Quick Swirls

Not that handy with the Pen Tool? But want a way to create the common swirls/flourishes trend objects. Here is a quick method.

Create Vector Shape

Begin with a New > Document Preset of your choice. I used 500×300, White Background Contents at 72 Resolution.

  1. Then set the Foreground/Background swatches to your choice. I used the default Black/White.
  2. Activate the Rectangle Shpe Tool from the Toolbar.
  3. Ensure Shape Layers Option Bar feature is active.
  4. Then drag a narrow rectangle strip as I have captured below.

Squick Swirls with Liquify Create Selection from Shape

Next, Ctrl + Click (MAC:Command Click) directly onto the Shape 1 Vector Mask Thumbnail (encircled in red) to activate it as a selection in the document window (as indicated by the marquee lines):
Squick Swirls with Liquify

Add Layer Mask/Disable Vector Mask

With Shape 1 Layer and Selection still active:

  1. Click the Add New Layer Mask icon command at the bottom of the Layers Panel (encircled in red)
  2. The New Layer Mask is added as captured below (encircled in red)
  3. Next, Right Click (MAS:Command click) the Vector Mask thumbnail and from the list choose Disable Vector Mask
  4. The disable Vector Mask should show a red x through it as captured below and all that remains is the Layer Mask Thumbnail.Click once on the Layer Mask thumbnail to make it active/selected.

Squick Swirls with Liquify Filter > Liquify

Now with Shape 1 Layer Thumbnail active, go Filter > Liquify menu command.:

Squick Swirls with Liquify

Liquify – Twirl Clockwise Tool

 

  1. Activate the Twirl Clockwise Tool
  2. Set Brush Size/properties
  3. Then Press and hold along the edge to create auto twirls to the Mask

Squick Swirls with Liquify Clockwise/Counter Clockwise Twirls
Click and hold along the edge of the Shape Mask to create the twirls. To create Counter Clockwise Twirls, hold the Al/Option key and apply clicks.
When you decide you have created enough, click OK command to commit the Filter.
Squick Swirls with Liquify
Optional Cleanup
Mor than often, the Liquify Filter does not create a smooth shapes, so to fix that simply apply this two step process on the Layer Mask. 1 – Apply a Gaussian Blur, 2 – then a Levels Adjustment (just pushing the Neutral slider to the right) to correct the jaggies.

Squick Swirls with Liquify

Molecular Textures

A molecular texture theme made easy with just a prefab texture combined with a New Adjustment Gradient Layers.

  1. New Document
    Run Photoshop, then from the New > File menu commands create a document preset of 500×500 as I have captured below.
    Molecules
  2. Apply Solid Color Adjustment Fill Layer
    From the bottom of the Layers Palette, select the New Adjustment Layer icon (encircled in red), and from the list choose Solid Color, as I have captured below.

    Molecules

    At the Solid Color Picker prompt, click and drag to the lower right (in the color window pane) or type 000000 in the hexadecimal input box field. Then click OK to commit changes.

    Molecules

    Below is the full preview view and the Layers Palette preview.

    Molecules

  3. Apply Pattern Adjustment Fill Layer
    Again, from the bottom of the Layers Palette, select the New Adjustment Fill Layer icon (encircled in red), and from the list choose Pattern, as I have captured below.

    Molecules

    At the Pattern Fill dialog prompt:

    1. Tick the Pattern Preset Picker.
    2. Choose the Molecular Pattern from the default set. (You should also see the Pattern appear in the document preview)

    Keep the default Scale of 100%, and then click OK to commit changes.

    Molecules

    The above Pattern Fill process has added a new Pattern Fill 1 Layer to the Layers Palette, as captured below.

    Next:

    1. Select/Activate that Pattern Fill 1 Layer
    2. Then change its blend mode to Pin Light.

    Doing so brings more of the underlying Black Color Fill 1 Layer into the Pattern, as in the preview below.

    Molecules

  4. Apply Gradient Overlay to Pattern Fill 1

    Next, Ctrl + Click (PC: Right Click) on the Pattern Fill 1 Layer and from the contextual list choose Blending Options as I have captured below.

    Molecules

    Next, at the Layer Style dialog panel:

    1. Tick the Gradient Overlay option on the left.
    2. Set Gradient Overlay options.

    Blend Mode of Color Burn, Opacity of 100%, Gradient Preset White to Black (Reversed), Reflected Gradient Style at 50 degrees and a scale of 31 %.

    Once applied, click OK to commit the Gradient Overlay.

    Molecules

    A simple Gradient Overlay onto a Pattern Fill brings to life a meaningless molecular pattern preset.

    Now comes the fun part – adding color. And it’s just as easy as the previous steps.

    The idea onward is to add Gradient Adjustment Fill Layers BETWEEN Pattern Fill 1 and the Color Fill 1 layers without losing the molecular look and feel. For the sake of brevity I will detail one Gradient Adjustment Fill and capture other results at the footer of this tutorial.

  5. Add Gradient Adjustment Layer Fill Preset

    Activate the Color Fill 1 layer (highlighted in blue) in the Layers Palette.

