Maddie Stearn

Tutorial: The Simple Way to Create Low Poly Portraits in Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on April 27, 2017 No comments

Low poly portraits have become hugely popular for their minimalistic, edgy, and three-dimensional look. And while you may not recognize the term “low poly,” you’ve probably noticed these geometric portraits popping up everywhere—whether it be in advertising campaigns, illustrations, or even decorative art. Considering the popularity of low poly images, this technique is a great design hack to have under your belt, and it’s surprisingly easy to replicate.

Stock images pair perfectly with this design technique because of their versatility and color variation. Your end product will also look completely different from the original, so you save money but won’t risk running into the same image anywhere else. Our stock image library is also easy to search, so you can quickly find images that are perfectly suited to the low poly technique.

To make the process even easier, we’ve curated a gallery of stock images that work especially well as low poly portraits.

 

Step 1. Open Stock Image in Photoshop & Unlock the Background

 
We used a stock photo of a flamingo for this tutorial, but you can also check out the gallery mentioned above for even more stock images.

Open the image in Photoshop and unlock the background.

step 1 unlock

 

Step 2. Select the Entire Figure

 
Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool and start outlining the subject of your portrait. It’s totally fine if your outline is a little boxy or sharp—this will just add to the geometric effect of the final product.

step 2 outline

Be careful to include as little of the background as possible. Cutting off the edges of your subject a little bit won’t hurt and might make it easier to avoid including any background colors. You can see in the image below that I outlined the flamingo from the inside to avoid including any of the blue water from the background.

 

Step 3. Open in a New Photoshop Document

 
When you finish creating the outline, you will notice a moving dotted line surrounding your subject. This is the selection area. Cut this selection (Command/Ctrl + X) and paste into a new document.*

*If you want to keep the original background, create a new layer and paste your selection onto this new layer. This will prevent any background colors from merging with the subject when you start creating the low poly effect.

low poly

 

Step 4. Make a Triangular Selection

 
Select your subject’s layer (in this case, the flamingo layer). Make sure that the Polygonal Lasso Tool is still selected, and pick an area to draw a triangle. For each of your triangles, you want to select areas that have similar coloring.

Now, draw your triangular selection.

low poly

 

Step 5. Filter the Selection

 
With the triangular area selected (you should see the moving dotted line), select Filter > Blur > Average. This creates an average of all of the colors within your selection area.

Once the selection area is “averaged,” you can draw your next triangle. Make sure that one side of your triangle lines up with one side from the original. This will prevent any gaps between triangles.

Now that you’ve already used the Average command once, you can simply hit Command + control + F (Ctrl + Alt + F on PCs) on your keyboard. This keyboard shortcut repeats whichever filter was last used.

low poly

 

Step 6. Repeat Forever (Not Really)

 
This is the time-consuming part of the tutorial. The low poly technique itself isn’t hard at all, but making all of those triangles does take a chunk of time. Settle in with a good podcast or TV show in the background and the time will quickly fly by.

low poly

 

Tip 1: Filling in the Gaps

 
You might notice gaps between some of your triangles. These are easy to fix—just draw another triangle that covers the gap. (The gaps also might not even be visible once you zoom out to look at the final product.)

low poly

 

Tip 2: Getting the Details

 
Make smaller triangles to capture the more detailed areas of the image. Luckily, you don’t have to use small triangles for the entire portrait. The low poly effect looks best with a wide range of triangle sizes.

low poly

Keep on making those triangles until you’ve covered the entire image.

low poly

 

Now give yourself a huge pat on the back (and maybe take a break from the computer screen). You’ve successfully created a low poly portrait! This is an incredibly useful technique to have in your design arsenal, so congratulate yourself on a job well done.

 

Get Geometric with More Graphics

 

read more
Maddie StearnTutorial: The Simple Way to Create Low Poly Portraits in Photoshop

Tutorial: Create Simple, Stunning Floral Typography with Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on April 6, 2017 No comments

Do you need seasonal, standout creative that leaves a lasting impression? Ad agency bigwigs and book publishers often rely on floral typography when they need bold, organic imagery—but with our straightforward tutorial, you too can add this advertising “secret weapon” to your arsenal.

