Tag Archives: photoshop

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.


Like the tutorial? Check out more here!

Opacity (PHSH Effect #11)

Now that we’ve begun to get into some of the harder/less beginner-type effects, it occurred to me: I never addressed one of the simplest effects you can use to up your Photoshop game: changing a pictures’ opacity.

This can be super helpful if you need to add a background to your image, or need to add layers of pictures upon pictures.

So let’s get into it:

Step 1. You’re gonna need some pictures.

Let’s say you want to add this

To the background of this:

Step 1 is to open both the pictures, and a new document/project for you to work on.

Step 2: Drag the images into your working document, as I showed you in the Intro.

Step 3. Resize them so they fit into the document.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Both Pics Opened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now, we’re actually first going to have to use a different technique. Because the foreground picture with the shell already has a sky background, we’re going to have to remove that. To see how to do this, you can go look back over this tutorial.

Actually, never mind – I’m going to be using an even simpler way.

We’ll still be using the Quick Selection tool, and selecting the shell and the sand.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Selected Shell and Sand - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now, instead of going up to Selection and doing the Refined Edge stuff, we’re just gonna right-click, and click on Select Inverse.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Selected Inverse - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Go to the Erase tool, and erase the background.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Erasing Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

And boom! Don’t forget to go back to the Quick Select tool, right-click and Un-Select the selection so we can move on. This is basically a faster way to erase, so it’s great to have in your arsenal. (Especially if you’re doing collages, it will shave a lot of time from your work)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Erased Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Step 4. As you can see, the sunset picture doesn’t cover the entirety of the work file. This means we’re going to have to use another technique I already showed you: Content-Awareness Scaling.

For this picture, the Alpha 1 layer is going to be the sun, so it doesn’t get all stretched out.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - CAS Sunset - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - CAS w Shell - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now that the sunset takes up the whole background, the shell looks out of place, and the sun is too low. So we’re going to drag the sunset picture up, until the shell is at the edge of the water.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Shell at Edge of Water - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Yes, we probably didn’t need to Content Awareness Scale the image as much as we did, since we just needed a bit more sky, but it’s always good to have too much of an image than too little. If you wanted to change the image location again, you would be able to.

Step 5. To make the Dark Background, we’re going to add a Colour Layer under the other two pictures.

Because this is the darker background, we’re going to use a dark grey.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Colour Layer Select - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Colour Layer Colour Selection - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Colour Layer UNDER - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Step 6. And now for the part you all came for: changing the Opacity of a picture.

The Opacity filter is in the Layers Panel, on the top right.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Click on the little drop-down arrow to change the opacity of a picture. This will make a picture appear more or less see-through.

Because we want to be able to see a bit of the background through the pictures, we’ll be lowering the opacity just a bit.

Make sure you’re changing the opacity of the correct layer.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Background Opacity Less - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Foreground Opacity Too Low - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Notice how if you make the Opacity of the Shell picture too low, the background pic will start to show through? This can be useful in collages, or if you need to overlap a bunch of pictures, but for this simple tutorial, it’s too much. I’m going to lower the Opacity to just 90, so that we get some of the dark grey of the background, without the harsh line of the sunset picture showing through.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Foreground Opacity Just Right - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now, because the sand is a much lighter colour, you may choose to Burn the picture as well, if you really want to get it to match.

You don’t always end up with a similar to Burned effect, like in the Light background.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Light Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

It depends on the pictures themselves, mostly and what the colour schemes already are.

One good thing about adding the Colour Layer is that if you don’t like the background colour that is showing through, you can always change the colour to get the desired effect.

For example:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Red Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Changing the background colour to Red gives the picture a warmer feel

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Blue Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Whereas Blue gives a completely different vibe.

Play around with the colours and Opacity percents to see the different effects you can get.

Once you get the background colour you want, you’re done! Just be sure to save your work.

That wasn’t too hard, right? And you got to practice some other effect skills – see how the skills build on top of each other? Most pic manips will require some combination of the effects I’ve shown you, so it’s good to practice combining them to see what you can come up with, and which effects you like best.

Next month I’ll show you how to take this:

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

and brighten a specific spot on an image, like this:

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


Like this tutorial? Check out more here!

Burning a Picture (PHSH Effect #10)

Happy New Year everybody!

I hope you all had a relaxing holiday season (or at least, had time to unwind now that it’s over) and are ready to dive head-first with me back into the tutorials.

To kick off the new year, I’ll be showing you how to use the Burn tool. It’s pretty straight forward, but if you need a quick refresher, go skim back over the Intro. It’s alright, I’ll wait.

