Quick Ripped Edge Effects in Photoshop

Written by carla jean mckinney
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Quick Ripped Edge Effects in Photoshop
Photoshop tools quickly create ripped and torn paper effects. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Vintage borders with the look of ripped paper can be quickly created in Adobe Photoshop CS through CS5, using either basic Photoshop tools alone or a scanned image of torn paper layered into a Photoshop document and edited using blending and opacity options. The ripped paper effect can be applied to any image in Photoshop and, depending on the width and texture of the ripped effect, can echo the look of old letters, street grunge or parchment.

Quick Mask and Filters

Photoshop's "Quick mask" tool and "Filter" options create a ripped paper edge in a few steps. The selection tool is used to define the working area of the image and establish the width of the torn paper edge and "Quick mask" is applied. From the "Filters" menu, choose "Sketch>torn edges." From this dialogue box, adjust the settings for the width and roughness of the effect, close the box and exit "Quick mask." With the original selection still active, select "Inverse" to apply the effect outside the selection and click "Delete." The ripped edge effect will appear along the borders of the image.

Scanning and Blending

Another option for creating a ripped paper effect involves real ripped paper, which can be torn to the desired dimensions, scanned and imported to an existing Photoshop document. The scanned image is then copied to its own layer, which can be moved above or below other layers in the document for the desired effect. Using "Opacity" adjustments and the "Blending options" available in "Layer styles," the ripped paper look can be integrated into the document.

The Eraser Tool

Photoshop's "Eraser" tool can be combined with adjustments to the canvas to create a torn edge effect. After duplicating the background layer, add extra space around the image by enlarging the canvas area by 100 pixels or more, depending on the size of the desired effect. Select "Eraser" from the tools menu. With a rough-edged brush of the desired size and shape, erase around the edges of this layer, adjusting as necessary for opacity and stroke.

Lasso and Fill

The "Lasso" tool can be used to create a ragged piece of "paper" in a document. With the "Lasso," draw a selection around the edges of the document, creating a ragged edge across the centre. On a new layer, fill the selection with colour; this creates the torn edge. Create a "Work path" along this edge and fine-tune a rough brush selection in the "Brushes" menu to create detailed texture in the ripped edge for a realistic paper effect. Paper textures can also imported and blended for a more elaborate ripped paper look.

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