86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Free Photoshop tutorials, PSD effects and tips and tricks across art, illustration, graphics and photography – including advanced Photoshop tutorials from the world's best illustrators, designers and photographers.


If you're a professional artist, designer or photographer – or editor, animator or VFX artists for that matter – chances are you use Photoshop and PSD files.

Adobe Photoshop is the software of choice for professional-level art, design and photography. You can seamlessly compositing disparate elements into a beautiful photomontage or make your photos look even more stunning (or turn those photos into vector portraits). You can directly draw and paint beautiful artworks – or digitally colour works drawn on paper and scanned in. Or you can mock-up websites and apps with ease.

Here we've created a round-up of the best Photoshop tutorials, tips and lessons from the past decade of Digital Arts, covering everything from collage and illustration to photography and typography. Some require a recent version of the software, such as Photoshop CC (including the 2015 version) – but many will work in Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS6. You can get Photoshop here.

If you're on a computer or tablet, use the buttons above to view all of the tutorials in this feature – or move your mouse over the main image and use the buttons there. If you're on a phone, scroll down.

Photoshop tutorial types

Use the links below to click straight through to the different types of Photoshop tutorials we've rounded up here.

So make your way through this feature to find your perfect Photoshop tutorial for the creative skills you want to learn.

Advanced Photoshop tutorial: Compositing techniques

This photomontage was created by Serbian illustrator Becha for an haute-couture fashion editorial called Silent Spring that appeared in her home country’s Faar magazine.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to incorporate all these elements into one image and get a dreamy, surreal atmosphere inspired by nature. Becha explains how to make ceramic facial masks that match a model’s face and how to give vector lettering a three-dimensional look. She also looks at how textures can be used to enhance an atmosphere and how adjustment layers can integrate unusual elements.

Read: Advanced compositing techniques


Photo-illustration and collage Photoshop tutorials: Create glitchy sci-fi art using Photoshop blending modes

Learn how to use Photoshop blending modes and other powerful techniques to create a digital futuristic artwork with lots of pixelated details.

With the techniques explained in this Photosgop tutorial, it is possible to create very detailed artworks.

Read: Create glitchy sci-fi art using Photoshop blending modes

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Cool Photoshop effect: Add ice to a photo in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, Fabio Sasso shows you how to reliably fake ice from the warmth of your studio with a literally cool Photoshop effect.

Fabio is a master at making miniscule tweaks to layer styles, and in this tutorial you’ll give the entire Layer Styles palette a good workout to create amazing effects, such as the apparently 3D water droplets that stud the outside of the bottle.

Read: Add ice to a photo in Photoshop


Balance lighting perfectly when compositing elements

Here Erik Herrström shows you how to add different lighting effects in Photoshop using brushes, the Lasso tool and adjustment layers. The goal is to create an image with a deep blue/magenta cast, in keeping with the cold outer-space backdrop.

You will also learn to add simple shadows. Finally Eric shows how to use adjustment layers and filters to get the look you want.

Read: Balance lighting perfectly when compositing elements


Create dynamic art using glows and lighting effects

New York-based illustrator Kervin Brisseaux shares his techniques to create a super-powered athlete within an atmosphere that draws on the traditions of sci-fi art, as well as religious iconography such as stained glass windows. 

Some of the key techniques we will be using include adjustment layers, blending modes, and even Illustrator to create some key elements (though it’s possible to follow this without using Illustrator). Feel free to be experimental with your colour values and hues to amplify the overall mood and depth of the piece.

Read: Create dynamic art using glows and lighting effects

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Texture effects for beautiful compositions

 

In this tutorial by Max Spencer, we take a look at masking and how you can give your work a sense of depth using this technique, as well as layering textures and elements to help lift your piece – in this case using paper to create rock and mountain-like elements.

This tutorial is an example of how a few simple techniques can be used to create more elaborate illustrations using multiple layers, masking, the Pen tool, some basic lighting and one simple texture. Using the processes here, you will be able to apply the same techniques to your work, hopefully giving you the confidence to use masks and create your own textures to give greater scope to your work.

Read: Texture effects for beautiful compositions


How to create a Photoshop brush

If you're not using custom Photoshop brushes already, then you're missing out on one of Photoshop's most useful features: used well, they will bring flair and individuality to your designs – as well as saving you a lot of time.

In this tutorial, Craig Shields shows how you can move away from the screen and create your brushes from scratch in some decidedly un-digital ways, using ink and brushes, before tweaking them in Photoshop.

Read: How to create a Photoshop brush


Create a stunning photo montage

Get sophisticated results from simple techniques in Photoshop CS5 or later. Markie Darkie shows you how to create a stunning photomontage. You’ll master repetition and layering of shapes, efficient use of simple colour palettes with the aid of Layer Style effects, or a file of vector elements.

Read: Create a stunning photo montage

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How to swap heads in Photoshop

Every photographer and designer knows this conundrum. You’ve got two photos of a model: one has the perfect pose and the other the perfect expression. So how you do you bring them together into one amazing shot?

This Photoshop tutorial from burlesque photographer Tigz Rice shows you how to seamlessly combine the best parts of two photographs from the same photoshoot together in Photoshop using a series of adjustment masks for non-destructive editing.

Read: How to swap heads in Photoshop


Fuse photography and geometry

This tutorial will show you how to create and control interesting compositions inspired by creatures of the night, decadence and magic. It will also give hints on ways to add depth to your artwork and how to use photographic elements to bring images to life.

Read: Fuse photography and geometry


Create an underwater artwork

The Number 1 album Immersion by drum n’ rockers Pendulum features a photo-illustrative cover by Polish artist Maciej Hajnrich (aka Valp), which was also used across the Collector’s Box Set, including double vinyl, postcards and a bunch of merchandise.

Here, Maciej shows off the techniques for photo manipulation, retouching and editing he brought to bear on the cover.

Read: Create an underwater artwork

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Fantasy light effects in Photoshop

Fantasy art scenes are usually handled with a liberal sprinkling of Photoshop plug-in fairy dust – but you don’t have to slavishly follow that route. By creating your own brushes in Adobe Illustrator, and using scanned elements with Photoshop, it’s a simple process to create otherworldly scenes that are alive with glow effects and shafts of virtual light.

This masterclass takes a standard stock model and applies layers of light and vector shapes to generate this stunning artwork.

During this masterclass, you’ll learn to wrap your source image into a multitude of layers that add a fantastical theme to your art. The key here is to tread softly. When recreating fantasy light effects, soft brushes and fine application is the order of the day. Anything that’s too heavy can ruin the look.

Read: Fantasy light effects in Photoshop


Create a deep-sea feel using blending mode

The use of Photoshop’s blending modes is not technically difficult. Where the magic lies is in the conceptual ideas you bring to their use. Jono Hislop wants you to have room to breathe your own inspiration into blending modes, so his tutorial makes repeated use of them.

Alongside techniques for Photoshop, Jono also reveals how he has trained himself to notice useful areas in photos that may otherwise not have grabbed the attention – and how to use these to add dynamism to an artwork.

Read: Create a deep-sea feel using Photoshop's blending mode


Create beautiful lighting effects

Toronto-based Murilo Maciel will reveal how he used Photoshop to create a fashion illustration with lighting effects, based around themes of beauty and light.

Read: Create beautiful lighting effects

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Design a highbrow horror-movie poster

Here Karim Fakhoury reveals how he composed an artwork that taps into the modern trend for intelligent horror – a montage of a hunched figure under a tree, circled by ravens, harbingers of death in North American folklore. It’s an image that could easily be combined with some elegant typography for a film or TV promo poster.

Read: Design a highbrow horror-movie poster


Master Photoshop layer effects

Creating vibrant, eye-catching images like this one needn’t be a complex or time-consuming affair. In this tutorial, James White shows how to add a vivid retro flair to a striking model shot.

Read: Master Photoshop layer effects


Turn a photo into a euphoric sensual artwork

Inject a depth of emotion into simple photography. Tom Starley uses basic colours, shapes and brush strokes to create a well balanced, euphoric image with a hint of the fetal about it. This isn’t a technically complex piece – the original photograph does most of the work, but its graphic accessories enhance the emotion that is hinted at in the original.

Read: Turn a photo into a euphoric sensual artwork in Photoshop

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Use brushes to enhance portraits

Illustrator and product designer David Mahoney explains how to create a ‘tradigital’ artwork such as that shown here. Entitled Mad About You, it features the photography of Bella Tokaeva. 

Additionally, he’ll take you through the techniques you’ll need to compose a piece of work similar to the one shown here, while shedding light on how some of these can be transferred to a variety of principles.

Read: Use Photoshop brushes to enhance portraits


Create an amazing photomontage

Still as popular as ever, photomontage is initially one of the easiest techniques to learn. But achieving photorealistic results can be a challenge. In this tutorial, Mike Harrison shows you how, by blending a number of photos together. This kind of work always has a surreal edge, but with the images you’ll use, the environment and composition, you’ll endeavour to be quite subtle, too, which should add an extra intriguing quality to the piece.

 
 

The specific techniques you’ll learn will be how to specify a light source and apply realistic lighting and shadows to the objects, and how to use subtle effects like colour treatment, texture and adjustment layers to give a certain mood to the final image.

Read: Create an amazing photomontage in Photoshop


Create a digital collage from hand-drawn elements

Sandra Dieckmann says that her approach to creating a piece is to “imagine a thing and bring it to life to share your inner vision”. She notes that when you are inspired by your dreams, sometimes it feels impossible to believe that what you see inside your mind will have the same power once it is in front of your eyes, but don’t fret.

By following her creative process, you will be able to combine an array of elements in a beautiful composition by keeping your layers separate and by learning how to tidy up your drawing, how to colour it, add textures – and through that really awaken the magic.

Read: Create a digital collage from hand-drawn elements in Photoshop

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Create a digital collage of summer floral fashions

This tutorial from one of our favourite collage illustrators Ciara Phelan is all about mixing analogue process and digital photography to create a vibrant and playful photomontage. The theme here is this summer’s fashion: soft clean textures with clean lines to which we’ll contrast brighter vintage floral elements, pastel paints and vector shapes.

You’ll learn how to use a variety of tools in Illustrator and Photoshop to layer scanned elements with photos and hand-made textures, and how to use adjustment layers and masks to unite the colour palette and composition of an illustration.

Read: Create a digital collage of summer floral fashions in Photoshop


Composite a 3D building into a photo

In this tutorial, architect and illustrator Andreas A Tjeldflaat takes you through the post-production steps of an architecture rendering in Photoshop. The featured techniques focus on marrying a CG building constructed in Modo and rendered using Rhino into a base photo, as well as building up an atmosphere around the structure that supports the aim of the design.

The goal of this image was to blend a Brutalist prison tower into an urban landscape and calm down its overpowering presence. To do this, the image frames the building as a backdrop to an everyday morning scene. The scene is not intended to be photorealistic, but rather to capture the spirit of the construction and its context. Some artistic touches have been added that take the image beyond realism.

The following techniques are applicable to post-production of any CG rendering. Although it can be seen as a step-by-step guide, the process is not as linear as it seems. It inevitably involves going back and forth between layers; adding, adjusting and tweaking, until it feels right.

Read: Composite a 3D building into a photo in Photoshop


Photoshop CC 2017 tutorials: Use Face Aware Liquify to add smiles and change expressions realistically in Photoshop

One of the newer features in Photoshop CC 2017, Face Aware Liquify lets you quickly and easily change the expression on someone's face – adding a smile or a frown, or bringing out more complex emotions.

However, if used heavy handedly you can end up with unnatural results (unless you're after a caricature).

To avoid this, you also need to adjust a number of other facial features. In this tutorial, photographer Tigz Rice shows you how to use Face Aware Liquify in Photoshop for natural-looking results.

Read: Use Face Aware Liquify to add smiles and change expressions realistically in Photoshop

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Master Photoshop's Select & Mask Workspace

Photoshop CC has an all-new method for refining your selections and cutouts called Select & Mask. It’s not just a tool, but an entire workspace that allows you to gain unprecedented control over the selections you’re making.

In this Photoshop tutorial, Justin Seeley will walk you through the new workspace and give you some tips on how you can use it to improve your cutouts.

Read: Master Photoshop's Select & Mask Workspace


How to use Photoshop's new Content-Aware Crop tool to fill the blanks in rotated images

Choosing between either straightening a wonky photo or losing a much-loved edge or corner is a struggle that no Photoshop user should have to go through.

Luckily, Adobe's latest load of updates includes Content-Aware Crop, a great new feature in CC that brings together two commonly used features (Crop and Content Aware Fill) to streamline your digital workflow.

Photographer and re-toucher Tigz Rice shows us in three simple steps how to use this new feature.

Read: How to use Photoshop's new Content-Aware Crop tool to fill the blanks in rotated images


How to use the new Select and Mask tools in Photoshop 2015.5

'Bad hair day' doesn't quite sum up the frustration of cutting out hair in Photoshop, especially with curly or fly-away hairs. 

Thankfully, this tutorial shows you how to use the recently revamped select and mask feature, which now has a tool called the Refine Edge Brush to make selections around tricky areas - such as hair - much easier. Read: What's new in Photoshop CC 2016.

Read: How to use the new Select and Mask tools in Photoshop 2015.5

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How to use Photoshop's new Match Font tool to identify fonts used in photos and designs

Adobe has just released a brand new feature in Photoshop CC 2015.5 that will help you tell what those fonts are – as long as the fonts are included in Adobe's TypeKit service. If not, it'll try to find a similar match. Read: What's new in Photoshop CC 2016

Photographer Tigz Rice shows us how to use Match Font in three simple steps – from opening the Match Font tool to seamlessly downloading matching fonts from Typekit. 