Floral typography describes the design technique of layering text and floral images to create a multidimensional effect. Yet, the name can be a little misleading since we’re not talking about text made from flowers; the text just lives amongst the flora and fauna. The trend has even expanded beyond florals to include other foliage as well as abstract designs.

Businesses have latched onto the trend, and many spring design campaigns make use of floral typography. The technique varies widely from design to design, so businesses can easily diversify their materials. Small businesses need not cringe in fear; floral typography is pretty simple to replicate, and stock images make the entire process even smoother.

Anyone can master the floral typography trend with a little practice. Armed with this tutorial and stock images, small businesses can easily keep up with the big guns without breaking the bank.

To get started, check out our hand-curated gallery of stock floral images from the GraphicStock library.

 

Step 1. Create New Photoshop Canvas

Create a new canvas in Photoshop and paste your floral image onto the canvas (we used this stock bouquet photo). Resize as needed by clicking Command/Ctrl + T.

(For clarity, we named the layer with the flower image “Floral Layer.”)

floral typography

 

Step 2. Duplicate Layer

 

Right click on the Floral Layer and select Duplicate Layer. In this example, we named the new layer “Floral Layer copy.”

floral typography

 

Step 3. Add Layer Mask

 

Select the new layer and click the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

floral typography

 

Step 4. Invert Layer Mask

 

Select the layer mask (not just the layer) and click Command/Ctrl + i to invert the layer mask. The layer mask icon will turn from white to black.

floral typography

 

Step 5. Draw a Rectangle

 

This step is optional, but framing your text can add a nice touch to the design.

Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a new rectangle. Use the Properties panel to adjust the fill and line colors, as well as the line thickness.

floral typography

 

Step 6. Move Layer and Adjust Opacity

 

Select your rectangle layer in the Layers panel on the right and move the rectangle between the “Floral Layer” and “Floral Layer copy”.

With the rectangle layer still selected, lower the opacity so that you can see both the rectangle and the flowers underneath it.

floral typography

 

Step 7. Paint

 

Make sure that your foreground color is set to white and your background color is set to black. To adjust these colors, simply click on their respective boxes and select the desired color.

Select the layer mask and then click the paintbrush tool. Begin painting over the areas of the rectangle that you want to erase. If you erase too much, simply hit the X on your keyboard and paint over the area you want to correct. Hit the X again to switch back.*

The hardest part is deciding which flowers should cover the rectangle. Try to pick flowers that are in the foreground (as opposed to the fuzzier flowers in the back). This will help add dimension to your design.

(*The X command switches the foreground and background colors. You paint with white to erase and black to correct.)

floral typography

 

Step 8. Add Text

 

It’s actually more efficient to add the text when you create the rectangle, but the order doesn’t really matter. Just make sure that, when you do create the text layer(s), you place them between the “Floral Layer” and “Floral Layer copy” just like we did with the rectangle layer.

Again, adjust the opacity on the text layers so that you can see both the text and the flowers beneath.

floral typography

 

Repeat Step 7

 

Use the paintbrush to erase/repaint pieces of text to make it look like the text and flowers are overlapping. This is a little trickier than the rectangle because you don’t want entirely cover any of the letters. Try to find where the letters overlap with stems and the edges of petals.

floral typography

 

Once you are done painting, your image is complete!

floral typography

 
There you have it! You’ll be a floral typography pro in no time. It just goes to show that with a little practice, and some stock photos, your small business can have a big impact—and while you’re at it, incorporate some Spring sunshine with these stunning floral stock photos.

 

Discover More Floral Images

 

read more
Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Simple, Stunning Floral Typography with Photoshop

Tutorial: Create Photoshop Brushes with Stock Images

by Maddie Stearn on March 5, 2017 1 comment

“If I can’t paint with real brushes, why should I paint with Photoshop brushes?”

The idea of painting in Photoshop can be daunting, especially if you gave up on watercolors in elementary school. But here’s a secret that your 5th grade art teacher never told you: Photoshop will help you fake it ‘til you make it. While this is probably not a great lesson to teach 5th graders, as adults sometimes we need to figure out how to work within our limitations.

Watercolors are popular graphic design trend, but in real life they’re messy and difficult to master. Budding graphic designers shouldn’t be discouraged; with stock images, you can create custom Photoshop brushes that will make it look like you know how to paint.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to quickly make several watercolor brushes in Photoshop using stock images and vectors. You can even use these same steps to make any custom brush.

 

Step 1. Pick Your Watercolors

 
You should have your watercolors ready before you begin the tutorial, so here are some stock watercolor images from the GraphicStock library to get you started.

 

Step 2. Convert Your Images to Black & White

 
Open your images in Photoshop, then add a black and white adjustment layer. You can also add a brightness/contrast adjustment layer to vary the depth of color. You should also make sure that the background is as white as possible.

We recommend adjusting the image size so that your bush doesn’t start out too large (but you can always play around with the brush size later). To adjust the image size, go to Image > Image Size.

photoshop

 

Step 3. Create the Brush

 
With the brush tool selected, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. Name your brush, then click OK. Repeat this step for all of your watercolor images.

photoshop

 

Step 4. Test Your New Brushes!

 
Open a new Photoshop document and select the paint tool. Open the Brush Presets browser (go to Window > Brush Presets) and select any of your watercolor brushes. Adjust the brush size using the slider or using the bracket keys on your keyboard.

Finally, click once on the canvas. You do not want to click and drag because that will just create a large blob.

Now start experimenting! Switch among your new watercolor brushes while adjusting the color and size. In the next step, we’ll show you how to adjust the angle of the brushes to prevent the image from looking too patterned.

photoshop

 

Step 5. Adjust the Brush Angle

 
To simply flip your watercolor horizontally or vertically, go to the Brush Presets tab and check the Flip X and Flip Y boxes, respectively. You can also adjust the brush angle in this tab.

photoshop

If you want to add some more variation to the size and position of your brush, click on the Shape Dynamics tab on the left. Experiment with the sliders and start clicking on your canvas. If you adjust the Size Jitter, for example, the size of your brush will change every time you click on the canvas.

photoshop

When you’re done, you’ll have a custom watercolor painting! Pat yourself on the back and relish not having to clean up any paint.

Using these same steps, you can easily create any custom Photoshop brush. Or check out our hand-picked gallery of stock watercolor images to find more inspiration for your next Photoshop brush.

 

Brush Up with Stock Images

 

read more
Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Photoshop Brushes with Stock Images

30 Vectors for Labeling Everything—Market Your Product Like a Pro

by Maddie Stearn on February 11, 2017 1 comment

Everything has a label—and small business owners understand this particularly well. From the product itself to social media campaigns, labels are everywhere. Labels also help combat brand fatigue by spicing up marketing materials. When your business has a sale for every major event in the year, labels are a godsend.

The takeaway? Your labels need to be certified fresh.

Stock vector labels are enormously useful for creating a wide variety of product labels. Not to rip off Portlandia, but name an object and we’ll say, “Put a (stock) label on it!” The possibilities are endless.

The GraphicStock library has thousands of labels that are also vectors, so they’re completely customizable. In our image above, we put our own spin on a label from a customizable template pack. You can find that label and more in our hand-picked gallery of 30 popular stock vector labels.

 

1.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

2.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

3.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

4.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

5.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

6.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

7.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

8.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

9.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

10.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

11.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

12.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

13.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

14.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

15.

stock vector labels
Download this stock label.

 

 
Feeling inspired? Make sure to visit our royalty-free vectors library to see all 30 vector labels.

