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Tattered Edges Postwork

Author: cowham

Tools Needed

* Adobe Photoshop

* Basic understanding of Photoshop is helpful


Create tattered edges for your clothing with postwork, using a few layers.


Step 1 - Getting Started

Open Photoshop, and load your saved render.

Open the layers box if it is not already open. (Windows menu, Layers) You can turn the layer visibility on or off by clicking on the eyeball icon next to a layer. Open your tool box as well.



My starting Image:


Step 2 - Set Up

Make a new layer by pushing the post it note in the bottom of the layers box. You can zoom in using the magnifying glass tool. Holding down the ALT key zooms out. Now select the paint brush tool. Depending on what version of Photoshop you are using the brushes toolbox will either be on the top right, or a box that you open from the Windows menu. Go to the brush tool box, and click on the little arrow in the top right corner. In the drop down list that opens select either natural brushes or natural brushes 2, and yes in the conformation box. Pick a brush that matches your image, you might have to try a few. Just make a new layer when you switch to a new brush in the event that you liked the last brush best. Use the eyeballs next to a layer to turn them on or off. Dragging a layer onto the trash can deletes that layer. (I used white as the brush color, but on some images black may look better)



Step 3 - Paint Tatters

With your new brush, and on your new layer paint over the areas that you want to look tattered or torn. Don't worry about staying inside the lines, we will fix that later. When you get a look you like, click on the box that says normal in the layers box. Choose overlay from the list. (Depending on your image a different mode may look better, feel free to try them all) Zoom in if you need to. (Ctrl-Z will undo the last action, and Ctrl-ALT-Z will undo several)

Choose the eraser tool, and go back to the brush box, and click on the little arrow again. This time choose reset brushes. This will load the default brush set. Choose a feathered brush (they fade out toward the edge). Erase (paint) over the unwanted stuff on your new layer.



Step 4 - Clone Background

Click on the bottom (render layer). Drag it onto the post it note icon to copy the layer. (In case we want to try again) Choose the rubber stamp tool, and using a feathered brush we are going to clone the background under our tatters. ALT-click on a source point near our tatters. Release the ALT key and paint under our tatters on the render layer. You may have to choose several source points, and brush sizes.

Now go to the tatter layer. Choose the eraser tool again, and a feathered brush. Next to the brush drop down box, is an opacity slider. Slide to around 50 % or so. Gently rub around the top of your tatters to blend them into the image.



Step 5 - Adding Folds

My dress has lots of folds as well, so we need to add those to the tatters. Make a new layer, and choose the brush tool. Choose black for the color and paint over shadow lines that are in the image. It doesn't have to be perfect, just in the ballpark. Switch to white, and paint (on the same layer) highlights as they flow down the dress. You may have to switch brush sizes a few times.

Go to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and then Gaussian Blur. Go somewhere between 1-3. Change the layer opacity to around 25% - 40%.





The tatter layer doesn't look very convincing yet, so we are going to adjust that layer some more. Select the layer, and adjust the layer opacity. Then go to the Image menu, Adjustments, and Hue/Saturation. Check both the colorize and preview boxes. Play with the sliders to change the tatter layer to best match your image.


Step 6 - A Little Tweaking

While the image looks good now, I think it could still use a more tweaking. Make a new layer and repeat the tatter layer steps with a different and bigger brush.

Select the fold layer. Change the layer mode to linear light (or one that looks good for your image). Lets zoom out and see how we are doing.

Not bad, but the fold doesn't quite blend in. Go to the Image menu, Adjustments, and then Brightness/Contrast. Check the preview box and move the sliders back and forth.

Repeat for the neckline and sleeves if you wish.



Step 7 - Bonus Step

But you wanted tatters on the inside of the dress too?

This is a little trickier. Make a new layer, and drag it to the top of the list. Zoom back in a little, and choose the render layer. Using the rubber stamp tool choose a source point on a large skin area (not the face). Now paint (with a tatter brush) on the new layer where you wanted skin tatters. You will need to go back and forth several times between the layers to choose new source points. Don't worry if you get a little of the dress painted in too. We can erase that out with a small feathered brush. Make any layer style/opacity changes, and edge erasing.


You can also create mud, and blood spatters using this technique.

Have Fun!