Category Archives: Writing Tips

Lens Flares (PHSH Effect #21)

This article was written 21.11.26, please excuse any joke/reference that’s no longer applicable.


I hope you practiced the Glitter effect well last month, because this month, I’m showing you how to make your glitter effects look a little more realistic with Lens Flares.

Step 1

For this tutorial, you’re gonna want to open the (unflattened) Glitter project you were previously working on. If you don’t have one, or missed the tutorial, check it out here, and then come back.

Once you have a Glitter-effect picture open, create a New Layer (using the button on the bottom of the Layers panel), and then select the Brush tool from the left-hand side.

Go up to the Brush settings and change the size to something pretty small, and change the Hardness to very low, as well.

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Step 2

Next, while making sure you’re on the New Layer, I want you to paint a dot somewhere on the picture you’ll be able to see it.

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Optionally, you can now make a smaller dot directly in the middle of this white one, by using the Eye Dropper tool and picking up a colour from your glitter. This can help the Lens Flare look more realistic, but it depends on the image being used.

For this tutorial, I negated the glitter-coloured dot, and the picture still came out fine. However, when I’ve done these effects on a more complicated image, the coloured dot in the center made a surprisingly big difference.

That said, since you’re just learning and most likely doing so in a simple picture, you won’t have to worry about that right now. Just keep it in mind for the future.

 

Step 3

Now, stretch the white dot vertically, elongating it.

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Then, copy the stretched out dot (by click/dragging the image while holding down ALT), or make another one.

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Step 4

Once you have 2 stretched dots, rotate one of them horizontally, and fit it over the first (still vertical) dot, so you make a T shape with them.

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Step 5

Next, in the Layers panel, select both stretched out dot Layers (hold CTRL while you click on both layers), then right-click, and select Merge Layers.

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This will merge the two stretched out dot layers together, making them 1 layer. This will make it easier to use throughout the rest of the tutorial. However, if you wanted to keep them separate, but use them together, you could either CTRL + click them every time, or, add them to a Group (the folder button at the bottom of the Layers panel).

 

Step 6

Now that you have the lens flare, it’s time to add it to the picture! To do this, you can rotate it, until it looks like an X, then drag it so it’s sitting on top of the glitter-fied portion of the picture. If needed, you can also resize the lens flare, so it’s smaller.

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Step 7

Now all that’s left to do is add a few more Lens Flares, to make it look a little more realistic. You can rotate and resize them as necessary, just be sure not to add too many to your picture. Less is more with this effect.

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And that’s all there is to it! Once you’re happy with the number of flares you’ve added, don’t forget to save! Also, you’ll want to keep each Lens Flare on it’s own separate layer, just in case you want to re-arrange them.

This effect can also be used in more ways than I’ve shown here, but I think getting comfortable with adding them to glitter is a great way to start out, since glitter is naturally shiny. Once you get comfortable with the glitter, you can start experimenting with adding them to other reflective surfaces, like puddles/water, or mirrors.

You’ll have plenty of time to practice the effects you’ve learned thus far, as the next, and last tutorial for the year will be coming in October. But, don’t worry, it’s going to be well worth the wait!


Like the tutorial? Check out the rest of them here!

Glitter (PHSH Effect #20)

This article was written 21.11.25, please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer applicable.


Now that it’s summer and we’re finally getting to go back outside in the nice weather, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to pivot away from the ‘depressing’ rain effect I showed you last time, and show you how to make something much ‘happier’: Glitter!

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Also, Pride is this month, so it seemed extra fitting, albeit a little cliché.

Let’s get started!

Step 1

First step for this effect, is you’ll need to find a Glitter Texture picture, and have a picture you want to add glitter to. For simplicity, I’m going to be doing this tutorial with a picture of an eye, and apply the glitter to look like eye shadow.

That said, you can definitely use this technique to add glitter in more fantasy-based pictures, if needed. (I’ll show you an example at the end of the tutorial)

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this yet or not, but if you haven’t found a good royalty-free website to get pictures from (unfortunately you can’t just use Google-d pictures for book covers), Pixabay and Pexels are great websites.

Once you have both pictures, open a new PHSH project, and place both the glitter, and base picture into it, and resize if necessary. Then, (if needed), drag the glitter layer so it’s on top of the base picture.

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You can also change the glitter layer’s Opacity so you can see the base picture through the layer.

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Step 2

Once you have your pictures set, we’re going to use the Eraser tool to erase parts of the glitter picture we don’t need. Using a pretty big sized brush, and a high percent of Hardness, start erasing the parts of the glitter picture you don’t need.

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In my case, this would be everything except for the part of the picture that’s covering the upper eyelid.

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Step 3

Once you’ve erased everything on the glitter layer you don’t need, you can go ahead and change it’s Opacity back to 100%.

