Tag Archives: book covers

Spot Brightening (PHSH Effect #12)

Spot Brightening is a very important skill to have. Sometimes – for whatever reason – an image will come out with a dark spot, or will have weird lighting. Spot-treating images can be an immensely helpful tool in your PHSH arsenal, especially with summer right around the corner, you know you always get that one Beach Day pic where there’s too many shadows.

And, like most of the other effects I’ve shown you, it’s secretly really easy once you know what to do.

I’m going to use the teaser image from last month, even though most of it is dark already. I think keeping the images consistent is helpful when needing to look back at the effects while you practice them. So, for simplicity sake, we’ll be using the Match image:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Match OG Pic - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 1: Start a new Work File/Document/Whatever-You-Want-to-Call-It in PHSH and drag/drop the image into it. Don’t forget to resize so it fits into your work space.

Step 2. Using the Elliptical Selection Tool, select the head of the match, and a bit of the flame.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Selected Match Head - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 3. With the head still selected, go up to Image – Adjustments – Brightness/Contrast

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Image Adjustments Brightness/Contrast - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 4. In the Brightness/Contrast box, slide the Brightness slider toward the right to brighten the selection. Sliding it in the opposite direction will make the selection darker.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Brightness Dialogue Box - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 4. Once you’re happy with the Brightness, click Okay to make the transformation stick to the picture – or, if you are in the Brightness/Contrast by accident, you can always Cancel to undo the change. (One of the great things PHSH has for most of the effects is the Live Preview, so while you’re playing with Brightness/Contrast, colours, etc. you can actively see what you’re changing on the image)

If, for instance, you need to make the selected area brighter than the slider will let you, you can hit ‘Okay’, stay on the selected area and then re-brighten it to whatever you need.

For instance, I brightened the picture at first to +64:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 64 Bright - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

But if I needed it brighter, I could go back in and:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 27+ Bright - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

And so on, and so forth, until my hearts’ content:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 91+ Brightened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 45+ Brightened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 150+ Brightened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

You could basically do this until there is just a white hole in the middle of the picture.

Yep, that’s literally all there is to it.

I mean, there is another way you could do this – but that involves a hell of a lot more steps and Layer Masks – it just gets waaay too complicated. Which, truthfully, was the way I learned how to do it first before figuring out this easy way, and since these tutorials are here to make your lives easier, I’ll just refrain from sharing that overly-long pain-in-the-ass way.

Thank me later!

Aaand I don’t want you to get disappointed or anything, but this will be the last PHSH tutorial until October. Since I’ve started No. Mad. I’ll be focusing more on that for the next few months. Think of this time off as extra time for you to practice all the effects you’ve learned thus far.


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Carved (PHSH Effect #4)




This month, we’ll be keeping with the word effects, and I’m going to show you how to make a carved/chiselled effect on wood, metal or concrete.

There’s two ways I’ve found to do this, so I’ll be showing you both. They both take roughly the same amount of skill, but one of them works better for making the words looked carved into a variety of backgrounds, and the other is more specific to the three backgrounds listed above.

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This is the first way, which looks best on either a wood, metal or concrete background, using the Times New Roman or another similar font.

This is the second way to do it, and as you can see, it easily works on a non-wood, metal or concrete background, and doesn’t need to be done using the Times New Roman font.

Way #1:

Step 1. Get a metal/wood/concrete background. You can do so by either finding one on a royalty-free image site (such as Pixabay.com) or, you can right-click and save the two pictures below to use as the background for this tutorial.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Wood - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Teal Metal - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Concrete - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 2: Once you have the pictures, open PHSH and make a new document. Drag the pictures to your work document and resize if necessary. Once that’s done, type a phrase or sentence you want to change. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll just use ‘Carved’. Also, to keep things simple, I’m just going to use the Times New Roman font, and made it 150pt size. (My canvas size is roughly 25cm x 17cm)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Background w Carved - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

With this way to do it, you’ll want to make sure that your font colour is just plain black.

Step 3: Right-click on the Type layer (‘carved’ word) and go to the Blending Options.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Right-Clicked Blending Options - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

In the Default Blending Options (the panel that opens right when you click on it), go to Blend Mode, and select Screen from the drop-down menu.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Blending Options Screen - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Blending Options Screen Selected - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 4: Once you select Screen, you’ll notice the word disappeared. Don’t freak out, it’s still there (as evidenced in the Layers panel), we just can’t see it right now.

Next, go to Bevel and Emboss, and copy the values listed below:

  • Style: Outer Bevel
  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Depth: 200%
  • Size: 12 (or 6 depending on how the finished product looks)
  • Angle: -45, 30 (be sure to uncheck the Use Global Light box)
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay, Opacity: 100
  • Shadow Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 75

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Bevel & Emboss Complete - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 5: Once you’ve got that all changed, then go down the left-side list to Inner Shadow, and input these values:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Angle: 120 (uncheck Use Global Light)
  • Distance: 16
  • Choke: 16
  • Size: 12

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Inner Shadow Complete - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Once that’s done, go down the list again to Colour Overlay, and apply these values:

  • Black
  • Blend Mode: Overlay
  • Opacity: 55

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Colour Overlay Complete - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Once you’re done applying all three of those effects, click Okay to apply them to the Layer.

You should notice the text changing while applying each of those effects, and once you apply the Colour Overlay, you should notice the word now looks like it’s carved into the wood.

And that’s it for this way! You can press on the Eye symbol in the Layers panel that’s next to each Layer, so you can see the effect on the teal metal and the concrete backgrounds.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Carved Effect Done Teal - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Carved Effect Done Concrete - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Now that I’ve shown you how to do that way, I’ll show you how to do it the second way below. Be sure to save the above work so you don’t lose it!




Way #2

Step 1: Open a fresh document, and drag and drop any other background you want to use. (This time it doesn’t have to be a wood/metal or concrete picture) For this one, I’ll use a room with wallpaper and a chalkboard.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Blank Dingy Room - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Blank Chalkboard - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 2: Type the word/phrase you want to use. Again, I’ll just be using ‘carved’ for the tutorial.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Carved Dingy Room No Change - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 3: This time, go to Fill, which is in the top of the Layers panel, and change it to 0%.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Fill Red Box - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Fill 0% - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 3: Now, we’ll be going back to the Blending Options, and back to Bevel and Emboss. Change the values to:

  • Style: Outer Bevel
  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Depth: 100%
  • Direction: Up
  • Size: 10, Soften: 0
  • Angle: 145, 40 Degrees (Uncheck Use Global Light)
  • Highlight Mode: Screen, Opacity: 75%
  • Shadow Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 75%

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Bevel & Emboss - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Now go back down to Inner Shadow:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply (Black), Opacity: 90%
  • Angle: 145 Degrees (Uncheck Use Global Light)
  • Distance: 15, Choke: 30, Size: 15

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Inner Shadow - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

And lastly, back down to Colour Overlay:

  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Colour: Black
  • Opacity: 75%

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Colour Overlay - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Once you’re done that, click Okay to apply the effects. Don’t forget to save your work!

As they are now, both these effects look pretty much the same. The one (big) difference here, is the first way tends to not look right if you try to use a font that’s not close in nature to Times New Roman, and doesn’t work that well if you change the font colour from black.

This second way works for a myriad of different fonts and colours. It’s also faster to do, which can help save you time so you’re not spending too much time on one effect.

Another thing I’ve found works best using the second way, is changing the colour used in the Colour Overlay.

For example:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Carved Chalkboard - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Looks fine on the chalkboard background, too. Although we’d need to rotate the text to make it match.

AterImber.com - Writing - Book Posters - The Haunted Corpse - Help Me Poster

Here, I used way #2, but instead of using black for the Colour Overlay, I used red – giving the poster a bit more of a morbid feel by making the words look like they have blood in the dents.

Feel free to play around with different colours, angles to see which combination works well for what you need. Also, a quick side note: the Distance/Choke/Size values will most likely vary depending on the size of your font. Don’t be afraid to play around to see how the effect will look in different situations.

As always, don’t forget to save your work as either (or both) a PSD and/or PNG file. I’d hate to have you get the effect just right and then lose all that hard work because you forgot to save it!

Next time I’ll show you how to give a picture a transparent background. Keep your eye out for that July 29th.


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Drop Shadows (PHSH Effect #2)




Now that I’ve shown you how to scale an image without distorting it, I’m going to delve a bit into specifics with this effect: adding a Drop Shadow to text.

It’s not the fanciest or coolest (or hardest) effect you can make in PHSH, but you gotta walk before you can run, right?

Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Open PHSH and make a new document. For simplicity, I made my document 6in x 6in.

Step 2 – Going down to your Type tool, you’ll want to click and drag somewhere on your canvas to create a text box. Type whatever you want in the box. You’ll notice that when you create a Text box, it automatically makes the text a New Layer.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Text Box - PHSH Tutorial, book design, cover design

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Text Box w Words

Step 3 – To resize your Text box, click and drag one end of the box toward the words typed. Do this until the box is more or less the same size as the words.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Text Box Resized

Step 4 – You could also change the colour of your text, or the font and size you’re using in the top menu while you’re in the text box.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Font, Size and Colour Options

For this tutorial, I’m just going to keep things simple and leave the text black against a white background.

Step 5 – In the Layers panel (to the right) right-click on the Text Layer and select Blending Options from the menu.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Blending Options Right-Clicked

Step 6 – From the left-side menu in the Blending Options dialogue box, click on Drop Shadow.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Blending Options Dialogue Box

Step 7 – This is where it can get complicated, depending on what you need the Drop Shadow for. Since this is just a tutorial, I’ll try to keep this part as simple as possible.

Looking at the Drop Shadow options, these values are all the defaults for my computer. If yours is different that’s okay, because you often won’t be keeping the default values anyway.

It’s hard, but you can see the Drop Shadow effect applied between this picture and the last one.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Drop Shadow Default




Let’s go through the options:

Blend Mode – This will change how the effect looks. This I feel like has bigger impact on some of the other Blending Mode options, such as Colour Overlay. For Drop Shadows, I usually just leave the default Multiply setting.

Beside Blend Mode, you’ll notice there’s a colour swatch. Clicking on it will bring you to the Colour Picker, where you can change the colour of your shadow. This is helpful if you want to match the shadow to the background colour of your document.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Colour Change

Opacity – This changes how dark the shadow appears. If you want the shadow to be more transparent, lower this setting.

Angle – This changes how the shadow looks. For instance, the default angle 120 makes the shadow appear from the top left corner down. Playing around with the angle will change where the shadow appears. (I drastically changed the distance to better demonstrate the changing angles)

Also, I always uncheck the Use Global Light box that’s by the angle. If you’re adding a shadow to more then one piece of text, Use Global Light will change the angle, distance, etc. for all the text, not just the one you’re working on. This can be annoying if needing to add multiple text boxes. I would recommend getting in the habit of always un-checking this box.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 120

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle -90

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 90

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 0

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 180

There’s a little grey square to the right side of the options, this is a preview of where the shadow is. In case it’s hard to see on the document, you can use this preview to help you determine what works the best for your project.

Distance – This changes how far away from the text the shadow is. For better showing of the angle, I jacked the distance to 150. I usually don’t have the distance too far away from the words. Usually when I work with Drop Shadow, I leave it around 5-10. One thing I’ve noticed is depending on the size of the font, you may need to make the shadow distance greater, without it looking too far away from the words.

Spread – This changes how ‘thick’ the shadow looks. The higher the number, the thicker it gets.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Spread

Size – This changes how big the shadow actually is. Changing the size is great if you want to ‘soften’ the shadow, or make a shadow appear more like a fuzzy glow.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Size 5

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Size 16

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I changed the size of the Drop Shadow here to a higher number to give it that blurry/neon lighting effect. I also changed the colour from the black to red.

Contour – I’m not entirely sure what this does, to be honest. I believe it’s something similar to the angle the shadow is? I don’t really use this, unless a specific effect I’m Googling tells me to.

Noise – This will change how ‘smooth’ the edges of the shadow look. Remember white noise channels on old school T.V.s? This is essentially that. I usually leave this to the default 0. I’ve yet to have a need to add noise to a shadow.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Noise

Feel free to play around with these settings to get the desired shadow effect you want. When you’re done playing around with the settings, click the ‘Okay’ button on the side to apply the effect. If you need to change the effect after, just right-click on the layer again and head back into Blending Options. You’ll be able to edit the effects for as long as you keep the Layers separate. Once you flatten the image/save it as a PNG or JPEG file, you won’t be able to edit the effect, due to the fact the work was collapsed into one single layer. This is why I always save a PSD version (I usually label it ‘UnFlattned’) along with a flattened picture, just in case I need to go back and change something.


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