Tag Archives: book cover tips

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This article was written 21.11.25, please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer applicable.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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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

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Carved (PHSH Effect #4)

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

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

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

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

Way #1:

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

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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

  • Black
  • Blend Mode: Overlay
  • Opacity: 55

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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%

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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

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And lastly, back down to Colour Overlay:

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

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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:

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

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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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