Create an Abstract Golden Circle with Smoke Brushset in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how you can Create an Abstract Golden Circle with Smoke Brushset in Photoshop. This is a beginner level tutorial and should be quite easy to follow. Have a try :)

Along the way, we focus on introducing the use of custom brushsets and the free transform tool, as well as some selection and masking techniques.

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:

Smoke Brush

Step 1

Create a new document (size doesn’t really matter) with black background. Create a new layer and grab the Elliptical Marquee tool with the following settings:

Hold down the Shift key, and draw a circle shape as shown below:

Right-click on the selection and select “Stroke”:
Stroke the selection with the following settings: (2px with white colour)

Reduce the opacity of this layer to around 40%, and here is the effect so far:

Step 2

Now let’s use the smoke brushset to add some textures around the circle. Create a new layer and pick one brush from the set, paint as shown below: (Reduce the brush size to a smaller scale before you paint)

Use the Warp tool to adjust the shape of the smoke texture as shown below:

Use a soft eraser to remove the edge of the smoke texture so it fades into the circle:

Duplicate this smoke texture layer a few times and attach each of those layers around the circle:

Hint: Use the free transform tool to rotate each layer and adjust the shapes as you go.

Merge all these layers of smoke textures together, and duplicate this merged layer a few times. Use the free transform tool to rotate and resize the duplicated layer a few times, in order to add some more effect:

Create a new layer and paint some smoke texture inside the circle, then reduce the layer opacity to around 20%:

Add the following levels adjustment layer on top of all previous layers:

Add the following layer mask on this levels adjustment layer:

Here is the effect so far: (As you can see, by adding this levels adjustment layer, we increase the contrast and depth of the smoke texture)

Step 3

Now let’s add some simple light effect on the circle. Create a new layer on top of all the previous layers, and use a soft white brush to do a single click to the position shown below:

Warp this layer with the warp tool and transform this light dot into a curvy shape as shown below:

As you can see, now we have some highlight on the circle:

Duplicate this light layer a few times to enhance this light effect a bit:

Repeat this process and add some highlights on the top left corner of the circle:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 4

We can add some cloud effect around the circle. To do this, create a new layer and draw a circle selection with the elliptical marquee tool (40px feather), render some cloud with the cloud filter within the selection:

Hit Ctrl + L and apply the following levels adjustment to this cloud layer:

Then use the warp tool to warp the cloud as shown below: (this creates some motions around circle)

and you will have have following effect so far:

Step 5

OK we’re almost done! For some final retouches, we can add the following extra effect to improve the overall result.

I added some smoke texture on top and bottom of the circle for some extra flowing effect:

I also added some particle effect around the circle: (For details steps of creating this particle brush, you can check out Step 3 of this tutorial)

To add some golden colour to the image, I added one Color Balance adjustment layer on top of all layers:

Lastly we can flatten the image, then apply this Reduce Noise filter settings below: (By doing so we can sharpen the effect, and reduce the colour noise for the circle shape)

and here is my final effect for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! 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

  • Very NIce

  • Cool tutorial! It reminds me of The Hunger Games.

  • Manjishrestha74

    im confused n dont know how to bring exact golden colour.but now i know through this tuterial. thanks u so much

  • Mitshi14

    cool! tnx

  • Kylinwy


  • meany2000

    can anyone please explain to me how to find the smoke brush?? do i have to download it or is it under a subheading in brushes? im new to PS! any help would be great!!

  • deauzif

    there a link above the tutorial to download the smoke brush,then unrar it and double click the fille (Revnart_Smoke.abr) to install in your photoshop

  • nemovich

    done it perfectly, but when I want to get rid of the black background the ring loses color. why ????

  • @nemovich: can I ask which step you’re on? You might need to check the clipping mask/adjustment layer settings

  • SMGS

    I’m have a similar question… I’m not sure how to remove the black background as well, could you explain further as to how to make it transparent? Thank you!

  • Tom

    Very nice, but I would definitely use Flame Painter for such effect.It usually takes me about 10 mins to do that.