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While still in the Layers panel, go over to the Blend Mode (which is the drop-down menu directly to the left of the Opacity), and change it from Normal to Overlay, or Screen. Use whichever one looks best with the picture you have. In my case, I used Overlay.

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Step 4

Once this is done, go ahead and clean up the edges of the glitter layer, if needed. You can also slightly lower the Opacity if you need to. Depending on your image, I wouldn’t make it too low, though, since you want the glitter to be seen over the picture.

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And there you have it! A simple way to add glitter to most pictures.

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Obviously, this is a pretty simple way to show you how to add glitter to something. However, the steps are almost exactly the same, even if you, for example, wanted to make a vampire/give a person glittery skin.

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For this image, I started with the exact same steps as above, but I ended up lowering the Opacity a little more, and, I also right-clicked on the glitter layer and used the Warp function to give it a slightly ‘bent’ appearance, so it would look more like it was attached to the girl’s skin.

Warping the glitter layer is an optional step. I’ve found it tends to only work with certain images, while on others, you can’t tell at all that it was used.

But go ahead and play around to see what works best for you.

You’ll want to get pretty good at applying glitter to images, because the next tutorial I’m gonna be showing you is an effect that just so happens to pair well with this one:


Like this tutorial? Check out the rest of them here!

Puddles (PHSH Effect #19)

Happy spring!

As I said in the last PHSH Tutorial, I’ll be keeping with the rain effect theme for this one as well, and show you how to make a wet road reflection/puddle.

There are actually 3 different ways I’ve discovered to to do this, but this one is the one that works best with the Rain Effect I showed you last time.

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See how much more realistic the rain effect looks when you pair it with this wet road reflection?

Let’s show you how to do it!

 

Step 1

For this effect, you’ll want to start with a picture you’ve already applied the Rain Effect to, or are planning to add the rain effect to.

If you are using a picture you’ve already done the rain effect on, the first step is to hide the rain layer. To do this, go to the Layers Panel, and you should see a little box in front of the layer thumbnail that has an eye on it. Click it, and you should notice the layer will be ‘hidden’, as well as, the eye disappeared.

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Once you hide the rain layer, you’ll want to duplicate the image you’re using. To do this, hold down ALT and click and drag the Layer either up or down. Once you have 2 image Layers, you’ll want to work with the one on top.

 

Step 2

Next, (making sure the top image Layer is selected), you’ll want to go over to your Lasso tool, and select Polygon Lasso Tool from the drop-down menu that appears.

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Now, you’ll want to use this tool to outline the road (or ground), being sure to not include the trees. To do this, you’ll want to start by clicking slightly outside your work document, and then you’ll notice you are dragging a line.

Drag this line along the road in your picture. If you have a not-straight line, you can click at any point to ‘fix’ part of the line to the picture. Do this until you have selected the whole road, and brought your line back to the beginning point of your selection.

I realize that might sound a little confusing, so I’ve shown you using a red line how I did this on my picture.

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Once you bring the line back to your starting point, the line you made should start flashing and be dotted, as if you used the Selection Tool to select it instead. (But you can’t use the Selection Tool, because that tool only allows you to select things in either a square/rectangle or circular shape)

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Step 3

Now, you’ll want to go down to the Layer Mask button, which is located at the bottom of the Layers Panel, to apply a Layer Mask to the layer.

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You’ll know the Layer Mask has been applied when a black and white thumbnail shows up next to the thumbnail of the image. Then, you’ll need to click on the Link picture that is between the two thumbnails. This will, (not surprisingly) un-link the Layer Mask.

 

Step 4

Once you’ve done that, make sure you click on the image thumbnail (the thumbnail that’s closest to the eye), and then you’ll want to Flip Vertically. To do this, you can click on one of the Transform squares that are around the image, then right-click and select Flip Vertically from the drop-down menu.

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After doing this, you should see the image is upside down, and is showing only in the road selection you made.

If not, or if the image is too high (as was in my case) you’ll want to just lower the image, until the edges of the road line up with that of the non-flipped image. Or, until you feel it’s low enough.

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Step 5

At this point, with the Layer Mask being aligned, the picture should look like a mirror perfect mirror image. Now, if you needed to add a mirror reflection to an image, you’d be done by this point.

However, we’re making a puddle, so we’ll need to use our Eraser tool. Go up to the top panel and change the Brush Size to about a Medium size, and set the Hardness pretty low. You’ll also want to change the Opacity to about 96%.

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Now that we have our Eraser set, it’s time to form the puddle shapes. To do this, you’ll want to just start erasing any part of the flipped picture you don’t want to keep.

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Do this for the entire flipped image, until you’re happy with the way your reflection is looking. You can erase as much, or as little of the image as you’d like – it all depends on what you want the final image to look like.

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Step 6

Once you’re happy with what you have left, go up to Filter – Blur – Motion Blur, and make the Angle 0, and the Distance something small, like 6. The Distance will entirely depend on your image, but try to keep it on the smaller side.

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You want to add just enough Motion Blur for the image to look slightly blurry, since we are creating this reflection for a lighter rainfall.

If, for example, you were adding this to a heavier thunderstorm picture, you could make the Distance greater, as that would make the reflection look more blurry.

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Step 7

Once you’re happy with the amount of blur your reflection has, you can go ahead and unhide your Rain layer, to see how the image looks with all the effects together.

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This looks pretty good, but see how un-hiding the Rain made the picture lighter? You could keep the image lighter if you wanted, but, to me, it doesn’t look as realistic, because it’s often cloudy/dark when raining.

To fix this, you can go up to the Adjustments Panel, which sits on top of the Layers Panel, and then click on the Brightness/Contrast icon, which is the icon that looks like a sun/moon.

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In the Panel that pops up, you can now lower the Brightness and/or Contrast of the image, until you’re happy with the final product.

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And that’s it!

You now have a great, more-realistic rain picture!

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As always, don’t forget to Save both a PHSH file so you can come back in and Edit things later, as well as a JPEG/PNG file for showing off on social media.

You’ll have 2 months to practice this Wet Road technique, before we pivot to almost the exact opposite side of the effects spectrum: Glitter!

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Like this tutorial? Check out the rest of the series here!

Also, consider becoming a Patron! You can support me for as little as $1/month, and your contribution will help me keep the blog going!

 

Make It Rain! (PHSH Effect #18)

Welcome to the first Photoshop tutorial of the new year!

I hope you’re well rested and ready to tackle the 5 new effects I’ll be showing you throughout this year.

First of which, will be this cool rain effect!

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Now, obviously, this effect will look best on a photo that looks like it would have rain on it, like in the picture above. That said, you can use this effect on any picture, though it might not look as realistic over a sunny day.

This effect, like many of the others I’ve shown you, isn’t that complicated once you break it down, and, is actually pretty easy.

Let’s get into it!

Step 1.

To start, pick a picture you’d like to make it rain on. It can be any image you want, but, as said above, this effect will look better on certain images than others.

Once you have your picture picked out, create a New Layer (you can do this by using the New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel). Next, we’re going to fill the new layer with the colour black. You can do this one of two ways: you can either go up to Edit – Fill, and then select Black and click Okay, or, you can use your Paint Bucket and dump black onto the layer.

Either way, the layer should be completely black.

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You can also rename the new layer to something you’ll remember what it is, like ‘Rain’ – naming your layers is always helpful when working, but especially important the more you start working on more complicated projects.

 

Step 2

Once the layer is filled with black, go up to Filter – Noise – Add Noise. In the dialogue box that comes up, you can fill in the following values:

Amount of Percent: 25%

Distribution Mode: Gaussian

And, make sure the Monochromatic box is checked.

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Once this is done, click Okay to add the Noise. At this point, the black layer should have white speckles all over it – like the ‘fuzz’ that used to show up on an old TV when you went to a channel you didn’t get.

 

Step 3

Now that you’ve added noise, you’ll need to go back to Edit – Transform – Scale. Then, in the Width/Height values that appear in the top menu (on the same line used to change a Brush size/hardness), change the values to either 200/200 or 400/400, depending on the size of your document.

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Alternatively, you can just click and drag the layer’s bottom corner to make it larger, in the exact same way you scale a picture to fit your document/work size. The layer doesn’t have to be specifically that big, just make sure it’s slightly bigger than your work area.

Once you resize, the Noise/dots should (slightly) resemble falling snow.

This is to ensure a more realistic look – because rain is coming down from the sky, if you take a picture when it’s raining, the drops won’t be perfectly lined up with the top/sides of your picture – the rain began way above the scope of your lens. This helps ensure there are ‘half’ raindrops.

 

Step 4.

Now we’ve got our rain the correct size, we’ll need to make our picture/image viewable through it!

To do this, go to the Layers panel, and click on the Blend Mode drop down menu, and select Screen. This should allow you to see your image through the Noise layer.

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If this doesn’t work, make sure your Noise layer is on top of your image layer in the Layers panel. If it’s listed underneath your image, just drag it above, so it’s the first layer in the list.

 

Step 5.

Next, to make those dots look more like falling rain. To do this, go back up to Filter – Blur – Motion Blur.

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The values you input here will depend upon the image you’re using, as well as what you want the final image to look like. If for example, you want it to look like it is heavily raining on your image, you’ll want to go with a more dramatic angle, and a larger distance.

On the other hand, if you want there to be light rain, you can go with a less dramatic angle, and a smaller distance, as I did in the image.

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That said, I’ve noticed a Distance of 75 seems to be the lowest that works while still looking like ‘rain’. Go ahead and play around with both values until you’re happy with what it looks like, though.

