Abstract Sci-fi Style Energy Laser Beam Creation in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps to create Abstract Sci-fi Style Energy Laser Beam in Photoshop. We will go through some interesting techniques to create these beams, on top of a space background, such as lighting effect, colour overlay and image adjustment.

Note: The Photoshop tutorial is done in CS6 – therefore some screenshot may have slighting different layout as in the earlier version. Some brushes are exclusive to Photoshop CS6.

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)


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OK Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:


Space Brush 1

Space Brush 2

Video Tutorial

If you have any trouble with rendering the laser beam effect, check out this video tutorial I have on PSDVault.com Youtube Channel:

Step 1

Create a document sized 800px * 800px with black background, use a space brushset you just download, paint some subtle space pattern over the background:

1 paint

Use the Asteroids stock you downloaded, add some flying rocks over the star background: (re-size this layer as you see fit)

1 paste

Use a soft eraser, fade the some parts of this new Asteroids layer as shown below:

1 erase

Add a new layer and paint some more space pattern as shown below:

1 paint more

Step 2

We will start working on working on the laser beam. Firstly create a new layer and add soft grey dot with a soft round brush:

2 paint dot

Use a smaller brush and a brighter color, add another smaller dot to the position shown below:

2 paint smaller dot

Then use the free transform tool, distort this layer as shown below:

2 distort

Then re-size the dot as shown below:

2 resize

Continue stretching until it forms a thin shape as shown below:

2 resize 2

and here is the effect you would achieve:

2 effect

Step 3

Duplicate this bean layer a few times, scatter the lines around (re-size them as you go) and try to form a group effect as shown below:

3 dup

Merge all these beam layers together, and apply the following motion blur setting:

3 motion blur

Reduce the layer opacity of this motion blur layer to around 40%, and here is the effect you will have:

3 effect

3 erase

and here is the overall effect so far:

3 effect 2

Step 4

We will apply to some colours to the image. To do so we add a new layer and use the same method as described in step 2, but in a cyan/blue colour, drawing a beam light as shown below:

4 color

Change the blending mode to “overlay” for this new colour layer, duplicate it several times, and you will have the following effect:

4 dup

Continue to add more colour to the image as shown below, notice I added some red colour into the mix as well:

4 more color

Step 5

We’re almost done! To fine-tune the final effect, we can add some image adjustment layer on top:

Selective Color

5 neutrals

5 black


5 curves

Apply the following layer mask on the Curves adjustment layer:

5 curves mask

And here is the effect you will have: (click to enlarge)


Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful. Drop me a comment below if you have any question.

Till next time, have a great day!


  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

  • Show Comments


  • Roland

    In step five the tutorial asks to set curves to an input oF 210 and an output of 2 which my photoshop cs6 seems to think is impossible… and also the final stage of adding the red mask to the adjustment layer isn’t possible for me as the layer is locked on grayscale…
    please help

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