Designer Passport is our monthly series spotlighting great designers from around the world. Each month, we bring you a new piece of art by a graphic artist we love (created from Shutterstock assets, of course), along with a step-by-step guide on how you can create it (or something equally awesome) yourself.

This month’s installment of our advanced Photoshop tutorials brings a Polaroid picture to life with a touch of 3-D. Australian designer Tamara White used Shutterstock images to create and furnish a house, but it’s much more than just that. White explains:

“This illustration is a comment on time passing and memory. The 3-D house on the Polaroid is the house you remember, so full of life and vivid in your memory, it pops up. This contrasts with present time and the house as it stands now, old, worn, and forgotten in the background, with the sun fading in the distance.”

Learn how to create a piece like this in the tutorial below, then check out all the images White used to create the final illustration.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 1 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 1 b



Step 2

Open the background image scene and place it into your document. Put the horizon line on the vanishing point, flip it, then scale the image down 30% so it has a bit more distance in the background. The background will need to be extended and edited. Make a marquee of the small section of the house, copy and paste it on top of the background, and scale it to about 30% of its original size.

Move it to sit right on the vanishing point where it forms a circle. Do the same with the big tree just behind, copy and paste a copy on top, and scale it down about 50%. Copy and paste some of the bush line to extend to the edge of the picture and original house, and clone out any other holes you may have. Clone the sky over the original tree. Around the house and tree, erase the pixels you don’t need with a brush on a mask so they blend into the background.

Step 3

Open both the table-top image and the Polaroid image. Extract the Polaroid from the background using the marquee tool, and delete unwanted pixels. With the pen tool, clip carefully around the table and extract by deleting unwanted pixels again. Convert both files to smart objects and drag them into your illustration.

Place the table file around the bottom third to half of the page. Rotate the Polaroid file 90 degrees and, working with your perspective map, transform it so the vertical lines follow the perspective lines and the horizontal lines remain straight. Add some depth to your Polaroid by selecting the file, expand your selection, and on another layer, clone the extra depth from the paper. Select the cloned layer. Using a curve masked by the selection, make the edge darker.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 3 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 3 b

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 3 c

Step 4

To start making the house, use the pen tool and the vanishing-point lines to draw an outline of the back left wall of the house, like a distorted rectangle. Select the path, and make a layer mask on a solid fill layer.

Open the window file, copy and paste it into your illustration, and fit it next to the wall, resizing as you need. Open the brick-wall file, convert it to a smart object, bring it into your illustration, and transform it to follow the perspective lines at an angle.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 4 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 4 b

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 4 c

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 4 d

Step 5

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 5

Step 6

Open the roof file. On the front of roof, create a path, invert the selection, and delete the unwanted pixels. Convert the image to a smart object and place it into your file. Transform the roof to fit the top of the house so it is again following the perspective lines back; leave some overhang over the bricks at the front of the house. Select the other side of the roof, and repeat, fitting it to the left side of the roof. Delete the top part of the white wall from the mask that you don’t need now where the roof intersects.

Open the fireplace file, extract it, convert to a smart file, and bring it into your scene. Using the transform tool, free transform and warp the fireplace to get it as close as you can to follow the perspective lines of the house. Make a folder, call it ‘fireplace,’ make a selection of your transformed fireplace, and use this to mask the folder. Now, drag the fireplace layer into the folder. With the pen tool, draw some more depth to the side of the fireplace facing you and add this to the mask. Then, using the clone tool, clone some more depth back, including the mantle of the fireplace.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 6 b

Step 10

Open the door file, extract it, convert it to a smart object, and copy and paste it into the scene. Transform the door along the perspective lines following the brick wall. Open the window file, extract the window and the flower box separately, and bring them as smart objects into the scene. Transform both to follow the brick wall. These files should be sitting on top of the wall in your layer palette.

Select the inside window glass in the door and delete the insides of the windows from the outside brick-wall folder mask. Using the same selection, go back to your window and door folders, and using a transparency of about 20% with a big brush, slowly work back the transparency of the window so you can see inside the room. Its up to you to determine what looks good.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 10

Step 11

Open the lounge file, the coffee table, the rug, the dining room table, and the armchair. Extract, smart object, and bring into your scene. Position each item in the room and transform them so they follow the perspective lines. The couch needs further work to get the lines to match, so rasterize the smart object (Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object), and then use the Liquify tool underneath the Filter menu to push and pull the pixels further. Also sharpen the file. Select each item and put them each in their individual folders with a folder mask, and label each folder. All these folders should be sitting behind the brick-wall folder in your layer palette.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 11

Step 12

Open your tree file, go into your channel palette, duplicate your blue channel, and adjust the levels (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels) to push the image to black-and-white. Then, with a brush, paint on this channel black or white, depending on whether you want to add or subtract it from the selection. Highlight this channel in the channel palette, go into (Select/Load Selection), and press OK. With this selection, make a mask on the new tree folder. Drag the tree into your scene and place it.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 12 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 12 b

Step 13

Open the garden file that goes around the base of the tree. Extract the right hand-side into a folder, then copy, duplicate, and flip it so it follows circularly around the tree base. Open the fence file, extract it, and duplicate it a couple of times so it runs behind the house. (Put all layers into a folder with a fence mask.) If you want to give the tree more foliage, duplicate the tree file, erase the trunk and place it on top of the existing tree. Open the bench file, extract it, and place it underneath the tree. With all elements, pay close attention to detail in the masks; you will probably have to soften edges using a brush with a feathered edge and delete bits of mask you don’t need.


Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 13 b

Step 14

Open the porch bricks, copy and paste a six-brick wide section into your illustration, convert it to a smart object, and duplicate the file three times. Scale and transform one file so the bricks follow the perspective lines and the house front. Make a marquee about .4mm high and the width of the porch. Mask another layer with this selection and move it to the side of the porch facing you. With the third layer, make a marquee about .4mm wide and about the length of the porch, mask the layer, and transform it so that it runs along the front of the porch. Open the stone-path file, extract each stone you are going to use, (duplicating some) and place them individually in the front garden.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 14 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 14 b

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 14 c

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 14 d

Step 15

Open the bird, the cat, and the porch-pot files, extract them, and add them to the garden. Also add the lamp to the inside of the room, the light above the dining-room table, the picture frames on the walls, the cushion on the couch, and the clock on the fireplace mantle. Add wall trim to the bottom of the walls around the room, duplicating as you need. Make sure you order everything in your layer palettes so they are sitting behind or in front of each other correctly; give them all masked folders with names.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 15

Step 16

Go around and do a quick color correct on all of your elements. Lighten the armchair and give it more contrast. Add more contrast using a contrast S curve to your dining chair and tables. Darken the lamp and the couch, and add some red by pulling the red curve up at the bottom. Darken the highlights and mid-tones of the fireplace. Go around and adjust each of the inside elements as you see fit.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 b

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 c

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 d

With the outside items, you will need to add some golden tones and adjust the contrast. You might need two curves on the tree foliage to make the color move. Continue editing each element separately for color, depending on where it sits in the garden.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 e

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 f

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 g

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 16 h

Step 17

Open the grass file. Put the grass layer in a layer folder with a mask. Add a layer on top and fill it with the color orange (B 226, G 101, B 18). Set the layer to color mode in the layer style palette and bring the opacity down to 70%. Inverse the grass layer mask to reveal nothing (making it black), with a brush set to white, size 2, with Transfer on in the brush palette. Paint each blade of grass around the garden where you think it should go, particularly around the bottom of the bench and tree, and around the stones of the path. Bring back the garden shadows on the grass by duplicating the outside shadow group and bringing them into the grass folder on top.

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 17 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 17 b

Step 22

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 22 a

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 22 b

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 22 c

Advanced Photoshop Tutorials Step 22 d

View all of the images from this tutorial in our “Living Polaroid” lightbox »

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Ready for other advanced Photoshop tutorials? Check out more from our Designer Passport series.