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Page Curl Effect in Photoshop Elements

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Make your photos look 3D with this page curl tutorial.

Make your photos look 3D with this page curl tutorial.

Photoshop Elements Page Curl Effect Tutorial

Give your image a 3D look with a page curl, or edge curl effect. While this can be done more easily in the full version of Photoshop, with the warp feature, you can accomplish a very reasonable page curl or edge curl effect in Photoshop Elements.

Whether you want this 3D turn page effect to use on your website for navigation, or whether you just want to add some visual interest to your photos, you can use Photoshop Elements to get that edge curl look. Give these Photoshop Elements tips and tricks for making your curled edge effect a try, and tell me what you think.

Begin with a duplicate layer.

Begin with a duplicate layer.

1. Starting an Edge Curl Effect

In Photoshop Elements, open the file that you want to work with, then on the right-hand side, in the Layers tab, click Duplicate Layer.

Add a new white layer.

Add a new white layer.

2. New White Layer

Make sure that your foreground color is set to white, then in the Layers tab, click the create new layer button, to create a new layer. With the new layer selected, bucket fill the layer white. Now, in the Layers tab, select the white layer, and move it between the two photo layers.

Cut off the corner.

Cut off the corner.

3. Cut off the Corner

Select the top photo layer. Now select the polygon lasso tool, and using the lasso, draw a triangle on the bottom right (or left) corner of your photo. Please note, it looks like I didn't select it to the edge, but the Elements background color is grey, like the sand, so be sure to select right to the corner.

To use the lasso tool, click once on your photo to make an anchor point, then mouse over to your next anchor point and click, then go to the third point and click, then back to the beginning and click once more to complete the triangle. If you didn't get it perfectly selected, you can use the Select—Modify—Expand feature to expand your selection by a few pixels to ensure that you have the whole bottom corner selected, or do it again. Once it is selected, press delete, and that bottom corner should now be showing the white underlying layer.

Skew the corner.

Skew the corner.

As will most things in Photoshop Elements, there are many ways to accomplish the same effect. There are very likely other ways to create this page curl effect, so take these tips as a guide, then find what works for you.

4. Skew the Corner

At this point, I like to skew the image a little bit, to give it a more realistic look once the edge curl effect is finished. If you don't, your image won't look like the paper is starting to lift off the ground until the very edge.

Using the rectangular marquee tool, select the entire image, including the white corner, then click Image—Transform—Skew and make the corner come inside a bit—just enough to have a gap along the sidewall of the photo, and along the bottom edge.

To use the skew feature you have to choose one direction at a time. So grab your corner, then if you are making a bottom left curl, you will skew the image a bit to the right first, then unclick, then grab it again to skew it up a bit. If you like what you did click the green checkmark, otherwise choose the red cancel circle to start again.

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5. Rounding the Corners

Now it's time to round the edges near the clipped corner. If you don't round the edges a bit, it will look more like a creased corner, not a curled corner. There are two ways to complete this step:

  • Freehand
  • With Help


Make sure that you are still on the top photo layer, and select the eraser tool. You might want to zoom in on your view to be able to do this with more detail.

Select an appropriate brush size and just round the point where the side of your image meets the cut corner. Then do the same for where the bottom of the image meets the cut corner. Remember Ctrl-Z is the quick way to undo something if you make a mistake. this is also a good time to see if you need to clean up along the cut corner or the edges of the photo if the entire image wasn't selected, and there are tiny slices left over.

Next, round the corners.

Next, round the corners.

With Help

If you are having trouble rounding the corners freehand, you might want to try this: zoom in to the working area, then select the elliptical marquee tool. Draw an oval that will have the approximate size and shape that you need, to use part of the oval as a guideline for curving your edges.

Move the oval towards the edge, so that the dotted lines of the oval will represent the size and shape of the curve you need (this may take some fiddling). Once you have it in place, choose Select—Inverse. Now choose your eraser and carefully erase away the pointed corner. Since you have selected the inverse, you won't be able to erase into the marquee, so you are able to use its edge as a guideline. Press Ctrl-D to deselect it all, and then do the same for the other corner.

Add a shadow.

Add a shadow.

