How to Create a Torn Piece of Paper on Adobe Photoshop

You might have seen a ‘torn’ paper effect on print and digital advertisements, or posters. You can make this yourself too for any of you work, including an advertisement, a card, or even something as small as a bookmark. You can use the graphics program Adobe Photoshop to make a torn piece of paper. The steps are very simple and easy. Just follow them in the same order as mentioned below to get the perfect output at the end of the whole process.

  1. Open your Adobe Photoshop to a blank document.
    Open Adobe Photoshop
  2. Now, it depends on you whether you want to make a tiny piece of torn paper, or you want to make the whole page look like a torn piece from a notebook. Depending on this decision, you will use the Rectangle tool to draw a shape for a paper. To access the rectangle tool, on the left toolbar, locate the following icon. There are changes that the icon by default would not be showing a rectangle, but if it is any of the shapes as shown in the extended list of shapes, you should know that this is where you will find the rectangle tool.
    Using the rectangle tool to draw a piece of paper
  3. I wanted to make a strip of paper that is torn from the edges. So, I drew a rectangle which looked something like this and filled a color of my choice.
    Draw the shape according to your requirements
    Add a color
  4. To add some effects or use some tools on Adobe Photoshop, requires the user to rasterize the image first. This is a very important step as without this, the tool for cutting the edges of the paper will not work the way you want it to. I tried it without rasterizing it and it kept showing a dialogue box and did not proceed. So sometimes, you just have to play with the tools on Adobe Photoshop and explore your way in and out of things. To Rasterize a layer, click right on the layer, and a list of options will appear on your screen. Look for ‘Rasterize Layer’ here, and click on it. This will make your shape/layer editable and easier for you to work on it.
    Rasterize layer to implement the effects of a lasso tool.
  5. To cut the edges of the piece of paper to make to look like its torn, we need to roughly shape the edges using the Lasso Tool. The lasso tool is mostly used to make a free hand drawing especially when you have to remove that drawn part from a shape or an image.
    Lasso Tool

    On the left toolbar, you will find the Lasso tool, which looks like a rope sort icon. Lasso tool, Polygonal Lasso tool and Magnetic Lasso tool are the three types of Lasso tool that you can use when working on Adobe Photoshop. But for this image, and to give the torn effect, we shall use the simple Lasso Tool.

    More options under the lasso tool
  6. Now just draw randomly on one edge of the rectangle that you drew. Make sure you complete the shape that you draw by joining the starting and ending point for it. This will make a selection after you are done drawing, showing your moving lines on the rough shape you drew over the edge.
    Draw a freehand rough shape on the edge
  7. Once the selection has been made, go to Edit on the top toolbar, and look for Clear. Clear is what you need to click on, once you have drawn the rough edge to show a torn effect. There are chances that when you go the Edit, the option for Clear might not be ‘clickable’. For this, you will have to rasterize the layer again. Now if you got back to Edit, you can click on the option for Clear.

    The shape that you drew on the edge has been cleared from the original shape.

    Torn effect

    Repeat the same steps on the right side of the page. Don’t draw a straight line. If you cannot understand how you should draw the edges with the lasso tool, keep a reference in front of you. Either a picture from the website for a torn piece of paper or an actual torn piece in your hand. This will help you a lot.

    repeat on the other side
  8. When using the Lasso tool, on the top toolbar you can see the pixels for Feather. You can edit those to create a blur effect for the edges automatically once the shape gets cleared. Or, you can use the Smudge tool from the left toolbar, which is a finger icon.
    Smudge tool

    place the smudge tool pressed inside the shape near the edges to great a smudging effect on both the sides.

    Smudge the edges to make it look more real

Habiba Rehman

Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.