…. You back? Good.

Okay, so using the Burn tool like I said is pretty straightforward, fortunately, this is one of the PHSH tools that’s aptly named. Using this tool will do exactly what the name implies: it’ll burn the picture.

If that sounds scary, I promise it’s really not that hard. You can control the intensity of the burn, so you don’t end up ruining the picture. Which is great, because sometimes, you just may want to go simple and say, darken the picture.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture -Burned Edge LIGHTEST

(Don’t mind the red background)

You could mess with the white balance or other picture exposure, but messing with those tends to be much more complicated.

Or, you may want to go for a more extreme manip, like actually making the picture appear to be burned:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Burned Picture Done

Or you may need something in the middle. Regardless, it’s a very straight forward tool to use.

Let’s get started.

Today, we’ll be working with my I.D. pic, simply because I think it looks good burned. Pictures that tend to be darker and have lighter edges usually work better for this effect, but again, it depends how far you’re going.

 

Step 1.

Alright, so to start, you’re gonna need the un-touched picture.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - AterImber I.D. Picture w/ White Background

Once you have this in a Layer, you may want to change the background colour from white, just so it’s easier to see where the edges of the picture are, so you can be more precise.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Changed Background Colour

The colour of the background doesn’t really matter, especially since we can change it once you’re done, but I find it’s easier to work when you can see where the edge of the picture is.

 

Step 2.

Alright, now that we have the picture, we’ll want to select the Burn tool from the left side Tool Bar. It’s the picture of a hand in a C shape, directly under the Blur/Sharpen/Smudge tool.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Burn Tool Location

You may have to click on the box and manually select Burn from the drop-down menu. I believe the default image may be the Dodge tool, which looks like a lollipop.

 

Step 3.

Once you have the Burn tool selected, (and the layer you want to use the tool on selected), you’ll notice some options came up at the top of the application, in the same space where the Eraser options are.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Burn Tool Options

The drop-down menu with the circle in it is the brush size, similar to the Eraser, you can make it bigger or smaller by using the sliders. The Hardness slider underneath will determine how hard/feathered the edge of the tool will make. (These are both exactly the same as for the Eraser tool)

For example, if the Hardness is on 5%:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Hardness 5%

Or 90%:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Hardness 90%

 

For the burn tool, it works the same:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Hardness Burn 90%

(90% Hardness)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Hardness Burn 5%

(5% Hardness)

There’s also the option to change the Range. This will change the area of the picture you’re targeting. You can choose from either the Highlights, Mid-Lights or Shadows. I discovered that if you (for example) only target highlights, there will be a point where the image won’t get any darker. (I presume because it’s gotten rid of all the highlights)

When I was experimenting for the tutorial, as I did this, the picture didn’t get any greyer until after I changed what I was targeting. I recommend you play around with this, as it depends on the picture. I’ve tried changing the targeted areas in the past for other projects, and I saw no difference at all, as if the tool wasn’t working.

And the last option will be the Exposure. Next to the brush size, this is the most important part of using the Burn tool. The Exposure will determine how dark the section will get. I recommend not starting at 100, unless you want the entire picture to go near all black on your first go. I usually start small, and then up the Exposure depending on the look I was going for.

For the picture above with the burned-by-fire look, I used 100% Exposure on the edges. The rest of the picture, to just darken it, I used about 10-20.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - 100% Exposure Burn

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - 10% Exposure Burn

 

Step 4.

Now that you know the options, let’s show you how I did the Soft Burned or just darkened picture, and then the Burned By Fire picture.

So, for the Soft Burn, I kept the Exposure low, about on 10, and I feathered the edge of the brush. Because I rubbed the tool all over the entire picture, I don’t actually think the Hardness made a difference, but since I was being ‘soft’ it just seemed to go.

Okay, so, set the brush size to really big (I used 300-400), and (while keeping the Exposure low) click and drag the brush over the entire picture.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Light Burn First Line Drag

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Light Burn All Dragged

And boom! Soft Burned pic is done. Told you it was easy!

Now for the Burned By Fire picture, it’ll be the same thing. We can actually continue on from this picture, since it’s already burned.

 

For the Burned By Fire pic:

Now that we’ve got the whole thing looking a little singed, we’ll want to up the Exposure to about 50 and reduce the brush size (I reduced it to 130).

We’re going to just go around the edges of the picture now, similar to when we made a Border. You can leave the Hardness down at 4% for this as well. A lack of hard edge will make it look more realistic of a burn.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Burned Border Light

Now we’re going to do that again and again, until the border becomes almost black. So, keeping the stats where they are, continue to go around the edges until it becomes blackened.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Dark Grey

At this point (it took me about 10 go a-rounds to get it this dark) you should up the Hardness to about 40-50 as well. We’re going to be concentrating now on just getting the edges black, so we’ll need to contain the burn a bit more.

After changing the Hardness, keep going.

Also: don’t worry about making the outline too clean cut straight, it’s okay if it’s a bit of wobbly lines. Again, it adds to the realism of if the picture were burned, and we’ll be erasing the very edge of the photo after anyway. And, as you’re going, make sure to round the edges of the corners slightly.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Rounded Edges

After a few more go arounds, you may notice that the border isn’t getting any darker any longer. Mine wouldn’t get darker than this:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - No More Dark

That’s because we’ve been burning with the Highlights selected. Now we can change to either the Midtones or the Shadows. I like going to Midtones and then to Shadows, just because I like to do them in order. Again, I’m not entirely sure at this point, but since we’re trying to replicate what I did, we gotta do it the same way, right? Right.

Okay, so after selecting Midtones and going around a few more times, mine stopped getting darker again at this point:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Mindtone Burned

At this point, you need to switch to the Shadows, and then keep going until the edges turn all the way black.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Shadow Burn

Okay, now that we got the edges, I think you can tell, the all over burn job we did at the beginning no longer matches, does it?

No worries, we’re gonna go back over the entire picture now. We had to wait to see how dark the edges were going to get, juuust in case we messed up.

Remember: You can always make the picture more burned, but it’s harder to un-burn it.

Alright, so to go over the entire picture, change the hardness to softer, the brush size to bigger, and the Exposure back down to about 10. And, you may need to switch the Range back to Highlights. If you try to go back over the lighter part of the picture with the Range still on Shadows, it may not work.

You don’t want to make it too much darker, but it has to match the edges. Try to get it to look as realistic as possible.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Reburned All

Now, you could leave it like this, but, for a little extra realism, I like to erase the hard edge of the picture. How often have you seen a burned picture with perfectly intact edges?

Exactly.

Switch from the Burn tool to the Eraser tool, change the size of the brush again (smaller), and keep the hardness semi-low. (50-60-ish)

Now – carefully – erase the very edges of the picture, and make sure to round the corners a bit. Again, this erase job doesn’t have to be perfectly straight.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Burning a Picture - Erased Edges

And boom! That’s everything.

Don’t forget to take out/change the background so you can save the picture by itself, or drag it on over to whatever file you need it in!

This way of burning pictures does take longer (obviously) but depending on the look you’re going for, it’s also a more realistic effect.

You can pretty much use this burned technique on any photo. And of course, you can make the burned/blackened edges bigger or smaller if needed, so you can erase more of the picture for a more burned up effect.

Have fun practicing this technique until next month.


Like the tutorial? Check out more here!

Boarders (PHSH Effect #9)

*IMPORTANT*

Aside from my final Product Review (Dec. 13th), this is the last post of 2019!

I will be taking the final 3 weeks of the year and half of January off from posting. I should be back at it Jan. 17th with the first Throw Away Fic of the year. (The next PHSH tutorial will come either come Jan. 20th, or sometime in Feb. Keep an eye out on my Twitter account, as that’s where I announce new posts)

Whether you wanted to up your book cover game, or start your own merch shop, or just wanted to have some fun, I hope you’ve found these tutorials useful.


This is the very last PHSH Effect of 2019!

In honour of this time of the year, I thought I’d show you something that could help you spruce up the annual x-mas card. I’m talking about boarders, of course! You can make a boarder look like pretty much anything you want to, but in keeping with the holiday spirit, I’ll be showing you how to make a ‘snow-y’ boarder like the one below.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Boarder Done - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

It’s a lot simpler than it may look, I promise! And, once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably want to do them all the time for whatever you’re creating.

