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Rainbows - making of

Hello! In this tutorial, I will show how I created the Rainbows wallpaper. First, create dark sky in the background. For that, set forecolor to dark blue and back color to black, switch to Gradient tool (G), change gradient type to Radial, and create gradient from bottom to top of document.

To add some highlight, create new layer, and use large soft white brush to add a spot. Then, transform it (Ctrl-T) - stretch it horizontally.

Change layer blend mode to Overlay.

Next step is  to create a cloud. Change forecolor to light blue, switch to Shape tool (U), select Ellipse, switch to 'Add to shape area' mode (2nd button in top row, so that all shapes you create are in single layer). Then, holding Shift, add several circles, overlapping each other a bit.

Add the following layer effects: - drop shadow (black, mode = overlay, opacity 30-40%, distance 3-4px, size 10-15px) - inner glow (white, overlay, size = 5-6px) - gradient overlay (black-to-white, mode = overlay, opacity 75%, angle 90) - bevel and emboss (size 30px, soften 5px, highlight white 75% screen, shadow multiply 40% blue) - satin (black, mode = overlay, distance 6px, size 14px, try different contours) Our cloud is ready!

Add another small cloud in front of bigger cloud. When you add layer effects to smaller cloud, decrease all sizes and percents accordingly.

And then, more and more clouds!

Next, we need a rainbow. We will make rainbow with shapes, each color in one shape layer. Create new layer (behind layers with clouds). Set forecolor to red, select ellipse shape tool (U) and make a red circle (as always, holding Shift to preserve proportion)

with Path selection tool (A), select the circle you just made, copy-paste it (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V), scale down a bit (hit Ctrl-T and resize with your mouse holding Shift). Then change path mode to Substract.

Switch to Pen tool (P), change mode to Substract, then carefully add a shape that hides unnecessary part of circle.

I wanted that the rainbow is cut 2-3 pixels before it connects to cloud. It  is very easy to do: select layer with cloud, switch to Path selection tool (A), select the circle that touches the rainbow, copy it (Ctrl-C).

Then go back to the layer with rainbow, click a rainbow path to select it, paste (Ctrl-V), scale up  a bit (Ctrl-T, then resize with the mouse holding Shift), and finally, change path mode to Substract.

Now that one color is ready, repeat these steps to create another color.

And another and another, until the rainbow is ready.

Now you know how to create rainbows - why not add some more?

Here goes the trick. I wanted one of  my rainbows to 'dissolve' into separate lines, each color flying in separate direction. Here is how to  do it: for each layer with color, select the shape with path selection (A) tool, then switch to Pen (P) or Rectangle (U) (does not really matter), change shape mode to Substract, and add a shape that hides part of the circle. Repeat with each color of rainbow - it will look nicer if lines are cut in different locations.

Now we need to add 'flying' lines of colors. We could do that with Pen tool only, but unfortunately Photoshop does not have curved lines with fixed width, or path offset (as Illustrator). And I wanted the lines to have fixed stroke width. So  we will have to add paths and then transform them into pixels. So, open Paths palette (from Windows menu), switch to Pen tool, then on bottom of paths palette, click New button. New path will appear (called Path 1).

Start your path by clicking exactly the middle of where red line is cut, and dragging (and releasing) the mouse continuing red line direction.

Continue your path until it  is outside document boundaries.

Switch to brush tool (B), set forecolor to the same red color as the raibow red, then carefully choose brush size that matches size of rainbow line (in my case, 3px). Then, hit Stroke button on bottom of Paths palette (2nd in the row). You can click Stroke button several times to make line wider. If line does not match, undo and change brush size. You should be careful and patient doing that :-)

Next step is  to blur edge of line, to add some depth to our artwork. Turn on Quick Mask (Q), then switch to Gradient tool (G), select black-to-white gradient, and apply gradient as shown here.

Turn off quick mask (hit Q again): you should see the selection similar to this.

Go to Filters menu - Blur - Gaussian blur, and apply 3-5 pixels blur. You can also try Lens blur - it may look better (or not) but take much more time to apply.

Now the red line is completed! Repeat the same steps for each color.

Next step: in new layer, add some very small spots with white hard small brush (add some 1px dots, then 2px and 3px)

Next step: stars. I thought that it  it would be more romantic if the stars glow with horizontal and vertical rays. To  do such star, switch to Shape tool (U), choose Polygon, set sides = 4, then open Options dropdown window, check Star, and set Indent sizes to 90-97%

Add a shape (hold Shift to preserve proportions), then transform (Ctrl-T) to squeeze horizontally a little bit.

Set shape layer blend mode to Overlay, then in new layer, add a dot with white soft brush....

... then set its blend mode to Overlay too!

Add more stars in similar way.

