Cool Photoshop Effects: Making the Most of Your Images

By now you know that anyone who uses the web to promote herself, share a blog or run a business needs to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how to use Photoshop. But, beyond the basics, there are hundreds of cool Photoshop effects that can take your website and your photos to the next level. Here are two neat Photoshop effects you can try next time you’re using the ubiquitous photo editing software.

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Create a Smoke Font

cool photoshop effectsEye-catching typography is great way to make your website look professional, while also engaging visitors. This impressive effect is so easy you can finish it in about ten minutes. Here are the steps:

1.     Open a new document. You can choose the size, but for this tutorial let’s say it’s 1920×1200 pixels. Next, open the Layer Style box and add a Gradient Overlay. It’s on the left side. Choose radial for the style then choose the colors you’d like to use. This can always be changed, of course.

2.     Type in your text (you may want to practice with white) then go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the angle at 90 degrees and the distance at 40 pixels.

3.     Go to Filter>Distort>Wave for the next step. Set the Number of Generators to 3, the Wavelength to 10 min. and 346 max., and the Amplitude 5 and 35, respectively.

4.     Now, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set the radius at 10 pixels. Group the layer and change the folder’s Blend Mode to Color Dodge. You’re nearly there!

5.     Add a new layer and place it on top. Change the background and foreground colors to black and white. Go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Change the Blend Mode to Color Dodge. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All and switch to the brush tool. Choose a soft brush with 0% hardness in black. Get creative and hide some of the cloud layer.

6.     Go to the Layers Palette and create a new folder. Change the Blend Mode to Color Dodge and add a new layer. Use the Smoke Brushes set (it can be downloaded online) and set the color to white. Artfully brush up the letters until your preferred effect is reached.

7.     Add a new layer that sits above the background layer. Fill it with black and go to Filter>Texture>Texturizer. Change the Scaling to 100% and the Relief to 4. Change the texture to Canvas and the Light to Top. Now move the Opacity down to 10%.

8.     Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Invert. Place this layer at the top.

Congratulations! You now have smoky text. This effect is a lot of fun and is very impressive. Play around with the colors and settings to customize to your needs.

Learn other cool effects with this Photoshop Training tutorial!

Create a Comic Book Effect

cool photoshop effectsSometimes it’s fun to add a pop art or comic book look to pictures. You may use this effect to create a real comic for a website, or just to have fun with some friends. Here’s how you do it:

1.     Open your photo in Photoshop and duplicate the background layer. Next, go to Filter>Blur>Surface Blur. The settings will depend on your picture, but ultimately the skin tones should soften while the details (eyes, mouth) should remain sharp.

2.     Duplicate the blurred layer and remove the color information. You can do this easily by holding Shift+Command (Control)+U. Next, open the Luminosity layer as a selection by clicking Option(Alt)+Command(Control)+~ (which is next to the number 1).

3.     Open the Channels section on the Layer palette, where you can see the RGB and White layers. Hold Command(Control) and click the Red layer to select all the red tones in the picture.

4.     Open a new layer and go to Select>Inverse. Hit Option+Delete to fill the selection with black.

5.     Return to the original photo layer. Go to Filter>Artistic>Cutout and push the Levels to 8. Keep the Edge Simplicity at 0 and the Edge Fidelity at 3. Now duplicate this layer and change the Blend Mode to Soft Light.

6.     Go back to the Grayscale layer and go to Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges. Leave all three levels at 1. Change Blend Mode to Multiply. Lighten up the image by going to Image>Adjustments>Levels and push the white slider over until about 150.

7.     Go to the top layer (where the selection was deleted) and hold Command(Control) while clicking on the layer. Click the Layer Mask Icon. Now go to Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone and set the Radius to 5.

8.     Click the Layer Mask on the layer and hold Command(Control)+I to invert it. Click back on the regular layer and change the Blend Mode to Overlay.

You now have a comic book style photograph! This works on almost any photograph, and the effect is adjustable to your preferences.

If you want to learn some more cool Photoshop effects, try one of the following:

Now you have all the tools to create one-of-a-kind photos that draw interest and result in sales and clicks!