Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to Create an Energetic Paint Splashing Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Shoe advertisements are an incredible source of design inspiration. Inspired by the energetic movement and power behind these ads, I've created a fun paint splashing effect you can recreate in no time!

1. Create the Background

Step 1

Create a New Document in Photoshop at 960 x 638 px. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to Fill the background layer with a dark blue color #1f222a. 

Copy and paste your Watercolor Reference onto the canvas, adjusting the size to fit the background by holding Control-T to Free Transform. When you're finished, set the Layer Blend Mode of the watercolor layer to Divide. 

Step 2

Next, copy and paste your second paint reference, the Acrylic paint stock, onto the canvas. Set the Layer Blend Mode to Luminosity. 

2. Manipulate the Shoe

Step 1

Let's move on to the shoe. Extract the shoe from its white background using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and Cut and Paste it onto the canvas. Flip the shoe by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Then use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to rotate the shoe at an angle. 

Step 2

Create a New Adjustment Layer of Curves and Right-click to set it as a Clipping Mask to the shoe. Adjust the colors of the shoe slightly with the following settings for the RGB, Blue, and Green Channels:

By adjusting the shoe with Curves, the colors now look better with the background!

Step 3

In order to create a powerful splash effect, we'll need to separate the top part of the shoe from its sole. Merge the shoe and Curves layer together. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to create a selection on the lower part of the shoe. 

Once it's selected, Right-click to go to Layer via Cut to separate the lower half onto its own layer. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to Rotate both parts of the shoe to create an opening on the right side. 

3. Add the Splashes

Step 1

You can incorporate the paint splashes at their current color or adjust them to fit your needs. Open the Paint Splash 1 in Photoshop and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) to select and then delete the white background. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast, adjusting the Brightness to -14 and the Contrast to 60.

Feel free to skip this next step if you have a white paint splash you like. Since I couldn't find one, I decided to use a blue splash that I just changed to white. To do this, first select and delete the white background with the Magic Wand Tool (W). Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation and desaturate the splash to -100 Saturation. 

Hold Control-I to Invert the gray scale splash, and then boost the whiteness by going to Image > Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast and changing the Brightness to 84 and the Contrast to 46.

Step 2

Now that we have the splashes adjusted, we can add them to the scene. Copy and Paste both paint splashes onto the canvas and Rotate them to fit against the shoe with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T). Feel free to take advantage of the Warp option to adjust the splashes even further. 

Now add Layer Masks to both parts of the shoe, as well as the two splashes. Hide the Visibility of the white paint. Use the Brush Tool (B) and a Soft Round Brush to paint black onto the Layer Mask of the blue paint in order to help it blend into the sneaker more. 

Do the same for the white paint splash. Paint black on the Layer Mask for the shoe as well to hide any parts you don't want to show through. 

4. Color the Paint Splashes

Step 1

Once you have both paint splashes seamlessly blended onto the shoe, select each Layer Mask and Right-click to Apply Layer Mask. To color the blue paint just like the bright pink parts of the sneaker, use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make selections along the paint at the same width as those pink details. 

With the blue paint layer selected, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation, adjusting the Hue to 107, the Saturation to 100, and the Lightness to 19.

Repeat this process for the bottom part of sneaker and clean up any harsh areas with a Hard Round Brush (B).

Step 2

Let's show a quick reflection of the white paint onto the blue. Control-J to Duplicate the white paint layer and Move it onto the blue paint area. Adjust the Layer Opacity to 25% and use the Eraser Tool (E) to erase any overlapping areas. 

5. Add the Finishing Touches

Step 1

Merge all the shoe layers together, keeping the background layers separate. To add some shadow on the background and texture on the shoe, Right-click the shoe and go to Blending Options. Add a Drop Shadow and a Satin effect with the following settings:

Step 2

Now set a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup as a Clipping Mask to the shoe to tweak the colors a bit more. Here we want to deepen the colors, so adjust the settings as follows:

Step 3

Add a New Layer and set it to Overlay. Use the Brush Tool (B) to paint soft white highlights onto the top portion of the scene. Make sure that some of the highlights hit the shoe as well. 

Intensify the scene some more. Fill a New Layer with a light gray color and set it to Overlay. Use the Dodge Tool (O) at 40% exposure to create stronger highlights along the top and sides of the shoe. 

