Easy Photoshop Tutorial
Isn’t it a right pain in the neck trying to find an easy Photoshop tutorial? You might just want to slap an effect onto a photo or a piece of artwork…simple, right? It should be, but doing so often involves twenty-seven pages worth of steps, the application of a peculiar arrangement of filters, and craploads of software jargon being flung around like fists and clothes on the set of Jerry Springer. Sometimes, you just want a Photoshop quickie – in and out, have a cigarette, and get on with the day. And here, readers, is a Photoshop tutorial that’s short, sweet, and offers a pretty cool result if you’ve got just a little time to spare. It’s called the dream effect.
- Get the picture. Do we really need to tell you this? This dreamy digital essence is typically used for photographs, but if you want to try it on some artwork, then go for it. First things first, though…get the desired image open in Photoshop.
- Adjust colors. Odds are the photo will need a little tweaking, so this is where you lighten and brighten – so it’ll be kind of like using an anti-tanning bed. Go to Levels (Ctrl+L) and drag the sliders around to achieve the desired lightness and shadows. Similarly, you need to fix the saturation, so hit Ctrl+U if the image is in CMYK format or Ctrl+M for Curves if in RGB mode. To change the image mode, go to the menu at the top of the screen, and choose Image > Mode, which is where you will find RGB and CMYK, among others. Anyway, play with the Brightness and/or the Curves until you’ve got the look you want.
- Cloning. Make a duplicate of that layer simply by right-clicking and choosing the “Duplicate layer” option. Or, click and hold the ‘Background’ layer and drag it down to the icon at the bottom of the panel that looks like a sheet of paper. Isn’t it interesting that for every one action in Photoshop, there’s usually two or three different ways to complete that action? Either way, the layer you’ll want to work with for the rest of the tutorial will be ‘Background copy,’ unless you change the layer names.
- Remove all color. On that duplicate layer, hit Shift+Ctrl+U to desaturate the layer ‘Background copy.’ This just means you’re removing all saturated color from that layer without turning the entire file to grayscale mode.
- If you were nearsighted. Go up to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur ‘Background copy’ as much as you like. Usually between two and ten pixels looks best, but it depends on how dramatic of an effect you want. So sit and play with this for a bit to find a stage of distortion you like. Hit Ctrl+F to repeat this same filter if the blur isn’t intense enough.
- Change the blending mode. On the Layers panel and still on the layer ‘Background copy,’ change the blending mode by clicking on the little tab that says “Normal.” Choose the option “Screen” or “Overlay.” Also, lower the opacity a bit—maybe to around 60 percent.
And there you have it! This Photoshop tutorial is pretty easy, particularly if you know your shortcuts. We advise keeping your fingers on Ctrl+Z the entire time too—odds are you may want to undo this or that along the way because making mistakes is part of the creative process. But none of this is exactly set in stone, so by all means, experiment with blurring, blending modes, opacities, more layers and colors. As a little aside, if you want to make a picture the same color, hit Ctrl+U to access the Brightness panel and check the box that says “Colorize.” Drag the sliders around to make further changes. When it comes to Photoshop, there are hardly any limits to be had besides your own ingenuity…or just pushing buttons and making it look like you know what you’re doing.
As a final note, this Photoshoptutorial was written with the help of Adobe Photoshop CS3 and on a Windows OS.