5 Useful Photoshop Effects in 3 Easy Steps
In this fun tutorial I’ll explain how to create 5 essential effects in 3 easy steps, using basic Photoshop tools. Useful for a range of situations, these effects work best when you don’t have time to reach high quality standards. If you work in an agency you know what I’m talking about. These are lifesavers!
1. The Bold And The Beautiful Effect
Let’s try to replicate the soft and blurry image effect used (and abused) in
soap operas and erotic magazines. I’ll call it The Bold And The Beautiful Effect.
Before you start set the mood with good amounts of mellifluous, romantic background music. My suggestion: “Reflections of Passion” by Yanni. Click to hurt yourself.
Download a maudlin picture like this one.
Duplicate the picture’s layer.
Apply Gaussian Blur.
Set Screen blending mode, possibly reducing Opacity to your liking.
Done! You can puke now. It’s a release.
2. Fake Miniature Photography
This pops up here and there. You take a picture of a landscape or a nice city shot.
Enter Quick Mask and make a gradient selection.
Adjust colors and sharpen the image.
Now it looks like it’s a model. Cute!
3. Instant Starry Sky
This technique is very useful when you need to add fine details to complex illustrations.
It doesn’t replace a real starry sky but, if used with attention, can produce convincing results.
Create a gradient for the sky.
Select the Brush Tool (B) then hit F5 to bring up the Brushes palette.
Adjust Diameter and set a large Spacing. Use the preview at the bottom for reference. Now instead of painting solid strokes you will dot the sky with stars.
Set Shape Dynamics. Increase Size Jitter to vary the diameter of the stars. For Control choose Off if you don’t have a tablet. Then start saving to buy one.
Set Scattering. You want your stars to pop up at random spots so use the preview as guide.
Set Opacity Jitter. This is crucial in making some stars appear closer and others appear farther. If you have a tablet you can control opacity and size by varying the pressure, thus having more control. If you don’t have a tablet it’s ok. Some stars are small and bright, others are big and close to us but duller. Randomness looks good here.
Now you can have fun painting the galaxy away!
4. Wood Texture
This is not intended to replace high quality textures but it’s a good method to fake wood when creating complex objects and textures will not be closely scrutinized.
Choose brown hues for foreground and background colors.
Apply the Fibers filter (Filter > Render > Fibers). Choose the values you like.
Duplicate the layer, set it to Soft Light mode then apply Filter > Artistic > Poster Edges. Use the preview for reference and don’t overdo it.
Simple and not overly realistic but very fast and useful for small surfaces.
5. Brushed Metal Texture
This has the same usage warnings as the previous texture. Good for small surfaces not in focus, bad for extensive objects with no detail. Use real textures for those.
Choose gray hues for foregound and background colors. Go to Filter > Render > Fibers.
Apply Motion Blur (Filter > Blur > Motion Blur).
Duplicate the layer, set it to Multiply.
Now those stains and drippings give it more realism. I use these techniques all the time when making icons.
That’s it. See how easy it is to create textures and patterns with basic tools in Photoshop?
And we’ve only scratched the surface! Have fun!