Step 4

Feel free to continue to play around with your effect. Add a quick New Adjustment Layer of Curves for added contrast on the RGB Channel. Below is the final result. 

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Work with Smart Guides in Photoshop

Step 1 of 7:

Turn your Smart Guides on!
By default, Smart Guides are on. To make sure they are on, choose View > Show > Smart Guides. For this tutorial, you will also need your rulers visible. Choose View > Rulers to ensure that rulers are on.

Step 2 of 7:

Change your ruler to pixels.
By default, your ruler shows inches. We want the ruler to be in pixels for this tutorial. Go to Photoshop > Preferences > Units & Rulers. Select Pixels from the drop-down menu next to Rulers. Click OK.

Step 3 of 7:

Option/Alt + Drag a Layer.
With the Move tool and the BBQ layer selected, hold down the Option (Mac)/Alt (Windows) key and drag the layer. Notice how measurement information appears in pink.
Drag the BBQ 480 px below the First BBQ. Option/Alt-drag another one 480 px to the right. You'll see a new layer each time you use Option or Alt drag.

Step 4 of 7:

Cmd/Ctrl + Hover over a Layer.
Select the top layer in the Layers panel. Hold down the Command key, and with the move tool, hover over some of the other shapes on the image. Notice how the measurement guides appear.

Step 5 of 7:

See guides displayed for paths.
Select the triangle Path Layer. With the Path Selection tool, use Option (Mac)/Alt (Win) and drag the path to the right. Notice how the measurement guides appear.

Step 6 of 7:

See spacing guides between objects.
When you move an object, Measurement Guides visually indicate spacing between the selected object and its immediate neighbors.
Use Option/Alt-drag to select and move the BBQ layer down and to the right, to align it with the other two BBQs. The measurement indicators appear when you have the three BBQs aligned and spaced evenly.

Step 7 of 7:

Experiment with the measurement guides. For instance, when you hold down the Command Key, you can see the placement of that specific object in the image.

Try making a pattern. By opening the “experiment” layer group and making it visible, you can build a pattern out of all the elements provided.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Insert an object/a person into a picture in Photoshop

Sometimes, you want to put a certain object or a person into a different picture. In Photoshop you can do this! In a previous tutorial, we already explained how to remove an object/a person from a background in Photoshop. It is clear that this is normally always the first step to take before being able to insert that selected object or person into another picture. As you will see in this tutorial, we have added a shadow to our inserted object to make things more believable and realistic. We don’t go further into this in the tutorial provided here because it would be too extensive. If you want to know how we added shadow to an object, click here. It is a rather important step! Now let’s find out how we inserted that scooter into a desert picture using Photoshop.


  • Open the picture with your selected object/person and the picture in which you want to insert it in Photoshop.
  • Use the ‘Move Tool’ to click and drag the object/person into the second picture.
  • Use ‘Free Transform’ (CTRL-T) to fix the size, tilt, and placement of the object/person.
  • Make sure to make some final alterations to make things as realistic as possible, like adding a shadow.

More Profound: How to insert an object/a person into a picture in Photoshop

As stated, we already extracted the object, a scooter, from its original background in a previous tutorial. Now we want to insert this object into a different picture. Start by opening Photoshop. Click ‘File’ and then ‘Open’ to browse your computer to get the image that you want to edit into Photoshop (or simply press ‘CTRL-O’ on your keyboard). Or you can browse your computer or external drive to find that specific image, right-click the image and select ‘Open With’ Photoshop. In this case, we have to do this twice! You want to get the image with only the selected object/person opened in Photoshop and you want to get the picture in which you want to insert this object/person opened in Photoshop. Don’t worry if you don’t see both pictures in the same window! They appear in different tabs.

Now that your two pictures are opened in Photoshop, start with the picture of the selected object in it. Simply click the ‘Move Tool’ in the list left in Photoshop, select your object (or person) and drag it into the tab that contains the picture in which you wish to insert your object (or person).

As you can see in our example, the scooter is way too big to really fit into the other picture.

To fix the size of your inserted object (or person), the tilt of it (imagine inserting the scooter on a steep hill) and also the general placement of it (you can also use the ‘Move Tool’ to get placement right), click ‘Edit’ and then ‘Free Transform’, or use the shortcut and simply press ‘CTRL T’ on your keyboard.

