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The Polaroid Effect Simple, clean way to spice up an ordinary image Rate Topic: -----

#1 capty99  Icon User is offline

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Post icon  Posted 05 February 2008 - 01:07 AM

This is a very basic tutorial for just a good way to spice up images. Something to throw into your backpocket if ever your stuck in a situation where you need to do something to an image that is subdued and maintains the integrity of the picture but still adds a little something extra.

If you are new to photoshop I have cut these steps down pretty basic, if you are more used to it I forewarn you its a simple tutorial, you can scroll through it pretty quickly to get the gist of it.

First things first, lets grab a couple of essentials.

1. Obviously the photo you want to mess with.
(Tony Romo is my test candidate)
2. Grunge Brushes (not a big deal, just something dirty)
one good resource :
the urban dirty collection

Firstly, the size of your new image is just gonna depend on how big your original photo is.
If you are following exactly I have a 600×600 image.

On a new layer paste the photo and then we are just going to crop it down
either to a square, or something close to it. It doesn’t have to be exact but
you don’t want a very long or tall rectangle because it won’t look like a polaroid.

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Create a new layer directly below your photo and grab your marquee tool,
selecting a square around your photos edge. If you see in my picture I extend
the bottom down, again this is just based on what you think looks right, no mathematics involved.

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Before you fill it with white and while you still have your marquee selected
go to select > modify > smooth and do a small number like 3 pixels. Then
fill with a white. Notice I have a bluish background only so I can see the image
pop off the page for these steps.

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Next, make a layer on top of everything else and this will be our first ’scotch-tape’ layer.
Draw a rectangle and fill with white. There are two ways you can rough up the edge.
One is just to grab your freehand marquee tool and draw in some rough sides to your tape.
The other is to press the ‘add vector mask’ button in your layers panel. You should see
a mostly black box show up next to your tape layer. Select that box.
Then go to filters > distort > ripple and click OK. You will see the edges corrupt a little bit on the white tape.

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The white of the tape is actually not a big part of the tape, its just mostly an outline,
and will eventually come to look like there is a little bit of light reflecting off what is a
transparent surface like real scotch-tape. So, lower the opacity of your tape layer to 10-20%
Then open a new layer on top of it. Pull out your grunge brushes and just layer
them on in black. For my example I made 4 different layers, each used a different
brush and a real low opacity on each one. Anywhere from 6 - 42%.

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In my example I have a ton of excess black beyond the borders of the tape so to
remedy that I click on my mask layer (the black one on top of the scotch tape) and
drag it to the trash can. It prompts you if you would like to apply this mask before deleting.
Click Yes.

Then take your control button CTRL + click on the tape layer, and you have a marquee
of your tape. Then press CTRL + SHIFT + I (which is an invert selection command) and
click on each one of your grunge layers, and delete the excesses.

I threw all my layers having to do with the tape into a group so I could play with them as
one, upped the opacity on my white layer to 35% and applied a basic drop shadow. Right
click on the white tape layer > blending options > check the drop shadow button. I used
the default values for this so its easy.

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Then just rotate your tape and throw it over a corner and your done with that piece.
Very simple after you do it once. For the sake of simplicity I am just going copy the
group and make 3 more pieces. Go to edit > free transform with the group selected
to rotate it, and then just squeeze it a little bit horizontally or vertically to give it a little
bit different shape from the other pieces

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Final touches include adding another dropshadow to the white ‘film’ behind tony’s picture.
I set the drop shadow to 40%, 3 pixel distanse and a size of 6. Everything else remained the same.

Really this works on any surface, for my background I used our very own Fygar’s Wood Preset found here :

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One thing to note: I overdid the black-ness of the tape slightly to exagerate the effect,
it would be more realistic to shave the opacity on that a little bit.

If you would like the PSD please e-mail me by accessing my profile. Thank you.

The image of Tony Romo is taken from and cannot be used without their permission.

This tutorial also viewable on : Nice, Clean Polaroid Effect

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Replies To: The Polaroid Effect

#2 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 12:19 PM

I liked this one, but arent Poloroid photos supposed to have square edges not rounded ones.
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#3 capty99  Icon User is offline

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 01:14 PM

yeah when you buy a pack you normally get straight square edges.

2 reasons I round them :

a) its like a sheet of paper they don't say straight very long due to wear.
thats why i keep it a low curve, 3 px doesn't do much.

B) a square in a graphic shows up as really 'square-ish' Surprise? what i mean by that is the edges look too perfect to be real. I didn't go for hyper-realism but I like it better this way.

(normally I also do some photo aging effects to the whole thing, fade the white a lil, add some fold marks etc.... to get a more real effect)

thanks for the comment , 'preciate it.
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