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Turning the corner

Turning the corner - Patricia Fenn shows us a fun an easy way to curl the corner of an image.

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Adobe Photoshop

Curling the corner of an image in Photoshop to show another below is easy and fun to do. It’s one of those gimmicks that can help ‘tell a story’ or simply add interest to a portrait, especially if the subject has the name of a flower. You could also peel back a child’s happy face to show a birthday cake, take an image of a tree and curl a bottom corner to reveal a bank of roots, or for the macabre, peel back part of a face to reveal a skull. There are many possibilities only limited by the imagination.

Here's how it's done:

Edit the two images you are going to use, name and save.
1. Open the top image and add a black border: Image>Canvas size. Make sure the little box that shows the canvas colour is black. Add 0.1cm on to the width and height.
2. Click the background/canvas colour (the back square) and a colour picker chart will appear, also your cursor will change into an eyedropper. Decide what colour you would like the back of your curl to be. You can choose from the colour picker chart or click the eye-dropper onto a part of your image - in this case I chose from the lipstick. Now select the corner you are going to curl with the magic wand and erase it to show the canvas colour. Make sure you don't erase the black border. Click>Layer>Duplicate Layer>OK.

3. Now we are ready to curl. Select the rectangular marquee tool (a dotted square on the tool palette, if it’s a circle right click the little black triangle in the corner and click on the square to replace it). Drag the marquee over the corner to be curled to select it and make sure you include the black border. On the top tool bar select: Edit>Transform>Warp. Your selected rectangle will turn into a grid. Place the curser on the corner and drag it to where you want it. Click the tick, or the no-go symbol at the top if you want to try again. When you are happy and have clicked the tick you will be left with an odd shaped selected area with ‘marching ants’ around it.
4. On the top menu bar click Select>Inverse. On the top menu bar click >Layers>Merge Down. Don’t click on the image or your marching ants will disappear. On the tool palette click the background/canvas colour and the colour picker chart will appear again. Choose any bright contrasting colour (I chose royal blue) then erase only the corner that you want to remove. On the menu bar click: Select>Deselect.
5. Use the magic wand and the clone tool (both on the tool palette) to select and clone out any bits of back-of-curl colour that will be on the front of the image.
6. Select the burn tool from the tool palette (it looks like a fist holding a flame, if you don’t see it, it may be under the dodge tool, a black magnifying glass, or a sponge icon. Right click the tiny black triangle to change). On the menu bar click the black triangle next to ‘Brush’ and change the size to 50, and hardness to zero. On the menu bar, ‘Range’, click the drop down menu and select ‘midtones’. On the menu bar, ‘Exposure’ choose around 20. Now swipe the brush down the bend of the curve to give it a shadow, and perhaps the tip of the corner too. If you mess it up, go to the menu bar: Edit>step back (you can step back several times and re-burn until you have it right). Now change the burn tool for the dodge tool on the tool palette and swipe over the curl where you want to give it a little highlight. When you are completely happy with the image click >file>save. On the menu bar click: Select>All, then: Edit, Copy. Close the image and open the image you want to go underneath.
7. On the menu bar click: Edit>Paste. Use the magic wand from the tool palette to select the coloured area you want to remove. Right click on the area and select ‘feather’>1. Erase all of the unwanted corner to show the image below. Sods Law it won’t be the best bit of the bottom image that is exposed, but don’t fret, we can easily sort that out. On the layers palette you will see your top image and your bottom image. Click on the bottom image and the rectangle will go blue to show you are working on that layer. On the menu bar click: Layers>duplicate layer. You will see a second ‘bottom layer’ appear in the layers palette and it will be selected (blue). On the tool palette select the move tool (it’s a cross with an arrow). Now slide the move tool around your image and it will move the middle layer around until you see the bit that you want exposed. When you are happy click: Layers>Flatten image, then: File>Save.
8. If you would like to give the image more depth, you could add a frame with a dropped shadow. Go to the Menu bar>Layers>Duplicate layer. Edit>Canvas Size, change colour to white, black, or whatever you like, add 2cm. to width and height. Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow. Play about with the settings until you have the result you like (you can do this with any text you may wish to add too).
9. Finished! Layers>Merge Layers. File>Save.

Visit Patricia Fenn's website for more details.

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pennyspike 15 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2009 4:57PM
Thanks Patricia, it's a fun effect that I have used in AV but didn't know how to create it for myself.

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