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Wood Frame Surf Ad

This effect I saw, once again, in a magazine ad. It was an advertisement for beach sandals. I was really drawn to the wood frame effect and liked the whole surfer feel of the ad. Once you see how easy it is to create this effect, you’ll really see how much fun you can have configuring the wood frame in different ways. Plus, it just looks cool!


To start building the wood frame, we’ll use a stock image of some wood planks that have a sort of aged look that will work perfectly for this design. Plus, there are several planks, which will give us some variation. Start by getting the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) from the Toolbox. Then, draw a selection over any one of the planks in the image. Here, I chose the fourth one from the left. Once the selection is made, press Command-C (PC: Ctrl-C) to Copy it.



Press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) and create a new document that is 14 inches wide by 7 inches tall at 125 ppi. Then, press Command-V (PC: Ctrl-V) to Paste the wood plank selection in the new document. Press Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T) to go into Free Transform mode, Right-click inside the bounding box, and choose Rotate 90º CW to rotate the plank, making it horizontal.


Move the plank to the top edge of the canvas, then press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key (to scale the object from the center), click on the right-middle control handle, and drag to stretch the plank to the right edge of the canvas. The left side will scale at the same time. Then, release the Option key, click on the bottom-middle control handle, and drag it up slightly to make the wood plank a little thinner. Press Return (PC: Enter) to lock in your transformation.


Now, repeat the last few steps to add a different plank from the source file to the bottom of the working layout, like I have here.


Use the same process to add three more different vertical planks to the layout—one on each end and another about 9 inches from the left side. In the Layers panel, move the vertical plank layers beneath the horizontal plank layers. When all the planks are in place, Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) on each plank layer to select them all, then Right-click on one of the layers and choose Convert to Smart Object from the pop-up menu to merge them all into a smart object.


Now open the other wood grain file (shown here), press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to select the entire image, then copy-and-paste it into the working layout. Once it’s there, move its layer beneath the wood plank Smart Object layer, and then position this wood grain in the rectangle area on the right side of the image. Go into Free Transform mode and scale it, if necessary, to fit it in the area.



Let’s apply a color effect to the wood grain with a simple layer style. Click on the Add a Layer Style icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Color Overlay. Click on the color swatch, choose R: 36, G: 79, B: 63, and click OK in the Color Picker to get a cool green color. Then, set the Blend Mode to Color and click OK.


Open the surfer image, which we’ll add to the other side of the layout. Copy-and-paste the image into your working layout and, in the Layers panel, move the surfer layer beneath the wood grain layer. Go into Free Transform, if needed, and scale and position it within the frame on the left side as I have here.



Let’s create some depth between the surfer and wood grain images and the wood plank frame by adding a basic Drop Shadow layer style. Click back on the wood plank Smart Object layer in the Layers panel, then click on the Add a Layer Style icon and choose Drop Shadow. Use the settings shown here and click OK.

STEP 10:

Using the same process we used for the initial wood plank frame, follow the first few steps of this project again to create another wood plank frame element, like I have here. Then, just like before, convert it to a smart object and position it over the surfer image to the left of the green wood grain area (but make sure it appears beneath the original wood plank and wood grain layers in the Layers panel). This is going to contain the product logo. (Note: I included the wood grain layer this time, which I added a black Color Overlay layer style to, when I converted the wood plank layers into a smart object.) To finish this new element off, add the same Drop Shadow layer style that we just added to the wood plank frame by Option-clicking (PC: Alt-clicking) on the Drop Shadow layer style beneath the original wood plank frame layer and dragging it to the new frame layer. This will copy it to the new frame layer.

STEP 11:

Now we are ready to add the product for our ad. Since we’re creating a surf-style ad, it seems like the right setting for some beach footwear. Here, we’ll use a generic product shot of a pair of flip-flops, which will work well for this layout. Select the flip-flops by getting the Quick Selection tool (W) from the Toolbox and then painting over them. Once they’re selected, press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selection up onto a new layer. Extracting from a white background like this will often leave little artifacts around the edges. To get rid of them, just go under the Layer menu, to the very bottom, under Matting, and choose Defringe. You really don’t need to set the Width to anything more than 1 or 2, but go ahead and enter 3 for good measure and click OK.


STEP 12:

Press Command-J again to duplicate this layer, and then remove the color by pressing Command-Shift-U (PC: Ctrl-Shift-U). Change the desaturated layer’s blend mode to Soft Light and drop the Opacity to 75%. This will boost the contrast and make the colors pop a little more.

STEP 13:

Press Command-E (PC: Ctrl-E) to merge this layer with the original beneath it. Then, Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) on the merged layer’s thumbnail to select it, and copy-and-paste this layer into the working layout. Place the product image at the top of the layer stack and use Free Transform to decrease its size, as you see here, then add a Drop Shadow layer style using the settings shown here as a finishing touch. Notice that I have the Drop Shadow Blend Mode set to Color Burn, which greatly saturates the colors in the shadow, giving it a more stylized look.

STEP 14:

Now, let’s add a couple more planks to finish off the design. Go back to the original wood plank image we started with and grab the Rectangular Marquee tool again. Draw a selection over the second plank from the right and then press Command-C (PC: Ctrl-C) to Copy the selected area.

STEP 15:

Go to the Channels panel (under the Window menu) and click on the Create New Channel icon at the bottom of the panel. With the selection still active, press Command-V (PC: Ctrl-V) to Paste the selection into the channel, then press Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to Deselect.

STEP 16:

Now, get the Gradient tool (G) from the Toolbox and then, in the Options Bar, click on the down-facing arrow next to the gradient thumbnail and choose the Foreground to Transparent gradient (the second gradient from the left in the top row) from the Gradient Picker. Make sure the Linear Gradient icon is selected (the first icon to the right of the gradient thumbnail) and change the blend Mode to Overlay. With your Foreground color set to black, starting at the top of the plank, click-and-drag the gradient down just a little bit. With the Gradient tool in Overlay mode, the edge will have more contrast than normal. Click-and-drag two or three more times to increase the contrast, making the edge more frayed. Do this same thing to the bottom edge of the plank, as well.

STEP 17:

Next, open the Levels dialog by pressing Command-L (PC: Ctrl-L), then raise the contrast so much that it forces the plank to mostly white. Here, I dragged the Input Levels highlights (white) slider all the way to the left and dragged the Input Levels shadows (black) slider just a little bit to the right. Pay close attention to the top and bottom edges of the plank—you should see them get sharper. There might be some small black lines that appear on the plank, but they are not a big deal.

STEP 18:

Click on the RGB composite channel at the top of the Channels panel, then from the Select menu, choose Load Selection. Make sure the Alpha 1 channel we just created is selected in the Channel pop-up menu and click OK.

STEP 19:

Press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selected area to a new layer. Then, click on the Eye icon to the left of the Background layer to turn it off and see the new plank with frayed edges. If necessary, you can increase the density by duplicating the layer two or three times, then merging them all back together into one layer. To give the plank a different color, open the Hue/Saturation dialog by pressing Command-U (PC: Ctrl-U). Turn on the Colorize checkbox, set the Hue to 45 and the Saturation to 50, and click OK.

STEP 20:

Now, bring this new element into the layout, go into Free Transform, resize it, rotate it, and use it as a surface for the text to sit on. I simply used the same element in both cases here, by making a duplicate of the layer and rotating it just slightly for variation. Then, I added a Drop Shadow layer style to them using the settings shown here. Finally, I added a logo and some text to finish it off, as you’ll see in the final image. (I used the fonts Futura, Myriad Pro, and Mama Regular. Oh, and in case you were wondering, “Sörf” is Turkish for “Surf”.)

Final Image

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