photoshop creative

How to create an exploding cherry effect in Photoshop, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
April 7, 2014

Learn how to explode a cherry using texture and filters to create a convincing photomanipulation in Photoshop

Download all the files needed for this tutorial here


Open ‘Cherry.jpg’ from the supplied files. First we need to isolate the cherry that’s going to be shattered. Select the Pen tool (P) and set this to Paths in the Options bar (in Photoshop Elements choose the Quick Selection tool).


Mark a new path around the edge of the cherry with the Pen tool by adding two points to start with. Click and drag with the tool to bend the path around the curved edge. Complete the path by clicking on the first point made.


Cmd/Ctrl-right inside the path created and choose Make Selection from the list of options. Set Feather Radius to 0px and hit OK. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+J (applicable for Photoshop Elements users) to cut and paste the cherry onto its own layer. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to make two copies of the cherry, and then hide Layer 1.


Open the texture file ‘Cracked Texture.jpg’ from the supplied resources. Press Cmd/Ctrl+A to select the entire canvas, and then Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy. Go back to the cherry image and press Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste the texture. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to active Free Transform and resize the texture to fit just over the cherry.


Lower the opacity of the texture’s layer to 50% to reveal the cherry. Select the Magic Wand tool (W) and set its Tolerance to 53, Point Sample, and tick Contiguous in the Options bar. Click on a section of the cracked texture to select it.


Go to your Layers palette and click on the cherry’s layer that was cut out earlier. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+J to cut and paste the selected area of the texture onto its own layer. Hide the texture and both the cherry layers to view the piece of cracked texture on its own.


Click back on the texture’s layer and use the Magic Selection tool once more to pick out another part of the texture. Just like before, click on the cherry’s layer, and then cut and paste that section onto a new layer.


Use this process of selecting and cutting out to crack the entire right and left sides of the cherry. Leave the top and bottom parts of the cherry intact, and be sure to select and cutout the tiny bits of the texture as well as the bigger areas.


There should be lots of layers all stacked up in the Layers palette. Select all the layers containing the cracks by Shift-clicking on the first and last ones, and then press Cmd/Ctrl+G to Group them together into a folder (not applicable for Photoshop Elements). This keeps the palette tidy.


Pick the Move tool (V) and in the Options bar and turn on Auto-Select and set to Layer. Hide the Layer 1 Copy and texture layers for now, and click and drag the cracked parts of the cherry outwards to the right. The Move tool will detect which layer you’ve chosen.


Reveal Layer 1 Copy and use the Eraser tool (E), set to a solid brush, to remove the areas of the cherry that were left between after cutting out each segment. These parts were from the white areas of the texture and aren’t needed.


Reveal and select Layer 1 in the Layers palette (the cherry in its original state). This will hide the white areas visible under the broken up cherry. Press Cmd/Ctrl+L to open the Levels adjustment and drag the middle marker to the right, from 1.00 to 0.60. This will darken the area behind the cracks, adding depth.


To increase the number of shards tearing away from the cherry, click on the Group created earlier and press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it (in Elements, Shift-click on all layers and go to Layer>Duplicate Layers). Select the Move tool, untick Auto-Select, and then move the Group above the cherry to see them all clearly.


Turn on the Auto-Select again for the Move tool and click on one of the shards. Photoshop will select its layer for you. Then choose the Eraser tool and remove parts of each shard to make them look different from before.