Creating Realistic Shadows

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial will show you how to create realistic shadows using simple methods this can be applied to any object that needs a shadow and the same principles apply for each.

Step 1 - New Document

For this tutorial the document size will depend on the object you want to give a shadow to but for the sake of the tutorial I am using 200 x 200 for a small button that I want to give a shadow to.

Step 2 - Drawing The Shape

I am going to draw a rounded rectangle which I will use for the shape of the button the rounded rectangle tool is the one shown below and the how to draw the shape is also shown:

Step 3 - Applying The Blending Options

Next we are going to apply the blending options to the shape this will be so the shape looks like a Mac style button but obviously you can apply whatever gradients etc… that you want to get your desired effect:



When these options have been applied you should have the same image as shown below, as you can see it looks like a button which could be used for a website (e.g. Navigation)

Step 4 - Creating The Shadow

To create the shadow you need to choose the rectangular marquee tool (shown below) and the then draw a thin box across the bottom of the shape, I have zoomed into the image to better show where to draw the box:

Note: Zoom into the canvas to get a better closer view of what you are doing this allows you to be more precise when sizing things up such as the shadow

When this is done create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) then fill the selected box with black (#000000) and then deselect (CTRL + D)

Then next thing to do is set the opacity of the shadow so it is lighter (dependent on how dark you want the shadow to be) so I set the opacity of the layer to 30% as it best suited the situation as shown below:

The next and main final step is to blur the shadow so it is not so just a block of colour, to do this go to the top toolbar and go Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and then use the settings shown below:

Step 5 - Move The Shadow To Desired Position And Finish

Now that the shadow has been created it can be moved into a desired position there giving the effect of different heights from the surface e.g. as shown below in the 3 examples,

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.

Folding Corners

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial will show you how to make the folding corners on pages, documents etc…very simple method but gives a great end result, adds a dynamic effect to images and can be used for things such as posters or books etc…

Step 1 - Open New Document

First of all as usual open a new document (or an existing project) any size you want, but for the sake of this tutorial I used 800 x 800,  when this is done fill the background with a desired colour.

Step 2 - Draw The Shape

In this tutorial I want to create the effect of a piece of paper with a folding corner so I pick the rectangle tool and set the foreground colour to white (#FFFFFF) and draw a reasonably sized rectangle in the centre of the document as shown below,

Step 3 - Rasterize Shape

Next you need to rasterize the shape, to do this right click on the layer in the layers tab and choose rasterize layer as shown below:

Step 4 - Polygonal Lasso Tool

This is the good part, first of all CTRL + Click the box next to the shape layer in the layers tab which shows a preview of the layer, this should bring up the crawling ants around the shape, next choose the polygonal lasso tool, and make sure it is set to subtract from the material, the two icons of which are shown below:

Polygonal Lasso Tool:

Subtract From Selection:

When these two options are selected draw around the shape as shown below (the polygonal lasso tool works in a similar sort of way to the pen tool with the way you draw with it as shown in THIS tutorial)

When the two end points are connected together the corner of the page should have the crawling ants around it now simply press delete on the keyboard (make sure the shape layer is selected) and this will delete the corner of the document and will leave you with this result:

Step 5 - Making The Fold

First deselect the corner (CTRL + D) and then CTRL + Click the shape layer again so the crawling ants are around your whole shape again, then choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool and choose intersect with selection which is the option on the right hand side of the subtract from selection, now draw a box as shown below:

And it should create a new corner, at this point press CTRL + SHIFT + N to create a new layer, and the choose the gradient tool and use the colours and positions below:

Now press OK and draw the gradient starting from the middle of the corner to the bottom left:

And this should give you a nice shadowy effect dont worry if it’s a bit dark we will sort that out nearer the end, now grab the eliptical marquee tool and make a selection the same as the below image or something similar (Note: make sure it is set to subtract from selection):

And it will cut out that bit of the corner and make it look curved, now press CTRL + SHIFT + I to inverse the selection and press delete, this will delete the bit of the corner that we don’t want (Note: Remember to press CTRL + SHIFT + I again after to reselect the corner)

And now do the same thing to the left side of the corner but not as big but make it so it shows a slight curve.

Step 6 - Blending Options

Now to add the Blending Options (Double click the layer in the layer tab) to the folded over corner this is simply just a drop shadow, but use the settings below to get the best effect:

Step 7 - Finishing Touches

Just a couple of finishing touches to make the page look better, if the corner is a bit dark just set the Opacity to 50% and this will lighted it up as I have done on mine, also you could add a drop shadow to the main page aswell to make it look like it is coming off the background:

Change Opacity:

And then this will give you the final image as shown below:


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.

