by April 5, 2004 0 comments

We continue our series on special effects in Photoshop. After having talked about the water drops and text effects in our previous issues, this month we will talk about the page curl effect. This technique can help those interested in making greeting cards, decorative boxes, notebooks, etc and is quite popular on the Web as well as print. 

Fig 0 below shows an image on which the technique has been applied. But, what we see looks more like a page fold than a page curl. It seems as if someone had folded the page and it curled back in protest. 

Applies to Graphics professionals
Usp Create realistic page curl effects

We will see how to create realistic page curls, such as those created by industry standard filters such as ‘KPT 3’ or ‘AVBros Page Curl’ filters. We will also tell you how to insert an image inside the curled portion after you have created it, so that it looks as if you have curled a page with images on both sides. If this does not make sense to you now, it will by the end. Let’s begin.

The page curl effect generally used
Fig. 0

Open the image you want to curl. In our case, we opened the Flower.psd file from the samples folder (Photoshop 7). First, you need to save a flattened version of the file. For that, choose Layer> Flatten Image. Press Ctrl + Shift + S. Save in a convenient location with a suitable name as a .psd file.

Create a new layer and rename it as ‘Curl’. Switch to the Pen tool (P) and make a path as shown. (Note that it will not be as thick as shown. We applied the Stroke command to the path for clarity.) A quick and easy way to make the path is to create a slanted triangle. Choose the Add Anchor Point tool, and click on the middle of the slanted triangle and drag inwards. 

You have to be sure of one thing at this point–the bottom most edge of the path should not touch the bottom of the image (Flower.psd file). (Fig 1)

The bottom most edge of the path must not touch the bottom of the image
Fig. 1

We need to create a gradient while making the page curl effect. So, click ‘G’ for the Gradient tool and click on the gradient preview to open the Gradient Editor Dialog box. Click on the ‘Foreground to Background’ gradient. Drag the right color stop (upward facing triangle) to the middle (Location = 50 percent). Alt + drag the left color stop to the far right (100 percent). Give a proper name, click on New and then on OK. (Fig 2)

Switch to the Paths palette (Windows>Paths) and Ctrl + click the Work Path. Drag the gradient as shown. The result should
look like figure 3. (Fig 3)

The color settings for the gradient
Fig. 2

Choose Window>Show Layers. Alt + double click on your background layer to make it a normal layer. Click on the ‘Add Vector Mask’ icon on the Layers palette (second from left in the layers palette, it’s a rectangular icon with a small white circle). To make the foreground color black, press ‘D’. Choose a hard edge brush and start painting away the portions to the right of the curl layer. Be careful while painting near the curl and the bottom of the image. Paint in a curved manner near the bottom. Be careful here. The point to be noted here is that, the portion you painted and the curl should approximately form an arc. The image should appear as if is a part of the curl. The result is shown in figure 4. This is the step that requires most of your attention. (Fig 4)

With this done, 70 percent of the work is over. Now, open the image you want to put beneath the original image. Arrange both image windows so that you can see both images simultaneously. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + drag in the image window and drag it to your curl document. Press Ctrl + Shift + [ to send the layer to the bottom. Ctrl + click the mask icon to load it as a selection. Make any adjustments in the Quick mask mode. Use the Quick mask mode (Q) to fine-tune the selection. (Paint with the brush tool, using white, to add to selection; paint using black to subtract from selection). Press ‘Q’ after your edits to return to normal editing mode. The final selection is shown. (Fig 5)

Figure showing the process of dragging the gradient
Fig. 3

Press Delete. This will take away the entire unwanted portion from the bottom most layer, and reduce the file size. 

Now, to add the image to the curl. Open the image you want to add, in the curled
portion. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + drag in the image window and drag it to your curl document. 

Depending upon your image, you may have to rotate your image clockwise using the Free Transform command (Ctrl + T). Ctrl + Click the ‘curl’ layer and press Ctrl + Shift + I to invert the selection. Press Del key to delete the unwanted portions from your dragged-in image. (We created a mask by clicking the Add Layer Mask icon after Ctrl + Clicking). Press Ctrl + D to deselect. The result is shown in the figure 6. (Fig 6)

Fig. 4 Fig.
Fig. 6 Fig. 7

Drag your Curl layer in the Layers palette to the top, if it is not placed there. Change the layer mode from Normal to Overlay from the Layers palette. You may have to duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl + J and decrease the opacity to about 70 percent. (Fig 7)

The selection for creating the shadow
Fig. 8
The final image
Fig. 9

A drop shadow will complete the effect. Ctrl + click the Curl layer. Choose Select>Transform Selection. Scale the selection by dragging out one of the corner handles. Use the Quick mask mode (Q) to make the selection as shown. (Paint with the brush tool, using white, to add to selection; Paint using black to subtract from selection). The final selection is shown. (Fig 8)
Press ‘G’ for the gradient tool. Choose ‘Foreground to Transparent’ gradient from the flyout menu. Drag from right to left of selection to create the shadow. Press Ctrl + D to deselect. The final image is shown. (Fig 9)

Arun Vasudevan

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