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Page Curl Effect with Photoshop

I love Photoshop for many reasons. One of those reasons is the huge number of filters, effects and actions that come built in as standard. Great as Photoshop is, there are a few things that Adobe seem to have missed out.

Despite the many filter effects that have been added to each new version of Photoshop, to date there has never been a page curl filter. But I’m not going to let a minor point like that put me off, especially as it’s something that can be achieved very quickly using the standard tools that are in Photoshop CS3, CS4 and CS5


The first thing you’ll need is a suitable image. In fact any image would be suitable so lets get started.

Copy the layer

With your image open in Photoshop press CTRL+J to duplicate the layer. Now press CTRL+T and drag in a corner handle to reduce the size of the image. A great tip here is to hold ALT+Shift as you drag to keep the image proportional and shrink in all sides together. When you’re done click the tick.


Replace the background

Fill the background layer with white and then click Layer 1 to make it active. Hold CTRL and click on the Layer 1 thumbnail in the layers panel to make a selection. We’re only going to need to select a small triangle in one of the corners, so select the Polygonal Lasso Tool. The next bit is much harder to explain then it is to do.


Triangular selection

Hold ALT and click once outside the selection and about 1/3rd of the way up on the left hand side. Keep holding ALT and click outside the selection about 1/3rd of the way along the base. Work your way anticlockwise around the image holding ALT and clicking well outside the current selection. When you get back to the beginning double click to close the line and you’ll be left with a neat triangular selection. Phew!


Add a gradient

For the page curl effect to work we need to create an “underside” to the paper. Press D to reset the colours to default (Black/White). Then select the Gradient Tool. Make sure you have Foreground to Background as the picked gradient and Linear as the type of gradient. Now drag a gradient across the selection so the black colour touches the edge of the image.


Curl the page

And now you’re ready to curl the page. Press CTRL+D to remove the selection. Then click Edit-Transform-Warp and drag the lower left corner handle in towards the centre. Keep dragging until you see the page curl effect you want. You’ll notice how the gradient adds 3D depth to the curl effect.


Final Touches:

Well that’s the effect completed but there a few more things you can do. Adding a drop shadow layer style to the image will make it look a bit more 3D. Replacing the white background with a texture can add some further interest. Finally why not fill the blank space under the page curl with some text.

About Gavin Hoey (45 Articles)
Gavin has been a regular contributor to Digital Photo Magazine in the UK since 2003 where he writes “how to...” techniques on photography and Photoshop Elements. His Photoshop lectures are always in demand and he can often be seen popping up at camera clubs all over the UK.

21 Comments on Page Curl Effect with Photoshop

  1. thanks Mr. Gavin….

  2. Thanks for sharing Gavin

  3. lindarjoer // 12/11/2010 at 11:53 am //

    I just love it!!!

  4. Ermon // 12/11/2010 at 6:09 pm //

    That’s cool.. Thanks Gavin

  5. I might be an idiot but I don’t get it.
    Can you make a video tutorial of this?

  6. Great tutorial! Thanks, Gavin.

  7. Awww, I can’t do that in Elements…can I?

  8. candyK // 17/11/2010 at 12:20 am //

    Thanks, I’m practicing this, but cannot get my paint bucket to work!

  9. CandyK: Instead of the paint bucket, try using Edit-Fill and set the colour to white.

    Daryl: No sorry, this is a Photoshop Cs2, CS3, CS4 & CS5 thing only.

    Edmund: Keep trying, you’ll get there.

  10. Don’t waste your time with these incomplete instructions.
    Been attempting this most of the evening. It does not work. Among the elements of the instruction left out include the drop shadow, the opacity of the gradient and the failure of the gradient tool to follow the transform warp.

  11. Don’t agree with you Mike, sorry. Gavin’s tutorials are recognised the world over for their clarity and ease, and this tutorial is no different. I wonder if you could be a bit more specific on where you’re struggling and we can guide you a little more?
    To suggest that people ‘don’t waste their time’ is a little harsh? This tutorial has been viewed more than 20,000 times and the feedback has been very positive.

  12. parag rohankar // 02/12/2010 at 6:11 am //

    Great one!!!i have gone through many tuts but this is easiest one. Thanks…..

  13. steve // 20/01/2011 at 7:11 pm //

    As always Gavin,Great Tutorial. Have been following you on the net for some 2-3 years now, & this is the first negative comment i’ve seen.Perhaps this is to advanced a tutorial for ‘Mike’.
    Keep up the good work.

  14. After i click your Feed it throws up a ton of strange characters, is the problem on my reader?

  15. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

  16. When I view your Feed it throws up a webpage of weird text, may be the malfunction on my side?

  17. There does seem to be an issue with Chrome.

  18. Pamela Cowan // 19/01/2012 at 1:42 am //

    Hello, I get to “edit-transofrm-warp, but don’t have that on my programme PSE v6. I only have free transform, skew, distort and perspective under the Image Transform option. Maybe I just can’t do the final curl with PSE?

    Any ideas from you?

    Thanks…I was quite excited when I found the site, but alas…unable to complete my task.

  19. suresh // 25/01/2013 at 12:56 pm //

    simple,crisp and crystal clear,….as usual.

  20. interesting tips, suits me want to learn and find some references and one of them here

  21. Taffie // 19/06/2013 at 11:34 am //

    Danky! its so easy to follow am impressed with my first attempt.

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