Category Archives: Photoshop Tutorials

Creating a Photoshop Web Design Layout – Part 3

Step 7 – Taking our general layout further

In designing the Header and Footer we’ve only needed to layout our single base column, which is 920px wide. I specifically picked this width so we could split it up into three columns later. This width works out well because it gives us some flexible layout options. On subpages, we can pick to have a two-column or single-column layout. The two-column layout would consist of a sidebar that is 1/3 the width of the layout with a main column that is 2/3 the width of the layout. Then, we also have the option for a three-column section, which is what the bottom half of our homepage will be.

Now you may be wondering, why 920px? It’s not divisible by three? Well 920px will create three columns that are 300px wide with 10px margins in between. If this is hard to visualize, don’t worry! It’ll all be clear very soon. Just keep following.

Add four more Guides to your layout in the same way we did way back in Part 1. To create a new Guide, go to View > New Guide. Set them up as I have below.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

You’ve just created the three columns.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Hypothetically, if we wanted, this is how it would work if we wanted to have a two-column layout on other subpages with a main column and a sidebar.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now we want to setup our specific homepage areas. So, add five more Guides.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Here’s what we have now and how these areas will layout later.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Step 8 – Adding active/hover button to the Menu

We want our layout to to feel like as much like an actual page of the future website as possible. So, we should also add some variation to the Menu. We’re going to add an active button. This could also be used as a CSS hover for later when you code the template.

In the Layers Palette, create a new layer in the Header > Menu group. Name it Active Button. Move the layer so that it’s below your Menu’s sample text.

With the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), make a selection around the Home button. Leave out the Menu’s dividers in the selection.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Fill the selection with a dark red (#9f0e0e). Deselect the selection.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Step 9 – Adding the Homepage Image

This step is totally subjective. Some people just want a quick image with some text on it to save time. It also allows you to put something nice on your homepage with out a lot of complicated coding. That’s what I’m going to do for this tutorial so beginners can utilize the design.

More advanced option might include putting a Flash image rotator, or a jQuery content rotator with possibly items from your Portfolio. There are many options.

You can put in whatever image you want at the top of your homepage. I used this free stock image:

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/864331

Import your image into your Photoshop document. To do this, open up the image and simply drag and drop it onto your PSD web design layout’s canvas.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

In the Layers Palette, make a new layer group at the top and name it Homepage Content. Make another layer group inside of Homepage Content and name it Homepage Image. Put your image into the Homepage Content > Homepage Image group.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now we need to scale our image down so it fits within our Homepage Image area. So with the image layer selected in the Layers Palette, hit command+T (ctrl+T on a PC) to enter Free Transform mode.

If your image is so large that you cannot see the bounding box, it may help to zoom out on your canvas in order to resize your image layer. Command- (ctrl- on a PC) will zoom out and command+ (ctrl+ on a PC) will zoom in.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Scale down your image so that it will fit neatly into your Homepage Image area. Then make a selection around the Homepage Image area with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M).

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now we’re going to hide the extra bit of the image. In the Layers Palette, click the Add Layer Mask button to add a layer mask to the current selection. Deselect the selection.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now this is optional, but I wanted to add some text to my image. I made a black box and then set that layer’s opacity to 50%. I then added some white text. I put a bigger title with some smaller text. I then gave all of the text a drop shadow in the Blending Options.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

To polish off the image, let’s give it a 1px border. Right-Click the image layer and click Blending Options. Set the layer styles as I have.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Here is the result so far.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Step 10 – Adding the Homepage Slogan

Let’s start with creating the background for where we’ll place the slogan.

Make a new layer group named Homepage Slogan and place it in the Homepage Content layer group. Create a new layer and name it Slogan BG. Place it in Homepage Content > Homepage Slogan.

