to demonstrate these techniques. There are special tips and tricks tucked away throughout the steps, so after following them you’ll be more than ready to revamp and transform your ordinary photos. Elements users be aware that whenever we use layer masks in this tutorial, you should simply erase directly on the layer, being very careful of course! Take the techniques you learn here and apply them in new and interesting ways on your own photos or download the one we used from the supplied resources.

Sara Biddle
“Fantastical and moody artworks have always been a favourite of mine. This tutorial covers many of the techniques that I often use in my work as a freelance illustrator. I have been enjoying making pieces like this since I began in 2009. Art is something that I have always been and continue to be passionate about!”

Step by step Transform photos
Give a horror-tastic look to your lacklustre building shots


First select the Crop tool and type the desired dimensions in the Width, Height and Resolution boxes (specify the unit of measurement, such as ‘in’ for inches, ‘px’ for pixels), then crop the desired working area. Use Image> Adjustments>Hue/Saturation to lower the saturation slightly.

Crop and adjust the saturation


Bring on the dark

Next let’s make everything look more like nighttime with Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter. Choose Color in the popup box and select a tone, in this case a dark saturated blue. Move the Density slider to find a suitable setting, deselect Preserve Luminosity if it’s active, then confirm.

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Tutorial Add eerie light effects
Expert tip
Using the Clone Stamp
The Clone Stamp is a unique tool as it enables us to sample parts of an image and use it elsewhere. This is particularly useful for retouching areas with complex patterns or tones that can’t be achieved with the Brush tool alone. Used with an airbrush, the Clone Stamp is invaluable for blending sampled parts seamlessly into other areas of the image. Opt/Alt-click any area of the image to be sampled and brush on the desired area. You can tweak the opacity if you want the sample to be applied vaguely.


Duplicate the image layer, hit Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate, then Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Go to Image> Adjustment>Levels, using the sliders to contrast the sky and foreground. Use the Brush tool to cover the remainder in white.

Make a selectable layer


Add some cloudy contrast

Again, duplicate the image layer, desaturate and invert. Use the Levels adjustment once more to lighten the breaks in the clouds. Shift the sliders until you find the desired balance of contrast.


Clone the unsightly edges

Select the foreground as in Step 3, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert the selection. Use the Clone Stamp around the edges to remove the border along the outside of the foreground, or paint it using an airbrush and the Color Picker. After finishing, invert the selection and hit Delete.


Unmask the moon

Duplicate this new sky layer and pump up the contrast with the Levels adjustment. We’ll use Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All to conceal the layer, then reveal only the parts we want with the Brush tool. Now paint in the areas on the mask to create a moon shape.


Increase the moon’s intensity

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+E to merge all the visible layers together, but make sure this is moved to the top of the layer stack! Now apply the Dodge tool lightly with a soft airbrush to pump up the intensity of the moon.



Make a luminous glow

Now add a new layer on top of the layer stack. In the Color palette choose a soft, saturated, light blue and airbrush light strokes over the moon area. This creates the illusion of a glowing moon.

Now grab the foreground by using the selectable layer made earlier. Add a new layer set to Overlay and fill with a pale blue. Mask the layer by going to Layer>Layer Mask> Hide All and reveal the moonlight with a white airbrush. Use the Lasso tool to get sharp edging on certain areas, like the rooftops.

Enhance the scene with light

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Share your spooky edits with us


Step up the shadows

Hit Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer on top of the stack, setting its mode to Multiply. With a black or other dark colour activated, boost the strength of the shaded areas by lightly applying over them with an airbrush.

Turn on some lights


On a new layer, use an orange yellow to paint in the window shape on the building. Create a glow effect by using a soft airbrush, applying over the window itself and any surroundings that may also receive light from it.

Alternative effects


Try out these edits to bring a completely different atmosphere to your image

Create a duplicate of the image layer and experiment with a gradient map. Here we’ve used a green and yellow gradient and set the mode to Overlay. Adjust the layer’s opacity to get a more natural look.


Flash some lightning

Choose an almost white purple from the Color palette, then use a hard brush on a new layer to create a jagged line for the lightning strike. When the shape is just right, decrease the brush size and insert smaller lines stemming from the base.


Make a new merged layer, go to Image>Adjustments> Replace Color and play around with the tones.


Using a soft airbrush, go over random areas of the foreground twice, each time with a lightly saturated tone.


Make it glow

To finish, pick a fluorescent pink purple with a soft airbrush to lightly paint over the lightning strike. This replicates a glow effect. A mask can be created via Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Paint this with black to blend and soften the tips, fading them into the background.


Pick an airbrush and apply randomly sized yellow dots on the foreground, varying the opacity as you go.

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WORTH OF PRIZES TO BE WON! An issue 100 special: The ultimate giveaway including essential creative goodies!

Photoshop Creative bundle


o celebrate 100 issues of Photoshop Creative magazine, we’ve rounded up some great creative products. Kick o with some Photoshop learning with a bookzaine or two, do a spot of editing with your Creative Cloud membership on your brand new monitor and save it all on your mobile USB port. This really is an opportunity not to be missed!

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All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this bumper pack of creative goodies is send us an email with your full name and address. It really is that simple! Send your entries to this address: by this date: 30 June 2013.

Terms and Conditions Email address will be used for Photoshop Creative purposes and won’t be given to outside clients. One entry per person. No employees, freelancers or close associates of Imagine Publishing, may enter. US products included were converted to Pound Sterling based upon conversion rates at time of print. Editor’s decision is final and no cash alternative will be offered.

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Render special effects to incredible realism with Eye Candy 7. From furry textures and animal skin, to fire and smoke, there is endless variation for each, making version 7 a great addition to your Photoshop filters. You’ll also receive your very own Alien Skin T-shirt too!

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Wacom’s Bamboo range of graphics tablets includes this excellent model, the Fun Pen & Touch. The tablet’s touchsensitive surface is perfect for painting and editing artwork, and makes moving from palette-to-palette a joy. We love it, and sure you will too!

REVIEWED! Head to page 96 for the review.

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Tutorial Bold portraits
On the disc
Use the image on the disc to re-create this!

Sam Brewster
“Modifying photos is now so common that it’s unusual to think that once we just snapped a picture, developed it and that was all. There are many examples of good and bad Photoshop work, so it’s definitely an acquired skill. I’m a professional illustrator based in London. I love to use colours in complementary and creative ways and have been using Photoshop for the better part of ten years.”


Works with

Master monochrome
Inject some moody darkness into your photos with this step-by-step tutorial
ark and tonal images can be very striking, and it’s definitely an artistic genre that’s going strong. With the recent waves of superhero movies, it seems to be a prerequisite that the tone of a film must be darker and moodier than ever before. Ever since Orson Welles popularised the aesthetic of film noir, we’ve been looking at ways to create images with something to hide. This evokes a certain mystery about the character or subject of the image. It can be nice to have a comforting, colourful, over-lit, friendly aesthetic for family photos, or nice summer landscapes, but if you want to get an effective moody image it’s definitely best to go black and white to boost the shadows. Here we’ll demonstrate how you can turn your light photos into brooding images, without just firing up the contrast.

Photoshop CS versions and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn
Work with black-andwhite images and add vignetting to photos

Time taken

2 hours


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Pick the photo

Find a photo where the expression is just right. We’re using this one courtesy of Random Acts (http://, which you’ll find supplied with this issue.


Now turn the photo black and white. Open up the Hue/Saturation window (Cmd/Ctrl+U or Image> Adjustments>Hue/Saturation) and drag the slider all the way down to zero.

Desaturate the image


Make a duplicate

Ensure you create a duplicate of the image as you go along, as you’ll need it later. As you edit a photo, it will only ever lose information, so it’s good to keep each stage as a duplicate layer for safety.


Add a Curves adjustment

Use Curves to set the contrast and gain much more control than the simple Brightness/Contrast slider. Add this (Cmd/Ctrl+M or Image>Adjustments> Curves) and choose a strong contrast.


Fade to black

In a new layer (Layer>New Layer or Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N) use the Brush tool with minimum Hardness to paint a vignette in the dark areas of the photo. Don’t worry about the light areas at this stage.


Apply the Magnetic Lasso

Use the Magnetic Lasso tool to draw around the figure. You can clean up any rough edges later on. Make sure that you’re in the photo layer, or your Lasso won’t detect any of the edges.


Use anchor points

For certain parts you’ll need to click more often to add in anchor points. Here the ear was slightly fading into the background, so it took more humanguidance to get the right selection.


Use the Polygonal Lasso to subtract (Opt/Alt-click) or add (Shift-click) parts of the selection. When you’re done, invert it so that the background is selected (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I or go to Select>Inverse).

Polygonal Lasso

Turn out the lights


Create a new layer and fill in the shape with black. Enlarge the selection (Select>Modify>Enlarge) and Feather it (Select>Modify>Feather) to make sure it’s smooth. Fill with black in a new layer.

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Tutorial Bold portraits Expert tip
Brighten the eyes
As well as picking out the highlights with the Magic Wand in a high-contrast layer, you can manually pick out parts to brighten up. Apply a brush (in a new layer) set to about 50% Hardness to paint in white over the eyes. Use the Eraser tool at the same settings to get the shape right. Once you’re happy with it, tweak the opacity of the layer until it looks natural.


Pick out highlights

If there are gaps in the backdrop, use a brush to cover them up. Duplicate the photo, select the torso with the Lasso tool, then add a Levels layer (Cmd/Ctrl+L) and use it to bring in more contrast.


Achieve moody contrast

Now do the same to the face. Once you’ve got a contrasted version, you can duplicate the original black-and-white layer. Place this on top with the mode set to Multiply to return some lost detail.


Unlike other photo-editing programs, Photoshop enables you to add back in some lost detail from the original image using the original black-and-white photo. Simply erase parts that make it too dark.

Bring back lost features


Lookin’ sharp

Use the Sharpen tool to define the edges, such as stubble, eyes and sharp shadows. Be careful not to go too far though, as it can become pixelated. If you overdo it, just undo (Cmd/Ctrl+Z).


If your original photo didn’t have much strong side lighting, you can apply translucent layers of black. Paint these on at 100% Opacity, then change the Opacity of the layer down to around 10%.

Insert more shadows


Flatten a group

At this point we can put all of the layers into a group, duplicate it and flatten one of them (with the other kept as a backup). This way you can edit the whole image a lot easier and much quicker.


Duplicate your image and use the Brightness/Contrast sliders to make a contrasted result. Select the white parts (with Contiguous deselected), add a layer and fill it with white. Alter the settings to suit.

Final highlights

Once you’ve picked out all of the highlights, convert the image to Grayscale (go to Image>Mode>Grayscale). This ignores whether it’s RGB or CMYK, so the image will look its best wherever.


Use Grayscale

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Tutorial Build a fantasy landscape

On the disc
Use the links on the disc to re-create this!

Build a fantasy landscape
Works with
Photoshop CS versions and Elements

What you’ll learn
We’ll cover the Brush, Pen and Quick Selection tools, using basic and tricky masking methods


Learn basic photomanipulation techniques to make any dream scene become reality
t’s a creative journey from imagination to canvas and it’s easier than you think to convey a story using images. Here we’ll create a piece using an array of images to show you how you can incorporate random images into one scene. During this process there are a number of vital tools and processes to learn, including useful selection features such as Color Range (Elements users: use the Magic Wand tool). A rule of thumb on how to blend images using adjustment layers will also be demonstrated. You will also gain a good understanding of symmetrical blending – a concept you’ll find very handy and will surely speed up your workflow. By the end of this project you’ll have been exposed to a number of key ideas and tricks that will raise your photomanipulation skills. While we want to create something surreal, bold and brave, the images used within the final piece are all normal and everyday. Try using your own, or check out the word document supplied with all the ID numbers of the images being used here.

Time taken

5+ hours


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Weird and wonderful art to share?

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Ahmad Elabbar
“I’m a freelance graphic designer and visual artist based in Loughborough,UK. Originally from Libya, I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia for eight years and am now back in the England studying Physics as an undergraduate. Art and design entered my daily routine about six years ago. With no love, aptitude or talent for art as a child, I’m still mystified as to what’s drawing me now so decisively towards it.”


Background colours

Start by creating a new document, at 300 × 230mm, 300dpi. Create a new layer and begin by using a soft brush with varying colours to experiment, creating a very rough colour sketch of a sky and earth.


Bring in the image of the desert and duplicate it (Cmd/Ctrl+J). On the copy, go to Edit> Transform>Flip Horizontal. Align the original and the copy so that they are mirror images of each other. Now merge them together (Cmd/Ctrl+E).

Insert the desert


Blend in the tree

To blend an image with a white background, set the blend mode to Darken, leaving only the colour. For this to work, the colours behind the tree must be close to white.

Texture the desert


Place a texture on top of the desert, then add a layer mask to the texture so as to cover the bottom of the desert. Go to Layers> New Adjustments Layer>Hue/Saturation to lower the saturation.

Expert tip
When working with images like these, try to find ways that don’t affect the pixels directly and so enable you to make adjustments later. If you want to erase something, for example, paint on a layer mask instead of using the Eraser tool. Bring images into the scene as Smart Objects and apply Smart Filters to them. Use layer as opposed to image adjustments and when you draw a path with the Pen tool, always save it.

Protect your pixels


Detail the ground

To break the desert’s symmetry, add another desert image and apply a Hard Light blend mode. Desaturate the desert image and mask away the sky.


Add mountains and dead trees

Place some desert dunes on the horizon and desaturate to build mountains. Find dead trees, mask them with the Quick Selection tool, then lower their opacities and place far in the background.

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Tutorial Build a fantasy landscape


Find this Jupiter image at http:// (Resource ID: pia04866). Go to Select> Color Range, click the backdrop and check the Invert box.

Insert Jupiter


Clouds can be selected using the Color Range method. Click on the clouds and leave the Invert box unchecked. You can change the blend mode to Screen or Lighten to see the various results.

Place some clouds


Place the nebula above the tree and set it to Lighten mode. Use a Curves layer to blend this with the backdrop. Opt/Alt-click between the Curves and the nebula to link them. In Elements, use Levels.

Position the nebula


Add a galaxy

Place a galaxy on the top-right area of the piece and set it to Screen. Mask away the rough edges using a soft brush, then add a Levels adjustment layer to blend the galaxy with the background.

Expert tip
Symmetrically blend your assets
A useful way to complete a piece like this is to approach what may be called symmetrical blending. The idea is to quickly build the scene by duplicating each element of it and flipping it to mirror the original. Once things take shape and you have an idea of the bigger picture, you can break this symmetry and include new elements.


Position your elements

The previous two steps show explicit cases of blending, so follow this general rule to blend the rest: Set the blending mode to Lighten or Screen; play around with Levels and Curves; mask away the edges with a soft brush.

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Use a bird asset

Use the Pen tool to draw a path around the main bird. Ctrl/right-click it, make a selection, then mask out the rest of the image. Spend some time to get a precise cut. In Elements, use the Polygonal Lasso.


Include parrots

Now use Color Range to mask away the blue sky behind the parrots. If you find the blue wings of the parrots have disappeared, you can get them back by painting on the mask in white.

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Place more birds

The Quick Selection tool is useful when extracting many objects from a single image and holding Opt/Alt enables you to delete parts of the selection. Use this to add more bird assets.


Open the leaf image, mask away the white, then go to Image>Transform> Warp and start warping the leaf. Go to Filter> Blur>Gaussian Blur, then keep warping and blurring until you achieve a pleasing depth.

Layer on leaves


To finish, go to Image>Apply Image and then apply: Filter>Sharpen> Sharpen. You can also shade areas with the Brush tool to create more contrast. In Elements, go to Enhance>Auto Sharpen.

Finish the scene

Closer look The main elements
The main techniques to make this surreal scene


When compositioning together images like this, Layer Masks are essential to hide away unneeded parts.


You may need to call upon the Pen tool to cut out elements like birds. The key is patience, simply work slowly and with precision until you get a defined edge.


The whole scene starts with a paint brush. Experimenting as you go, vary your colours and create a rough sketch of a sky and earth as a base.


If an image has a white background and you want to place it on a new one, set the blend mode to Darken, leaving only the colour behind.

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone posters have been counted, and the winner is…



e challenged you to design an inspired movie poster for the Warner Bros. comedy release The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey and Alan Arkin. Patricia Parry has blown us away with her stunning poster design, truly summing up the magical wonderment of the movie. Congratulations go out to Patricia, who takes home a Blu-ray™ player along with a bundle of Warner Bros. comedy titles to laugh away the hours too. Here’s a small selection of more great entries designed and made by Photoshop Creative readers, showing impressive uses of typefaces and the all-star cast. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone hit UK cinemas in March, so make sure to look out for it on DVD later this year.

Patricia Parry
The inspiration for this image came from old theatre pictures that had the main person as the main focus, and the other people in oval frames. I also thought it would be good if the characters’ names were their real names, as if it was a real poster in the USA.
www.photoshop iphantom

The judge’s opinion

Patricia’s poster not only captures that magic and feel of Burt Wonderstone, but also has a great, eye-catching creative concept.


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Diego Tinajero

I used a purple gradient to enhance the background and re-used it on different layers with different blend modes with blur to add glow. I blended images of [the actors] in one layer, and then added highlights using Dodge and Burn tools.

www.photoshopcreative. Tinajero

Javier Alvarado

My image was made with the intention of making the title The Incredible Burt Wonderstone standout, with light effects, dots, glows and a variety of colours to give it the feel of something magical.


Mark Clive

The idea is that the words are suspended on invisible wires for an illusion, and the hand on the left is Jim Carrey’s character as he is spoiling the illusion. Steve Carell’s hand is trying to hold the words up.


Steven Walker

The background was made using Custom Shapes and Gaussian Blur. This showed a sign of flamboyance and showmanship. I then aged it by using Noise, Grain, colourised hue, and by adjusting Levels.


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Tutorial Master cutout effects


Photoshop Creative

Share your own stylised portraits

Master cutout effects
On the disc
Use the images on the disc to re-create this!

Use the Pen tool to create detailed work that’s made up of simple shapes

Works with


Photoshop CS versions

et’s face it, comics and superhero movies are flavour of the month (year, decade?). However with so many ways of replicating trademark comic styles in Photoshop, it can be daunting when deciding where to begin. The most common way to create this effect is by using the Cutout filter. While this is a fairly solid way of re-creating comics, it can often lead to blurred or distorted images that lack personality. An alternative to this is to use the Pen tool while separating out the colours. This method provides you with far greater control over the outcome of

your work, producing a unique and wholly satisfying result. The technique we are about to explore is more time-consuming than simply hitting a button in the Filter menu. However, if you hold up two images – one using the Cutout filter, the other using our technique – we think you’ll agree that the latter is worth the extra effort to get the effect just right. We’ll start by setting up the document, importing the base image, then applying the Pen tool with appropriate colour swatches. This makes for an organic and hopefully enjoyable process.

What you’ll learn
Utilise the Pen tool to produce detailed images while keeping complete control of the effects

Step by step Creative photo effects
Give your photos a comicbook makeover

Time taken

3 hours

Marcus Faint
“I’m the designer for Photoshop Creative’s sister title Advanced Photoshop magazine. I really enjoy using the technique used in this tutorial and it’s something I’ve been tweaking and working on for a few years. I’m a big comicbook and film fanatic, so I love that there’s a simple way to mimic this truly satisfying aesthetic.”


Initial setup

Open a new document in Photoshop. We’ve used a canvas that’s 120 x 140mm and 300dpi. Next place ‘Headshot.psd’ (from the supplied resources) on to your page and alter the position to suit your own preference.


Prepare the Pen tool

The Pen tool has a number of settings, but the two we’ll use here are Shape Layer and Paths. To begin with we’ll need to select the Paths option, which enables us to crop the model away from her background.

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Tutorial Master cutout effects


Begin the rough cutout

Begin by clicking a point on the background, then cut around the model. This doesn’t have to be precise, but if you make a mistake just hit Cmd/Ctrl+Z or Edit>Undo to go back to your last point.


Work on the hair

When cutting out the hair, you can curve the Pen tool’s lines by clicking and dragging. Anchor points appear when you move the cursor, so drag where you want the curve and release to create a point.


Confirm your selection

Once happy, Cmd/Ctrl-click inside your path and pick Make Selection. Hit OK and a flashing border will appear around your selection. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate anything inside that selection.


Go to Window>Swatches, click your Foreground colour, pick an offwhite, then select Add to Swatches. Do the same for a mid-grey and black (we used the CMYK values: C:40, M:0, Y:0, K:100).

Create colour swatches


Block out the main shape

Now select the other Pen tool option (Shape Layer), as well as the black we created, and cut out the model again. Once you close the path a new layer will appear, so name this ‘MODEL BLOCK’.


Work with the high tones

Now we need to add the lighter detail back in. Hide the MODEL BLOCK layer by clicking its eye icon, select the off-white swatch and use the same method as before to trace around the face.

Expert tip
Bring some character to the scene
Considering the effort we put in to give our model believable details and real personality, it’s a shame our background is so plain and two-dimensional. It’s time to add some depth and mood to this! Here we’ve combined some Pen tool techniques with layer blend modes and the Render Clouds filter to create this atmospheric and moody backdrop. Now our model looks at home.


Adjust the midtones

Here the midtones we’ll be applying are mainly the shiny areas of the hair. Repeat the techniques of the last few steps and block out the midtones, labelling new layers as you go.


Organise your sections

Select a layer in the palette, hold Cmd/Ctrl and click any other layers you want to group together. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+G to create a group from the selected layers.


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Share your own stylised portraits


Add the detail back

For the eyes, add in colour and use a solid white for the pupil reflection. Move new layers so they sit in the correct order and label them accordingly.

Tweak the shirt


Drop the Transparency of the shirt’s creases to 20% to achieve a nice blue/green tone. This helps to separate it from the hair’s shine.


Select the Background layer, pick the Gradient tool (G) and open the Gradient Editor. Set a black-to-white gradient, confirm and apply it to your canvas. BLEND THE BEAMS

Enhance the background

Advanced effects Alter the background to make it pop
Six ray beams are emanating from the core of our model. These can be created using the Pen tool. Merge all the layers together so they are a single object, then fill this with a suitable dark-red tone.

So as not to stand out too much and interfere with the focal point of the image, we can apply an Overlay blend mode to the beam layer. Note how it interacts in a believable way with the gradient layer.


You can apply a Color Burn blending mode to the Clouds layer, with 75% Opacity. The mood and tone of the piece is now much improved. It looks like two halves of a whole as opposed to a model slapped onto a stock background.


The cloud effect is a simple but effective touch. You can get this by going to Filter> Render>Clouds.


The original gradient backdrop isn’t a bad starting point for our new-look scene, so we can leave this as it is. Instead, we can now build up some depth with new layers directly on top of our background.


On another new layer we can look to develop the mood. Filling the layer with a dark grey will set things off nicely.

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Capture RAW stills
Photograph a scene with greater quality and control
here are numerous advantages to shooting in RAW format. First, unlike a JPEG image, RAW files aren’t compressed in the camera and enable you to go back to the original image at any point in the editing stages. This leads to more control over exposure settings in post-production. Switching your camera from JPEG to RAW mode – if your camera supports this – will noticeably benefit your artwork.


Tool tip: In Photoshop,
save the RAW file as a PSD to keep hold of the original quality

Edit details of a RAW image for better results

Quick fix Get used to RAW format


In DSLRs, as well as some compact cameras, the option to shoot RAW is found inside the main shoot menu. Bear in mind that RAW files require more memory than JPEGs, but they retain exposure.

Choose RAW


After shooting in RAW format, loading the image will automatically take you straight into Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). This is a vast piece of software and is ideal for adjusting exposure without affecting the quality of the image.

In Camera Raw


Open the image from ACR into Photoshop as a Smart Object by clicking on the blue highlighted camera settings at the base of the screen. This way you can jump back to ACR at any point.

Open as a Smart Object

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Tutorial Record with Actions


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Works with

Photoshop CS versions

What you’ll learn
Learn how to Create, Edit and Record Actions in few simple steps.

Time taken

1 hour

Daniel Sinoca
“Photoshop Actions are extremely helpful to automate repetitive tasks. Learning the process of recording and playing your own actions will help you maximize your time and work more efficiently. I started to get involved in the digital world more than ten years ago and enjoy working as a freelance artist, creating all kinds of multimedia projects and writing tutorial guides.”

Record edits with Actions
Why repeat the same Photoshop tricks when you can record your actions and simply hit repeat?
hotoshop Actions are a useful function to automate repeated and time-consuming tasks. They are easy to create, and easy to use. Basically, Photoshop records the steps you use and stores the steps for you, so you can play the recorded task back on a different file. Using Actions can make tedious tasks easier and help you edit your projects more quickly. If you have several images and you want to apply the

On the disc

Use the images on the disc to re-create this!

same effect to all of them you can simply apply it once and record the techniques you used, applying it to another image in a matter of seconds. Here you’ll learn all about Actions and make a beautiful photomontage as a result. The key is the technique itself, and once you’ve learned how to use Actions, you can apply them to your everyday Photoshop projects to speed up your workflow and improve efficiency. Give it a shot!

Step by step A variety of styles

Use Photoshop Actions to record your steps and speed up workflow


Open ‘actions_template.psd’. Go to Window>Actions. Click the Create a New Set button and enter the name Photo Actions. Click OK.

Open the start image


On the Actions panel, click Create New Action. On the New Action window, enter the name Black/White and hit Record. Click on the Photo-1 layer. Go to Image>Adjustments>Black & White. Choose the preset Lighter and press OK, then hit Stop Playing/Recording.

Begin Recording the Action


Let’s add a new action to our set. Click on the Photo-2 layer. Click Create New Action and enter the name Sepia. Now click on the Black & White action you just created and press Play Selection. Watch as Photoshop automatically executes the Action for you.

Create a new Action

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Tutorial Record with Actions

Closer look Inside Photoshop
How does this benefit the editing process?
Use the checkboxes to turn action steps on and off. An empty checkbox means the command has been disabled, and will be skipped during playback.


You can edit an action at any time. Double-click to open the dialog box you want to change. Add the new settings and close the dialog box. The changes will be saved in the action.

You can delete any command or statement you created from an Action by dragging it over the trashcan icon at the bottom of the Actions panel.

The new action you recorded will stay in the Actions panel even after you close Photoshop. However, the Action is not saved yet. Select the Photo Action Set, open the Actions panel menu, and choose Save Actions.


Hit Begin Recording. Now click Cmd/Ctrl+U to open the Hue/ Saturation Panel. Check the Colorize box, change the Hue to 30, Saturation to 35, Lightness to 20, and then click OK. Press ‘Stop Playing/Recording’ or hit ESC.

Add Sepia Effect


Select the Photo-3 layer. Click the Create a New Action button, enter the name Shadows, and hit Recording. Go to Image>Adjustments>Shadows/Highlights. Edit the following settings: Shadows Amount: 50%; Tonal: 50%; Radius: 30px; Highlights Amount: 25%; Tonal: 50%; Radius: 30px; Color Correction: +20; Midtone Contrast: 0.

Shadows and Highlights


Adjustment Layer

Now head to the Layer panel, click Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer and select Curves. Click to clip the layer (the square with the down-pointing arrow icon) and click on the Preset, choosing Medium Contrast.

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Photo Filter

Select the Photo-3 layer again and go to Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter. In the dialog box, choose Deep Emerald from the drop-down. Increase the Density to 40% and check Preserve Luminosity. Press Esc to stop recording.


HDR Effect

Select the Photo-4 layer. Click Create New Action, enter the name HDR and press Record. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J two times to duplicate the layer twice. On the Photo-4 copy layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate the layer, then click Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Change the blend mode to Overlay.


High Pass Filter

Now select the Photo-4 copy2 layer. Go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Set Radius to 10 pixels, and click OK, changing the blend mode to Overlay. Press Esc to stop recording the action. Click Cmd/Ctrl+S and save the action.


Actions Presets


Photoshop has preset Actions installed. Click on the Actions Panel menu (top right corner), and select Image Effects. Open the Image Effect folder, and choose the Aged Photo action.

Select the Photo-5 layer, and on the Actions panel, press the Play Selection button to execute the Aged Photo action. The image is a little over saturated, so let’s edit and add new values to the Action.

Play Selection


On the Actions panel click the triangle to the left of the Action to see each recorded command. Double-click on the Hue/Saturation and on the Hue/Saturation panel set these new values: Hue: -10; Saturation: -20; Lightness: 5 and click OK.

Edit Actions


Load Actions

You can load additional actions from Download, unzip and save the actions to your desktop. Choose Load Actions from the Action panel. Locate and select the Faded-Sunlight action, and then click Load.


Select the Photo-6 layer. On the Actions panel, open the Faded Sunlight folder, and select Faded Sunlight. Click Play Selection to execute the action. Click Cmd/Ctrl+S to save your project.

Final step

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Improve your group shots
Use your camera’s Continuous Shoot mode to never miss a moment
hen it comes to taking group shots, it’s never a certainty that everyone in the photo will be facing the right direction, or smiling at the same moment in time. To prevent any disappointment post-shoot, set your camera to Continuous Shoot mode. This is an easy way to capture a variety of expressions and to make sure everyone is looking down the lens. With lots of images taken in quick succession, one complete image can be created in Photoshop by layering the shots together.


Tool tip: Use a tripod to
keep the camera in one spot during Continuous Shoot mode


Quick fix Get results in-camera Swap out faces for the perfect group shots


Switch your camera over to its Continuous Shoot mode and choose the highest quality setting available. Ready your image by finding the best composition. Continuous Shoot mode will fire multiple shots in a row.

Initial prep


Hit the Shutter button to snap multiple shots of the group. Continuous Shoot mode will capture everyone over a couple of seconds. After this, load all the images into Photoshop and select the best ones from the sequence.

On the count of three


If there are any awkward expressions, or closed eyes, use the other images to overlay the best ones. Faces can be replaced for each person using a black layer mask and the Eraser tool.

Forge the photo

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A clear, comprehensive series for people who want to start learning about iPhone, iPad, Mac, Photoshop, photography and more
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Tutorial Make a magical flying carpet

Make a magical flying carpet
Works with
Photoshop CS versions and Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn
Use the Warp command and adjustment layers to craft a fantastical scene


Climb aboard as we take a magical voyage, turning a frumpy rug into a flying carpet with the Warp command
ime to take flight! A little girl will be our intrepid navigator, leading us onward and upward to new and exciting techniques. In an ironic and pleasantly jarring reversal, we’ll place clouds below a normally grounded rug with some special editing skills, lending a high-altitude and vertigo-inducing atmosphere to our creation. The flying carpet will be comprised of a rug stock image and a tassel duplicated several times. These elements will be arranged and individually warped to bring them to supernatural life and

Time taken

1 hour

provide a billowing sense of motion. We’ll also add some eye-catching extras such as a motion-blur effect, a mystic glow and a wake of sparkling stars. To solidify the enchanted mood, we’ll use a series of adjustment layers and blend in some old writing, suggestive of an ancient appeal to the wind spirits. For readers with Elements or Photoshop versions lacking the necessary features (or even for those who may want to skip creating the magic carpet), we’ve included a ready-to-fly magic carpet file on the disc (‘StartCarpetComplete.psd’).


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To make your compositions soar

On the disc
Use the files on the disc to re-create this!

Andre Villanueva
“It seems like I use the Free Transform option every few seconds while editing in Photoshop, but I’m now just starting to really play with and appreciate the power of the Warp feature too. I discovered Photoshop in the early 2000s while earning my Web Design degree. After graduating I taught in the Media Arts department for over five years.”


Open ‘Start.psd’, go to File>Place and insert the ‘Rug.jpg’ supplied file. Scale these down slightly before confirming. Users with Elements or versions prior to CS2 can open ‘StartCarpet.psd’ and skip to Step 4. To bypass creating the carpet, skip to Step 11 and open ‘StartCarpetComplete.psd’.

Open the mundane rug


Set the rug to flight

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to access Free Transform, then select the Warp mode button in the options bar. Try to manipulate the Warp Grid and the control point handles in the corners to make the carpet look like it’s flying.


Apply the tassels

Add a new layer below the rug and insert ‘Tassel.png’. Position this at a corner of the rug, hit Cmd/Ctrl+T and select the Warp button. Use the Warp Grid and handles to give the tassel a dynamic pose. Now repeat for the other three tassels.


Cmd/Ctrl-click the rug and tassel layers, then click-drag to the Create a New Layer icon to make a duplicate. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge into one layer, then drag below the rug/tassel layers.

Seeing double


Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, set the Distance to 240 pixels and align the Angle to the action. Add a layer mask with a black Foreground and use a soft 80% Opacity brush to remove surplus areas.

Use a little blur


Cmd/Ctrl-click the rug’s thumbnail to make a selection, then click the eyeball icons for the rug and tassel layers. This toggles their Visibility so we can work beneath them easier.

Select areas of the rug


Make a white base

Insert a new layer, set the Foreground to white and use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the selection by clicking within the marching ants. Now hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to turn off the selection.

Photoshop Creative


Tutorial Make a magical flying carpet
Expert tip
It’s wise to convert a layer to a Smart Object before applying Warp. Why? You can resume where you left off at any time and re-edit things, just like you can revisit a Smart Filter and fiddle with its settings. To convert a standard layer into a Smart Object, simply Ctrl/right-click on it and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now you can go to Edit>Transform>Warp or Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) and click the Warp mode button in the following options.

Smart warping


Include some smudge

Select the Smudge tool, choose a small soft brush at 90% Opacity, then click-drag outwards on the white base to create tentacle-like protrusions. We’ll turn these into a magical glow in the next step.


To replicate the glow, go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 25 pixels, then click OK. Duplicate the layer by hitting Cmd/ Ctrl+J, then toggle the Visibility back on for the previously hidden rug and tassel layers.

Cast a mystic glow

The fearless pilot


Adjust layer styles

Add Outer Glow layer styles to the rug and tassels via the fx button in the Layers palette, then use a slight Bevel & Emboss on the rug (use the Inner Bevel).


Insert ‘Girl.png’, scale it down and position it in the cockpit – or rather on top of the rug – before confirming. If you’d like to use your own model, or provide a co-pilot, extract a model from your own photo and add it to the composition.


Place some shadow

Add a new layer above the rest and set the Foreground to black. Now apply a soft round brush at 10% Opacity to bring in some shadows around the girl’s feet and the rug beneath her. Repeat this for any additional passengers.

Tweak the pilot


Cmd/Ctrl-click the girl layer’s thumbnail and repeat for any other passengers. Click the eyeball to toggle the Visibility, insert a layer below the girl and set Foreground to white. Use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the selection, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+D.


Apply more smudges

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the white base layer, then select the Smudge tool. Choose a small soft brush at 90% Opacity, then click-drag out to create some more tentacle-like protrusions, like in Step 8.


Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, set the Distance to 540 pixels and adjust the Angle so it aligns with the action. Now you can turn the Visibility back on for the girl‘s and any other passengers’ layers.

Blur the lines again


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To make your compositions soar


She’s an angel!

Now let’s give the girl a more ethereal look. Add a layer mask with the icon in the Layers palette, set Foreground to black and use a soft round brush at 50% Opacity to carefully paint out some of girl’s edges.


Select the Brush tool and insert ‘Sparkle.abr’ from the Presets menu. Set the Foreground to white and the Background to #dccddd. Now paint at 100% to add a sparkle trail. The following steps will be added to the top of the stacking order.

Get some sparkles


Play with the Levels

Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette and choose Levels. Now enter these settings below the Histogram (from left to right): 30, 1.35 and 230. This should brighten the overall image.


Place ‘Scrawl.jpg’ from the supplied resources and set the blend mode to Overlay. Add a layer mask, set the Foreground to black, then use a soft brush at 80% Opacity to paint away some of the layer.

Replicate an ancient scrawl


Use a Color Balance adjustment layer

Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette again, but this time choose Color Balance. Set the Midtones (from top to bottom): -90, -15 and +65. Now fill the mask with black, set the Foreground to white, then paint in the centre-left area.

Expert tip
Reusable assets
We’ve included a ready-to-fly magic carpet (‘CarpetComplete.psd’) for those users who don’t have the necessary features to create it from the base rug and tassel photos. This can be imported into the main composition via File>Place, or you can open it and drag its contents into another document. This same concept can be used to create a library of assets, ready to deploy at any time. These could be branding elements, template components, robot parts, or anything that you need to reuse frequently. Make sure these elements are at a good enough resolution for your projects.


Darken the edges

Add a new layer and set the blend mode to Overlay. With black as the Foreground, use a soft round brush at around 2,000px and 50% Opacity to paint around the edges.


Finish with some fills

To finish, click the Create New Fill Layer button in the Layers palette and choose Solid Color. Pick #76700c, change the blend mode to Color Burn and the Opacity to 40%. Set the Foreground to black, decrease the brush size and paint out some of the central area.

Photoshop Creative


The easy way to learn Adobe Photoshop

Simple guides For Photoshop & Photoshop Elements

Achieve the perfect shot
Easy solutions to improve colours, fix contrasts, sharpen photos and much more

14-page beginners’ section starts here

Need to know…

Step-by-step guides to make editing easy
Fix common photo problems .... 80 The Recompose tool ........................... 84 Master auto corrections ................ 86 Non-destructive editing .................. 90

Fix lens distortion
Essential guidance to fix your photos p80

Tool focus

Photoshop for Beginners

What does it mean?

Ultimate photo fixes
We show you how to deal with backlit scenes, banish lens distortion and correct colour casts
Digital cameras are incredible devices and they’re getting better all the time. However, they’re not perfect and they can’t produce perfect images just because we’d quite like them to. Even if you own a very sophisticated DSLR or CSC, you’ll still need to know your way around Photoshop so that you can fix common photo problems that all photographers run into from time to time. The good news is that, like digital cameras, Photoshop is always improving. With each new version it’s getting easier and easier to deal with the annoying issues and imperfections that are blighting your images. Backlit scenes are tricky for cameras to deal with, causing exposure problems that don’t always result in attractive photos. Lens distortion is often an unavoidable outcome when photographing subjects like buildings, unless you are using expensive specialist lenses. Colour casts, meanwhile, can occur simply because you’ve accidentally used the wrong White Balance setting. Is this issue, we’ll show you how each of these common photo problems can be easily dealt with, both quickly and easily. Best of all, there’s no need to have the latest version of Photoshop.

Need to know...

Cast This is often used to describe the general appearance of colours in an image, particularly when they have been shifted in a direction that’s not natural or attractive. If a photo has warm lighting but the wrong White Balance has been used, the image could look too cool. We would say it has a blue colour cast.


Lens Correction
Photoshop’s Lens Correction feature makes fixing barrel distortion – and other forms of distortion – fairly straightforward.


Levels can be used to correct unpleasant colour casts in an image. This is often caused by using the wrong White Balance setting, or using the wrong sort of filter on your lens.

Reduce Noise

Color Balance

The Color Balance adjustment is a great way of making the colours in your image look far more attractive and easy on the eye.

Image noise can be a problem when you brighten underexposed pixels. The Reduce Noise filter can handle this.


Photoshop’s Shadows/Highlights is a simple tool in for dealing with any uneven exposures.


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Problem: Colour casts
Shooting JPEGs is all well and good, but it does mean that every now and then you might wind up with an image that’s got a rather unnatural colour cast to it. This could simply be because you’ve accidentally used the wrong White Balance for the lighting conditions. Luckily, it’s simple to sort out.

Do your whites look curiously blue or disconcertingly yellow? Here’s how to fix it!
Cold colour cast
The White Balance setting wasn’t right when the photo was taken, so the image looks much too cold and bluish.

The white areas of the image look like they have been toned slightly – they don’t have a neutral bright look to them

Blue whites


Access Levels

Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels. You’ve probably used Levels before to lighten or darken the image, but we’re going to explore a hidden feature of Levels that you may not have come across.


Most images look better when they are warm and inviting, but this is missing the mark at the moment.



Find the options

Leave the Input and Output Levels sliders, head straight to the right of the Levels dialog box and click on Options. If the following dialog box looks confusing, don’t worry, we only need to make two changes.


Two quick clicks


Change the Algorithms to Find Dark & Light Colors and then check the Snap Neutral Midtones box. You should see the colour cast in your image remedied straight away at this point.


Now go to Image>Adjustments>Color Balance. This extra step won’t be as dramatic as the previous adjustments with Levels, but it will ensure that the colour is thoroughly corrected.

One more step


Color Balance

As we’ve been dealing with a cold colour cast, try dragging the Cyan/Red slider towards the right to make the image more red. This will warm the image and make the overall tones far more pleasing.

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Photoshop for Beginners

Problem: Lens distortion Solve this undesirable effect using Photoshop’s simple tools
If you photograph people all the time, you might hardly ever notice the effects of lens distortion. This is because it takes some kind of structure with parallel lines to throw the issue into sharp relief. To avoid this you’d need to use specialist lenses and camera techniques, but Photoshop enables you to deal with the problem in post-production.


Lens Correction

The Lens Correction filter sits handily in the Filter menu, right near the top. Your first job is to click on this – no prior steps or adjustments are required.

Leaning back
The Church appears to be leaning backwards away from the camera, due to the perspective the image has been taken from.

Barrel distortion


Use a grid

Ensure that Show Grid is checked down the bottom of the Lens Correction filter. This makes it far easier to judge what you’re doing as you tweak the various sliders. You can also adjust the size of the grid.

The Church is also suffering from a touch of barrel distortion, due to the use of a wide-angle lens.



Vertical Perspective

The sliders you push and pull will depend entirely on the image and what’s required to correct it. Here, we’ve pulled the Vertical Perspective slider to the left to straighten the building up.


Remove Distortion

The Remove Distortion option deals with barrel and pincushion distortion. Here, we’ve gone for +4.00, which takes out a bit of the barrel distortion. You have to be careful not to go too far the other way though.


Adjust the scale

The Scale slider is worth looking at and tweaking before you press OK. Once happy, leave the Lens Correction menu to return to the main Photoshop interface.

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Problem: Backlit images

Don’t discard an image taken in awkward backlit conditions – Photoshop might be able to rescue it
The sensor in your DSLR or CSC can handle exposure incredibly well, even notoriously awkward backlit situations. However, digital cameras can’t work miracles and there are still times when you will need to fall back on Photoshop to make your images look a little better.




The strong light coming from behind the building has made the camera underexpose the whole scene. This, as you can see, creates a very dark foreground.

Recent versions of Photoshop (ever since CS arrived, back in 2003), have included a very handy feature called Shadows/ Highlights. This can be found under Image> Adjustments>Shadows/Highlights.

The tones in the scene look muted and dull, because the image hasn’t been exposed correctly.

Muted colour


Brighten the shadows

In this case, the strong backlighting has made the camera underexpose, resulting in a very dark foreground. Use the three sliders in the Shadows section at the top to retrieve shadow detail.

Brightening up the scene may reveal noise in the underexposed shadow areas.

Noise potential


Color Correction

There’s no need to adjust the Highlights, but the Color Correction slider is worth looking at, as it may be able to retrieve some of the colour that the original underexposed frame will have lost.


Reduce Noise

Go to Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise. Underexposed images suffer from more noise, so some unattractive speckling may now be visible in the areas you’ve brightened. The Reduce Noise filter fixes this.


Color Balance

Go to Image>Adjustments>Color Balance and warm the tones up slightly. The scene should, by this point, be looking much closer to how it appeared at the time you took the image.

Photoshop Creative


Photoshop for Beginners

Seamless assembly

The resulting photo should have the gap between the boats closed in without obvious signs of retouching.

The intent is to shrink the image size down, not by making it smaller, but by removing this boat.

Remove the extra boat

On the disc
Use the image on the disc to re-create this!

Move this boat up

What does it mean?
Composition In photo editing this refers to the intentional placement or positioning of visual elements within an image. There are several guidelines for developing attractive compositions, such as the rule of thirds and leading lines. To develop a composition is to compose the image elements.

Original image

This boat should be relocated to be closer to the top vessel once the middle craft has been removed.

The Recompose tool
Use an amazing new automated tool to drastically alter a photo’s composition
If you’ve ever attempted to significantly rearrange multiple subjects of an image, you know what a laborious and difficult task that can be. Creating selections alone is worth a week of tutorials to master! Isn’t there an easy way to just have the computer know what you are trying to do? Well one of the most amazing examples of automated imaging technology is the Recompose tool found in Photoshop Elements 8 and above. This little gem of a feature reads the image and can differentiate subjects from the background without having to make a selection. Then transformations using this tool will alter the background areas, but not distort the subjects. For example, imagine a picture of a couple walking on the beach. If you were to scale that image horizontally, the couple would be squashed down with the rest of the pixels. But to do the same thing with the Recompose tool would remove the background pixels and push the couple closer together instead. In this tutorial we will show you how to take that idea a step further. We will scale down this image of boats by pushing the top and bottom boats closer together, and removing the middle one entirely. We’ll do all this with just one tool!

Essential edits...


Photoshop Creative


Image election

Ideally, images for recomposing should have strong subjects with nondescript backgrounds. If the background has too much detail in the original image, the final background may end up being unrealistically distorted. The image we used here is perfect to practice on so let’s give it a whirl!


Photoshop Elements 11 provides three different modes for photo editing. The Recompose feature is available in both Guided and Expert. Using Guided mode is a far easier choice unless you have more Photoshop experience. You will find the Recompose tool in the Touchups menu set on the right.

Guided workspace


Protect the valuable pixels

In this exercise we want to retain the top and bottom boats, moving them closer to each other while removing the boat in the centre. With the Recompose guide open, click on the Protect button and highlight the boats to keep. The interface will show a green highlighting of the areas you paint over.


Marked for removal

Next press the Remove button and paint over the centre boat. The tool highlights these pixels in red so they can be easily distinguished. Be sure to paint over the reflection of the boat as well as the lines leading into the water.


Use the zoom slider at the top of the screen to get a closer look at the bottom boat. It’s critical that the green highlighting is tight and clean around the top of this boat. Use the eraser tool next to the protect button to remove spill over. Reduce the brush size for further refinement of the highlight edge.

Careful refinement



Now grab the bottom transformation handle of the image and pull it upwards. Photoshop elements slides the bottom boat upwards towards the top and removes the centre boat in the process. The transition edge might look a bit rough in the preview. Click the green check mark for the tool to render the final effect.


Click the Done button at the bottom of the recompose guide. Then open the Scratches and Blemishes guide. Use the Spot Healing Brush to paint along any visible seams created by the recompose tool. When you are happy with the image press the Done button to return to the main Guided workspace.

Clean up


Use the Crop Photo guide to activate the Crop tool. Pull the bounding box in cover the new pixel dimensions and trim away the empty area now at the bottom of the image. Press the Checkmark and enjoy the fruits of your Recompose labours!

Crop it out

Photoshop Creative


Photoshop for Beginners

Colour boost

The blues in the original were a little reserved, but a blast of the Color option has sorted this out.

Sharp edges

The original suffered from soft edges, which were easily fixed with the Sharpen option.

Final sweep See detail
The distant hills were originally in deep shadow, but a Levels layer has brought detail to the fore.

Once you have targeted certain areas, it doesn’t do any harm to treat the final image to a sweep of the Smart Fix option. This tidies anything you may have missed.

Get to know the Auto options in Elements and improve images with just a click of the mouse
We will always encourage that you take some time to explore the different commands and techniques in Elements, as they give you all you need to create outstanding images. However, time is precious for most, so the prospect of spending ages editing one image when you have a whole stack to get through could often mean you leave them as they are. Even a well-designed interface like Elements can be a bewildering maze of menus and tools. So, thank goodness for the Quick Edit section of the program, where you have a complete environment in which to make all the edits you need to improve most images. There are options for tackling exposure, colour, blurriness, colour casts and tone. Each edit automatically makes a series of corrections using different settings, then presents you with the result of each. What this means is that you have a kind of editing market, where you get to browse the final images and pick the one you want. Simply open the fix you want by clicking on the arrow next to its title, scroll over an option to see what it looks like and then click the one you want. This will be outlined in blue, so commit to the edit by closing the arrow.

One-click fixes

Work faster


Photoshop Creative

Auto Smart Fix

Hand control to Elements and achieve impressive results fast
The Smart Fix option sits at the top of all the Quick Edits and is a one-hit wonder. This puppy enables you to automatically correct lighting, colour and contrast; essentially giving you most of the Auto edits in one place. The differences between the edits are quite small, so make sure you zoom in to get a good idea of the result.

Reduce the shadow areas

The outer edges of the original photo were dark previously. This has now been fixed.

True colours

Colours are much brighter in the edited version, especially the eyes and nose.

Brighter tone

The fixed image is bright, especially the white fur that was originally quite dull.


Auto Exposure

Keep the mood

Overcome troublesome light levels in a flash
Exposure is tricky to get right in-camera and as a consequence is a common problem with a lot of photos. We’ve all been there: skies that are bleached or valuable detail lost in deep, dark shadows. Once you add limited light into the mix, you have little choice but to make edits. The Exposure option will automatically lighten or darken areas, meaning you just have to pick the result you like the best.

Taken at twilight, the original had a sky moving into a sunset. Although the edited version is brighter, it hasn’t lost atmosphere.

Reveal detail

The original image was very dark, meaning that the carving on the building was lost. Now you can read the text.

Improved colours

Because the original was underexposed, the colours were dull. Now they are cleaner and true to life.

Photoshop Creative


Photoshop for Beginners

Auto Levels

Instantly restore balance to your photographs
The Levels command enables you to alter the tones in an image, essentially the shadows, highlights and midtones. The Levels Auto option is more intense than the others, in that you can choose from edits for the three tonal ranges, but everything else is the same. Simply click the one you want, pick the area that needs most work and then adjust the other two.

Midtone tweaks

A click on the Midtones tab revealed a whole bunch of edits here. Nothing too strenuous was needed, but the final effect has more zing.


It doesn’t cost anything to also test the Highlights tab, but in this case the whites were bright enough following the other edits.

Shadows first

The shadows in the original were dragging it down, so we tackled these first. Foreground and background detail became brighter.

Auto Color

The cherry on top

Pump life back into your tones in a heartbeat
The Color option is where you can have most fun and satisfaction. The brightest of days can be rendered dull by a digital camera, so this edit will sprinkle some life onto your images. There are three types of edits: Saturation, Hue and Vibrance. Hue alters the actual colours, so start in Saturation, then click on Vibrance to squeeze out a bit more drama.

When happy with the saturation, click the Vibrance tab. Things can go too far pretty quickly here, so stay with the small edits.

Improve the saturation

Make Saturation the first edit. Our original had a dull blue sky and lacklustre bunting.

Keep an eye on things

Ensure you look at the entire image when making the edit, otherwise you could miss some areas that become over-saturated and exhibit an unholy glow!


Photoshop Creative

Auto Balance

Replace original vibrancy and heal undesirable effects
The Balance option primarily sorts colour casts. If your image was taken under artificial light, it will probably have a yellow wash over it, so use the Temperature tab in the Balance command to counteract this and produce a neutral image. The Tint tab produces subtle shifts in colours and can help restore any of the original strength.

Back on track

The original image was a lot cooler than the flowers were in real life, so we needed to sort that out.

Back to pink

The Saturation tab presented an option that was true to the original, with warm pinky tones rather than a cold purple.

A quick visit to the Tint tab offered an option where the flowers’ tones became dominant, forcing the green to recede.


Auto Sharpen


Quickly refine your close-up shots for quality results
Regardless of the type of camera you have, or your abilities as a photographer, digital images will suffer from softness. A lot of the time this isn’t noticed, but when it comes to close-up shots, those soft edges make themselves known. The Sharpness option tackles this and defines the edges across the image. This may not work on extremely blurry images, but it will sort out most.

Look at your image and decide on the area that you want to sharpen, which should be the point in the most focus. Use the Zoom slider to enlarge this.

Second pass

A good technique is to make a small edit, commit to it and then open Sharpen once more to add another tiny edit.

Explore the options

It’s best to keep edits small, otherwise you will end up with halos around the edges.

Photoshop Creative


Photoshop for Beginners

Duplicating layers

By selecting the biker and duplicating the selection we are able to layer the background by placing it behind the speedometer element.

Non-destructive editing
By using adjustment layers to change the contrast or brightness of the biker, we can go back and make changes easily without having to undo all of our work.

Radial Gradient

The Radial Gradient around the speedometer takes away the harsh edges from the original image, helping the layer merge with the rest of the piece.

Source images

On the disc
Use the images on the disc to re-create this!

Non-destructive editing
Use adjustment layers to create a completely customisable piece of photo art
When it comes to learning Photoshop, adjustment layers can be easily overlooked. Adding effects to our projects can be done by applying directly to the layer being worked on. However, with an adjustment layer we can put an effect on top of the layer to make a non-destructive edit. Destructive editing is when you apply changes or effects directly to an image or layer, such as contrast. These changes are permanent and can only be undone by going back through your history. Nondestructive editing, on the other hand, enables you to apply an effect to your image or layer by placing an adjustment layer over another layer or the image itself. This makes for a more flexible approach to photo editing and design in Photoshop. Here we’ll use non-destructive adjustment layers and gradients to design a flashy piece of artwork, by combining two photographs together. Every change we make to our images can be undone and adjusted through the use of non-destructive editing.

Fundamental skills


Photoshop Creative

Adjustments window

Navigate the numerous options available to you

Create an adjustment layer

Click on the icon for the adjustment that you would like to add to your project. You will see it appear in your Layers palette.

Adjustments palette

This palette offers almost all of the same options found in the Layers> Adjustments menu. However, when working from this window, if we select an adjustment it will become an adjustment layer.

Layers palette


When selecting a new adjustment you’ll be presented with a variety of properties to affect it. Use this window to fine-tune your effect.

Any image layer below an adjustment will be affected by it. This means you can drag image layers above adjustment layers to prevent them being affected.

Gradient Fill

Get to know the basic options of this vital Photoshop feature
There’s a variety of gradients to choose from in Photoshop. To change the colour you are working with, change your Foreground and Background colour swatches.

Gradient Style

Each style will present a different effect. For example, the Radial style will form a black circle. If reversed it will make a rounded edge around your canvas or image.

What does it mean?
By affecting the Angle, you can change the direction and strength of the gradient.


Adjust the Scale of your gradient to determine how much of the image is affected. You can make Scale adjustments in this window rather than Edit>Transform.

GRADIENTS are common in a lot of Photoshop work. A gradient is a blending of shades, or a gradual blend into transparency. A normal gradient has to be committed to a layer, but a Gradient adjustment layer can overlay a gradient to provide a lot more control over how and where it can be used.

Photoshop Creative


Photoshop for Beginners


First go to File>New. Set the Width to 235mm, Height to 300 and Resolution to 300. Always try to make your canvas slightly bigger than the images you’ll be using. This gives you some freedom to adjust the size of the images later.

Set up a canvas


Open your starting images, go to Select>All, then Edit>Copy. Open your new canvas and go to Edit>Paste. Repeat this process with your second image. If you can’t see your Layers palette, go to Window>Layers. You will see a Background layer, Layer 1 (the motorbike) and Layer 2 (the speedometer).

Import your images


Select Layer 1 in your Layers palette, then click and drag the images where you would roughly like them to be. To increase or decrease the image’s size, go to Edit>Free Transform. Hold down Shift while adjusting the size to retain the original dimensions of the image. Hit Enter when you’re done.

Build a rough composition

Now go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color, then name this layer ‘Background’. In the Color Picker window, choose a solid black and hit OK. In the Layers palette, drag your Background layer to the bottom of the list. Select the original Background layer, then Ctrl/ right-click and select Delete Layer.


Make a background


Use a Gradient adjustment

In the Layers palette, click the eye icon next to Layer 1 to make it invisible. Now Ctrl/right-click on the image thumbnail for Layer 2 (the speedometer), pick Select Pixels and make a selection around the layer. Now any adjustments we make will only occur within this selection, not the entire canvas.


At the bottom of the Layers palette, click Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer and choose Gradient. Set Foreground to Transparent Gradient, select Radial and make sure Reverse is checked. Now click and drag your gradient around the layer. Notice how the feathering helps merge the edges of the speedometer with the background.

Alter the Gradient settings


You’ve just created your first adjustment layer! Double-click on the image thumbnail on your Gradient Fill 1 layer to make more adjustments to the Gradient. This is a non-destructive layer, which means we can amend or delete it at any point. Click on the Layer Mask thumbnail on the Gradient layer to make further adjustments.

Make further adjustments


Photoshop Creative


Make a selection

Check the eye icon on Layer 1 to make it visible again, then select the Polygonal Lasso tool and form a selection around the biker. Once this is complete, go to Layer>New>Layer Via Copy. Your selection will now appear as Layer 3 in your Layers palette. Now drag Layer 1 beneath Layer 2.


Link your layers

Notice how the bike selection now rests above the speedometer and the background behind it. Hold the Cmd/Ctrl key, then select Layer 1 and Layer 3 in your Layers palette. Now Ctrl/right-click and select Link Layers. Now if you adjust or resize one of these layers, the other will mimic the adjustments.

Tweak your layers


Select Layer 1, click Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer and pick Gradient again. Select a Linear gradient and set the Angle to -98 degrees. Click and drag the Gradient towards the bottom-left corner until the harsh edges of Layer 1 disappear. If necessary, move Layer 1 and Layer 3 to a more central point to hide the edges.


In the Gradient Fill window, click the gradient’s thumbnail to open the Gradient Editor. Using the image’s preview gradient we can click and drag the Opacity Stops to alter the harshness of the gradient. Keep making tweaks to perfect this.

Make refinements


Blur the background

There’s no way to use blur as an adjustment layer in Photoshop, which is another reason why we separated the bike from the background. Select Layer 1 and go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the Angle to 27 degrees and Distance to 36 pixels.


Add further adjustments

Select Layer 3 and pick Brightness/ Contrast in the Adjustments window. Bump both dials up to add some vibrancy to the biker. Try adding other adjustment layers such as Saturation/Hue. Note: adjustment layers only affect layers beneath them.

Photoshop Creative




Canon PowerShot S110
We take a look at Canon’s touchscreen, RAW, compact shooter that’s bursting from the seams with features
It may look quite ordinary, but the S110 hides plenty of expert features such as RAW still shooting and HDR mode.

Price $399.99US/£429.99


Standout feature
The onboard Wi-Fi meant printing wirelessly sped up the workflow for quick proofs. GPS tagging (achieved via a smartphone) let us tag our images according to where we were at the time.

The majority of controls lie on top, lined up around the Mode dial. Manual, Aperture Priority and Miniature Effect all have their own place here.

The 110’s pocket-friendliness is an advantage when out and about, but its no-frills design may put some off.


anon’s reputation certainly precedes it and as a leading name in the industry we’ve come to expect nothing less than superior technology. Fortunately, the PowerShot S110 keeps this reputation firmly intact and comes with technology similar to that of digital-SLR cameras. In fact, with the DIGIC 5 processor now a part of Canon’s PowerShot range, the overall speed and performance from shot to shot is efficiently quick. The processor also proved its worth in poorly lit conditions, plus, when using its HS SYSTEM, we found that light levels were significantly boosted and details became much brighter in dark areas. The S110 features a 3-inch touchscreen display that can be used during the shooting process to adjust and perfect exposure. Although this does seem superfluous at times, its touch qualities gave us another way to adjust exposure on the spot. The

Lens Control Ring mounted around the base of its 5x optical zoom lens enabled us to instantly adjust settings, as opposed to laboriously flicking through multiple menus. We would like to see a longer optical reach and when in Macro mode focusing was not always perfect. However, with a maximum aperture of f/2, depth of field is plentiful and image quality is among the best we’ve seen in a compact camera. With RAW and JPEG modes available, the device is ideal for bolstering your Photoshop stock images. If you’re just starting out, Canon does make it easier with a Smart Auto mode that can detect up to 58 scenes. Creative Filters and Photo Effects enabled us to experiment with stylish finishes, leaving Manual mode more as an optional extra than a necessity. Overall the S110 will no doubt tempt those willing to spend a little more for better images.

The specs
Company Nikon Additional Specs
12.1 MP 3-inch touchscreen 5x optical zoom RAW and JPEG modes


The verdict
The S110 will give you greater control over the shooting stage




Photoshop Touch for smartphones
Tap the fx button to access a range of filters, including Moonlight, HDR Look and Sunny Afternoon.


Price $4.99US/£2.99


Feel your way around the canvas with the Photoshop Touch app


The addition of layers helps you undergo retouching. While there isn’t a History palette, layers can help you track back and delete marks made with the Clone Stamp.

Standout feature
Gradients can be customised and positioned to improve photos, or apply to effects. Hue, Saturation, Brightness and Opacity sliders are all available to tweak. Creative Cloud means images can be shared and accessed anywhere on other devices and PCs. Options to upload and sync inside the app make it a simple and useful feature to use.


hotoshop Touch made its first appearance for tablet devices, introducing many of the popular tools and effects found with its desktop counterpart. Adobe has hopped onto the mobile bandwagon and designed Photoshop Touch for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch devices, with the Creative Cloud also close at hand. When you sign up, you’re given 2GB of Cloud storage to whet the appetite. When an image has been edited, Photoshop Touch offers two formats to save files: JPEG and PNG, with the latter being the preferred option to retain transparency. Activating the Share option, you’ll also find Photoshop’s original PSD format, as well as the Touch app’s native format (PSDX). Once inside the app, you’ll find very familiar tools are instantly at your disposal, however, working around the interface does take a bit of getting used to. The Text tool, for instance, offers a convenient way to give images a handful of words. Other

features such as the Lens Flare and Fade effects are equally quick to apply and effective. The app currently comes without any History states to browse, leaving you with a solitary Back button. What’s more, the exclusion of alternative brush tips makes the app more suited to basic photo-editing work, rather than intricate painting. However, the basic brush is adaptable and utilises familiar Hardness, Opacity and Flow settings. Other key features include layers, which come in the form of photo layers, duplicate layers or layers from selections. Blend modes and opacity controls for each are welcome features when it comes to adapting a layered composition. Overall we found the app quick to run and its intuitive layout, once we got used to it, felt natural to work with. Editing on-screen, however, requires a level of patience, as making accurate selections with brushes can prove to be a tedious task. This means the addition of a stylus is a must.

The specs
Company Adobe Specs
The app is compatible with Android phones, iPhone 4S or later and iPod Touch

The verdict


An enjoyable, well-adapted app that’s worth keeping in your pocket

Photoshop Creative




Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch
We discuss just what makes the Bamboo tablet the beginner’s choice

Price $138.00US/£89.99



Not a painter? The Bamboo tablet makes it much easier to use the majority of Photoshop’s tools, perfect for editing layer masks and dodging and burning images, for example.

WIN this!
Head to page 50 for more.


An eraser is positioned on top of the stylus, giving easy access to the Eraser tool for editing layers in your composition.

Standout feature
There are lots of accessories you can buy to go with this Bamboo tablet. The Wireless Kit (£34.99/$39.95US) removes the need for cables and gives you more flexibility when editing at your PC.


Bamboo Dock is a floating panel on your desktop, which comes ready with a number of different programs and games for you to put the tablet to the test.


he Bamboo tablets by Wacom have been designed for those who are just starting out in digital painting and editing. It’s a considered combination of high-end tablet technology and reasonable price tags that make the Bamboos appealing for many. As the name suggests, this isn’t just a stylusdependent tablet. It’s also a touch-sensitive one. This meant we could get more hands-on with various ways for working inside and around Photoshop. From swiping with all five fingers to switching between programs, to dual-finger panning and rotation of Photoshop’s canvas, there’s a multitude of gestures that made our overall experience a more tactile one. The four Express Keys could be assigned with shortcuts to our most-used Photoshop commands and tools. These proved indispensable, and the

dual-function Stylus is equipped with two buttons that sit under the fingers. The initial move from mouse to stylus takes a while to get used to, but once we got the feel for working over its sensitive active area, mouse technology seemed inferior. The active area in the S (small) model sizes is 147 x 92mm. Upgrading to the M (medium) model gives more surface area to play with, measuring in at 216 x 137mm. The S model really shouldn’t be underestimated because its active area gave enough scope to edit comfortably. In fact, we quickly had forgotten that the larger model even existed, but no doubt this is all down to what you’re used to. For those used to a larger canvas for painting, the larger tablet would inevitably prove beneficial. But, if this is going to be your first tablet, then the compact and more portable dimensions of the S model may just be the selling point.

The specs
Company Wacom Additional Specs
1,024 pressure levels 4x Express Keys Touch input


The verdict
One of the finest entrylevel tablets around – not to be dismissed!



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Photoshop Creative


Common problems solved

Luisa Nastasa Amro Ashry Andre Villanueva


Our panel of Photoshop professionals answer your niggling questions about fixing photos, creative image edits and making inspirational digital art

Meet your experts…
“I love editing using Photoshop because of the endless possibilities it gives you to bring your creative ideas to life.”

“I consider Photoshop my best friend, because it can understand what I’m thinking and will do the rest for me!”

“I’m passionate about both digital and traditional collages and admire graffiti art (legal only!) tremendously.”

“Photoshop’s wide range of effects is amazing. They mean that even a simple photo can become something inspiring.”

Jo Cole

Julie Ash, via email
First create the road by using the Rectangle tool (U) to make a tall black rectangle. Switch to white for your Foreground colour and make a highway road line. Select the Move tool (V), hold Opt/ Alt+Shift, then click and drag to duplicate the line enough times to fill the length of the road. Select all the road lines, then go to Layer>Align Layers to Selection>Vertical Centers button to make them perfectly straight with one another. Cmd/Ctrl-click the road layer and hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge (if using Photoshop CS6 with vector layers, Ctrl/right-click on a selected layer and choose Convert to Smart Object instead). To finish, hit Cmd/Ctrl+T for Free Transform, Ctrl/right-click and choose Distort, then play with the handles to get the right perspective. Apply a layer mask, paint black in selected areas to fade it out at the top, then add a backdrop and blend in clouds on a landscape image. This should start you off nicely.

Quick tip

Add clouds

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

There’s a dedicated filter in Photoshop just for creating clouds. Go to Filter>Render>Clouds and Photoshop will apply a spread of cloud-like formations on a layer using the two Foreground and Background tones. Blend these clouds into the piece using Soft Light, for example, and use a layer mask to remove unwanted parts. The clouds can work with any colours set prior to applying the filter. You can change their tone using the Hue/Saturation adjustment set to Colorize at any point afterwards.

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Common problems solved
Expert tip
The History palette is invaluable when exploring uncharted creative territory. It keeps a log of each step you make, enabling you to go back in time and undo changes. 20 states are saved by default. To increase these, go to Preferences> Performance (for Mac) or Edit>Preferences> Performance (for PC). Click Create New Snapshot at the bottom of the History palette to take periodic samples of your progress. These are stored at the top of the palette for you to compare different versions of your artwork.

Cate Roland, via Twitter
Creating a personalised cover for your diary can be great fun! We’ve supplied an A5 template in the resources, complete with guidelines for trim and bleed, so you can focus on the visuals. Be sure to extend your artwork into the bleed area and keep your important details out of the trim area. This enables room for error when you’re cutting out your elements. Always consult with your printer if you have any special requirements. There are many creative options you can select for the cover artwork, including the minimal route, or just going all-out and making an extreme creative decision. Try applying the tutorials, tips and visuals in this magazine to help stir your creative juices. Decide on a style that best suits you and go for it! You can build a collage, make an arrangement of your favorite photos, or even assemble an all-typographic layout.

History shots

Aaron Morgan, via Twitter
Gradients enable you to quickly and easily alter lighting in an image. Open your image, duplicate it, then use the Channel Mixer adjustment (Image>Adjustment), with the Monochrome box checked, to turn it black and white. Create a new layer, pick the Gradient tool (G) and use a Radial gradient with Foreground set to Transparent. Use the colour stops to set your hue and draw in a diagonal line over the image. When happy, set the blend mode to Color and repeat for multiple gradients’ light spots. For an extra dimension, click on your duplicate photo layer and go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare, adding a couple in the background. You can also include some light flecks by creating a new layer on top of the stack and setting the Foreground to white. Pick a hard-edged brush and use the Brushes palette to whack up the Size Jitter, Scatter, Opacity and Flow Jitter.

How can I create vintage cityscapes in Photoshop? Jo’s expert edit


Duplicate your Background layer, go to Image>Canvas Size, then Tick the Relative box and enter 2cm. Set Canvas Extension Color to Other and then use a pale cream to build a border.


Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise, set to Gaussian, Monochrome and around 10%. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, tick the Colorize box, then use the sliders to apply a sepia effect.

Hit D to reset the Use the Magic Wand tool to Foreground and select and delete random Background colours. Create a new layer, fill it with white and visit the Add areas. Use a small white hard brush Noise filter. Keep the same settings, to draw on scratches, then set the blend mode to Screen. but increase the Amount to 60%.



Photoshop Creative

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Common problems solved
Andy Mildrey, via Twitter
To effectively re-create this style we need to work on storyline and focus points, which are two very important elements. For this task it’s best to just use a graphics tablet and a mouse. Add a new layer and trace over the photo with a low-opacity brush. Duplicate the layer and draw all other details, such as hair and eyes, on top. Next, duplicate the same layer again, use a mouse to draw the thicker strands of the hair and then a tablet to create the finer ones. Now merge all the layers using Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+E and reduce the opacity. Apply the skin colour, shadows and hair tone by sampling as you go, then merging them via Opt/ Alt and the Brush tool. The trick is to use the Color Balance, Hue/Saturation and Selective Color adjustments – along with blend modes – to create an artistic pattern. To finish, sharpen the image by going to Sharpen>Unsharp Mask to make the painting look authentic.


Emily Reid, via email
A good method for this is using the Blend If command. This makes the new sky dissolve into the image, only targeting the lighter areas. Open your original image, then copy and paste the new sky on top. Use the Transform tools if you need to change the size and double-click the sky layer to call up the Layer Style window. Go down to the Blend If sliders and drag the Underlying Layer slider to the right. The sky will now blend into the original image. For further control, Opt/ Alt-click the slider to split it into two. If some areas of the photo have been swept up in the edit, use the Eraser tool (E) to bring back the original detail.

Amy Tilson, via email
In order to build a head in the clouds, start out by creating a sketch of a face. By attributing colour, shape and dimension, you can apply a combination of the Brush, Smudge, Dodge and Burn tools. After this is done move to the hair, which is actually the crown of the tree, and adapt it via the upper-side of a tree brush. Next, move to the birds and – with the help of the Brush tool – alternate between shapes and brush sizes to achieve a depth-of-field effect. The last step is to create a background for the head to float in. This can start out as a simple shade of light grey, which with the help of layer styles can be given an Inner Shadow and a Gradient Overlay. Sprinkle a yellowish cloud brush on top of this, then experiment with the tones, shadows and highlights using the Hue/Saturation, Selective Color and, of course, the Shadows/Highlights adjustments. All of these can be found within the Image>Adjustments options.

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Photoshop Creative


Common problems solved

How can I achieve a realistic graffiti effect? Andre’s expert edit

Find a suitable backdrop for your graffiti, such as grimy brick walls. You can take your own photo or download one from a site like



Draw your graffiti outline, scan it, then place above your backdrop. If you like you can also download graffiti assets from


With the Magic Wand, select Add paint drips and tags and delete all the excess around to achieve a more white space. Use a Gradient Overlay, authentic result. Duplicate the choosing Chrome and Multiply, so as backdrop, move to the top and then not to alter the outlines. set the blend mode to Overlay.



Colours need to be bold, bright and work together visually. For this effect, light blue and yellow work together in perfect harmony.



The Burn tool is perfect for darkening parts of the wall and blending in layers to match up with brightness values.

Move up and down your History palette using Edit>Step Backward, or simply clicking on any of the History states in the palette.

To save time, there are plenty of helpful online resources for creating a graffiti composition and many are free to use too.

Changing the opacity of the graffiti text will bring through the texture of the wall – there are no rules to this, just what looks best!

Photoshop Creative

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Matt Phillips, via email
Thankfully Elements has a newspaper graphic, which means something as potentially complex as this can be made in a matter of minutes. The Graphics panel holds all shapes and layouts ready to go. This newspaper design is found in the Background options. Because the design has a fixed size, you’ll first need to create a blank document by going to File>New. Choose Photo under Preset and pick the Landscape 8 x 10 canvas size. Open this and select the newspaper graphic to load it. The layout isn’t as flexible compared to making this from scratch, but it certainly saves time. You can determine your own theme by placing (File>Place) images into the newspaper. Image>Transform>Free Transform will enable you to resize the images to fit the individual segments of the design. Use the Type tool (T) and choose a font such as Britannic Bold at 48pt to add in a name for your newspaper.


Every photo and block of text is on its own layer, which easily lets you move things around and even blend layers together.



Layers with text appear with a T symbol in the panel and can be re-edited by either double-clicking on its layer, or clicking over the text with the Type tool selected.

Expert tip
Quick redesign
Some parts of the preset newspaper graphics, such as the dividing lines between images, were edited out using the Clone Stamp tool. Copying pixels from the textured paper and cloning them over the top of the black graphics meant we could expand the title ‘Holiday photo album’ across the page. When cloning pixels this way, be sure to zoom up close and use a smaller brush, so the changes aren’t obvious.


Where an image doesn’t quite fit into a space, you can use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select an edge of a layer, then hit the Backspace key to trim it down to size.


Photoshop Creative


The ready-to-use graphics inside Elements include this newspaper front page. It comes complete with blank spaces for putting in your own images and text.

Expert edit Colour swap

To change the colour of a model’s clothing, we need to call up the Hue/Saturation adjustment. Find this by going to the Layer>New Adjustment Layer option.



Building this is quick and easy. You can theme your own newspaper, then send it to friends and family as digital keepsakes.

Inside the Hue/Saturation adjustment, change the colour from Master to the closest match to the clothing.


Now adapt the Hue slider to alter the colour of the top. Because this is set to Yellow, all these tones will now be adjusted.



Sticking to a solid black Sans-Serif font keeps the newspaper looking modern and fun. Serif fonts such as Times will give this a more traditional feel.

Once the adjustments have been made, click on the mask and pick the Eraser tool set to white. Paint away the surrounding colours to leave just the top with the changes.


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Master retouching
Vastly improve your retouching skills for incredible portraits

Before After

Watch & learn!
You don’t need to settle for unsightly expressions and uneven skin tone. Learn how to do everything from removing blemishes to subtle facial reconstruction by discovering the tricks of the trade when retouching. Check out the supplied disc for the entire video course from the team at


f you have ever picked up a magazine with a model or movie star on the cover, odds are that person’s face or body has been retouched and modified to some degree in Photoshop. Most likely their skin has been cleaned up to remove any unflattering blemishes and facial (or body) features have been manipulated to appear more visually appealing. Often, these types of edits result in the person appearing younger than they really are. In our youth-driven society, the marketability of magazines, DVDs, album covers, and movie posters commonly rely on this type of visual appeal in which an idealised sense of beauty and youth is being presented. Photoshop comes armed with an array of powerful tools that will allow us to

enhance visual appeal and push that sense of idealised beauty. For this tutorial, we’ll be learning how to retouch and manipulate the face of a female model. We’ll begin this process with the Spot Healing Brush to remove blemishes, stray hairs and wrinkles. From there you’ll learn how to adjust various facial features and even how to create additional skin pores to add a more realistic feel. Lastly we’ll add some final touches to really make the facial elements pop. While we won’t be covering every detail of this project in the following steps, don’t worry. Simply grab this issue’s disc and look for the Digital-Tutors Facial Retouching and Manipulation in Photoshop tutorial.


Photoshop Creative

Share your Digital-Tutors creations

Follow along Improve portraits

Open the video courses on the disc to follow along with this tutorial


Retouching skin blemishes

On a separate layer, circle areas of the face containing blemishes. You can use this layer as a reference. Create an additional layer and use the Spot Healing Brush tool (J) located in the Tool palette to touch up these blemishes.


Balancing the eyes

Use the Lasso tool (L) to make a selection around the right eye and copy it. Align the copy over the left eye. Blend the edges of this copy with the Eraser tool (E). Use the Lasso tool to adjust the iris placement in a similar way.


Reducing the bags

With the Healing Brush tool (J) selected, select Sample: All Layers in the Options bar. Create new layers for each eye and hold Alt to sample surrounding skin. Paint over the bags of the eyes. Reduce the Opacity of each eye layer to about 50%.


Create a merged copy of all the current layers by holding Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E. Navigate to Filter>Liquify. Paint a mask over areas surrounding the lips using the Freeze Mask tool. Choose the Forward Warp tool to reshape the lips.

Reshaping in Liquify


On a new layer grab the Patch tool (J). Check Sample: All Layers in the Options bar. Create a section around the left smile line. Drag the selection sideways to patch skin. Use the Eraser to blend the patched skin and the Healing Brush to refine.

Reducing smile lines


Create a new merged layer and navigate back into Liquify. Paint a mask around the areas surrounding the chin using the Freeze Mask tool. Use the Forward Warp tool to reshape the chin. Touch up chin dimples with the Healing Brush.

Balancing the chin


Straightening the nose

Create a new merged layer and return to Liquify. Mask around the nose and use Forward Warp to straighten the bridge. Use Pucker to reduce the nose tip and nostrils. Use the healing brush to touch up the bridge’s shadows.


Create a new merged layer. We’ll jump back into Liquify one more time. Mask out areas around the eyebrows. Grab the Forward Warp tool to pull the arching portions of the eyebrows down. Her expression will now feel more welcoming.

Lowering the eyebrows


Create a new merged layer with a surface blur applied (Filter>Blur> Surface Blur). Mask everything apart from the skin on a layer mask. Smooth out some of the blotchiness with a soft round brush. Add both Noise and Emboss filters on a new layer to unify skin pores.

Facial smoothing and texture

Photoshop Creative


Fotolia: Season 2 so far…

Argentinian artist Gustavo Brigante’s PSD kicked off TEN Season 2 in true style

Fotolia TEN Collection
eader in stock imagery, Fotolia, is well into its second season of the TEN Collection, an initiative that celebrates the work of internationally renowned artists. Launched in 2011, the project gathers together the cream of the world’s design talent, presents an inspirational example of their work, then releases the layered PSD files for aspiring artists to pick apart and learn from.
tic Japanese artist Marumiyan has made this fantas d glory artwork that’s available to download in all its layere

Adhemas Batista shares the creative process of his contribution to the TEN Collection


With Season 2 in full swing, we sample the work gathered for this global collaborative project
Season 2 has put a strong focus on social networking and you can join in with the Facebook community to gain access to backstage videos before upcoming projects are released. Here we take a look at the current TEN artwork by Mike Harrison, who reveals how he got involved in the project. We also dip into the latest artwork, which is available online at

Soongyu Gwon is hailed as one of the best - his dramatic artwork is unfolded in the TEN Collection


Photoshop Creative

Mike Harrison
Mike Harrison’s layered PSD for the TEN Collection is available for free on 10 May 2013 exclusively

A conversation with Mike Harrison
This professional digital artist tells us more about his experiences creating for the TEN Collection

Mike is a 28-year-old multidisciplinary designer and illustrator based in London, UK. He currently works as a designer for a small agency called Stereo, which produces a variety of work from digital and print to web and motion. He has a big passion for all things related to design.

What is fotolia’s TEN Collection about?

The TEN project is a brilliant initiative that enables us artists to have a much wider reach all over the world. We can showcase our creation for the project, the rest of our work and ourselves. It also enables people of all levels to break down the work and gain some handy tips.

it gives a great insight into your life and work. I believe this will be very interesting for other artists to see.

How do you think it will change you as an artist? Do you think it’ll put your art in front of a larger audience?

How did you get involved with the project and why?

I received an email in 2012 inviting me to take part in the project. I already knew of Season 1 and so was honoured to be asked to participate and represent the UK. It’s a great project to be involved in. I’m a big believer in giving something back to the community and this is exactly what this project allows. With the lifestyle videos made of each artist,

It will definitely give me a lot of exposure. Hopefully a lot of people who were previously unfamiliar with me and my work will now see it and want to see more. I don’t think it will change me as an artist. I’m still the same person!

For my piece I knew I wanted to make something based on animals. I found a really nice stock image of a black bull, so decided to base my contribution on the theme of bullfighting. However, I added my own twist by making it very colourful and playful. The main challenge I faced was the amount of layers I was using. Also, layering it up while keeping the composition tight, balanced and not overly busy was an issue.

Is there a piece of advice you could offer Photoshop Creative readers?

What inspired you to create your chosen piece for the TEN Collection? What was the most difficult challenge when working on it?

I always give the age-old advice of practise, practise, practise, experiment, use trial and error, but most importantly just have fun. Work out what you enjoy most and stick with it. You’ll soon get better and then the sky is truly the limit!

Photoshop Creative




Rose 2


“Being self-employed is very rewarding, as long as I can do something creative, I’m happy”

Find out how you can replicate this unique digital style
Nesting Fraggles

Laura’s vintage portrait painting


Laura Hickman
Photoshop artist Laura Hickman shares some of her pearls of wisdom…

I scanned my drawings as highresolution greyscale files, removed any imperfections with the Brush tool and adjusted Levels for sharper details. These were then converted to RGB.


aura Hickman is a 33-year-old digital artist and illustrator from a small village in south Wales. For Laura, Photoshop started out as a hobby, but soon turned into a lifelong passion. Currently self-employed and selling her art worldwide, her distinctive style has led to global participation in numerous art projects.

my graphite drawings at a high resolution, then greyscale files and patterns as RGB files…

Add assets

What inspires you?

How did you learn Photoshop?

I’m self-taught and learnt a lot through trial and error. I began experimenting with an old copy of Photoshop 7 as a hobby while I was unable to work, initially learning to edit photographs and use the basic filters. As I became increasingly confident I began to use Photoshop more and more in my artwork. As it’s now such a large part of my work, I set aside a few hours a week to watch video tutorials and read magazines to improve my skills.

I find inspiration in all kinds of places, from the local park to old chinawear patterns. I love to read about how other artists studied their craft and reached their goals. I regularly set aside time to gather images and articles that inspire me, which I organise onto Pinterest Boards, so they’re always to hand. My studio is full of things that I find inspiring, but often a break from work and change of scenery brings about the best ideas.

The birds were coloured using the Paint Bucket tool and added in three new layers with the Lasso and Free Transform. I picked a vintage fabric and pasted this to create the blouse pattern.

Use make-up

What is your creative process?

My designs usually start out as pencil drawings – either full-graphite portraits, or a simple outline, depending on the style I have chosen for the piece. If I’m planning to add patterns to the design, I paint these on a separate piece of paper. Using Photoshop enables me to experiment with different styles and patterns without having to redo the entire drawing. I scan

I trained as a make-up artist for film and TV when I left school and worked for a number of years as a visual merchandiser for Arcadia. I see what I do now as a culmination of the skills I acquired in those roles. I have a keen eye for detail and enjoy the business and sales aspects of my work too. Being self-employed is very rewarding, but as long as I can do something creative, I’m happy. Visit laurahickman to see more of Laura’s work.

If you weren’t an artist, what could you see yourself doing?

Make-up was added in a new Multiply layer at 20% Opacity. I used the fabric again for the background, applying the Cutout filter and Pin Light blend mode to contrast the blouse.

Final changes

I flattened the image and duplicated the layer, which I set to Multiply to darken the colours. I used the brushes, colour-matched and increased luminosity to make final changes.


Photoshop Creative







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