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Photoshop - Jigsaw

There are several ways to get this effect, some use actions, plug-ins, Custom Shape Tool etc. and it depends on whether you just want a single piece of a jigsaw or the whole effect. We'll do the latter and develop it to remove individual pieces etc. The finished effect is here.

1. Open up a suitable image (Google Images is a good place to start), or get your own image into Photoshop. For this tutorial to work, re-size your image to something like 900 x 525 px.

Just a bit of work before we get stuck in - it'll become apparent later.
With your image in Photoshop, go to SELECT...Select All. This will put marching ants around the image. Then go to EDIT...Copy and finally FILE...New. The New File dialog box with have the size of the existing image. For an image roughly the size as given above, add 200 pixels to both the width and the height and say OK. We are creating a background for the "jigsaw" to site on.

You should now have two "canvasses" on screen - the image we will make the jigsaw out of and a "base" on which the jigsaw will fit. Fill the base with any old color - we've used a pale green but this can always be changed later.

Making sure you can see a part of both images, click on the original picture and drag it onto the base image. Link the picture layer to the base as shown (right) and go to LAYER...Align Link...Vertical Centers and then LAYER...Align Link...Horizontal Centers. This will put the picture layer exactly in the middle of the base. At this stage, you can shut the original "picture", we've finished with it.

Jigsaw layers 1

2. Create a new layer above the two existing layers, name it Texture, fill with white and set this layer's blend mode to Multiply.

3. Change the Foreground Color to Black.

4. Ctrl + Click on the original picture layer (Layer 2 to the right) to get the marching ants going but make sure the Texture layer is active. Also keep the marching ants going until I say so!

Jigsaw layers 2

5. Go to FILTER...Texture...Craquelure and use the settings shown on the right.

6. Now go to FILTER...Brush Strokes...Crosshatch and use settings of:

  • Stroke Length = 11
  • Sharpness = 3
  • Strength =1

Not looking much like a jigsaw? Never mind. So far we've used a filter that you've probably never used before. Now, for the first time (for some of you), we're going to delve into your copy of Photoshop and look at some of the "Goodies" that ships with the program. Here we've used Photoshop 7 upon which all our tutorials are based. By now it's up to version CS3 and these later programs need quite a high spec. of PC - RAM being the most important.

By the way, while we're chatting, did you know that serious Photoshoppers have a separate hard drive just for Photoshop? This is because, during a Photoshop session every step you take is "recorded" and thus takes up memory. Another tip: keep going to EDIT...Purge...All during sessions. This will clear up much-needed RAM, especially where items are on the clipboard. It will also wipe your History, but at this stage you don't need that, do you?


Jigsaw-Craquelure filter

7. Making sure you're still on the background Layer (the bottom one) go to FILTER...Texture...Texturizer...Load Texture.

When you select "Load Texture", you will have to browse to where your copy of Photoshop 7 is installed. This is usually C: Drive and under Program Files.

Find Photoshop, open the folder and choose Presets and then Textures and finally puzzle. Use these settings:

  • Scaling 100%
  • Relief = 25%
  • Light direction = top right.
  • Invert off.

Note: The "Relief" setting is the most critical. You will see a preview in the box as you adjust the settings. As ever, the settings given are only a guide.

Now go to LAYER...Merge Down. This will merge the Texture layer with the "picture" layer. However, now we've lost sight of the base color. Go to SELECT...Inverse and hit the Del key.

Now you can deslect the marching ants!




Jigsaw Load Texture
8. Zoom in so you can see the segments of the jigsaw. We're going to select one of the segments. Usually the best way is to use the Freehand Lasso Tool Freehand Lasso Tool and very carefully pick around one of the segments.

9. Nearly there, but there's a bit of arty stuff still left. With the marching ants going around the segment you've carefully picked around, go to EDIT...Cut and then EDIT...Paste. The cutting will, literally have "cut" the segment out of the main jigsaw, the pasting will have put this individual segment on it's own layer.

10. Now go to EDIT...Transform...Rotate. Pick up one of the corner "handles" and spin it around by about 25°, hit the Return key to lose the bounding box, and with the Move Tool, move the segment off to the side.

In the image below, Layer 3 is the one with the individual segment on it. Press the Layer StylesLayer Styles button at the bottom of the layers palette. Here, I can't help you, we're going to choose Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss, but remeber for the Drop shadow, we had the light coming in from the top-right in the "Textures" step earlier.

Jigsaw layers 3

11. When you're happy with the shadow and emboss, right-click on the "effects" icon within Layer 3 (as above and select Copy Layer Style. Then click on Layer 2 to make it the active layer, right click on Layer 2 and select Paste Layer Style. The settings for the shadow and emboss you chose for the individual segment will have been applied to the main jigsaw.

And that's it. Keep zooming in, selecting individual segments, cutting and pasting them, and applying the layer style pasted from the original.and your result should be something like this. You will occasionally get a dialog when you try to cut a segment about this "being empty". Don't worry, you're just on the wrong layer - make sure Layer 2 is selected