In this post we’re going to add a couple of pages to a book. I often set learners this as a learning task and you may want to tackle it as such too. It might not be the most practical exercise but if you’re not familiar with manipulating layers this is a good start.

Images Used :

Open book with blank leaves File: #99351125 | Author: cherezoff

Natural beauty. Beautiful girl in a wheat field File: #105299211 | Author: Myvisuals

Attractive blonde walking and posing on a rye field in summer da File: #108497997 | Author: Myvisuals

Keeping It Smart

If you’ve read any of my other posts here on Fotolia you’ll know how I advocate working with Smart Objects, they keep everything safe and packaged for re-manipulating at a later date.

What’s handy here is that is we drag and drop an image onto the already open document it defaults to being placed as an embedded Smart Object. We can tell this because the layer has a cross through it and is surrounded by sizing handles.


Resizing Keyboard Shortcuts

Shift: Constrains the proportions of the resize

Alt / Option: Resize from the middle (This rely in the anchor being in the centre)

Shit + Alt / Option: Resize in proportion and resize from the centre.

For this exercise we want to take the corners independently however, and thats where another keyboard shortcut comes in:

Ctrl or Cmd: Drag resize point independently

Resizing and Positioning

Even though the layer is in Transform we can still reduce the opacity, this will help see the page below:



Now holding the Ctl or Cmd key move the mouse to a corner, it’ll change to a white pointer indicating that the corner can be moved independently. Place each corner on a corner of the page:

fotolia_resize_and_warp_03Extra Credit: Be kind to your future self by zooming in and getting the corner as close as you can.

Warping the Layer

Now we’ve anchored down the corners we can warp the page a little. To do this click the Warp Mode icon at the top of the screen.



This add a 9 square grid to the layer. Each of these squares can be clicked on a moved, the surrounding squares will ‘warp’ to keep things looking smooth.



This works great but on closer inspection the top left corner needs a little  tweaking. For this we can use the curve handles to adjust how the layer curves from the corner. If you’re new to Bezier Curves this is a good introduction to how they work.



As you change the corner you might need to move the warp squares, then the corner handle, warp, handle etc until it falls right.

Do this again for the other three corners, you may need to warp a little sideways too, but this is ok if it matched the page of the book


When you’re done, click the tick.

Adding Shadow and Highlights

Bring the Opacity back to 100% and make any more adjustments you need to, press Ctrl or Cmd and T to enter Transform again.

The idea now is to add some shadow and highlight details to help ‘sell’ the page.

Create a new layer, call it ‘Spine’ (1). then get a soft (2), black (3) brush with a size of double the amount of shadow needed (4).

Click above the book, then Press Shift and click outside the bottom of the book to draw a straight line:

fotolia_resize_and_warp_09Move the cursor between the Image layer and the Spine layer and press Alt / Option key to get the square with a bent arrow, click to ‘clip’ the spine layer to the image:


Reduce the Opacity to suit:


Change the brush to white, resize it, and do the same to add a highlight:



I added another darker strip to the right edge too.

Then…. Do it all again for the left hand page

Finishing Touches

When I was done I thought I could do with a darker area in the spine so added a smaller brush at 10% opacity, just to darken it a little more. I nudged the layers apart using the Move Tool and the arrow keys.


As always, a huge thanks to Eric for supplying this tutorial. Stay tuned for next week and in the meantime, check out more of his tutorials on his website, YouTube and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter should you wish to get in touch with him!