Once you’re happy with what your rain looks like, click Okay.

If you really want an image to look stormy, I also recommend using this Noise/Motion Blur effect more than once, with varying Distance/Angle attributes, so it will give the impression of a much heavier rain fall.

 

And that’s it!

If you notice your image has become too bright after applying the Rain, you can go ahead and either try lowering the Rain layer’s Opacity, or, you can go to the Adjustments panel (should be sitting on top of the Layers panel), and click on the Brightness/Contrast option, and change those values until you’re happy with them.

Once you’re totally happy with what your rain looks like, don’t forget to Save both a PHSH file (.psd), and a JPEG, or PNG of your work! Saving a PHSH file will allow you to go back in and make changes if you ever need to, without having to start all over.

And, while this effect isn’t too time consuming, or hard, it still sucks to have to start from scratch when wanting to change a Photoshop project.

Go ahead and practice this effect until you become comfortable with it, because in April, I’ll be keeping with this rainy theme, and showing you how to make Puddles:

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Like this tutorial? Check out the rest of the series here!

Shattered Text (PHSH Effect #17)

Welcome to the last Photoshop tutorial for the year!

I know there haven’t been too many this year, but that’s for two very good reasons! 1) I’ve expanded the website to include different things, and thus am trying to be fair in my cycling through of each interest, and b) I’ve been busy and need time to learn more effects to show you!

At the time of writing (20.11.17), I’m almost out of effects to share, and haven’t had time to learn more. I mean, it’s 2020, can you really blame me for not having time? But, don’t worry! I’ve got a pretty good handle on scheduling (yes, I had scheduled all of 2021 back in 2020), and I’m not writing a book (or should I say ‘haven’t been’? … This is the part of writing posts in the future that gets confusing!) this year, so I should have plenty of time to teach myself some new effects.

So for now, you can go digging through the old tutorials, and practice this effect while you wait for new ones. Also, if you aren’t already, keep an eye on my Twitter, where I’ll share updates on what’s happening, so you can stay in the loop.

Okay, I think that’s enough rambling, now onto the effect!

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This effect, like many others, probably looks complicated, but isn’t really, it’s more time consuming than anything else. (But we’ll get to why in a bit)

Step 1. 

On a new project/document/file (I swear one day I’ll learn what it’s called!), type whatever text you want to shatter. For the purposes of simplicity, I’ll just use the word Shattered.

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You can do this effect on any font/colour, but if you want it to really look good, I suggest using a thick font, like Arial, and to change the word colour to white/off white. (So it looks more like glass) Then, change the background colour from white to black. I’ve also centered the text, but again, this is optional. It all depends on what you want the final product to look like.

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After changing the font, to make it extra thick (so we have more room to work with the effect), you can also change the Font Style so the text looks even thicker. I picked Black, but the Bold, or even a different really thick font should work.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 1 D1 - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 1 D2 - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

Step 2.

See how much better that’s already looking? Now, I want you to pick a center point on your word, and, using the Ellipse Tool, draw a small circle at the point. This will be used as the impact point, and will serve as the central part for when we begin to shatter the pieces. To keep things simple, I’ll use the bottom of the middle letter.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 2 B - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

Step 3.

Now, using the same tool, switch to the Line Tool, and draw straight lines radiating out from the circle, to begin dividing the word into pieces.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 3 A - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

Keep going until you’ve fractioned off the whole word. Hint: Holding down SHIFT while drawing the lines will keep them totally straight.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 3 B - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

Step 4.

Now to make things easier, select all the lines and circle you just made (either hold CTRL and click on each layer in the Layers Panel, or press and hold SHIFT and click on the first and last shape layers), then right-click and select Merge Shapes from the menu. This will collapse the guide we just made into 1 layer.

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Once collapsed, feel free to re-name it Guide or something similar, so you know what it is. To rename a Layer, double click on the Layer Name (the word beside the thumbnail picture) and type whatever you want to name the layer, then hit Enter to make the change.

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Step 5.

Now to actually make the shards. First, right click on the Type layer, then select Rasterize Type. This will make the text no longer editable with the Type tool, but will allow us to cut and crop it as if it’s an image. (Which is what we need)

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After this, using your Pen tool, begin to cut out the shapes of the shards following the guide you created. (Make sure you do this on the word layer, and not the guide layer) You can also lower the Opacity of your guide layer, so it’s less distracting.

When using the Pen Tool, you’ll want to make points at the edges of the selection. Make triangles when clicking, then right-click and click ‘Make Selection’. Then, using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, right click on the selection again, and this time select Layer via Copy. (You can also do this by going up to the Layers tab in the top menu, and then going to New – Layer Via Copy)

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 5 C - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 5 D2 - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 5 E - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

Repeat this until you have separate layers for each section made by the Guide.

