Filmstrip Photos

This is a tutorial I wrote last year which appears on my previous blog, called ‘Filmstrip Photos’. This has proved to be a very popular tutorial. It touches on a couple of things that seem to be very sought after in a tutorial, they are: working with photos and learning the lesser-used tools in Photoshop – in this case the Warp function of the Transform tool.

This tutorial will walk you through using the Warp function step by step in picture format. So you will not only end up with a nice display for your photos, but will have mastered yet another Photoshop tool!

Film Strip Photos


Filmstrips by Dragonart

Step 1

Open a new file 1500 x 1500, 72px resolution, white background

Step 2

Open the Filmstrips 8 picture from the Filmstrips set.

Image>Image Size – set width to 1500, auto height, click OK


Edit>Copy (Ctrl + C)

Make your project active

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Step 3

Zoom into the image to at least 100%

Select the Magic Wand tool

Select and delete all the white/blue in the filmstrips – do not include the spool-holes at this time

Step 3

Open one of the photos you will be using

Copy and paste it into your project

Ctrl + T to transform the object

Hold down the Shift key, place the cursor over one of the corner handles and resize the image to approximately the same height as the aperture on the filmstrip.

Hit the Enter key to accept the transformation

Step 4

Select the Rectangular Marquee tool

Select a piece of the picture from one of the sides and hit the Delete key

NOTE: If your picture is fairly square you won’t have to do this – but most photos are rectangular and the apertures on the top filmstrip are nearly square. You probably won’t have to do it for the second filmstrip as the apertures are more rectangular.

Step 5

Follow the instructions in the images below to fit the picture into the aperture:

Line up corner

Rotate image

Align Image

Select Warp

Place Corners

Line up edges

Level Inner Lines

Accept Transformation

Place all 5 photos in the same way

Step 6

Merge the 5 photo layers together

Step 7

Apply the photos to the second strip in the same way, making sure you have them in the same order.

Merge this set of photos together

Step 8

With the second set of photos layer active

Image>Adjustments>Black and White – leave the settings at default and click OK


Step 9

On the same layer

Image>Adjustments>Levels – apply the following settings:

Levels Settings

Reduce the layer opacity to around 60%

Step 10

Turn off the visibility of the background layer

Right click on any visible layer and click Merge Visible

Restore visibility to the background layer

Step 11

With the photostrip layer active

Select the Lasso tool and make a selection around the top filmstrip

Edit>Cut (Ctrl + X)

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Using the Move tool and the Transform tool, place the filmstrips as required

Step 12

Copy and paste a suitable background image, or fill the background with a gradient or solid colour.

Step 13

Make one of the filmstrip layers active

Zoom into the image to at least 100%

Select the Magic Wand tool

Hold down the Shift key and click in all the white spool-holes

When they are all selected, hit the Delete key

Repeat for the other filmstrip layer

Step 14

Double click on the top filmstrip layer in the layers palette to bring up the blending options and apply the following Drop Shadow settings:

Drop Shadow Settings

Create a new, empty layer and merge the top filmstrip layer with it to rasterize the style

Step 15

Double click on the bottom filmstrip layer in the layers palette to bring up the blending options and apply the following Drop Shadow settings:

Drop Shadow Settings (2)

The finished project:

Film Strip Photos

It is always nice to have a different way to display your photos – especially if you are sending them to family and friends or making a slideshow or DVD with them, or uploading them to a social media or file sharing website. This method of displaying photos, although time consuming, has a very pleasing result.


I love using and learning Photoshop, and I also enjoy creating resources to share with the world. I am at my happiest when I have free time to further explore all that Photoshop has to offer and learn more about its powerful built-in tools. I hope people enjoy either using or learning from my free resources, and welcome any hints and tips - and of course, if you would like to offer a free resource on this site, please don't hesitate to contact me (top right of the page).

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