Read: How to use Photoshop's new Match Font tool to identify fonts used in photos and designs


Web & app design in Photoshop: How to design an app in Photoshop

In this tutorial, Ruaridh Currie from creative agency Serps Invaders will show you how to create an iPad Retina display-ready fashion app UI using Photoshop (and a little bit of Illustrator). During this tutorial, the focus will be on establishing a good foundation by choosing the correct grid, colour palette, fonts and images in order to create a modern, sophisticated user interface.

We'll be using best practice for creating mockups - so we’re left with a tidy, neatly-put-together file that any developer would be happy to receive for development.

This tutorial assumes you have a working knowledge of Photoshop and know your way tools, styles, channels and paths.

Read: How to design an app in Photoshop


Illustration and art Photoshop tutorials: How these amazing BAFTA 2016 posters were drawn and painted

In this tutorial, Levente Szabo takes us through the creation of the BAFTA Awards 2016 poster for the eventual winner of the Best Film, The Revenant – a creative process that also underpinned the others in the series.

Read: How these amazing BAFTA 2016 posters were drawn and painted

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Colouring tricks for inked artwork

Create dynamic, lightning-filled background for character art

In this tutorial, Ricardo Ajcivinac shows how to recreate this brilliant image, and how to give your character art extra punch by using lighting and layer styles.

The principle of this tutorial is to create a complex background with a focal point that hints at a story behind a character. Once you’ve mastered it, it’s a highly versatile technique.

Read: Create dynamic, lightning-filled background for character art


Create retro poster effects

Ollie Munden and Harriet Seed get shipshape with techniques for tattoo-style art, based on 50s rockabilly and navy motifs.

Read: Create retro poster effects

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Design repeating patterns for T-shirts

This tutorial guides you through the process of creating a repeating pattern for a T-shirt print. You'll focus on creating one main element that will function as the key character of the pattern. You'll then create elements that will make up the linking imagery – or 'glue' – that holds it together, as demonstrated by illustrator Ollie Munden.

This tutorial also shows you how to create shading and turn it into a bitmap shading effect, and how to duplicate drawings and reflect them to create bold graphic designs.

Read: Design repeating patterns for T-shirts


Colour a beautifully feminine portrait

Australia-based artist Emma Leonard’s portrait artworks are simply beautiful. Her linework and texture is largely hand-drawn using a selection of pencils, with Photoshop used to add colour and subtle lighting effects that help bring out the soft femininity at the heart of much of her work.

Here Emma takes you through the digital part of her creative process. Starting with a carefully rendered drawing, she details how she colours it by employing simple techniques such as multiplying layers, altering opacities and adding swatches of watercolour in a restricted palette to achieve a soft and ethereal illustration.

Read: Colour a beautifully feminine portrait


How to turn a photo into a painting (realistically)

Freddy Camargo takes you back to basics to revisit the fundamentals of digital artworks. This tutorial will help you develop and hone your creative style by using simple methods to create original digital artworks, based on a portrait photo.

Mess around with paints and pens, then use the results to transform a photo into a digital painting like this one.

Read: How to turn a photo into a painting (realistically)

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Create semi-transparent artwork

Man-Tsun has experimented with an unusual way to present his art – printing it on transparent plastics for display at hip Hong Kong bookstore Kubrick. Here he details the creation of the central piece in the exhibition, starting in Photoshop and moving to Illustrator to transform a flat artwork into a transparent installation.

Read: Create semi-transparent artwork


Combine real and digital brushes

In this tutorial, Adi Gilbert explains how he produces beautifully-crafted illustrations using a blend of traditional brushwork, and digital techniques with a tablet, stylus and Photoshop.

By using traditional drawing techniques and textures, you can create a tactile, imperfect piece that can then be coloured and enhanced with editable, digital layering. This technique gives you the best of both worlds, especially when working to deadlines or changing requirements.

Read: Combine real and digital brushes


Add textured ornaments to hand-drawn art

In this tutorial, German artist Andreas Preis explains some of the techniques he used in his Life series of illustrations, which combine beautifully hand-drawn illustrations and digital techniques.

Here Andreas looks at the development of the composition, the drawings and especially the colouring process. There’s also a handy tip on how to isolate your drawings to make colouring easier.

Read: Add textured ornaments to hand-drawn art

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Create a beautiful bird artwork

This swan illustration by Andrew Lyons is one of a series of birds he created for a client packaging project.

This tutorial will demonstrate how effective use of textures and shading can bring a sense of depth and complexity to relatively simple forms – techniques that can be applied to any illustration subject.

Read: Create a beautiful bird artwork


Digital colour tricks for pencil-drawn art

Recently, French illustrator Marguerite Sauvage created a series of portraits called Flower Women, which she describes as “fashionable, traditional-looking, very feminine”. Here she takes us through the development of one of them, Sylvie.