With Slogan BG selected in the Layers Palette, make a selection of the Homepage Slogan area with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Fill in the selection with white (#ffffff). The color doesn’t really matter much because we’ll be filling this layer with layer styles.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Deselect the selection. Right-Click the Slogan BG layer and click Blending Options. Set the layer styles as I have.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

And here is the result.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Add some red (#b60d0d) text into the Homepage Slogan area. Size and place it accordingly. On mine, I added an inner shadow. You wouldn’t want to do this if you plan to actually use real text in your final coded website opposed to the text being on an image.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Step 11 – Making the Homepage Boxes

Create a new layer group and name it Homepage Boxes. Place it within the Homepage Content group. Create a new layer and name it Box BG. Place it in Homepage Content > Homepage Boxes.

Draw out a selection that fills the first Homepage Box area with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Fill it with white (#ffffff). Like the Homepage Slogan, the background color doesn’t really matter because we’re going to be styling the layer.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Deselect the selection.

Now copy the layer styles from your Slogan BG layer to your Box BG layer. To do this, option-Click (alt-Click on a PC) on the Effects of the Slogan BG layer and drag and drop them on the Box BG layer.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now add some red (#b60d0d) text for the title. I used Regular Arial font at 22pt to write out “Our Services”. Position it in the top left corner of the box.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now put down some text for the bullets.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Use the Polygon Tool (U) to make a triangle as the bullet.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Keep copying the bullet so there is one on each line. To do this, hold shift+option (shift+alt on a PC) and use the Move Tool (V) to drag down a copy of the bullet and put into place. Then, to stay organized, place all of the bullets into their own folder.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

In the Layers Palette, group everything in the Homepage Content > Homepage Boxes layer group into a group called Box 1.

To do this, highlight everything in the Homepage Content > Homepage Boxes group by clicking the first item and then shift-Clicking the last item. Then hit command+G (ctrl+G on a PC) to group them all together.

Then make two copies of the Box 1 group and name them Box 2 and Box 3. Place them accordingly.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

With the Text Tool (T), change the title of the second box to something else. I used “Recent Clients”.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Change the title of the third box to “Recent Projects” and delete the bullets and text.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Now create your project thumbnails and import them into your PSD web design layout. The project thumbnails need to be 90px by 90px. Arrange six of them evenly in the third box, Recent Projects.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

And there you have it, your project is complete. Hopefully your canvas looks something like this.

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Final Image

Photoshop Web Design Layout

Creating a Photoshop Web Design Layout – Part 2

Step 3 – Creating the Header

We’re going to put some light on the background of the Header section.

In your Layers Palette, create a new layer in the Header > Header BG folder. Name it Header Light. Next, draw out a pretty big oval in the middle of your canvas with the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and feather the selection 50px. To feather the selection, you simply right-Click the selection and hit feather. Enter 50px.

photoshop web design

With the Header Light layer selected fill the oval with white (#ffffff). To do this, set white as your foreground color and hit option+backspace (alt+backspace on a PC). Then hit command+D (ctrl+D on a PC) to deselect the selection.

Move the white oval up so it’s mostly off the canvas but the bottom of it is barely showing onto the top left of the Header. This will create some shining backlight where we’ll be inserting our logo.

photoshop web design

Assuming you don’t have a logo yet, let’s get one started. Select the text tool and type out the name of your website. I used the font, Eras Demi ITC, at 50pt size. The color of the text doesn’t really matter. With the Move Tool (V), position the logo so it’s in the top left corner of your template.

In the layers palette, create a new folder and name it Logo. Place the Logo folder within the Header folder, and then place your logo text layer in Header > Logo.

photoshop web design

For the slogan, create a new piece of text. I used the same font as the logo and made it 15pt in size. Position it as I did.

photoshop web design

Now we’re going to add some layer styles to the logo to make it pop. In the Layers Palette, right-Click the logo layer and go to blending options.

photoshop web design

Set the layer styles as I have.

photoshop web design

photoshop web design

photoshop web design

And here is the result.

photoshop web design

Now let’s finish off the Header with a nice 1px finishing line. Remember, web design is all about the subtle gradients and 1px lines. It’s all about the little things!

In the Tools Palette select the Single Row Marquee Tool and set your foreground color to a very dark grey that’s not quite black (#191919).

photoshop web design

In your Layers Palette, create a new layer in your Header > Header BG group and name it Header Bottom Divider. Make a single row selection that overlaps the very bottom of your Header. Fill it in with the dark grey (#191919) by hitting option+backspace (alt+backspace on a PC).

photoshop web design

Step 4 – Creating the Menu

Now, we want to start off by creating another 1px line just below the Header Bottom Divider that overlaps the top of the Menu.

So, in the Layer Palette, create a new layer in the Header > Menu group and name it Menu Top Divider. Set your foreground color to a light red (#ce3030). Use the Single Row Marquee Tool to make a single row selection just below the Header Bottom Divider. Hit option+backspace (alt+backspace on a PC) to fill the selection with the light red (#ce3030).

photoshop web design

Also add another 1px line in the same way at overlaps the bottom of the menu. Name this layer Menu Bottom Divider. Also place it in the Header > Menu group in the Layers Palette. Use the Single Row Marquee Tool and fill it in with a darker shade of red (#ad3232).

photoshop web design

Next, we’re going to add a gradient to the Menu layer. Right-Click the Menu layer and click Blending Options.

photoshop web design

Set the layer styles as I have.

photoshop web design

And this is what you should have now.

photoshop web design

In order to make this more presentable to a client or whomever, we want to make our PSD layout look as much like a website as possible to create a clear visualization. So, add some text to your menu.

Come up with some button text that’s logical for your website. Many times at this stage in the web design process, you’ve already come up with a sitemap with your client. In this case, it’s important to reflect these ideas in your Photoshop web design layout you submit.

In this example, I just wrote out some text and spaced the buttons out evenly. I also added a slight drop shadow to the text layer.

photoshop web design

In order to make these look more like buttons, we’re going to add some dividers in between each. Each divider will be 2px in width. It will consist of a 1px line that is a darker red and a 1px line that is a lighter red. This will give the illusion of divots being sort of “carved” into our menu.

To do this, create a new layer in your Header > Menu layer group in the Layers Palette. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) draw out a line that is the height of the menu (minus 1px on the top and 1px on the bottom) and 1px in width. Fill it with a dark red (#8c0b0b). Then move the selection 1px over to the right and fill it with a light red (#c72525).

To complete this task it will very useful to really zoom into your canvas.

photoshop web design

Next, copy your divider and make sure they’re all placed in between your buttons.

An easy way to do this is to hold option+shift (alt+shift on a PC) and drag out a copy of your divider to the desired location. Option/alt tells Photoshop to make a copy, and shift tells Photoshop to keep the object symmetrically placed as your drag it across the canvas.

photoshop web design

To keep our Photoshop document looking neat, let’s take all of our divider layers and group them together.

An easy way to do this is to click the top most divider layer in the Layers Palette and then shift-Click the bottom most divider layer. This will highlight these layers and all layers in between. Then hit command+G (ctrl+G on a PC) to group them all together. Rename the group, Menu Dividers.

photoshop web design

Step 5 – Adding the Menu Shadow

Let’s add the finishing touch to our entire Header section by adding a subtle shadow underneath the Menu. You already created the layer we’re going to edit back in Part 1.

In the Layers Palette, find the layer named Menu Shadow located in Header > Header BG. Right-Click this layer and select Blending Options.

photoshop web design

Set the layer styles as I have.

photoshop web design

Here is the result.

photoshop web design

Create a new layer in the Header > Header BG group in your Layers Palette. Name it Menu Shadow Top Divider. Use the Single Row Marquee Tool to make a 1px line selection that overlaps the top of the Menu Shadow. Fill in the selection with white (#ffffff).

photoshop web design

Step 6 – Creating the Footer

Start the Footer by dragging down a copy of Logo and placing it as I did. You can do this easily by clicking your logo layer in the Layers Palette. Then go back to your canvas, and while pressing option (alt on a PC), drag out a copy of your logo down to the footer.

photoshop web design

Also, remember to go back to the Layers Palette and move this new layer into your Footer group to stay organized.

With the Text Tool (T) selected highlight the footer logo’s text and change it to 35pt, making it smaller. Then with the Move Tool (V), reposition the footer logo so it’s in the top left corner of the Footer.

photoshop web design

In order to really paint a visual picture for our client, let’s make sure to fill the Footer with realistic content.

Add some copyright text below the footer logo.

photoshop web design

Then add some text to simulate footer links on the right side of the Footer. I used the same text I used in the layout’s main menu. I again added a subtle drop shadow.

photoshop web design

We won’t be adding any gradients to the Footer (other than the Footer Shadow), but we will polish it off with some 1px lines similar to what we did with the Header. To do this we’ll be creating two more layers in the Footer group. Put each 1px line on its own layer to stay organized. To make your selections, use the Single Row Marquee Tool.

Add a dark grey (#191919) 1px line that overlaps the top of the Footer.

Add a light red (#c13131) 1px line that overlaps the bottom of the Footer Top Border.

photoshop web design

We’ll now create the Footer Shadow. In your Layers Palette, find the layer you created in Part 1 named Footer Shadow located in Footer > Footer BG. We want to give the Footer Shadow the same gradient as the Menu Shadow from the Header, except for reversed.

An easy way to do this is to go to the Layers Palette and adjust the window so that the Menu Shadow and the Footer Shadow layers are both in sight on your screen. Option-Click (alt-Click on a PC) the Gradient Overlay from the Menu Shadow and drag it onto the Footer Shadow layer.

photoshop web design

Reverse the gradient. Right-Click the Footer Shadow layer and click Blending Options. Under Gradient Overlay, check the box that says “reverse”.

photoshop web design

Create a new layer in the Footer > Footer BG group in your Layers Palette. Name it Footer Shadow Bottom Divider. Use the Single Row Marquee Tool to make a 1px line selection that overlaps the bottom of the Footer Shadow layer. Fill in the selection with white (#ffffff).

photoshop web design

That finishes up the Header, Menu, and Footer areas. Here is what you should have now.

photoshop web design

In this small image preview, it’s difficult to see all of your gradients and shading, but trust me, in the end when you’re viewing your website in the browser you’ll be thankful you took the time to fix the small details. It will look that much more professional.

In the next part, Part 3, we’ll be continuing to make our Photoshop web design layout into an actual layout specifically for your homepage. So, we’ll be adding homepage content.

Creating a Photoshop Web Design Layout – Part 1

At the end of this tutorial series, you will have a Photoshop web design layout that looks like this:

photoshop web design
For a larger preview, click the above image and you’ll be taken to my Flickr account where you’ll have the option to view the image at its native size, 1100 x 800.

Step 1 – Setting up your document

In this step we want to setup our document by laying out Guides to show us where to put all of the elements of our web layout. There are many ways to do this.

Open up a Photoshop document and set it up as I have.

photoshop web design

Also, make sure your rulers are visible and set to pixels. Hitting command+R (ctrl+R on a PC) will show and hide the rulers. Right-Clicking the ruler area will bring up the option to change to pixels.

photoshop web design

Now we’re going to put in many Guides to create the foundation for our layout. To create a new Guide and place it exactly where we want it, you need to go to View > New Guide.

You are going to create a total of 8 Guides in this step. Create them as I have.

photoshop web design

This is what your canvas should look like now.

photoshop web design

If you don’t see your Guides, you may have them hidden. Hitting command+H (ctrl+H on a PC) will show and hide your Guides. This is a very useful command because obviously sometimes you want to see your Guides and sometimes you don’t.

In order to create a more clear visualization of what we’re doing here, this is what the Guides look like in relation to what we’ll be creating later. Take note of I what call each section in the image below. I’m going to use those names to reference the different sections in the next step.

photoshop web design

Step 2 – Putting down the basic elements

Now, we’re going to set up the main elements that will layout the Header and Footer. In this step, we’ll be working with solid color blocks. This way you can see the transition in the next step when we start applying subtle gradients and shading.

