Anyone know how to achieve realistic paper effect? (Absolutely stumped)


Is there anyone here who knows how to create realistically lit paper textures in photoshop?
I’ve gone down every avenue I can think of that might offer a solution with no luck.

I know with absolute certainty that this image is 100% photoshop however real it might look.

I’ve tried combinations of blend modes, blurs, textures, and lighting effects but I can’t seem to get this right.

It looks there’s some sort of cloud texture, maybe with a light guassian or horizontal motion blur. This is straight forward enough and there are a number of ways to create this look from scratch or using existing images.

The problem comes with making it look like real paper that is reflecting light and casting shadows in a way that you would expect a glossy poster to. I’ve tried using a cloud texture (image or render clouds) with photoshop’s lighting effects, displacing the image to get highlights and cast shadows. The result, however, looks nothing like paper and blurring the lit image makes it look like a texture and not an alive real thing.

I’ve been agonizing over this problem for weeks and I’m not making progress.

I can’t tell you how much any help with this problem would be appreciated.


My first ideas are in the list of things you’ve tried. I’m not seeing the picture though, so I can’t even begin to guess.


Oh god the pics didn’t work.

This is what I’m going for:

My results:

Maybe someone can point out some things I’m not seeing. This is as close as I can get.


I think your results are fine.