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Create a new document and drag in the layers that you would like to use. You can break this apart, recreate, interact with, etc. when you have the original .psd from the iPSDirectory

In this case, I went to Edit: Transform and did some flipping of the layers. I purposely want to have that sun up in the corner as a source of light. Note how it still works as upside down to kind of give the feeling of weightlessness or falling (cool huh?).

Now create a Hue adjustment layer. Colorize it and choose the settings you see here (to get the exact shade of blue).

Since I am going to be doing some blending modes, I sometimes like to have two copies of a layer. Duplicate the layer of the girl..this will give even more different effects with blending modes.

Fill the background layer with black and create a layer mask on the upside down sky layer above. Now use the gradient masking technique with the radial gradient tool to hide pixels on the sky layer to let the black darkness layer show through. The red is once again the rubylith which shows you what kind of masking job you are doing.

You just gotta love these photos from I am very impressed and excited about all of them I’ve chosen and what I can do with them in the future. I feel this image is going to work really well with the final design. As a Photoshop Designer, you should start to “feel” and “envision” what would work when piecing together different elements into a design.

Edit: Scale that bad boy down to a smaller size and place it where you can further blend it into the design...with; you guessed it-layer masking! Note that it is blue because of its location in the layers palette being Under the blue hue adjustment layer (which is a global adjustment to all visible layers beneath it).

Here you can see that I’m using the linear gradient tool with a layer mask to hide the rough, rectangular edges of the layer. You’ll want to come in from each perpendicular angle and swipe to get rid of those harsh “lines” or “edges”. Instantly is has become much more natural. Do note that we are on the layer that we’ve just pulled in. I didn’t hide the layer of her (on top in the layers palette) because I want you to start understanding and seeing the importance of layer order.

Change to Linear Dodge blending mode; this will allow the lighter properties of the layers to blend together.  Please understand the layer that is selected in the layers palette is the sky layer which we are now masking and you can’t see the edge of the image’s lines.

Now I’m just taking things a little further by doing a little light-bleeding. This can easily be done when you have a light layer (or ie. portion of sun, light..) beneath by creating a layer mask. I almost always use the diamond gradient tool on full black as the foreground color. This will help give the illusion of ‘light’ rays shining through. Note the layer which I am doing the light bleeding on in the layers palette. Can you see it on the layer mask icon?

Because both layers of her are on blending modes there will be some transparency, but to get the light bleed itself I want to mask to let the light shine on through, or so to say.  You can see the diamond gradient 'masking' on the rubylith here to cover up areas of the layer.

Above you can see areas where I’ve masked on the bottom layer of her (with hard light mode on). With hard light mode on there will definitely visible and sharp pixels remaining. When you start masking them, you will easily allow anything else beneath to bleed through. Keep in mind that we still have the soft light blending mode on that will retain the shape of the girl from the hard light areas that are masked. 

Layer masking is covered in depth in the Basic Photoshop training program.  It is important to have a solid grasp and working knowledge of layer masking for advanced work.

Here, I’ve just dragged in some more images which are going to be a part of the final design. I am choosing vibrant colors to balance out the otherwise, global midnight blue color theme.

Balance is important when doing something like this. You want the design to work together. As bright and colorful these 3 layers will have their role. Scale them all down to the same size (Edit: Transform: Scale). You can do this by lowering the opacity of a layer and placing it on top of the other one and scaling down until the bars are equal.

Note how you can still see the transform handles even though the leaves layer is below the palms layers (how handy dandy).

You can easily duplicate a layer effect by dragging it to another layer (at the bottom line point in the layers palette as shown). Create a drop shadow on one layer and then drag it down to the other two layers.


Add some text. I am adding a corporate sounding name because you’re fired, i mean...we want to balance the design and bring it back to commercial society in this case without being too artsy fartsy (in this case once again).

Note how the intense color balances out with the midnight blue hue of the rest of the document.

Now you can see that we’ve created a 2 page corporate magazine spread. Let’s take that theme a little bit further and enhance an identity of a fictional company. This is going to be for a faux-travel company. So choose some good looking “travel” photos from your collection (stock photos are great). If you’re short on ideas, look at the pop up ads you keep getting. Palm trees, sunsets, good stuff.. Transform: Scale them down to the same size and put then create a new layer set and drag them all into the folder in the layers palette. Now they are organized and you can do some more transformations to all of them simultaneously (if they are the same size when you drag them in, you could do the folder transform right away and then move them into place but sometimes they are just too darn big anyways).

Remember you can right click when on the move tool and choose layers this way also with the top layer showing up first.

Do the same drop shadow technique to apply it to each of the layers. Because the layers are independent, they need to each have their own “effect” going on, but in the folder you can change opacity and transform, move together as if linked, etc..

Now place each layer in the order as shown. Once again be aware of the layer order. I’ve chosen the order of the layers because they balance well; notice the yellow in the front and back images (which would work reversed too) but I want to keep the golf dude in the middle to balance nature with man and back to nature. We want a serene, escapist mood going on here. The drop shadows add a nice professional touch.  If you want more of real world commercial design then check out my new Madison Avenue Ad Design Secrets.

Now you can get really crazy and Edit: Free Transform: Skew the layer set itself.  The transformation will apply to all of the layers in the set as you can see (press Enter to apply changes).  Pretty simple but very handy dandy. Now we’re getting somewhere!

You can still work on a layer independently and move them around, just select it within the layers palette.

Bring in another layer, scale it down and then skew it. Remember you can just Ctrl/Cmd T and hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key to free distort from any of the handles. Note that this layer, even if it was in the same layer set, does not have the same kind of skew, we are skewing in the opposite direction and working on this layer independently. This is important to understand that you can still go in and work on each layer independently. But lets get this out there on its own in the palette and skew it the other way.

Go ahead and add some more flava to one of the layers with a gradient outer glow. You can choose any color from the default yellow box or you can choose a gradient to have as an outer glow. After you are satisfied with the settings when previewing it, press ok and then drag the layer effect down to the other layers; one at a time.

You want a font that is clearly legible for most corporate design (duh, but true). Save your goofy fonts for another design, shame on you (j/k). But always keep in mind the vision of your design when working with typography you want to scroll through your font collection to find something that “works” with your design that will more effectively help convey the meaning and intentions..summed up in one word: “strategery”.  Now add some 'flighty' text.

Here’s another little trick effect. Just duplicate the layer a couple of times, move each layer at an angle off of the original and lower the opacity. Then put them in a layer set for organization.

Not bad for a matinee.  If you want to get all the Photoshop training (Basic & advanced with design) then check out the Discover Photoshop: Total Package.  It's got 20 hours of 500+ video tutorials and tons of free cool Photoshop design bonuses.


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