In this tutorial, we'll create a cut-up photo effect in Photoshop using a clipping mask. You will learn how to create a mask in Photoshop to make your own photo effects like this one.
Looking for more options? Try our articles on the best Photoshop photo effects:
- Photo Effects30+ Cool Photoshop Photo Effects to Add Style & WowMelody Nieves
- Adobe Photoshop29 Best New Photoshop Actions & Photo Effects for 2020Melody Nieves
To create this cool photo effect in Photoshop, I will use the following assets:
1. Add the Wood Background
Create a new document in Photoshop. The size of the canvas is 850 x 600px, resolution 72 dpi.
Go to File > Place and open the Wood Background image in Photoshop.
2. Change the Color of the Wood Background
This step is optional. But, if you want to change the color of the wood texture, add a Selective Color adjustment layer.
3. Add Your Photo
Add your photo on a new layer.
Press Control-T to resize the image. Keep the Shift key pressed to maintain the aspect ratio.
4. Add a Border in Photoshop
Press Shift-Control-N to create a new layer below the Photo layer and call it Border.
Use the Rectangle Tool to draw a rectangle. The color that I used for the border is
Another method to create a border around a photo is to add a Stroke layer style to the Image layer.
Use these settings: size 20px, position Inside, opacity 100%, blend mode Normal, fill type Color, color is
#f7f7f7. The disadvantage is that you lose 20px (the border size) from your image.
To make sure the Image layer and the Border layer are aligned, select the two layers and click on Align Vertical Center and Align Horizontal Center.
5. Merge Layers in Photoshop
Select the Image layer and the Border layer, as in the previous step, and press Control-E to merge the two layers.
You can also right-click on the layers and choose Merge Layers.
6. Create a Cut Paper Shape
To create the cut-up photo effect, we have to make a mask for the image.
Pick the Pen Tool and draw a shape. To draw shapes with the Pen Tool, simply click on the canvas to add anchor points.
Create another shape using the Pen Tool.
Add another cut paper shape.
Using the same technique, add other cut paper shapes to cover the entire image.
I've added eight cut paper shapes on eight separate layers. You can make as many cuts as you like and with any shape that you like.
7. Edit the Shapes in Photoshop
The shapes that we made are vector shapes, so you can edit them easily.
To edit a shape, use the Convert Point Tool. Click on the anchor point that you want to move and use the arrow keys to move it.
In this case, if you modify a shape, you also have to modify the shape next to it.
8. Duplicate Layers in Photoshop
Go to the Image layer and press Control-J to make seven copies of the Image layer. You have to have an equal number of Image layers and Shape layers.
9. How to Create a Clipping Mask in Photoshop
Move each Image layer in front of a Shape layer. Use Drag and Drop to move the layers.
To create the cut-up Photoshop effect, we use the Shape layer(s) as a mask for the Image layer(s).
To do that, go to each Image layer, right-click, and choose Create Clipping Mask.
10. Add a Layer Style in Photoshop
Go to Shape 1 layer and add this layer style:
Drop Shadow (color
Inner Shadow (color
11. Copy the Layer Style in Photoshop
Right-click on the Shape 1 layer and choose Copy Layer Style.
Keep the Control key pressed and click on the Shape layers one by one, to select them all.
Right click on the layers and choose Paste Layer Style.
12. Create the Cut-Up Photo Effect in Photoshop
To make the cut-up photo effect more realistic, let's move the paper cut pieces.
To do this, select a Shape layer and its Image layer. Press Control-T to rotate and move it.
Repeat the process with all the paper cut pieces until you get a realistic result.
Congratulations! You're Done!
In this tutorial, you've learned how to create this cut-up photo effect using Photoshop. This is a special effect for a picture that I like to use in my designs. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.
Looking for more amazing Photoshop tutorial content? Check out these other tutorials I've created:
Envato Tuts+ tutorials are translated into other languages by our community members—you can be involved too!Translate this post