(Another) 5 Interesting Little Photoshop Tricks to Add Extra Elegance to Your Design

Previously I published a post named “5 Useful Little Photoshop Tricks to Add Extra Elegance For Your Design” and it turns out to be quite a popular tutorial here. (Had about 35,000 hits so far). So I guess you guys (especially Photoshop beginners) would probably like another similar post.  So here we go :)

In this post, I will show you yet another 5 Interesting Little Photoshop Tricks to Add Extra Elegance to Your Design. These techniques are just little things that I found useful in Photoshop, and I think they’re quite beneficial to learn if you’re a PS beginner. So go ahead and have a try!

The 5 topics I will cover in this post:

  1. Create 3D Stripes
  2. Make Your Text Look Clearer with Stroke
  3. Use Smart Sharpen Filter to add final touches
  4. A Quick Way of Enhancing Lighting Contrast to Your Image
  5. The Use of Highpass Filter – Another Way of Sharpen Your Image

Create 3D Stripes

Create a new document sized 800 x 600px, fill the background layer with a light colour as shown below:

Create a new layer on top of the background layer and set its blending mode to “soft light”, grab a big soft white brush and do a single click here:

Create a new layer called “stripe upper” and fill it with dark brown colour:

Apply the following gradient overlay settings to this layer:

Duplicate this layer once and rename the duplicated layer “stripe lower”, resize it and fill it with a light green colour:

Apply the following layer blending options to this layer:

and you will have the following effect:

Create a new group called “stripes” and put those two layer into it, duplicate the group and use the free transform tool to distort the whole group as shown below:

Hint: first resize it to a narrower size, then distort.

Duplicate the original stripe group once more, and put the duplicated group on the top, drag it to the left as shown below:

Now there is the intersting bit – because the light source is from the right, so we need to reduce the brightness of the middle distorted part. To do this, simply merge the two stripes layers of the centre bit, apply the following brightness and contrast adjustment to it:

and you will see the following effect:

and here is the overall effect: (click to enlarge)

That’s it! Hopefully this will be use to you when it comes to adding depth to your web design.

Make Your Text Look Clearer with Stroke

Making your text look more attractive is always a great way to focus user’s attention (especially on websites). But apart from adding all sorts of drop shadow, inner shadow, bevel and emboss effect, have you considered just to use the “Stroke” blending option?

Now create a new document size 250 x 120px, fill the background layer with a light blue to dark blue gradient, as shown below:

Download a copy of this font and type some text onto it: (or you can try out differernt font if you like)

Now go to the blending options of this text layer, apply the following “Stroke” settings to it:

Hint: with the colour, choose a darker blue.

You will have the following effect:

You can the text looks better and clearer. The trick is that when you choose the colour of the stroke, always choose one that is slightly darker than the background colour.

I guess this is epecially great way to increase the clarity of the text when it comes to making web graphics.

Use Smart Sharpen Filter to add final touches

Download a copy of this model image and load it into Photoshop. As you can see this stock looks great originally, however you can probably sense that there is still thing you can do to improve it a bit.

Now let’s pretend this is a photo you have already done the majority of the retouch, and you feel there is something short. So go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen and apply this following settings:

Please make sure you choose “Advanced” instead of the default “Basic”.




And once you apply the smart sharpen shettings, you will see we brought that extra bit of detail out of the image. Belows are screenshots pointing out the areas which we can see improvements:

And here is a before and after comparison of the image:


After (click to enlarge)

Of course the above smart sharpen settings are not applicable to every image, you will have to adjust them to suit your need in different cases. Experiment with them :)

A Quick Way of Enhancing Lighting Contrast to Your Image

Now we continue from the previous step – sometimes you will find although the light in the image looks quite good, you feel there is still area that you want to add more contrast to it. Here is a simple way to do it:

Create a new layer on top of every other layer, grab a soft brush (0% hardness) with black colour, do a few clicks in the areas you would like to enhance the lighting contrast:

Change the blending mode of the new layer to “overlay” or “soft light”, you will have the following effect: (click to enlarge)

You can use this method to add lighting contrast to lots of occasions, but make sure not to overdo it :)

The Use of Highpass Filter – Another Way of Sharpen Your Image

Here is a clever use of the highpass filter (which I guess most of you haven’t really use if much before) – use it to sharpen your image!

Downlaod a copy of this image and load it into Photoshop. Duplicate the background layer once and go to Filter > Other > High Pass and apply the following settings:

Change the blending mode of this layer to “Hard Light” and reduce its opacity to around 20%. Here is a before and after comparison:


After (click to enlarge)

One thing I like about using this method is that the sharpen can be undone, due to the fact that the seperate layer was created. And the effect can be controlled by adjusting the layer opacity.

OK that’s it for this post! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Until next time, have a great day!


  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

  • Show Comments

  • taryarL

    very useful tricks
    thank u so much
    i love all the method u used here!

  • Very useful article man! I always find interesting Photoshop tricks to help me out in my day-to-day work, and this really is a great collection!

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  • Brilliant!! great help, especially the sharpening tricks. I’ve been getting similar results with other tools & tricks only after much experimenting… and not always able to reproduce them :)
    can’t wait to try them properly.
    Thanks for the tut, much appreciated.

  • Not the best article I’ve seen on here, but still useful. Thanks :) I’m starting to like this site lol

  • Greats. Nice web

  • brook

    keep it high ……………i luv it

  • Njog

    Excellent tutorial for begginers…Thanks for sharings gr8 tips

  • Mujtaba_s2011

    that is very good site but i so liked for this side 
    thank your 

  • Crabcakes

    These Photoshop tips have been a goldmine for me, a novice self-taught Photoshopper! Thank you!

  • Revathi Pillay

    this tips are realy awesome its helpful to me thx..