Photo Effect Photoshop

How to Create a Picture Puzzle Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a picture puzzle effect in Photoshop. This photo effect is easy to create, though it will require you to use the Pen Tool so I will be assuming that you are familiar with it. Here’s the photo effect we’ll be creating:

Picture Puzzle Effect

To create a picture puzzle effect, you’ll need:

  • Any recent version of Photoshop

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Original

Duplicate the background layer by pressing Command+J (Macs) / Ctrl+J (Windows).

 Picture Puzzle Effect Duplicate

Name the duplicate layer “Puzzle” to make things easy for us.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Puzzle Layer

Step 2

Add a new layer between the Puzzle layer and background layer by command-clicking (Macs) / ctrl-clicking (Windows) on the New Layer option.

 Picture Puzzle Effect New Layer

 Picture Puzzle Effect New Layer Result

This layer will serve as the background for our picture puzzle effect. I will be filling it with black for now by going to Edit > Fill and using the settings shown below.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Fill Black

 Picture Puzzle Effect Fill Black Result

We’ll name this new layer as “Background color”.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Background Color Layer

Step 3

We will now start creating our puzzle pieces, so first select the Puzzle layer.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Select Puzzle

To create the puzzle effect, we will use a texture that comes with Photoshop but isn’t loaded by default. So, we will load it first and then use it. To do so, go to Filter > Texture > Texturizer, click on the small arrow beside the Texture option and select Load Texture.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Load Texture

The texture we want is usually saved where you installed Photoshop. On Windows, it is usually found in the C: drive. Open the C: drive and then go to Program Files > Adobe > Photoshop. On a Mac, the Photoshop folder is found in the Applications directory.

After opening the Photoshop folder, go to Presets > Textures, choose the Puzzle texture and click on Load.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Puzzle Texture

Use the settings shown below in the Texturizer dialog box.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Texturizer

 Picture Puzzle Effect Texturizer Result Picture

Step 4

We have the basic effect now, but we will take things a step further by removing some pieces. To do so, select the Pen Tool and choose the Paths option in the Options Bar.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Paths

Draw a path around one of the pieces. It doesn’t matter what piece you choose.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Pen Tool

Turn this path into a selection by pressing Command+Return (Macs) / Ctrl+Enter (Windows).

 Picture Puzzle Effect Selection

Move this selection onto a new layer by going to Layer > New > Layer via Cut and name the layer “First puzzle piece”.

 Picture Puzzle Effect First Puzzle Piece

Press Command+T (Macs) / Ctrl+T (Windows) to enter Free Transform and rotate and move the piece slightly to make it look like it is about to be snapped into place.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Free Transform

To make it look like the piece is actually placed above the puzzle, we will add a drop shadow. Click on the Layer Style option and select Drop Shadow from the list that appears.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Drop Shadow

Use the settings shown below.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Drop Shadow Options

 Picture Puzzle Effect Drop Shadow Result

Step 5

We will now remove one of the pieces completely. Select the Puzzle layer and using the Pen Tool, draw a path around a different piece.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Path

Turn this path into a selection by pressing Command+Return (Macs) / Ctrl+Enter (Windows).

 Picture Puzzle Effect Path Into Selection

Press Delete to remove the puzzle piece.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Delete

Remove the selection by pressing Command+D (Macs) / Ctrl+D (Windows).

 Picture Puzzle Effect Remove Selection

Step 6

Continue moving and deleting some more puzzle pieces like we did before.

 Picture Puzzle Effect Pieces

Step 7

This step is optional, but I will give my photo an interesting border by deleting the pieces along the edges. To do so, draw a path around the inside edges of the puzzle using the Pen Tool.

 Path Edges

Turn this path into a selection by pressing Command+Return (Macs) / Ctrl+Enter (Windows).

 Path Edges Selection

Invert this selection by going to Select > Inverse.


And press Delete.

 Delete Selection

Step 8

I don’t quite like the background color, so I will be changing it to white by selecting the “Background color” layer, going to Edit > Fill and using the settings shown below.

 Fill White

 Fill White Result

Step 9

If you decided to use white as your background color, you could also add a drop shadow to the puzzle effect. Select the Puzzle layer, click on the Layer Style option and select Drop Shadow.

 Main Puzzle Drop Shadow

Use the settings shown below.

 Main Puzzle Drop Shadow Options

And we’re done! The picture puzzle effect is complete!

 Picture Puzzle Effect

About the author

Tabish Shaikh

Website designer, website developer, blogger and a writer. These are the things I like, love and live for. Having years of experience in each field. Developing sites since childhood. Getting the most complicated things done is my specialty. Providing each and everything of top most quality to each and every client.

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