A transform frame now surrounds your object (or person). To fix the size of the object (or person) without altering the general look, make sure to transform it scaled, placing your cursor at the corners of the frame to resize. To tilt your object, place your cursor at a small distance from the frame until you see the tilting arrows and continue. Double-click inside the frame to end if you are happy with your changes. You can always transform things later again. As you can see in the following result, the scooter is now nicely scaled down to fit the background. But would you believe that this scooter actually stood there in the middle of the desert? No right?! Things definitely do not look realistic and believable. When you insert an object or person into a picture in Photoshop, always remember to make some final important alterations. Below we will show you how our example looks after some necessary changes.

As you can see, we made our object a bit less sharp to not stand out too much like it did before. We also used a brush over some parts of the scooter to conceal the reflection of cars. (In our original image from which we extracted the object, the scooter was located on a street with cars. Not very desert like, right?) Most importantly, we added a shadow. Adding a shadow is most definitely the most important thing to do when you insert an object/a person into a picture in Photoshop! Make sure that the shadow is correct and realistic and your whole picture will get a more realistic feel! 

Thank you for your attention!
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Saturday, July 8, 2017

How To Create A Vintage Photo Effect

Here's the image I'll be working:

And here's what the final antique photo effect will look like:

Step 1: Convert The Background Layer Into A Smart Object

Before we begin, let's take a quick look at my Layers panel. I've just opened my image in Photoshop, and we can see the image sitting on the Background layer, currently the only layer in my document (and in fact, it will remain the only layer in my document even after the effect is complete):

The Layers panel

In a moment, we'll use the Camera Raw Filter to create our antique photo effect, but in order to keep the effect fully editable, we'll need to apply the filter as a Smart Filter. And for that, we first need to convert the layer our image is sitting on into a Smart Object. Click on the small menu icon in the top right corner of the Layers panel:

Clicking the Layers panel menu icon.

Then choose Convert to Smart Object from the menu that appears:

Choosing the Convert to Smart Object command.

Nothing will happen to the image in the document window, but if we look again in the Layers panel, we see that a small Smart Object icon has appeared in the lower right corner of the layer's preview thumbnail, letting us know a layer is now a Smart Object:

The Smart Object icon in the preview thumbnail.

Step 2: Select The Camera Raw Filter

Now that our layer has been converted to a Smart Object, we can apply the Camera Raw Filter. Go up to the Filter menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choose Camera Raw Filter:

Going to Filter > Camera Raw Filter.

This opens Photoshop's Camera Raw Filter dialog box, with the image appearing in the main preview area:

The Camera Raw Filter's dialog box.

If the Camera Raw Filter isn't already appearing in full screen, click the Full-Screen Mode icon in the upper right (just to the left of the histogram) to switch it to full screen so you can get a better view of what you're doing. You can also just press the letter F on your keyboard to toggle Full-Screen Mode on and off:
Clicking the Full-Screen Mode icon.

Step 3: Open The HSL / Grayscale Panel

The various Camera Raw panels are located in the column along the right-hand side, and the Basic panel opens for us by default. We'll come back to the Basic panel later. There are other panels we can choose from as well which we can access by clicking on the various tabs just above the panels. To create our old antique photo effect, let's start with the HSL / Grayscale panel. Click on its tab to open it (fourth tab from the left):

Clicking the HSL / Grayscale tab.

Step 4: Create A Custom Black And White Version

We can use the HSL / Grayscale panel to create a custom black and white version of our image. First, select the Convert to the Grayscale option by clicking inside its checkbox. As soon as you select this option, you'll see your image in the preview area switch to black and white:

Checking the Convert to Grayscale option.

Then, drag the individual color sliders (Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Aquas, Blues, Purples, Magentas) either right or left to lighten (right) or darken (left) any areas in the black and white version that originally contained those colors. For example, dragging the Reds slider towards the right will lighten any areas in the black and white version that originally contained red. Dragging the Greens slider towards the left will darken any areas that contained green, and so on. If you drag a slider and nothing happens, it's because no part of your image contained that particular color. Keep an eye on your image in the preview area as you drag the sliders to judge the results:

Drag the color sliders left or right to darken or lighten different areas in the black and white version.

Continue experimenting with the color sliders until you're happy with your black and white conversion. Here's what my result looks like in the preview area:

My custom black and white version.

Step 5: Open The Split Toning Panel

Open the Split Toning panel by clicking on its tab (directly to the right of the HSL / Grayscale tab):

Clicking the Split Toning tab.

