Sharpfish Tutorials
Old Newspaper in Photoshop

Creating an old newspaper clipping from scratch in Adobe Photoshop 7.0
IMPORTANT NOTE: (4/25/06) This tutorial is rather out of date now. I've since switched to PS CS2. However, this tutorial is still applicable for newer versions of Photoshop.


Step 1 - Creating a new file

Open Photoshop and goto File -> New to create a new document. Set the size of the document to whatever you'd like, but make sure its height is more than its width. Here I'm using 350 x 450.

If you are going to using this image on the web, you should use 72 pixels/inch as your resolution. If you're using the image for print, choose 300 pixels/inch. It's important when making images to print that you choose a high resolution.


Step 2 - Make a new layer

Create a new layer by clicking the 'Insert New Layer' button. If you're into crazy organization like I am, you can give the layer a name. I'm naming mine 'newspaperbg'.



Step 3 - Create the base for your clipping

Choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool and make a selection the size of your intended piece of newspaper. Again, it should be taller than it should be wide. Using the Paint Bucket Tool, fill your selection (on the new layer) with the base colour of your paper. You can adjust this later, but for now choose whatever you'd like. I'm using a neutral beige colour.

Now you should have a plain rectangle filled with your colour. Looks exactly look old newpaper, doesn't it? Er, wait... no, it doesn't. But we're getting to that.




Step 4 - Fraying the edges

Now it's time to distress the paper. Choose the Lasso Tool and carefully make a selection that will define the edges of your paper. Once you have your selection, hit 'Delete' on your keyboard to clear the area you selected and give you a nice, choppy edge.

I do one side at a time and make some hard ridges, but the key here is to be subtle. Having a cut that goes three inches into your paper will just look weird, as will having the edge look like crocodile teeth. Keep your edges somewhat straight with just a little fray and the occasional small cut. Once you're done with all four edges, you should have something similar to this.



Step 5 - Lock the transparency

Next, lock the transparency of your newspaper layer using the Lock Transparency button. This will allow you to paint over your newspaper without any of your paint getting 'outside the lines'. Remember colouring books from when you were a kid? You didn't want your colours to go outside the lines and the same thing applies here. With the transparency lock on, you can draw all over the stage, but colour will only show up on your newspaper. Very useful setting.



Step 6 - Pyromania

Time to burn stuff. Select the Burn Tool and set it to about 25% exposure, with a 35 pixel size. Choose 'Shadows' as its range. Using one continuous, smooth motion, paint over the edge of your newspaper. Don't go over anything twice, no matter how tempted you are to make your burn darker. Have a little patience.


Step 7 - Detailing your burn

You should have a subtle burn along the outside of your paper now. Let's add a little more detail. Set your Burn Tool to about 15 pixel size and 35% exposure. Paint over the very edge of your paper until it's as dark or as light as you want it. In my opinion, it's best to be subtle... don't make the entire edge black but instead have areas where it's darker than others.

You should have something similar to this when you're finished. Now's a good time to go to Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation if you'd like to tweak your colours to exactly how you want them to look. You can make your newspaper brown or green or pink... whatever you want it to be. I'm leaving mine alone for this tutorial, but feel free to mess around with yours.


Step 8 - Finishing touches

You're just about done. All you need to do is add your text to your newspaper, making sure that you cut off any parts of your letters that extend beyond the edge of your paper. Your text will look nice and old if you turn the Layer Opacity down to about 70%, and then rasterize your text using Layer -> Rasterize. Once the text is rasterized, you can use the Eraser Tool to erase bits and pieces of it so it looks nice and distressed.

You can go even further and add a new layer on top of the text where you can use brushes and overlays to make it look really messed up.

Here's my finished product:


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