Next step: a fairy! A fairy consists of several shape layers, with layer effects applied to each layer. Here is the shape of the body (made with Pen tool).

Add layer effects: - inner glow (white, overlay 30-40%) - Gradient overlay (black-to-white, radial, overlay 30-40%)

Next layer: arms. (made with Pen tool too)

Next layer: head (made with Ellipse tool (U) and then another shape in Substract mode, made with Pen). Add the same layer effects as  to body layer.

Next layer: hair (behind head layer). Add the same layer effects, but change gradient type to Linear.

Next layer: eyes. Made with Pen tool. Change blend mode to Multiply, no layer effects.

← Vintage effect - PSD template file included! Diving - making of →

Comments {113}

Berry 15 February 2008
It is great! Thank you so ~much!

Henrique 21 February 2008
Wow! Amazing art! Congratulations

Kale 22 February 2008
Thanks for sharing this... the clounds turned out great.

Vinit Kulkarni 27 February 2008
Thankyou very much for sharing this with us ! Can you tell more links for photoshop tutorials ?

tagy 7 March 2008
Great tutorial Vlad as usual :) this one reminded me of fabio (abduzeedo) 's wallpaper but maybe in the hard way (pen tool) that is ;)

brittany 28 March 2008
thanks so much!! i'm using ur version as my desktop pic and i can't wait to create my own using some of your techniques!

yourmom 15 April 2008
this is sooo cool! my class was working in photo shop and for you to have this here is really a life saver!!!!

Lenny 24 April 2008
My master.....

:] 29 April 2008

towler 2 May 2008
this is pretty awsome. can anyone please tell me what size i will need to make desktop wallpapers, and also mobilephoe wallpapers

andrea 7 May 2008
him, im amazed. It is very rare to find today such a generous guy as you. Thanks for tutorials! Now I know the rules of your fantastic images, but it feels even more mysterious.

Wilson Gozal 28 May 2008
hey Vlad! do you always use photoshop for your creation?

SoniX 1 June 2008
It is really very good and fantastic tutorial....example taken is now my desktop background...

ramesh - india 25 June 2008
ur not only master of graphics (+ fantastic softwares knowledge) but u know very well how to describe them in simple way....... great job gentleman....

Bobette 7 August 2008
I do like your tut better. The clouds look great. I didn't like them in the other tut. Thanks!

:) 12 September 2008
You did a great job. The clouds look great. Could you also put tutorials on how to make web page cool background. Thanks

bxh 27 October 2008
Cool,thank you so much!!!

Vlad fan 26 November 2008
Thanks for your huge generosity of spirit in offering these tutorials and sharing your creativity with the rest of the world ~ like us ... It lightens my heart and my spirits!

Adam Apollo 10 December 2008

Me 23 December 2008

Alice 23 April 2009
Great wallpaper, by the way. I was wondering if you can tell me what photoshop are you using? Cab you recommend me some free online photo shop sites ( the one that you don't need to download)? It would be fantastic if you could.

Casablanca 20 June 2009
very good.

2 July 2009
hay jueputa que chimba

pG0 6 July 2009
wow wow wow wow....

Amy 6 August 2009
Its so simple nd very effective ... its really ... good !

Jack Sutcliffe 11 August 2009

Rutts 15 August 2009
Thanks. Love your designs. This tut is a little muddled though - I think the HTML has gone awol at some point... Lovely scene though! Ta!

15 August 2009
I'm at a loss for words. Marvellous!


Čiika 11 October 2009
that is that :)

Ragini 12 October 2009
amazing art work

Veroni 3 December 2009
verry good!!!! *-*

Bob 22 December 2009
??? I want you to show me how to make a Christmas tree! PLease???

nicole ducroz 4 February 2010
bonsoir impossible to download the pdf file ? nicole

Mahsa 9 February 2010
Wow ! very good.

7 March 2010

Patty* 17 March 2010
ezt nem értem

25 March 2010

5 April 2010
dameeet garrrm

10 April 2010
thank so much,great Work

Sianturi Wahyu ! 30 April 2010
Great,.. !! Mizerable

Behzad 29 May 2010
So Beautiful,tnx 30 June 2010
Today as we know there is so much demand of designing, in every IT field designing is very necessary. And Photo shop is great tool for this. It is really very helpful and easy to use also. I had used this and from my experience i ca say it is totally mind blowing. This is really a amazing work

))))))))) 28 July 2010

Clear 24 November 2010

Soulfulwriter 30 November 2010
Hi, This is really great and cool but isn't it missing some steps for the fairies? cuz i really like this tutorial but can't seem make ou the fairies? Thank you.