Step 6: Add A Sepia Tone

Using the Split Toning panel, we can add a sepia tone to our black and white image, and we do that using the Hue and Saturation options. There are two sets of Hue and Saturation options, one for the highlights (the lighter areas) of the image and one for the shadows (the darker areas). For the Highlights set at the top, set the Hue to 40 (which gives us a nice orange-yellow) and the Saturation to 20. Note that you won't actually see any change in the hue until you increase the saturation from its default value of 0.

Then, in the Shadows set at the bottom, use a slightly different Hue value of 45 (just for a little variety) and increase the Saturation value to 50 for a more intense effect in the shadows:

The Hue and Saturation values for the Highlights (top) and Shadows (bottom).

Here's my image in the preview area with the sepia toning applied:

The effect of adding the sepia tone.

Step 7: Open The Effects Panel

Two panels down, two more to go. Open the Effects panel by clicking on the fx tab (third tab from the right):

Clicking the fx tab.

Step 8: Add Grain To The Image

The Effects panel is limited to just two effects - grain and vignetting - but both will help us out with the antique photo effect we're creating. Let's start by adding some grain. The three sliders in the Grain section at the top of the panel let us adjust the amount, size, and roughness of the grain. You can experiment with these sliders on your own to find the settings you like best, or use the same settings I'm using here for my image, which is an Amount value of 50, Size set to 60, and Roughness set to 60 as well:

My Grain effect settings.
Here's a close-up view of my image to make it easier to see what the grain effect looks like:

The image with the grain added.

Step 9: Add A Vignette

Next, let's move down to the Post Crop Vignetting section of the Effects panel to add a vignette effect. The main control here is the Amount slider at the top. If you drag this slider towards the left, you'll darken the edges and corners of the image. That's usually the result you want when adding a vignette, but it's the opposite of what we want for our antique photo effect. For this effect, we want to lighten the edges as if they've faded over time, and we can do that by dragging the Amount slider in the opposite direction, towards the right. I'm going to increase my Amount value all the way to +80. You can leave the other sliders set to their defaults:

Lightening the edges and corners by dragging the Amount slider to the right.

Here's my image in the preview area with the vignette applied:

The effect of adding both the grain and the vignette.

Step 10: Open The Basic Panel

We'll finish off the effect in the same panel Photoshop opened for us by default - the Basic panel. Click on its tab to open it (first tab on the left):

Clicking the Basic tab.

Step 11: Lower The Overall Contrast

Images that have faded over time have less overall contrast, and we can reduce the contrast of our image using a few simple sliders in the Basic panel. First, to tone down the highlights, click on the Highlights slider and drag it towards the left. I'll drag my Highlights value all the way down to -70, but you'll want to keep an eye on your own image as you drag the slider to judge the result. Then, to lighten the shadows, click on the Shadows slider and drag it towards the right. I'll increase my Shadows value to +80 to really lighten up the darker areas, but again, you may end up choosing a different value for your image.

Finally, to reduce the contrast in the mid tones, click on the Clarity slider (third slider from the bottom) and drag it towards the left. I'll lower my Clarity value to -40 which gives me a softer looking image without losing too much detail:

Dragging the Highlights, Shadows and Clarity sliders.

And here's what my final effect looks like after reducing image contrast:

The image now looks to have faded over time.
Click OK when you're done to close out of the Camera Raw Filter's dialog box:

Clicking the OK button.

Photoshop goes ahead and applies your settings to the image, and because we applied the Camera Raw Filter to a Smart Object, it was added as a fully editable Smart Filter. We can see it listed as a Smart Filter below the image in the Layers panel. If you want to go back and re-edit any of the settings for the effect, simply double-click directly on the name Camera Raw Filter to re-open the dialog box and make your changes:

Double-click the filter's name to edit its settings.
To temporarily hide the antique photo effect and view your original image, click on the visibility icon (the eyeball) to the left of the filter's name in the Layers panel:

Click the visibility icon to toggle the filter on and off.
Clicking the visibility icon once turns the filter off and reveals the original, untouched photo:

The original image remains unharmed.
Clicking the visibility icon again (click on the empty spot where the eyeball used to be) turns the Camera Raw Filter back on and brings back the effect:

The final antique photo effect.
And there we have it! That's how to add an old, antique or vintage photo effect to an image.
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