Step 1. Create a Solid Colour layer from the bottom of the Layers panel. It can be any colour you want. For simplicity, I’m making mine blue.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Solid Colour Layer - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Solid Colour Selected - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

 

Step 2. Click on the Layer Mask (the square of colour that’s closest to the Layer name) This is the part we’re working with, not the actual layer.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Layers Mask Selected - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

Double click the Layer Mask square to bring up the Properties panel, then click on Invert. This will make the square go white (or black) – don’t worry! This is just to show it’s inverted. The Layer Mask square may be black now instead of white, too.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Properties Panel w/ Red Square - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

 

Step 4. Next, go to your Brush tool (left-side tool bar) and select one of the Creative Brushes from the bottom of the list. Because I want this boarder to look snow-y, I’m selecting a brush that looks somewhat like snow-flakes. (They’re just little dots, but still)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Brush Tool Selector Top - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation




Step 5. Once you find a brush you like, you can draw a square/boarder around the edges of the document. This is how you make the ‘boarder’ for the document. The colour you picked in Step 1 may appear through the lines you drew, that’s supposed to happen.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Blue Boarder - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

Aaand it’s at this stage I realize I did the steps backward. (I’m human, okay? Sorry to shatter the illusion) So I changed the background colour to blue, and made my boarder off-white, so it looked more like snow. I also changed the size of my brush so you could see the ‘dots’ more clearly, instead of having it look like a solid line, so it more closely resembles snow.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Fixed Boarder - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

Now, if you’re not doing snow, this is pretty much it, you can add whatever picture or text you want, or even go back and change the colour of the boarder or background.

If you want to stick with me and make this look like snow, it’s gonna take a while. This boarder looks fine, but doesn’t really look too snow-like. Since I’m using a dotted brush, now I’m going to add a bunch of dots (or ‘snow’) over more of the background, to make it look more like it’s snowing.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Beginning to Make Snow - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation

After this is done, as I said above, then you can add any other pictures or text you like, and then that’s it! (Don’t forget to save your work.)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Tutorial - PHSH Effect 9 - Boarders - Finished Boarder - phsh effect, phsh tutorial, photo manipulation


Like this tutorial? Check out more here!

Making a Transparent Background (PHSH Effect #5)





Alright, now that we’ve tackled some practical effects for pictures, it’s time to switch gears and show you how to edit the picture as a whole.

For this months’ tutorial, I’m going to show you how to change the background of a picture from the default white (or any other colour) to transparent. This is handy for, say, if you want to change the colour of the background, or if you’re making merch, and want the design to be available on an array of different coloured backgrounds.

This also comes in handy if you ever need to add a picture that has a background to your existing design. Instead of erasing around the foreground object, you can make the background transparent and then just place it. This can save you a lot of time. (Trust me)

Let’s get started.

First things first, you’re gonna need an image with a background you want to make transparent. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll just be using this:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Tutorial Pic

Simple, yes, but the steps are the same no matter how complicated an image is.

Step 1. Make a new Colour Layer. It can be whatever colour you want.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Colour Layer

Step 2. Switch back to the image, and select the Magic Eraser. Click on the white spaces of the image, and the white should disappear.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Magic Eraser Selection

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Clicked White Space

Step 3. Continue using the magic eraser on the image until all the white is gone.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Done White Space

Step 4. Now that the white is gone, all we have to do is delete the Colour Layer. Do this by clicking and dragging it down to the trash can on the bottom right side in the Layers Panel.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Dragged Arrow Deletion




Once you delete the Colour Layer, you’ll see the background of the image change to grey and white checkers, this now means the background is transparent. You can now save this layer as is and use it for whatever backgrounds you want. Whether it be solid colours, or actual pictures, your transparent pic is now ready to use.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Grey and White Checkers

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Trans Lavender

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Trans Yellow

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Making a Transparent Background - Trans Beach

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Check out next months’ tutorial, where I’ll show you how to do this magic:


Like this tutorial? Check out more here!

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.

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

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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Warped Text (PHSH Effect #3)




In keeping with the theme from last month, we’ll be continuing with text manipulations (check out the basics here). Specifically, we’ll be going through the different kinds of Warping Text there is.

Now, there are 15 different options to warp text in PHSH, I’m going to go through all of them, but will try to keep it brief. You can play around with the settings yourself and see what you like best.

Like the Drop Shadow, Warping Text isn’t the hardest PHSH effect to learn, but can definitely come in handy.

Alright, let’s get into it.

Step 1: Make a new document/project. (Mine is 6in x 6in, for simplicity)

Step 2: Using the Type tool, add text to the document. For the sake of the tutorial, I’m going to just work with ‘warp text’. The Warp Text effect will work with whatever you type, so if you need to say add text to a book cover (or poster), it won’t matter.

