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Special Effects

Q1:How do I age a photograph? I want to take a new picture and make it look old-fashioned. What techniques do you suggest?
A1: Depending on how old you want it to look, you'll probably want to change it to Grayscale mode, then Duotone (both found under Image>Mode) to give it that “black-and-white gone yellowish” kind of look. Or, keep its color mode and use Variations (Image>Adjustments) to add some yellowing. You might also want to add a small amount of noise (Filter>Noise>Add Noise) and/or a slight blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur). If you want to add a slight texture to make the paper look older, try the Texturizer filter (under Filter>Texture). (In the image shown here, I used the Duotone method and applied the Texturizer filter twice.)


Q2:How do I antique text?

A2: In order to make your text look antiqued (or rough or grunge), you need to apply filters, and in order to do that you must first rasterize the Type layer (Layer>Type>Rasterize). Then it's just a matter of trying different filters, such as Ocean Ripple, Sprayed Strokes, etc. Experiment by turning the Lock Transparent Pixels option on and off in the Layers palette. (Here I appliedFilter>Brush Strokes>Sprayed Strokes.) Note: You may see white areas in your type where you would like it to be transparent. To fix this, double-click on the layer's thumbnail, and in the Layer Style Blending Options, move the white triangle under the This Layer bar slightly to the left, and the white should disappear. Note II: Before you rasterize the Type layer, you will probably want to duplicate it, just so you have a backup layer, by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J). This way you won't have to start from scratch if you change your mind.
Q3:How do I create a vignette? I want to create the “faded edges” effect that some people call a vignette. How, please!



Quick Method: Make a selection with the Rectangular Marquee tool (M), leaving a small border around the image. Add feathering (Select>Feather) around 4–8 pixels, depending on the resolution and how much fading you want. From the Select menu choose Inverse, and then press Delete (PC: Backspace) to fill with your Background color. The only drawback to this method is that you cannot change anything later.

More Flexible Method: Duplicate the image layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J) and work on the copy. Make the selection and feather it as above, but this time click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. In order to see what has happened, you'll have to Command-click (PC: Control-click) on the Create a New Layer icon to add a layer below the duplicate image layer, and fill it with white: press D then X to toggle to white as your Foreground, then press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill it with white. This method offers more flexibility but results in a larger file size that cannot be directly saved in some formats because of the layers.

Note: There is also an action called “Vignette (selection)” in the Actions palette's default Frames set that automates this process. Just be sure to make your selection before you play the action.

Q4:How do I blend two images together? I'd like to create an image where two (or more) photos blend into one another. Suggestions?


A4: Try putting each photo on its own layer (by dragging-and-dropping each photo using the Move tool [V]) and moving them so they overlap slightly. Then click on the Add Layer Mask icon to add a mask to each layer. On one image, use the Gradient tool (G) to make a gradual mask fading toward the overlap. (Make sure you are using the Black to White gradient from the Gradient Picker in the Options Bar.) On the other layer make a gradient mask going in the opposite direction, or if necessary, you can use a soft-edged brush to mask by hand. Just press B to switch to the Brush tool, and then press X to toggle between black and white as your Foreground color to paint on the masks.
Q5:How do I create a collage of images? I have scanned several photos and want to create an image that is a collage of all the others. What's the best way to do that?
A5: For the most flexibility, you should drag-and-drop all the photos into a new image so that each photo will be on its own layer. Then you can roughly position all the images and use a layer mask on each photo layer to allow you to hide parts of each layer to create your collage (on how to do this, see the previous question).
Q6:How do I create a dashed line? Is it possible to create a pencil or line that will draw dashes like in Illustrator? I need this to do stitching lines of various lengths and thickness.

