Layers and Shapes in Adobe Photoshop

Introduction: Layers and Shapes in Adobe Photoshop

About: Just a college student, interested in almost all DIY ideas. I especially love arts, technology and traveling.

Portrait edition

This is an introductory tutorial on using layer effects and shapes in Adobe Photoshop. I had used Adobe Photoshop for a while and mentioned that sometimes you can get interesting effects very easily. Therefore this would be a good tutorial if you do not have a lot of experience in Photoshop or did not mention this trick before. Some of the effects on the picture were achieved by using shapes while others - by using layer effects. You can see a fast version of this tutorial.

If you want to see another (probably easier) tutorial go to

Step 1: What You Will Need - the Basics and Fast Forward Video

  • Layer effects - In the layer section you can see a fall out menu for the Layer Effects. When you have a chance try to play with it by overlaying pictures
  • Shape tools - what we will use to create shapes. This is a very intuitive tool. To switch between shape styles right quick on the icon.
  • Magic wand tool - although this tutorial will not focus on selection methods this is an easy and often useful tool. It allows you quickly select pixels (either contiguous or not) that have the same color. If you click on it you can pick "tolerance" - higher tolerance will mean higher range. You can also select whether you want it to be contiguous or not. If you want to expand selection level - hold Shift and click on the new color.
  • Move tool - although it is not labeled on the picture, it's the upper symbol on the panel. It will help you import pictures easily. Select a layer of the picture, drag and drop it into the destination tab/photograph.

Step 2: Adding Firework - Importing Into Photograph and Layer Effects

  • Open pictures in the Photoshop (portrait and firework)
  • Select photograph with firework
  • Using Move Tool click on the photograph and drag it into the tab with portrait OR open portrait, click File > Place Embedded. Then select the imported layer, right click on it and go to Rasterize.
  • Position firework photo the right way. To transform photo go to Edit > Free transform
  • In the layers section go to layer effects, and select Lighten.

I had to change the photograph with fireworks to remove disney castle. So I quickly used Spot Healing Brush tool to draw over the castle.

Step 3: Cutting Out Portrait

  • Go to layers and duplicate the Background layer, which should be the portrait. (Right click on the layer and click Duplicate). Work on the duplicated layer.
  • Select Magic Wand Tool, click on the white area. To expand it either hold Shift or rise the tolerance level. After selection you can go to Refine edge and smooth the edge by a couple of pixels.
  • Right click on the selection and click cut.

This step would help you place further artwork behind portrait.

Step 4: Create Shapes and Past It Into the Picture

  • Create a new document
  • Select some shape and draw it on the screen.
  • Go to Filter > Stylize > Tiles
  • Drag and drop shape into the destination photograph
  • Arrange layers and use Free Transform to position it
    • Arranging layers is easy: hold the layer selected and drag it up or down

On the video you can see how I did it with one of the shapes. So far you should be able to do triangle, circle and scribbles in the background.

Step 5: Create Green Line Effect

  • Create a green line in the shapes tool
  • Transfer it into the destination photograph
  • In the layers section try to experiment with layer effects. If it does not work well try changing the color of the strip. I settled on the Hard Light setting. If you want to see it live please refer to the fast forward video seen on the beginning.

Step 6: You Have Your Amazing Picture Ready

Go to File > Save.

Quick note - if you want to save a photograph for web use File > Save for Web... In the opened window adjust the settings. I usually either decrease quality or size of the picture.

Step 7: P.S. This Is Another Picture I Got by Using Layer Effects

Basically two photographs one on top of each other. Upper layer has different layer setting.

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