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One of my absolute favorite things in the whole world is letterpress paper ephemera.  I find it to be such a beautiful art form.  In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to get a faux letterpress effect using Photoshop!  As always, I am using Photoshop CS4 on a Windows machine for this tutorial.

Final Result:



Step 1:

Create the design you want to make with the letterpress-esque effect.  I started with this image for this tutorial.


Step 2: 

Double click on the “background” layer so that the Layer Style palette opens.  Select the “Gradient Overlay” style and set Blend Mode to “multiply”, opacity to 30%, Angle to 125 degrees and click “OK”.


Step 3:

Now select Layer Style, Pattern Overlay. Set the Opacity to 10% and for the pattern, I chose a canvas style.  You can download something similar here.


Step 4:

While still working in the “background” layer, on the menu bar select Filter>Noise>Add Noise.  Set Amount to 3, Distribution to Gaussian and check the Monochromatic section.  Click “OK”.


Step 5:

Now select your font layer.  Double click the font layer and click on Drop Shadow.  Under Blend Mode select “Screen”, set the Opacity to 30%, the Distance to 1px and Spread/Size both to 0px.


Step 6:

Now we are going to do the same thing to each layer, but this time under the Inner Shadow setting.  Set the Opacity to 20%, Distance to 2px, Choke to 0px and Size to 1px.  Click “Ok”.


Step 7:

Once again we are doing the same thing under the Gradient Overlay style.  Select Blend Mode to “Overlay”, Opacity to 10% and Angle to 90 degrees.  Click “Ok”.


Step 8:

For our final layer style, select Pattern Overlay.  Set Opacity to 5% and select the canvas pattern you used for the background in Step 3.


Step 9: 

Now if you have multiple layers like I did, you don’t have to recreate the layer styles multiple times.  Instead, all you need to do is right click on the already completed layer and select “Copy Layer Style” then right click on the layers that need the same effect.  Finally select “Paste Layer Style”.

Here is the final product:


I hope you love this tutorial!  Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Fonts Used:

Wisdom Script


Revolver Image from here

Oh!  And the winner of the Brownie Camera giveaway was Kristie Dinh!  Congratulations, your camera is on its way!

Ok, so, this might be my favorite tutorial to date.  Seriously, I use this trick all the time, and I hope you’ll use it too!  Today, I am going to show you how to take any black and white scanned image, and give it a transparent background (aka .png file).  Once again I will be using Photoshop CS4.

1Step 1:

Scan your image (I like to scan at the highest quality possible), and save it to your computer.  If you would like to use my “hello” doodle, you can download it here.  Now, open the image in Photoshop.

Step 2:

We are going to create a new layer, so at the top toolbar select LAYER>NEW>LAYER.

Step 3:

Click on your new layer and drag it under the original layer.


Step 4:

Select the paint bucket tool from the left side toolbar and pick any bright color.  It doesn’t matter, this color will go away eventually.

The layers should now look like this:


Step 5:

Now, click back on your original image layer, and select the Magic Want tool (or press W on your keyboard).  Change the tolerance in the upper toolbar to 40, then click anywhere in the white area.


Step 6:

Next, go to SELECT>SIMILAR then hit the backspace key on your keyboard.


Step 7:

Double click on the image layer in the layers palette to bring up the layer style screen.  Then, select Color Overlay and for the layer color, select black (#000000).  Click OK.


Step 8:

To create the transparent background, all you need to do is click the eye next to the background layer in the layers palette.  Of course you can also chose a different color background, or pattern, but that is up to you!


Step 9:

Now for saving!  Go to FILE>SAVE FOR WEB&DEVICES and choose PNG-24 from the drop-down menu on the right.

Final Product: 


 And now just to goof off, here are a few examples of how to use your new .png image!


If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments!

Ok, let me tell you one thing.  I love a good scalloped edge.  Be it on a collar, a skirt, or a picture!  In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to get an adorable scalloped edge for photographs! (P.S. It is pretty easy)  Again, I will be using Photoshop CS4 on a Windows machine.

1.  Open the photo you would like to use and expand the canvas size about one inch on all sides.  (IMAGE>CANVAS SIZE)

2.  Create a new layer (LAYER>NEW>LAYER) and we’re going to name it Layer 2.

3.  While in Layer 2, select the paint bucket tool from the left menu, pick any color (I chose green), and click the picture.

4.  Change the opacity to 50% so you can see the original picture below.

5.  Select the paint brush tool from the left menu. I selected the hard, round brush at 19 pixels.

6. Now, click on Brush Tip Shape (see above), and set the hardness to 100%, and spacing to 92%.

7. It’s time to draw the frame!  Make sure your brush is a color easy to see against the green background.    With the brush as the active tool, do the following:

  • Position the mouse over one of the corners.
  • Click the mouse and hold down the Shift Key
  • Drag the mouse to the next corner.
  • Release.
  • Continue these steps until you have finished the frame.

8.  Now it is time to resize the frame we just drew so that it lies INSIDE the picture.  Go to EDIT>FREE TRANSFORM and use the arrows to adjust until you are completely in the picture.

9. While Layer 2 is still active, select the Magic Wand tool from the left toolbar.  Set the tolerance to 30 and make sure “Anti-alias” and “Contiguous” are checked.

10.  With the Magic Want, click anywhere outside the scalloped frame.

11.  Now we are going to select our original layer and click the DELETE key on your keyboard.

12. Click the eye image next to Layer 2 on the Layers palette to hide that second layer.

12.  Crop your image, and that’s it!

Today I am going to show you how to transfer any bold block text and give it a funky modern twist!  For reference, I am using Illustrator CS4 and the wonderful Governor font from Lost Type.  I would consider this tutorial for beginner Illustrator users.

