How to Create a Torn Paper Edge in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we’ll show you a simple technique for creating a ripped paper effect in Photoshop. The result isn’t great, but it can help add an extra touch of reality to your images. While this method is simple and suitable for Photoshop beginners because it uses a small brush size, it can take a while if you’re applying the effect to a large border.

Content
  1. Download base image
  2. Use the Lasso tool to add a jagged edge
  3. Use the Smudge Tool to add the look of torn paper fibers to the edge
  4. Add subtle shadow to enhance the look of depth

Download base image

Download your own copy tape_cyan.png , which was created in another Photoshop tutorial for creating a Digital Washi ribbon. You can apply this technique to any element of an image to which you want to apply the torn paper look.

This tutorial works for both Photoshop Elements and Photoshop.

Use the Lasso tool to add a jagged edge

Use the Lasso Tool to give a jagged edge to the two straight edges of the ribbon.

Select the Lasso tool from the Tools palette – if it’s not showing, press and hold the third entry in the palette (starting at the top left corner and counting from left to right) until a small pop-up menu appears, then select the Lasso Tool from there.

Place the lasso close to the ribbon and click and drag to draw any selection on the ribbon. Without releasing the mouse button, continue drawing the selection outside the ribbon until it converges at the beginning. When you release the mouse button, the selection will stop automatically, and if you now go to the section Change > Clear , the ribbon in the selection is removed. Now you can repeat this step on the other end of the strap. Then go to the page Select > Deselect to remove the selection from the page.

Use the Smudge Tool to add the look of torn paper fibers to the edge

Add a subtle torn paper effect with the Smudge Tool, which is only one pixel in size. Because the brush is so small, this step can take a long time, but the more subtle this effect is, the more effective it will look when it’s done.

First, to make it easier to see what you’re doing, add white tape layer after layer. Hold down the Ctrl key in Windows or the Command key in Mac OS X and click the button Create a new layer at the bottom of the layers palette. This step should put a new blank layer below the ribbon layer, but if it appears above the ribbon layer, just click and drag the new layer below the ribbon. Go to Change > To fill click drop down Use and select white before clicking OK.

Then zoom in by holding down the Ctrl button in Windows or the Command button in OS X and pressing the “+” key on your keyboard, or go to Vision > increase . (Zoom out by holding down the Ctrl or Command key and pressing the – key.) Start by zooming in to 500 percent.

Choose a resource stains in the palette Tools . If it’s not visible, find the Blur or Sharpen tool and hold it to open a pop-up menu where you can select the Smudge tool.

In the tool options bar that appears at the top of the screen, click Brush Settings and set the size 1 pixel and the hardness hundred% . Make sure the parameter Current set value 50% .

Place your cursor within one of the edges of the ribbon, then click and drag out of the ribbon. You should see a thin line of tape that narrows quickly. Now on the edge of the tape you need to keep drawing vague lines at random. It may not look very impressive at this size, but if you zoom out you will see that it gives a very subtle edge effect, similar to the paper grains seen from the torn edge of the paper.

Add subtle shadow to enhance the look of depth

This last step isn’t important, but it helps improve the sense of depth by adding a very subtle shadow to the ribbon.

Click the bottom layer to check if it is active, then click the button Create a new layer . Now hold down the Ctrl key in Windows or the Command key in OS X and click the small icon on the ribbon layer to make a selection that matches the ribbon. Click on the new empty layer and go to Change > to fill and in the dialog box, set the drop-down list to Use meaning 50% gray. .Before continuing, go to the page Select > Deselect to deselect.

Go to Filter > fade away > Gaussian Blur and put on Ray meaning 1 pixel. This option softly softens the edge of the gray shape so that it extends slightly beyond the edges of the ribbon.

Since the ribbon layer is slightly transparent, make a selection of the ribbon layer as before, and make sure the shadow layer is active, go to the section Change > Clear . ,

This last step adds some depth to the ribbon and makes it look more natural and realistic.

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