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Effect Exploding Image Photoshop CS5 Tutorial

Updated on January 23, 2012

Effect Exploding Image Photoshop CS5

Be able to do one of those super cool effects that we see in magazines

A couple of times, I have seen an effect called Exploding Image, especially in magazines, which is a pretty cool effect and I`ll teach you how do to that. Here you can see the effect I`m talking about it


Ok, open the picture you are going to work on. Double click on the layer of the picture and click OK.

This is the picture that I choose to use as an example -->

Press D and then X to obtain the colors white and black. Select the first layer and press Alt+backspace to color the layer.

Now select the image`s layer, go to LAYER > LAYER MASK > HIDE ALL.

Select the Brush Tool which you can do by pressing B.

Change the Brush Tool format selecting SQUARE BRUSHES > OK. Choose a brush, I recommend something around 24.


Getting the explosion

Then go to WINDOW > BRUSHES, which can also be done by pressing F5. Select the first option, click on it and change the first percentage to 100%
Then go to the second little box, select it, click on it and change it to 750%

Now click on the black layer and pass the Brush on the image in circular movements around her face.


Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer, or just drag the layer towards the little paper sheet symbol down to where the layer’s window is located (as you can see on the picture on the right, circled in red). Go to FILTER > BLUR > RADIAL BLUR. Select something between 40 and 60 and mark ZOOM and GOOD, then click OK.

Final touches

Reduce the opacity to about 60/70%

Erase the blurry face to make it clear. This is the most important part of the picture.

You have created your exploding image.


  • Alt+backspace = To color a layer
  • Press B = To select Brush Tool
  • Press X = To switch the first color to the second color on the definingcolorbackground
  • Press D = To get the color black and white on the definingcolorbackground
  • Press F5 = WINDOW > BRUSHES
  • Ctrl+J = To duplicate layer



I`ve also seen this effect being done using the eraser. The process is the same as with the Brush, just apply it to the eraser, and in this case don’t duplicate the image layer but create a white layer on it only. Then duplicate the white layer and blurry it. I particularly prefer using the Brush way, but of course you can decide wish one you prefer and want to use.

Example of both effect:



I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. For more cool effects click here.

Here goes my video tutorial to help you out. I hope it will be useful for you.

by tiagoz



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    • vallubkul profile image

      Valabh Kulkarni 5 years ago from PUNE

      This is awsm tutorial.. Thank you

    • tiagoz profile image

      tiagoz 6 years ago

      Thank you Sherry Hewins.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thank you, nice instructions.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      Awesome! I am going to try this very soon. Thanks for sharing.