Read: Digital colour tricks for pencil-drawn art


Give an artwork a 1980s tropical feel

Illustrator Chris Malbon takes you through the process of creating a bold artwork with an 80s retro tropical theme – drawing on the glamour of shows like Miami Vice. He says the secret to his striking style is using abstract shapes and negative space.

He also shares some techniques for ensuring there’s a base of photorealism underpinning an abstract piece. By using photos as a starting point, then tracing them in a simplified way, the illustration has a good contrast that feels both handmade and digital.

Read: Give an artwork a 1980s tropical feel

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Handmade textures and shading effects

Dominique Byron explains how to add textures to your work to give it a handmade feel, and how to combine these with shading and highlights to provide extra detail to your image. 

Adding subtle textures to digital work makes it more interesting and can introduce depth to an image that looks quite flat. It also makes the piece appear less computer generated, adding a bit of mystery as to how it was created. This allows Dominique to add an organic flavour to her work’s geometric base.

Read: Handmade textures and shading effects


Add lighting effects to hand-drawn art

Here the aim is to take a hand-drawn artwork – author Craig Minchington has chosen a piece provided by his friend, illustrator Zoe Veness (available in the project files) – and give it an extra dimension using various lighting techniques. You will learn how to seamlessly incorporate glows, flairs and sparkles; the methods covered work equally well with pencil or pen drawings.

Read: Add lighting effects to hand-drawn art


Trace photos for beautiful line art

Recently, illustrator Stephen Chan produced a series of illustrations for a travel feature in the US edition of Esquire magazine, which melded his geometric line-art landscapes with high-end fashion photography. Here Stephen takes you through how he creates such a scene, set in Venice, using stock photography to avoid the expense of having to fly out there – which is especially great as none of the location photography will be visible in the final piece.

Stephen explains how to make a perfect and realistic composition using photo montage, which you will then trace to create a stylised line-art effect. You will learn important skills and processes involved in composition, tracing imagery, and being organised.

Read: Trace photos for beautiful line art

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Digital tricks for 'hand-drawn' colour

Here Grzegorz Domaradzki – aka Gabz – details how to create an image with vivid colours from a pencil drawing. You’ll learn colouring and selecting techniques, how to use motion blur and other effects and finally how to use Adjustment layers.

Read: Digital tricks for 'hand-drawn' colour


Smarter ways to use colour in your art

Jessica Fortner creates all her illustrations using a combination of hand-drawn art and Photoshop-applied colour. In this tutorial she demonstrates how to take a beautiful drawing through to final rendering.

Read: Smarter ways to use colour in your art


Use lighting effects to bring a sparkle to a photo illustration

Want to create a beautiful, dreamlike painting full of subtle details but with a bold 80s colour scheme? Design duo KittoZutto show you how in this tutorial on creating an airbrushed portrait tapping the glory days of Athena posters.

You’ll learn how to improve your brush skills, working with a variety of different brush heads for varying effects and you’ll learn how to get the most out of colouring, masking and layer blending modes.

You’ll also learn the benefit of working with lots of layers in a digital painting, as this allows you to work on elements separately and quickly adjust detail and colouring.

Read: Use lighting effects to bring a sparkle to a photo illustration

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Create symmetrical vector character art

Jonny Wan’s distinctive, fresh illustrations manage to seem both mechanical and handmade: their characters are composed of intricate, symmetrical vector shapes so that they seem almost clockwork, yet the finishes he applies remind us of woodcuts.

"Every object can be broken down into a combination of various shapes," explains Wan. "The great thing about working with shapes is that the experimental possibilities are infinite."

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to combine, merge, and manipulate ships in Illustrator to create an intricate illustration based on a Russian doll.

If you’d prefer to concentrate on the texturing and colouring aspects of the tutorial,  you can find the vector file in the download link.

Read: Create symmetrical vector character art


Vector portraits in Photoshop: New tricks for vector portraits

Spanish artist Daniel Caballero explains how he creates his vector artworks from photo references in Photoshop. He details how he combines elements from different sources, and adds in graphic elements to create a detailed illustration, including tattoos, clothing, shadows and lighting.

You’ll learn to use the Photoshop’s Pen Tool to create clear shapes and lines, and then stylise them using Daniel’s signature style. He also explains how to add and change details and elements to give the piece a hand-drawn look.

Read: New tricks for vector portraits


Create low-poly art portraits

Here Damien Vignaux – aka Elroy – shows you how he created an artwork for his band, The Escapists. You’ll see how to create this cool, grainy work with a low-poly (a polygon mesh of a small number of polygons) twist. First we’ll create some vector portraits, then get texturing in Photoshop with self-made brushes.

