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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.

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).

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.

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

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

set blend mode of outer glow layer to overlay.

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.

Repeat all steps from step 3.

Then again, and again!

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.

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

Comments 34

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

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

arash · long ago
thank u so much

misi · long ago
Great. Really. I like you.

Alina · long ago
Awesome Realy cool Love IT !!

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

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

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!

Mozart,Malaysia · long ago
(Y), Thanks

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

RuthAnne · long ago

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

Pieter · 11 January 2008
Great tutorial. Thank you !

Woww · 26 January 2009

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

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

vijay · long ago
very nice

Hugo · long ago

Zepca · long ago

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 :)

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

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.

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

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

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