The New Website

by Steve Tolley


As you can probably see the website has changed, as I was promising for quite a while on the old website I was working on a new design, and this is the outcome, so far I havent finished absolutely everything yet as there is still some pages and posts that need to be arranged and added, but I thought I would get most of it uploaded and then finish it from there.

I hope you all like it and any feedback/criticism would be much appreciated, as I need to know of any errors or invalid links/images so if you find any either contact me via the contact form or leave me a comment on this post and I will do my best to fix it.

Also now this is up it means I can start doing some more posts again and upload some more of my tutorials,

There is also a new page on the website called “Your Tutorials” this section is for you to request a tutorial or upload one of your own using the included form (which needs tweaking still) as I am always happy to be helped when writing them as it is difficult to keep on top of this and my studies aswell so any help would be appreciated,

Thanks and happy Photoshopping,

Bringing Backgrounds To Life Part 1

by Steve Tolley

OK my first tutorial for quite a while now, after successfully securing a place in university I am ready to start posting again whilst looking for a decent host for my new website design (any help appreciated) to get me back into the swing of things I am going to do a relatively easy tutorial to start with, but one I think is very useful when making any type of image that looks a bit plain and boring, the best way to make these sorts of images look better is to simply apply a texture over the top of your background or specific part of the document (e.g. Text) and it is much easier than you may think

Applying a Texture to a Background.

Step 1 - Make a Gradient

First of all below we have the plain and boring background which I made with neutral colours and a simple lighting effect (Filter > Render > Lighting Effects) in the middle of the canvas.

Step 2 - Drag And Drop Texture Onto Background

Next we simply open up the texture we want to use and drag and drop it on the background we are using (make sure the texture layer shows “Layer 0” or something similar and not “Background” if this is the case double click the layer and then click OK)

Step 3 - Desaturate The Texture

Next position the texture on the canvas so you get the desired effect and then press CTRL + SHIFT + U this combination will desaturate the selected layer / texture

Step 4 - Set Layer Style To Overlay

Now set the layer style to “Overlay” as shown below and adjust the opacity accordingly to get the effect (depth of detail) that you want.

Step 5 - Finished

And now the plain and boring background is brought to life by simply adding a texture which adds depth to the image.

This tutorial is the first part of a series that will explain how else you can bring your images/backgrounds to life, sign up to the RSS feed to receive updates when these tutorials are released,

The texture used in this tutorial is available HERE along with 3 other paper style textures,

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:

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:

How To Make 3D Perspective Text

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial shows you some basic techniques using different blending options to get a 3D text that is in perspective, with a nice end result which really stands out.

Step 1: First of all create a new document whatever size you like (for this I have used size 500 x 500)

Step 2: Select the gradient tool from the left hand toolbar and set the gradient to the colours and settings as shown below (or you can use your own colours, whichever suits you more)

Step 3: With the gradient set choose the text tool and write out the text you want, for best results use a thicker text (I used Century Gothic, set to bold) and then resize to whatever size you need.

Step 4: Right click on the text layer and choose Rasterize Layer which will convert the text to pixels, now click on one of the little boxes that surround the text like below:

Step 5: Now right click on the text and it should bring up a menu like below, from this choose perspective:

Step 6: Click and hold on the bottom right corner and drag downwards as shown below:

Step 7: When done click the tick button on the top toolbar to apply changes and now simply press CTRL + J (this will duplicate the layer) and press the right arrow once, repeat this as many times as you like or until it looks something like below (I did it 12 times), so this is the order…
CTRL + J, ->,
CTRL + J, ->,


Step 8: Now get the first layer of text again and drag to the top of all the other layers so it is the top layer, this is where we add some colour to the text, double click on the original layer and this will bring up the “Blending Options Menu” when this appears use the settings as shown below: (alternatively you can use your own colours)

Inner Glow:

Gradient Overlay:


Step 9: Now select all of the other duplicated layers (not the original or the background) and right click and choose “Merge Layers” this will put all of the chosen layers into just one layer, now double click on the merged layer which will again bring up the “Blending Options” now use the settings as below or again you can use your own colours:

Gradient Overlay:


Step 10: To finish this text off simply create a new layer above all of the other layers and choose the “elliptical marquee tool” and make a selection like the one below:

Step 11: Now fill this selection in with white, and now hold CTRL and click in the box next to the layer name on the original layer (this should select the outline of the text) now press CTRL + Shift + I, this will invert the selection and with the new layer still selected press delete this should delete the white that is not wanted and leave you with something similar to below:

Now set the new layer opacity to 35% using the bar on the top of the layers window which says “Opacity” and then you will have your finished text 3D text perspective:

Finished Result:

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: