Articles Posted in the BASIC / USE TOOLS Category

  • Photoshop Channels and Color

    Before you can properly use Photoshop you have to understand digital color and how Photoshop deals with it.

    View Other Articles in This Series

    How to set up Photoshop
    Photoshop Interface Explained (Part 1)
    Photoshop Interface Explained (Part 2)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 1)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 2)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 3)
    Photoshop Channels and Color
    Photoshop Selections (Part 1)
    Photoshop Selections (Part 2)
    Photoshop Layers


    Sunset Surf Fishin

    Modern display devices (LCD, CRT) use the RGB color model. This is an additive color model which means that in order to create a certain color, light has to be added.

    How digital color works

    Let me explain to you how digital color works. As you know, monitor displays are made up of pixels which are little squares that emit light. Each pixel can emit red, green and blue light in various amounts. These amounts are measured from 0 for no light to 255 for maximum light.

    So in order for the blue color to be displayed the pixel will emit 255 amount of blue light and so on for red and green. But what if we want some other color, like yellow? Well, like I told you before, RGB is an additive color model which means that color is created by combining different lights. So for yellow the pixels will emit 255 amount red light and 255 amount green light for a pure yellow color. For a magenta color then the pixels will emit 255 red light and 255 blue light. Of course it is not necessary to have exactly 255 of each light in order to create color.

    We could have a reddish yellow by using 200 red and 100 green light. But what happens if we add some blue light to our yellow color recipe? Will the color became bluer? Not exactly, because we are dealing with light if we add a little blue then the color will became brighter. As you can see figuring out how color works from the numbers it is difficult so that’s why the HSB color model exists. Think of it as a chart, a reference which will help you understand digital color better.

    You can see from the chart that hue is the actual color while saturation is the intensity of that color. Brightness is the lightness of that color. Let me explain to you how I see the chart. Think of color as recipes and lights as ingredients. Each recipe has to have at least 1 ingredient (1 light) in order to work except for black which is the absence of light. So in order to get yellow I will have to add to my recipe red and green and I will have a fully saturated yellow. If I add blue to the recipe then the color migrates towards the center of the color wheel making my yellow less saturated.

    Let’s do an exercise. Let’s suppose that I have 50 red, 100 blue and 10 green. Can you guess which color will be displayed? It will be a bluish magenta, not fully saturated. That’s because its 2 main ingredients are red and blue which results in a magenta color while the third ingredient, in our case the green color determines the saturation. The less of the third ingredient the more saturated the color will be. The complete lack of the third ingredient will result in a fully saturated color.

    Let’s take another example. Let’s say I have 150 green, 100 red and 80 blue. What color it will be? The 2 main ingredients (or the first 2 largest numbers) are 150 green and 100 red. The secondary ingredient is blue (the smallest number of the three). So we will have a greenish yellow very desaturated because the blue is pulling the saturation towards the center of the wheel. You get it? To resume let’s say that the main ingredients determine the hue (red + green = yellow, red + blue = magenta, blue + green = cyan), the secondary ingredient determines the saturation (more of the secondary ingredient means less saturated colors) and the sum of all numbers is the brightness.

    This discussion brings us to channels. Think of channels as black and white representations of an image. For example the red channel of a picture is the black and white version of an image. If this black and white image is bright then we have a lot of red light in our image and if it is dark then we have a little red light. If there is 255 red light then we will have a white image and if there is 0 red light then we will have a black image. Think of channels as visual representations for each main color (red, green, blue). If the green channel is light then we know that we have a lot of greens. If the green channel is dark then we know that we have little green light in our image.

    Observe the reddish image above. Can you guess which color channel will be predominant? If not, look at the channels of this image below:

    As you can see the Green and Blue channels are fairly dark but the Red channel is so white it is almost translucent. This means that we have a lot of red color in our image. You may wonder how this will help you with your own images. Well, I do a lot of photo retouching and when I first open an image, before doing any adjustments whatsoever I do the “Channel Walk”. No, it’s not the “Moon Walk”, it’s the “Channel Walk”. If you are imagining some kind of strange dance movement you’re wrong! The “Channel Walk” is the process of quickly viewing each Channel in part and analyzing the information I get from there. You may think that there’s not so much information in a black and white version of the image but you’re wrong.

    Let me give you a practical example. Take a look at the image below. Can you tell what adjustments need to be made? If you are thinking that this image is noisy and needs color correction then you are right. But how should I color correct it? One could simply add a Curves Adjustment Layer and play with the curves until some (apparently) good looking results start emerging. Then a Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise would be the next logical step. But this is not the approach a Photoshop professional like yourself should take. Let me show the professional, right way to use your newly acquired knowledge about channels to tackle this problem.

    Open photo. First, do the “Channel Walk”. This means to press Ctrl + 3 (Red Channel), Ctrl + 4 (Green Channel), Ctrl + 5 (Blue Channel) and use the information for further adjustments.

    The Red Channel seems ok, except for the little black patches. Those little patches of dark are nothing else but noise. Hmm, I think to myself, I have a little noise in the red channel. Let’s move on.

    The Green channel looks alright, and is less noisy than the Red Channel. Let’s move on.

    Oh my. What an ugly thing to see. The Blue Channel is noisy as hell (this is common in digital imagery, the Blue Channel is usually the noisiest channel of all) and has some big, and I mean big areas of total darkness. This is not ok. How can I interpret this information? Because I (we) know that the darker the channel the less specific light it will produce, this means that where the image is dark in the blue channel there will be no blue color whatsoever. This means that in those areas the Red and Green channels will be the main suppliers of the color information. We know that Green and Red colors are the recipe for fully saturated Yellow so the conclusion we draw is that we have a yellow color cast.

    If you don’t get this the first time know you’re not alone. Channels and colors are a hard nut to crack at first, but once you experiment on you own a little bit this will be a walk in the park.

    Let me quickly recap. The red channel is a bit noisy but ok. The green channel is less noisy, that’s good. The blue channel is very noisy and it has big black areas. Lack of color from the Blue channel means that that the color will be formed from the Green and Red channels and because Red + Green = Yellow we conclude that we have a yellow color cast.

    In order to color correct this image we add a Curves Adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) and slightly drag both the Red and Green curves downwards to lower the amount of light these channels contribute to the overall image.

    So this is the image before adjustments. Now you can see that it has a pronounced yellow color cast.

    And this is the image after the adjustment. The difference is subtle but noticeable.

    In the next steps we could maybe use the Reduce Noise filter on the blue channel alone or we could make a new layer from all visible layers (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E) and then apply Reduce Noise filter to this layer alone and change the blend mode to Color so only the Color noise would be affected. However, noise reducing is a different topic so I won’t be covering it here (I am a fan of Lab color mode and this allows for some amazing manipulations of color and noise removal without affecting the luminance integrity of the image. But I digress.)

    In the example above you saw a little practical example of how to use Channels to help color correct the image. Note that this barely scratched the surface of the usefulness of Channels, so don’t limit yourself to this, and learn as much as you can about them if you want to be a Photoshop Pro.

    Related posts

    Learn How to Improve your Photos using LAB Color Mode
    How to Sharpen Photo without Increasing Noise Visibility
    Photo Restoration: Correcting a Red Over-Saturated Photo
    Color Manipulation on the Photo
    Creating Roller Shutter in Photoshop

  • Introduction to Photoshop Layers

    Learn to work with Photoshop Layers in this introduction tutorial which show you the basics of layers.

    View Other Articles in This Series

    How to set up Photoshop
    Photoshop Interface Explained (Part 1)
    Photoshop Interface Explained (Part 2)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 1)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 2)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 3)
    Photoshop Channels and Color
    Photoshop Selections (Part 1)
    Photoshop Selections (Part 2)
    Photoshop Layers


    girl pushes the car
    The Road

    There is no simple way to start describing layers so let’s begin by seeing them in action. You can see I opened an image and I have some text that says “Pushing the car”.

    Now let’s take a look at the Layer palette (if it is not opened go to Window > Layers) below. You can see the background image and the text I have written over. The text is on a new layer. That’s what layers are, thank you for reading the tutorial, the end.

    No, wait, I am joking. Don’t go yet. But that’s the essence of layers, having things on different layers and being able to manipulate them separately.

    If I select the Move tool (V) and click on the text layer I can reposition it without affecting the background layer (the original image). I can resize the layer using Free Transform, I can apply Adjustments, I can erase, I can liquify, and I can apply filters and so on. And the best part is that I can do that without affecting other layers.

    You may say to yourself: “But why in the world would I want that? Why make things complex? I just want to do it easily, without any complications”.

    Well, you could do that and you know what? Let’s emulate that. Let’s do all the work on a single layer. I added some more text to the image, tweaked the colors with Color Balance (Image > Adjustments > Color Balance) and increased the contrast with Curves (Image > Adjustments > Curves).

    As you can see in the Layers palette below all the work is done on a single layer. I am happy with it and I send it to my client. But, bad luck, my client is not in a bright mood and wants me to change the text from “MAKES ME HAPPY” to “MAKES ME SAD” and also change the color of the text to yellow. Oooops… I am in trouble. Because I have done all my work on a single layer I cannot change the text or alter it’s colors without affecting the whole image. So I have to start all over again…thanks a lot Photoshop!

    “But that’s not my fault! You should’ve used layers!” replies Photoshop. And he’s right. Using layers gives us the ability to work non-destructively. That’s a nice concept and it basically means that I can alter different objects on my document as many times I want without making any permanent (irreversible) changes. So that’s something you should try to achieve with every document. It may seem a bit hard at first, but it will become second nature after a while and you will be thankful for this ability.

    Now that we covered some conceptual grounds let’s see some practical examples and learn about ­different types of layers.

    First take a look at the Layers palette. Notice how each layer is represented by a thumbnail and each has a little eye next to it. If you click on the eye icon you will turn off the visibility of that layer.

    The layer on the top covers the bottom layer in terms of visibility. “TO LEARNING” layer covers both the “Background” layer and “THE ROAD” layer, while “THE ROAD” layer covers the “Background” layer. Notice the little lock at the right of the “Background” layer. This means that the layer is locked and you can’t perform certain operations on it (like moving it). If you open an image it will automatically become a background layer. To make the background layer a regular one simply double click on it and then click ok when the dialog box appears.

    You can’t make changes to a layer that is not selected. Trying to move something on the screen while no layer is selected will result in a lot of frustration, even to experienced users. First click on the layer and make sure it’s selected (if it is selected it will be encompassed in a blue rectangle, like the “TO LEARNING” layer below) and then apply changes to it.

    You can move layers up and down by simply dragging them with the mouse. In the example below I double clicked the “Background” layer to make it a regular layer and dragged the layer above the “THE ROAD” layer but below the “TO LEARNING” layer.

    You can see the effect in the image below. Because it sits above the “THE ROAD” layer it covers it completely. “TO LEARNING” layer is still fully visible because it sits above the “Layer 0” layer.

    But what if we want to make “TO LEARNING” layer semi-opaque? Well, then we could lower the opacity. In the image below I lowered the opacity to 50%. This means that the pixels of the layer “TO LEARNING” are only 50% visible thus allowing the pixels below them (pixels from the image with the road) to partially show through.

    But we can do more. Have you ever heard of blending modes? They are basically recipes for how the pixels from the above layer blend with the pixels from the below layer. There is math involved and if you want to know more about them you can start by reading the Help file that comes with Photoshop. I changed the blend mode of the text layer “TO LEARNING” to Color Dodge and raised the Opacity to 100%. Notice that it has become brighter and it borrowed some texture from the layer below.

    The available blending modes are shown in the image below. You can try and play with them to achieve interesting (or more likely unexpected) results but you should definitely try and understand them at least once in your life. You’ll make good use of them, of that I can assure you.

    What kind of layers does Photoshop offer? Well, you saw text layers in the images above and pixel layers (Layer 0). Let me introduce you to adjustment layers. You’ve probably heard of Image Adjustments (like Curves or Brightness/ Contrast). The problem with these adjustments is that once you make them it’s not possible to adjust them further. Imagine that you apply a Curves Adjustment to a layer and darken it but after several other layers and adjustments you decide to lower the effect of the Curves Adjustment. Well, you can’t do that really (unless you do some tricky stuff with the History Brush tool or press Undo until your finger is numb).

    That is where Adjustment layers come in. They are just like Image Adjustments but while you can’t modify Image Adjustments once you have applied them you can always come back and modify an Adjustment layer. In the image below I applied a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. An Adjustment layers affects the entire layer below it. You can see that in the image below, it lowered the saturation of the whole image.

    If I move the “TO LEARNING” layer above the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer than the low saturation effect it’s no longer applied to it. You can see that in the image below.

    This brings us to another subject that’s very dear to me: layer mask. They are a wonderful invention and once you start using them you start wondering how you could have lived without them. A layer mask is exactly what the name suggests: a mask over a layer. Imagine that you have a black, opaque mask. If you put a mask over something you’ll cover that thing completely. If you take the mask off, you can see the thing. If you half cover the thing, you can see only the half that is not covered by the mask. Actually, a layer mask is on the image above. Take a look and try to guess where the layer mask is. Got it? Now look at the image below to see if you guessed right.

    In a layer mask white reveals, black conceals and gray partially reveals (the darker the grey the less it reveals). Our layer mask is completely white and that means that it reveals everything, making the low saturation effect apply to the entire image (except of course the “TO LEARNING” layer which sits above the Hue/Saturation).

    But what if we make half of the layer mask black? Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool, click in the layer mask and drag to make a selection as shown below.

    Press D to set default colors and Alt + Backspace to fill the selection with black. And voila, you just modified a layer mask. Notice that where the layer mask is black the Hue/Saturation effect is no longer applied and we can enjoy the green colors of the image below. Where the layer mask is white the Hue/Saturation is fully applied, making the image more of a dark and white one. But what if you painted with gray in the layer mask? Go ahead, select a brush and a gray color and paint in the layer mask. You’ll see how it partially hides the Hue/Saturation layer.

    That’s nice, but how do we create our own layer masks and apply them to our layers? That’s very simple to do and there’s more than one way to do it. First select a layer for which you want to create a mask. Then choose Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a white layer mask or Layer > Layer Mask >Hide All to create a black layer mask. Or you can click on the little button in the Layers palette that looks like a box with a little circle in the middle.

    But what if you have lots of layers and you want to organize them somehow? Then you should create Groups. To create Groups of layers simply select multiple layers (or one layer) by holding Ctrl and clicking on the layers you want to group. Then press Ctrl + G or choose Layer > Group Layers. You can add a layer mask to a layer group or you can move a Group just like a layer with the Move tool (V) thus adding new possibilities regarding editing and organization of your document.

    To create a new, empty layer on which you can draw or paste from other sources press Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N or choose Layer > New Layer (there is also a button on the layers palette, the one next to the little recycle bin).


    That was just a simple introduction to the world of layers and it doesn’t cover all the aspects. However, I hope that I made you interested in the wonderful world of layers and motivated you, the reader, to further increase your knowledge in the area.

    Related posts

    How to Create a Fog Effect in Photoshop
    How to do Professional Facial Retouching in Photoshop
    Creating Northern Sky in Photoshop
    Creating a Smoke Shaped Image in Photoshop
    How to create bullets in Photoshop

  • Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 1)

    In this article (Part 1 of 3) I will give you a quick introduction to the Photoshop CS5 toolbar. The toolbar is a floating panel normally placed at the left of the screen.

    View Other Articles in This Series

    How to set up Photoshop
    Photoshop Interface Explained (Part 1)
    Photoshop Interface Explained (Part 2)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 1)
    Introduction to the Photoshop Toolbar (Part 2)
    Photoshop Channels and Color
    Photoshop Selections (Part 1)
    Photoshop Selections (Part 2)
    Photoshop Layers


    Home no more 1
    A street scene of mountain

    In case your workspace looks different choose Window > Workspace > Essentials. In case you moved the floating panels and palettes all around your document and you want them back the way they were simple reset the Workspace by choosing Window > Workspace > Reset “NAME OF THE CURRENT WORKSPACE”.

    Similar tools on the toolbar panel are grouped but only one icon is shown. If you want to display all the tools in the group either hold the cursor over a specific tool icon for a longer time or right click the icon in the toolbar.