Step 6.

Now that you have all the pieces you’ll need on separate layers, comes the fun part. Hide the original text layer, so just the pieces are left visible.

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Now, starting with 1 of the sections, slightly move it so it’s not touching the rest of the pieces, this will make it look broken. You can also slightly turn the pieces as well, if needed.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Step 6 C - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

Continue to do this for all the pieces, keeping in mind the circle from your guide is the central point, so all the pieces should look like they ‘broke’ from there. Also keep in mind, sometimes less is more, and the effect may look better without drastic changes, but this will depend on the look you’re going for.

Also, once you’ve moved all the pieces, hide your Guide layer, so you can see what it looks like.

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Now all the pieces are where you want them, you can go ahead and save yourself the PHSH file. (Which I always recommend, but especially recommend for effects that take multiple layers!) Once you have an editable PHSH file saved, you can go ahead and delete your Guide and intact Shattered layer, and then you can flatten and save as a PNG or JPEG file.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial Series - Shattered Text - Shattered Text Effect Done - phsh, phsh tutorial, photoshop, photoshop tutorial, phsh effect

And there you have it! Another effect is done!

This looks pretty great on it’s own, but, if you want to really give it some oomph, arrange your text on an image of broken glass pieces. If needed, (depending on your background), you can also Bevel and Emboss the text pieces so they appear to be raised, and, you can also add an Inner Shadow as well. (Both of these are techniques I’ll be showing in later tutorials.)

Adding these extra steps are totally not needed, but can add a little extra ‘wow’ factor to your cover, depending on the look you’re going for. And, like most of the other effects I’ve shown you, this Shattered text technique works in a LOT of different contexts.

This is the same technique I used on the Broken cover, to make the title look like it was written across the mirror. It’s less shattered than what I did in the glass shards picture, but still works.

Play around with the fracturing to see what works for you.

Like I said at the beginning of the tutorial, this is the last one for this year, but I’ll be back some time next year with a brand new set of effects! So go ahead and practice, because while I don’t know exactly what I’ll show you, I do know the effects/techniques are just gonna keep getting harder from here. So make sure you take the time to master the early ones!


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Top 10 WORST Things About Telling People You’re a Writer

  1. Everyone you know used to write in college. Seriously, even the people who didn’t go to college used to write in college.

 

  1. *snottily* “Have you published anything?”

“Yes.”

*gets offended*

 

  1. “Oh, no, I meant what’s your real job?”

 

  1. “What do you write?”

*Tells them*

“Well I think you’d do better if you wrote ____”

 

  1. (After telling them your story plot/idea) “Oh, so it’s like (insert overly popular movie full of clichés)?”

 

  1. “Writing’s a good hobby, but when are you going to get a real job?”

 

  1. “I’ll totally read your book when it comes out!”

 

  1. “What do you mean I don’t get a free copy? But I’m your (insert personal relationship label)!”

 

  1. “That must be so nice! I’d love to sit around and daydream all day instead of going to work.”

 

    1. “Can you write me something (for free)?”

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Making a GIF (PHSH Effect #16)

Don’t be scared! Making a GIF is not nearly as complicated as you may think!

Well, okay, that’s not technically true. It can actually get complicated, but that’s completely dependant on what you want to GIF. Don’t worry though, because this is just a tutorial, I’ll be keeping things simple, and you can always practice and work your way up to complicated later.

In the interest in keeping things simple, I’ll just show you how to make the GIF I teased in the last tutorial.

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Also, real quick, ‘GIF’ stands for Graphics Interchange Format. So, the proper pronunciation is to say it with a hard ‘g’ sound, not with a ‘j’ sound. Now that you know what it stands for, I hope you will start saying it correctly, because now you don’t have an excuse. (Unless you say ‘jraphics’, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume you don’t)

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started!

Step 1.

First things first, set up a new document/work file in Photoshop, and make it whatever dimensions you want. Then, using the Type tool, type some words for us to GIF, and make sure you type them all on different layers. Since I’m showing you the GIF I teased last time, I typed out This is a GIF on 4 separate layers. But it can be any text you want. (Or it can even be a picture, but we’ll get to that later)

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Step 2.

Next, go up to Window (in the top menu with File) and click on Timeline from the drop-down menu.

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Once you click on that, you should see a banner come up on the bottom of the window, this is called the Timeline. There should be 1 ‘frame’ with your layers already in it that popped up as well.

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Step 3.

Now that you have the Timeline open, you have to place each layer onto different frames. This is actually much simpler than it may sound. First step, is to take them off the first frame. To do this, simply go over to your Layers Panel, and hide the layers you don’t want visible in the first frame. (Click on the eye beside the layer to hide it)

The only thing visible in the first frame should be the word This.

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Step 4.

Now we have to make more frames. To do this, click on the Duplicate Frame button in the timeline. It is the button that looks like the New Layers button.

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To make this the 2nd frame, we are going to hide the This layer, and un-hide the is layer. You do this in the exact way you did to hide all the layers, but the hidden layer won’t have an eye next it. That’s okay, just click in the little square, and the eye and layer will appear, making the layer un-hidden.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - Photoshop Tutorial Series - Making a GIF - Step 4B - photoshop, photoshop tutorial, PHSH tutorial, writing tips, indie authors, book help, book cover tips, photo manip, GIF

Continue to duplicate, and hide/un-hide layers until you have 1 frame for each layer. If you get confused, look at the frames – you should be able to see in the frame preview that there is only 1 word in each frame.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - Photoshop Tutorial Series - Making a GIF - Step 4D - photoshop, photoshop tutorial, PHSH tutorial, writing tips, indie authors, book help, book cover tips, photo manip, GIF

Step 5.

Now that we have all the frames correct, we can check how the GIF looks. To do this, click on the 1st frame (to start the GIF from the beginning), and then click the Play button in the Timeline. Your frames should then ‘play’, and you can see if you need to fix/change anything.

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Step 6.

If you think your GIF is moving too slowly (or too fast), you can change the speed by clicking on the arrow that’s under the frame, next to the time, and then select the time you think will work best for you. Keep playing with it until you find a speed you need, and to check the speed, just Play the frames again until it looks right for your needs. (For the most part, I’ve found the default of 0.5 seconds to be sufficient)

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Now that you’ve got the timing right, you may want to change the Loop type as well, so that it continuously plays, instead of just playing once. In the Timeframe box, under the frames, there should be a Loop dropdown. Click on the drop-down menu, and select Forever from the list. This will make your GIF play in a continuous loop, well… forever. (If the default is already Forever, you can ignore this step)

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Step 7.

Now that you’ve completed your GIF, it’s time to save. But wait!

You can not save a GIF in the same way you’ve been doing (Flattening then saving as a PNG/JPEG). Well, okay, actually you can save it like that, but then it won’t play.

If you want to save the GIF to actually play, you’ll have to go up to File, then find Save For Web in the drop-down.

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In the dialogue box that comes up, make sure GIF is selected as the format, and leave everything else the default.

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Then, click the Save button on the bottom of the box, and then from there you can give the file a name and save it to wherever you need to, like any other file.

And there you have it! You now know how to make a GIF! I told you it wasn’t that hard. And the cool thing is the steps are exactly the same no matter what you’re doing.

So, say you want to make a picture move. Let’s say you want to make a rocket ship take off.

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The steps are exactly the same, except instead of using text, we’re moving a picture. And, it takes more frames. Also, because it’s just one picture (minus the booster flames), all I’m doing is moving the picture slightly between frames, so it appears to be flying.

Here’s what the PHSH work file looks like:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - Photoshop Tutorial Series - Making a GIF - Rocket Ship PHSH File - photoshop, photoshop tutorial, PHSH tutorial, writing tips, indie authors, book help, book cover tips, photo manip, GIF

Each time I moved the rocket, I placed a Guideline where the nose was, so I’d know how much to move it in the next frame. You can see here that I also changed the play speed twice. In the first few frames, it’s set at 0.2 seconds, and then after the ‘booster’ (flames) comes out the bottom, I changed it to 0.1 second, so it appears like the rocket sped up.

Go ahead and play with this technique – it is one of the more fun ones. You guys have until October to keep yourselves busy with GIF making, after which, I’ll be showing you how to create:

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How to Run a Blog

I’ve touched on some of these points already in previous articles, but I wanted to write this post to show you how to put them all together. Running a blog isn’t hard per se, it just takes some time and effort. It really just takes 3 steps to become a blogger, and though they may sound simple, the execution can be quite daunting, especially if you’ve never been self-employed.

But, don’t worry! I’m here with the below three steps to help make your transition a little easier.

 

Step 1: Come Up with an Idea

You can’t post articles, your opinions and advice about nothing, so first you have to think of what you want your blog to be about. It can be anything you’re passionate about. Lego? Cool! You think dinos would’ve been cooler if they wore fedoras? Sure, why not!

Whatever topic you pick though, it should be one that you can make multiple posts about. You can’t be a blogger if you only have 1 post. If you want to be serious about blogging and make it any sort of ‘real job’, you’re going to need to pick topics you can consistently post about, and come at with new ideas.

You can even pick more than one idea, if you just can’t bring yourself to choose. Like myself, I have different sections on my website for the different things I’m interested in: veganism, writing, and a new lifestyle section. I’m in no ways an expert on any of these topics – I never went to school and got a degree for any of them – I’m just a person who thinks (hopes) my experiences and opinions on these topics can help others who are on a similar path.

The point of your blog is to share things you’re passionate about, and maybe even help other people on their journeys, so you can make your blog about whatever you want. Find your reasons and topics, and go from there. Though, if you’re just starting out, I’d recommend starting with 1 topic, just until you get the hang of all the rest of it. Don’t want to overwhelm yourself when you’re starting out. Remember: you can always expand your blog to incorporate more topics/things later on, but it’s a lot harder (and looks worse) to let a part of your blog die.

 

Step 2: Get Organized

Now that you’ve got your idea, it’s time to think about how to put it into action. I suggest coming up with as many article ideas as you can and writing them down/keeping the list somewhere safe, so that you aren’t scrambling on posting day.

And, speaking of posting day: decide on a posting schedule. Most of the advice I had come across when I started out said to start out with posting just once or twice a month, until you get the hang of things. I thought that was way too little – after all, how was I supposed to drive traffic to my blog if I wasn’t posting regularly? – so I decided on posting roughly 5 times per month.

A month of posting for me looks like 2 articles, 2 short stories and 1 product review. The articles I try to rotate between the different sections of the website, so that I’m posting to each section ‘fairly’, and not giving more attention to one topic.

I realize posting five times in one month sounds insane, but when you break it down – 2 stories and 3 articles – it really isn’t that bad. I usually don’t count the stories as ‘work’ when I think about the website, because I’m a writer, and I’d be writing stories anyway. And yes, while I like all the topics I post about, it takes more work for me to write the articles than the stories. Stories I’m constantly coming up with, but articles require research and more planning so that I’m not just babbling on and on for a few pages.

Making posts coherent can be quite the task, especially when I’d rather be writing fiction. This is why, as said in my Time Management post, scheduling articles and making yourself a to-do list can be a huge help.

Not only will it let you make sense of all the ideas you just came up with, but it will also help take the pressure off yourself when you can see all the ideas planned out. This way, you won’t have to worry about the blog looking dead, and you won’t feel like you have to do everything right now. Having a set schedule (that you stick to) will also benefit your readers. Think of it like being punctual – if you post on a schedule, people will know when to expect you, and can then go ‘greet’ you (ie check your blog) consistently.

 

Step 3: Marketing

You can’t have people flock to your blog if nobody knows it exists! I know it sucks, but you have to market yourself. Post on social media and tell people why they should check you out. What new (or creative) ideas are you bringing to the table? Why should they change their routine to go see you? In what ways will you be making their day better (and feel like they’re missing out) by visiting your blog?

The truth is, people are selfish creatures, and don’t like change. Which is why you need to make yourself seem important enough for them to check out. Dazzle them with your new ideas, your polarizing opinions, or whatever you’ve got going for you. Be yourself, and people will flock to you. Even assholes get followers, so don’t fret!

This is (in my opinion) the hardest part about being self-employed. On the one hand, you don’t want to sound gimmicky/click-bait-y, but on the other, you want people to come to you, because you know you’re awesome. Unfortunately, it takes time to build yourself a following, and though it can be discouraging when you don’t get many (or any) likes/views on a new post, you have to keep going.

If you quit, you’re guaranteeing nobody will ever see your hard work.

Part of marketing is also learning how to monetize your blog. There are tons and tons of options out there, everything from Google Adsense to being paid by companies for dedicated posts, but as someone just starting out, I don’t want you to worry about that part.

You can worry about making millions once you have your blog established and a dedicated audience. No company will pay you to promote their product to no one, which is another reason getting good at marketing is a big help.

Do what you can with what you can, and a little pro tip: Don’t be afraid to pay for some ads! I know, I know, you may think that’s a cop out, or that you don’t have funds to do ads right now, and that’s okay! Just make sure you don’t discount paying ads as an option forever.

There are literally billions of people on the planet, and your manual posting can only reach so many.

Bottom line (and yes, I know it’s cheesy): keep going. Don’t give up just because it’s hard, or because it’s harder than you thought it’d be. Nothing worth having comes easy. Hard work does pay off. It just might take a little longer than you expect.


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Top 10 WORST Things About Being a Writer

10. When you’re writing in a notebook and start running out of space on the current line, but you have just one more word so you start writing the letters on top of each other so you don’t ‘waste’ a whole other line.

9. Having bits of stories in 10+ notebooks and having to go through all of them when you’re trying to find the one that you need.

8. In summer, when you finally find a good spot to write outside, and one day you show up and someone else is there.

7. When you’re in the middle of a scene and you’re suddenly pulled out because for some reason this song is 10x louder than every other song on your playlist.

6. When you get a kick-ass idea for a story in the shower, so you begin to repeat it to yourself and finish as quickly as possible, then run to the nearest paper and pen and desperately start trying to write down everything you just thought of before you forget it.

5. When you get an idea for a story and try to excuse yourself from the social thing you’re doing, but that is the same exact moment literally everybody must tell you something and no it most definitely can not wait. So you’re only half listening while trying desperately to hold onto the idea that you can feel is starting to slip away.

