How to Make a Folded Paper Edge in Photoshop

Written by kenneth setzer
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How to Make a Folded Paper Edge in Photoshop
The folded paper edge can be applied to any kind of image. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A folded paper edge effect can be created in Photoshop in a few minutes but will look like it required lots of work to achieve. Use this effect to make an image appear three-dimensional with a corner curled up. The folded edge is especially nice to use on a photograph in a scrapbook or digital photo album.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Photoshop

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  1. 1

    Open a photo, illustration or drawing inside Photoshop. Decide which edge you want to appear folded. For this article, we are going to fold the lower-right corner of an image.

    Type the M key to choose the Rectangular Marquee tool and drag across the lower-right corner of your image to select a small, vertical rectangle. It may take experimenting since every image is different, but the height of the selected rectangle should be slightly less than one-quarter, or even one-fifth, the height of your image.

    How to Make a Folded Paper Edge in Photoshop
    You can create a folded edge for your photos and images in minutes. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Double-click on the layer containing your image to change it from a locked Background image into a regular layer. An options box will appear when you double-click the Background layer. Click OK to accept the default settings.

    How to Make a Folded Paper Edge in Photoshop
    Double-click the Background layer to convert it into a regular layer. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  3. 3

    Your rectangular selection should still be active at this point. Set your foreground colour to white and your background colour to black. You can do this by typing the D key, which will set the default of a black foreground and white background. Now type the X key to switch the colours, so your foreground is white and background is black.

  4. 4

    Type the G key to activate the Gradient Tool from the toolbar. Make sure the options for the Gradient Tool are set to Foreground to Background, and Linear Gradient as the type of gradient you will be drawing. The other settings can be left as is, except for Reverse, which should be unchecked.

    Draw with the Gradient Tool from the top-left corner of your rectangular selection to the bottom-right corner. The selection should now appear to go from black in the top-left corner to white in the bottom-right corner.

    How to Make a Folded Paper Edge in Photoshop
    Drawing a simple black and white gradient helps create a realistic folded edge. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Close your selection by typing the control and D keys (command and D on a Mac), or by going to the Select drop-down menu and choosing Deselect.

    Now type control and T and you will be able to transform your image. Before going further, right-click anywhere on the image (control + click on a Mac) and choose Warp from the transform options. You will then see a grid appear over your image, which tells you that the Warp transform is active. Now click on the bottom-right corner of your image and drag to the left and slightly up. This is what creates the actual "folded paper edge" effect.

  6. 6

    Double-click on your layer, which will open the Layer Effects options. Choose Drop Shadow. The default settings are fine, but, depending on how much shadow you want to create, you can play with the settings until you are satisfied. This last step really brings the folded edge effect to life.

    How to Make a Folded Paper Edge in Photoshop
    A shadow helps create the appearance of depth. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • Use the image you've "folded" on a background like a table or other setting where a folded paper would really appear.
  • Use this effect in a digital scrapbook to create the appearance of real paper in an actual photo or scrapbook.
  • Always work on a copy of your image in case you do not like your results and cannot reverse the effect.

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