    All tools groups have shortcuts assigned to them. The shortcut is the letter on the right of the tool name.
    To access the last used tool in the tool group press the respective key. If you hold Shift while pressing the key you will cycle through all the tools in that group. For example below we have the Spot Healing Brush Tool selected. If I select another tool and then I press J the Spot Healing Brush Tool will be selected again. If I hold Shift and press J the next tool will be selected (the Healing Brush Tool).

    Now let’s see what each tool does.

    Move Tool

    It is used for moving pixels on the screen. You can move text, layer masks, normal layers, selected areas. The shortcut for this tool is V but to temporarily access it while having another tool selected simply hold Ctrl and do the moving. Once you’re done moving release Ctrl and ­you will have the control of your previous tool (the tool you had before pressing Ctrl).

    Rectangular Marquee, Elliptical Marquee, Single Row Marquee Tool and Single Column Marquee Tool

    Shortcut – M.

    The Rectangular Marquee Tool is used for making rectangular selections and the Elliptical Marquee tool is used for making elliptical selections. If you want to create perfect circles or squares hold Shift while dragging with the respective tool. If you want to move the selection while creating it, hold Space. To add to an existing selection press and hold Shift BEFORE using the tool – you’ll see a little + sign next to the tool cursor. If after you see the + sign next to the cursor you release and press Shift key you will create perfect circles or squares. Holding Alt before dragging will subtract from an existing selection and holding Alt and Shift will intersect with an existing selection. If you’re subtracting from a selection a little minus sign will appear at the right of the tool’s icon and a little X for intersecting.

    These little shortcuts for adding, subtracting and intersecting with existing selections apply to almost all selection tools so I won’t be repeating them anymore.

    I almost never use the Single Row Marquee tool or the Single Column Marquee Tool but maybe if you’re a web designer you’ll have a use for them. What do they do? If you select one of them and click once on the image you will have a 1px selection row or column.

    Lasso Tool, Polygonal Lasso Tool and Magnetic Lasso Tool

    The Lasso Tool is used for making freehand selections. Not a very precise tool and I almost never use it but beginners may find it attractive.

    The Polygonal Lasso tool is a bit more precise, allowing you to create a selections formed by straight lines. It has limited uses for selecting rectangular objects- like benches or fences. If you are using the Lasso Tool you can temporarily access the Polygonal Lasso Tool by holding Alt.

    The Magnetic Lasso Tool has the most precision of all the tools in the group. It works by snapping to the edges of the objects. You simply click once on the edge of the object you want to select and release the mouse button. Then carefully drag around the object and notice how the Magnetic Lasso Tool “snaps” to the edges.

    You can see below a selection I made with the Magnetic Lasso Tool. It’s the blue umbrella. Not a very bad selection considering the fact that I spent 20 seconds to create it. This is a recommended tool for beginners.

    Quick Selection Tool and Magic Wand Tool


    I find myself using the Quick Selection tool quite often despite its imperfections. It has the advantage of being, as the name suggests, quick. Its icon looks like a brush and if you start painting with this brush inside of an object you will quickly select it. It helps a lot if the object has strong edges but even if it has soft edges (like a face against a reddish sky) it still behaves pretty well. Highly recommended for quick work or if you don’t know how to use other tools. Not recommended for precise selections.

    The Magic Wand Tool is a nice little tool that has its uses from time to time. If you click somewhere in the image it will select all pixels in that area that have a luminosity level close to the luminosity level of the level you clicked. You can set this by entering a value in the Tolerance box (the Tolerance is situated in the tool option bar along the top of the screen).

    In the image below I set the Tolerance setting to 2 and I clicked on the wall. Notice how ragged and ugly my selection is.

    After I changed the Tolerance level to 20 and clicked on the same spot on the wall (after deselecting the previous selection) the selection is much better.

    Also in the tool option bar is a checkbox that allows you to select noncontiguous areas (areas that are not connected) so if I click again on the same spot on the wall after removing the check from the Contiguous check box I would select both the wall on the left and right and generally every pixel with a close luminosity to the clicked area.

    Crop Tool, Slice Tool and Slice Select Tool

    The Crop Tool allows you to crop your images to the desired size. Click, drag, press Enter and you just cropped your image. The cropping is best done at the end of the editing process.

