Create Beautiful Hair-like Abstract Lines to Decorate Your Design in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the process of creating Beautiful Hair-like Abstract Lines to Decorate Your Design in Photoshop. This is a beginner level tutorial with the aim of teaching how you to utitilise the Pen Tool and dynamic brush settings. Have  a try :)

Previously I published a tutorial called “Create Beautiful Surreal Photo Effect via Cloud, Star and Vexel Hair in Photoshop” and received a number of emails about the vexel hair part, which requires extensive use of Pen Tool. As a result, I decided to create a new tutorial showing more details about it, but with a different effect which you can use in a wider range of occasions (such as Photoshop retouch, web graphics and so on).

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

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OK let’s get started!

No stock image is required for this tutorial.

Step 1

Create a new document size 800px * 800px, fill the background with black colour. Create a new layer on top of the background layer, press the “P” key to choose the Pen Tool, draw a work path as shown below:

If you’re a beginner, you may not get the curve in one go – it doesn’s matter, you can hold down the Alt key and left-click to drag the corner point to adjust its shape:

Press “B” key to select the brush tool, choose a 1px hard brush, as shown below:

Choose a colour from the colour picker (I use a light pick colour here):

Press “P” key again, then right-click on the path, choose “Stroke Path”:

Choose “Brush” from the drop down box, and make sure you tick the “Simulate Pressure” option, then press “OK”:

and here ist effect after the path stroke:

Step 2

Use the Same Process as described above, create another 3 lines. Make sure you:

  • Put each line on a seperate layer
  • Adjust the brush size to be 2px, 3px, 4px respectively
  • Adjust the layer opacity to be 80%, 60% and 40%

Details please refer to the screenshots below:

Adjust the positions of the lines (move them slighly left and right against each other), And here is the effect so far: (4 lines on 4 layers)

Step 3

Make a folder called “lines” and put those four layers into it. Duplicate this folder once and merge the duplicated layers, reduce the opacity of the merged layer to around 70% and move it slightly left to create a bit of depth for the image:

Then keep duplicated the merge layer to add more lines to the image:

Now you will want to add some colour variety into it. Instead of picking a new colour and go through the stroke process, you can simply add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to the merged line layer: (make sure you tick the “Use Previous Layer as clipping mask” option when adding it)

and adjust the hue and use a colour you like:

Keeping add more colour onto it. You can use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl + T) to the line layers you added to adjust their angle:

Also resize the layer when you see fit:

Step 4

Now we also want to add a few grey lines into the image. To do this, simply go to image > adjustments > desaturate (or Shift + Ctrl + U) to desaturate a merged line layer:

Blend those grey lins into the image, as shown below:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 5

We’re almost done. Now merge those lines layer we made, then duplicate, rotate them around the canvas:

We can add some dots around the lines to decorate it a bit. To do this, create a new brush with the settings shown below: (press f5 to bring up the brush window)

Tick “Airbrush”, “Smoothing” and “Protect Texture” option.

Use the brush we just made, paint some dots around the image on a new layer, as shown below:

We can also paint some random lins around to spice up the image a bit: (Use a 1px hard brush and simply paint away!)

Once you’ve done the painting, go to filter > Sharpen > Sharpen and sharpen this dots layer a bit. (You will see the dots become brighter)

Here is the overall effect:

You may want to alter the colour balance or use a different colour scheme.Totally up to you :)

Here is an alternative version I made: (click to enlarge)

That’s it! Hope you enjoy this tutorial 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

  • nice tutorials i like abstract, hope soon not only the VIP’s can get the psd file

  • GFXnoob:)


    At Step1 i don’t get these faded out ends, my line is solid pink, what am I doing wrong? (simulate pressure is on, but it’s not making any differance)


  • wow ~ amazing ! i really like this tut :)

  • Johnson5756

    My problem is the same as GFXnoob:). To get the effect, I have to use the eraser tool. Please enlighten me. Thank you.

  • James Qu

    @GFXnoob, @Johnson5756: did you select the brush option when stroking the path? if not, make sure you do so.

    Hope this helps

  • Mike

    when I come up to the section “STROKE PATH” its not high lighted and I can not continue on. What am I doing wrong. ?

  • Harish

    Thankssss. it is good simple :)

  • Rue

    My stroke doesn’t pick up on the pen pressure? any changes i dont know about?
    Nice tut btw

  • martha

    Wow, amazling tut! So simple but very impressive. That`s what I`m looking for for my PS work! Thanks a lot. :)

  • pappu

    good job….

  • Isparela

    I have tried this tutorial twice but it doesn’t good enough yet. You know I am just a newbie and still learning Photoshop Effects.
    1000 thanks.

  • Kelly

    For those whose stimulate pressure is not working, go to windows<brushes and check shape dynamics.

  • Todarus Adams

    How do you curve your first line in step a beginner btw.thnx

  • Very well details tutorial. I found it very easy to understand step by step instruction..

  • you did excellent work in this tutorial, even i have tried successfully. thanks

  • Impressive work. You can just expound on this idea and create something new from it. Thanks for sharing a detailed tutorial. Will bookmark this for future reference :)

  • Very useful. Thank you for sharing.

  • raj

    Awesome. Today i learned new trick, hope it will be using in my next design.

  •  This looks like a vektor-graphical approach. Didn’t know that this works for Photoshop. Great thanks!

  • Beharad

    thank you it was great

  • Core13

    same as me

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