Put Tears in Photos Digitally Through Photoshop

Creating tears photos is a very simple way of making a photo look older than it really is. This process involves making the photo look like the original photograph has been torn without actually causing any harm to it. All of the tears are put into the photograph digitally using Photoshop, which means your original photograph remains unharmed.

The steps required to create tears photos are actually quite simple and shouldn't take very long to complete.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Digital Photograph 
  • Photoshop

Step 1: Opening the Photographs

First, you need to start by opening the digital photographs in Photoshop--opening the photographs is simply a matter of selecting File, Open and then choosing the file that you want to edit. At this point, you might consider saving it as something else so that you can keep your original photo safe.

Step 2: Selecting the Photo

Select the rectangular selection tool and select the portion of the photo that you want to keep. If this isn't right first time then simply click anywhere to deselect the area and make your selection again.

Step 3: Tearing the Photo

Select the lasso selection tool by either clicking it in the toolbox or pressing the L button on your keyboard. Hold down the alt key to subtract the selections from the original rectangular selection. Keep the alt key pressed and adjust the selection on areas of the photo where you want the tear. This will create a jagged edge around the photo which will make the photo look torn. The lasso selection tool is very useful; you can drag a rough selection and then let it go to snap the selection.

Step 4: Making a New Mask Layer

Create a new mask layer by selecting the button at the bottom of the layers palette. Once you have created the mask layer, select it by clicking on it in the layers palette. When working on the layer mask, there is a small circular symbol next to the eye to show that you are not actually touching the photo itself.

Step 5: Smudging

Select the smudge tool from your toolbox and then set finger paint off, brush size to one pixel, and 50% strength. You should be erratic with the smudge brush and don't spend too long concentrating on a single area. If you rip paper, then it's a random effect and nothing is ever uniform. Try to recreate the random tears digitally by working randomly.

Step 6: Shadow

A torn sheet of paper will cast a shadow on the surface of a table or wherever it is placed. To make the torn photo look more realistic, you will need to add a shadow to it. Think about the location of the light source when working on the shadow, as this will affect the edges of the paper which cast the shadow. Select the photo layer in the layers palette and then click the layer styles icon. Select the layer style as a drop shadow and then experiment with the parameters.

This should create a stunning torn photo effect which is very realistic and accurate.

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