Read: Create low-poly art portraits

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Linework and shading for manga artworks

For this Masterclass, we asked the Man-Tsun to produce a piece based around the concept of the artist revealing their creative process as a performance for the viewer.

Here the artist  reveals his techniques to speed up the tracing of sketches in Illustrator, and how to produce sweeping linework. He also details how he adds depth by using gradients to build up shading across both internal areas and linework.

Read: Linework and shading for manga artworks


Photo tutorials for Photoshop

Adding colour to black-and-white archive photography is great way to bring the past to life. There are a lot of really awful ‘tutorials’ on the web that will give your awful looking results, so we asked photographer Tigz Rice to develop a technique for colorizing old photos in Photoshop that will deliver attractive, appealing, realistic results.

The aim here isn’t to make an old photo look like it was taken yesterday, but to maintain its vintage feel while using colour to make it visually appealing in a different way – and more eye-catching when used in print or online.

Read: Colorize a photo in Photoshop


Enhance live event photography

Tigz Rice reveals how she edited this stunning photograph of the London stage show Flashdance for the show’s promoters.

Read: Enhance live event photography

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Apply authentic-looking vintage effects to photos

The Photoshop workflow to attain that antique look was devised by Proporta product designer Graham Boyd, who also shot the photo. The steps he outlines here will allow you to use subtle effects to create an effective image, he says – and smart use of a series of techniques and layers should deliver results quickly and reliably.

Read: Apply authentic-looking vintage effects to photos


Combine photos in Photoshop to create a 'stop motion' still

‘Stop-motion’ still photography is going to be another of this year’s visual trends. For this form, you combine photos to show a character moving through a scene – indicating motion or them doing an action and building a narrative.

To build these images, you follow a process similar to those used to create stop-motion films by the likes of Aardman – shooting a series of photos from exactly the same position, but moving objects between them. But instead of turning them into a film, you combine the photos in Photoshop to create a still that tells the story.

In this tutorial, photographer Tigz Rice covers everything from setting up and taking your images to aligning them in Photoshop and merging them together using layer masks.

Read: Combine photos in Photoshop to create a 'stop motion' still


Create better-than-Instagram vintage photos in Photoshop

Fabio Sasso shows you how you can create retro lighting effects in Photoshop with a degree of control that means you get exactly the look you want without the trial-and-error aspect of the iPhone apps. And when you work with high-res photos and Photoshop’s toolset, the results are far superior, too.

Read: Create better-than-Instagram vintage photos in Photoshop

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Pro techniques for Dodge and Burn in Photoshop

In this tutorial, professional photographer Tigz Rice reveals advanced techniques for Dodge and Burn in Photoshop – which use Curves adjustment layers rather than the built-in tools so you can fine tune the results afterwards for even better results.

Dodge (lighten) and Burn (darken) are techniques that date back to the era of film photography, and were used in the darkroom to create more contrast in the final image than was available in the original negative.

If you’ve played around with the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop, you may have noticed that not only do they create a permanent effect on the layer, they can also be quite damaging to the colours in the image. Here, Tigz looks at a great non-destructive technique for bringing in areas of added contrast, without compromising the original image.

Read: Pro techniques for Dodge and Burn in Photoshop


How to use Clipping Masks in Photoshop

While Photoshop's Clipping Paths are great for cutting out specific objects for publication, Clipping Masks are a speedier and much more versatile method for applying cut out effects to images, using a shape or text layer underneath your chosen image to control which parts of an image are visible.

Clipping masks are easy to use, but there's a lot that you can do with them, as you'll discover as Tigz Rice shows you how to use them to put a grid over a photo in Photoshop.

Read: How to use Clipping Masks in Photoshop


Create a Cinemagraph in Photoshop

Animated GIFs have moved from being something ridiculous to a real creative form over the past few years. The latest big trend is for Cinemagraphs – also known as living photos – which are much loved by both the general public and by clients looking to keep up with what’s hot online.

A Cinemagraph is a mostly still image with a hint of movement, giving you a glimpse into how that moment in time was experienced by those who were there when the image was taken. Hair and clothing blowing in the wind are common as Cinemagraph subject matter, as are waterfalls and nature.

Though known as ‘living photos’, it’s best to work from video rather than a series of stills captured in burst mode – and the video captured by your digital SLR will more than good enough for this. It will also give the shot the ‘photographic’ feel that viewers associate with Cinemagraphics.

In this tutorial, Tigz Rice will show you how to create, edit, tone and export your very own Cinemagraphs in minutes using the Timeline panel in Adobe Photoshop.

