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Photoshop tutorials 

Aquawave - making of

This wallpaper is pretty easy to  do but there is one trick to achieve good results. The secret is  to use combination of shapes, layer effects, and masks. So, as always, start with solid color.

1

Set foreground color to darker blue, and use VERY large brush to fill background with curved gradients (you can use Blur filter with large radius after that).

2

Create new layer, switch to Pen tool, and draw some abstract shape, similar (or not similar) to shown here. Color does not matter - i used black.

3

Open layer effects, add white outer glow, size: 80-150 px.

4

Here goes the tricky part! Right-click on the layer (precisely on f" icon representing layer effects) and choose "Create Layer". A new layer will be create under your shape layer containing outer glow

5

set blend mode of outer glow layer to overlay.

6

Another trick: create a mask for this layer (Layer menu - Layer mark - Reveal all). Mark icon will appear on layer. Click it  to make sure it  is selected, switch to large black brush, and draw large black strokes here and there inside the mask. Of course you could simply use large soft eraser tool to  do the same. But using mask, you can undo the results anytime if you are not happy with them.

7

Repeat all steps from step 3.

8

Then again, and again!

9

The final touch could be  to add some texture to the blue background color (filter menu - texture - Texturizer). Make sure to use Fade (Ctrl-Shift-F) immediately after you applied the filter - too much filter looks bad.

10

← Green Field - making of How to optimize Photoshop CS2/CS3 settings for icon design →

Comments {34}

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira long ago
Thanks. Now I know how people at Apple did those wallpapers. Your tutorials are really a GOOD help, even more for hobbyists like me.

Zepca long ago
Thanks!

arash long ago
thank u so much

friendofraj long ago
hey Vlad, u r really a gr8 man!

Hugo long ago
neat

Mr mac long ago
You are good! a mean really good

Georges long ago
Dear Vlad, I would like to thank you for sharing your work withe us. I would like to wish you a verry happy holiday season. Yours faithfully Georges K from France

Mozart,Malaysia long ago
(Y), Thanks

catherine todd long ago
Thank you so much! Finally, now I know how to do this "trick." I have always wondered how! What a wonderful website you have... Is there somewhere we can purchase / donate/ contribute to all the wonderful things that are here? Yours, Catherine Todd San Antonio TX, Oxford NC and Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Boss 13 December 2008
vlad i love your wallpapers thanks for sharing your knowledge =]

kamal 22 May 2009
Awsome tutorial Vlad.......... you're great person, want to share your knowledge with others. You have many great tutorial that inspired me. Thanks a lot...!!!! Awsome....!!!!

namrata 11 January 2010
thanks!!!!!

nikhil 18 March 2010
Great work man keep it up

Vlad Gerasimov 8 April 2010
Robin - by "gradient", I did not mean gradient tool in Photoshop. Simply switch to brush tool, set brush radius to maximum, set brush opacity to 10-20%, set forecolor to dark blue (darker than background), and make several short strokes on image edges. The result will look like slightly distorted radial gradient.

Olga 27 October 2010
Thank You!!!

darksnow 3 November 2010
very nice

misi long ago
Great. Really. I like you.

reZo long ago
Hey, nice tutorial. However, I didn't understand step 4. I'm using Photoshop CS3 Extended. Would you mind taking some time to review if the step is the same in Photoshop CS3 Extended? Or explain it in a little more detail, such as click this button, or push this short cut key. Sorry for any inconvenience. But if there is one person having problems, there's always more! Thank you, reZo :)

vijay long ago
very nice

Alina long ago
Awesome Realy cool Love IT !!

roningumi long ago
Great Job Vlad!! I've a littel wish can you show us how to make the new MSN aquawave effect????

RuthAnne long ago
:-D

Gex long ago
À ïî ðóññêè ïî ÷åìó óðîêîâ íåòó????

catherine todd long ago
Ahh, I spoke too soon... I see I can "register" as a member and gain access to even more features. Thank you so much!

preet_hipno long ago
(Y) nice & thanks you :-)

Nayuribe long ago
hey vlad! I really enjoy your tutorials. You're an amazing artist! (Y)

Pieter 11 January 2008
Great tutorial. Thank you !

Woww 26 January 2009
Wowwwww

dave 12 February 2009
what do you mean by "with a large brush fill background with curved gradients" How do you make a curved gradient brush? thanks

WaZZuP 29 November 2009
wow, I could never do such things

r 8 February 2010
=)

Robin in California 8 April 2010
In Step 2, you say "Set foreground color to darker blue, and use VERY large brush to fill background with curved gradients (you can use Blur filter with large radius after that)." I don't know how to use a brush to create a curved gradient. Can you explain how to do that? I would really appreciate your help. Thanks!

ayuda 21 July 2010
nome sale ese efecto, me pierdo un paso antes de que comienze en ingles, alguien me ayuda

Yuddha 24 June 2011
that was really helpful .. thanks

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