Friday, 23 October 2009

Mirror Box Effect in Photoshop - Week 75

Here's one of my all time favourite 3D effects. I call it the "mirror box". It's a really quick technique to master because it repeats a single techniue to great effect.

There's no need to have the lastest version of Photoshop to try this because the whole thing works using the transform funtions found in all versions of photoshop. Best of all, it works brilliantly with any photo with great results.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Make your own world map - tutorial

Ok enough is enough. Because so many of you wanted a copy of the map image I used in last weeks tutorial, I thought I'd upload a copy to the blog. Click the little image to open a bigger one.

Of course having a copy of the image is one thing, but if you really want to learn Photoshop you can't beat making your own map from scratch.


To make the map you're going to need a non standard photoshop custom shape. A search on Google will throw up a fist full of results but here's a direct link to a free and decent example by lukeroberts over at DeviantART.


Click on the texture image and open it in Photoshop.

Make a new empty layer and call it MAP. Set your foreground to black. Use the custom shape tool to drag out a map of the world. Hold shift as you drag to keep the map the right shape. Once done change the blend mode to Soft Light.

Last step. Duplicate the map layer and click Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur. Use a low setting like 4 pixels jsu to blend the map into the texture.

And that's it.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Bonus Video Friday - Two light studio technique.

Long time followers of my videos might recall that sometime back I made a few studio based portrait tutorials. Of late my weekly videos have mostly been about Photoshop and as well as my 15 minute photochallenges (which I really enjoy making). For the record that's not going to change.

But for those of you who are looking for more studio lighting and portrait training videos I have some good news. are throwing open the doors of their warehouse and inviting me to make a load of video tutorials using their gear.

Below is one of the first videos which makes use of the Micansu M180 twin flash kit. It's a basic kit aimed sqaurely at home studio works, but it's also pretty capable of producing some quality results. For the price (around £230) you get a decent amount of kit and the build quality is surprisingly impressive too.

The videos will all be on the smick website but I'll post a few of my favourites here over the coming months.

For more details of the kit and more videos go here.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Folded paper effect in Photoshop - Week 74

Here a really quick and fun technique. Using only the most basic tools like selections and gradients, it's possible to make almost any image look like it's been folded and then unfolded.

If you like this technique and wish to go further, have a look at the work of Corey Barker over at I adapted and simplified some of his ideas to make this tutorial.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Totally RAW DVD - It's finally here!

It's been way to long since my last DVD was launched, so I'm thrilled to announced that Totally RAW is finally here.

Here's a link to the info page

Regualar readers of this blog will know that I'm a passionate advocate of Adobe Camera RAW. Totally RAW is my way of sharing that passion. Below is a two minute clip to give you a tiny flavour of what's on the DVD.

There are 24 videos on the DVD, all recorded in glorious high definition (1280 x 720) and running for the best part of two hours.

If you're new to Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) or current user looking to gain a more in depth understanding of ACR, then you'll love this DVD. I take you through each and every tab and all the major tools, showing exactly what they do and explaining why I use them or avoid them.

Of course photoshop CS4 has several new features compared to Photoshop CS3, the best of which are discusssed in the videos. But CS3 users aren't going to be short changed by the DVD as the vast majority of the features are available in both Photoshop CS3 and CS4.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Custom Clouds Brush

Anyone who owns a copy of my Training DVD Beyond the Basics will know that I really enjoy making my own custom paint brushes.

In fact I believe that the Brush tool has been overlooked by many photographers and its potential power has been underplayed by other Photoshop experts. So in an effort to redress the balance this week’s video shows you a quick and simple way of turning a cloud into a custom brush. It's something I've done many times before as you never know when you need to add a small cloud in your photo.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

How to create amazing photos with water and a bottle - week72

This week I managed to get some time in the studio and if you're a lover of the Strobist style of flash photography I've got a real treat for in store for you.

The thing that really amazed me about the photos produced during the filming of this video was how simple the set up was compared to the quality of the results it produced. It really is as simple as it looks. Of course, there was a very small amount of Photoshop post processing involved, but less then you think. I'll write a blog post about the technique next week, time permitting.

The key bit of kit for this techniue is the PT-04 wireless off camera flash trigger. I picked mine up from ebay for about £20. It's had a lot of use over the past 12 months and has become a "must have" piece of kit in my camera bag.

Regular viewers of my videos will notice a few improvements this week The biggest thing you will notice is the smart white background made possible by video lighting from