Read: Create a Cinemagraph in Photoshop

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Combine the best parts of two studio portrait photos into one shot

This tutorial will show you how to seamlessly combine the best parts of two photographs from the same shoot in Photoshop, using a series of adjustment masks for non-destructive editing. Although this tutorial is focused on the head of the model, the same techniques could be applied to any part of the body.

Read: Combine the best parts of two studio portrait photos into one shot


Give photos a retro distressed look

With vintage-inspired imagery becoming ever more popular, artists are increasingly experimenting with distressing photos to match the effect of vintage printing techniques.

In this tutorial, we’ll use channel mixing, blending modes and opacity techniques to create a distressed vintage print texture on an image, complete with printer grain.

Once you’ve understood the basics, you’ll be able to develop these techniques for use in more elaborate forms of photo-manipulation, including applying textures to montages and illustrations.

Read: Give photos a retro distressed look


Master Adobe Photoshop CC’s new photo retouch tools

The launch of Photoshop CC has seen the introduction of some major new features, including some excellent photo retouch tools and expanded Smart Object support.

Smart Objects allow for non-destructive editing, storing layers upon layer of retouching within one visible layer, rather like a family tree, to use a metaphor. When the parent image is altered at the roots (or DNA), its effects are automatically seen throughout the branches (the offspring).

Here we use the new Lens Correction, Shake Reduction and Smart Sharpen filters; and the new Camera Raw filter, which lets you adjust photos using Adobe’s Raw processing engine, rather than just as you import images.

Read: Master Adobe Photoshop CC’s new photo retouch tools

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Photo editing in Photoshop CC

Learn how to edit a photo using Photoshop CC's new Camera Shake Reduction and Smart Sharpen features and the Camera Raw filter.

Read: Photo editing in Photoshop CC


Retouch photos with realistic perfect skin

Retouching skin is a common talking point for photographers, as there’s a fine line between lustrous smoothness and the dreaded plastic look. An overly airbrushed image makes subjects appear more like children’s dolls than real people, and robs them of their humanity and charisma.

In this tutorial, burlesque photographer and retouch expert Tigz Rice looks at ways of improving the appearance of skin and removing blemishes, without losing that all-important texture. Using Photoshop, you’ll learn how to make subjects look the best they can be in the real world, and not like Barbie.

Read: Retouch photos with realistic perfect skin


Swap the colours of details in photos

When presenting work featuring photography to your clients, you may find that sometimes they love an image, but would prefer it if an element such as some jewellery was a different colour, or the model was a brunette rather than a blonde. By learning how to change these elements in Photoshop, you might be able to save yourself time and money by not having to schedule in another full day of shooting.

In this tutorial, we’ll cover the basic steps of colour mixing in Photoshop by turning the model’s gold jewellery and the detailing on her dress into silver. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be able to adapt these skills to a number of different applications including garments and hair.

Read: Swap the colours of details in photos

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Use colour theory to balance a photo’s colours using Photoshop CC’s Color panel (or Photoshop’s Kuler panel)

Colour theory is something that has been drilled into our heads as designers, artists and photographers - but it’s often harder to get right in practice than you’d think. If you’ve been looking for help to make your images pop, Adobe CC Color Panel - known as Kuler in older versions - is a great Photoshop tool from Adobe which gives you access to a list of complementary, analogous, triad or compound colour schemes, saving you time in the process.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at how you can use Adobe’s Color Panel add-on in Photoshop CC 2014 - or Photoshop CS6 or CC’s Kuler panel - to recolour clashing elements and harmonise the overall colour scheme of an image.

The Adobe Color Panel is also available as a free iPhone app for those wanting to create on the go. You can even create your own colour schemes by taking colours direct from your photos.

Read: Use colour theory to balance a photo’s colours using Photoshop CC’s Color panel (or Photoshop’s Kuler panel)


Digital painting in Photoshop: Create a digital painting of a robot mech

This tutorial by freelance concept artist Takumer Homma is a journey in creating a robot painting in Photoshop – though his techniques would work just as well in Corel Painter or even physical paints.

Here Takumer has focussed on art fundamentals such as gesture, lighting, tonal value, and composition.  We will approach the painting using traditional art principles – using a series of the abstract shapes to establish the lights and the darks.

Read: Create a digital painting of a robot mech


Paint with fire

In this tutorial, we’re going to take a simple model shot and transform it into a spitting, crackling beacon of fire.

Using some of the most common Photoshop tools (like Smudge, Dodge and Burn) Neville D’Souza shows how to create a complicated artwork without relying on third-party plug-ins.

This lesson will also give you good practice with Photoshop’s Levels and Adjustment Layers – which can be extremely powerful if used properly – as well as Layer Masks and Blend Modes to create stunning, and yet sometimes quite subtle, effects.

