Create a Paper Curl Effect in Photoshop
This tutorial shows you how to create a paper curl effect in Photoshop. You should know the basics of drawing and using the pen tool in Photoshop for this one.
This is an updated version of my Paper Curl Effect tutorial, originally posted on 14. April 2011. I thought it got outdated and decided to update it. Comparing it to the original, it looks more like a whole new tutorial.
1. Create a New File in Photoshop
Create a new file in Photoshop, size about 600 x 400 px. I recommend a light background color, I chose light grey.
2. Draw the Paper Shape
Create a new layer, name it “paper” and use the pen tool to draw a white shape like in the picture below.
3. Draw the Curl Shape
Create a new layer and name it “paper curl”. Again, use the pen tool and draw the shape like in the picture below.
Be careful to put the anchor points on the edge of the shape on the “paper” layer.
4. Add Gradient to the Paper Curl
We’ll add the gradient effect to the “paper curl” layer to make it more realistic. Right click on the layer in the layers panel and select Blending Options.
Check the Gradient Overlay option on the left side and click on the gradient preview to set up something similar to this.
Let me go in details here. We’re focusing on the stop points at the bottom, from left to right.
- The first two are there to make a glow effect on the edge of the curl.
- The third one is there to make a gradient from dark grey to light grey. It’s almost the same colour as the fourth one. I added it to end the gradient at the middle of the curl.
- The colours from left to right: #eeeeee, #b3b2b8, #efeff1, #f4f4f4.
It’s important that you get this step right so here are other options of the Gradient Overlay effect.
5. So Far so Good
So, if you’ve done everything right by now you should see something like this.
6. Let’s Make It Realistic…
What we have now looks very plain and boring. We have to make it more realistic. So let’s start doing so by adding some shadows.
7. Adding Shadows
We’ll be adding three shadows to this paper curl effect to make it look realistic.
Let’s start with adding the paper shadow. Select the “paper” layer and duplicate it. Change it’s name to “paper shadow” and change the colour of the duplicated shape (layer) to #565656. Move the “paper shadow” layer bellow the “paper” layer.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set it to 8.2 px and click OK.
Now go to Edit > Transform > Warp and move the edge points like in the picture below. Yes, move them out of the canvas.
After the transformation of the layer (shape), change it’s opacity to 25% and the Blending Mode to Multiply.
We’re not done with this shadow yet. The next step is very similar to this one but with more blur on the shadow layer.
Duplicate the “paper shadow” layer and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set it to around 35 px and click OK. Rename the layer to “paper shadow 2″ and move it below the “paper shadow” layer.
Again, go to Edit > Transform > Warp but this time, move the points like this:
Two shadows done, one to go.
8. Adding a Gradient for the Final Shadow
For the last shadow we’ll use the gradient overlay on the “paper” layer. So right click on the “paper” layer and go to Blending Options. Check the Gradient Overlay and use these options:
And the Gradient Overlay options:
And this is how your layers panel should look like:
9. The Paper Curl Effect
I hope that instructions in this tutorial were written clearly enough. If you succeeded you should now have a paper curl effect, something like the picture below.
If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply.