Helen Bradley - Photoshop and Lightroom tips and techniques
I'm Helen Bradley - I'm a photographer and Photoshop professional. In this Photoshop and Lightroom blog you will find powerful Photoshop and Lightroom tips, tricks and techniques that will help you get more out of both programs. You will also find step by step guides for working creatively with your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop and any other cool applications I know you will be interested in knowing more about.
Free Downloadable Illustrator Gradient Swatches for you to try
While Illustrator comes shipped with a range of gradient swatches you will probably find that there are never enough gradients for your needs. Luckily there are a few good quality freely downloadable gradient swatch sets that you can use to expand your Illustrator toolkit.
While there are a lot of gradient swatches you can download for Photoshop there are not a lot of free options for Illustrator. I’ve scoured the web to find you this collection – they all download and install correctly and they aren’t from spammy sites (some others not included here are from spurious sites – so beware!).
This selection of 48 vector gradients makes a good starter pack. There are some handy black and light colored gradients as well as a lot of green and blue ones too. If you’re looking for a simple collection of gradients to start off with this a good choice.
Deviant Art is always a great place to find handy downloadable things. Here we’ve located 140 metal gradients for Illustrator. There are a range of gold, metal gradients as well as copper, bronze, brass, silver, chrome, steel, aluminum and other metallic looks. This is a good starter collection of metallic gradients.
This group of gradients in files called (somewhat unimaginatively) 1.ai to 7.ai is a selection of handy gradients. While it would be nicer if these gradients were all in one pack that’s not the case so you may want to grab the lot and perhaps assemble them into a single swatch file of your own.
4. At Vectorportal.com you’ll find a series of six gradient packs totalling over 700 gradients. The images for these packs look a little on the small side but don’t let this fool you – each pack ranges in size from 75 – 160 gradients per pack. All six can be downloaded from this site.
Remove all the edits you’ve made to a raw or dng image in Adobe Camera Raw
No doubt you’ve encountered the situation where you have a raw file or a dng that you’ve worked on in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom and you one day look at it and think – “what was I thinking?”
You decide you want immediately to remove all the changes you’ve made to the image. Easy? Not really!
If you’re working with a raw image then you can locate the image on disk and alongside it will be its sidecar xmp. Shall I say that again, because to the uninitiated ‘sidecar xmp’ just sounds so cool doesn’t it. What it is is an .xmp file with the same name as the raw file and it contains the edits you made to your image. The sidecar xmp file is used because you cannot write data to a camera raw file so the edits have to go somewhere. They go in this little xmp file as a set of text entries – delete the file and you remove the edits, permanently – in fact just remove the xmp file to another folder where ACR can’t find it and you’re done.
In Lightroom you can wind back edits to an image from the Develop module in the History panel on the left of the screen. Open the panel and select the bottom-most entry to wind back the changes you made to the image.
Unfortunately this won’t work if you made changes in a program that wrote an .xmp file and it won’t work if the changes were made to a dng file, written to that file and then the file was imported into Lightroom.
In that case, go to the Library panel and open Quick Develop and click Reset All – that removes all the edits.
In ACR, go to the small menu in the top right of the edit pane and choose Reset Camera Raw Defaults. This removes the edits and returns the image to its out of camera state (see image at the top of this post)
This is also very handy for teachers who teach using a set of images – if you need to start over editing an image with a new class, this option will help you start over with a clean image.
Lightroom has a set of tools that you can use to adjust white balance in your images. To see these at work open an image in the Develop module. At the top of your Basic panel are the white balance adjustment tools.
White Balance Options
The dropdown list will show you some options for adjusting white balance – what is shown here will vary depending on how your images are captured. If you capture in raw then the white balance dropdown list will contain the same options as you have on your camera for setting white balance. If you’re capturing jpg images then there are fewer options – As Shot, Auto and Custom.
On the left are the options for a raw image and on the right those for a jpeg image.
The Temperature and Tint sliders also have different units of measure depending on whether you’re working with jpgs or raw images. For jpg images both the sliders range from +100 to -100. If you’re working on a raw image then the Temperature slider shows degrees Kelvin from 2000 – 50,000 and the Tint slider ranges between + 150 and – 150.
Kelvin is a measurement of the color of light – daylight is around 5,500 degrees Kelvin. Lights we consider to be warm or pink/orange in color including tungsten globes are around 3,000 degrees Kelvin and cool lights which are blue in color such as overcast daylight are around 7,000 degrees Kelvin and higher.
Adjust White Balance
To adjust the white balance in the selected image you can select an option from the White Balance dropdown list to use to fix the image or you can use it as a starting point and then fine tune the result.
You can also manually adjust the Temp slider to add warmth or remove it from the image. Drag the sider to the left to add a blue tint to the image (to cool it down), or to the right to add a yellow tint to it to warm the image.
Use the Tint slider to balance out any excess magenta or green in the image. Drag towards the right to add magenta to the image cancelling out any green tint and drag to the left to add a green tint cancelling out any unwanted magenta.
White Balance Selector
You can also use the White Balance Selector to adjust white balance. You can select the tool by clicking on it or press W.
From the White Balance toolbar under the image you can select options that make the White Balance tool easier to use. I suggest you deselect Auto Dismiss as you can then click on the image in various places to attempt to fix it. If you have Auto Dismiss enabled you’ll only be able to click once before the selector is dismissed so, if that fix isn’t perfect then you’ll need to select the tool again to attempt another fix. This is a cumbersome way to work so I prefer to disable Auto Dismiss and put the tool away only when I am done with it.
If you click the Show Loupe checkbox then you’ll see a 5 by 5 pixel grid beside the mouse cursor. The center point in the grid is the pixel that you are currently targeting and which will be used to adjust the image if you click. This grid makes it easier for you to pick the correct point in the image to adjust to. The scale itself can be increased or decreased using the Scale option on the toolbar.
At the bottom of the loupe itself are the RGB percentage values of the pixel under the cursor. These values tell you if the pixel is neutral or not. If it is neutral then the percentages of R, G and B will all be equal – if they are not equal then there is color in that pixel.
To balance the image using the White Balance selector, click on a pixel that should be neutral grey – not white or black. When you do so, Lightroom will adjust the image so that the selected pixel is a neutral grey and, as a result, all the color in the image will change. At the same time Lightroom adds an entry to the image History for that adjustment. This means that you can wind back the history to return to an earlier white balance fix, if desired.
You should be aware that adjusting image white balance is to an extent a subjective assessment – so there is no one value that is “correct”. There are, instead, a myriad of different results that can be achieved so look for one that is it pleasing to you. In most cases viewers prefer to see some warmth in photos as they are more pleasing to the eye if they are warmer rather than cool.
I find that a good approach to take is to experiment with the white balance selector to see the effect on the image by selecting different pixels to adjust to. Then choose the most aesthetically pleasing result.
Save Time in Lightroom when Resizing and Cropping Large Amounts of Output Images
If you’re working on a large shoot and need to output a lot of images at a fixed size then Lightroom can do the work for you. It isn’t obvious how you can crop all your images to a fixed size and output them at a certain set of pixel dimensions but it is easy to do when you know how. Here’s how to do it:
First locate the folder with your images in it. I prefer to make virtual copies of my images and put them in a new collection but you can do whatever makes sense to you.
Select all the images in Grid view in the Library module in Lightroom.
Open the Quick Develop panel on the right and, from the Crop Ratio dropdown list, select the crop ratio that you want to crop to. For example you can crop to fixed ratios such as 1 by 1 or printing sizes such as 5×7, 4×6 and so on.
Here I’ve selected 5×7 and when I do so all the selected images are automatically cropped to this 5 x 7 ratio.
Lightroom is smart enough to understand that some images are portrait orientation and others are landscape. Portrait images are cropped to 5 x 7 and landscape orientation images to 7 x 5.