So, we are going to take this text:


…and transform it into this:

1.  First, you must convert your text to outlines.  To do this, select Command+Shift+O.

2.  Next, using the Direct Selection tool (A) and select any letter that have negative space.

3.  Finally, just use the backspace key and double click to remove the white negative space!

That’s it!  Isn’t this so easy?  I know it might seem plain and simple, but for anyone out there that ever wondered how to remove negative space, I hope this helps!  You don’t have to stop here!  Make it 3D, give it a shadow or texture; just play around!

Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you run into any trouble.

I have decided that instead of doing longer Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials all the time, that perhaps it would be helpful to have a series of “mini” tips as well!

For this tip, we will be using the line tool and selecting the stoke function (Window<Stoke).  Make sure you check dashed line in the window.

See how easy it is?! Play around and see what you can do!  Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you run into any problems!

This super easy Photoshop tutorial will show you how to create rounded corners for any image.  It might sound like a silly thing to do a tutorial on, but I cannot tell you how many times I forgot the steps involved with doing this!

For this tutorial, I chose a picture of a beautiful tree I took while in Virginia.

See?  Wouldn’t this picture look so much nicer with rounded corners?  I agree!

As with all tutorials, this is using Photoshop CS4. (click to expand images)

STEP 1:  Start by turning the image into a layer.  In the layers palette, double click on background and click OK on the pop-up menu.  Next, create a new layer by going to the top of the screen and clicking on Layer>New. (You can also create a new layer by selecting Shift+Ctl+N)

Your layers palette should look like this:

STEP 2: With the new layer highlighted, go to the right toolbar and select the rounded rectangle tool.

Now draw a rectangle on the new layer you created.

The fill color makes no difference, so do not worry about that at all.

STEP 3: Double click on the layer you just drew the rectangle on.  The Layer Style box will appear.  In the advanced blending box, slide the fill opacity to 0%.

STEP 4: Now go back down to the Layers palette and select the Paths tab.  Click on the upper right corner of the palette and select Make Selection.

When the dialog box opens make sure feather radius is set to 0px and anti-aliased IS checked. Click OK.

STEP 5:  With the selection still highlighted (dotted lines) go to Edit>Copy Merged.  Create a new document and select Edit>Paste.  There you go!  Here’s my final result:

The rounded corner is very subtle, but I really love the way it looks!  I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!

This tutorial will show you how to take any pattern (or picture) and use it with any font you like!

For this tutorial you will need a pattern or texture and a font.  I am going to be using a felt texture from Pugly Pixel, and the Mensch font from Lost Type Co-Op.

As with all tutorials, this is using Photoshop CS4. (click to expand images)

STEP 1: First we need to create a pattern from the texture, pattern or picture, etc.  Open the file with that pattern and go to Edit>Define Pattern.  From there you will be able to name your pattern and click OK.

Now your pattern is saved in Photoshop and can be used in any future images.

STEP 2: Open up a new document and make it any size you like.  For this tutorial I opened up a document (with transparent background) at 500×500 pixels.

STEP 3: Add a text box (highlighted in yellow) and type whatever you like.  Take this opportunity to adjust font style and size as well.

STEP 4: Select Layer>Layer Style>Pattern Overlay. Find the newly saved pattern in the menu and select it. Click OK.  As with pretty much every step, feel free to play around with the options; in this case, opacity and pattern size to see what you like best.

STEP 5 (optional): I find that with most patterns, it helps to outline the text to give it that extra something.  So if you would like to add an outline, select Layer>Layer Style>Stroke.  I used a stroke of 3 pixels and decided on a lighter grey so it was not as intense as black (color #595656). Click OK.

STEP 6: Now go to File>Save for Web & Devices and select PNG-24 if you would like a transparent background.

Let’s check out the final result!

So the next time you find a pretty pattern or texture, make sure to create a Photoshop pattern from it!  You can even use a photograph as a pattern!  The ideas are endless!  Just always remember to give credit where credit is due.


Felt Texture- Pugly Pixel

Font- Mensch from Lost Type Co-op 

I thought it might be about time to introduce some very basic Photoshop skills to the blog.  I’m fairly new to the Adobe suite, and I know there must be some others out there in the same position.  So, with that being said, I wanted to start off with a super easy tutorial, but one that comes in handy quite often!  How to make a circle!

For this tutorial I am using Photoshop CS4.

STEP 1: Select a photo to use.  I chose a picture of my little Hagen-Renaker fox that I absolutely love.

Something I always try to do is make sure the image size isn’t too insane.  If you are using the picture on the web, it doesn’t have to be gigantic.  Always check the bottom of your screen to make sure you are viewing the image at 100%. (It will getcha if you don’t!)

To change the image size go to the top menu and select Image>Image Size.

STEP 2: Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the left toolbar.  It might look like a Rectangle if it isn’t already selected like mine.  If that’s the case, just hold down your mouse and select the elliptical.

Make sure that Feather is set to zero, Anti-Alias is checked, and Style is set to normal (highlighted yellow at the top).

TIP: When selecting your circle, hold down the shift key to make it completely round.  If you need to adjust the selection as you drag, hold down the space bar while dragging.

STEP 3: With the selection still active, crop the image by going to Image on the top menu and selecting Crop.

Now, double click on the “Background” in your layers palette to turn the image into a layer.  A dialogue box will appear.  Just hit OK and leave the rest of the settings alone.

STEP 4: With the selection still active (dotted circle), click the Add Vector Mask button at the very bottom of your layers palette (highlighted in yellow)

STEP 5: There you go!  Now, go to File>Save for Web & Devices and choose PNG-24 to make sure the checkered area isn’t white on a colored background, etc.  Make sure the Transparency box is checked. Save.

Hopefully this was a little helpful for some of you!  Let me know, and I’ll continue to do some more tutorials in the future!