 

Download All 30 Labels

 

read more
Maddie Stearn30 Vectors for Labeling Everything—Market Your Product Like a Pro

The Top 20 Invitation Templates for Smart Party Planning

by Maddie Stearn on January 27, 2017 No comments

Planning a wedding can be intense. Scratch that—planning any event can make even the coolest cucumber go mad. You might think that weddings take the cake in the stress department, but plenty of work goes into planning work events, baby showers, birthday parties—and basically every other kind of party. But don’t let that get you overwhelmed. While sending out invitations for an event is often the first stop on a planning checklist, it doesn’t have to be complicated. When it seems like you have thousands of tasks to complete, stock invitation templates can help you stay time-efficient, trendy, and sane. They’re a quick, cost effective option that will save time and money on your event. So, now you can focus on ordering cheese puffs and deciding who sits next to grandma instead.

To make things even easier, we’ve compiled our top 20 best invitation templates for parties, weddings, baby showers, and birthdays. Just pick a template, print it with your event details, and head to the mailbox.

 

Party Invitations

 

1.invitation templates

Download this stock party invitation.

 

2.invitation templates

Download this stock party invitation.

 

3.invitation templates

Download this stock party invitation.

 

4.invitation templates

Download this stock party invitation.

 

5.invitation templates

Download this stock party invitation.

 

Wedding Invitations

 

6.invitation templates

Download this stock wedding invitation.

 

7.invitation templates

Download this stock wedding invitation.

 

8.

invitation templates

Download this stock wedding invitation.

 

9.invitation templates

Download this stock wedding invitation.

 

10.invitation templates

Download this stock wedding invitation.

 

Baby Shower Invitations

 

11.invitation templates

Download this stock baby shower invitation.

 

12.invitation templates

Download this stock baby shower invitation.

 

13.invitation templates

Download this stock baby shower invitation.

 

14.invitation templates

Download this stock baby shower invitation.

 

15.invitation templates

Download this stock baby shower invitation.

 

Birthday Invitations

 

16.invitation templates

Download this stock birthday invitation.

 

17.invitation templates

Download this stock birthday invitation.

 

18.invitation templates

Download this stock birthday invitation.

 

19.invitation templates

Download this stock birthday invitation.

 

20.invitation templates

Download this stock birthday invitation.

 

Party On

 

read more
Maddie StearnThe Top 20 Invitation Templates for Smart Party Planning

Tutorial: Create Custom Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

by Maddie Stearn on January 3, 2017 No comments

Let’s talk patterns—sometimes it’s good to repeat yourself. From paisley medallions to bricklay to interlocking geometrics, there’s no end to repeating designs to choose from when looking for the right background or texture. And there are certainly plenty of stock seamless patterns out there—but what if you have a specific design in mind? In those cases, it’s helpful to know how to create your own custom seamless patterns.

Adobe Illustrator’s pattern tool makes creating seamless patterns incredibly easy–so easy, in fact, that the hardest part is deciding what to put in your design. Luckily, our library of stock vectors can help with that part of the process. We’ve even curated a gallery of vectors to help spark some creative inspiration.

To get started, pick a shape or design that you want to use in your pattern. It’s also easy to pick and choose elements from existing patterns or preset design elements. For this tutorial, we used these stock owl vectors and stock animal vectors.

0-patterns

Step 1. Open the Files in Illustrator

Open all of the files that you’ll be using to make your custom design.

1-open-files-compressor

Step 2. Select Objects

Use the group selection tool to select the first object for your design. If you select more objects than you intended, just Shift+Click on the elements that you don’t want to include in your final design.

Once selected, copy the element and open a new file (of any size) in Illustrator. Paste the element into the new file. Continue to copy all of your desired elements and paste them into the same Illustrator file.

2-select-elements-1-compressor

3-select-elements-2-compressor

Step 3. Create a Custom Design

Experiment with the placement and colors of the objects until you’re satisfied (this is the difficult part).

Here is the design that we created and the hexadecimal codes for each color:

4-colors-2

Step 4. Add a Background (optional)

If you’d like to add a background, draw a rectangle that covers the entire canvas. Expand the Layers tab and find the rectangle layer. Double click on the empty space just to the right of the eye icon. A lock icon should now appear in that space. Locking the rectangle layer will ensure that you will be able to select your design elements without the rectangle getting in the way.

5-lock-rectangle-2-compressor

Step 5. Use the Pattern Tool

Select your entire design and click Object > Pattern > Make. Click “OK” on the box that pops up.

6-make-compressor

7-ok-compressor

Step 6. Experiment with Placement and Spacing

The pattern tool has some great functions, so we recommend that you do some experimenting. In the images below, we highlight some quick and easy changes you can make to your pattern to achieve the desired placement and spacing.

Tile Type
This function allows you to change the alignment of each “brick” in your pattern, In this case, we decided that we liked the “Brick by Row” option best for our owl pattern.

8-1-tile-type-compressor

Brick Offset
This function is only available for the Brick by Row and Brick by Column tile types. The Brick Offset button determines the location on the canvas where each row of the pattern starts. Click through the different options to get a feel for how this tool works.

8-2brick-offset-compressor

Width and Height
This option allows you to change the width and height of the spaces between each brick in your pattern.

8-3-width-height-compressor

Copies
This function allows you to see what your pattern would look like with different dimensions. Each option measures your pattern by bricks, so for our current example, the 7×7 option will show 7 owls x 7 owls.

8-4-copies-compressor

Dim
The “Dim” option has no effect on your final pattern, but you might find it useful as you experiment with the size and spacing of the bricks. The lower the percentage, the dimmer the rest of the pattern becomes while the highlighted brick retains its original luminosity.

8-5-dim-compressor

Step 7. Click “Done”

Once you are happy with the spacing and placement of your pattern, click “Done.”

9-done-compressor

Step 8. Put Your Pattern to Use and Start Creating!

This is where we get to test out our custom pattern. Select the rectangle tool, then select the last swatch under “Swatches.” This swatch is the new pattern that we’ve just made.

Once the swatch is selected, simply draw a rectangle. If you adjust the size of your rectangle, the pattern will automatically fill the entire area.

10-rectangle

But how can we tell that this is a seamless pattern? Simply copy and paste the rectangle you just made. Align the rectangles and you’ll see that the pattern lines up seamlessly!

11-copy-paste

There you have it—your pattern is complete!

12-final

Now you can let your creativity run wild and create your own seamless patterns. There’s no need to feel limited by existing designs—just pick and choose what you like to create something completely new. To get you started, you can check out our hand-picked gallery of stock vectors, all royalty-free with unlimited downloads when you’re a GraphicStock member.

 

Go Seamless with Stock

 

read more
Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Custom Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

50 Best Photoshop Tutorials of 2016 — The Year’s Top Graphic Design Tips and Tricks

by Maddie Stearn on December 28, 2016 No comments

2016 has been on point in the world of Photoshop tutorials. With dozens of new and unique tips and tricks for Adobe’s most popular design program, Photoshop has only gotten better with age. From trendy effects like double exposure and text portraits to evergreen favorites like added grunge textures, there’s always more to learn. Even better, it’s never too late to start since there are always new and updated tutorials to help you along the way.

We’ve curated our 50 favorite Photoshop tutorials from 2016 for designers of all skill levels. Stock photos and graphics are also a great resource for testing these tutorials—check out our library to help you get started.

Tutorial Categories

Beginners
Text
Illustrations
Vintage
Small Businesses
Special FX & Fantasy

 

Beginners

It’s never too late to learn Photoshop, especially since every year brings a wealth of new tutorials. Whether you’re learning for the first time or looking for a refresher, these are some of the best beginner-level Photoshop tutorials from 2016.
1. How to Add Textures in Photoshop

1-compressor-copy
2. This Game Will Help You Conquer Your Fear of the Adobe Pen Tool

2
3. How to Change Colors in Photoshop

3
4. How to Add Bokeh Overlays in Photoshop

happy childredn outdoor
5. How to Create a Dazzling Holiday Card with Your Annual Family Photo

Holiday Card Photoshop Tutorial
6. How to Easily and Accurately Select Image Areas