Step 3 (optional)
If desired, you can now move to the Develop module and check the crop for all the images. By default, Lightroom will center the crop rectangle on the image and this may not be exactly what you want for some images. However, it is easy to go to the Develop module, click the first image and click on the Crop Overlay Tool so you see the crop marquee in position on the on the image.
Now from the filmstrip you can click on each image in succession to preview it in the crop window and you can easily identify if any of them need an adjustment to the crop rectangle. If they do simply drag on the crop rectangle to reposition it. When you’re done return to the Library view.
As the images are now all cropped to size, press Ctrl + A to select them and then click Export. Choose a folder to export the images into or click New Folder to create a new folder.
You can now set your desired preferences in the Export dialog.
To control the output size – in pixels wide and tall – of the images easily because you already know the crop ratio. To do this, select the Resize to fit checkbox and choose Long Edge from the dropdown list. Then type a pixel dimension for the long edge. So, for example, to prepare 5 by 7 ratio images for printing at 300 dpi the longest edge will need to be 2,100 pixels (7 x 300) so type 2100 and set the resolution to 300.
Click Export to export your images and they will be exported to a folder at the chosen size and resolution.
This process allows you to quickly and effectively prepare a batch of images for printing. It manages portrait and landscape images so that you don’t have to separately handle each type. It’s a simple workflow and a fast way to prepare images from a large shoot.
Ok.. so I am slow! A friend just sent me to the Amazon digital design bookstore. Now I love design books and finding them all in the one place is just awesome. So, thanks Marilyn and here for anyone else who hasn’t found it yet is the link to all things wonderful: Amazon Digital Design Bookstore.
Learn how to make a vector repeating pattern swatch from a pattern created using a MadPattern template.
The Madpattern Illustrator templates include instructions for saving swatches as bitmap files but most users will want to create vector swatches. How to do this is not either clear or intuitive. This video shows you how to make a vector pattern swatch and how to save and open it so you can use it again in future.
Video covers downloading and opening a MadPattern template. How to create a pattern and then how to save a vector repeating pattern swatch. It also shows how to save the swatch and how to load it to use it again in future. Also covered is how to recolor the pattern and resize it.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial.
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create a vector pattern swatch using Mad Pattern templates for creating repeatable patters.
Before we get started making our vector pattern swatch let’s have a look and see what we’re aiming at.
This is a vector pattern swatch that I created earlier using the Mad Pattern templates and all I need to do is to open the swatches library they’re saved into and add it as a fill to a shape such as this one here.
It can be scaled and colored and we’ll see that again in a short period of time.
But for now we need to go and have a look and see where we’re going to get these Mad Pattern templates from.
You’ll find the Mad Pattern templates at madpattern.com.
They’re said to be compatible with Illustrator CS4 and 5.
They’re also compatible with 5.
Click here to download them.
On my website at projectwoman.com you’ll see that I have a link from my Home page to Mad Pattern template images.
These show you the series of templates that you’re being given and how they repeat.
It’s pretty critical once you get into this to know exactly which one you need to get the repeating style that you want.
We’re actually going to use P3M1 here in just a minute.
Now once you’ve downloaded and extracted the files you can open them in Illustrator.
You can choose File, New from Template but I’m actually just going to open the template itself and this is the P3M1 template.
Now when you open these templates the first thing you’ll want to do is to show your layers palette because that will show you what’s going on.
Every template will have a layer that has the exact same name as the template itself.
It will also have a small amount of information which you can turn off by clicking the Info icon here.
If you read the info it does tell you a little bit of what you need to do to actually start creating the illustration for the template and also it will tell you how you can save this for web and devices.
Now the swatch saved for web and devices is a raster swatch so it won’t be scalable to a really high degree.
It would of course be a document that you could use in Photoshop but if you want a vector swatch then that’s what I’m going to show you how to do.
So we’re going to turn off the Info and we’re going to turn off the template elements and we’re going to click in here in this clipped elements area because that’s where we’re going to create the pattern itself.
I’m just going to zoom in here, make this a lot larger to that we can see the area that we’re going to be working.
I’m going to create a simple heart for my pattern swatch so I’m just going to quickly with the Pen tool draw a heart shape.
I’m not worried too much about how it looks.
I’ve got my handles turned off so I’m just going to make sure I turn them on and let’s just call that good for my heart.
Now I am going to color it so I’m just going to get my color swatches.
I’m going to fill it with a pink color and around the edges I’m just going to make it a navy blue.
Now I’d like my stroke to be a little bit bigger so I’m just going to grab my Appearance panel because I often find that stroke and things are a little bit easier to manage in the Appearance panel.
So we’ll give it a nice wide stroke.
Now before we leave here we can also grab the Ellipse tool and we’ll drag out a couple of circles.
So I’m just going to click on the edge here of this triangle.
So I’m looking for the anchor point.
I’m going to hold Alt and Shift so I can grab and drag a circle.
I’ll just reverse the colors here.
I’ll choose my Move tool, click on the object, choose Edit, Copy and then Edit, Paste in Place.
So that gives me a duplicate of this which then I can move over the very edge of this end of the triangle.
I’m going to do the same thing with Edit, Copy, Edit, Paste in Place and this time I’ll put mine at the very bottom of the triangle.
So this is what we have so far as our pattern.
Oops, let’s just grab that there.
So this is our pattern.
And having created the pattern we’re now in a position where we can go and save it as a vector swatch.
Now to do this we need to understand a couple of things about these Mad Pattern templates and one is that this is the area in which we draw our shape.
But this is an art board and this art board is fairly critical because it tells us how big our pattern repeat is going to be.
So I’m going to click here on this Art Board tool here and I just want to click on Art Board too because I want to select it because I want to read off a little bit of information about it.
To do this I’m going to click Art Board Options and this opens this Art Board Options dialog.
And these are the two measurements I’m interested in.
I want to know the width and the height of this art board and I need to know it exactly.
So this .21 pixels, that’s critical too.
So it’s 300 x 173.21 pixels.
I’m just going to cancel out of here because I just need that information, nothing more.
Now I’m going to select and create a rectangle but I’m just going to click once on the background here because I want to type in those measurements that I just got, 300 x 173.21 pixels and click Ok.
Now this is my shape but as you can see it’s got a blue fill and a pink outline.
We just can’t see that because the shape is not in the area in which the repeat pattern is being created.
If I do move it into that area you can see that it does have that fill and that edge to it.
Now it’s critical that it doesn’t have any of those features so with it selected I’m going to turn off the stroke and I’m going to turn off the fill.
So this is now an empty rectangle.
If you’re familiar with working with repeating patterns in Illustrator CS5, 4 and earlier then you’ll know that you need this unfilled rectangle to actually select and create a repeating pattern.
Now I’ve just opened my clipped elements group here.
I’m just going to drag the path all the way down to behind the background.
I just want to tuck it away for now.
And now what I want to do is to expand this layer P3M1.
Now I can’t expand it right now with this clipping mask and also this dummy path that are here with lock icons on them so I need to go in and unlock these two icons.
And then I’m going to select P3M1, the layer that corresponds with the template name, and click on all of these layers here so that everything is selected.
Now I’ll choose Object, Expand Appearance.
If you don’t see Expand Appearance here, if it’s grayed out, then you’ve done something or left something unselected or selected when it shouldn’t be.
So just exit out of this menu and go back and check that these lock icons are deselected and that you have P3M1 or whatever the layer is that corresponds with the template name selected and that these are all selected here because you absolutely have to have Expand Appearance available.
So I’ve clicked Expand Appearance and now you can see that I’ve got this very interesting sort of pattern of things happening in the background.
That’s exactly as it should be because I did need to expand the appearance of all these shapes.
So now I’m going to go back and reselect here the rectangle shape and then I’m going to select all these other objects as well.
So I’ve got everything selected here that makes up the swatch that I want to save.
And having done that I’m going to go and grab my Move tool and drag from the middle of this rectangle so that I’m dragging and dropping it into the Swatches panel.
And this then becomes my swatch.
So to test it before we leave here I’m going to turn off all these layers.
I’m going to click the topmost layer and I’m going to add a brand new layer so that I can add a filled rectangle over the tops.
I’ve just dragged out a rectangle here.
Now we can’t see it.
But you can now see it has a border and we want to select Fill and we want to drop our pattern fill in there so that we can check to make sure that everything looks perfect.
And I suggest you go one step further and that you actually resize this pattern.
So again, making sure that we have this rectangle selected let’s go to Object, Transform Scale and let’s make sure that we’re not transforming the object ourselves but that we are transforming the pattern.
And now we’re reducing it to 25 percent and we can see that this is a perfect pattern.
It’s repeating exactly the way it should be.
It’s looking absolutely perfect.
And if it looks perfect then you’re right to go.
If it isn’t perfect then just turn off this layer, get rid of this layer and just step back and recreate your pattern.
But we’re ready to go.
Now the problem with this is if I get rid of this document as I’m tempted to do I’m going to lose this pattern swatch and it’s not coming back any time soon.
I would have to recreate it.
So I need to save it.
So I’m going to click the dropdown list here now and chose Save Swatch Library as an Eye.
This is the one you want, the one at the very bottom.
And I’m going to call this heart2 mad pattern because I’ve got a heart1 already there just so that we know that this is the pattern swatch we just created.
I’m going to click Save.
So having done that I can now get rid of this image.
I don’t need it any longer and while I might usually save it in case I want to come back and make alterations to it today I’m just going to trash it.
So I’m just going to close it.
And now let’s go and test our pattern swatch.
I’ll choose File and New because I’m going to create a brand new landscape orientation document.
I’m going to drag out a rectangle on that document and if we go to the swatches palette you’ll see that our swatch has gone.
And that is to be expected.
We have to go and grab it.
We have to go and load it.
So from the swatches palette I’m going to choose Open Swatch Library and we’re going to choose User Defined and then heart2 mad pattern because that’s the one that I just saved.
Here is my pattern swatch.
I’ve got fill selected so I’m just going to click here and the object is now filled with my pattern.
And again we can test this by choosing Object, Transform, Scale.
Now this pattern can be scaled as big or as small as you like because it is a vector pattern.
So I’m just going to scale it here.
Now not only can we scale it we can also recolor it.
So if all you wanted to know was how to create a vector pattern for a Mad Pattern template then you’re off and running now.
But if you want to know how to recolor this hang around and we’re going to have a look at this too.
So to recolor it I’m going back to my swatches here.
I’m going to grab my color swatches and I want to create this color scheme here as a new swatch.
So I’m going to click here for new color group and I want to use the selected artwork and I’ll click Ok.
And so now these are here as global colors.
I’m going to select over that and click here the Edit or Apply Color Group button and this opens this color dialog.
Now I can use this color dialog to make changes for example I can say I don’t like this blue for example and I want to make it a sort of aqua color.
And that will make it aqua.
But I can also click the Edit button here and individually change these colors by dragging on the slider.
So I can drag around and the two colors maintain the same distance from each other but I can make them less saturated or more saturated by just dragging in or out on either of these sliders.
Now I can also unlock the slider here so that they’re now independent of each other.
So I can select whatever colors I want for the fill and for the stroke color on the pattern that is being used to fill this rectangle.
So when I’m done I’ll click Ok and I do want to save the changes and so they’re now saved as a swatch.
So you have all sorts of options here using the Mad Pattern templates and there are some really, really good patterns there.
And we’ll have a look at some more things that you can do with these Mad Pattern templates in upcoming videos.
But for this video I just wanted to make sure that you were able to save your patterns as a vector swatch because that’s going to be critical in being able to resize these patterns to any size and particularly very, very large sizes without losing details in your patterns.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial.
Look out on this YouTube channel for more YouTube videos on Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom and a whole lot more.
Learn to make a silhouette in Photoshop and, from that, create an outline of the shape and a pattern fill for the shape. Tools used include the Quick Select tool, Refine Edge, Selection Smooth tool, Pattern Fill Layer, Stroke Layer Style and more.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you three options that you can use to create silhouettes in Photoshop and I’m using some old vintage clipart to show you how to do this. As usual before we get started let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming to achieve.
I have this image of a red deer head which is an old scanned free image that I found from a public domain site and I wanted to look at some ways that I could use this image in my art but perhaps giving it a little bit of a different flavor. And this is one of the ways that I’m going to show you what we’re doing is making a selection or a silhouette of the deer head and filling it with a pattern or showing it filled as a pattern. This is another one of the options that I’m going to show you how you can create it as an edge effect. And finally we’ll look at creating it as a silhouette itself. So if you’re ready let’s get started working with our image. I have my deer head image here and this is the original scanned image that I downloaded from a public domain website.
The first thing we need to do is to make a selection of the deer head. It’s probably going to be easier to select the white area so I’m going to try with the Quick Select tool and just select over the white areas of the image leaving the deer itself intact and not selected. If I go too far I can hold the Alt key and drag out or I can add to the selection here. I might need to zoom in a little bit to make sure that I haven’t gone too far. This is looking pretty good to me. So I’m going to zoom a bit and let’s just test it by choosing Select and then Refine Edge and that will tell me if I’ve got it right. Well, I’ve got a few areas to tidy up. I’m just going to go back and select those and let’s continue once I’ve made those selections.
Now I’ve done a little bit more work on this image and I’m reasonably pleased with the result that I’ve got. This is what I’ve got so far. I would clean up a few of these areas if I were being a little bit more careful, had a bit more time. But basically that’s a pretty good selection for now. Now that I’ve got that selection I’m going to create a mask from it by just clicking the Layer Mask icon here. And because my mask has gone the wrong way I’m just going to click it and press Ctrl and I to turn it around the other way. We can test the mask by adding a color filled layer beneath the image. Now at the moment this image is a grayscale image so I’m going to convert it first into RGB color mode.
I’m not going to merge it so I’m just going to click Don’t merge. And now that it’s a color image I can add a color background behind this deer head which I’m going to do just so that we can check and see how it’s looking. At this point you could continue working on the image by painting on the mask using black and white so that you get a really, really good selection. But let’s assume that we’ve done that. For our first silhouette effect we’re just going to Ctrl and click on the mask because that will give us a selection of the deer head. I’m going to create a brand new layer and let’s just turn off the existing layer and let’s see what it looks like when it’s filled with black. I’ve pressed D to set the default foreground and background colors.
I’m going to press Alt Backspace to fill it with black and then Alt D to deselect the selection. Now ignoring the slight problem areas we’ve still got a fairly pixelated edge. So I’m going to trash that and go back and grab my mask selection, add a new layer and before I fill it this time let’s smooth it. I’ll choose Select and then Modify and then Smooth and I’ll smooth it by a couple of pixels. And now I’ll fill it. And you can see that this time we’ve got a much smoother edge. And we could smoother by even more pixels and we would get a much better result each time. So there’s one of the options that you have of creating a silhouette from an image. But let’s go one step further. Let’s turn this off and let’s go and get our selection again. I’m going to add a brand new layer.
This time let’s smooth it by three pixels and see if we get a slightly better result still. And I’m going to fill it with a color and it doesn’t matter what color I fill it with but let’s do black for argument sake. And I’m going to deselect my selection. This time I just want the white outline. So, on this fill layer I’m going to take the fill to zero so I’m effectively filling the layer with the deer shape but then turning that off. Now that might sound counterintuitive but look what happens when we select a layer style and add a stroke. I’m going to click on the stroke. You can see immediately we’re getting this stroked outline for this deer head. Now if I want it to be white I can just come in here and I’m just going to type the numbers for white which are 255, 255, 255 and click Ok. I can choose outside or center.
