Create an Abstract Design with Curved Light Streaks

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to create an abstract design in Photoshop using lighting and curved line techniques.

Click on the image for a larger version so you can see it in detail.

First download this picture of hands open on a black background

First start a 1024X768px document or whatever size you want and fill it with black.

Open your hands picture and cut it out so there is no background on the image. You can use the magic wand tool just fine for this

Here are my wand tool settings

Click in your hands document with the magic wand and it should make a selection around the hands

Then drag that into your document.

Now I am going to make a blue glowing ball loading above the palms of the hands
in the image.

Choose a mid-bright blue color I chose #0080eb.

Now grab your gradient tool from your tools palette and choose these settings:

Once you choose that first click on the gradient picker on the top bar of photoshop

Once you click that it will open up a window and choose the 2nd preset which is foreground to transparent

Ok after choosing those settings make sure its set on radial gradient and start a new layer.

In the new layer drag your gradient tool to make the blue ball above the palms. Hold down shift so your line stays straight and drag down

Then you should get something like this

Now we are going to make our curved lines. To do this I will use the pen tool.

First I am going to customize our brush so we can stroke the path we make with the pen tool.

Go ahead and make your foreground color white because that is the color we will make our lines.

Choose your brush tool and set the size to 5px.

Now go to your brushes palette. Mine is located on the main bar of photoshop on the right

Click that and then go to “shape dynamics” and choose these settings

Now it is time to get the pen tool and use it! Start a new layer above all the others and click like this to make a curved line.

After that right click on the path we made with the pen tool and choose “stroke path”

After you do that right click on the path again and choose “delete path”

Now you should be left with a beautiful squiggly line

After that add these blending options to that layer

Outer glow

Gradient Overlay

Now it should look something like this

Next duplicate that layer by right clicking on it and clicking “duplicate layer”

Then flip it horizontally and move it to the left like this

If you do not know how to flip an object horizontally its really simple. On the squiggly line layer hit ctrl+t with your keyboard than right click on it and choose “flip horizontally”

Make another new layer and make your brush tool a little smaller, around 3px. Also drop your fade effect down to around 400.

Make another squiggly line like this

Add these blending options to that one

Outer Glow

Gradient Overlay

Duplicate this one the same way, flip it horizontally, and move it to the left as well

One more line to go!

Create another squiggly line like this

Use the same outer glow as the others but add this gradient overlay

Flip it horizontally and move it as well.

Ok now its time to add the blue sparks coming off of the lines and the glowing ball.

Choose a 2px brush and you have to key it in because 2px is not a default size.

Keep your foreground color white and use these settings in your brush palette. The same one we used before to choose the settings for our squiggly lines

Shape Dynamics



Dual Brush

Finally your scatter should look like this

Now in a new layer drag your mouse in the same shape as our squiggly lines

Here is an example of what I mean

Now make quite a few more of those and then add this outer glow to the layer in your blending options

Here is what I have now

Looks pretty neat huh? I hope you have a similar result.

Now to make that look even more vivid I will run through a few steps to get a pretty neat effect.

Create a new layer and highlight around our squiggly lines and glowing ball with your rectangle marquee tool and fill it with the color black

Next go to filter>>render>>fibers and use these settings:

If you don’t have fibers in your version of photoshop you can just add some noise to the layer.

Next go to filter>>sketch>>chalk and charcoal and use these settings

Here is what I have after that

One more step, go to filter>>blur>>motion blur and use settings like this

Set your layer to color dodge and you should have a pretty vivid effect.

Next get a large eraser brush to erase parts of the layer we just made that you can see over the hands and other areas.

Here is what mine looks like now

Almost done! Just a few more final touches and this will look really good.

Ok, remember how we made that blue ball in the beginning? Well we are going to make one more like that except for your foreground color use white and background use black.

Get the same gradient tool you used before and make a ball the same size as the blue one.

So create a new layer and create your ball.

Add this outer glow to it

Place it over top of where the original ball we made is

Next create a new layer and this one will be for a shadow underneath our ball right above the hands.

So grab your ellipse shape tool

Use the color black for this.

Create a circle like this right in the palm of the hands

Now add a gaussian blur to this by going to filter>>blur>>gaussian blur and similar settings

Now you should have a nice little shadow on the hands.

Another final touch I will show you is to make a bluish glow on the hands coming from all of our squiggly lines and ball.

Start a new layer below our shadow layer. Get your pen tool again and make a selection like this within the hands.

Choose a bluish color and then fill the selection. I chose #0095ca.

Add a gaussian blur to that and set its opacity to about 66%.

Next take a large eraser brush and clean it up a bit.

The final touch I will run you is adding a bluish glow you can see in the next

All I did for this was use a blue scatter brush and put blue dots all over that area, used the smudge tool to make it look smokey, then used the motion blur filter.

After making your blue dots use your smudge tool with a 45px soft brush set to
45% strength.

Drag upward and move your mouse back and forth to get this smoky effect

Once you get the smoky effect mess around with the motion blur and you should
be done.

I am going to add some stars in the background that I will make as well as a planet. I will show how to make the planet in a later tutorial.

Here is a good link that shows how to easily make stars in photoshop.

After adding stars and a few planets here is my final version! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Click on the image for a larger version so you can see it in detail.

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