• A simple way to create a swirly pattern or lines using the Pen Tool.Using a dark background works best in this case. So I used black as the background. Select the ‘Pen Tool (P)’ and up on the ‘Options Bar’, select the ‘Paths’ option.(Second one)
      Using this Option will not create a new layer, so it’s best to do that now.
    • Then click (Start Here) and continue to add ‘Anchor Points’ (in the direction I have indicated with the arrows below) (Ultimately the Path Shape is up to you!)

  • Next, select the ‘Convert Anchor Point Tool’ and just start adjusting the anchors until your happy with the curved result.
  • Continue on with the ‘Convert Anchor Point Tool’, and work your way around the Path.
  • This is what my Path looks like.
  • Now lets select a Brush Preset to use to stroke this path.
    Select the ‘Brush Tool (B)’ on the Toolbar, and up on the ‘Options Bar’ select the ‘Brush Preset Picker’ and from the list choose a soft edge brush. I chose a brush tip of 2.
    Hit the ‘X’ key on the keyboard to set the foreground color to White.
  • Now select the ‘Pen Tool (P)’ again and right click along the edge of the ‘Path’ that you created.
    Then from the drop down options, choose ‘Stroke Path’
    Then from the Tool: options select ‘Brush’
    Nothing fancy, but combined with other elements it can really enhance an image.
  • Here are some other variations.(Thicker Brush Preset, Fade Brush Preset, Applied Motion Blur Filter)


Creating Custom Exotic Shapes

A simple Transform trick and your on your way to creating endless custom shapes for reuse in your projects, or simply experiment to your hearts content to create that perfect logo.

  1. Set Foreground color to your preference. (I used black)
  2. Select the Custom Shape Tool.
  3. Set ‘Shape Layers’ Options Bar feature.
  4. Select any custom shape from the preset picker.
Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes
Next, hit the ‘Ctrl + Alt + T’ keys on the active ‘Shape 1’ layer to begin the Transform, as indicated by the bounding handlers below.
Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes
Click and drag INWARD from any of the corner handler/anchor points, as captured below, then hit the ‘Enter/Return’ key to commit.
Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes
  1. Switch to the ‘Path Selection Tool’
  2. Set the Options Bar ‘Exclude Overlapping Shape Areas’ feature (encircled in red) to create a knockout, as captured below..
Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes
With the Path Selection Tool still active, click and drag from upper left to lower right to select both paths. In doing so you should see a static marquee selection as captured below, and all anchor points will be highlighted as a result.
Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes
Now that all anchor points are selected, Ctrl + T to get to the Transform handlers again. Resize inward and rotate just slightly, as I have captured below, then hit the ‘Enter/Return’ key to commit.
Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes

Finally, hit the ‘Shift + Ctrl + Alt + T’ multiple times to repeat the last transform, and the below is the effect.

Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes

Experiment with other preset shapes for 1000’s of various effects using the above transform technique. Other examples:

Create your own Custom Exotic Shapes

Refer to ‘Adding Custom Shapes to the Preset Collection‘ tutorial for more details.

Stamp Effect

Here’s a simple ‘Layer Mask’ and Brush Preset technique to create a custom edge stamp effect.

With Photoshop started go to the File > New menu command option and create a New Document preset size of your choice. I opted for 400×250 with Background contents set to a shade of grey (#89888a).

  1. Start with the ‘Rectangle Shape Tool (U)’ from the toolbar. Then on the Options Bar enable Shape Layers and set it’s color to White. Once configured draw (click and drag) a rectangle shape within your document as I have captured below.

    Tip: Hold the Shift key to contstrain width and height while drawing the rectangle shape.

    Stamp Effect

  2. Now that the vector shape is in place, lets create a Brush Preset that will define the knockout holes along the edge of a stamp shape.

    To do this, select the ‘Brush Tool (B)’  on the ToolBar.
    Then select the ‘Brush Preset Picker’ up on the Options Bar. Then hit the ‘F5’ key to open the Brush Preset Control Panel and at the Brush Tip Shape pane window adjust the Size and Spacing as captured below.Stamp Effect

    Note: For variations on edge knockouts adjust the above size and spacing as desired.

  3. We now have the base ‘stamp’ rectangle shape and the edge preset defined. We now need to append a Layer mask to the base rectangle.

    With the base shape Layer active (Shape 1), click the Add Layer Mask’ icon command located at teh bottom of the Layers Panel. A new Layer Mask thumbnail will be appended between the Layer contents and the vector mask as captured below.
     Stamp Effect

  4. We’re almost there!

    Press the D Key to reset the foreground swatch color to Black.
    Click on the Shape 1 Layer Mask thumbnail to select/activate it.
    Then activate the ‘Path Selection Tool (A)’ and select the edge of the rectangle vector shape. To determine that the path is selected you should see an outline with four corner anchors as I have captured below.
    Stamp Effect

  5. Then Righ Click/Option Click directly on the vector path outline and from the context menu options choose Stroke Path. Choose the Brush Tool at the Stroke Path options prompt, then OK to apply the edge knockout to the Layer Mask.

    Stamp Effect

    Wallah! The Brush Preset we created in step 2 does the trick here.
    It’s just a matter of adding other elements to create the look and feel of a stamp.

