Photoshop Tutorial: Background Design

July 08, 2010

Today, I am going to show you how to create a beautiful background design in Photoshop. This is an intermediate Photoshop tutorial that will teach you how to make a custom brush. You can use this type of background design on your website as well as on your business cards.

Below is the flower design that we are going to create:

Beautiful background design

Step 1: The setup

Open Photoshop and create a new document that is 1200px by 900px. Fill the background layer with with 90% gray (#252525). Create a new blank layer on top of this grey layer.

Step 2: Creating your custom brush

Make sure that black is set as your foreground colour and select the Ellipse tool (U). On the new, empty layer, create a circle on the stage. Go to Layer -> Layer Style -> Blending Options. On the main Blending Options screen, set the Fill opacity to 50%. Now, still within this Blending Options screen, select Stroke and change its size to 10px and its position to 'Inside'. The stroke colour should be black. You should be left with something like this:

ellipse design for Photoshop tutorial

Step 3: Adjusting the settings of your custom brush

Select the ellipse and go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset in the main menu. Name your brush. Select your brush tool (B) and open the brush palette. Make sure that your new custom brush is selected and now, you are going to adjust a few of the settings in the Brushes Palette for your brush.

First, select Brush Tip Shape in the Brushes Palette. Adjust the Spacing to 100%. You are going to also have to adjust the settings of the Shape Dynamics, Scattering and Other Dynamics as well. Below are all the settings that I used. Set your brush settings to the same as mine.

Spacing in this Photoshop Tutorial

Shape Dynamics in this Photoshop Tutorial

Scattering in this Photoshop Tutorial

Other Dynamics in this Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4: Create a colourful background

Create a new, blank layer and set the layer Blend Mode -> Overlay. We are going to add a colourful gradient to this layer. Select the Gradient tool, open the Gradient Editor and select the colours that you want to use in your gradient. I decided to use these four colours: purple #662477, blue #312d7d, cyan #258c9f and yellow #ddd446. Once you have chosen the colours for your gradient, add it to your stage at a 45 degree angle. It should look something like this:

gradient in this Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5: Adding the final effect

In the Layer Palette, create a new folder. Change the Blend Mode of this folder to Colour Dodge. Create a new layer in this folder and set the foreground colour to white. Select your Brsuh tool and using it, draw out a few circles on the stage.

Photoshop Tutorial: Beautiful Background Design

Select Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. Set the Gaussian Blur to 20px.

Photoshop Tutorial: Beautiful Background Design 2

Create a new layer and do the same thing (using the brush tool, draw out a few circles on the stage). This time, set the Gaussian Blur to 10px.

Photoshop Tutorial: Beautiful Background Design 3

Create a third layer and do the same thing again. This time, set the Gaussian Blur to 4px.

Photoshop Tutorial: Beautiful Background Design

And there you have it... a beautiful background design. You can play with the size of the circles, the amount of circles and the amount of Gaussian Blur to change the look of your design.

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