I could even do inside but I think that center is probably going to give me the best results here. And I can size my outline to whatever I want it to be and just click Ok. So that’s a filled layer with the fill turned off but with a white stroke to give us this outline shape. So, so far we’ve got two versions of our silhouette. One’s a black and white and one is an outline. And let’s create another one, a third one. I’m going to take this silhouette and I’m going to duplicate it. So let’s just move that up to the top here and turn the other layers off. Now what I want to do is to fill this area here with a pattern. So I’m going to choose Layer, New Fill Layer, Pattern and I’m going to choose this pattern this square pattern.
But its way, way too big so I’m going to scale it down to about 10 percent, maybe even 5 percent so it’s a nice small pattern. And I’ll click Ok. Now what I want to do is I want to make this pattern fill layer just the shape of the layer underneath and I can do that by creating a clipping mask. So I’ll select this pattern layer and choose Layer, Create Clipping Mask. And so I’ve clipped the pattern to the shape of the deer head. So there are a few options that you have for working with something like a clipart image, this clipart image of a deer head which I then extracted so I was able to do something with it. And what we did with it was to fill the selection with black to create a silhouette.
We can also fill it with black, or any color indeed, make the fill invisible and then stroke it to get a stroked outline. And the final feature allows us to fill the silhouette with a pattern. And if we wanted to we could even go and borrow the white outline from the layer below.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my tutorials on this YouTube channel. And visit my website at projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator, Lightroom and a whole lot more.
Learn to turn an image into one that looks like it is cut from paper and taped to a page. This effect uses the Quick Selection tool, Stroke Style, a filled layer and commercial brushes.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’ll show you how you can create a hand cut image effect in Photoshop. Before we get started with this tutorial let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming for.
I’m going to show you the original image I’m going to be starting with here. And what we’re going to do is isolate the image on its layer. We’re going to add a sort of white border around it so it could be used in various collage projects. And what I’m going to do here is actually show you it on a background here so I’ve got it dragged into a collage project. And so we’re going to see how we can create this sort of white edge look very easily for our images. So first of all let’s tuck this one away. I’m just going to delete those layers before we start and let’s just tuck that away and let’s go back and get our bird image.
Now the first thing that I would do with this particular image is to convert the background layer into a regular layer. So I’m just going to get everything back to what it was. And if this layer here that we’re seeing in front of us were the background layer I would just double click it to convert it into a regular layer. The next thing I’m going to do is to isolate this bird and the pieces that I want. Now I’m using the Quick Select tool because it’s quite a good tool for this and it’s going to make the job go pretty quickly.
So I’m just selecting over the areas of the bird that I want. And if the selection goes too far like it just did there I’m just going to hold the Alt key as I drag over the area that I want to remove from the selection. So I can select over the pieces if I want to add a bit to it. I’m just checking to make sure the bird looks pretty good but this could be edited later on. This effect is actually editable. So if you find that there’s a chunk of the bird missing or there’s a chunk of the background in it that you don’t want to include you can easily get rid of that later on.
So I’m just making a reasonable selection here and then I’m going to add a layer mask to this layer. So I’m just going to click here on the Add Layer Mask icon and that isolates the bird from its background. And you could brush this layer with black or white paint to make the edges smoother or whatever you want to do or you could add more of the bird or subtract it by just painting on this mask. But for now we’re going to assume that the mask is just fine. I’m going to add a new layer by clicking the Add New Layer icon here and I just want to fill it with this blue color.
So with the blue color as the foreground color I’m going to press Alt Backspace, Option Delete. You can see I could do a bit of tidying up in here. I’m going to leave you to do that yourself. With this particular layer selected I’m now going to add a stroke to it. So I’m going to click the Add Layer Style. I’m going to click Stroke. The color stroke I want is white or whatever you were opting as your sort of paper color because we want the idea that this bird has been cut out of a piece of paper.
So you could use an off white if you wanted to. I’m just using plain white. And I’m going to increase the size of this so it looks as if there’s a border edge around the bird and you can make that size whatever you want. It needs to be on the outside. If you put it on the inside you’re just shrinking your bird down and you’re losing detail here. It doesn’t want to be in the center either. You’ll have the same problem. It must be on the outside.
So having done that, I’m just going to click Ok. So essentially that’s my cut out bird and I could just drag and drop him into a collage if I wanted to. But I want to show you quickly how to do that tape effect. I’ve got this installed as a brush and all I did was look for tape as a brush and there are a lot of free commercial brushes that you can use. So here’s my tape brush. I’m just going to use this one. I’m going to make sure that I’m using red because I kind of like using red tape and I’m going to do it on a brand new layer.
So I’m going to size my brush down using the square bracket key and just press three or four times to get that tape effect. Now if I want to use the same piece of tape over and over again I’ve got this brush panel open so I can now rotate the brush so that the tape is where I want it to be. If I just open up the spacing we’ll be able to see what angle it’s going out at and that will allow me to then stick it onto the bird in the angle that I want it to appear at. And I could obviously have of course used a different piece of tape if I wanted to but I’m just doing this very simply and very quickly.
So now that we’ve got our tape let’s go back and get our background, this stripe background that I created, and we’re going to our bird image. I’m going to take the tape layer and the bird layer and just drag and drop them together into my collage. And now I can move it using the Move tool, size it if I want to and it’s now in position on the collage. So that’s how you create a sort of cut out taped on effect in Photoshop very easily using a stroke.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my tutorials on this YouTube channel. Please consider subscribing to my channel and visit my website at projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.
Learn to add vignettes to your photos in Photoshop using three different methods. One uses a Inner Glow style, one a filled and blurred layer and the third the Lens Correction filter.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create vignettes in Photoshop in three different ways. Before we get started with this tutorial let’s have a look and see what a vignette is so that we can understand what it is that we’re aiming for.
This image has a vignette. It’s a darkening around the edges of the image. If I turn this layer off you can see the original image and now there is this darkening edge. And that’s the vignette that we’re going to create. And I’m going to tuck that image away for now and let’s go and get the original image and we’ll create that same vignette style. To do this, first of all I’m going to add a new layer to the image so I’ll click on the Add New Layer icon at the foot of the layers palette. I’m going to target the Rectangular Marquee tool and I’m going to drag in here to create a marquee just inside the edge of the image because this area is going to be my vignette.
Because I have selected the middle of the image I need to invert my selection with Select Inverse and that inverts the selection so just this edge is selected. I’ll now grab a color from my image. I’ve used the Eyedropper tool here and I’m just going to grab a brown color from my image as my foreground color. And now I’m going to fill the edge here with that color by pressing Alt Backspace on the PC or Option Delete on the Mac. Now I’m going to choose Select, Deselect because I’m about to blur the edges of this and I need to get rid of the selection before I do or else I won’t be able to blur it correctly.
With this layer selected I’ll choose Filter, Blur and I’m going to choose Gaussian Blur because that gives me a nice blurred edge. I’m going to wind up the blur until it’s nice and soft and so you can do this as much or as little as you like. I’ll click Ok. Now to get this effect on the image rather than being painted on like this to blend it in I’m going to set the blend mode to multiply. And that multiplies the edges. It darkens it all around the edges where the image is darker and it’s not quite so dark where the image is lighter. And now I’m just going to adjust the opacity until I get a pleasant darkening of the image.
Now if I wanted to I could go one step further with this and I could with this layer still selected choose Edit and then Transform and then Warp and this would allow me to warp this layer. So for example I could pull it away from the edges but leave it more definite in the corners. So you might want to try something like that if you’re using this particular effect. It can’t be done with all other effects. So there’s one of the vignette possibilities. Let’s go and get a second version of our image and we’ll try another vignette. This time I’m going to choose Filter and I’m going to choose the Lens Correction filter.
The Lens Correction filter has two panels. I’m going to click Custom because what I want to do is to add a vignette and I’m going to drag towards the darken side so that you can see that the edges of the image are being darkened. And when I have the vignette that I want here I’ll just click Ok. So now I’m going to wind this back so that you can see the effect. That’s the original and this is the vignetted version, before and after. For this final vignette we’re going to use a style. This layer has been converted from a background layer into a regular layer so I’m going to click the Effects or Style button and we’re going to add an inner glow to the image.
Now a glow can be something light but it can also be something very dark. So I’m going to click here and we’re going to choose a really dark color for our glow. So I’m looking for a sort of brown color here to use. Let’s click on that. Because I want it to be darker I need to use a different blend mode than screen because screen will always be lighter. So I’m going to use multiply and I’m going to increase the size of this quite a bit so it comes in around the edges of the image. And you can see it in place here.
And now I can adjust down the opacity if I don’t want it to be quite as dark and here I can work on the choke and I can also change the contour. So for example you can get different effects by choosing different contours here. You get a different effect again by choosing one of the ones that is looped inwards rather than bent outwards. And once I’ve got the vignette effect that I’m looking for I can just close this dialog. Now one of the things about a vignette done this way is that it’s able to be saved. For example we could save this and call it vignette and then in future we could add it to an image by adding that vignette style to it.
So I’ve just dropped the style off but let’s select this layer and now let’s choose Window and then Styles and this opens up the styles panel. This is our vignette style. We can just click to apply it to that image. So that is a very reusable vignette created using a style. So you can create vignettes using styles. You can create them using filled layers that are blurred or you can create them using the Lens Correction tool in Photoshop.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my tutorials on this YouTube channel. Please if you liked the video consider subscribing to this YouTube channel. And visit my website at projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.
Learn three things about using Filters in Photoshop – including how to control the colors used (and why sometimes the colors look horrible), how to combine and reorder filters and how to add them so you have maximum flexibility when using them.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial we’re going to look at three things that you need to know about using filters in Photoshop. In this video I’m going to cover some of the important things that you need to know about filters.
And the first one is that what you have selected as the foreground and background color is critical when you’re using filters. Now I’m going to convert this layer into a Smart Object layer. So I’m going to choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters and that makes this a Smart Object so that the filters will be editable.
If you’re using Photoshop CS4 or later you’ll want to do this. Now I’m going to choose Filter > Filter Gallery and notice that my foreground and background colors are sort of a lime green a bright pink. And they’re exactly the same colors that are being applied here with this halftone pattern filter.
Now you might come into this filter dialog and take one look at this result and say well this is not for me. Well the reason why it’s probably not for you is that you’ve got selected these foreground and background colors and if you weren’t using those colors then this halftone filter wouldn’t look like this.
Let’s just click Cancel to exit out of here and I’m going to press the D key which sets the default foreground and background color. Now let’s go back into the filter gallery and you can see that the halftone pattern looks very different this time.
It’s black and white. And it’s black and white because of this black and white here. Now again if I exit this dialog and if we switch black and white around and I go back into the filter gallery you’ll see that we’re getting this sort of negative look on our image. Because white is now the foreground color we’re getting the effect of a digital negative with a halftone on it.
So you can see how critical it is that you’re using these colors as black and white with the darker color in the foreground before you go into the filters if you want a sort of standard filter effect. So I’m just going to make this sort of a brown color so that I can use brown and white and I’m going into Filter and then Filter Gallery.
And now we’ve got a brown and white sort of color halftone effect. So that’s the first trick in Photoshop, always make sure that you have the correct foreground and background colors selected. And if things look funky in here then just exit the dialog and start again. Now this is not going to be the case for most of these effects.
The artistic effects for example do not generally rely on those colors the foreground and background color so you’ll probably find that most of these work just fine. For example sponge is working just fine. With brush strokes you might find that the colors are being used but you can always test this to make sure by choosing some really, really bright colors and see if you see these colors in the resulting filter.
If you do see the colors then you can say to yourself well yes these colors are being used by the filter and if I don’t like the effect then I’m going to need to exit this filter gallery and go and do something about it. You can see that the diffuse glow filter is using the background color, the pink that we have selected as a background color. Again, glass knot, ocean ripple knot, all the sketch filters, pretty much all of them use these foreground and background colors.
Chrome is an exception to that but all the others are using it. Water paper is different, again glowing edges will be different. The texture filters probably aren’t going to use these colors but certainly all of these sketch ones are. Now the other thing to be aware of here is that you can add multiple filters.
So for example I’m just going to set up this filter pretty much the way I want it to look on this image. I just probably want the size to be a bit smaller. But having done that to the image I can now click here on this New Effect Layer option and I can add a second effect. So for example I could go and put some sort of painterly effect over the top of this, for example accented edges. And this is accented edges over a halftone pattern filter.
But if I reverse these I may find that the result is quite different and it is in this combination. If I do the halftone first and accented edges second the entire result looks very different. So working these filters out the ones that you want to use and the order in which you want to use them is critical.
To turn a filter off deselect its eyeball here and that just turns its effect off in the image. You can add new effects layers, new filter layers by clicking New Effect Layer and if you to remove an effect layer just click it, for example accented edges, and click the Delete button and it’s now been removed. I’m just going to go back and put accented edges in and click Ok.
Now because of the way I set this up with Smart Filters there’s one option here for the filter gallery. When I open it I can then change both of these filters. It is also possible to create separate filters. So while this object has been created for Smart Filters I’m just going to trash my filters and let’s go back and put them in one at a time.
So first of all I’m going to go in and add my accented edges. So I’m going to remove the halftone filter. So I’m just going to click that and click Ok. And now I’m going to add a second filter. This one’s not going to be accented edges. This is going to be my halftone pattern. And then I’ll click Ok.
You’ll notice that what we’re seeing is pretty much the halftone filter. This is the halftone filter on top and this is the accented edges underneath. Now in this case these two filters can be dragged around inside the layer palette to reverse the order. So I get a bit more flexibility here if I add the filters separately because in this case I can drag to reorder them outside of the filter gallery.
I don’t have to go back into the filter gallery to edit them and I can also disable a filter if I want to by deselecting its eyeball here. So that’s another thing to consider when you’re applying filters to images inside Photoshop. Before we finish up let’s have a look at another reason why I like to add my filters one at a time and then reorder them as required.
At the moment we have green and pink selected as our foreground and background colors but I’m going to press the letter D to change these around so that they’re now the default colors. I have my image selected and I’m going back into the filter gallery. And this time I’m going to choose a different sort of filter effect.
I’m actually going to choose a sketch filter because I want to make use of the black and white. So I’m thinking graphic pen will probably be a good choice here so I’ll just click Ok. And now this is the filter that we’ve just applied and it’s been applied on top of the other filters. Now I can click here to change the blending on this filter and instead of normal I’m going to choose multiple so I get this darkening effect on the image.
But you’ll notice that this filter is using the black and white colors and these other two filters are using the original pink and green. And if I go in and try and edit this filter by double clicking on it you can see that we’re working with the pink and green filter. I’m working on accented edges. Although I’m seeing the halftone dots it’s the accented edges filter that I’m making changes to while I’m in here.
And I can change the edge brightness and the smoothness. I’ll click Ok. And now I want to have a look at the halftone filter and that’s this one here. I’m going to double click on it to open it. This time we’re looking at the halftone pattern filter and any changes that we’re making are to that pattern filter only.
So I’m going to make it a little bit larger size dots and click Ok. And you can see the result in the image. Halftone pattern filter, accented edges filter, both of these were they using a foreground and background color are using the original pink and green because that was the color combination when we applied those filters.
This filter is the brush strokes on the top and it’s black and white because when we applied this filter we were applying it using the then current black and white colors. So you can see that there’s really a lot more to filters in Photoshop than may first meet the eye.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this YouTube video. Look out for more videos on this YouTube channel.
Subscribe to my channel and visit projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.
Learn how to make a collage effect showing a hand holding a Polaroid photo over the top of your own original photo. The process can be done in practically any version of Photoshop. It uses some simple masks and selections.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create a collage image that shows you holding your own photo. Before we get started let’s have a look and see the effect that we’re looking for.
What I have here is a Polaroid frame and I’ve extracted a portion of the image underneath to place inside the frame. And we have a hand here looking as if the Polaroid image is being held over the top of a scene.
So this is the image that we start with. We’re going to add a hand to it and also a Polaroid frame which we’re then going to fill with our image. We’re going to finish off with just a little bit of shading to help the realism of the situation. So, if you’re ready let’s get started.
To create this effect you’re going to need three images. You’re going to need your main starting image, an image of a hand and an image of a Polaroid frame. Now this image I shot on the street front in front of my house. All I did was hold my hand up as if I was holding something and then shot it with a macro setting on the camera because that allowed me to focus at that hand.
Now the Polaroid image is from a website. I got it from this Deviantart.com website.
There’s a person there who has a Polaroid image. You’ll just open the Polaroid image up, right click and choose Save Image as. And I’ve got the link for that in the description for this video. So once you’ve got all three images open you’re ready to go.
Now I’m going to start by just dragging and dropping the Polaroid image into my main image. So here’s my main image. I’m just taking the background layer and just dropping it in and then I can move it and resize it.
Now if I’m resizing it I want to do that with the Shift key held so it’s constrained in the correct proportions. I’m just going to place it loosely where it’s going to go. Now with the hand image I don’t want all of the detail because this is straight out of the camera. So I’m just going to crop it fairly tightly so the only bits that I’m going to work on are the actual bits that I need in my image.
So I’m just going to crop it there and then just drag and drop it into position. So once we’ve got the three images all in one we’ve got a lot less stuff hanging around on our desktop. So the first thing I’m going to do is deal with the hand. So I’m going to turn off the other layers, click on the hand layer and I’m going to use the Quick Selection tool.
It really, if it works for your job, it’s the best tool to use because it’s quick. And so I’ve just gone too far there and we’ve selected everything. But let’s just go and deselect the hand. If you select a bit more than you need you can Alt and drag with the Quick Selection tool to deselect an area. So now I have all this outside edge selected and I could either delete that or I could mask it.
And since I’m going to need a mask later on I may as well just mask it for now. So I’m just going to click the Mask icon. Now the mask has gone in the wrong way around but all I need to do is to tap on the mask layer and Ctrl I to invert it.
Now it looks like I’ve got a bit of extra here. So I’m just going to select the black color here and just paint out along this line to make sure that it’s all gone, ok, so I don’t have anything trailing and I’m just going to move my hand back into the very corner of the image where it’s going to go. Now we can go and focus our attention on the Polaroid frame. Again, I’m going to turn everything off, focus on the Polaroid frame layer and again I’m going to use the Quick Select tool just because it is so good.
So I’m just going to select around the edges of this Polaroid because it comes in with quite a bit of edge detail and we don’t want that. All we want is the white Polaroid frame itself. So I’m going to need to get rid of that edge and we’re also going to want to select everything in the middle here so that all that is left is the white frame. Now let’s learn from the last mask that we created.
The last mask we created when we selected the background and just clicked the Mask tool what we got was a mask that gave us the background, the selection and nothing else. So let’s just undo that and this time if we Alt Click on the layer mask we’ll get a layer mask that actually shows us the frame and not the excess.
Now again, we’ve got some trailing little bits around the edge which is a bit annoying. But with black as my paint color I’m going to click at one end of it, Shift Click at the other and there’s a bit of a strip down here too. I’m just going to get rid of those so that I have just the frame itself. And now we can go ahead and we can bring back in our hand and we can have a look at the frame over the top of the image. So you can see how everything is starting to go together.
The next thing to do is to position this frame pretty much where I want it to be.
Now I’m going to want to tilt it. Before I do that I want to grab a selection of the middle of the frame so I can then go and get the image of Sacre Coeur that I need. So I’m going back to my Quick Select tool. I’m going to make sure that the polaroid itself is selected, that layer, not the mask, just the polaroid and I’m going to click inside it with the Quick Select tool so I get a selection of the area that is the inside of the polaroid and turn everything back off again.
And you can see my selection is in place. Now if I just wanted exactly the same size I could go ahead and make a copy but I actually want my Sacre Coeur to be a slightly different size in the frame. So I need to transform this selection. So I’m going to Select and then Transform Selection because that allows me to make the selection bigger so the portion of Sacre Coeur that I’m going to take will be scaled down inside the Polaroid frame.
So I’ve not only scaled it by holding the Shift key as I’ve sized it up but I’ve also positioned the selection exactly where I want it and I’m going to click the Transform or the Commit tool here. Now I want this image but I also what my background so I sort of want my cake and eat it too. So then I’m going to make sure that I have the background selected and I’m going to do Layer > New Layer via Copy.
And what that gives me is not only my original background layer but also a layer that has just this image on it. And so now I want to size it and position it inside this frame. So I’m going to turn everything off except for the Polaroid frame and the image portion. I’m going to make sure that the image itself is selected and click the Move tool. And now I’m going to size it down. I want it just the right size for fitting inside this Polaroid frame.
So it can be a little bit larger than the inside of the frame because it’s in a layer behind the frame but I won’t want it so large that it’s falling over the edges. So we just need to get it in the right position. So having done that I’m going to select the Polaroid frame layer and the picture layer and just tilt it. And now when I turn everything back on we can see how it’s all fitting together. And you can see that it’s probably not in the ideal place still.
So I’m going to with those two layers selected – actually I think I’m going to move the hand. I think it’s the hand that’s the problem more than the image itself so I’m just going to move the hand back down. And now let’s go to the Polaroid and the image and we’ll just move them over a little bit and perhaps even square them up a little bit more.
So I want it where it is going to appear held in my hand. So now let’s go to the image itself and let’s make the image a little bit different so it’s obvious that it’s a Polaroid and not the image behind. I’m going to do this using an adjustment layer with Layer > New Adjustment Layer and I’m just going to choose a black and white adjustment because this allows me to convert the image into black and white.
In fact everything is going to black and white and I’m not worried about that. I’m only focusing on what’s happening inside the Polaroid because we’re going to limit this fix in a minute just to the Polaroid. So I’m going to darken the sky up and lighten up the building a bit. So let’s call that done. And now we’re going to create a clipping group of that which will limit this adjustment layer to only affect the layer below.
And to do that we select the adjustment layer and choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Now you can see that this is clipped to the layer below. Now I don’t want it to be black and white. I just want it to be a little less than full color. So I’m just going to drag down the opacity of this layer so that we get the distinct impression that this image inside the polaroid frame is a different image to the one that we’re actually seeing.
Now we just need to sort out the hand issue. And the problem with the hand is that the polaroid frame is behind the hand and we’re not getting that sense that the hand is actually even holding the frame. So we’re going to zoom in. So I’m going to click the Zoom tool with the letter Z and then just zoom into the image and move it around by holding the Spacebar. We already have our mask and the mask will be white where the image is showing and black where it’s not showing. So we want to start painting with black and I want a brush that is fairly hard.
So I’ve got a small, hard brush here and what I want to do is start painting on the mask layer in black to remove the finger where it shouldn’t be. Now it’s a little bit hard to see exactly where it shouldn’t be so I will generally paint out too much of it and then go back and fill it in again. And if I go too far I can just fine-tune that as I go.
