JUNE 03, 2003
Creating a Rumpled Picture Effect in Photoshop
Using displacement and effects to distress an image
by David Nagel

Readers are always asking me for the best ways to create distress effects on images. Of course, distress effects can be accomplished in a huge number of ways, some of which we've examined in past articles. But today we're going to go into Adobe Photoshop we're going to use its displacement functionality--plus a few filters--to create a rumpled paper effect, as if someone had taken your image, crumpled it up and then tried to smooth it back out again.

This tutorial is really in three major parts: creating the rumpled paper texture, displacing our image using the texture as a displacement map and, finally, cleaning the whole thing up. As far as I know, any version of Photoshop can do this, but I'll be using Photoshop 7 for this tutorial.Here's a look at what we're trying to accomplish. I'm using a newspaper as an example, but any image will work just fine.

As far as preparation goes, begin by opening your image and making sure the image is not flattened but that all of the elements are on a single layer. Then adjust your canvas size (Image > Canvas Size) to add 25 or 50 pixels to each side of the image, leaving a transparent border.

Creating the rumpled paper texture
Now we'll create our paper effect. Just for the record, I didn't invent this part of the process; I don't remember who did, but, whoever it was, he or she came up with a fantastically useful technique. And here it goes.

1. Go to your Layers palette and add a new layer. With this new layer selected, choose FIlter > Render > Clouds.

2. Now choose Filter > Render > Difference Clouds, and apply it four or six times until you get an interesting texture.

3. Choose Filter > Stylize Emboss, and set the height to 1 and the amount to 500.

Voila! A great rumpled paper texture!

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