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Photoshop as we know, is the mother of all image editing software. Rarely does a software achieve so much competence and popularity in its niche as Photoshop has done.

One of the downsides of so many features in a single piece of software is that it gets cumbersome and difficult to learn for newbies.

Well fret not, here are 3 Photoshop effects that you can do in under 5 minutes to make your photos look a bit more stylish!

Edge Vignetting

Edge vignetting is another common and very impressive Photoshop effect. While purists may argue about its classification as an edge effect, it definitely adds to the overall image and can catch the eye onto the subject of attention. Here is how to achieve it:

  • Create a new layer atop of the photo layer and fill it with black.

    Impressive Photoshop Effects

  • Select the elliptical marquee tool and draw a large selection that covers the majority of the photo. Alternatively, you can choose to draw over the subject you want to get all the attention. Lowering the opacity of the black layer might help in seeing what you are doing.
  • Feather the selection by visiting Select > Modify > Feather. The pixel value you choose here depends largely on the resolution of the photo you are working with.

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  • With the selection in place and the black layer selected, hit the Delete key, now change the blend mode of the black layer to soft light. If the effect is too intense you can play with the opacity to tone it down.

    Impressive Photoshop Effects

The effect is in place. You can make the final tweaks by moving the black layer or scaling it up if you need to move the vignette.

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The Polaroid Photoshop Effect

A very common effect and very easy to achieve at the same time. Assuming you have the photo you want to work on open inside Photoshop, here are the steps you need to take to get the Polaroid Photoshop effect:

  • Hold down Alt and double-click on the background layer in the layers palette, this should unlock the layer. Now Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the new layer icon in the layer’s palette, this would create a new layer beneath the current layer.

    impressive photoshop special effects

  • With the photo layer selected, hit Ctrl+T to activate the free transform tool. Hold down Shift, Alt and then click and drag one of the corners inwards so as to make the photo smaller, you can also crop some parts of the photo to make it a square and rotate to add some realism.

    photoshop special effects

  • Double-click on the photo layer. In the Layer Styles dialog that opens check Drop shadow, and stroke, change the stroke to inside and increase the width till you get a decent border going along the edges.

    photoshop special effects

  • Now hold down the Ctrl key and click on the layer thumbnail of the photo layer to load it as a selection. Head over to Select > Transform Selection. Hold down the Alt+Shift key while you drag one of the corner handle inwards
  • Leave the selection as it is and click on the layer mask icon in the layers palette You will notice that the are outside the selection has been hidden.
  • You can now apply different kinds of transformations, brushes, filters on the layer mask (note) to get different kinds of borders. As an example, click on the layer mask and grab the brush tool. Select one of the natural or special effect brushes.
  • With white as the foreground color, start painting over the black portions of the layer mask. You will see the hidden part of the photo revealing itself albeit in the form of brush strokes.

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Optionally, you can add custom backgrounds or gradients to the layer beneath, add an extra white strip to the bottom of the photo before the transformation in step 2, add some text or whatever seems right! You can also stack more than one photos on top of each other and follow the above steps to get a cool collage

Cool Borders

You can also use Photoshop to create cool borders for your photos quickly and easily. Here is how:

  • Alt + Double-click the background (photo) layer to unlock it. Ctrl + click on the new layer button in the layer’s palette to create a new layer below the photo layer. Fill this newly created layer with white.

    photoshop effects tutorials

  • Now, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the layer thumbnail of the photo layer to load it as a selection. Head over to Select > Transform Selection. Hold down the Alt+Shift key while you drag one of the corner handle inwards
  • Leave the selection as it is and click on the layer mask icon in the layers palette. You will notice that the are outside the selection has been hidden.
  • You can now apply different kinds of transformations, brushes, filters on the layer mask (note) to get different kinds of borders. As an example, click on the layer mask and grab the brush tool. Select one of the natural or special effect brushes.
  • With white as the foreground color, start painting over the black portions of the layer mask. You will see the hidden part of the photo revealing itself albeit in the form of brush strokes.

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Do you know of some other Photoshop effects that can be done just as quickly? Share them with us in the comments!

  1. Aibek
    June 5, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Hi Elena

    Thanks for heads up. We are going to update the article shortly.

    Aibek

  2. Elena
    June 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I think you copied and pasted the wrong instructions in the Polaroid tutorial... they're exactly the same steps as for the borders tutoriañ ;)

  3. Elena
    June 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I think you copied and pasted the wrong instructions in the Polaroid tutorial... they're exactly the same steps as for the borders tutoriañ ;)

    • Aibek
      June 5, 2010 at 2:49 am

      Hi Elena

      Thanks for heads up. We are going to update the article shortly.

      Aibek

  4. Jeyaganesh
    April 16, 2010 at 6:32 am

    great post..Nice tutorial for Photoshop newbies..

  5. designfollow
    April 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    great, thank you.

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