Words and Pictures Barry Beckham/David Rowley
This is not a unique idea, but it can be a lot of fun and will have your friends guessing how you did it. Before you start creating the jigsaw effect there are just a couple of adjustments that you can make to the picture to improve it.
Click here to download the full resolution image before you begin (576KB)
1. Call up the original file and and make make freehand selection of the sky. You don't have to be really fussy with this selection, but make sure you go around the tree as we have shown. We have just added the red colour to our selection so that you can see it better at this Internet size. Your selection will look like the familiar marching ants.
2. Call up your feather command Ctrl Alt D and add a feather radius of 25 as shown below. This will ensure that the changes you make to the sky will blend into the picture.
When you make a selection the dotted line that we refer to as marching ants shows you the boundary of your selection and sometimes it can be a bit of a nuisance. By hitting the H key while holding down the Ctrl key you can hide your selection while keeping it active. Hit the same keys again to reveal the selection.
Be a little careful as you may forget that you have a selection made when you can't see it and result of that is that other tools may not appear to work. Ctrl D removes a selection.
3. Call up your levels palette (shortcut Ctrl L) and move the centre slider to the right until the sky is nicely darkened.
Your image should look like the one below.
4. You can get away with adding a little more colour saturation to this image so call up your hue and saturation palette via Ctrl U.
Add about 30 to the saturation to give the colours a bit more sparkle.
5. You can now apply your jigsaw effect by calling up filter > texture > texturizer and then load texture from the drop down menu as shown below.
Your texture filters are found within your Photoshop files so follow this path to see what others you have. C:\program files\adobe\photoshop\goodies. If you do not find them just look for a textures folder. To make sure that you can complete this tutorial we have included the texture file that you need. Once you have downloaded it and it is safely stored on your hard drive you can locate it as we have shown above in the texturizer palette.
Choose the settings shown above although the amount of relief is a personal choice that you may want to experiment with. Your texture will be applied to your image as shown below, but it will be more prominent that our small example shows.
6. Call your layers palette onto your screen and double click the Background thumbnail and rename it. The name isn't important, but this step changed the background into a layer ready for the next stage.
7. With your image greatly enlarged use the freehand selection tool to carefully select one or two pieces of the jigsaw. An alternative would be to make a path using the pen tool. When you have made your selection feather the edge by 1 pixel and then hit Ctrl X to cut out the pieces and Ctrl V to copy them to a new layer. It is best to do them separately so that each jigsaw piece is on it's own layer as we show below.
8. Using your edit > transform > rotate tool turn your pieces to give them a more random appearance and then select your airbrush and black as your foreground colour. Set your airbrush pressure setting between 1 and 2 and select one layer with a jigsaw piece on it. Tick the Lock box at the top of the layers palette and enlarge the jigsaw piece using your magnifying tool. The Lock restricts your spray to just the jigsaw piece, so gently add a little shading around the edge of each piece as we demonstrate below.
This little process does add body to the pieces and gives them depth.
9. You now need to add a drop shadow to each piece. Call up your drop shadow options by clicking the icon at the bottom of the layers palette as we have shown below.
We found that the default setting was just about right and produced a delicate shadow that added nicely to the shading of the pieces.
10. Select your main image and add the same drop shadow options. This will give the spaces some depth and finish your image. Flatten the layers together when you are certain you are happy with your work, but it is a good idea to save it as a layers PSD file too.
The flatten command can be found from the layers menu and will add a white background the the spaces in your main image, which is just about right.