Overview: My Tutorials

28 min read

Deviation Actions

kuschelirmel-stock's avatar

This is an overview of the Photomanipulation / Photoshop Tutorials available in my Gallery. Some are a little old (still using PS7), but the principles are still valid (even though some of the really old ones may seem outdated aesthetically). Generally, the further down in each list, the newer the tutorials. Tutorials with this symbol youtube Icon  are video tutorials - the newer ones can also be found on my youtube channel.

As of April 2018, I have my own website artofkuschelirmel.de where I will host all my tutorials in the future - I will also upload previews here, but on the BLOG everything will be up first :aww: So if you like, hop on over and if you are feeling super generous , I'd love to see you comment there, too. So far, there is no mailinglist or anything yet (gotta set everything up first, see how it goes), but maybe that'll come in time for those of you who want to keep up to date.

There are now also photography and stock/resources providing guides listed below the manip ones :aww:

At the bottom, you will also find a list of possible future tutorials, a collection of ideas. If you have something I could add to this list, do feel free to comment and let me know!

If you want to get a reminder each time I update this list, please tell me in a comment - I'll create a list of people at the bottom and you should be then notified via the mentions system :love:

Photoshop / Photomanipulation Tutorials Overview

Note that some tutorials would fit in more than one category, but I chose not to repeat them!

For Beginners

If you are new to Photoshop / Photomanipulation, this is where you can start to get "into the groove".

Photomanipulation Basics:

These are tutorials that deal with different aspects of photomanipulation giving you a set of techniques you can use in your manips no matter what kind of manip you want to do (dark, realistic, abstract, textured, etc).

Basics: Cutting / Extracting / Masking / Selections / Blending

  • Layer Masks Explained: Oh the power of the layer mask! No more erasing and having to start over in case of mistakes! This is one of the most essential things to know when you want to create manips!
  • Blending Images: How to blend several images together and how to make sure they fit in the first place.
  • Quick Selections in Photoshop: Shows how to use the Magic Wand and Quick Selection Tools in Photoshop - some basics plus some tips & tricks. Video Tutorial.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Pen Tool: Clean cuts is the specialty of using the pen tool. It's not as hard as it may look in the beginning.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Hair: A quick way to get dark hair on light backgrounds isolated.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Blending & Stitching: Photoshop has some great features (especially in the newer versions) that will help you blend images and stitch them together, but as with most automated things, they have their limits. I'm going to show you a few automated features, such as "Align Images", "Blend Images", "Photomerge" and "Content Aware Fill" as well as ways to do those things manually and how to fix their shortcomings, such as spots that are off, using the Patch and Clone Stamp Tools for example.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Cutting Techniques: Layer Masks with gradients for smooth transitions; Lasso Tool for fast cutting; The Easy Ways: :bulletwhite: Magic Wand :bulletwhite: Quick Mask :bulletwhite: Refine Edge / Refine Mask; Pen Tool for precise cuts; Layer Masks with brushes, filters, etc when it has to be fluffy
  • Depth of Field Photomanipulation Parts ONE and TWO: You have probably all seen it done without knowing the technical term for it: that "blurry background / blurry foreground thing" that can help you get some depth into your manip. The technical term - Depth of Field - describes the part of a photograph that is in focus while the camera renders everything outside the DoF as blurry. In this tutorial, I am trying to teach you how the effect comes about in classic photography (without going into too much detail - the photographers present are asked to excuse this), what you need to look out for in terms of pitfalls and how to use Photoshop tools to simulate the effect.
  • youtube Icon "Easter" Step-by-Step Part 1: video tutorial with the main focus on some cutting techniques, going beyond what was explained in the previous tutorials. It shows how to use the pen tool, but also how to handle layer and vector masks to their best advantage as well as how to combine different cutting methods.
  • Winter Wonderland (Background) Tutorial: this one is about backgrounds and useful tools / methods to create them -- but of course those methods can be easily used for the rest of the image, too. Tips & Tricks for Pen Tool, Smart Objects, Blending,...

Basics: Image Corrections / Digital Darkroom Techniques

  • Correcting Lense Distortions: When a very wide angle lense is used, there often are distortions in the resulting image like bending lines. This shows you how to fix this as well as other distortons that can occur.
  • youtube Icon Curves and Adjustment Layers: Video tutorial showing how to use the Curves feature as well as how to add adjustment layers. This is mostly about colour adjustments and contrast.
  • youtube Icon Retouching Techniques: learn how to remove unwanted objects (and people), how to straighten your images quick and easy as well as what to do about lens distortions.

