The Beginners Guide to Special Effects


Photoshop can help you craft impossible scenes and fantastic images. Start your creative journey and follow along as we put together two conceptual composite images–from start to finish.


  • 8 Sample Images


Table of Contents

Beginners Guide to Special Effects: The Light
  • 01 - Introduction to Special Effects & Planning an Edit
  • 02 - Selections & Object Removal
  • 03 - Advanced Coloring
  • 04 - Blending Effects with the Brush Tool
  • 05 - Exposure Adjustments & Color Toning
Beginners Guide to Special Effects: Breaking the Mold
  • 01 - Introduction to Special Effects & Planning the Edit
  • 02 - Reshaping with the Liquify Tool
  • 03 - Realistic Transformation Effects
  • 04 - Finishing Touches

Beautiful Special Effects Start Here.

Blend and Composite

Learn the secrets to compositing and blending multiple photos together to create seamless, stunning effects. From start to finish, you will see how each image is adjusted and combined using Photoshop.

Make Perfect Cutouts

Follow along as we explain the correct tools and techniques to cut out subjects for their image. Learn how to use the Pen Tool to create paths and turn the paths into selections. Create incredible selections and speed up your background cleanup.

Add, Subtract and Create Selections

Refine your images by removing unwanted distractions. Master multiple techniques that will allow you to remove literally anything leaving only the focal points you decide.

Bonus Pen Tool Video

Sometimes the best way to create advanced selections is on your own using the Pen Tool. This Phlearn PRO Tutorial includes a Bonus Pen Tool Video with in-depth instructions.

Put Your Imagination to Work

If you can dream it, you can make it. Follow along and create two fantastic images using the powerful tools and techniques in Photoshop.

Perfect Color Match

Create the most believable composite image by matching the colors perfectly. Learn how to adjust the colors separately between shadows, midtones and highlights to create an accurate and realistic color match.

Dodge and Burn

Learn how to dodge and burn in new ways to help blend images together. Alter the highlights and shadows to create extra details in specific areas. Use what you learn to add style and interest to any image.

Sharpen the Details

Learn how to selectively sharpen different areas of the image to draw attention to where it’s needed. Usually, the subject of the photo should be a bit sharper than the rest of the image to catch the viewer’s eye. The most subtle details can make the greatest impact.

Retouch, Quick and Simple

Learn time-saving techniques to significantly speed up your retouching process. Follow along and learn how to easily color-match skin tones from different areas of the body to give any subject a more uniform look.


  1. Very nice tutorial! Thanks!

  2. awesome video!!!!

  3. Awesome tutorial and I feel like I learned a lot of things from it!

  4. (verified owner)

    Awesome tutorial. Thats my result 🙂

  5. this tutorial is more enough to the beginners…………but little things want more effectively

  6. I think this is fantastic tutorial! Thank you!

  7. I have just start looking at this guide and i am very impressed.

  8. More great tutorials. The hand painting was challenging with a mouse but I wanted to try even though I have a tablet as well.

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