  6. Now lets decorate the stamp. 

    With the Rectangle Tool, set to Shape Layers any color draw a rectanle as I have captured below (top). Ensure there is enough footer space to captioning.

    Then choose either method of File > Place; drag and drop from Adobe Bridge or the native file system, or Copy and Paste from a web source to bring in a photo or artwork and position it over the previously created rectangle and as the topmost Layer in the Layers Panel stacking order, as captured below (middle).

    Then with the newly added image or artwork Layer active in the Layers Panel go to the Layer > Create Clipping Mask menu command. As captured below, bottom, the image Layer (in my case Layer 1) will be clipped (masked) by the bounds of the Layer content below it, in our case Shape 2.
    Stamp Effect

This is the final image with additional text captions.

Stamp Effect

Candy Cane Effect

1. Here’s a simple style effect to create a candy cane effect combined with the ‘Pen Tool’ to create the shape.

2. Start with the ‘Pen Tool (P)’ and roughly draw in the shape of the cane. Then use the ‘Convert Anchor Point Tool’ to smooth out the corners as I have captured below. (You can see where I made my Anchor Points)

Candy Cane Effect

3. (Foreground color determines the color of the shape that you draw, with ‘Shape Layers’ option selected.. I used white in this case / #ffffff)

With the Pen Tool draw in the shape of the ane,)indicated by the solid line filled with white and the dark dots are the anchor point registration marks) making sure that the ‘Shape Layers’ option is selected on the ‘Options Bar’. Then with the ‘Convert Anchor Point Tool’ adjust the necessary anchors to a curve as I have captured below.

Candy Cane Effect

4. From here on it’s all blending styles. So, right click on the shape layer in the Layers Palette and choose ‘Blending Options’ as I have captured below.

Candy Cane Effect

5. First, an optional simple Drop Shadow.

Candy Cane Effect

6. Next, a ‘Bevel and Emboss’.

Candy Cane Effect

7. Then I added a Contour map.(Click on the ‘Contour Map’ icon to get the full list and select the ‘Rolling Slope – Descending’ contour)

Candy Cane Effect

8. Then the Stroke. The Gradient is what makes this candy cane effect.

Candy Cane Effect

9.Click on the Gradient map window in the Stroke panel, and below is how the gradient was put together.

Candy Cane Effect

9.Here’s the final result.

Candy Cane Effect

NOTE: Resizing the cane shape layer, will require adjustment of the blending modes.

Christmas Tree Ornament

Here’s a simple style effect to create a Christmas tree ornament combing ‘Shape Tool’, Blending Styles and an Christmas motif image.

Create a new document (File > New) preset of your choice with a background color other than white. (I used grey variation).

Step 1: Activate Tool and set Foreground Color.

  1. Set the Foreground Color swatch to White (#ffffff).
  2. Click the ‘Ellipse Tool (U)’ from the Toolbar, as I have captured below.
Step 2: Set Options Bar Properties.
  1. Activate Shape Layers icon command for the currently selected Ellipse Shape Tool (U).
  2. Select the Geometry Options drop down arrow.
  3. Then set the Fixed Size property to 250 x 250, as captured below.

    Note: For exact replication of the remaining tutorial, Fixed Size is used. So if you decide to use a different size shape, your remaining Blending Styles will vary.

  4. Then click once inside then document to create the fixed size shape, as captured below. Then in the Layers Palette rename ‘Shape 1’ to something userfriendly, like ‘Ornament’.
    Note: The grey area represents an alternate background layer (Color Fill 1), to separate the Shape from a normally White background.

Step 3: Add Blending Styles.

  1. From the Layers Palette, right click (Mac:Control + Click) the ‘Ornament’ layer and from the context list choose Blending Options as I have captured below.
  2. From the Blending Styles Control Panel, tick and select (optional) the Drop Shadow and set it’s properties as I have captured below.
  3. Next, tick and select the Inner Shadow Style using Blend Mode color of #CFC8C8 and set the opther options as captured below.
  4. Next, tick and select the Inner Glow Style and set it’s properties to what I have captured below. (I used color #D8D5FC)
  5. Then tick and select the Bevel and Emboss style and set the following properties as captured below.
    Then set the Bevel and Emboss/Contour substyle as captured in the last picture (lower right).
    Once all styles are set, click OK to commit.
  6. And you should have a simple ornament looking effect as I have captured below.

Step 4: Add Top Piece.
Activate the ‘Pen Tool (P)’ with Shape Layers Options Bar feature enabled and drew a small ‘hanger’ piece, as captured below.
Place the ‘hanger’ top piece layer below the ornament layer in the layer stack.
I then used the same style (right click, ‘Copy Layer Style’ from ornament) and right again to ‘Paste Layer Style’ unto this one. (Right click again on this style to ‘Scale Layer Effects’ to suit the color scheme of the overall ornament.)

Next, I added a simple ring layer as captured below.

Step 5: Add/Place Picture.
For a real ornate effect, I then copied a picture of a snowman from the web and scaled into position in the centre of the ornament. (This snowman picture is now the uppermost layer in the Layers Palette)

And as a final touch I add a frosted snow effect behind the snowman picture layer using the color white, brushed on, Filter/Blurred and a reduced Opacity level of 62%.

Here is the final result.