Creating an Abstract Background for Poster

Create a new document of 500×700 pixels. Fill the background with a linear gradient using the Gradient tool. The colors ( from the top ) are #5587B0, #91D1E5 and #0C3270.
Create a new layer and name it as Circle Frame. Select the Custom Shape tool and open up its preset shapes. Look for the shape named as Circle Frame ( shown in the diagram ). Make a circle frame path at the center of the document. Go to Paths tab, select the path you made and click on ‘Load Path as Selection’ button. Back to the Layers tab, fill this selection with #FFFFFF.
Using the Elliptical Marquee tool, draw a circular selection that is the same size as the Circle Frame. Go to Select > Modify > Feather. Set the radius to 50px. Then Select > Inverse. Click Delete and you will get the effect shown below.
Repeat the earlier steps for twice with a larger circle frame each time.
Create a new layer and name it as Lens. On this layer, make a big white circle and position it at the top right corner of the document.
Now we will edit in Quick Mask Mode by clicking on the button located at the bottom of the toolbar. You will notice your foreground and background colors turn to black and white respectively.
With your Gradient tool, drag from right to left and you can see a red translucent gradient forming. The highlight red area is where you wish to retain and those unhighlighted areas will be removed.
Now exit the Quick Mask Mode by clicking on the same button when you enter it. You will see a selection formed. Click on Delete to remove the unwanted areas. You shall get a nice lens like the one below.
Duplicate the Lens layer. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Rotate it slightly clockwise and position it at the lower right of the document.
Create a new layer and name it as Lines. Select the Ellipse tool and draw a circular path at the center of the document.
Now select Brush tool, set the color to #FFFFFF and size to 1px. Then select the Pen tool, right-click on the circular path and choose Stroke Path ( make sure to uncheck Simulate Pressure ). You will see a white circular line formed. Right-click on the Lines layer and choose Blending Options. Activate Drop Shadow and fill in the settings shown in the diagram below.
Create more random circular lines using the same method above and set them to various opacity values. But do not apply the Drop Shadow effect to them.
Create a new layer and name it as Glitter. Using the Brush tool, set the color to #FFFFFF and size to 1px, draw a cross. Then use the Eraser tool ( in Airbrush mode ) fade off the four edges of the cross to achieve a star effect. Duplicate this star several times and place them at the desired intersections of your circular lines.
Create a new layer and name it as Crescent. Make a big white circle at the center of the document. Create a circular selection of the same size as the white circle. Shift the selection slight to the right-bottom. Click Delete once you are ready. You shall get a nice white crescent.
Duplicate the crescent you just made, go to Edit > Free Transform. Reduce the size of the duplicated crescent and shift it slightly lower than the original copy. Repeat this step for another two times. Align all of them in the way shown below. Merge these four crescent layers once you are done.
Select the Crescent layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the radius to 5px. You will see a blurry swirl formed. Duplicate this swirl, enlarge them and position them randomly along the outline of those circle frames.
Make the colors more vibrant with the help of a Levels Adjustment Layer. Set the values to 60, 1, 255.
The last thing you will need to do is to insert your own logo and texts then you are done!

Hope you have enjoyed reading. This tutorial is suggested by FlashFreak with the reference to a wallpaper of Windows Live Messenger from Microsoft.

Greatly appreciate if there is a stumble or digg!


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23 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. anshul says:

    Hey Elisha Any Luck, Having same trouble here. Maybe the tutorial was not made for newbies like us and we are assumed to know few tricks before hand. Bad Luck.

    • Elisha says:

      Hi Anshul,

      I did figure it out! I’ll duplicate the steps and post it.

      I believe I had to rasterize it, but I’ll try it out.

      A friend helped me out and I think that was it.

      Stay tuned! Promise I’ll post a reply.


    • Elisha says:


      I tried again, but I’m in CS5 and it worked, but not exactly the same effect. Rasterize the white circle and then add the mask.

      Hope this helps!

  2. raymund says:

    im having the same trouble with Elisha.. im stuck at step 3. anybody help please?

  3. Elisha says:

    Not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I’m using CS4 and have tried a dozen times to do the quick mask on the white circle and when I get to the part to delete the selection, it deletes the entire circle.

    I’ve restarted Photoshop and rebooted incase I had some odd setting, and it’s still not working.

    Thoughts on some setting I should look for would really be appreciated. I’ve been looking for a tutorial for this for a long time.


  4. Vicky says:

    Hey Buddy Its Lookin Too Good!!!!!

    check this out What I made

  5. looks really nice, thanks for the tut..

  6. Johnson Koh says:

    I am happy to know this tutorial is helpful to you. Hope to see you around here often. Cheers 🙂

  7. Hi Johnson, you’re work is very good. And good tutorial as it not only teach me of new techniques being a photoshop beginner, but it inspired me. Thank you!

  8. Great Tutorial, Featured on Tutorial King

  9. Johnson Koh says:

    Lawrence is an active supporter in the design community 🙂

  10. underdog says:

    it’s good tut…thankyou mate

    by the way…”lawrence77 ” i can see you anywhere…all of blog..have your comment.haha..

  11. John says:

    Awesome tut. However, some sample .psd(s) would be most beneficial. :/

  12. moih60 says:

    thats good tutorials …..Added to my blog

  13. lawrence77 says:

    wow very fine
    Nice outcome!
    soon gonna try! 😉

  14. Johnson Koh says:

    Thanks Sayz. Hope this works well for you!

  15. Sayz says:

    I was looking for a tutorial to make a better abstract background,
    just in time… 🙂

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