Basics: Stock Choice

  • Stock Tutorial: shoot - process - use: Explains the "dos and don'ts" of stock photography for deviantArt stock and offers some practical advice for stock photographers while at the same time offering a way for manippers to find "good quality stock".

Basics: Colour / Lighting / Atmosphere / Blending

  • Setting a Mood parts ONE & TWO: A video tutorial from 2008 showing how to add atmosphere to an image. Not quite up to my methods any more, but the principles I use are still the same.
  • Layer Masks & Colour Gradients: Is all about using masks and gradients to set a mood in your image, plus some added texture work on top.
  • The Lighting Tutorial parts ONE & TWO: Part 1 deals with the basics, like what should your manip look like before you start, which stock is the most suitable and which questions you should answer before you even start. It shows you how you can add the bigger shadows using gradients and how you can adjust an object's colour to better fit with its environment in a very quick-and-easy way. Part 2 covers overall lighting and colourizing before showing a different method of setting highlights and shadows than "just painting them in" thus giving you a starting point so you don't have to paint in everything from scratch. Also, it touches on how to get those "really glowy" highlights.
  • youtube Icon Advanced Lighting: In this video tutorial I show you how I did the lighting for Beneath the Tulips. Including Adjustment Layers, Colour Gradients, Shadows & Highlights, Lense Flare, Glow and Finishing Touches.
  • youtube Icon "Easter" Step-by-Step Part 2: Some basic lighting and blending techniques are explained here as well as in part 1 which can help you set a mood for your manips quickly and easily.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Photomanipulation Workflow: how to avoid one of the most common mistakes in manips by keeping to a certain sequence in your workflow.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks - Glow Effect: Give your manips that certain extra with a little glow!
  • Manip Tips & Tricks - Shadows: Where do I put these shadows and how? My attempt at an answer.
  • youtube Icon Adding Make Up In Photoshop: Learn how to add make-up in Photoshop.
  • :new: youtube Icon Glow Video Tutorial - Photomanip Walkthrough: how to use the glow technique shown in one of my earlier written tutorials to light a scene with two or more different light sources - long walkthrough!
  • :new: youtube Icon Tutorial Camera RAW for Photomanipulation: change the atmosphere of an image completely using the CameraRAW filter

Basics: Textures / Brushes

Effect Tutorials

This is the "How do I do this" section of my tutorials. These tutorials are not about using a specific tool, but rather on how to achieve a specific effect or look.

  • Colour Isolation: How to isolate a specific colour in a photo and then turn the rest black and white. Old (2005) but useful.
  • Tech Shapes & Accessories: At the time this tutorial was made (2005), there was a heavy use of scan lines, hexagons and other "tech shapes" in wallpapers and signatures. This tutorial gives some insight into what you can do with photoshop shapes and patterns.
  • Crack & Peel: Adding a cracked texture to make skin seem cracked and peeling off - perfect for zombies!
  • Flood It: Learn how to flood some ancient ruins step-by-step as seen in "Flooded". Also take a look at how people have flooded their own ruins / landscapes / basements / etc here: Flood it Collection.
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Over-Painting Hair: This is no longer the result I would be satisfied with, but my basic technique for hair retouching is still the same, so it stays (for now).
  • Manip Tips & Tricks: Creating Fire: I've been asked how I create believable fire as seen in my image On Fire, so here are some pointers and my method of adding flames. Also take a look at what others have done here: Creating Fire Collection.
  • :new: youtube Icon That Painted Look - photomanip walkthrough: almost 2 hours of working on my DD awarded image Poison condensed into 45 minutes with commentary - and some tangents ;)


A walkthrough is not a tutorial as such, because its purpose is to show how a specific piece was made without teaching every step. This also means that the deviations they deal with are not meant to be recreated one-on-one.