To keep things basic, I’m also just going to stick with black text on a white background, and Times New Roman, but again, this effect will work with almost every font/colour/background.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Text In Box

Step 3: While still using the Type tool, right click in the text box, then select Warp Text from the options.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Right Clicked Mani Box

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Warp Text Box

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Warp Text Options

Step 4: From the Style drop-down menu, first warp option we’ll be using is the Arc. (If you’re using a different version of PHSH, the order of the effects may change, and/or you may not have all the effects listed)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Selection

Once you click on the Arc option, you’ll notice your text is well, arced. See those Bend, Horizontal Distortion and Vertical Distortion options? These are the things we’ll be using for all the effects in this dialogue box. And, depending on the values, they’ll change how the text looks.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Default

 

For example, my default Bend value is +50. This made the text arc so wide that it’s now cut off from the document. To get it back on the document, I can either lessen the Bend value, or, I can click ‘Okay’ (if you’re happy with the warping done) and then I could easily just move the text layer over so it’s no longer off the edge of the document.

Because this is just a tutorial, I’ll ‘fix’ it by lessening the Bend. To do this, just click and drag the arrow along the line, and you should be able to see the text change with the changing Bend in real time.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Bend Lessened

See how the text is getting less Arced? If you go past the 0 on the scale, it will begin to Arc down.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Bend Inverted

Once you get the right Bend you need, you can move on to if you need to Horizontally or Vertically Distort the Warp. The Horizontal Distortion values will either squish, or enlarge one side of the text, while the Vertical Distortion will make the text look like it’s flying at, or away from you. (Like the scrolling text at the beginning of Star Wars).

I left the Bend at 0 for the following pictures so you can see each value by itself.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Vertical Distortion Big

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Vertical Distortion Inverted

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Horizontal Distortion Big

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Horizontal Distortion Inverted

Now that you know what these values do, you can use them in conjunction with each other.

The below pictures are the text with a Bend + Vertical and Bend + Horizontal Distortions.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Bend Vertical Distortion

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Bend Horizontal Distortion

That’s how those values act with the Arc Style. If we choose another Style from the drop-down, the options will remain the same, but the way the text is warped will change.

To keep things simple, I’m just going to go down the list in order, and show the effect with Bend only. The Horizontal and Vertical Distortions do the same thing for each, and I don’t want the pictures to get too repetitive.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Lower Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Upper Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arch Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Bulge Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Shell

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Shell Upper




AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Flag

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Wave

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Fish

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Rise

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Fisheye

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Inflate

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Squeeze

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Twist

You can also change the options from being applied horizontally to vertically, at the top, just under the Style selection.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Vert Style Bend

Feel free to play around with these on your own as needed, too. And, once you find a style of warping you like, don’t forget to save!

Next month I’ll be sticking with the text effects and show you how to make this:

AterImber.com - Books - First Try Promo Poster - Indie Author - Canadian Author

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


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Content Aware Scaling (PHSH Effect #1)




This week, I’ll be showing you how to Content Awareness Scale and image. Which is a really fancy way of saying we’re going to learn how to resize an image, while protecting a part of the foreground that we don’t want to distort.

If you didn’t, please check out my PHSH Intro post, as this one builds on what was learned there. (Also, if you need a refresh of how to add an image to the PHSH document)

Okay, so, for this tutorial, we’ll be using the cabin picture I used on my Holiday Treats book.

Please right click on the image, save it, then open it in PHSH, so you’re starting here:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Starting Pic

Alright, now that you’ve got that, we’re going to change the document size to 6inx9in. Resize the image to fit into the newly sized canvas.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Resized Pic

Okay, now the first step is to use the Selection tool to draw a box around the cabin. (Feel free to use the Guidelines to help you if needed)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Selected Cabin

In the right hand side panel, see how you’re currently in the Layers panel? Click over to the Channels panel, then go down to the bottom and click the New Channel button. This will create a new Channel with just the cabin. It’s fine to leave it named Alpha 1, the name doesn’t really matter.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Layers Panel

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Channels Panel

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Alpha 1 Created

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Alpha 1 Red

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Alpha 1 Hidden

Now that your document is the right colour, and we’ve created Alpha 1, switch back over to the Layers tab. You’ll notice now that you’ve switched back, the Layer you had previously selected is now greyed out, instead of blue. That means it’s no longer selected. To re-select the layer (so we can keep working) you’ll want to click on the Background layer, then click back to the picture layer. It should now be selected/highlighted blue.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Layer Grey

Using the Selection tool again, right click in the box you made and click on Deselect. This will get rid of the box around the cabin – now that we’ve created the Channel, we don’t need the cabin to be selected.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Deselecting Cabin

Now we’re basically back to how we started, except we’ve got an extra channel. This is the part where we do the actual Content-Awareness Scaling. (CA Scaling)




Going to the top Menu, click on Edit, then scroll down to Content Awareness Scale and click it.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Edit, CA Scaling Option

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - CA Scaling Open

See the box on the end there that says ‘Protect’? Click the drop-down menu and select Alpha 1. This will… well it’s gonna protect the cabin from stretching while we resize the picture.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Protect Drop Down Menu

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Protect Alpha 1

This is the fun part, now we’re gonna stretch the picture, and the cabin won’t be affected.

To do this, click on the box on the bottom in the middle, and hold down ALT as you slowly drag the sizing box down.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Bottom Square

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Drag Down Arrow

You’ll notice that the top of the picture is moving too, that’s what holding down the ALT key does – allows you to move both sides at the same time.

Keep dragging the image until the top of the box disappears off the canvas.

Once that happens, go over to your Select tool, click it. A dialogue box will come up and ask to apply the changes, click Apply. Then, drag the image down from the top of the canvas, lining it up with the bottom.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Top of Box Gone

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Apply Dialogue Box

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Aligined w/ Bottom

Notice how much bigger the background is? But the cabin stayed the same size! We didn’t get the picture to the exact dimensions of the canvas, but that’s okay.

To get the picture to the right size, we can just go back up to Edit – Content Aware Scale, and do it again until it matches the canvas size. Don’t forget to Protect Alpha 1!

(For this sizing, we don’t need to hold down ALT, because we just need to stretch the top to the top of the canvas, we don’t need to resize the bottom.)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Done

Ta-da! Now, is the most important part – save.

This is a pretty handy PHSH skill I wish I had learned before doing the cover for my book.

For a side-by side comparison, here’s the cover when I first did it (before I knew how to CA Scale) and after I learned.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Holiday Treats Stretched Cover

AterImber.com - Writing - Books - Holiday Treats Book Cover - Wincest, Short Story, SPN, Supernatural, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Castiel, Jess, John Winchester, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years

See the difference? The first one you can definitely tell that I stretched the image.

That’s why this is one hell of a PHSH skill to know how to do, and, it’s not that hard, either. Once you practice and do it a few times, you’ll be able to do it no problem.

Next tutorial, I’ll show you how to add a Drop Shadow to text:

Look out for that May 6th.


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So You Wanna Design Your Own Book Cover, Eh? (PHSH Tutorial Intro)




You’ve just finished writing this amazing novel, and are so pumped to get it out and into the world. All your dedication, time and energy has been poured into this baby of yours, and you want nothing more then to see it flourish.

Now there’s only one problem: It needs a cover.

But, you’re a writer, you don’t know how to design a book cover! You can barely crop an image in Photoshop – maybe you don’t even have Photoshop. And you definitely can’t shell out a bunch of money to hire somebody design it for you. (There’s a reason ‘starving artist’ is the phrase and not ‘stuffed artist’)

Well, today’s your lucky day – you’ve found the beginnings of an article-series I’m just starting to help people exactly in your shoes learn how to make a cover.

No, I didn’t take any marketing courses, nor do I have any formal training. I took a Media Arts class in gr. 10 and learned how to use Photoshop. However, I was requested by JD Stanley to help with their book covers. Before I helped, JD could barely erase a background. Oh, and I made all my own covers, too. (Not to mention the collages on this website)

Bottom line, I’m not professionally trained – but I know my way around enough to do things myself. It was actually JD who told me I could start this series! (Seriously, some of JD’s questions boggled my mind – what do you mean you don’t know how to zoom in?)

Fear not, I’ll be giving you the low-down throughout the next few months on how you too can not suck at using Photoshop.

Let’s start at the very beginning: Making a New Document.

Step 1: Do you have Photoshop? If not, you should go download it. (I use CS6, so if you have a newer/older version some details may differ) If you already have it, you’re part-way there!

Step 2: Open it.

Step 3: Go to File listed in the top menu and select New from the drop-down menu.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 1- Photoshop

Step 4: In the box that popped up, give your file a name. I just chose to keep it simple.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 2- Photoshop

Tip: PHSH = short form for Photoshop. From here on out, I’ll be referring to the program by the short form, because it’s faster to type.

You’ll also want to set the dimensions. My dimensions are set to 1920×1080 (pixels) by default because I was taking screen-shots of myself opening PHSH for this tutorial. You can make the dimensions however big/small you want. You also don’t have to use ‘pixels’ as the unit of measure. I typically use inches. I would suggest you make your dimensions 10x10in for simplicity.

Also, if your Resolution is set to 72px by default, you’ll most likely want to change it to 300px – this will make the image clearer.

Once you do this, click the Okay button.

