Create a Screaming Abstract Light Effect

In this tutorial I will run you through some steps on creating a cool abstract screaming effect using the pen tool for curvy lines, some abstract stock photos, glowing sparks and lightning.

First download these images

Now create a document 1000X600px with a black background

Drag the screaming face to the very right of the new document.

We need to get rid of the grayish color in the image so bring up your “levels” tool by using the keyboard shortcut ctrl+L and use these settings that follow. Basically I am just dragging the middle arrow to the right.

Now for the rest of the grayish color showing up use a medium sized soft eraser brush to get rid of it.

Now its time to make the curvy lines with the pen tool.

So pick your pen tool and make sure the settings at the top of your photoshop window look
like this

If you don’t know how to use the pen tool there are many tutorials that show how to use it and you can search for them on your favorite search engine. I am going to explain how to use it for one line though.

Following are some images showing the steps to creating the curved line

Then click one more time off the boundary of the canvas to finish up.

Make sure you have a white 3px brush chosen. Also in your brush settings make
sure shape dynamics is turned off. Then with the pen tool right click on the line
you made and click, “stroke path”.

After that right click on it again and choose “remove path”.

Now you should have a white squiggly line.


Now in your blending options use these settings:

Color Overlay:

Choose a mid blue color.

Outer Glow:

Now use that same method to make quite a few more squiggly lines.

Then I made some more but used a bright green color

Next I want to add some cloudy/smoky kind of effect in a new layer above all the curved lines.

To do this make sure you have the two colors you have chosen as your foreground and background colors.

Now choose your brush tool and go to your brush settings:

And set your scattering options like this:

Now in the new layer use either color and paint over the lines like this:

Then hit x on your keyboard to change to the other color and do the same thing. Do this all in the same layer. Don’t paint as heavy with the other color.

Next grab your smudge tool from your tools and set its strength to 57%. Smudge the entire layer by taking your cursor and moving it back and forth to get the smoky effect.

After you finish that, duplicate the layer and set it to vivid light so its a little more vivid.

I want to make the smokey effect and the curved lines to look kind of like sound waves and for that effect I will crete a new layer and make a selection with my rectangle marquee tool. Fill the selection with the color black then use the fibers filter.

Then go to filter>>render>>fibers

Use settings similar to this:

Set it to overlay and that is it for that step.

It should look similar to this

Now time to add the abstract stock photos.

Open abstract2 and drag it into your canvas and size it down to fit over what you have so far.

Set the layer to lighten and erase around it to make it blend in better

Duplicate that layer and move it to the left so it looks like one large abstract light.

Now grab the other abstract stock photo and do the same thing with it.

For the layer I duplicated with the second abstract image I want to change its color slightly just to give the work more color.

So on that one I will adjust the hue/saturation by hitting ctrl+u on my keyboard and using these settings:

That will make it a purple color

Next I will use a medium soft white brush and and paint on the mouth area to give more of a screaming effect.

Add some sparks by using the same method we used before in earlier steps with the scatter brush tool. Use the different colors within the abstract light (blue, green, white etc) and paint sparks on the top and bottom. I will do blue sparks, green sparks, and white ones in 3 different layers. Just paint the color sparks where you see each color.

Add outer glows to them that match the color. For example the blue with a lighter blue outer glow and I used a yellowish glow for the white.

This work will not be complete until I add some lightning to it.

Create a new layer and use the rectangle marquee tool again like in the previous steps to create the fibers and make a selection around the abstract lights. Go to filter>>render>>clouds. Then right after that filter>>render>>difference clouds.

Now hit ctrl+i on your keyboard to invert it

Now bring up your level tool like we did on the image of the guy screaming and move the middle cursor all the way to the right.

Set the layer to overlay and use a soft eraser brush to blend it in good and you should have a pretty cool effect.

The final thing I want to do is add a glow to his face since he has all of this light coming out of his mouth, don’t you think it would be making a glow on his face?

So in a new layer get a medium sized eraser brush and paint a bluish color over his face

Set it to color dodge and we are done!

Here is an idea just to show you what you could do with an image like this:

Thanks for checking out this tutorial!

By John Overbee

John Overbee is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network.

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