  • Mercury Walkthrough: even though it's from 2006, "Mercury" is still one of my faves and this is the walkthrough for it. Teaches something about blending and textures mostly.
  • Walthrough "Perspective" parts ONE - TWO - THREE: explains the steps to one of my earlier images "A Change of Perspective" in great detail. It's a rather abstract piece using photorealistic elements and textures to create a surreal feel.
  • Memories Walkthrough: the deviation this one belongs to is no longer online, but even though it's a little outdated aesthetically, it may still help you get that blended look that is stil / was popular for wallpapers.
  • Frozen Valley Guide: A recap of how I did "Frozen Valley". It's mainly about combining the elements and finding the right colours.
  • Walkthrough The Cathedral: explains how one of my favourite images "The Cathedral" came about, focusing on some of the steps in more detail and thus providing some practical tips as well as an insight into how I work.
  • Red Riding Hood Walkthrough parts ONE & TWO: Very thorough walkthrough on "Red Riding Hood". Includes Starting the manip & a trick on cutting out stock; blending and setting an atmosphere; adding an object after you've already started blending the rest; correcting the skin - Adjusting the background to fit the light; adjusting the composition; making her glow in the backlight; adding a second light source to the basket
  • The Call Walkthrough: This one is a glimpse into the creation of "The Call". It gives some insights into stock choice as well as lighting corrections.
  • Dark Wings, Dark Words Evolution: Shows the though process behind "Dark Wings, Dark Words". It's primary focus is to show that I often change my mind when I see that something doesn't fit the way I thought it would when I chose the stock.
  • youtube Icon Witches Walkthrough part 01, part 02 and part 03: A complete manip on video (sped up, don't worry) with audio commentary (of course) and notes on the sides to make the individual steps easier to follow.
    • Part 1 is mainly about choosing stock, what to keep in mind when putting your manip together (perspective, light etc) and how to not get frustrated when you try a million different things. Also, I show you how to add mist in the background and fire under the cauldron.
    • Part 2 is about using Smart Objects to your advantage, precise cutting techniques and colour changes as well as the basic lighting of your scene.
    • Part 3 talks about finishing lighting and lighting effects as well as how to create depth in your manips.
  • youtube Icon Water Magic Advanced Lighting: This is a recording of how I did the lighting in my deviation Water Magic - it shows some more elaborate lighting than my previous Advanced Lighting tutorials.
  • youtube Icon Making of "Defense": Time lapse video of the complete process of creating Defense with additional annotations to explain what is going on (no audio).
  • :new: youtube Icon Glow Tutorial - Photomanipulation Walkthrough: Learn how to put light and shadow according to multiple light sources, how to change the colour of fire, how to add a ball of fire to someone's hand as well as how to make it glow! With added bits and pieces about workflow, retouching, hair, cropping and depth of field.

Time Lapse Videos

These are simply recordings of my screen while I was creating an image. They are sped up so you can for example get a 5 hour manip into 5 or 10 minutes. They come without audio and without explanations, just offering a glimpse "behind the scenes":

Web Design / Layout / Image Formats / Animation (GIFs)

At the moment, some of these are pretty old and could definitely use a remake.

  • Weblayout: Slicing: Slicing is when you cut up a complete design in order to be able to code it properly. Please note that at the time of writing this, I was using PS7 for which all web-layout related things were done in ImageReady - in newer Photoshop versions, the two programmes were combined into Photoshop.
  • Save for Web - JPG / PNG / GIF: Is mainly about the different image types and when to choose which. Please note that at the time of writing this, I was using PS7 for which all web-layout related things were done in ImageReady - in newer Photoshop versions, the two programmes were combined into Photoshop.
  • Animation: Teaches how to create animated GIFs. Please note that at the time of writing this, I was using PS7 for which all web-layout related things were done in ImageReady - in newer Photoshop versions, the two programmes were combined into Photoshop.
  • Borders for Everyone: A guide on how to add different kinds of borders to images.
  • Adding Borders in Photoshop: A video tutorial explaining how to add borders - a little more extensive than the written guide above.
  • Stock Pack Template Tutorial: explains how to create a cover for a stock pack showing off multiple images in one plus some additional information.


Tutorials that didn't fit into the categories above.

  • Photoshop English - German: A translation of the commands from english to German. Probably a bit outdated, but better than nothing.
  • Circles and Actions: Actions are replayable sequences of steps: you record what you are doing and on the push of a button, Photoshop plays those steps back. In this tutorial, I use the random generation of concentric circles (which can be used as a design element) to show how to record your own action.
  • Basic Vexel Tutorial: A tutorial made in 2006 on how to create a simple vexel (cross between a vector and a pixel image) from an existing photo.

Photomanipulation Articles from my Art Account

I also have some articles I want to share with you even though they were published at kuschelirmel instead of here:

  • Photomanips for Beginners: An article about what photomanipulation is and what you need to try it - and on the ever so important issue of "where do I get pictures to play with?"
  • Of Copyright & Premades Is an article that strives to explain what copyright means, who it protects and that simply putting work into something will not make using something without permission okay.
  • Know Your Basics: Colour Theory: Most of us have heard about Colour Theory - be it in school or on dA or as a term thrown about by someone somewhere. But what exactly is it? And how do you use it? This is what this article is striving to explain especially in regards to photomanipulation.
  • Know your Basics: Composition: The Rule of Thirds is another one of those expressions that you have probably heard before somewhere but aren't quite sure what it means. This article strives to shed some light on this rule as well as on how to use lines and shapes in your compositions to lead the viewer's eye to the important bits. There are some compositional rules and pointers that no artist should go without knowing!
  • Know your Basics: Perspective: Perspective comes in different forms, the most obvious & basic of which is the use of the word in relation to the appearance of relative orientation in a three dimensional space. At first, it may seem irrelevant to photomanipulators, (because, hey, the photographs already are perspectively sound,) but putting more than one photograph in context requires that you learn to see what makes sense and what doesn't.
  • Know Your Basics: Textures: There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to create / photograph texture as well as how to use them on a technical level, but the question of why and when to use textures is rarely touched. This article wants to fill that gap and therefore looks at texures from a slightly different perspective.

Photography / Stock & Resource Tutorials Overview

Note that some tutorials here are repeated from the manip section as they include both manip advice as well as photography knowledge. For postprocessing tutorial, please look above, they are filed under manipulation.

Providing Stock - a Beginner's Guide [article series]

If you are new to providing resources, this is where you get a kick-start.

  • Part 01: Introduction & Note on Copyright
  • Part 02: What should I put online? incl. Subject Choice | Dealing with Abuse | Technical Basics for Stock Images | Lighting setup | Tips and tricks on getting the most out of your camera | Post-processing images
  • Part 3: Stock Rules incl. Where to keep the Stock Rules? | What to put in your Rules | Refining as you go along 
  • Part 04: Uploading your stock to dA incl. Packs or Singles | Making sure people remember it's your stock | Upload choices | The right category | Keywords | Artist's Comment | Organizing your Gallery [coming soon]
  • Part 05: Premium Content incl. How to sell Stock | What information not to forget to give [coming soon]

Photography Guides

Some basics on Photography - geared towards stock providers, but most certainly useful for other photographers as well.

  • Photography Quick Guide: Focus & Depth of Field: quick guide on focus and depth of field and how to use those to their advantage.
  • Depth of Field Tutorial: originally geared towards photomanipulators, but to get the effect in a manip, you should have a basic understanding of how this effect comes to pass "in the real world". So here you go: the basics on "that blurry background".

Stock Basics:

  • Stock Tutorial: shoot - process - use: Explains the "dos and don'ts" of stock photography for deviantArt stock and offers some practical advice for stock photographers while at the same time offering a way for manippers to find "good quality stock".

Collection of Tutorial ideas

I recently made a journal about why/how I sometimes hit a brick wall trying to think of a topic for a new tutorial. You can read it here. The list below is partially derived from that, partially from my own ideas. Nothing here is fixed, so just because it's on the list doesn't mean it's going to happen, but if it's not on the list... well, you get the idea. So if you have some more suggestions, do feel free to comment!

  • Just remember: I do my photomanips with photoshop, so that is what I can teach, nothing else. Also note that doing a complete walkthrough of one of my manips is very difficult for me, so if you want to know how I did something, please be specific so I know what to concentrate on Aww
  • For a sample of my art, please visit kuschelirmel Heart

The List:

  • Depth of Field aka. "that blur effect" DONE!
  • Overview of techniques to get more depth into a photomanipulation
    - in part in the Witches Walkthrough Part 3

  • Realistic blood
  • Night photo effects
  • Atmosphere in backgrounds (for example if you want to use just a plain forest bg, how to get it to look more gloomy, cheerful or even whimsical)
  • Painting Tear Drops as seen in fav.me/d6hzeuy
  • Skin and Make-Up
  • How to Create the Smoke Effect seen in fav.me/d5gxqfr (ie: aside from the brush how do you make the smoke glow on edges?) DONE
  • Making something glow (lanterns for example) DONE
  • Displacement Maps
  • How to make something like this? wnison.deviantart.com/art/Spri…
  • Changing (hair) colours
  • Blending different things into skin (wood, water, roots,...)
  • Puppet Warp
  • Perspective
  • Realistic underwater scenes
  • Different ways of changing colours
  • Blend modes explained
  • Smart Objects

Thank you to all the suggesters so far:

:iconartysk: :iconinpbo: :iconjimo663: :icontinycasket: :iconchimeraartz: :icontallouh: :icontriziana: :iconshedboy68: :icontahti-bunny: :icontashirat: :iconczareenyj: 

List of people who want to get a mentions notification when i update:
(please comment if you want to be here, too)
:iconsummerlights97: :iconm-a-x---q: :iconadriaticacreation: :iconlupsiberg: :iconjasminira: :iconjiresa:

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dayasol's avatar

:+favlove: you very much for your tutorials they are amazing :glomp: