Create Powerball Effect for Movie Poster

This tutorial will cover how to create a powerball (or energy ball) effect. It also shows briefly on the basic layout of a typical movie poster. The longest tutorial in 10Steps.SG. In fact, you can used this psd file and print out the poster throgh a poster printing service.

Preview of Final Image

Create a new document of 500×700 pixels. Fill the background with #000000. Create a new layer and name it as Flare. Fill the Flare layer with #000000. Selecting Flare layer, go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Choose 105mm Prime, and set the Brightness to 120. Position the Flare Center to the center of the preview. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Check on Colorize. Set the Hue to 30, Saturation to 50 and Lightness to 0.
Duplicate the Flare layer. Rename the duplicated layer to Wave. Selecting the Wave layer, go to Filter > Liquify. Choose the Twirl Clockwise tool and enter the settings as shown in the diagram below. Create a twirl on the duplicated flare.
Create a new layer above Wave. Name the new layer as Burst. Set your foreground color to #D18803. Using the Brush tool with size 3px, draw a few crisscross lines. You may wish to press and hold down the Shift Key while drawing so your lines will be straight.
Selecting the Burst layer, go to Filter > Liquify. Choose the Twirl Clockwise tool and enter the settings shown below. Move your cursor to the center of the crisscross lines, click and hold down the mouse button till there is a small twirl forming.
Go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Set the method to Zoom and quality to Good. Shift the Blur Center near to the right of the preview. Hit OK once done. Duplicate the Burst layer. Set the blend mode of the duplicated Burst layer to Color Dodge.
Download the Photoshop Brushes Set 11 from Load the brush into the brush palette and choose fl33. Create a new layer and name it as Electricity. Set the foreground color to #FFFFFF and paint the effect with an appropriate size.
Right-click on the Electricity layer and choose Blending Options. Activate Outer Glow and enter the settings shown in the diagram below. Now you have the powerball. Create a group folder and put all these layers into it. Name this group as Powerball. Set the Blend Mode of Powerball folder to Screen. Hide the group folder for now.
Download the Desert 02 from neverFading Stock. Place in the image and resize to fit the document. Using the Blur tool with size 150px, blur the top part of the desert. Then use the Eraser tool in Airbrush mode and size 100px, erase the bottom of the desert horizontally so there is a fade into the black background.
Download the DBZ 9 from Ahrum Stock. Crop out the man using either Pen tool or Extract filter. Place the man in the middle of the desert. Using the Eraser tool, erase slightly at the bottom below his arms.
Using the Pen tool, draw a path along the man’s right arm like the one shown in the diagram.
Unhide the Powerball folder now. Move the Powerball close to the man’s palms.
Go to Paths tab, select the path you have drawn and click on Load Path as Selection button. Go to Select > Modify > Feather. Set the radius to 20px. Back to Layers tab, select the Powerball folder and click on Add Layer Mask button.
Create a new layer and name it as Glow. Using Brush tool, set the mode to Airbrush, color to #D18803 and size to 200px. Paint a large dot on the powerball area. Set the blend mode of Glow layer to Multiply.
Download some dragons from Markopolio Stock. Place a few dragons at the background. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Tweak the colors of the dragons so they fit into the overall color scheme. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Blur these dragons with 4px. Select the man layer, go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen. This is to distinguish better between the foreground and background items.
We are almost there. Now create a Levels Adjustment Layer and set the values to 21, 0.96, 231. Then follow by a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and set the Saturation to 15.
The last thing you need to do is to insert your movie title along with some random names of movie makers. I shall not go into details on those. Hope you all like this tutorial.

Greatly appreciate if there is a stumble or digg!

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96 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Patrice says:

    This is impossible with they information involve. You cant have a transparent layer when you want to create flare lens, They only way you can have, a same effect, After creating they black and flare, is by playing with opacity or fill effect. Then, there this liquification, liquify do not create this effect even if you try for 4 hours different setting. Maybe a video will help.

  2. Fatima Ghaddar says:


  3. Fatima Ghaddar says:

    Awsome Very Inspirational !!!

  4. Orthodontics says:

    thanks a lot, great article, excellent site

  5. Yasin says:

    Nice done,,

    but I’ve got a question about the movie font on the bottem.
    What is the name of it or when can we find it ?

  6. rahaman says:

    wowowowowwww very great and creative, it is superb and i like it. but i am not able to do it because i don’t know how load a new brush, please can some one give me the tips on how to load a new brush to your photo shop

    • Honi says:

      hi rahaman, after you download the brush set, make sure if it is a zip file that u extract it, you can extract straight to the photoshop program itself…make sure are having it sent to the app>presets>brushes folder once u do that…in mine i have to double click the brush in the folder itself to activate mine! Hope this is helpful =)

  7. Blue says:

    I get a different result for step 2 and 3. give up. πŸ™

  8. Informative Turtle says:

    Just so you guys know, the reason why we cant get it to look like his is because he is lieing about sizes and stuff for step 4 i had to use brush size 750 not 400 just to get the same look as he did so we will never know how to do this as good as he did !

  9. Jed says:

    I can’t seem to copy step 2.

    I hold the left mouse button but it’s still not the same as yours :\ Probably coz I can’t check stylus pressure. what do you say?

  10. PSO says:

    Quite interesting I like it..

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  13. interesting blogpost I have just added you to my favorites list. Keep up the good work!

  14. Grgo says:

    I have a problem on step 2 which I think some users have too.
    When I go to twirl the problem is that I CANNOT check “stylize pressure”.What do I need to have option to check “stylize pressure”?
    You have excellent tutorial but I had to skip 2nd step. :=B

  15. andrii says:

    this is absolutely stunning… awesome!!!

  16. santhosh says:

    thanku very much

  17. Johnson Koh says:

    Hi Luke, for Layer Mask, White Color will be revealing and Black Color will be hiding the background. Possible to send me a screenshot of your layer?

  18. Luke says:

    I can’t get the layer mask thing to work properly
    It keeps just filling in what I drew and getting rid of the rest of the powerball instead of putting the arm on top of it :S

  19. ali says:

    would u please make a video of step 2, only step 2
    i have read all the comments and still not understand how this twirl works
    i spend hours on it and its getting of my nerves =)
    every time i tried to do this twirl the outwork looked like sh**
    pls reply

  20. Miniek [PL] says:

    …of my POOR skills ;P

  21. Miniek [PL] says:

    Sorry for my language, but I want to try explain 1 solution which can fix black background problem.

    1. I froze star “terrain” in Filters -> Liquify.
    2. Then I used bloat tool to “squeeze” black background with freeze-mask border
    3. and I get aproximate effect with this one

    I hope that someone understand what I try to write ;P english language isn’t one advantage of my skills ;P

  22. huwaw69 says:

    haha funny output! i would like to make a hamehame wave effect using your tutorial…

  23. Johnson Koh says:

    Hi Andre,

    For (1): To display the background in Liquify Panel, check on “Show Backdrop” and adjust the Use, Mode and Opacity settings. I’m using Blend Mode with a low opacity that’s why it looks transparent. Just realized this was actually set as my default unknowingly…that’s why I couldn’t answer well earlier πŸ™‚

    For (2): This will need to take a few tries (such as the center point of the Radial Blur) before getting it right. If you have a larger set of criss-cross lines, maybe you can apply the Radial Blur Filter twice (a smaller value for the 2nd one).

    Hope these helps. Do let me know if you encounter other probs. I try to reply soon πŸ˜€

    • Apex says:

      could u post the solution for step 2 cause other people including myself have the same problem with twirl by not even getting it relatively close and nothing was done to help those whom have the problem. Please respond!!!

  24. Andre says:

    Sorry, I read your response to ray and saw that you answered my first question. I would still like to know though how you hide the background in the liquify panel (I’m using CS2) and if I need to kick the brush pressure up to match your stylus.

    I still need help with the second question though.

  25. Andre says:

    Great tut and really nice effect, unfortunately I can’t seem to pull it off after repeated attempts. My end result just isn’t cutting it so I need help. I just have a few questions, sorry if this turns out to be a long post.

    (1) My problem begins with the twirling of the flare on step 2. I can’t seem to recreate the nice twirl effect like how you do it. Do you click and hold the mouse while rotating the brush clockwise in the flare or do you position the brush in the center and simply click and hold the brush like you do on the burst layer? Also, I noted you have “Stylus pressure” enabled which is a function that can only be enabled when using a stylus pad. The pressure of the pad is multiplied against the brush pressure so do I need to kick the brush pressure up above 50 to match a similar twirl effect as to how you do it?

    (2) When doing the criss cross lines on the burst layer, I manage to pull that off mine isn’t coming out as clean with the radial blur. When comparing to yours I noticed that the amplitude between the sine and cosine waves is more accenuated and greater in distance in yours making a nice tracer effect. I’m still trying to accomplish this. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Johnson Koh says:

    Hi Ray, actually it’s not Extract Panel, it should be Liquify. I confused myself earlier.