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), make a selection the entire width of the canvas in the Header section. Create a new layer in the Layers Palette. Set your foreground color to a dark grey (#2c2c2c). Hit option+backspace (alt+backspace on a PC) to fill in the selection with dark grey on the new layer.

photoshop web design

Do the same thing for the Menu. Make a selection the height of the menu and the width of the canvas. Create a new layer and fill in the Menu with red (#b60d0d).

photoshop web design

Create a selection of the Menu Shadow area that’s the width of the canvas, create a new layer, and fill it with white (#ffffff). Obviously, it won’t show on our white background, but we’re going to come back to it later.

photoshop web design

Next, we’re going to use the same concept for filling in the footer sections. Remember to put each element on its own layer. Fill in the Footer Shadow with white (#ffffff). Fill in the Footer Top Border with red (#b60d0d). Fill in the Footer with dark grey (#2c2c2c).

As this lengthy tutorial moves forward, your Layers Palette will become very full. Remember to practice keeping all of your layers extremely organized in the Layers Palette. For clarity in this tutorial it might be a good idea to try and keep your Layers Palette organized exactly how I do, and that’s why in most of the screenshots from here on I’ll include the Layers Palette.

Here is what you should have now.

photoshop web design

Now, let’s organize our Layers Palette a little more in order to get ready for the upcoming steps. We’re going to create some folders in the Layers Palette and move some of the layers around.

If you’ve never organized your layers before, it’s really easy. You simply click the little folder icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette to create a new layer group. Then you can drag layers and other layer groups into that layer group. To rename a layer or a layer group, you simply double click the text and it will become editable.

Organize your layers like I did below.

photoshop web design

In the next part, Part 2, we’ll be continuing on to polish up the Header, Menu, and Footer.

PSD Quickie #2 – The Pinwheel Effect

Anyway, this effect is extremely simple to do and will allow you to add something to your background to give your project a little more pizazz. This works great if you need to create a quick advertisement for a client. You place all the text spaced out neatly around the canvas the way you want it. Then you realize that you’re sort of embarrassed giving your client text on a solid color background and you’ve used just a straight up color gradient too many times… Go ahead and throw a simple pinwheel in the background that’s a lighter shade of your background color. Simple!

Final Image Preview

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

The Tutorial

Open up a blank Photoshop document. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to draw out a vertical rectangle. Create a new layer in the Layers Palette and name it Pinwheel. Hit option+enter (alt+enter on a PC) to fill the rectangle with your foreground color on the Pinwheel layer.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Hit command+option+T (ctrl+option+T on a PC) on your keyboard. This will create a copy of your vertical line and put you into free transform mode. You may not notice that a copy has been made because the copy will be sitting directly on top of the original, but it’s there. Move the copy to the right so it’s spaced evenly from the original.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Hit enter to exit free transform mode. Now this is the cool part. Hit command+option+shift+T (ctrl+alt+shift+T on a PC) several times until you’ve repeated the process all the way across the canvas.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Now we want to merge all of these copies of the Pinwheel layer into one layer. Click the top layer in the Layers Palette. Then shift-Click the first Pinwheel layer. This will highlight all Pinwheel layers. Hit command+e (ctrl+e) to merge them all into one layer. For organization, make sure this layer is named Pinwheel.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for. You probably didn’t think this was going to be so easy, but that’s why it’s a PSD quickie!

With the Pinwheel layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Make sure the Rectangular to Polar option is selected and click Okay.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

And you’re done. You’ve just created a very easy background effect.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

I generally like to cover the area in the middle where the lines start with something. In the example below I filled a circle with my darker shade of blue and then added a Gaussian Blur filter to it. I feel like it adds more depth to the effect.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

A lot of times I’ll move the center point and cover it with a logo.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Here is a real-life example. This is a magazine ad I did for a local bowling alley last week. It’s actually what gave me the idea to do this tutorial. Notice the “light rays” coming out from the logo.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Easy Aged Photo Effect

Final Image Preview

aged photoshop effect

What You’ll Need

The stock photo we’re going to be using originally came from here:
http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1000290

You can download it from my Flickr account at the perfect size for this tutorial:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaybich/4090722955/
*Make sure you click the “All Sizes” button before you download the image so you can grab the original size, which is 1024 x 722.