6-alt
7. How to Use the Lasso Tool in Photoshop


8. Create Animated GIFs in Photoshop


9. Color Luminosity and How to Change It


10. The Channel Mixer Adjustment and Creative Coloring


11. Photoshop Tip: What to Do If Your JPEG Image Won’t Open


12. How To Use The Content Aware Crop In Photoshop

 

Text

Fonts and lettering have surged in popularity in recent years, so it’s no surprise that 2016 really pushed text to the limit.
13. How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop 

Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
14. Hand Lettering Tutorial for Beginners


15. Create a Realistic Fire Text Effect in Photoshop

14-alt
16. Create a Long Shadow Text Effect in Photoshop Using Layer Styles

15
17. Create a Multi-Stroke Text Effect Using Photoshop’s New Layer Style Functionality

16-compressor
18. Banksy Style Stencil Graffiti Effect in Photoshop

 

Illustrations

Illustrations can be one of the most important and versatile assets for a design project. Luckily, 2016 provided us with plenty of Photoshop tutorials to keep our illustration skills sharp (regardless of drawing ability).
19. How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop

How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop
20. How to Create a Realistic Pencil Sketch Effect in Photoshop

20
21. Photoshop Tutorial: Low Poly Portrait


22. How to Create a Blueprint Effect in Adobe Photoshop


23. How to Create an Abstract Polyscape in Adobe Photoshop

23-compressor
24. Create Digital Collages Without Using Filters

24-compressor-copy
25. Using Patterns in Digital Art

 

Vintage

No matter how close we are to a robot-controlled world, we hope that vintage design will always have its appeal. At the very least, vintage Photoshop tutorials were still hugely popular in 2016, so we’ve collected a few of our favorites.
26. Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

Vintage Grunge Effect Photoshop
27. How to Create a Distorted VHS Effect in Photoshop

27-compressor-copy
28. Re-Color a Black-and-White Photo

28-final
29. Creating a Film Noir “Light Coming Through the Blinds” Look in Photoshop

 

Small Businesses

Knowledge of Photoshop can make a significant difference for small business owners, and these tutorials from 2016 will help you stay ahead of the game. We also recommend checking out these stock photos for social media images, stock vectors for creating logos, and stock graphics for website optimization.
30. The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Image Sizing

Facebook Image Sizing
31. How to Make Social Media Banners in Photoshop

Make Social Media Banners in Photoshop
32. Learn How to Design a Profile UI in Adobe Photoshop


33. How To Create a Watermark

33-compressor-copy
34. How to Create a T-shirt Mockup

 

Special Effects & Fantasy

These tutorials give us a glimpse at Photoshop’s incredible power, supernatural or otherwise. From fireworks and surreal photo composites to mesmerizing smoke and shattered glass effects, these tutorials will take your projects to an unreal level.

 

Special FX:

35. 7 Easy Steps for Adding Fireworks Using Photo Composites

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial 7 Easy Steps for Adding Fireworks Using Photo Composites
36. Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add Light Beams to Images

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial How to Add Light Beams to Images
37. Create a Shattered Glass Portrait

37-compressor-copy
38. Cutout Paper Style in Photoshop CC


39. Smoke Effect


40. How to Photoshop a Tattoo on Someone

40-alt
41. Dispersion Effect: Photoshop Tutorial


42. Photoshop Tutorial | Fire Portrait Manipulation


43. Create Sun Rays in Photoshop


44. Glass Window Reflection Effect in Photoshop


45. How to Create Realistic Jedi Levitation Portraits

 

Fantasy:

46. Create a Fantasy Seascape with Stock Photo Composites

Photoshop Tutorial Create Fantasy Seascape Stock Photo Composites
47. How to Create a Game of Thrones-Inspired Crest in Photoshop

How to Create a Game of Thrones inspired Crest in Photoshop
48. How to Create Double Exposure Effects in Photoshop

48
49. Create a Lightbulb Composition

49-compressor-copy
50. How To Create a Surreal Hollow Face Portrait in Photoshop

50

 

With all of these awesome tutorials, it’s hard not to feel inspired. Get your creativity flowing and take these how-tos for a test drive using royalty-free stock photos from our library—all with unlimited downloads for our members.

 

Discover Creative Stock Photos

 

read more
Maddie Stearn50 Best Photoshop Tutorials of 2016 — The Year’s Top Graphic Design Tips and Tricks

25 Stock Winter Landscapes: The Snowy Nature Photos We Can’t Get Enough Of

by Maddie Stearn on December 13, 2016 No comments

As the weather gets chillier, we’re embracing one of our favorite parts of winter: beautiful, snowy stock photos. Luckily, we can enjoy the scenery from the warmth of the indoors (all while wearing our delightfully ugly holiday sweaters). We invite you to take a look at some of our most popular wintry landscapes, selected from our highest rated and most downloaded images. Go ahead, sip your hot beverage of choice and explore this hand-curated gallery.

 

25.

24-small

 

24.

24-small

 

23.

23-final

 

22.

22-final

 

21.

21

 

20.

20

 

19.

19

 

18.

18

 

17.

17

 

16.

16

 

15.

15

 

14.

14

 

13.

13

 

12.

12

 

11.

11

 

10.

10

 

9.

9

 

8.

8

 

7.

7

 

6.

6

 

5.

5

 

4.

4

 

3.

3

 

2.

2

 

1.

1

 

To complete your project, check out our galleries of royalty-free stock photos and more stock winter landscapes. You can download all of these photos and more as part of your GraphicStock subscription. Once you’re done, go ahead and share your completed work with us in the comments!

 

Explore a Winter Wonderland

 

read more
Maddie Stearn25 Stock Winter Landscapes: The Snowy Nature Photos We Can’t Get Enough Of

Tutorial: Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on November 16, 2016 No comments

Grunge textures are one of the most popular search terms in our GraphicStock library–and for good reason! Textures are an invaluable resource to graphic designers and photographers alike. Grunge textures, in particular, can send a picture back in time, creating a dramatic, vintage effect. That’s why we’ve created this simple tutorial to show you how to quickly add grunge-styled textures using stock vectors and photos.

Whether it’s for home decor or website illustrations, the grunge effect is one of the most versatile graphic design techniques. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to add a grunge texture to an image in five easy steps. And if you’re anxious to learn more, you can also check out our tutorial on adding background textures in Photoshop.

 

Step 1. Choose an Image

You’ll want to pick an image that looks convincingly vintage when you add the grunge effect. To get you started, we put together a gallery of stock photos that would work well with this tutorial. You can also download the image we used here.

Once you’ve selected your image, go ahead and open it in Photoshop.

1

 

Step 2. Add the Grunge Texture

Select a grunge texture. To make things easy, we curated a gallery stock grunge textures from the GraphicStock library.

Drag the grunge texture file onto your Photoshop workspace. Adjust the size of the texture as needed by dragging the corners of the image.

2

 

Step 3. Choose a Blending Mode

Select a blending mode from the drop-down menu under the “Layers” panel on the right. You can experiment with blending modes until you find one that fits your project. We selected “Hard Light” for this tutorial.

3

 

Step 4. Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer

Under the “Adjustments” panel, click the “Black and White” icon. You can also go to the menu bar and select Image > Adjustments > Black & White.

4

 

Step 5. Adjust the Opacity on the Grunge Texture Layer

Select your grunge texture layer, click “Opacity,” and adjust the slider until you achieve the desired effect.

5

 

Pro-tip: Remove Unwanted Marks from the Image

If you find that the texture is just a little too grungy, you can always make more adjustments to the image. For our picture, we wanted to get rid of a few of the marks that were obscuring the girl’s face.

Select the texture layer, then go the menu bar and select Layer > Rasterize > Smart Object.

6

Once you have rasterized the texture layer, click on the “Healing Brush” icon on the left (it looks like a Band-Aid).

Before you can fix the image, you need to select a “source point.” The source point is a location on the image that you want to use to repair a damaged area. To select a source point, just Option+Click on a clean area near the damaged area. We selected a part of the girl’s cheek without any grunge marks as our source point.

Once you have selected your source point, just click and drag your mouse over the area that you want to repair. You can experiment with the length of your strokes to see what technique works best for your image.

7

 
Voila, your image is complete!

Children at the beach

 
Now go forth and create faux-vintage photos!

Check out our galleries of royalty-free stock photos and stock grunge textures to find some inspiration. You can download all of these photos, textures, and more as part of your GraphicStock subscription. Once your project is complete, share it with us in the comments, or upload it to Instagram and tag @graphicstock_.

 

Unlock More Grunge Graphics

 

read more
Maddie StearnTutorial: Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on April 14, 2016 1 comment

Black and white illustrations sometimes get passed over because they lack the vibrancy of colored-in graphics, but that can easily be changed. This tutorial will show you how to color in any illustration with the palette of your choice. Being able to drastically change illustrations will give you more flexibility with your designs, even allowing you to repurpose illustrations simply by changing the colors.

Step One: Open the file in Photoshop 

For this tutorial, we’ll be using an elephant illustration from the GraphicStock library. Start by downloading the JPG version of the image, then open it in Photoshop.

1

Step Two: Unlock the background and add a new layer

Create a new layer. This layer will need to go underneath the elephant illustration, but to do that we first need to unlock the background. Click on the lock icon on the background layer (the layer will become “Layer 0” after you’ve done this), then drag “Layer 1” under “Layer 0.”

3

Step Three: Fill in the gaps

If there are any gaps in the outline of your illustration, make sure to fill them in using the paintbrush tool. Our elephant illustration has one small break in the outline of the left ear, so we just need to connect the two points. Make sure the elephant layer is selected when you start painting.

2

Step Four: Set the blending mode

With the Layer 0 (the elephant) selected, click on the blending mode button and select “Multiply.”

4

5

Step Five: Select the background

Select the magic wand tool and click on an area of the image outside of the elephant (this is where it is important that the outline of your illustration not have any gaps). A moving dotted line will appear around the area that you selected. If the dotted line does not go around the entire elephant, Ctrl+click (or Command+click on Macs) on a different part of the background and click “Add To Selection.” Repeat this until all areas around the outline of the elephant are selected.

6-min

Step Six: Group the layers and add a Layer Mask

Select Layer 0 and Layer 1 (you can do this by clicking on Layer 0, then Ctrl/Command+click on Layer 1). Click Ctrl+G (Command+G) to create a new group from the two layers. With the area around your illustration still selected (we did this in Step Five), click on “Group 1” and then click “Add layer mask.”

7

Step Seven: Invert the layer mask

After you create the layer mask, you’ll need to click Ctrl+i (Command+i) to invert the layer mask. This will allow you easily to paint inside the lines of your illustration. Once you’ve inverted your layer mask, your illustration should look like the image below.

9

Step Eight: Color in your illustration

With “Layer 1” selected, pick a color, click on the paintbrush tool, and start coloring! Because of the layer mask we created in Step Seven, you can only color inside the elephant. This makes adding color to an image a lot easier because you don’t have to worry about staying “inside the lines.”

For this tutorial, we colored the entire elephant in a light gray, made the tusks white, then selected a darker gray to add some shadows and depth to the illustration.

10-min

You could stop here and you’d have a great elephant illustration that you can add to any graphic. However, if you’d like to add a background to your image, read on for some bonus steps.

Bonus: Add a background

Create a new layer (make sure that it is outside of Group 1). Drag the layer below Group 1 and pick a color for your background. With your new layer selected, click Alt+delete (Option+delete on Macs) and the entire background of the illustration will be filled in with the color of your choice.

12
13-min

Before & After

last image-min

That’s it! You’ve successfully colored in an illustration in Photoshop. You can now use this same tutorial with other stock black and white illustrations from the GraphicStock library.

Get Started with B&W Illustrations

 
read more

Maddie StearnHow to Color Illustrations in Photoshop