6. Add Shadow to the Image

Once you are satisfied with how your side and bottom are gently rounded into the corner edge, we will create a clipping layer. Click Layer—Create Clipping Mask.

Now we will add some shadowing. Choose Layer—Layer Style—Style Settings and click on the drop shadow check box. Choose the angle for the shadow, size, distance, and opacity.


7. Select the Paper Curl Size

The next step to creating a paper curl effect is to select the size and approximate shape of the curled edge. Use the polygon lasso tool to select a triangle with one side along the cut edge. The other two sides can be angles in one direction or another, or centered, all depending on how you want the final outcome of your page turn to look. You might want to experiment to see which shape looks best for your desired effect.

Create a gradient.

Create a gradient.

8. Creating a Gradient Filled Curled Edge

Once the triangle is selected, make sure your foreground color is white and the background is set to black (unless you want different shading colors), then choose Layer—New Fill Layer—Gradient.

In the Gradient drop-down box, select the first box, then close the gradient box, choose Scale, and set it to about 35%, or what looks best to you. Then ensure the angle is shading it in the direction that you want.

Depending on whether you are doing a bottom corner or a top, you might want to check "reverse" to fill the gradient so the tip of the corner is lighter than the folding area. Try Linear, or even Reflected for the Style. Different-sized page curls will suit different styles. When done, click Ok to close the box.

Round the curled edge.

Round the curled edge.

9. Rounding the Curled Page Edge

To make the page curl look more realistic we need to round the edges to make it look like they are bending. As before, you can do this freehand, or use the elliptical marquee to help you create the desired curve.

Ensure that the top Gradient Fill Layer is selected, change your foreground color to black, and choose the brush tool. Use the brush tool on the gradient-filled triangle to shape the triangle into a more curved, realistic shape. If this is too hard freehand, use the same steps that you used to round the cut corners edge: select the elliptical marquee tool, create an oval, and overlay part of the oval to get the shape that you desire, then use the black paint inside the oval to allow the photo to show through.

Complete the effect.

Complete the effect.

10. Completing the Page Curl Effect

If you have the curled edge effect exactly the way you want it, you can flatten the image and save it as a JPEG or whatever file type you need.

If you aren't sure if you want to make more changes, save it as a PSD file so that you can keep the layers and work on it again at a later date.

Check out the gallery below for other page curl styles and sizes.

Get Creative

Some of you are very creative and artistic. You will be able to take these tips, and end up making scroll effects or more elaborate true-to-life shading and reflections.

Good Luck!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Did this article help you? on July 26, 2016:

I purchase this page curl pro 2.2 I do have my key number??? It just keep saying to purchase it ??? It keeps saying demonstration

jill of alltrades from Philippines on September 18, 2014:

Very useful tutorial. I'm gonna try this! Thanks for sharing!

Rated up and useful!

anonymous on April 01, 2013:

Thanks for the info. Glad I found out how to do it.

anonymous on November 06, 2012:

Thank you so much, I have been trying to figure this one for ages.

anonymous on September 27, 2012:

Thank you so much I used this for my website because it works so well!!! THANK YOU!!! :D

anonymous on May 21, 2012:

Very Helpful! Thanks so much!

anonymous on February 14, 2012:

Oh yes, it was great help! Thank you.

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on September 07, 2011:

Thanks for a really helpful lens.

Michelle Mafra from Corona CA on May 10, 2011:

Amazing step by step instruction. I will have to try it out. Hope you keep posting more effects. Well doe:)

SandyORiley (author) on May 01, 2011:

@deyanis: Thank you.

deyanis from Oz on April 30, 2011:

A great and well-informative tutorial --- Blessed ---

SandyORiley (author) on April 30, 2011:

@WildFacesGallery: Thank you!

Mona from Iowa on April 30, 2011:

Very nicely done. Blessed

iSophie on April 28, 2011:

Yes, this really did help me because I love Photoshop, but have a small knowledge on. This helped me get a better knowledge on photoshop!!!!

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on April 28, 2011:

thanks for the useful tips

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 27, 2011:

Very well done tutorial.

lizziehumphreys1 on April 27, 2011:

yes, this helped me! :) nice lens, thankyou