Read: Paint with fire

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Type tutorials for Photoshop: Learn the best ways to create 3D type

Currently, there are two main ways to create 3D typographic illustrations with extruded letters, textures and lighting. You can use Photoshop CS6 Extended, Photoshop CC or CC2014 to easily create a relatively accurate rendering that’s great if you want a non-photorealistic look for graphics, logos and the like. If, however, you want a realistic render with accurate lighting, it’s time to move over to a 3D suite such as Cinema 4D. This is the easiest to learn and use if you’re used to Adobe’s toolset. Here, Hawaiian illustrator Christopher Vinca takes you through two different renderings of the same type, using Photoshop and Cinema 4D. He details the differences between the processes and the results that can be achieved.

If you’re new to Cinema 4D but an old hand at Photoshop, this is an excellent first tutorial for the 3D suite, as you’ll be following a process in an application you know well, rather than in the one you want to learn.

Read: Learn the best ways to create 3D type

 


Create 3D type using Photoshop CS6 Extended, CC or CC 2014

In this tutorial, 3D artist and illustrator Craig Minchington demonstrates how to create elegant 3D type without using a CG suite such as Cinema 4D or Maya. Instead, he’ll use the 3D tools first added in the Extended version of Photoshop CS6 – but which are also found in newer versions.

Craig notes that although previous versions of Photoshop included 3D tools, these were awkward and lacking in their capabilities. “3D users in previous versions must shudder at the thought of the word ‘Repoussé’,” he explains.

However, Adobe has really stepped up its game with CS6’s new 3D tools, which add many features, a clear workflow and improved usability. These new features allow you to really experiment with an object’s material and have full control of a scene’s lighting using spotlights, point lights and Craig’s personal favourite, image-based lighting (IBL).

IBL is an advanced 3D technique, where lighting from a real-world scene is captured and saved as an image. This is then projected between the camera and elements in your scene to make it appear that your scene has the same lighting. It’s an efficient way to produce lighting effects that not only render quickly, but look realistic too.

Read: Create 3D type using Photoshop CS6 Extended, CC or CC 2014


Create 3D type art using Photoshop CS5

If you're still using Photoshop CS5 Extended, you can still create some great 3D type art. In this tutorial you will use the Repoussé tool to extrude some text in a way previously only possible in a full 3D application. 

As well as exploring the capabilities of this exciting new feature, we will explore the traditional 3D settings to get the most out of the different material and rendering options.

Read: Create 3D type art using Photoshop CS5

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Get started with type art

Type art is popular at the moment for all sorts of reasons – and it’s a highly versatile skill to have. You can use illustrated lettering in projects ranging from posters to brochures – making it a great technique to add to your creative toolset.

But beware: type art is so popular at the moment that there’s a lot of crud out there. The rules are the same as for any aesthetic style: learn the basics carefully, and then be original. Follow Pomme Chan's tutorial to learn more.

Read: Get started with type art


Master 3D type effects

If creating 3D type directly in Photoshop isn't good enough for you, here's how to retouch letters created in a 3D suite. Type-effects guru Nik Ainley shows how.

The key is to create the letters in a 3D package first as individual characters, then bring them into Photoshop for further post work. Through clever use of Photoshop’s masking tools and layers, Nik has created type with characters that weave in and out of each other. The characters’ faces also provide a handy canvas for further effects, such as patterns, gradients and lines.

Read: Master 3D type effects


Spice up 3D type

Thomas Burden will show you how to create this Tom Waits-inspired piece, with a grubby old-school New York coffee house aesthetic. He’ll use a mixture of textures, pre-made brushes, Curves adjustments and colour overlays. 

You don’t need any particular 3D suite as you’ll be working from Thomas’ base rendered artwork. This, plus some texture elements, can be found in the project files.

Read: Spice up 3D type

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Discover hidden depths in type illustration

Here, illustrator Charles Williams shows you how to create an elegant logotype with a 3D finish. You’ll then learn how to integrate it successfully into a photograph to give a naturalistic result.

Rather than using a 3D application such as Maya, you’ll discover how to apply your Illustrator and Photoshop skills to create a photorealistic artwork with depth and a unique character.

If you don’t have Illustrator, you can still follow most of this tutorial; you’ll need to import Charles’s vector logotype, which can be found in our project files.

Read: Discover hidden depths in type illustration


How to use Photoshop: Remove a background

How to resize multiple images in Photoshop

Here, we show you how to use actions and batch processing to resize multiple images.

Read: How to resize multiple images in Photoshop

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How to crop an image in Photoshop

How to lock and unlock layers in Photoshop

How to change text colour in Photoshop

Here, as part of our beginner's guide, we show you how to change the text colour in Adobe Photoshop.

Read: How to change text colour in Photoshop

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