Using The Pen Tool - The Basics

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial is more for the beginners of Photoshop on how to use the pen tool and what you can do with it, although some more advanced with Photoshop may also find this useful, it is just a quick tutorial today as I am currently working on a new WordPress layout for this website so I am quite occupied with that, but I will still be doing tutorials every other day whilst I am doing this.

Step 1 - Find Image

First of all find the image that you want to use in this tutorial; I have used a picture of a Buggati Veyron and open it up in Photoshop, now choose the pen tool on the left toolbar (as shown below) but before we use it I am going to explain what it does and the benefits of using it:

Original Image:

Pen Tool

The pen tool allows you to make “paths” which can be used to cut out certain parts of images or so that you can make a range of different shapes.

Advantages of Using the Pen Tool

The pen tool offers more flexibility over other tools (e.g. Polygonal Lasso Tool) because the pen tool not only creates anchor points but when you have clicked where you want the anchor point to be, if you hold down the button and drag you can create a curved shape which can be used to draw around curved objects.

Step 1 (Continued…): Now back to step 1, with the pen tool selected at the top of the window you will see the below toolbar which shows the settings of the pen which can be used, if you hover over each setting it will explain what they do, for now use the settings below and you can experiment whenever you want to:

Step 2 - Using The Pen Tool

Now zoom into your image and click on the canvas around the edge of your chosen object, this is the starting point of your selection now when you click at the next point in your object notice that it makes another small square (You might notice you can’t click on the adjustment bar ends. That is, until you hold the CTRL key. When you hold the CTRL key, your cursor will change to a solid white arrow, the Direct Selection Tool. Now you can click on the adjustment bar ends and adjust the curve of your selection. Now try holding the ALT key. You should get a two-sided arrow when you mouse over your adjustment ends, the Convert Point Tool. Click and drag to adjust only one aspect of your curve. This is how you make sharp edges with your Pen Path.) Now keep clicking around the edge of your chosen object and remember if you want a curved line, click and hold and then drag in the direction of the curve.

Step 3 - Connect The Two End Points

When you get the hang of it, it is really easy to use, once you have gone around the whole outer edge of your object join the starting point and ending point together, you will now have a “Path”

Step 4 - Make Selection

Now right click in the path and choose “Make Selection” as shown below,

Step 5 - Make Selection Menu

This will bring up a menu showing some different settings, but leave this as default as they don’t need to be changed.

Step 6 - Drag And Drop Image Onto New Background

With your path now selected you will see the crawling ants around the edge of your image, now when you choose the move tool you can see that your selection can be moved around etc…Now open up a new background in a new document and simply drag and drop your selection into it as shown below:

Crawling Ants:

Drag And Drop:

Step 7 - Play Around With The Final Image

You can now play around with different shadows and options to get just the right look and once I had done this I had something that looked similar to below:
(This final image does look rubbish but that was not the point of this tutorial, the point was to show you that there are other ways to extract an image rather than using the eraser or magic wand tool, if I had more time i would have made this final image look better, but it will do to illustrate my point)


This tutorial was just the basics of using the Pen Tool but there are lots of other different things which it can be used for, so go and play around with it and see what you can create.

If you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me at: and I will help you as much as I can.

Simple Polaroid Design

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial will show you how to get a nice polaroid image effect just using standard shapes and images, not difficult to follow and can be used in many projects, e.g. Family Holiday Photos, Weddings etc…
Very easy to follow and not complicated to complete PSD files included incase you need any extra help.

Step 1 - New Document

First of all make a new document size 500 x 500 and fill the background with default black.

Step 2 - Draw a Rectangle

Now choose the “Rectangle Tool” and draw a fairly large white rectangle as shown below, and then right click this layer and choose “Rasterize Type”:

Step 3 - Delete The Inside of The Rectangle

Now choose the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and draw a selection as shown below, once happy with your selection simply press delete and it should delete the selection and you will end up with a Polaroid shape:

Step 4 - Apply Blending Options

Now double click the Polaroid layer which should bring up the “Blending
Options” and use the settings below:

Step 5 - Drag and Drop Polaroid Template

To put a picture into the Polaroid simply find the picture you want and open it up in a new document, when this is done grab the move tool on the Polaroid document and drag and drop the Polaroid onto the image document as shown below:

Step 6 - Resize and Position

Now resize and position your Polaroid onto the image so that you are happy with the selection

Step 7 - Copy The Image Inside of The Polaroid

Now again grab the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and select the inner part of the Polaroid image, with the original image selected choose the move tool and simply press CTRL +C and then CTRL + V to copy and paste the selected image, now go back to the original image layer and press delete to leave you with the image below:

Step 8 - Apply More Blending Options

Next double click the selected part of the image layer and it will bring up the blending options now use the settings below:

Step 9 - Write The Title of The Polaroid Image

To finish simply choose the text tool and the font “Lucida Handwriting” and write out the title of the image on the whit space at the bottom of the Polaroid.

Final Image:

You can now make some more and compile them into an image like the one I have made below, very effective when displaying special photo’s e.g. holiday or baby photo’s.


If you have had any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to contact me and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Depth of Field Effect

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial shows you how to make a “Depth of Field Effect” in Photoshop this is where you pick something in an image that you want to “Stand Out” and then blur the background so the focal point of the image changes, really cool effect and can be used on any image.

Step 1: First of all get the picture that you want to edit and find the thing on the image that you want to make “Stand Out” when you have done this choose the Pen Tool and draw around the outline of the chosen object that you want to stand out as shown below:

Step 2: When this is done make sure the two ends of the path are connected and you should have the line of “crawling ants” around the selection, if like me there is something in front of your selection that you do not want to include in it then simply hold ALT and draw around the outline of that to subtract it from the selection as below:

Step 3: When this is done you have your selection ready, now press CTRL + Shift + I which inverts the selection to select everything outside of the original selection, now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the blur to around 3 pixels (depends on image so adjust it so that it looks ok with your image) and press ok.

Step 4: Now we are nearly done, to finish simply choose the blur tool (raindrop shaped) and pick a decent brush size and go around the very edge of your selection so that the edges don’t seem to sharp or pointy

And there you go the simple way to make something stand out more from their background below is the comparison from the original image to the finished image:

Finished Image:


Making A Modern Looking Navigation Button

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial will teach you some fundamental techniques when it comes to making cool looking buttons for a navigation bar easy to understand with plenty of detail and a nice looking outcome that can be used on any modern looking website.

Step 1: First of all open up a new document any size that you want (I used sizes 500 x 500)

Step 2: Now choose the gradient tool and set the gradient to radial gradient as shown below, and set the colours to: #000000, #49454d and drag from the middle outwards so that the lighter colour is in the middle.

Step 3: Now choose the rectangle tool and draw quite a large rectangle in the centre of the document, we now need to curve the edges, to do this simply follow this tutorial on “How To Round The Corners of A Shape Using Levels” after this you should be left with something like below:

Step 4: Now we need to draw a small rectangle and place it in the top right hand corner of the rectangle this will make that corner square again which gives the button a more modern cool look, when done press CTRL + J (Duplicate) with the small rectangle selected and move the duplicate layer to the bottom left hand corner to create the same effect so that you are left with something similar to below:

Step 5: Now right click on the separate layers that you have and choose “Rasterize Layer” this will convert the shapes to pixels, when done select all 3 of your rectangles and right click on one of them and choose “Merge Layers” this will merge them all into one layer:

Step 6: Next you need to double click on the rectangle layer which will bring up the “Blending Options” window, with this open you need to use the settings as shown below to get the same effect as me (you can also use your own colours):

Inner Shadow:

Gradient Overlay:

After adding these effects you should get a result similar to below:

Step 6: Now add the text that you want to use, I am using “Home” as it is for a Navigation Bar and place it in the centre of the button,

Step 7: To finish double click on the Text layer to open up the “Blending Options” and choose stroke and set it to the settings as below, alternatively to get the right colour you simply need to make the stroke a darker version of the colour used on the button:


Finished Button:

For added effect I have added a reflection on this one using THIS tutorial and created a couple more buttons in different colours so you can see what they could look like:

The PSD file is available to download if anybody is interested then please leave a comment asking for it or simply e-mail me at: and I will happily mail it back to you

Also if you have any problems with this tutorial or need any help Photoshop then feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me.

Text Masking An Image

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial shows you how to use the “Horizontal Type Mask Tool” to cut the text out of an image so that you are left with very unique text, this tutorial can be applied to any image to get a really nice effect.

Step 1: First of all you need to get any image that you want and open it up in Photoshop (I used this image for this tutorial)

Step 2: Now click and hold on the text tool until the options appear below, and choose “Horizontal Type Mask Tool”

Step 3: Now just write the text you want as you normally would so it looks like below, when done press the tick button on the top toolbar and you will get a text outline selection:

Step 4: Now simply press CTRL + Shift + I and press delete this will delete everything outside of the written Type mask and just leave you with the finished result as shown below:

This can be used on any image and the result can be implemented into any future designs or projects,

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at: