photoshop creative

How to create a jigsaw puzzle effect

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
April 12, 2013

A free tutorial on how to use Custom Shapes and Layer Styles to create a puzzle

Create a puzzle tutorial

Step 1

Open an image of your choice and then select the Custom Shape tool (U) from the Toolbar. The tool has a number of settings available in Options bar including Path, Shape and Pixels. For this effect, set the tool to Path to create just an outline for the jigsaw piece.




Step 2

The next step is to choose the jigsaw piece from the Shape list in the Options bar. If the jigsaw piece isn’t visible in this list, open the Objects set from the side menu inside Shapes. Hit OK in the pop-up box and select one of the jigsaw pieces.




Step 3

To create the first jigsaw shape, hold Shift and draw the shape over the image where you want it to be. The outline of the shape is the only visible part of the jigsaw piece at this stage. Rotate it by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+T and, using the corner points, adjust the angle.



Step 4

Open the Paths palette (Window> Paths) to view the shape inside a Paths layer. Click the Load Path as a Selection button inside this palette. What was a solid outline has now been turned into an active selection.





Step 5

Holding Opt/Alt, double-click on the Background layer. This will unlock the layer and make it editable. This will also mean that when the jigsaw piece is applied, the chequerboard canvas will show underneath when it’s been moved. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+J to cut and paste whatever’s in the selection onto a new layer.



Step 6

Use the Move tool (V) to reposition the jigsaw piece. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to call up Free Transform and rotate the piece. Double-click on the layer and apply the Drop Shadow layer style. Set Opacity to 77%, Distance to 25px and Size to 6.




Step 7

Inside the Layer Style menu add the Emboss option. Set Style to Inner Bevel, Depth to 105%, Size to 4px and Technique to Chisel Hard. Hit OK and the jigsaw piece should look more 3D. To complete the effect, double-click on the Background layer and give this a Drop Shadow layer style as well. Repeat this process for additional pieces of the puzzle!

  • vood0o

    Hey, how can i get a puzzle piece in my custom shape panel?

  • Simon Skellon

    Hi Voodoo – Click on Step 2 for a larger view of screengrab and where to go. Jigsaw pieces are found under ‘Objects’. Thanks for reading

  • Momir


    can these puzzles made in photoshop be directly used for android users?