A6: The closest thing you can probably get to a dashed line is to create a small brush in the shape of one dash and then play around with the Spacing option in the Brushes palette to get a space between the dashes. Then you could use that to stroke a selected path by clicking on the Stroke Path with Brush icon at the bottom of the Paths palette. Here's how to create the stitch: Get the Line or Pencil tool (with a small, hard-edged brush), and then press-and-hold Shift as you click-and-drag to create a small, straight line. With a selection tool, create a selection around the line, and go to Edit>Define Brush Preset. Give your brush a name in the resulting dialog, and click OK. In the Brushes palette (docked in the Palette Well), click on Brush Tip Shape to be able to edit settings. Increase the Spacing amount to create the space between the “lines.” Now stroke your selected path if desired.
Q7:How do I create a screened area on an image? I want to create a screened look, where a rectangular portion of my image is lightened. Then I plan to put text on top of the screened area. What's the best way to do this?


A7: There are number of ways, but one of the best ways (that combines flexibility with color accuracy) is to use an adjustment layer. First, make a Marquee selection of the area you want to screen. Then add a Levels adjustment layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer) and drag the bottom black slider (Output) to the right to lighten the colors. Note: Some people add a layer, put a white rectangle on that layer, and then reduce the Opacity in the Layers palette. That works well, but typically does not look quite as nice from a color standpoint.
Q8:How do I draw arrows?
A8: With the Line tool selected, go to the Options Bar and click on the down-facing arrow at the end of the Shape tools (it's called Geometry Options). There you'll find the options for arrowheads. Note: By default, the Line tool creates a Shape layer with a path that can be edited with the Direct Selection tool. To change this, click on the third icon (in the group of three icons on the left) in the Options Bar—that will paint with pixels rather than creating a Shape layer.
Q9:How can I create rounded corners? How do I edit photos to have rounded corners? I know I can adjust the Feather setting for the Rectangular Marquee tool, but then I get fuzzy edges all around the photo. I need sharp edges and rounded corners!


A9: If the image isn't already on a separate layer, rename the Background layer (by double-clicking on its name). Use the Rounded Rectangle tool to draw the “border,” making sure to change the option from Shape layer to Paths (by clicking on the second icon the group of three icons on the left in the Options Bar). Then from the Layer menu choose Vector Mask>Current Path.
Q10:How do I create smoke? I was wondering if you knew of a way to create realistic smoke using Photoshop.
A10: Probably the best bet is to choose a Foreground and Background color in two shades of gray, then use Filter>Render>Clouds. Repeat the filter as often as you want to get different clouds. You could also try using the Filter>Distort>Ripple filter after doing the Clouds. Hint: Do this on a separate layer to give yourself more options.
Q11:How do I create TV scan lines?


A11: The simplest way is to use the Halftone Pattern filter.
Click on the Create a New Layer icon to add a layer above your photo, press D then X to set your Foreground to white, and then fill it with white by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace).

From the Filter menu choose Sketch>Halftone Pattern. Change the Pattern Type pop-up menu to Line and experiment with the settings to change the thickness of the lines.

Change the blend mode of the layer to Screen and lower the Opacity to get the effect you want.

Q12:How do I design a water bead in Photoshop? I have been searching for instruction on how to design a water bead but have had no luck.


Select the area on your image that you want to be a bead (I would try one circular shape then apply to other shapes).

Press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to duplicate the selected area.

Add layer styles (Layer>Layer Style). Try an Inner Glow set to its defaults and a Bevel with an Inner Bevel Style, a Size of 10 pixels, and a Soften amount of 16 pixels (this will vary). Try changing the shadow color for both styles to something else, like blue.

You may also want to experiment with the layer Opacity.

If you like the look, save the style by clicking on the Create New Style icon in the Styles palette (Window>Styles). Now make additional selections that you copy to new layers and apply the style.

Q13:How do I make interesting borders? I saw a technique but now can't quite remember it. What are the steps to use Quick Mask and filters to make interesting borders?
A13: Start with a selection that frames your image, leaving a small frame area not selected (where the border will appear). Then switch to Quick Mask mode (press Q). Then apply one or more filters while in Quick Mask—examples would include Spatter, Brush Strokes, etc. Then return to regular mode (press Q again). Choose Inverse from the Select menu and fill the border with a color. Note: For more flexibility, use the same technique but duplicate the Background layer (Command-J [PC: Control-J]) and add a layer mask instead of going to Quick Mask mode (you'll also need to add a layer between the duplicate and Background layers that's filled with a color of your choice so you can see the effect).
Q14:Is there a quick way to make border effects? I know you can make borders using Quick Mask, but are there any other methods that are even faster?
A14: Here's an interesting possibility: Use the Filter>Extract command and create a series of lines with the Edge Highlighter tool, then fill the center with the Fill tool. Play with the thickness and number of lines you create with the Highlighter. To create straight lines, click once at the start of the line, then hold down Shift and click where you want the line to end. ( Note: You may want to duplicate your image layer by pressing Command-J [PC: Control-J] so your Background layer is unaltered.)
Q15:How can I make moveable special effects? I saw someone demonstrate how to put a filter (like Lens Flare) on its own layer so it could be moved. Can you tell me how?


A15: Click on the Create a New Layer icon, press D to set your Foreground to black, and fill the new layer with black (by pressing Option-Delete [PC: Alt-Backspace]). Then apply the filter (Filter>Render>Lens Flare, for example). Change the layer blend mode to Screen and the black will “disappear.” Now you can move the filtered layer—and therefore, the special effect. Note: The black doesn't fully disappear, so you may want to create a bigger-than-necessary black layer in a bigger document and drag-and-drop that layer onto your image—that way you'll have more room to move.
Q16:How do I make text looked chiseled?
A16: Add the layer style Bevel and Emboss (Layer>Layer Style) with an Inner Bevel. Change the Technique to Chisel Soft or Chisel Hard.
Q17:How can I tint a photo with a gradient? I'd like to put a gradient over a grayscale photo but have the gradient tint the image. How can I do this?


A17: After changing the color mode to RGB Color (Image>Mode), you can do this quite easily with a layer style called Gradient Overlay (Layer>Layer Style). This adds a gradient as an editable style, which gives you the opportunity to change the effect at will. The only catch is you cannot add a layer style to the Background layer, so you'll have to either duplicate (Command-J [PC: Control-J]) or rename (by double-clicking) the Background layer. You could also try using an adjustment layer called Gradient Map (that does not require renaming the layer).
Q18:How do I create repeating patterns?
A18: You can try using Pattern Maker. This filter allows you to select the area you want to use, and then click Generate to let Photoshop create a pattern. Note: The Filter>Pattern Maker command will fill your current layer with the new tiled pattern, so you probably want to duplicate the layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J) before launching Pattern Maker.
Q19:How do I save a pattern made by Pattern Maker?

A19: After you have generated a pattern tile (Filter>Pattern Maker), click the Save Preset Pattern icon at the bottom of the Tile History section in the Pattern Maker dialog. This will add the pattern to the pattern presets.
Q20:How can I create a marble design? I need to make a background that looks like marble.
A20: I would suggest creating a new layer by clicking on the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, and then pick two base colors (two shades of the same color for the stone) by clicking on the Foreground and Background color swatches. Go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Now change your Foreground color to white or a light color and randomly paint thin lines, kind of like branches. Then use Filter>Distort>Ripple and play with the size and amount.
Q21:How can I make a mirror reflection of an object?


Put a selection around the object using any selection tool, and then duplicate the object by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J).

Go to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical (or Horizontal, depending on your image). Use the Move tool (V) to position your object.

Apply the Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur at a setting you like.

Click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and use the Gradient tool (G) and/or Brush tool (B) to paint with black to make the effect look faded.

Q22:How do I create a neon effect for text?

Create a Type layer using the Type tool (T).

Change the Fill to 0% in the Layers palette.

Add a Stroke layer effect (Layer>Layer Style) with these settings: Position: Center; Fill Type: Gradient; and Style: Shape Burst.

Choose (or create) a gradient that uses bright colors, and goes from color to white to color (the same color), and then increase the Size around 10–20 pixels.

You can also try adding an Inner and/or Outer Glow layer style(s).



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