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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!

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