In this tutorial, we use
Adobe Photoshop and show you how to take a flat
image of a flag, and turn it into a realistic
looking waving flag. There are 6 easy to follow
steps along with images. We’ll also be using shadows to give it a 3D effect.
Step 1: Draw, or open your
sure you have a white area outside the flag. If
you don't have a flag, you can download this one HERE.
Step 2: Make a new image the
same size, (or close to it) as your flag image.
To do this go to File>New
Adjust the image size to make it the same.
Add a Black and White Gradient to your new
To do this go to the Gradient
this tool is hiding behind the Paint Bucket Tool.
Next click on the little Gradient Area to
edit the gradient.
When we edit the gradient, we want it to go
Black/White/Black/White/Black (as many times as
you want…the more you have, the more bends your
flag will have).
To Create the Black and White markers for
the gradient, just click once in a blank area
under the gradient scale.
This creates a new marker.
Then, in the “Stops” option below,
change the color by clicking the little arrow next
to the color option…pick the one that’s
Now with the gradient tool selected, click
once and hold down on the left portion of the new
the left mouse button pressed, now hold the shift
key down and drag to the right of the image.
This creates a little bar with markers at
each end. This
is the bar tells the gradient where to go.
Now release the mouse button and the
gradient is applied.
It also doesn’t hurt to
blur the gradient a little after it’s been
do this go to Filter>Blur>Blur More
Save the File….File>Save
As> Displacement.psd.....You can also download
this file HERE.
Apply the Displacement Map
Go back to your Flag image
and select Filter>Distort>Displace.
When the box comes up Enter 0% for the
Horizontal and 3% for the Vertical.
The higher percent you go, the more wavy
your flag will be. Now, another box comes up,
looking for the Displacement Map.
Locate the file you just Saved
“Displacement.psd” and click open.
The Map is now applied to your Flag, and it
should appear wavy.
Create Shadows on your Wavy Flag
Use the Move Tool, and Select
your Gradient File (Displacement.psd)…click,
hold down, and drag the image over your flag
sure the whole image is covered by the Black and
Next, go to Image>Adjust>Invert (Ctrl+I).
This changes black to white and white to
go to Select>Color Range and use the dropper
tool to select a white strips. Adjust the Fuzziness to 200 and click ok.
Now, the white area is selected…simply
hit the “Delete” Key.
After that, go to the “Layers” Box and
change the Layer type from “Normal” to
“Overlay” and change the Opacity to 75%.
Step 6: Add another wave
element to the flag.
First Flatten your image…go
to Layer>Flatten Image.
Next, go to Filter>Distort>Shear.
In the window box that appears, add a
marker in the middle of the graph and drag it to
the right. The window also provides a preview of the Filter.
done!….you’ve successfully turned a flat,
rectangle flag into a waving 3D wonder.
If you want, play around more by selecting
the image and going to Distort, or add a pole