How to Create an Exquisite Pirate House Manipulation in Photoshop


We don’t find many professions as thrilling as much as the one pirates had chosen. Many films have been made on this topic and many novels have been written. We have watched and studied many of them but do you remember watching a house of a pirate? I hardly think so; That’s why we will create a house which could belong to a pirate.

This is a photo manipulation tutorial but it is fine-tuned to teach you how to use various types of images and make them into a creative image. The only tool used to create this graphic is Adobe Photoshop and you do not need any fancy equipment. The tutorial seems to be a long one, but actually it isn’t. Hope you’ll enjoy.

We’ll be making use of the following resources;

Final Result


Octopus Leg

Now let’s begin! There are various elements throughout this photo. We’ll be tackling them one by one. Let’s start out with the octopus leg, but first, we open our house image in Photoshop.

photoshop tutorial

Bring out the Octopus stock image next. With your Pen Tool, crop out one of the legs and size it down accordingly with the Free Transform tool.

Object extraction tutorial

photoshop tutorial

We want the leg to appear as if it has broken through the glass. So part of the leg will be behind the window while part will be in front. The middle frame of the window, with reference to that, cut out part of the leg. You can create the selection with your Pen Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool.

tips and tricks

Before we go any further, to make it appear the leg has broken through the window, we need the glass to be of course broken. Take out one of the Broken Glass Textures (216). First set the layer to Screen. Size it down with your Free Transform tool by 50% and place it over the octopus leg.

photoshop manipulation tutorial

Now because I want the leg to look as if it is going through the whole, erase the glass texture from the top part of the octopus leg and not the bottom. Then erase the parts that go outside the window.

learning photo manipulation

Create a new layer over the leg behind the window and create a Clipping Mask (Right click Layer > Create Clipping Mask). With a soft round Brush, set the color to black and brush in some shadows.

photoshop tutorial

object placement

Create another layer underneath all others and brush in some more shadows underneath the leg outside the window.

tutorial and guide

The color of the octopus leg is a bit bold so I applied a Selective Color layer to amend it. Click the half black and white icon at the bottom of the Layer window to find the Selective Color option.

Magenta: -21, -69, +25, -32

colors and settings

The octopus leg portion is done. For the sake of organization, you can group all the layers for the octopus leg and name it accordingly.


Bring out the Cannon stock and crop it with your Pen tool. We’re going to have the cannon sticking out from the basement window. With your Rectangular Marquee tool, cut out the left and bottom part so it looks like this;

photoshop manipulation tutorial

Create a new layer and Create Clipping Mask. Brush made shadows to the left of the cannon with your Brush tool.

Photoshop image manipulations

Create a new layer underneath the cannon. CRTL + click the cannon layer icon preview window to form a layer mask (the new layer underneath the cannon is still selected).

tutorial and tips

Fill the selection with black with your Paint Bucket tool. Shadows in the original house stock image are moving to the right, so move the layer towards the bottom corner of the cannon.


Once you’re satisfied with the shape, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the radius to 2. Reduce the Layer Opacity to 40% or to whatever you feel is best.

layer commands

photoshop tips

Beer Barrel

Similar to how we added the cannon, the beer barrel shall be done the same way. Crop out the beer barrel with your Pen tool and place it to the corner of the house.

photoshopping tutorial

Create a new layer above the barrel and create a Clipping Mask. Brush in some shadows with your Brush tool to the right of the barrel (the left already features enough shadow). Create a new layer underneath the barrel and follow what you did in step 9 to create a cast shadow for the barrel.

designing tutorial

You can see adding further elements is not so difficult and you can easily refer to what you did in your previous steps.

Ship Wheel + Parrot

We’re once again making use of similar technique, so adding these two elements shouldn’t take you so long.

Crop out the wheel with your Pen tool and set it as if it is leaning against the house.

photo manip tut

Create a new layer underneath the wheel and CTRL + click the preview box of the wheel layer. Fill in the layer with black with your Paint Bucket tool. Hit CTRL+T to activate the Free Transform tool. Last time we simply moved the shadow; but this time, due to the perspective, we’re going to have to toy with it a bit. After activating the Free Transform tool, right click and select Warp. I dragged out the center to form an appropriate.

image manip tut

Once that’s done, Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. The value should remain the usual as 2. Reduce the Layer Opacity to 25%.

tutorial for making

Next, let’s add the parrot. Crop it out and have it sit on the ledge of the porch.

photoshopping tutorial

Add new layer underneath the parrot and lightly brush in some shadows with your Brush tool set to a soft small size. Reduce the Opacity of the layer to 50%.

tutorial and guide


This element will require a little more work. Crop out the anchor (without its chain) and have it set underneath the window.

tutorial and tips

Crop out the chain next, size it down by 20% and rotate by 19-20% so that it is going upwards. As the chain is a bit short, duplicate the chain and move it above the original.

tips of designing

There’s still more to brush out; the middle framing. Take your Pen tool and create a selection over the frame. Create ragged edges so the frame will look broken. You can take reference from other photos of broken wood pieces to get the best look for the edges.


Once you’ve done that, fill the selection in with black.

photoshop tutorial

Bring out the second broken glass texture from earlier and place it over the window, above all the other layers. Set the layer to Screen. We want part of the chain outside the window, so with your Eraser tool, erase only those parts of the texture that go over the bottom half of the chain (don’t forget to erase the parts that go over the frame.)

photoshopping tips

Create a layer over the chain layer and create a Clipping Mask. With your Brush tool, brush some shadows towards the top of the chain. Create another layer underneath the chain layer and create a shadow for the chain as you did for the cannon, barrel and wheel (steps 9, 11 and 13). It won’t be necessary to Warp the shadow, simply move it down a few pixels.

image manipulation tutorials

We’ll want a bit of shadow over the anchor. Create a new layer over the anchor and create a Clipping Mask. With your Brush tool, brush some shadows along the edges of the anchor.

tutorial and tips

Create a new layer underneath the anchor, CTRL+click the anchor layer preview window and fill the layer with black with your Paint Bucket tool. Activate the Free Transform tool and select Distort to set its shape.

photoshop guide

After which you apply a Gaussian Blur (radius; 2) and reduce the Opacity to 18%.

photoshop manipulation guide

Create a new layer underneath the anchor and brush a small shadow under the portion of the anchor that touches the ground. Set the layer to Soft Light.


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  1. arooj fatima July 26, 2011 at 7:20 am

    wao…………………..awasom. i like it.keep it up:-)

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