Course Review: Introduction to financial-ratio analysis

Elsewhere on my other project BursaNinja, here’s a DO*DID*DONE recommendation for a financial ratio analysis course.


Knowledge of Balance Sheets & Income Statements is not a pre-requisite. Jim & Kay has designed the course for beginners with no accounting knowledge.

You will also learn the very powerful DuPont Framework, a financial ratio analysis framework to analyse a company’s strengths & weaknesses. These insights will allow you to identify areas for improvement & areas of risks. At the end of the course, you will be able to analyse a company’s finanical reports to benchmark its performance & establish its financial health. Your boss will be impressed by your amazing ability to identify areas of risk for urgent top management attention & response.


Making Levitation Photo Manipulation Effect In Photoshop

Let’s create Levitation magic again! This time it will be even more magical as it is an elaborate piece with more elements to composite. Shadows come into play too.

RafyA’s tutorial is fast paced so remember to replay the video for a review of the lesson. The video is at a nice length of 15m 21s.

You will need Intermediate skills to follow along. Links to the work files are provided for practice & effective learning.

If you are wanting to have a quick start, check out the other post.


Skill Level: Intermediate


  • Quick Selection tool
  • Refine Edge
  • Layer Defringe
  • Clipping Mask
  • Levels & Curves
  • Dodge & Burn
  • Transform
  • Eraser
  • Clone Stamp
  • Smudge
  • Brush
  • Selective Color
  • Gaussian Blur
  • High Pass Filter


Summarised for the busy people

  1. Extract the Model from the background with Quick Selection Tool & Refine Edge.  Top Tip: Use Layer Defringe for clean edges.
  2. Blend Model (2:00)   > Add S-Curve contrast, Brighten and Dodge & Burn midtones at lower exposures
  3. Add Chair (3:48)
  4. Blend Chair   > Levels Adjustment layer to Darken, Desaturate, Dodge & Burn
  5. Add Shadows (5:15)   > Paint with Black Brush, Transform, adjust layer Opacity
  6. Add Vase. Touchup Vase (7:39)    > Erase unwanted parts. Clone Stamp & smudge to construct Vase mouth
  7. Add Flower (9:38)   >  Erase unwanted parts. Shorten the stem. Erase middle part. Cut top to another layer. Move to join with bottom part. Merge Down layer.
  8. Blend Flower   > Dodge bright areas.
  9. Add Water (11:08)   > Use special Brush. Shape with Transform & Warp.
  10. Add Background Texture & Scene Lighting (12:12)   > Paint Orange #ff8711, Transform, Screen Blending Mode. Do this in several layers. Adjust Opacity to match. Top Tip: Group the Layers to organise your work
  11. Color Toning the Image (13:45)   > Levels (Blue & Red channels) & Selective colors
  12. Finishing Touches (14:20)


As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring.  🙂


Magic Forest Photoshop Tutorial

Here’s a great Photoshop tutorial if you are interested to learn Digital Image compositing. A fantasy theme is always appealing with its mystical charm.

A beautiful lady, a lone white wolf and dancing fireflies in a magical forest. So many fascinating stories to be told!

It gets a DO-DID-DONE Top recommendation for its great learning & entertainment value.

You will like:

  1. The great fantasy theme as mentioned
  2. Clear instructions in text. No voice but it has a nice background music.
  3. The good steady pace which makes it is easy to follow
  4. The many techniques & tricks to learn, especially to blend everything together in a realistic scene & environment
  5. It is not too lengthy (18m 27s) for a tutorial that covers so much
  6. The stock images used are provided (Hint: the link is in the video description)
  7. You can do magic and the final result is a work of art
  8. A fun project for your artistic creations

No surprise that it ranks among my favourite tutorials.