Also download this grunge texture:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaybich/4091469280/
*Once again, make sure you click the “All Sizes” button before you download the image so you can grab the original size, which is 1024 x 722.

The Tutorial

Open up the two images in Photoshop. Drag the image of Jerusalem on to the grunge texture image.

aged photoshop effect

With the Move Tool (V), move the Jersusalem image so it’s lined up with the grunge texture image. Also, feel free to rename some of the layers in the Layers Palette to make your work more organized. I named the background grunge texture layer, Grunge Texture, and I renamed the photo of Jerusalem layer to Jerusalem.

aged photoshop effect

Set the blend mode on the Jerusalem layer to Multiply in the Layers Palette.

aged photoshop effect

Desaturate the Jerusalem layer by selecting it in the Layers Palette and then going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

aged photoshop effect

Now adjust the levels to eliminate some of the midtones. Do this by selecting the Jersalem layer in the Layers Palette and go to Images > Adjustments > Levels. You can see below how I adjusted the levels.

aged photoshop effect

Then, hit ctrl+alt+shift+e (command+option+shift+e on a Mac) to make a copy of our entire canvas as in the form a single layer. Rename this new layer, Halftone.

aged photoshop effect

Next, we’re going to add a halftone pattern to the image. Set your foreground color to black and your background color to white. Select the Halftone layer and go to Filters > Sketch > Halftone Pattern. Adjust the settings as I did below.

aged photoshop effect

Set the blend mode on the Halftone layer to Luminosity.

aged photoshop effect

Final Image

aged photoshop effect

Some Other Images With This Simple Effect Used

aged photoshop effect

aged photoshop effect

PSD Quickie #1: The Basic Reflection Technique

The basic reflection technique has become a go-to move in graphic design. It should definitely be in everyone’s repituar. It’s really an easy thing to pull off and because of that, there are many different ways you can accomplish the basic reflection effect. I’m not sure how other people do it, but this is how I do it.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Here I started by giving my document a basic gradient for a background. I’ve always liked how simple gradient backgrounds look with reflected objects on them.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

For this tutorial, I’m just going to take some plain white text and give it a reflection. Easy as pie! So, throw down some text, or whatever object you want to give a reflection to.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Now copy your object layer. One way to do this is to select the layer in the Layers Palette, and then go to Layer > Duplicate Layer.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Hit command+T (ctrl+T on a PC) to enter Free Transform mode. Right-Click the object and select Flip Vertical. Hit enter on your keyboard to exit out of Free Transform mode.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

With the Move Tool (V) selected, move your object copy so that it’s 1px below your original object. It’s easiest if you move your object copy down with the keyboard arrows so it stays horizontally centered as you move it down.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Give the selection some feather. The amount of feather will depend on how big your object is. In my case I added 5px of feather. Make a selection as I did, giving the object about ¼ of itself untouched by the selection.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Right-Click the selection and hit Select Inverse.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Then, in the Layer’s Palette click the Add Vector Mask button.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Take the opacity of your object copy layer and jack it way down. The opacity level will depend on the contrast in colors between your background colors and your object’s color. In my case, I put the Opacity down to 15%.

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Voila! Like I said, easy as pie!

Photoshop Reflection Effect

Make Yourself Into a Heroes Character

I was editing a random little movie with my friends that we’d shot and I decided to output some random screenshots and this was one of them. I looked at it and thought, “Hey I bet Photoshop could help me make it look like a scene from “Heroes.” So, that’s what I did. Follow the tutorial to see how I distorted the image and give the girl an awesome super power.

The fireball was inspired by a post I saw on Abduzeedo.

Final Image Preview


Getting Started

Download the screenshot of the girl and open up in Photoshop. Also, download and install an abstract light brush.

Step 1 – Making the Selection

We’ll start by making a soft selection around the girl. Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to draw around the figure of the girl.

