Photoshop tutorial: Speedy shatter effects

Give your photos an edgy, shattered makeover in under an hour, using layer duplication.

This technique, which its creator Eric Sin calls the ‘layer duplication effect’, is perfect for creatives who need to spice up a photo in a hurry.

Using only two layers as a base and building up texture through simple displacement, the effect allows you to create a complex, dynamic pattern of effects, adding the impression of movement and activity to the most static of images.

Due to this technique’s simplicity and speed, it’s easy for you to add your own twists, or to combine it with other tricks for stunning effects to create an unusual, highly individual look.

Even when used on its own, the layer duplication effect can be applied to anything from landscapes to food portraits, or even images of people.

In this quick and easy tutorial, Photoshop expert Eric Sin guides you step-by-step through the process of creating the shattered effect.

Step 1
For this tutorial I’m using a photo of a red Lamborghini supplied by my friend and photographer Jonathan Wang (his work can be viewed at ); anything with a plain background and lots of space around the subject will work well. In Photoshop, open the file lamborghini.jpg from the cover CD.

Step 2
With the background layer of the photo selected, select Layers > Duplicate Layer and call the new layer ‘Background 2’. This places a copy of the original photo on top of the base image. This will be the layer where we will create our effect – this leaves the original untouched, should we need to backtrack. Keeping the base image intact also comes in handy for the masking effect, which we’ll get to later.

Step 3
Using the Polygonal Lasso tool, make a rough angular selection similar to the one in my image (to get to the Polygonal Lasso tool, click the little triangle in the corner of the Lasso tool button). Make sure you’re working on the ‘Background 2’ layer.

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