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Photoshop Tutorial : Special effects, shapes and other things

So I thought we’d create some strange spacey shapes in Photoshop. This is really easy to do – brushes, the smudge tool and a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer. I have a photo to show you how to add a glow for the spacey shapes, I’ll add that later.

Create a new file in Photoshop 600 X 800 @ 72dpi with a black b/ground. You need the black background so you can see what you are doing. You’re going to create the little spacey things first, each on a seperate layer, but remember that you will be able to use the Transform Tool to rotate, warp etc., Create a new layer above the b/ground layer by using the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Working on the transparent layer, go and grab a soft edged brush and pick a foreground colour that you like. I have chosen Green for mine. Check the little box at the bottom of the colour picker to ‘only web colours’ this will give you less colours to work with and will make the next process a bit easier. See image below. You can see where I have positioned the colour picker, and for the next colour choice I will move into the lighter Hue.

You are going to click once with the chosen brush size and colour, then go to the colour picker and make the colour lighter, reduce the brush size by tapping the left bracket key once and click directly over the first stroke. Repeat this process till you’ve done about 4 in total, then you may want to move across to a lighter shade of your chosen colour and reduce the brush size a bit more to place a highlight. See image below

Before you go on and use the Smudge Tool, you might like to duplicate the Orb type thing you just created and then turn it off using the little eyeball. This is in case you don’t like what you create – you won’t have to create the orb again. So go grab the Smudge Tool and in the top menu bar turn the strength down to about 85%. You can adjust this as need be – if you find it too strong, dial it down further. Keep the size of the Smudge Tool reasonably small and pull out some little tails, or something similar. See image below

So you can see what I’ve done in the image above. Now you’re going to create a Scatter Brush in case you feel the need to add some trails behind it. Pick a soft edged round brush again and then go to Window>Brushes to bring up the Brushes palette. You can punch in the same numbers I have below if you like, or create one of your own. Once you have the brush as you like it, go to the bottom of the brushes palette and click on the ‘create a new brush’ icon, name the brush and save it. This will save you having to re-create the brush over and over again if you make more than one little shape thing.

You may end up with something similar to the image below. Use the eraser tool to take away any of the scattering that you don’t like. You could also use a layer mask to do the same thing, just remember to switch to another brush before you paint of the mask.

OK, now if you want to add some of these effects into another image it will look more realistic if there is a glow coming from the shapes onto the object. In this case it is a person. The image is brought to use by roxxannas at the Stock Exchange site and I have cropped the bottom and added more space at the top. Save the image, open it in Photoshop, drag it to the image you have been working on and place it below the background layer (solid black layer). You can turn the solid black layer on and off, it just makes it easier to create the shape against a black background.

At this stage you will have to scale the shape and trails so, click on the shape layer and hold down the shift key, then click on the trails. Bring up the Transform Tool by using Ctrl + T and then scale, rotate, warp – do whatever you want. I added some more trails to my shape by reselecting my scattering brush that I made, reducing the size and making some extra trails.

To make this more realistic, the woman would have some of the green colour reflected on her face and skin – lets go ahead and do that now. Select the layer with the woman on it, check that you don’t have your scatter brush selected, and then go into Quick Mask Mode by pressing the icon at the bottom of the side toolbar or pressing Q on the keyboard. I’ve clicked around the image where I thought a reflection of the green light might fall. You will be able to add and take away from this later, so don’t be overly fussy.

Once you’ve finished press Q on the keyboard to exist quick mask mode, then go to Select>Inverse, to inverse the selection. Hold down the Alt key on the keyboard and click on the ying and yang symbol at the bottom of the layers palette (create new adjustment layer), choose Hue/Sat from the menu and when the dialogue box appears- check the box that says Use Previous Layer To Create Clipping Mask. The Hue/ Sat adjustment will appear, just change the Hue to match the colour of the shape and you can also fiddle with the Sat and Lightness if you want. See image below.

You can make as many of these things as you like, just follow the same instructions for all of them. I’ve done another couple of shapes on the image below.

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