    The Slice Tool and Slice Select Tool are mainly for Web Designers and have very few uses for regular uses. How it works? Well, you drag with the Slice Tool and create rectangles (usually web pages layouts). After you’re done you select Save for Web & Devices from the File menu and select a folder. This process will save each sliced portion as a separate image thus allowing you to quickly use these images for website creation.

    Eyedropper Tool, Color Sampler Tool, Ruler Tool, Note Tool, 123 Count Tool

    Shortcut – I.

    If you’re doing color correction in an image then the Eyedropper Tool is your best friend. To use it properly first set the Sample Size in the option bar (the option bar I keep talking about is situated just below the Menus) to 3×3 or even better 5×5.

    Hover the Eyedropper tool over the image and notice how the R G B values change. If you click with this tool anywhere on the image you will set the Foreground color to the color below the Eyedropper Cursor. A quick way to access the Eyedropper tool while having the Brush Tool selected it is to press the Alt key.

    Hold Shift and left click while using the Eyedropper tool to access the Color Sampler Tool and create a new color sampler (you can have a maximum of 4 color samplers). You can see in the image below where my color sampler is and what are the R G B values in the area I have sampled from. This information is very useful when you do color correction or you want to know what are the values of a specific area. Even better, you can change the Mode to Lab, CMYK, HSB or other wacky modes. I remember that I used this tool a lot when I was first learning about Photoshop to see how various adjustments and blend modes affect the pixels values.

    The Ruler Tool is for measuring the actual dimensions on the screen. Not a lot of uses for this tool (maybe if you’re a web designer) but it has one nice feature. In the options bar there’s a button called Straighten. Here’s how to use it. Notice that in the picture below, the level of the ground is not horizontal. It looks like the house is falling to the left side.

    To correct this, select the Ruler Tool then click and drag where the horizon line is in the picture

    Press Straighten and voila, we’ve straighten the horizon line. A bit of cropping occurs at the edges but that’s a good trade off for a straight image.

    I never use the Note Tool but you may find it helpful if you’re passing documents to other people and you want to indicate something. In the image below I added several notes and each could indicate a specific problem you want someone to address or maybe if you’re extremely forgetful write notes to yourself, like “Don’t forget to reduce the saturation here” or “Remove this ugly spot here”.

    Finally, the 123 Count tool is for counting objects. It probably has its uses for certain people but I haven’t ever felt the need to count objects in an image with a tool.
    NOTE: The original house picture was straight to start with, but for the purposes of the tutorial I rotated the picture slightly to the left and then used the Ruler Tool on it.

    Part 2

    That’s it for the Part 1 of Photoshop Toolbar Introduction. Click here to read Part 2.

    Related posts

    Photoshop Selections (Part 1)
    Photoshop Selections (Part 2)
    Introduction to Photoshop Layers
    How to Create Custom Patterns in Photoshop
    Creating Roller Shutter in Photoshop

  • Create a Greeting Card for Christmas and New Year

    A very detailed Photoshop tutorial where i will show you how to create a greeting card for Christmas and New Year Holidays to impress your relatives and friends. This Photoshop tutorial is very simple but the result looks so amazing!

    Final Image Preview

    Step 1

    Create a new document with size of 800 x 600 pixels and fill it with black color.

    Step 2

    Now I would like to create abstract snowing on the picture. We can do it by using the Pen Tool. But before we can start, we have to change some presets of the Brush Tool which we will be using in the future. Select the Brush Tool, a soft round brush about 15 pixels and opacity at 61%.

    Then click the button “Toggle the Brushes Palette” on the Options Bar to open brush preset window or go to Windows > Brushes. Here we can see a couple of presets. Update them for current brush:

    Step 3

    Set foreground color as white (#ffffff). Create new layer, after that select Pen Tool (you need to make sure you are working with Paths instead of Shape Layers). Draw out one straight line using paths:

    Click on start point to close path. Then right-click and select Stroke Path:

    A little dialog box will appear as in the screenshot. Choose Brush and make sure there is a tick next to Simulate Pressure. This is important as it will give your line tapered ends which will make it rock!

    The picture will be similar to mine:

    Step 5

    Next right click again and select Delete Path. Then add more lines on the same way.

    Step 6

    You can change brush size, so the picture will look more interesting:

    Step 7

    Duplicate current layer (Ctrl+J) and apply Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with next parameters:

    Step 8

    We are finished with creating snow; let’s move to the next step.
    Create new layer above, then select the Gradient Tool and fill this layer with Spectrum linear gradient (this is one of standard Photoshop gradients).

    After thart change layer mode to Soft Light for this gradient layer and you will see total difference in coloring.

    Step 9

    Before we start adding text, we have to make some dark mat to divide text from the background. For this effect, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool to create selection similar to mine on screenshot below and fill this selected area with black to transparent linear gradient on the new layer.

    Step 10

    Remove selection with Ctrl+D. Now is time to add the text. Get out the Horizontal Type Tool and write out some text with white color in two lines. For this Photoshop tutorial I´ve used Arial (30 pt, Normal, Black, Crisp) font which is one of standard Windows fonts.

    Step 11

    Then we have to add the year, but I want to put it in a small box. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (Mode: Shape layers, Radius: 5px) to create small box above the text with white color also.

    Step 12

    After that select the Horizontal Type Tool again and add the year with the same font (Color: Black, Size: 16 pt, Black, Crisp).

    Step 13

    Again add one more text line a little bit down. But before you start writing the text, just change some text presets for this text line:

    Step 14

    Now you can add one more text line:

    Step 15

    Change opacity for this layer to 40%.

    Final Image

    We are almost finished with creating our greeting card. The last one thing that we have to add a little bit visible white circles. Select the Brush Tool (Opacity: 20%) and a hard round brush to add different size circles to the greeting card canvas.

    Looks cool, isn’t it? That is it. Card looks amazing to you as for me? You can send this card to your friends and relatives, hope, they will be happy to get this card from you!

    Related posts

    Business Style Greeting Card ( Merry Christmas )
    Using Creative Art in Valentine Greeting Card
    Vintage Greeting Card
    Greeting Card For Friends
    Making Creative Business Card

  • Convert your Photos to Stunning Black and White Versions

    So, you want to convert your photos to stunning black and white versions? If that’s true then you are in the right place. Photoshop offers a wide variety of tools for performing black and white conversions. Some are obvious – like the black and white adjustment layer – and others are more obscure.


    Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise
    Mountain Lake
    Sunrise on Fields
    family moments
    City Skyline 1
    Lake – HDR

    Black And White Adjustment Layer

    Let’s begin with the most obvious one: Black And White Adjustment Layer. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White. Tweak the available sliders to your liking.

    You can see here before and after:

    Gradient Map Adjustment Layer

    Another way to convert to B&W is the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and choose a black to white gradient.

    You can see here before and after:

    Bonus tip. For a more dark and contrasted look duplicate the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer (Ctrl + J) and change it’s blending mode to Soft Light. Here’s how it looks:

    Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer

    Channel Mixe Adjustment Layer is another way to go. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer and check Monochrome. Play with the Red, Green and Blue sliders to achieve the effect you want. I went for some really blown out Highlights.

    You can see here before and after:


    Another option for converting photos to black and white is the simple Photoshop command Desaturate. Press Ctrl + Shift + U and your image will be converted to a grayscale version. This is the simplest way but it is the least flexible and it doesn’t look so great.

    You can see here before and after:

    Lab color mode

    Maybe the most obscure way to convert a color image to a black and white version is by using the Lab color mode. To do this choose Image > Mode > Lab Color. After that discard the color channels by selecting Image > Mode > Grayscale.

    You can see here before and after:

    Learn complex/advanced techniques

    Those were some simple techniques for converting to black and white. Let me share with you some of the more complex/advanced techniques.

    One thing you can do after you’ve done one of the conversions above is to add a monotone, duotone or tritone effect.

    One of the simplest and obvious ways to achieve this is to first convert a image to Grayscale (Image > Mode > Grayscale) and afterwards choose Image > Mode > Duotone. The options window is pretty self-explanatory so I won’t be covering it.

    The way I like to do it involves Blending Modes and Solid Color Adjustment layer. It allows for more unexpected and beautiful results than with the Duotone command. Here’s how to do it:

    First convert the image to black and white using one of the techniques from above. Afterwards add one, two or three Solid Color Adjustment layers. Use a different color for each. Now start changing their blending modes. Good blending modes for this kind of toning are Overlay, Soft Light, Color and Color Dodge.

    Here’s some of what I made using the City picture from above (after converting it to black and white):

    A dark/blue Solid Color with the blending mode set to Overlay:

    A dark red Solid Color with the Color Dodge Blending Mode and a dark blue Solid Color with the Color Blending Mode for a duotone effect:

    Another advanced technique is to simply go through the image Channels (channels hold information about image color and luminosity) by holding Ctrl and pressing 3,4 or 5. Once you find a channel you like press Ctrl + C to copy, create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N) and paste it (Ctrl + V).

    You can see here before and after:

    Related posts

    Learn How to Improve your Photos using LAB Color Mode
    Color Fragments Effect on the Black-and-White Photo
    Create a Dark Dreamy Emotional Photo Manipulation (Part 2)
    Photo Restoration: Correcting a Red Over-Saturated Photo
    Create Space Fantasy Composition (Part 2)

  • Learn How to Use the Blur Tool in Photoshop to Create Selective Focus

    In this tutorial we will use all kinds of blur effects to create an illusion of motion and to add focus to a picture in Adobe Photoshop.

    Final Image


    Classic Car stock 2
    Brig Running 1
    Teen talk

    Step 1

    Let’s start by adding motion to a static vehicle.

    Open image “Car” in Photoshop and duplicate the background layer by pressing Ctrl + J.

    Step 2

    Apply a Motion Blur by choosing Filter > Blur > Motion Blur.

    Step 3

    Add a layer mask to the blurred layer by choosing Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All.

    In the layer mask paint with a soft black brush over the car in order to have a motion blur effect on the background only.

    I painted with red in the image below the areas which should be painted with black in the layer mask so you can have a reference.

    And this is how it should look after you’re done:

    Step 4

    Press Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to merge all visible layers into a new layer and use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to create a selection of the front wheel.

    Step 5

    Apply a Radial Blur by choosing Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Select Spin and drag the slider all the way to the left. This step will apply a Spin Blur to our wheel, making it look as if it is spinning fast.

    The wheel should look like in the image shown below:

    Step 6

    Repeat the step above on the back wheel. You should have something like the image below.

    Step 7

    Add a layer mask to the layer with spin blur (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All) and use a soft black brush at 50% Opacity around the edges of the spinning wheels to remove any obvious/hard lines.

    Step 8

    Create another layer from all the visible layers by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E and apply a 700px Motion blur.

    Here’s the results of Motion Blur:

    Step 9

    Change the blending mode of this layer to Screen and add a layer mask by choosing Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All.

    Paint in the layer mask over the back of the car to create an illusion of motion.

    Duplicate this layer by pressing Ctrl + J. Press Alt + Backspace to fill the layer mask with black and move it a bit upwards (press Ctrl + Shift + Up arrow once):

    Paint in the layer mask with white as shown below:


    Here’s the final result:

    Other Photoshop Blur Options

    Another cool effect you could add to make an object or a person look like it’s moving very fast is the Zoom Blur.

    Open the file “Man” and make a duplicate of the background.

    Choose Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and select Zoom option.

    Add a layer mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All) and paint carefully with a soft white brush to reveal only the running man and some of the ground in front of him. You should have something like this:

    Another technique for applying focus to an object or a person is to apply a Gaussian Blur to everything but the object/person you want to keep focus on. Let’s try it now.

    Open image “Girls” and make a duplicate of the background layer.

    Apply a 3.5px Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).

    Now let’s say that we want to put focus on the girl in the middle.

    Add a layer mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All) and with a soft black brush paint over the face and the upper body of the girl sitting in the middle. Try to be careful and not to paint over the background. As you can see the effect is subtle but noticeable:

    You can use this kind of selective Blur to increase focus of an object, a part of the body (like the face, the eyes) or an area. The only thing to remember is that subtle effects work best.

    Related posts

    How to Create a Fog Effect in Photoshop
    Creating Focus on the Photo by Using Blur Map
    Learn to Create Effect of Rapid Movement on Photoshop (Part 2)
    Learn to Create Effect of Rapid Movement on Photoshop (Part 1)
    Creating Focus on the Photo