Step 5: Now that this is done, you should see a white page that’s to your specified dimensions. This is your document size.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - PHSH Basics 3 - Photoshop

 

If you can’t see the edges of your document, you might be zoomed in. Hold down CTRL and press the minus button (beside the 0 on the keyboard) to Zoom Out. Zoom Out until you can see the edges of the document. This will make working easier.

Congratulations, you just made your first PHSH file! That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Alright, now I’ll be going through the Tools on the Toolbar that are listed down the left-side of the program.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - PHSH Tool Bar - Photoshop

This first one is the Pointer/Mouse function. It does exactly what you’d think – let’s you use your mouse as normal within the document. Allows you to click on different things, etc. You’ll be switching back to this a lot while you work, so it’s important you know what it does.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Select Tool - Photoshop

Next you have the Selection Tool. This allows you to make a selection around a certain part of an image, cut/crop/copy and/or protect a section of a picture from being Erased.

Actually, wait, I’m not gonna go through all the tools right now – I forgot a step. To show you what some of these tools do, you’re gonna need a picture!

Okay, so to Insert a Picture into a document:

Step 1: First, I want you to right click on the image below, and select Save Image As… from the menu. Give it a name, and save it to your Desktop, for simplicity.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - PHSH Basics 3 - Photoshop

Step 2: Now you have the image, go back up to File, and this time, instead of clicking ‘New’, click on Open.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 1 - Photoshop

This should bring you to your Desktop. Click on the image I just had you save, and then hit ‘Open’. This will open the image in a new PHSH document.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 3- Photoshop

See those tabs? Anytime you have more then 1 PHSH file open, you’ll be able to switch between them by clicking on the tabs.

Step 3: Okay, now we have the image, and our blank document. You’re gonna want to move the picture to the new document.

To do this, you’ll want to click on the tab that’s the picture, and drag it off the line, a little to the left. Then let go – this makes the file open in a new PHSH window. (If you’ve ever accidentally opened a link in a new Window instead of Tab on your browser, it’s exactly the same as that, but in PHSH. If you haven’t done that, don’t worry.)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 4 - Photoshop

Now, click on the image itself, not the tab, and drag the image into the blank document. Let go once it’s there, and you should see a New Layer with the image was created in your blank document (which should now have the picture)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 5 - Photoshop

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 6 - Photoshop

Now that we have the image in our document, you can Exit the image that’s still open in the window – we don’t need it anymore.

To center the image, click on Layer 1 (if it’s highlighted in Blue that layer is already selected) then, go back to your image, and drag it down into the document until it’s centered.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Adding A Picture 7- Photoshop

And that’s how you move a picture into your PHSH file!

Okay, now that we’ve covered that, I’ll be going back to some of the Tools.

I’ll go back to showing you the Select Tool.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Select Tool - Photoshop

Now that we have an image, I’m going to show you how to erase part of the image. (Especially because the PHSH pictures inside a PHSH picture is starting to confuse me, so we’re gonna fix that)

Okay, first: See the Rulers that are around the edges of the file? Click and drag down from the top Ruler – a turquoise/green line should now be on the document – this is called a Guideline. If you don’t have Rulers showing, go up to View and click on the Ruler option listed. (There should now be a check mark next to the option – this means it’s turned on)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 1 - Photoshop

You’ll want to drag this Guideline to the edge of the image we centered. Then, go back up to the top, and drag another one to the bottom. Drag two more Guidelines out from the left-side Ruler, so now the image should be completely boxed in by the Guidelines.

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Now that you have your Guidelines in place, go over to the Toolbar, and click on the Select Tool.

Click and drag the outline box to the dimensions of the Guidelines. (It might ‘snap’ once you get close to the lines, that’s okay) Let go, and now you should see a dotted box along the Guidelines.

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Right-click in the Selected box/Guideline area, and select the Select Inverse option. You should notice that now there’s a bigger perforated box outlining the whole picture.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 4 - Photoshop

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 5 - Photoshop

Now comes the less confusing part. Go back to your Toolbar, and select the Eraser tool.

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Now that you’ve got the Eraser selected, click and drag your mouse (exactly how you used to do it in Paint) around the image, and you’ll begin erasing the outer-part, without touching the part we selected before. Because we inverted the selection, the part we want to keep is safe, and you’ll only erase the outside of the image, regardless of if your mouse touches the part we want to keep.

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(Your background colour is hopefully white instead of red, don’t mind that. It’s typically white)

Continue erasing until just the middle part remains.

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Now, go back up to the Select tool, right-click again on the image, and this time click on Deselect. Now the selected box is gone, you’re left with only the image. To get rid of the Guidelines, you can just drag them back up into the Rulers and they’ll disappear. (Make sure you switch from the Select tool back to the Mouse tool)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 9 - Photoshop

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 10 - Photoshop

Now that we’ve erased the background, we need to change the dimensions of the document, to get rid of all the white space.

To do this, (the easiest way) is to drag the picture to the top left corner, and then place two Guidelines at the bottom and to the right of the image, taking note of the dimensions.

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Once you’ve made a note of the Guideline dimensions, go to the menu at the top and click on Image, then go down to Canvas Size.

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 13 (Canvas Size Dialogue Box) - Photoshop

In the Canvas Size box, you’ll be able to change the dimensions of your canvas. Type in the dimensions you got from the Guidelines (mine were 3.89cm x 7.21cm) and click Okay.

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Don’t freak out – your picture is still here! The canvas size shrunk, so now it’s outside of the canvas size. Using your Mouse tool, drag the image to be centered on the canvas again, and this time, it should be a perfect fit, with no white background showing.

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The last step always: SAVE.

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We’ll be saving two versions of the file. The first being a .psd or Photoshop file. Saving your work this way allows you to keep all the layers separate. This is especially handy should you need to return to the image later to edit it further. I usually label these saved files as ‘Whatever Project I’m Working On UNFlattened’ so at a glance, it’s faster to know which file is which.

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The second version you’ll be saving as, is either a .png or a .jpeg. These are picture files that condense all the layers to be 1 image. These are usually the images that end up on websites, as profile pictures, and, most importantly, the ones allowed to be uploaded for your book cover. Amazon may also require a PDF version, you do it in exactly the same way, except instead of selecting PNG or JPEG from the list, you select PDF.

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Erasing a Picture with Guidelines 19 - Photoshop

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And there you have it! You now know how to make a new file, crop images, and save in a few different formats. That’s the most basic aspect of PHSH skills you’ll need.

Lastly, I’ll go through a few of the tools you’ll probably use the most.

I’ve already shown you the Mouse, Select and Eraser tool.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Mouse, Select and Eraser Tools - Photoshop

Because I don’t want this tutorial to go on too much longer, I’ll just go through the rest of Tools in point form.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Eye Dropper Tool - Photoshop

Eye-Dropper – This allows you to ‘pick up’ a sample of colour from one part of the file, and use it elsewhere. You’ll notice when you use the Eye dropper, the colour you picked up is now in the Colour Swatches, allowing you to easily use the colour elsewhere in the document.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Eye Dropper Tool Explaination - Photoshop

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Paint Bucket Tool - Photoshop

Paint-Bucket – Exactly what it used to do in Paint. It fills the entire area with whatever colour you select. (If you have it within a closed shape, it will only fill in the closed shape, not the whole canvas)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Blur, Sharpen, Smudge Tool - Photoshop

Blur/Sharpen/Smudge – Again, these do exactly as the name implies. They Blur, Sharpen and/or Smudge the picture. You can change the size of them similar to the Eraser tool. This is especially handy if say, you’re erasing a hair line, and need to not make the edges of hair so defined. (You would blur them slightly to make it look un-erased)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Dodge, Burn, Sponge Tool - Photoshop

Dodge/Burn/Sponge – I’m not entirely sure what the Dodge or Sponge part of the this tool does (when I used the Dodge tool last, it made the picture turn a grey-er colour), but the Burn tool burns the picture like a lighter. Handy if you want to make the edges of an image appear burned, or if you want to blacken/darken the image as a whole.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Type Tool - Photoshop tutorial

Type – Allows you to add text to the picture. This is what I used to add the text on the images used in this tutorial.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Shape Tool - photoshop tutorial

Shape – Allows you to add different shapes to the canvas: Square, Rectangle, Line, etc.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Intro - Colour Swatches

Colour Squares – This is where it tells you what colours you’re currently using. The small arrow above the bigger boxes, will switch whatever colours you’re using currently to black and white.

Alight, I know that was a lot of info to take in, so take a breath – you made it all the way to end! Also, I’m sure that wasn’t nearly as daunting a task as you first thought it’d be. PHSH is funny like that, it’s such a big program, and there are a lot of different elements to it – at first glance it’s definitely intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be. All those different elements just mean you can make some kick-ass pictures with it!

I hope you enjoyed this intro to the world of PHSH, and feel free to practice and play around with the program a bit, that’s how I learned some of the stuff I know.

Next time, I’ll show you a very handy way to scale images without distorting them. You can look for that April 8th.


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