    I am using CS3 in this tutorial so our interface may vary slightly.
    But I think you are in the right direction.

    -In your case, enlarge the Brush Size till it fit the size of the Lens Flare.
    -Then click on the Twirl Clockwise Tool (3rd tool from top).
    -Move your cursor to the center of the Lens Flare.
    -Press and hold down your left mouse button till you get the effect.

    Hope these helps!

  27. Ray says:

    Hi John. I can’t seem to get past step 2 either. I’m not sure what you mean with the “Extract Panel” (novice at photoshopping here) and I couldn’t find it under the Filter menu. Could you explain what this is?

    The Liquify window also seemed a bit different on my computer compared to yours, some of the options were not there, and some were grayed out, like the Stylus Pressure, which you had checked.
    I took a screenshot of it, maybe you’ll understand better.
    The twirl effect just gets ugly when I try it.

    If it should matter, I am using Photoshop CS4.

    This looks like a really cool effect, so I would greatly appreciate an any answers. πŸ™‚

  28. ArtMagicBox says:

    Very very nice Tutorial.


  29. Sean Smyth says:

    Thanks for the tutorial.

    Really really cool effect.

  30. CgBaran Tuts says:

    Great effect nice tutorial thanks

  31. golo says:

    i have been trying the 2 step but y dont get it because in my preview panel is a black background and in the diagram dont

  32. Johnson Koh says:

    Hi Phil, did you manage to find the Liquify function? It is under the Filter menu. The black background is gone temporary when previewing in the Liquify panel.

  33. Phill says:

    I just cannot get my results from step two (Twirling) to look like that. Where did the black background go? How come your 200 pixel brush is the size of the orb, when mine is only about half. Even if i increase the size, I just get a swirl that looks nothing like yours with the black background still present. Something is missing, or I am a total idiot. Probably the latter πŸ˜€

  34. Despite the bad arm selection, the tutorial itself is very good. Keep up the good work!

    MÑrcio Guerra

  35. morpheusz says:

    does not hit me

  36. awesome tuts as always πŸ™‚

  37. sadhu says:

    i just noticed your name on the poster

  38. bellering says:

    Just another great post! πŸ˜€ *applause*

  39. SAMI-P says:

    A M A Z I N G

    I’m new with PS and i really appreciate ur help.. 10Q πŸ™‚

  40. Jack says:

    This awesome, I really appreciate this tutorial. πŸ™‚ Keep it up.

  41. Great tutorial. Thanks so much
    My blog:
    Nice to meet you !

  42. Johnson Koh says:

    Thanks everyone for the support πŸ™‚

    @luck: Sorry for the confusion. The “black” background did not go missing. The 2nd diagram is actually showing what you will get in the Liquify preview panel.

    And later when you unhide the Powerball folder, make sure the Blend Mode of this folder is set to Screen. So the powerball will look as though it is transparent against your background.

    Hope this works for you. Thanks for trying out.

  43. Darshan says:


  44. luck says:

    Till the unhide the Group folder the black appear behind the powerball but after reappear the Group Black is gone from behind….


  45. luck says:

    how it is possible to make Lense flare effect without fill black in the layer…

    In your case you fill black in layer and then given lense flare effect but in lliquify the black is missing…….!!

    How… pls tell me

  46. Fede says:

    Really nice tut!

    thanks for sharing!

  47. John Holt says:

    Great tut! The electricity effect will come in handy!

  48. Johnson Koh says:

    Good point there Manuel. I didn’t notice it earlier πŸ˜€ The path done at the arm should be smaller to prevent this. Thanks!

  49. Manuel says:

    Very cool! I’m not so sure about the arm thought, it seems a littel bit as if the elbow somehow got a drop shadow effect, which just appeares cheap compared to the rest of the image!

  50. Salmen says:

    WOW love it….cool effect

  51. Craig says:

    I love this tutorial. Great work john!

  52. Johnson Koh says:

    Thanks guys! Do inform me if I missed out any steps in the tutorial. πŸ™‚

    Meantime I will check through my texts again.

  53. UTogger says:

    O.k, this is one of the coolest tutes I’ve ever seen! I’m so excited to try this out! Thanks much.

  54. Qbrushes says:

    Awesome effect there!

  55. 5566 says:

    hahaha, funny! I like it.

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