Go into “Edit in standard mode” and refine your selection with the Eraser Tool (E). Use a hard brush for the Eraser Tool (E). While using the Eraser Tool (E), black will add to the selection and white will subtract from the selection.

Exit out of “Edit in standard mode” but don’t deselect just yet. Go to Select > Modify > Contract. Enter 3px. Then go to Select > Modify > Feather. Enter 3px.

Step 2 – Separating the Girl

With the selection still selected. Hit command+C to copy and then command+V to paste the selection onto a new layer. Name the new layer “Girl”.

With the Background layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Apply the motion blur at 268px.

Use the Eraser Tool (E) to soften and blend some of the edges a bit on the Girl layer. Use a very soft, big brush and set the opacity to 30%.

Step 3 – Makin’ it Look Hot

With the Girl layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Adjust the curves as shown below.

With the Girl layer still selected in the Layers Palette, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Set the brightness to -47 and the contrast to 44.

With the Background layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and adjust the settings as I did below.

Unlock the Background layer by double-Clicking its lock icon in the Layer’s Palette. Then copy it by option-Clicking (alt-Click on a PC) and dragging the layer.

Next, use the Lasso Tool (L) with a 50% feather to make a selection around the girl like I did below.

Right-Click on the selection and hit “Select Inverse”. With the Background copy layer selected, hit delete on the keyboard. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and set it up like I have it below. Set the layer’s opacity to 50%.

Step 4 – Tilting and Re-shaping the Image

Put the Girl and Background layers in a folder together named “Main” in the Layers Palette. You do this by shift-Clicking the first layer in the Layers Palette and then shift-Clicking the last layer. Then hit command+G (ctrl+G on a PC). This will group the layers together. Double-Click on the name of the folder in the Layers Palette to change it.

With the Main folder selected in the Layers Palette, hit command+T (ctrl+T on a PC) to enter Free Transform mode. Rotate the group -15 degrees. Hit enter on the keyboard to exit Free Transform mode.

Crop the image so that there are no holes in the background. To do this, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to draw out a rectangle and ten go to Image > Crop.

Step 5 – Making Her Eyes Blue

Create a new layer above your Main group in the Layers Palette. Name it “Eyes”. Select a light blue for your foreground color (#94c4d4). Get a soft brush about the size of the brown in her eyes and paint over each eye as I did.

In the Layers Palette, set your Eyes layer to the Color blend mode.

Step 6 – Putting the Power in Her Hands

Create a new layer group in the Layer’s Palette above all of the layers. Name it “Glow”. All the layers you create in step six will be put into this folder. To create a new group, hit the Create a New Group button at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

Create a new layer in the Layers Palette in the Glow group. Draw a circle in the girl’s palm with the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M). Hold shift when you create the circle in order to keep it symmetrical. Set white as your foreground color and hit option+backspace (alt+backspace on PC) in order to fill the selection with white. Deselect the selection by hitting command+D (ctrl+D on a PC).

Set your white circle layer to 65% opacity. With the Eraser Tool (E), use a small, medium hardness brush. Erase away the parts of the white circle that cover the girl’s two outside fingers.

Set a blur to the white ball by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Gaussian Blur to 4px.

Earlier, you should have downloaded and installed some abstract light brushes. Create a new layer above your white circle layer. Set your foreground color to white. Select the Brush Tool (B), grab an abstract light brush, and throw down a light ray on this new layer that swirls around the white ball. Do a few more. Then hit command+F (ctrl+F on a PC) in order set a 4px Gaussian Blur on your light rays layer (command+F/ctrl+F simply repeats the last filter you did).

Now we can add some sparks to this fireball thingy we’re making. Let’s use Photoshop’s handy Brush Engine. Select the brush Tool (B). Open up the Brushes window (Window > Brushes). Set up your brush like I did below.

Create a new layer and paint some flares coming up from your white ball with the settings we just configured in the Brush Engine.

Change the blend mode on your entire Glow group in the Layers Palette to Color Dodge.

Final Image


If you would like to download a large version of this image, click the image and you will be taken to our Flickr account where the photo is available at a 1024 x 576.