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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Torn Edge Paper

This tutorial will show you how to take an existing piece of paper and create a torn edge along one side.  This technique can also be used for tearing cardboard (if you don't like how I did it using masks).

1.  Open up your paper of choice and promote the background to a layer (Layers > Promote Background Layer).

2.  Set the paper as your foreground material.

3.  Use the mover tool and slide the paper over, so that an edge is exposed.

4.  Select the Marble 2 brush in the Media Brushes.

Size = 255
Step = 25
Density = 100
Rotation = 0
Opacity = 100
Blend mode = Normal
Color blend = Normal
Hue = Normal
Saturation = Normal
Lightness = Normal
Size = Normal
Opacity = Normal
Rotation = Oscillating Fade
Density = Normal
Fade Rate = 100
Position Jitter = 50
Impressions per step = 1

5.  With the paintbrush, left-click at the top of the edge.

6.  Go to the bottom of the edge.  Press the shift key and left-click once at the bottom of the edge.

7.  PSP will fill in between the two clicks, resulting in a jagged edge.  Repeat steps 4 and 5 two more times so that all holes between the tear and the paper are filled.  Paint with the brush to fill in any additional undesired holes.

8.  Add a drop shadow to bring out the edge.

Vertical = 2
Horizontal = 2
Opacity = 80
Blur = 5.00
Color = Black

8.  Instead of using a drop shadow to create the edge, create a new layer.

9.  Move the new layer under the original layer.

10.  Change size of the brush to 200, the step to 1 and the position jitter to 25.

11.  Left-click at the top of the edge.

12.  Go to the bottom of the edge.  Press the shift key and then left-click with the mouse.

13.  Darken the new edge by adjusting the contrast and brightness (Adjust > Brightness and Contrast > Brightness/Contrast).

Brightness = -25
Contrast = -10

14.  Select All (Ctrl + A).

15.  Float the selection (Ctrl + F).

16.  Defloat the selection (Ctrl + Shift + F).

17.  Contract the selection by 20 (Selections > Modify > Contract).

18.  Invert the selection (Ctrl + Shift + I).

19.  Press delete to clear the selection.

20.  Select none (Ctrl + D).

21.  Use the Raster Deform tool to re-size the darker edge so that it reaches the top and the bottom of the paper.  You can also move the edge side to side so that it looks more like a torn edge (increasing or decreasing the width of the tear).

23.  Add a drop shadow to bring out the edge.

Vertical = 2
Horizontal = 2
Opacity = 80
Blur = 5.00
Color = Black

Here is a comparison of the two different edges.  Click on the images to see a larger version.

Drop Shadow Only
With Optional Edge


  1. THANK YOU for this tutorial! I can't wait to try it!

  2. Excellent tutorial. Well defined steps. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    image masking

  3. Great tutorial Spencer.