photoshop creative

Stitch patchwork composites (part 2)

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Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
December 7, 2014

Part 2 of our patchwork masterpiece tutorial!

11. Create a tear

Add a torn portion to the figure for an extra visual. To do so, draw and shade the stitches as we did for Step 8. To fray the edges, select a 2px Smudge tool with a hard edge and Strength set to 80%, then pull out small individual fibres from the ends while zoomed in close to your image.

12. Expose the stuffing

We repeated the previous steps to complete the rest of the frog. As an optional addition, we used a cotton texture and placed it on a new layer above the frog. Set this to Screen and raise the contrast until just the cotton is visible.

13. Shade

Use the Brush tool paint in a tan-coloured hue over the cotton and set this layer’s blend mode to Hard Light. Then use the Eraser tool to clean the edges so it blends with the scene.

14. Clean the background

You may find a number of remnants of the background images coming through. There are some basic cloning techniques you can employ to clean these up. Select the background layer, copy and pasting sections and using the Free Transform tool, then expand them to cover the offending areas.

15. Fray the edges


Creating a frayed edge on the figure helps to integrate the frog into its environment. Select the edge of a cotton source image then paste it onto the edge of the frog’s back. Set this layer’s blend mode to Screen and erase any excess portions of the cotton.

16. Saturate

Using the Eyedropper tool, select a green tone from the fabric directly touching the fray. Use the Brush tool to paint over the fray on a new layer, set this layer’s blend mode to Colour and erase any excess portion of the colour outside of the actual frayed fibres.

17. Another character

At this point, you should be familiar with how to achieve all the effects needed to create the dragonfly. Again, import an image as your guide and trace around the various segments to block out the basic colour and texture as you did for the frog.

18. Float like a dragonfly

To aid the illusion of the dragonfly being airborne, add a blur to the wings. Merge the layers that make up the wing and create a duplicate of the merged layer directly on top. Select Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and set the Distance to 29px. The Angle of the motion may differ depending on where your wing is, but we set ours to -50 degrees.

19. Drop the needle!

Finally, we added a needed and thread to the image. Import the needle image onto the canvas directly below the lowest dragonfly layer. Use the Pen tool to create a selection around the object and extract it from the white background.

20. Draw the thread

Add thread to the needle. Use the Pen tool and selected points, then stroke 2px in white. Duplicate the thread layer and applied a Gaussian Blur of 1.4px. Using a white brush on a new layer, we painted a highlight in the middle of the curves on the thread and set the mode to Overlay.