Let’s create some magic!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Skill level: Intermediate

Tools: Pen, Smudge tool, Eraser, Lasso, Brush, Transform, Filter (Distort / Twirl)

Techniques: Layer Grouping, Gradient Map, Layer FX, Clipping Mask

Summarised for the busy person

  1. Extract the model from the background with the Pen Tool. You can use any selection tool that you are comfortable with. The Pen is chosen for its accuracy though it will need more work. If you are already a Pro, skip to 4:15.
  2. Tidy up the hair with the Eraser using a soft Brush.
  3. Create  a flowing  hair effect with the Smudge tool (Brush 13px, Strength about 75%)
  4. Drag the model onto the forest background (6:53). Resize & Position.
  5. Add some leaves in front of model for some realism. Select & copy from the foreground. Resize, Rotate & Position as necessary. Use the Eraser tool to blend in the leaves. Top Tip: Use a Group named leaves to manage other copies in subsequent steps as we progress.
  6.  Create a Gradient map (10:03) to create the Global lighting effect. Choose Black to White gradient. First color Purple 7e00ff, second color Dark grey 1e1e1e. Change Blending mode to Soft light, 70% opacity.
  7. Create the fireflies in a layer named Sparks above the model (10:53). You will use a Brush which is part of the download.
    1. Reset the brush colors.
    2. The larger the brush size, the better.
    3. After applying, head to FX / Blending options (Outer Glow, +Opacity to 90%, Change color to Orange ff6c00, +Elements Size: 28px )
  8. Add a tombstone to the background – Drag, Drop, Transform, Position (12:20). Move it below Sparks layer. Top Tips: Ctrl+T shortcut to Transform & Shift + Alt while dragging corners to resize from center.
  9. Add moss to the tombstone (12:43). Same steps as step 8 with the moss above tombstone layer. Match the tombstone with Transform by  Ctrl + dragging a corner to angle it (12:58). Create a Clipping mask & change the Blending mode to Soft Light. Next, add a layer mask and go around the edges of the moss with a black soft brush.
  10. Add leaves. Opacity 80%  & use Eraser for any touch-ups
  11. Add an Old Lantern on the tombstone – Drag, Drop, Transform, Position (14:53).
  12. Add the Lantern light. Create a new layer above the lantern.Change Foreground color to Orange FFae00. With a soft edge brush, paint the light. Change the layer Blending mode to Screen, Opacity 85%. Set Brush opacity to 25% & paint around the tombstone to add some light.
  13. Add a wolf – Drag, Drop, Transform, Position (16:09). Add leaves. Eraser for touchups.
  14. Select Sparks layer, re: Step 7 (17:35). Apply Filter / Distort / Twirl, Angle 50.
  15. Zoom out & enjoy!

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

Fear not the Pen Tool

The mere mention of the pen tool is enough to intimidate Photoshop beginners. It has a formidable reputation of being a very difficult & challenging tool to learn.

Why should you learn this tool? This is the most powerful & advanced tool available to you to make precise & accurate selections to extract the image of a person / object from the background.

Fear no more. It’s time to unleash the power of this awesome tool.

You can actually learn it without being too overwhelmed by watching the following video training tutorials.

Glyn Dewis gets you started in this 11:34s video.


If it is now too easy for you, then you are ready for Aaron Nace who covers the topic in under 18 mins.


It’s awesome cool, yeah? Have fun! Make sure you practice to familiarise and you will have  a new powerful tool in your toolkit.

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉


5 Awesome Layer Mask Tricks

Joshua Cripps will reveal or shall we say unmask, the awesome tricks in this 12m 28s tutorial video.

Layers Masks are awesome. They should be quite easy to learn.

Just remember the mantra  “White reveals, Black conceals”.

But Just when you think you know everything about Layer Masks …..

This will be a good checklist to see if you have mastered the tricks. It will be worth your time.

