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Greetings Internet,

It has been many a moon since I have written a tutorial so I figured I’d give it another shot. This time I plan to show a very simple and effective technique that can help enhance your photographs. There are many different ways to create vignettes, and since I have been using custom vignettes a good bit recently, I thought it would be a nice thing to share.
Vignette 1
My dog loves to have her picture taken, so I decided to use the photograph above for the lesson. With the file open in Photoshop, the first step is to create a new layer for the upcoming vignette. You can click the new layer button, or use the keyboard shortcut, Command + J.
Vignette 2
With the new (empty) layer selected, we are going to grab the elliptical marquee tool (you could also use the rectangular marquee tool) and drag a selection right around the dog’s face which will be our main focal point.
Vignette 3
Then, we need to invert the selection by going to Select, and then Inverse, or by using the keyboard shortcut, Shift + Command + I.
Vignette 4
With the inverted selection, the next step is to feather the edges of our selection. There are a few ways to do this, however my suggestion is to use the Refine Edge option with the Magic Wand Tool selected. Depending on the size of the image you are working with, the values will differ, but in general you want a pretty decent feather. I used 150 pixels because I was working with a fairly large image.
Vignette 5
Now that the edge of our selection is feathered, it is time to fill that empty layer. I generally just use pure black for this, but you are welcome to experiment.
Vignette 6
Vignette 7
As you can see, it creates a very heavy vignette and really draws the viewers’ eye to the focal point of the dog’s face. I like to then lower the opacity of the vignette layer to fine tune it to my tastes. Here’s how it looks if you back the vignette off to 50% opacity.
Vignette 8
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this tutorial on creating vignettes in Photoshop. Thanks for reading 🙂


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*Wrote this article a while back for my company and wanted to share it on my blog too*

Greetings readers,

I would like to share a nifty trick with you today in Adobe Photoshop. The page peel effect can be found in many different designs because it is aesthetically appealing. Some folks don’t realize that the technique is deceptively simple. Below you can view what we are trying to create in this tutorial. The photo is from a production with artsee magazine.

artsee production

We’re going to start out with a blank document in Photoshop. Size isn’t terribly important for this effect, but I am using a landscape-oriented letter sized document (11in. x 8.5in.) at 300dpi.


Now we want to select the background (Command/Control + A) and fill it with a radial gradient of a red to dark red. To get this same look, simply make your gradient and then click from the very center of the canvas and drag to one of the corners.



Next, we want to create our piece of paper that will look like it is being peeled off of the red background. To do so, select the Rectangle tool (U) and draw out a white rectangle somewhere around the lower left part of the canvas.


The next step will be to make a copy of this shape, which can be done by dragging the layer to the new layer icon, or by simply pressing Command + J. Then we want to drag the copied layer below the original shape, and change it’s color (by double clicking the color well left of the layer) to black. It helps to be able to see what you are doing, so we’re going to turn of the top rectangle layer by clicking the eyeball to the left of its layer.



Now we need to convert this layer to a smart object by right-clicking the layer and selecting “Convert to Smart Object.” Then we can go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to blur our black layer and make it look more like a shadow.




Next, press Command + T in order to transform this object then right-click on the image and select “Warp.” Now we are going to grab the lower right hand corner of our black box and drag it down just a hair.



If we turn the white rectangle layer back on, you can now see that it appears as if the white rectangle is being lifted from the background. It also helps to reduce the opacity of the shadow layer a little bit for a more believable look.


As you can see here, it is quite simple to make it appear as if the white rectangle is being pulled up on both sides by using the same technique and warping the bottom-middle part of the shadow upwards.



Thanks for joining me for this tutorial on the page peeling effect 🙂

artsee production

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Greetings All,

Today I’d like to share with you a simple technique using a camera raw image. Normally people combine 3 (or more) images of varying exposures to get the HDR (high dynamic range) toning you see in many photographers’ works. I’m going to show you how to simulate this type of toning with a single image, and also by only adjusting settings within the camera raw options when opening an image. Below you can see our original image, and then what it will look like when we are done.



I find this works best with an over exposed image, so I took a photo of my dog with harsh sunlight hitting her. The next step is to open the raw image in Photoshop.


Now we are simply going to adjust some of the settings here to achieve our HDR toned image.


First, lower the exposure to around -1.


Next, bump the Fill Light up to around 100.


Then, raise the Contrast to around 60.


Next, bump the Clarity all the way up to 100 to bring even more detail to the image.


Finally, add a little bit of Vibrance to the image by raising it to around 50.


Now we have a very detailed and toned HDR image with a very simple technique. Also, we only had to bother with one image instead of multiple. Note that the exact numbers for these settings may vary according to the photo, experiment to see what works best for your image.

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Greetings, and welcome back back for another tutorial! This time, I plan to focus on using Adobe Illustrator’s Blend Tool. The Blend Tool is an incredibly useful asset inside of Illustrator and can be used to accomplish a number of unique and interesting effects. Today, we are going to use it to achieve an effect commonly seen on the web using one simple curved line.


To start, I have made a new document in Adobe Illustrator in a landscape orientation (yours does not have to be landscape to follow along). I then decided I wanted simple background gradient, so a grabbed the rectangle tool and drew out a background and applied a gradient. Feel free to make yours different, or just use a solid color.

step 1

step 2

Now, for the next step, I selected the pen tool (p) and drew out a curved line from the top to the bottom. Your curved line does not have to look just like mine, something similar will be just fine. Once you have the curved line, you need to give it a small stroke (1 pt in my case), and I chose a light green for the stroke color.

step 3

step 4

Next, we want to make a copy of this line. So, click down on the line and then hold the alt/option key to drag out a copy and then position it slightly to the right of the original. Now we want to blend these two lines, so double click on the blend tool (w) so we can make some changes to the default blend options. We want “Specified Steps,” and 12 of them.

step 5

step 6

Next, with the blend tool still selected, all you have to do is simply click on both paths and Illustrator makes the blend between the two objects based on the options you edited. Now that your objects are blended, you can edit those curved lines to get some really unique effects.

step 7

step 8

Select the direct selection tool (a) and start playing with the paths to achieve different effects. I grabbed a couple anchor points and tried moving them and altering the curves to get these effects.

step 9

The blend tool in Adobe Illustrator is an incredibly versatile tool, and can be used to create all sorts of neat looks. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, and that it helps you get started in exploring this awesome tool!

Until next time…

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Today we want to focus on a really neat feature inside of Adobe Photoshop called Photomerge. With this tool, you can combine multiple photographs into one panoramic image very easily. It is best to go out and take the photographs yourself to learn this process, however if you would like to follow along, you can grab the images I took here. 1 2 3 4

Here are some quick tips for taking the photographs yourself if you want:

-Use a tripod (make sure it’s level)
-If you do not have access to a tripod, keep steady and turn your torso to capture the images
-You can line up markings in the area that you are capturing
-Try to get a little bit of overlap in each image you take
-Before merging, be sure that any color/lighting corrections have been made

Photomerge works wonders with more images, so if you can, take many photos. Below you can view the 4 images I’m using, and the final product.

All Four Images


Alrighty, so now we’re going to try out Photomerge. Open up Adobe Photoshop, and click File>Automate>Photomerge. Here, we have a lot of options. Photoshop is going to take the photographs you choose and use its best judgement to seamlessly combine them for a panoramic photo.

Step 1

You can select from Auto, Perspective, Cylindrical, Spherical, Collage, and Reposition Layouts. For the sake of the images we are working with today, I am going to simply choose Auto. There are times where you will need to experiment to see which layout settings work the best for your photos.

Step 2

Now I need to show Photoshop where it can find the images I want to use, so I am going to click “Browse” and find them on my harddrive.

Step 3

With the correct photographs selected, Photoshop can now begin to merge my images seamlessly. This requires some processing power, so depending on your computer, you may have to wait a little bit.

Step 4

Step 5

Now that Photoshop has finished processing the images, you may see something that looks a bit sloppy. Don’t worry, the combined photos are just in need of a crop. Photoshop should have combined them seamlessly, and now you just need to get rid of the “crazy” edges.

Step 6

So use your Rectangular Marquee tool, and drag out a selection that you like. Then go to Image>Crop to get your final product.

Step 7

As you can see, we now have a finished panoramic photograph by using Photoshop’s unique Photomerge option. Thanks joining me for this tutorial, and be sure to check back for more.