CREATING A PUZZLE EFFECT IN PHOTOSHOP
Some of my colleagues might find this effect a bit tacky but I think it’s really fun and is a great way to get in some Photoshop practice. I’m using a “PUZZLE PERFECT” happy snap I took while down in the Cape as an example.
Step 1: Create a duplicate layer of the Background
Start off by opening your desired image in Photoshop, in the layers palette make a copy of the background. The keyboard short for this is Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac). The original Background layer is on the bottom, and the copy is above it. Photoshop has automatically named it “Layer 1”
Step 2: Rename The New Layer “Jigsaw”
When working in Photoshop I like to rename my layers, this comes in handy particularly when you start working with several layers at a time. “Layer 1” will form the base for our puzzle effect, so I´m going to double-click directly on the layer´s name and rename it “Jigsaw”.
Step 3: Add a new fill layer below The ” Jigsaw” Layer
We now need to create a new blank layer. This is normally done by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, Photoshop will then automatically place it above whichever layer is currently selected, so if we were to click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette right now, we´d end up with a new blank layer above the “Jigsaw” layer. We need it to sit below, so here´s the shortcut, Hold down your Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key and click on the New Layer icon:
Step 4: Adding a solid colour to the New Layer
We need to fill “layer 1” with black as this will form the background for our effect . In the edit menu we will be using the Fill command. You´ll find it by going up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choosing Fill>Black>Mode>Normal>Opacity>100%.
It’s a good idea to rename the layer in your layers palette to “Base”
Step 5: Adding the puzzle texture
Select The “Jigsaw” Layer then go to filters, select texture and “Texturizer”.
A Filter Dialog Box will then open up and you will have to go and load the “Puzzle ” texture that Photoshop has installed on your hard drive, so click on the small arrow to the right of the Texture selection option on the right of the dialog box, which brings up a menu with only one option, Load Texture. Click on it to select it:
This opens the Load Texture dialog box, allowing us to navigate to our texture. The “Puzzle” texture we´re looking for is located inside the Texture folder which is located in the presets folder. This is located in the Photoshop folder in the Adobe directory on your hard drive, Click on it to select it, then click on the Load button to load the texture:
Step 6: Adjusting the Texture filter
With the Puzzle texture loaded, you should see that the Texture option in the Texturizer dialog box is now set to Puzzle. The following 3 settings will vary according to the effect you would like to create. The Scaling option effects the size of the puzzle pieces, I’ve set mine to 200%. The Relief option determines how strong of an appearance the puzzle pieces will have in the image, I’ve set mine to 10. Again, the settings you use may be different. The last setting will determine the light source for the puzzle pieces, I’ve set mine to Top Right:
You should have an image that looks like the one below
Step 7: Making selections of your puzzle pieces
The Pen Tool is now used to select pieces of our puzzle which we will use to create new layers. The short cut for this tool is P on the keyboard. When using this tool remember to select the “Paths” option in the Options Bar.
Use the Pen Tool to draw a path around one of the puzzle pieces, once you´ve finished drawing your path around the first puzzle piece, press Ctrl+Enter (Win) / Command+Return (Mac) on your keyboard to convert the path into a shape. You´ll see your solid path outline turn into a selection outline:
Step 8: Creating new layers out of the Selections
We´re going to cut out the selected puzzle piece from the “Jigsaw” layer and place it onto its own layer, leaving an empty hole in the “Jigsaw” layer in its place. Make sure you have the “Jigsaw” layer selected in the Layers palette, then go up to the Layer > New>Layer via Cut:
This cuts the piece out of the “Jigsaw ” layer and places it on its own layer above the “Jigsaw ” layer, which we can see in the Layers palette. In the layers Palette rename the newly created “Layer 1”. I´ve renamed it “JP 1”:
You’ll now notice the “Base” layer is now visible because we have cut a hole in the “Jigsaw” layer. In order to create that 3D effect we 1st need to transform the “PP1” layer, this can be done by pressinging Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) on your keyboard to bring up the Free Transform box and handles. All you want to do with this control is move the piece and rotate the piece. Don´t move it too far or rotate it too much as you want it to look as if the piece is about to be put in.
Step 9: Adding the pop up effect
We want the puzzle piece to appear as if it is floating above the puzzle, so to do that we need to add a drop shadow. Click on the “FX” icon( your layer Styles) at the bottom of the Layers palette, and select Drop Shadow from the list:
In the Layer Style dialog box set the Drop Shadow options in the middle column. Lower the Opacity of your drop shadow to around 70% so it´s not quite so intense. Make sure the “Use Global Light” option is not ticked and set the Shadow angle to 120°. Increase the Distance and Size to around 16 px. This is just a guideline as each image is different.
Step 10: Creating a missing piece
In order for your puzzle to look more realistic repeat steps 7 and 8 several times in different places. A twist on this is the creat missing pieces in the puzzle and this can be done by selecting more than one puzzle piece at a time. Just has you have done in Step 7, select the area then instead of creating a layer out of the selection we are going to delete it. Make sure you are on the “Jigsaw” layer when you do this
Continue removing a few more pieces from the puzzle, either by cutting a piece out and floating it above the puzzle (Steps 7&8) or by simply deleting the piece completely To delete a selection press the “Delete” key on your keyboard.
The almost finished product
The last step!
Create a puzzle edge border by repeating step 7, however draw one continues path along the inside edges of all the pieces that run along the edge of the image, once you have created the selection invert it, in the selection menu>Inverse. Then hit the delete key.
You can now change the “Base” layer colour if you like by repeating the Fill command in Step 4 and then add a drop shadow to the “Jigsaw” layer as you did earlier with the puzzle pieces to create the floating effect.