5 Awesome Layer Masks Tricks

Summarised for the busy person

  1. Apply Image (0:15)
  2. Layer Mask density which gives you opacity control (2:41)
  3. Fine tune masks with Curves or Levels (4:23)
  4. Applying the same mask to another layer adjustment – 3 ways.
    1. Clipping mask (6.03)
    2. Control clicking on mask to be duplicated (selection) before creating a new layer mask (8:05)
    3. Alt + Click & drag the layer mask to copy (8:36)
  5. Create a group even for a single layer for an extra layer mask for even more precise control (9:07)

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉



Removing Soft Tofu from plastic container

I had the biggest difficulty removing the beautiful soft tofu from it’s plastic container without breaking it. This obviously tells you that I am a noob cook. I just started my journey & adventure this year. The Internet is really a good teacher. LOL, I suppose I can say that I am self-taught by studying online resources for recipes.

Obviously, my almighty teacher had the answer for me. And it was a WOW Moment!

Thanks to this tip from, I am now able to remove it quite effortlessly with its perfect form intact. What a great engineering idea and it is actually fun to do! I no longer dread this task which is one stress less for sure.

The secret’s here >>>  The SECRET to removing tofu from the plastic container

food-4tots Remove soft tofu from plastic container


As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

Levitation Effect Manipulation – Photoshop Tutorial

Levitation defies the law of gravity. Levitation is an amazing effect which never ceases to impress because of the questions it invokes. “How is this magic done?”  “Is this real?”

This is where all powerful Photoshop really shines. I found this 6m 59s YouTube video tutorial which has the answer to the mystery of levitation. All will be revealed. You too can be a magician!

This is a good exercise in Digital Image Compositing too. The instructor has even included the work files for you to follow along. No wand is provided. Just point & CLICK, LOL!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Skill Level: Intermediate


  • Pen tool
  • Move tool
  • Hue / Saturation Adjustment
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Render Clouds
  • Photo Filter
  • Curves


Summarised for the busy people

  1. Extract the Model from the background. Select the girl with the pen tool. Copy the selection to a new layer. This is just one of the many methods of course. You will need to be familiar with the Pen tool which will otherwise be very challenging to use.
  2. Move the image to the Room image tab (1:45)
  3. Rotate & position the Model with free transform (Ctrl+T)
  4. Desaturate the image to better blend with the environment (2:48). Ctrl+Click on Model  Layer to select the Model. Desaturate with Hue / Saturation Adjustment layer.
  5. Create a dreamy effect (3:00). Duplicate the Model layer. Blur this layer with Gaussian Blur and change the Blend mode to Screen. Set Opacity to about 30%.
  6. Add another dreamy effect (4:42). Create new layer. Set Foreground / Background to B&W colors. Filter / Render / Clouds. Change Blend mode to Screen & lower the opacity 15%. Add Gaussian Blur to finish the effect.
  7. For Color Effect, add a Photo Filter. Select a Green color. Default density is OK.
  8. Add a Curve (6:08) to darken the shadows
  9. Color correct by adjusting the Blue curve as shown (6:25).


UPDATE 2016/07/09   Check out more magic here. >> Making Levitation Photo Manipulation Effect In Photoshop

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉


How to Add Realistic Tattoos to Your Body

Tattoos are always fascinating but I don’t think I will ever get one done for many reasons especially here in Asia.

Anyway, thank goodness we have Photoshop. This is the closest thing to working with the real thing.

So here’s a 6m 53s quick tutorial from Blue Lightning TV showing you how to add realistic body tattoos as a quick & fun PS project.

The Tattoo design used in the tutorial is provided for your practice.

Tattoo design:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Skill level:  Intermediate


  • Selection & Quick Mask / Layer mask
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Magic Wand
  • Clipping mask
  • Ctrl+T  Transform
  • Channels & Alpha selection – Step 8
  • Blend mode (Soft Light)
  • Hue / Saturation Adjustment


  • Displacement Map (Filter / Distort / Displace)


Summarised for the busy person

  1. Make a selection of arm area. Press “Q” for Quick Mask to see your selection. Save the selection with Select / Save selection. Ctrl + D to turn off the “marching ants”.
  2. Ctrl+J to make a copy of the layer for a Displacement Map (1:38). Displacement maps work best when they are slightly blurred. Apply Gaussian Blur with Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur. 3 pixels was used for the tutorial image but you will have to adjust it depending on your image size. File / Save As  to save the file on your desktop in PSD format. The Blurred layer can be deleted since the Displacement Map file has been saved.
  3. Open the Tattoo design (2:25). Use the Magic wand to select the tattoo to cut it out from the white background. With the tattoo selected, Ctrl+J to copy it to it’s own layer.
  4. Press “V” for Move tool (3:03). Drag it into the tab with the body image
  5. Ctrl+T to Transform the image (3:13) to fit the arm. Resize & Rotate & Position it.
  6. Apply Gaussian Blur to the tattoo to better blend with the skin with Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur / 1 pixel.
  7. Use the Displacement Map (3:58) to conform the shape of the tattoo to the contours of the arm. Go to Filter / Distort/ Displace. Use Horizontal & Vertical scale of 10, Stretch to Fit & Repeat Edge Pixels. OK to accept & choose the Displacement Map file.
  8. Hide the tattoo extending beyond the arms (4.35). Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail of the tattoo to select the tattoo. Open Channels panel. Go to Alpha 1, Press Ctrl+Shift+Alt to delete the selection outside the arm.
  9. Go back to Layers panel & click on the Layer Mask icon to make a layer mask of the selection.
  10. To blend the tattoo onto the skin (5:08), change the Blend Mode to Soft Light.
  11. Make a composite snapshot with Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E.
  12. Make a copy of it.
  13. Copy the Tattoo layer mask to the top layer (5:30). Go to layer mask, Alt & hold and drag a copy to the top layer.
  14. Click on the thumbnail of the top layer to make it active. Create a Hue / Saturation adjustment & clip it to affect just the layer beneath it. Reduce the Saturation to -30, Lightness to -40. This will be different for other images. Experiment with the settings including Hue if you want to change the color.
  15. There is even a font for your to try for further practice.


As always, if you find this useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

How to add a Matte Effect in Photoshop

This is a very popular effect because of the faded vintage look appeal.

I found this article on Pinterest but was not able to link back to the article on the author Christina Greve’s website.

A Curve & a Level adjustment is all that is required to achieve this effect.

Cool, you should be able to impress quite a few friends!

Matte Effect Christina Greve B4After

Matte Effect Christina Greve1Matte Effect Christina Greve2


If  you would like to explore this effect further (in Lightroom instead of Photoshop), check out this article by SLRLounge:

Adding Matte look in Lightroom by SLRLounge


As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

How to Create a Real Drop Shadow in Photoshop with Layer Styles

Shadows have always fascinated me. We are inseparable. We can never run away from it.

So let’s have some Photoshop fun with shadows.

In this 4m 23s YouTube video (under 5 mins), A.J. Wood takes us through the simple steps.


The tutorial starts at 45s. If you already know how to cut out the figure using Magic Wand & Refine Edge, skip to 1:53.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



  • Magic Wand selection  / Refine Edge
  • fx / Drop Shadow
  • Free Transform & Warp


Steps summarised for the busy person

  1. Cut out the figure to a New layer with Magic wand & Refine Edge
  2. Select the New layer.
  3. Click on fx (at bottom of Layer Panel) / Drop Shadow to create the shadow
  4. Set Opacity to 100% and Size to 10 to soften the shadow.
  5. Separate the Drop Shadow from the actual layer (Right click on Drop Shadow / Create Layer)
  6. Select the Shadow layer
  7. Do Free Transform (Ctrl+T) & Warp the shadow
  8. Soften the shadow by setting layer opacity to 50%


If you are compositing images & need to recreate shadows, this method will come in handy.

There are many ways to create a shadow. Sometimes, it is just painted on with a brush but you need to understand light very well before you attempt to do so.

If you are just beginning to learn Photoshop, try this for a quick fun project.

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share. Sharing is caring. 😉