    Molecules

    Then:

    1. Select the New Adjustment Fill Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette and from the contextual list choose Gradient.
    2. At the Gradient Fill dialog, tick the preset picker arrow (encircled in red), and from the sub fly out preset panel select the Red, Green preset. (encircled in blue)
    3. Set the Red, Green preset Style to Reflected (Reverse) at a -45 degree angle at the default Scale of 100%. Click OK to commit the Gradient Fill options.

      Molecules

      Note: If your angle position doesn’t line up with mine, with the Gradient Fill dialog still open, click and drag directly onto the document window to reposition.

    Here is the final version:
    Molecules

Trendy Backgrounds

Here is a simply and effective trendy background combination process you can use for banners or as an addition to your graphics.

  1. I started with a document preset of 640×480, with the background color set to a dark blue #122f61

  2. I then added a white to black Gradient Fill as captured below.
    A. Select the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer
    B. Set it’s parameters as desired.
    C. Is now the uppermost layer in the stack order

  3. Right + Click on that new Gradient Fill Layer and choose ‘Blending Options’ as captured below.

  4. Set the Gradient Overlay style as captured below.

  5. Also set the Pattern Overlay style as captured below.

  6. Click OK to commit Blending Styles for this Layer, change its Blending Mode to ‘Linear Burn’ and you should have a background similar to the below.

  7. Finally…
    A. Select the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer
    B. Set it’s parameters as desired – foreground color of #122f61 to Transparent.
    C. Change its Blending Mode to Color Burn

  8. Final Background Effect

  9. For other Color Effects, double click the Gradient Fill 3 Layer icon to select from the other Gradient presets.

Blend IF into Textures

An effective way to blend items into textured surfaces.

Below is the starting textured image.

Blend IF into Textures

Simply duplicate the original texture and alter its Blending Mode to Color Burn and reduce its Opacity to a moderate level. I used 68%.

Blend IF into Textures

Add a new Type Layer, above the textured layers as I have captured below.
(Type preferences your choice: I used Arial Black, color white)

Blend IF into Textures

Next, in the Layers Palette, Right Click on the Type Layer and from the context menu list choose Blending Options, as I have captured below.

Blend IF into Textures

Within the Blending Options/Layer Styles main panel, go to the lower left to the Blend If section.
Click and drag to adjust the ‘Underlying Layer’ sliders as I have encircled below.

Blend IF into Textures

Hold the Alt key and click on each of the Underlying Sliders to split them apart.
Adjust the half’s to apply gradual tonal values to the blending, as captured below.

Blend IF into Textures

Final Blend.

Blend IF into Textures

Custom Curtain Textures

Here is a process to creating custom curtain or fabric textures with Photoshop.

Create a new Document of your preset choice.

The set up your document area as outlined below:
1. Create a new Empty Layer.
2. Set your ‘Foreground Color’ to your preference. I used Black #000000.
3. Select the ‘Gradient Tool (G)’ from the Toolbar.
4. Then go to the ‘Options Bar’ and Select the ‘Linear’ gradient Style.
5. Move just to the right of the Styles presets and adjust the ‘Mode’ to Difference.

As demonstrated below: (portion of the original document)
1. Start from the left of the Document area.
2. Click + Drag in a short distances until you’ve reached the right side of your document.
3. Then repeat from right to left, as demonstrated below.
(Explore with slight angles for more variations and repeat as often as you like)

The above brief introduction produced the following curtain-like texture.

Next lets just add some color to this effect.
Activate the new Layer, then select the ‘New Fill…’ icon on the bottom of the Layers Palette, and from the list select ‘Solid Color’, as I have captured below.

At the next Color Fill dialog prompt select your color preference, I went for a burgundy variation – lower left, then click the OK command to commit the changes.
The new Color Fill layer is then added to the Layers Palette as captured below (lower right).

Finally, lets blend this color into the curtain effect texture below it.
Activate the Color Fill layer, and adjust the ‘Blend Mode’ from ‘Normal’ to ‘Color’ and bump down the ‘Opacity’ to get the below blend effect.

Remember if your not content with the choice of color, double click the Color Fill layer thumbnail to get back to the Color Fill dialog to select a new color. Other Color variations below.

The following two examples applies a repeated gradient pass on ‘Layer 1’ as in the above animated demo.

With this simple process try the Displacement Map tutorial that makes use of textures like this.

Stone Texture Effect

Here’s a few simple steps to create this realistic cracked stone texture.

First start a new document. I started with a preset of 254 x 260.
Next set the Foreground color to #BDE6F3 & Background color to #000000 (Black). (Ultimately, you choose your own varying color swatches, as this effect produces different results but the same effect.)

Next, create a new empty Layer and apply a ‘Clouds’ Filter (‘Filter/Render/Clouds’) to produce a result similar to the below capture.

Stone Texture

Next, go ‘Filter/Artistic/Plastic Wrap’ and apply the below captured settings.

Stone Texture

This will generate the below result.

Stone Texture

Next, go ‘Filter/Texture/Craquelure’ and apply the below captured settings.

Stone Texture

Combined with the above ‘Plastic Wrap’ filter, will generate the below result.

Stone Texture

Again, go ‘Filter/Texture/Craquelure’ and apply the below captured settings.

Stone Texture

To achieve the below resulting stone surface texture.S

Stone Texture

A few more variations

Stone TextureStone Texture