Making Your Subject Pop Out With Photoshop Elements 5.0

L was planning a trip home this weekend, turns out she had no classes Thursday or Friday. It’s a good thing she started her drive early yesterday because she came in with the snow! Yep, yet another nice deep snowfall. Ugh! Will winter never end?

I ran outside this morning to try and capture an image of her little red car all covered in snow and ice because I needed a new photo to play with. I wanted to try out a tutorial I had read. It was about making your subject pop out of the photo. The tutorial was for the full-blown version of Photoshop so I had to play around with it just a little to make it work in Elements but it didn’t come out too bad. I think I have way too much shadow going on so next time I’ll need to adjust that but here’s what I came up with…

The car is popping out of the photo and the photo is popping out of the frame.

And now for the “how to” part of this post….

  1. Open your photo in elements.
  2. Duplicate the background layer.
  3. Add a new blank white layer and move it so that it is between the two existing layers.
  4. Click on the background copy layer and use whichever selection tool you like to completely outline the subject that you want to pop. In this case it was the car.
  5. Copy your selection to a new layer.
  6. Back on the background copy layer use the rectangular marquee tool to draw a rectangle or square around the area of the photo you would like to keep, you see the remainder of the photo behind the car. Select inverse and cut out the rest of the image that you no longer want to keep, in this case I cropped away some trash cans sitting on the curb.
  7. Add a soft edge drop shadow to the rectangle cut out layer.
  8. Add the same soft edge drop shadow to the shaped cut out layer, the car.
  9. Merge the shaped, car, layer down to the rectangle cut out layer.
  10. Tilt the merged cut out layers to whatever angle you like. You may need to fill in more white on your blank white layer after the image has been tilted.
  11. Now move the cut out layer if needed.
  12. Click on your blank white layer and use the rectangle marquee tool to mark a rectangle, or square depending on the shape of your photo, leaving a nice frame around the edges. Select inverse and copy this frame to a new layer.
  13. Click on the frame layer and create your frame. You can change the color or add texture, or both! Then add that soft edge drop shadow to the frame and adjust your opacity if needed.
  14. Once you are happy with your results flatten your image, give it a name, and save it!
  15. Now post your results  to your blog, Flickr, or whatever photo share site you use and share them in the comments with a link. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with.

Have fun!


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