3 January 2011

nguon_dara 24 February 2011

19 March 2011
that's awesome

31 May 2011
wow..........Keep Rocking...................

OAAL 6 June 2011

adrian 19 August 2011
excelent. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymus~ 10 September 2011
I'm not sure if its just me but when you get to the end of the fairy part your text starts talking about fairy wings and shows pictures of stars still and when i set the inner glow/color to overlay in the blending option for the fairy body the effects become transparent and i am left with a plain red body, any help?

Ngo Minh Truc 9 March 2012
damn great, thank 4 sharing!

andres valencia 20 June 2012
Y lo demas donde esta

Lucia 15 February 2008
thank toy so much!!!!!

shay 21 February 2008
Thanks for a fantastic tutorial! It's very much appreciated :)

Lead 23 February 2008

lütfü 24 February 2008
10 nümero gerçekten

prab 3 March 2008
wow!! thanx for sharing.. most ppl are too tight to show how they do it.. but respect to you for sharing with everyone

R 10 March 2008

Dy 6 April 2008
awesome! thats really amazing! :D

jiaya 11 April 2008

Scrappy Smile 21 April 2008
This is also incredibly COOL!!! TYFS!!!

DJentelMEN 25 April 2008

No name 2 May 2008
Amazing art work. Fabulous!

masrizal 3 May 2008
That's really..really...really coooool.. i love this site very much... Thanks for sharing your great work...

KienSym 8 May 2008
Thanks for sharing your great work...That's beautiful....^^

ridhoyp 19 May 2008
Awesome!! Nice.. i never see the tutorial like this before.. its so cool!!!

Caila 4 June 2008
It' a great work !!!!

wood 7 June 2008
well I'm a beginner and happy to learn from here!!Thank you!!

:) 15 July 2008

monica 30 July 2008
love it!!!

Betty 7 August 2008
More info is needed about the layer effects on the clouds. I've tried this several times and my clouds don't look shaded like yours. Thanks.

lyhakkai666 13 September 2008
Excellent!! :D

ANTONIO JOSE 9 November 2008
Impresionante, gracias por compartir tu sabiduría

Marian Riquelme 6 December 2008
Thanks! with your tutorials I've learn a lot of Photoshop features that I used to ignore and now I'm ready to use them on my own designs. You're great!

kukugt 22 December 2008
Genial muy buenos tips

Sandra 31 January 2009
Fantastic! thank you very much for sharing it with us!

Myfacefriends 28 April 2009
this is awesome! thanks keep in coming.

PatuShQa 2 May 2009 co je ale brutalita...

2 July 2009
que hijio de puta el pnede mario

claudia de los reyes 6 July 2009
Muchas Gracias por tu ayuda!!!!!

8 August 2009

Paja 10 August 2009

TDL 12 August 2009
Hello - I stumbled across your wallpapers randomely doing a search for something new and refreshing for my work pc. I fell in love with this rainbow one and have received many great comments from my colleagues on it. Your work is amazing and the tutorial is great too! Thanks for spending so much time on showing others how to do it and also thanks for the amazing wallpapers! They make me happy when I log on to my PC :-)

2 October 2009
I was really shoked. It's magic

12 October 2009
This is very great tutorial. Thanks. I have question - does it have also 2nd part with steps till final result? I do not see how to create wings and other fairies.

priya 8 December 2009

17 January 2010

debrya 5 February 2010
great work

Hey you =D 6 February 2010
Rulez!! 8D

scrafu 4 March 2010

13 March 2010

swapnil 19 March 2010
really nice cloud-rainbow formation. I never knew photoshop was this simple until now. will surely try others tutorials too. thanks a lot.

7 April 2010
wooow hebaat!! thats great!

Jesse 13 April 2010
I want more... please!!!

3 May 2010
kawaii 23 June 2010
Nice design. i think i should looks more design from you, very Good……………..

Fabian 10 July 2010
Gracias muy bueno :D Saludos a todos desde Colombia.

Misty 22 July 2010
I can't do this!!! :( I don't know how to use the pen tool very well...

thin 2 November 2010
I can't make this cloud :(

HAHAHA! SHAMMA DID THIS ! 24 November 2010
OMG ! I did it !! <33333 FINALLY !! (btw) im 12 years old, ;) ! i think no one in my age have done this before me :P !

3 December 2010
waw great idea to make

yıldız 22 January 2011
thank you

8 March 2011

COOPER 29 March 2011
um thats way too long but it looks what if you have no mac?

Hitesh Patel 8 June 2011
Suprb incredibly just WoW

mary 24 June 2011
this is fantastic!!! i made it myself it's not as great as yours but it's good thanks for the tutorial! thanks again

zahra 31 October 2011
thx soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much

alyssa 2 March 2012

amateurskatingfanatic 25 April 2012
what edition of photoshop do you use?

Fabrythrash 6 July 2012
Amazing fantastic tutorial .. .. really inspiring ! Good work, thanks a lot !

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