Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

This tutorial goes through the steps to creating a beautiful skyline above a grassy field.

I’d recommend making this image 779 pixels wide, so it fits perfectly on a 800×600 screen.

11 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

1 – Vivid Clouds

use the Paint tool to Fill the area with a tan colour. I’ve used DDCE92 here.

Use the Layer Tool to Create a new layer.

Press D to set the colours back to black and white.

Click Filter > Render > Clouds.

Change the layer’s Mode from Normal to Vivid Light. This makes the clouds, well, “vivid” icon smile Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

Keep pressing Ctrl+F to redo the Clouds until you’re happy.

21 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

2 – Brushing in a green area

clip image001 Use Photoshop to Design AuroraCreate a new layer.

Select a medium green colour (I’ve used #006000 here)

clip image002 Use Photoshop to Design AuroraChoose a fairly large, blurry brush from the drop-down list and brush in an uneven area at the bottom of your image.

3 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

3 – Adding grass and a title

clip image001 Use Photoshop to Design AuroraCreate a new layer.

Change your background colour to a slightly darker green than your foreground colour. (I’ve used #003200 here.)

clip image002 Use Photoshop to Design AuroraIn the list of brushes at the top left of the screen, scroll down about two thirds of the way down, and choose Dune Grass. Look out for a brush at size 112, and you’ll find it. Change its Master Diameter to 30, and start brushing in your grass. Try to stay roughly at the edge of the green area, though it’s not a problem if the green shows through a bit.

clip image003 Use Photoshop to Design AuroraAdd in your own text. I’ve used the Plaza Swash font here. Resist the urge to give your text a bevel or shadow. You don’t want to lessen the aurora effect with a big plastic-bevel header. icon smile Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

Click File > Save for Web, and save the image as a gif. I usually use Jpeg, Quality 60, but in this case, a jpeg mashes the strands of grass together.

4 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

4 – Creating a sliver

Select a big patch of grass, the whole width of your image.

Click Image > Crop.

Save this image for the web, using the same settings as the last image.

5 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

5 – Creating a shader

A shader (in this case) is a very small image, that’s partly transparent, and partly black. When it’s tiled over another image, it effectively darkens that image.

Create a new image, two pixels wide, and two pixels high. Press Ctrl + several times to zoom in.

Create a new layer.

Use the Pencil Tool (may be hidden under the Brush Tool) to put in two black dots as shown.

Delete the Background layer. This should reveal the grey and white checkerboard pattern underneath, which indicates that the area is transparent.

Save the image for the web, as a gif. Make sure the Transparency box is ticked.

6 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

6 – Making a divider

Create a new image, net quite as wide as your original.

Create a new layer.

Fill the area with an orangey-yellow. I’ve used #FFDE00 here.

Right-click the layer, in the Layers list, and choose Blending Options. Give the layer a Bevel. Change the Gloss Contour to Ring – Double.

Save this image for the web.

71 Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

Use Photoshop to Design Aurora

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