This is a Photoshop tutorial on how to create a beautiful photo film strip, as seen in Apple’s iLife package design (’06 version) and DigitalMash website. The warp tool will be used to create the twisting effect (so, you need Photoshop CS2 or above to complete this tutorial). With the completion of this tutorial, you will be able build a photo strip with your own photos or artwork. Don’t miss out this fantastic feature!

View Final Image

Download Photoshop File

1. Create a Strip (Vector Shapes)

First, create a strip with the Pen tool (either in Photoshop or Illustrator). We will use these shapes as a guideline and for masking purposes.

stripe outline shapes

2. Photo Stack

Choose 3 photos of your choice and stack them together.

photo stack

3. Warping (Photoshop Warp Tool)

Adjust the layer opacity to 40 or 50% so you can see the guideline underneath. Go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Now you should see a grid and 4 anchor points in the corner. To bending the image, simply drag the anchor points, direction points, or grid lines.

grid 1

Repeat this step for the rest of the strip. Since this step is relatively simple and repeatitive, I’m not going to get into the details. Here are the screenshots of the steps:

grid 2

grid 3

grid 4

4. Masking

Organize the layers into groups (ie. strip 1, 2, 3, 4).

layer groups

Load selection from the shapes you created in step 1 and add a layer mask for each group (so you get a perfect smooth curve).

layer mask

5. Shadows

In masked group 1, create a new layer above the strip. Use the Gradient tool and drag from the top to bottom to create a black gradient.


Repeat this step for the other strips.


6. Highlights

To make highlighted and glossy areas: create a round glowing circle, compress it, and rotate it in the angle according to your strip’s direction.


7. Line Strokes

To make line strokes: load a selection of the mask, create a new layer, fill it with black, shift the selection to the left by 1 or 2 pixels, delete the selected area by pressing the Delete key.

line strokes

8. Final Touches

To make the image look more interesting, desaturated the two strips in the back.


Bonus Tips

The Photoshop warp tool is very useful when creating any sort of twisting and bending graphic effects. The following examples illustrate some of the things that you can do with the warp tool. Have fun!

warp examples


1 15 16 17
  1. DJA28
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

    Nice Job…… :D


  2. hakem
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 5:27 pm



    • BB
      Apr 9, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

      this would be much easier to make in 3d.


  3. Joomla Templates
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    great tutorial keep it up


  4. bitkisel
    May 2, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    Thank you Thank you!asee


  5. johnny k
    May 24, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

    This tut is great, as well as the other you do. Thanks for taking the time to put it together and sharing. Some good tips in it.

    Graphic Web Design rochester, NY


  6. Millard Minkel
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    whoah this weblog is wonderful i like reading your articles. Keep up the good work! You already know, lots of people are searching round for this information, you can help them greatly.


  7. Manchester Design Ltd
    Jul 8, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    Great tutorial this, have utilised it on a few advert designs myself – Great work, thank you.


  8. Webdesign
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    nice tutorial, i seriously gonna use it in the future


  9. victoria
    Aug 23, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    how do you compress the circle?


  10. yates en Ibiza
    Aug 23, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to put it together and sharing. Some good tips in it.


  11. Dman
    Aug 24, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    Thank you so much! I love this concept and used on a poster for my school. Wonderful stuff!


  12. Kazi Md.Mahaseen
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 6:39 am

    It’s nice & easy to make a photo stip, thanks


  13. breathtaking images
    May 27, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    This is such an awesome idea, thanks for posting it! I will definitely be trying my hand at this later.


  14. Wow
    Dec 12, 2018 @ 3:10 pm


    used it



1 15 16 17

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.