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In this tutorial, I will show you the method I use to design a simple, yet elegant abstract spectrum lines in Photoshop. You will see how easy it is to achieve this nice effect and you can use it a wide range of occasions including perhaps site header backgrounds, logos, or add extra flavor to your photo manipulations.

This tutorial is suitable for beginners and I included the ways of creating new brush presets and also the use of Pen Tool. You will ample opportunities to practive layer blending, filters and Free Transform Tools. Have a try!

Here is a preview of the final effect: (click to enlarge)


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Ok let’s get started!

Step 1

Create  a new document with black background, for size I chose 980px * 400px however you can change this according to your own preference. Use 72 pixel/inch for resolution since we’re creating an image used for website.

Now let’s make a new brush preset. To do this, firstly select the brush tool with the following brush:


Then apply the following brush dynamics to it:

Shape Dynamics




Other Dynamics


Make sure you also select the Airbrush and Smoothing option.

After finishing making this brush, let’s save it as a new brush preset so that we can use it in the future too. To do this, left-click the down tri-angle on the top right and click “new brush preset”:


And Enter the following into the window popup:


Then you will see the brush preset appear in the brush selection window:


Step 2

Create a new layer call “lines”, grab the Pen Tool and draw the following working path:


Hint: hold down Shift key and drag your mouse upwards approximately 45 degree for both archor points.

Then right-click and select the option “Stroke Path”:


Then choose the option “brush” and tick the “Simulate Pressure”:


And you will have the following effect:


Step 3

Still on this “lines” layer, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and apply the following settings:


Then hit Ctrl + F and apply the motion blur filter again, and you will have the following effect:


Apply the following Gradient Overlay blending option to this layer:


Then duplicate this layer 4 times and merge the duplicated layer together, you will have the following effect:


Rename this layer as “lines” after the merge.

Step 4

Again we duplicate the “lines” layers 3 times, and you will see the colour of the the spectrum become clearer:


Then we merge those duplicated layer together, then use the Free Transform tool to resize it into the following:


Then we can use the Warp Tool (Ctrl + T and right-click select “Warp”), transform it into the following shape:


And here is the effect after warping:


Step 5

Now we can really just use our imagination and simply duplicate this “lines” layer a few times, rotate and resize each duplicated layer until the outcome is desirable:

Here is my effect so far:


Merge the duplicate layer together.

We can also add a bit of glowing effect to the spectrum lines. To do this, simple duplicate the merged layer and apply the following Gaussian Blur settings: (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur)


Change the blending mode the duplicated layer to “Linear light” and you will have the following effect:


To add some final touches, remember we created a new brush preset in Step 1? We can use it to add some nice dots on the abstract line.

Create a new layer called “dots” on top of all other layers, grab that brush preset and simply paint over the lines:


Then Change the layer blending mode to “Overlay” and you will have the following effect:


Duplicate this “dots” layer and change the blending mode of the duplicated layer back to “normal”, then reduce its opacity to 15% and erase some excessive parts.

You will have the following final effect:


Ok that’s it for this tutorial! Of course you can further enhance this image by adding some more effect, textures and filters.

Here is my final version for this tutorial: (Added a bit of cloudy effect and sharpen the image )


Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful, drop me a comment if you have any question, I will try my best to help you out.

Cheers and have a nice day!

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