Create a Magnified Cutaway Detail View in Photoshop

01
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Introduction

Magnified Cutaway Detail View
Magnified Cutaway Detail View Example. © Sue Chastain
Gayle writes: "I'm using Photoshop CS3. My husband and I are putting together a brochure on cabinetry. I would like to circle an area and zoom or expand it to show more detail and move it off to the side. Any ideas?"

I've seen a lot of tutorials for creating a magnified view for part of an image, but in the tutorials I found, the magnified view was covering the original part of the image from which the magnified view was taken. Gayle wants the magnified view moved over to the side so you can see it in two sizes at the same time. This tutorial will walk you through the process of doing just that.

I'm using Photoshop CS3 for this tutorial, but you should be able do it in a later version or in a recent older version.

02
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Open and Prepare the Image

Convert to Smart Object
© Sue Chastain, UI © Adobe

Start by opening the image you want to work with. You will need a fairly high resolution file to start with in order to capture as much detail as possible in the magnified view.

You can download my image if you'd like to follow along with the same image. I took this photo while experimenting with the macro mode on my newest camera. I never saw the tiny spider on the flower until I viewed the photo on my computer.

In your layers palette, right click on the background layer and choose "convert to smart object." This will allow you to perform non-destructive editing on the layer and make it easier if you need to edit the image after creating the detail view. If you're using an older version of Photoshop that doesn't have Smart Objects support, convert the background to a layer instead of a smart object.

Double click the layer name and rename it "original."

If you need to edit the photo:
Right click the smart layer and choose "edit contents." A dialog box with some information about working with smart object will appear. Read it and click OK.

Now your layer will open in a new window. Perform any necessary corrections on the image in this new window. Close the window for the smart object and answer yes when prompted to save.

03
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Make a Selection of the Detail Area

Make a Selection of the Detail Area
© Sue Chastain
Activate the elliptical marquee tool from the toolbox, and create a selection of the area which you want to use for your detail view. Hold the shift key down to keep your selection in a perfect circle shape. Use the spacebar to reposition the selection before releasing the mouse button.
04
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Copy the Detail Area to Layers

Layers Palette
UI © Adobe
Go to Layer > New > Layer via Copy. Rename this layer "detail small", then right click on the layer, choose "duplicate layer…" and name the second copy "detail large."

At the bottom of the layers palette, click the button for a new group. This will put a folder icon on your layers palette.

Select both the "original" and "detail small" layers by clicking on one and then shift clicking on the other, and drag them both onto the "group 1" layer. Your layers palette should look like the screen shot here.

05
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Scale Down the Original Image

Options Bar for Transform
© Sue Chastain, UI © Adobe
Click on "group 1" in the layers palette, and go to Edit > Transform > Scale. By grouping the layers and selecting the group, we will ensure that both layers are scaled together.

In the options bar, click on the chain icon between the W: and H: boxes, then enter 25% for either width or height and press the check mark icon to apply the scaling.

Note: We could have used free transform here, but by using numeric scaling, we can work with a known value. This is necessary if you want to note the magnification level on the finished document.
06
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Add a Stroke to the Cutaway

Add a Stroke to the Cutaway
© Sue Chastain, UI © Adobe
Click on the "detail small" layer to select it, then at the bottom of the layers palette, click the Fx button and choose "Stroke…" Adjust the stroke settings as desired. I am using a black stroke color and 2 pixel size. Clock OK to apply the style and exit the dialog box.

Now copy the same layer style to the "detail large" layer. You can copy and paste layer styles by right clicking on the layer in the layers palette and choosing the appropriate command from the context menu.

07
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Add Drop Shadow to Detail View

Add Drop Shadow to Detail View
© Sue Chastain, UI © Adobe
Next double-click on the "effects" line directly beneath the "detail large" layer. Click on drop shadow and adjust the settings to your liking, then OK the layer style dialog.
08
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Reposition the Cutaway

Reposition the Cutaway
© Sue Chastain
With the "detail large" layer selected, activate the move tool and position the layer where you'd like it in relation to the whole image.
09
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Add Connector Lines

Add Connector Lines
© Sue Chastain
Zoom in to 200% or more. Create a new empty layer and move it between "Group 1" and "detail large." Activate the line tool from the toolbox (under the shape tool). In the options bar, set the line width to the same size you used for the stroke effect on the detail layers. Make sure arrowheads are not enabled, style is set to none, and color is black.

Drag out two lines connecting the two circles as shown. You may need to switch to the move tool to adjust the line placement so they connect seamlessly. Hold down the control key as you adjust the line position for more precision.

10
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Add Text and Save the Finished Image

The Finished Image
© Sue Chastain
Zoom back to 100% and give your image a final check. Adjust your connector lines if they look off. Add text if desired. Go to Image > Trim to auto-crop the finished image. Drop in a solid colored background as the bottom layer, if desired. Here's a look at the final image along with the layers palette for reference.

If you want to keep the image editable, save it in the native Photoshop PSD format. If your brochure is in another Adobe application, you can place the Photoshop file directly in your layout. Otherwise, you can select all and use the Copy Merged command for pasting into the brochure document, or flatten layers and save a copy to import into your brochure.

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