And I may want to move even more closely into the image to do this. I certainly will want to size my brush down quite a bit. Now you’re going to do a better and more considered effect than I am because I’m just trying to do this for the sake of the video but you’ll be able to do a better job of this. You obviously – I’ve taken the wrong part of the finger out here.
Let’s just deal with my stupidity here. This is a much better idea. Let’s take the part of the finger that is in front of the Polaroid and then let’s get back the portion of the finger that is behind it. Hum, much better, ok. Now we’ve got some problems here.
Again, this time now I’m getting too much of the background in but I can just deal with that. And then I’m going to get in close here as well. And I would get a bit more of this skin because this is actually the second finger showing behind. We want to ease that off a little bit so we don’t get quite that effect. And part of this is the roadway too. Now having done that let’s just zoom out and see where we’re at.
We’re pretty near done on this. The only thing that concerns me is that there probably would be a bit of shadowing around here. So to put the shadowing in I’m going to add a new layer. I’ll just click the Add New Layer icon, I’m going to select a brush and then I’m going to select a sort of brown paint color. And you can sample this from the image if you want to. Just click on something that’s sort of brown. And then we’re going to paint in where we think that there would typically be a bit of a shadow. And there might be perhaps a bit of shadowing here as well and maybe even across the top of the Polaroid itself.
Now obviously the opacity is going to be reduced enormously. We’re going to take it right down. And we could use multiply if we wanted to just to blend it into the layer below. And then I would just get the Eraser in to just neaten up the edges so that you can take out the effect where you don’t want it to be.
This Eraser has got a reduced opacity which is not helping me here right now, just take out the effect where you don’t want it leaving it in where you do what it. And you fine-tune this. You can also go ahead and soften the edges of the brush so that you sort of peter out this effect so it’s not totally at 100 percent at the very edges. So you can soften the shadow effect a little bit and soften it under here.
But that shadow effect it might be very, very subtle but it will make a big difference in the final image. So let’s just zoom out again and here is our hand held photo. We’ve done this using a Polaroid frame that we downloaded from the web. We’ve copied a portion of the image and adjusted it within the frame so it looks as if it is a Polaroid image and then we’ve placed everything over the top of our underlying photo.
Now apart from a little bit of tidying up for example I can see I’ve still got a slight edge down here that I need to deal with, that’s pretty much the effect that we’re going for. I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. I encourage you to subscribe to my video channel so that you’ll be advised when new videos are release.
And visit my website at projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements and a whole lot more.
Learn how to make bracket frames in Photoshop, how to save them as shapes and how to use them over and over again. This process is guaranteed to be fool proof! It is easy, repeatable and doesn’t need a wealth of Photoshop skills. The frames can be used for digi scrapping as well as for displaying photos – pretty much whatever you want to do with them, you can.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial.
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can make bracket frames very quickly and very easily in Photoshop.
Before we get started with this tutorial let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming for and I’m going to show you how you can create this sort of bracket frame in Photoshop.
And I’m also going to show you then how you can fill it and add a background so you could get this kind of effect.
I’m going to tuck this one away for now and let’s start with a brand new image.
I’m choosing File, New and my image is going to be 1,200 pixels by 1,200.
I think if you start with an image this size you’re going to find that it’s a workable solution.
So I’ll click Ok.
Now we’re going to use some guides so I’m going to choose View and then New Guide.
And I need a number of guides and they need to be 200 pixels in from the edges.
So I want a horizontal one at 200 pixels.
I want another new guide at 1,300 pixels because that’s 200 in from the other edge.
Now I’m going to choose New Guide and do some verticals exactly the same values, one at 200 pixels and one at 1,000.
So this is going to help us align everything.
I’m now going to choose the Text tool and I’ve got a really large font size or I’m going to select a really large font size about 400 points which is really quite big.
I’m going to click here and I’m going to type a curly bracket and that’s just a curly bracket shape.
Now we can’t see it because it’s white on white so let’s just go and get a color for it right now.
Now this is an extremely unattractive for my purposes here curly bracket so let’s just select it and let’s find a nicer type.
So I’m just going to run through my typefaces until I find a curly bracket that I think is attractive.
I want it to have a fairly short start and something pointy or nice and curvy so that we can actually use it.
And it would be nice if it was sort of balanced.
I think this one might actually make quite a good frame so let’s settle for this one.
Having created it the next thing I’m going to do is this is the text layer, I’m going to right click it and I’m going to convert this to a shape.
So this character is now a shape.
And I’m going to select the Move tool and I’m going to hold the Shift key as I do because I want to constrain this so that it is created at a very large size and so it doesn’t lose its nice curviness.
And so I’m going to just make sure that it lines perfectly with these guides that I’ve created.
And because I’ve got smart guides turned on you can do this by choosing View and then Show and then Smart Guides you’ll see that you’ll see actually little red lines when everything is lined up.
So now that it’s lined up to the guides that I’ve created these two at the top and the bottom, now I’m going to drag it out and align it perfectly to this other guide here as well.
So I’m looking for nice little red lines to appear telling me that it’s lined up in this box here absolutely perfectly.
I’m not totally convinced right now.
Let’s just make sure that it is, okay.
So once it’s in position I’m going to hit the checkmark here.
You can see that it’s extending a bit beyond the edge of the image.
I’m not a slight bit worried about that.
All I need to do is to choose Image and then Reveal All and we can see its edge.
So now that we’ve got one in place the rest of it is really easy.
I’m going to drag this layer down onto the New Layer icon so I now have two.
I’m going to make sure that I target this layer and that I have the Move tool selected, I’m going to choose Edit and then Transform Path and I’m just going to flip this horizontally.
And what that does is create a mirror image of my shape.
Now provided I select the shape that I want to move and start moving it, if I hold the Shift key it will be constrained so it can only be moved in a horizontal direction.
So it’s going to line up perfectly to these guides here and all I need to worry about is that it lines up with this guide here that I’ve created.
And again, I’m just going to choose Image, Reveal All so that we can see both sides of this.
Now I’m going to select both these layers and I’m going to drag the selected layers onto the New Layer icon so that I’ve got another set of these braces.
And I’m going to link these.
I’m going to right click and choose Link Layers because I want these two to travel together.
And what I’m going to do with them is simply rotate them through 90 degrees.
So I’m going to make sure that I have them selected and that I have the Move tool selected and I’m just going to rotate these around 90 degrees and so they’re going to move exactly into position.
And I’m going to click the checkmark here to accept that and again, Image, Reveal All so that I can see the image.
Now I’m going to unlink these layers by clicking them and click Unlink Layers.
And the reason why I want to unlink them is that I want to now move each one of these layers independently of the other.
So I’m going to select this one first and I’m just going to use the arrow keys to nudge it in because I want to join up these gaps.
And I’m going to nudge it in and I’m going to count as I go.
Now I nudged that 20 times.
This one’s got a much bigger gap than I normally see so I’m going to have to do that 20 times for each of these.
And I’m going to continue all the way around.
And then I’m going to continue and do it again.
I’m moving the edge ones inwards and the top ones down.
Now you can see that some of these are coming in more quickly than others.
I’m not really worried about that because you’re not going to see it later on if it’s slightly off skew.
I’m just going to bring this one down a bit too.
I just want to join it up so that the edges are pretty even all the way around and some of them are going to join up in different ways.
It’s going to depend on the curly braces that you’re using.
I’m going to press Ctrl semicolon to turn off the guidelines now.
And this basically is my new curly bracket shape.
But of course I want to save it as a shape so that I can reuse it.
So I’m going to click on the topmost layer and then click on the bottommost of these four shape layers.
I’m going to right click and I’m going to choose Merge Shapes because what that does is it merges these into a single shape so they can be sized and moved and dealt with as a single shape.
And now so that I can use it later on as a shape I’m going to choose Edit and then Define Custom Shape.
And I’m going to call this bracket shape and click Ok.
And now of course we’ve created this bracket we can just discard that shape, that image.
We don’t need it any longer.
So I’m going to choose File, New and let’s create a brand new image.
Now we’re going to find this custom shape in our shapes collection so we’ll click here on the Custom Shape tool.
It shares a toolbar position with the Rectangle tool and a number of others.
But it’s the Custom Shape that we want.
And I’m going to go to the very bottom of my list because this very last one is the bracket shape that we just created.
You can see that I’ve created a few others using different fonts.
Now that I’ve got my shape I’m going to hold the Shift key as I draw it out on this image.
And you can see it’s coming in as a new shape layer because I had it designated as a shape.
In earlier versions of Photoshop you won’t have this dropdown list but you’ll be able to select the shape from the toolbar.
So now that I’ve got my shape let’s have a look and see how we would create some of the other effects that were around that original shape.
The first thing I’m going to do is add a background.
And I have already created a very simple pattern so I’m going to choose Edit, Fill and I have a pattern fill that I’m going to fill the background layer with.
And it’s just a little blue strip pattern.
But I don’t want it to be blue so I’m going to choose Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation and I’m going to adjust the layer so that it’s a color that works a little bit better with the shape color that I’m using.
So I’m just going to select that and click Ok.
Now I can of course go back to my shape and change the fill color for it.
So I might make it a little less obvious of a pink.
So I’ll select that.
I’m also going to add a stroke to it so I’m going to choose a white stroke or a creamy short of stroke and I’m going to make it a dot stroke.
So we can now see that we’ve got a dot stroke here.
Now I want the middle of this pattern to be a different color again.
And this is the important to see how you can actually create a fill for this shape so that it blocks out the background behind it.
To do that I’m going to take the shape layer and drop it on the New Layer icon so I have a duplicate.
And I’m going to right click and I’m going to rasterize this top layer.
So it’s now a raster layer.
Because it’s a raster layer I can now use the Magic Wand tool and I’ll click just outside the frame so that I select all the area around this shape.
And then I’m going to choose Select Inverse so that I’ve got the entire area of the shape selected.
And because I want to just miss the edge of this shape I’m going to bring this selection in 2 or 3 pixels.
So I’m going to choose Select, Modify, Contract.
I’m just going to bring it in a couple of pixels to make sure that I’m well clear of the border.
And now that I am clear of the border I’m going to select a color here, a sort of orangey yellow color and I’m going to fill my selection with this sort of yellowy orange.
But I don’t want to fill the layer that has the pink on it so I’m going to create a brand new layer and fill that.
So Alt, Backspace, Option, Delete and I’ll press Ctrl D to deselect the selection.
Now I’m going to get rid of the shape copy because I only needed that to create my fill and now I’m going to drag this below the frame and above the background.
And when I do we end up with the final effect that we saw in the original image.
So this was the original image that I created.
And the only real difference between these two is the style of bracket that I used to create the bracket edge.
So I’ve chosen a rather plain one here but in this case I chose a very fancy one.
But the process is identical to create these frames.
And once you get used to it you’ll be able to create these very quickly and very easily.
And this gives you the ability to create your own frames at any time to your own specifications.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial.
Look out for more tutorials on my website at projectwoman.com where you’ll find tutorials for Photoshop, Illustrator, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and a whole lot more.
And please subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you’ll be notified when new videos are released.
Learn how to craft a custom black and white image in Photoshop using the Black and White adjustment layer and a curves adjustment. The process also includes adding a simple vignette effect.
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.
Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create a custom black and white conversion for your images in Photoshop.
Before we get started with this process let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming at. Here is just a standard conversion to black and white of an image and I just used the desaturated command to get this image. And here is a more crafted version.
Here I’ve been able to make choices about exactly how my black and white image looks. And I like this one a whole lot better and I’m going to show you how you can create this affect yourself. And what we do is use a black and white adjustment layer to do it. So first of all I’m going to take all these layers and just trash them.
And let’s get started with this image which of course was originally a color image. Now one thing I did do to this image is I cropped the beam across the top of the image out of the way because I didn’t think that helped it at all. And now instead of doing a desaturation which you might do by choosing Image > Adjustments > Desaturate, which gives you this sort of flat conversion into black and white, we’re just going to undo that and we’re going to choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black and White.
Now this allows us to craft a black and white and what you get is a series of sliders. And you get a sort of standard black and white adjustment. But with these sliders you can determine how individual colors in the image are converted. Now right now I want you to look at this Konica Minolta sign here and it was originally blue.
Now you can see that if I take the blue slider towards the left it becomes very dark. If I take it towards the right we actually lose that sign completely. And this is the way that we craft our black and white image. All we need to do is to bring the sliders to where we want them to be to get the effect that we want on the image.
Now for me I wanted my greens to be a big lighter. So I’m going to take my greens to the lighter side of the slider and I’m testing each slider individually to see which gives me the effect that I’m looking for. And I’m looking for a bit of a moody image here.
So everything is going to be towards the darks for this image. But I might kick the occasional color up to light to that I get a little bit of variety in the image. And I’m just going to craft that until I get what I want and close the dialog.
Now the beauty of using an adjustment layer by choosing Layer > New Adjustment Layer is that this is now editable so I can double click on this adjustment layer at any time and I can redo the adjustment. I can tailor it again to my specific needs.
Having done this I wanted to really give this image a kick so I also added a couple of adjustments to it and these were curves adjustments. I chose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and I did this twice because I wanted to use standard curves adjustment. So from the presets the first thing I did was I chose a strong contrast because I really, really wanted a contrast here.
But then I realized that that was over darkening it so I added another adjustment layer and this time I went for a lightening curves adjustment layer. So I just went straight back into Curves and this time chose Lighter because that gave me a lighter but still very strong contrast image. And I finished off with a vignette.
Now with the vignette I added a new layer so Layer > New Layer. And then I chose the Rectangular Marquee tool here on this brand new layer and I just selected inside the image, sort of around I guess about half an inch inside the image. Then with that selection in place I chose Select > Inverse so that now I have this very edge of the image selected.
And you can see that I made a really poor job of this so let’s go back and I missed the top of the image. Let’s try that again, select Inverse. Now it looks pretty even all the way around. I have a sort of brown selected here but it could be black. It could be anything. I’m going to press Alt Backspace or Option Delete on the Mac just to fill the selection with that color and then I’m going to deselect the selection with Select > Deselect.
I’m going to blend it in using a multiply blend mode because the multiply blend mode darkens everything. And you can see the darkening effect around the edge of the image when I turn it on and off. Of course it’s not only way too much but it’s also a really hard edge. So with this layer selected I’m going to choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Gaussian Blur is my sort of go to blur because what it allows you to do is to really heavily blur the edges. Now I’m down at the very bottom of the image so that we can see the edge that we’ve got. This is it with a zero radius blur but as soon as I start increasing the blur you can see that it softens out nicely. So I’m just going to make it nice and soft and then bring down the opacity of it until I get what I want. So this is the original image and this is our new crafted black and white version.
And I think that for me is a lot more interesting than this particular version that I got by just choosing to desaturate the image. If you like this sort of dark, grungy sort of version or if you want to be able to craft your black and white images with a bit more control than just a one-step click select option then this is the tool you need to do it. Use the black and white adjustment layer and craft your own images.
I’m Helen Bradley.
Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out on this YouTube channel for more of my video tutorials.
And subscribe so that you’ll be advised when new tutorials are launched and also visit my website at projectwoman.com where you’ll find more tips, trick and tutorials on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.