How to Create a Realistic Waving Flag in Photoshop

Turn an Image to Look like a Real Fabric such a Waving Flag

From the comfort of my desktop, I am going to show you how to create a realistic waving flag in Photoshop. This guide is very simple and straightforward as long as you follow my guidelines accordingly.

How to Create a Realistic Waving Flag in Photoshop
A drawn image of the Nigeria flag on the left and the waving flag created from it on the right.

Everybody can do this, you don’t need to be a computer guru or a graphics artists to do one. As long as you have Adobe Photoshop software on your computer you are good to go.

Let us get down to business, shall we?

How to Create a Realistic Waving Flag in Photoshop from an existing image

I am going to use the Nigeria Flag in this tutorial and an image of a fabric such as this one below. you can download any one from the internet or you can use mine if you wish.

How to Create a Realistic Waving Flag in Photoshop
A waving fabric






Step 1: Setting your Work Environment

I assumed that you have your Adobe Photoshop running already.

We are going to open both the Nigerian flag image and that of a fabric on our Adobe Photoshop that is already running

  • click on “file”
  • select “open”
  • choose the image from where you kept it and click open. Do this for the other image too.

The two images should now be in your application.

Step 2: Blurring the Fabric Image

  • Click on the Fabric image which is open now on your application.
  • from the “filter” menu move your mouse pointer to “Blur” and select “Gaussian Blur”
  • experiment with the radius to hide the details of the fabric leaving only the folds
  • save the image as a “PSD” file (I saved mine as “silk.psd”). You must save as “PSD” else the next step won’t work.

How to Create a Realistic Waving Flag in Photoshop


Step 3: Working on the Flag Image

Here, we are going to apply a Displacement Map Filter to the Nigerian Flag with our Fabric image saved as silk.psd. make sure you are now on the Flag image that is open on our Photoshop application.

  • click on “filter”
  • move your pointer on “Distort”
  • select “Displace” i. e “filter > Distort > Displace”.

keep the settings the way I kept it in the image below unless you know exactly what you are doing.

select “silk.psd” from the dialog box that shows (might be different from yours) and click open

The image will become slightly distorted.

Let us rest a while, you can grab some popcorn while chilling out. I will drink only water though because I know we are almost through.

Step 4: Making your Flag Wavy

We are going to add waviness to the flag. Go back to the Fabric image, use the marquee tool to select the whole fabric image.

If you can’t find the marquee tool, then use keyboard shortcuts;

  • “Ctrl+A” to select the whole fabric image
  • “Ctrl+C” to copy the selected

Go back to the Flag Image and press “Ctrl+V” to paste the copied fabric image.

Resize the pasted image to match the Flag image.

Step 5: Applying the Layer Mode

From the bottom right corner of the Adobe Photoshop, under “Layers” pane choose the layer mode as “Multiply”.

You can play around with other modes like “Hard light”, “soft light”, “lighten” etc. until you find one that suites your work.

We are done!

This is what we will get


Waoo! so simple, isn’t it?

Bear in mind that you can apply this guide to any picture of your choice. Make sure you try something with a different picture and fabric.

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I am gentle Tech enthusiast. A graduate of computer science, a Digital marketer, web designer, author, web consultant, blogger and lastly a Football lover ( Proudly a Liverpool $ Ifeanyi Uba FC fan). You can reach me personally via my email address on ''

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