4. When you’re brain is going too fast for your fingers to keep up with when typing, so you end up missing a bunch of words, or end up with half of one word and half of another smushed together. (Or [in rare cases] end up with 4 different words smushed together into 1 giant nonsensical word)

3. Having to lower your music because you can’t hear your characters talking.

2. Knowing you 100000% wrote this idea down somewhere and not being able to find it even though you went through every notebook and Word document you’ve ever written in your life. Then finding it three days later once you broke down and decided to rewrite it from memory.

1. As soon as you decide to go to bed, your brain is a little shit and begins to think of all the ideas ever.


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Changing Eye/Skin Colour (PHSH Effect #15)

I know, I know, ‘you’re revisiting effects already? Does that mean you’re out of ideas?’ No, no it doesn’t. There’s no need to worry, I just thought I’d revisit this one, because I actually discovered an easier/more effective way to change someone’s eye colour, and this technique can be used to change the colour of more than just eyes! You can also do skin colour, hair, and pretty much whatever else you want!

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - Photoshop Tutorial Series - PHSH Effect 15 Changing Eye/Skin Colour - BaW to Colour Hand - phsh, phsh effect, phsh tutorial, tutorial, photoshop tutorial, indie author help, book covers, writing tips

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For this tutorial, we’ll be using the below black and white picture of an eye, but feel free to use any picture you like. Since you’re just starting, I’d recommending choosing a black and white picture to practice with, but note that this technique does work on pre-coloured pictures as well.

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Step 1:

Okay, by now you should know Step 0 is to always open a new work file, and to place your picture onto the document. After this, go over to the bottom of the Tools Panel on the left-hand side, and click on the button that’s under the Colour Swatches.

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Step 2:

Once you clicked that, go to your Paintbrush, and change the size/hardness of it, then begin to paint over the part of the picture you want to change the colour of. (In this case, it’s the iris) When you begin painting, it may turn red-ish/orange, don’t worry! This happens just to show you the part you’re painting. It won’t stay orange after you’re done this step.

For eyes, I like to try to get the size of the paint brush as close to the size of the iris as I can, so that I can paint with just one click, so the edges aren’t ‘bumpy’. Also, don’t worry about painting over the pupil for this step. We can clean up the paint later.

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Step 3:

Now that you’ve painted over the entire part you want to change, click the button under the Colour Swatches again, and you’ll notice the red goes away, and there should now be a slow-flashing dotted line around your image – this is showing that you’ve selected it.

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Step 4:

Go up to Select – Invert, this will now select the part you painted, instead of the part outside of that. (Don’t ask me why it defaults to selecting everything you didn’t paint, I have no idea)

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Okay, at this point, you can now change the colour by one of two ways:

Way #1:

Step 5:

With the iris still selected, go to the bottom of the Layers Panel, and go to where you’d make a colour a background, and select Solid Colour from the menu.

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Step 6:

After selecting the colour you want, at the top of the Layers Panel, there should be a box next to the Opacity drop-down that says Normal. Click on that to bring down a drop-down menu, and then select either Screen or Overlay from the menu. (Use whichever one makes the colour look the best)

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OR

Way #2:

Step 5:

Now that the part you want to change colours is selected, go to the top of your Layers Panel, and you should see a panel sitting on top with tabs in it, that are labelled Adjustments, Color, and Swatches. Click on the Adjustments tab, and then click on Hue/Saturation from the pictures listed. Hue/Saturation looks like a colour picker, and is beside the thing that looks like scales.

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Step 6:

After clicking Hue/Saturation, a panel should pop out, with different sliders on it. To change the iris colour, you can play with the Hue and Saturation sliders, until you find a colour you like. If you find that the colour is too subtle, (even with the Saturation on full), try checking the Colourize box at the bottom of the panel. This may help.

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(Back to both ways)

Step 7:

Once you have a colour you like, go to your Eraser tool, and erase the pupil, and if there is colour outside the edges/area you want to be coloured, erase that, too. If you used the Solid Colour method, you may get a dialogue box that comes up that says something about rasterizing the layer, or that it won’t be editable anymore, just click ‘okay’.

Once you have the edges/pupil all cleaned up, you’re done and ready to save!

I wouldn’t say this technique is easier than the other one, but this one is a lot more versatile, and as I said above, can be used on more than just eyes. It also makes it look more realistic, in my opinion. Once you’re happy with the pupil, why don’t you try to colourize the skin colour as well?

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Go ahead and play around with this effect, to see how it works best for your needs – the next tutorial will be coming Aug. 30th, so you’ll have plenty of time to master this one!

Next time, I’ll be showing you how to make a GIF! Oh, yes.

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Check out the rest of the photoshop tutorial series here!

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