Adobe Photoshop effects, drawing, text effects, designing -
Animated Rainbow Wallpaper
By Vlad Gerasimov
Published on 03/27/2008
Animated Rainbow Wallpaper Animated Rainbow Wallpaper.
Hello! In this tutorial, I will show how I created the Rainbows wallpaper

Hello! In this tutorial, I will show how I created the Rainbows wallpaper. First, create dark sky in the background. For that, set forecolor to dark blue and back color to black, switch to Gradient tool (G), change gradient type to Radial, and create gradient from bottom to top of document.

View full size Rainbow Wallpaper.
Rainbows - making of - Step 1

To add some highlight, create new layer, and use large soft white brush to add a spot. Then, transform it (Ctrl-T) - stretch it horizontally.
Rainbows - making of - Step 2

Change layer blend mode to Overlay.
Rainbows - making of - Step 3

Next step is to create a cloud. Change forecolor to light blue, switch to Shape tool (U), select Ellipse, switch to 'Add to shape area' mode (2nd button in top row, so that all shapes you create are in single layer). Then, holding Shift, add several circles, overlapping each other a bit.
Rainbows - making of - Step 4

Add the following layer effects: - drop shadow (black, mode = overlay, opacity 30-40%, distance 3-4px, size 10-15px)
- inner glow (white, overlay, size = 5-6px)
- gradient overlay (black-to-white, mode = overlay, opacity 75%, angle 90)
- bevel and emboss (size 30px, soften 5px, highlight white 75% screen, shadow multiply 40% blue)
- satin (black, mode = overlay, distance 6px, size 14px, try different contours)

Our cloud is ready!
Rainbows - making of - Step 5

Add another small cloud in front of bigger cloud. When you add layer effects to smaller cloud, decrease all sizes and percents accordingly.
Rainbows - making of - Step 6

And then, more and more clouds!
Rainbows - making of - Step 7

Next, we need a rainbow. We will make rainbow with shapes, each color in one shape layer. Create new layer (behind layers with clouds). Set forecolor to red, select ellipse shape tool (U) and make a red circle (as always, holding Shift to preserve proportion)
Rainbows - making of - Step 8

with Path selection tool (A), select the circle you just made, copy-paste it (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V), scale down a bit (hit Ctrl-T and resize with your mouse holding Shift). Then change path mode to Substract.
Rainbows - making of - Step 9

Switch to Pen tool (P), change mode to Substract, then carefully add a shape that hides unnecessary part of circle.
Rainbows - making of - Step 10

I wanted that the rainbow is cut 2-3 pixels before it connects to cloud. It is very easy to do: select layer with cloud, switch to Path selection tool (A), select the circle that touches the rainbow, copy it (Ctrl-C).
Rainbows - making of - Step 11

Then go back to the layer with rainbow, click a rainbow path to select it, paste (Ctrl-V), scale up a bit (Ctrl-T, then resize with the mouse holding Shift), and finally, change path mode to Substract.
Rainbows - making of - Step 12

Now that one color is ready, repeat these steps to create another color.
Rainbows - making of - Step 13

And another and another, until the rainbow is ready.
Rainbows - making of - Step 14

Now you know how to create rainbows - why not add some more?
Rainbows - making of - Step 15

Here goes the trick. I wanted one of my rainbows to 'dissolve' into separate lines, each color flying in separate direction. Here is how to do it: for each layer with color, select the shape with Path selection tool(A), then switch to Pen (P) or Rectangle (U) (does not really matter), change shape mode to Substract, and add a shape that hides part of the circle. Repeat with each color of rainbow - it will look nicer if lines are cut in different locations.
Rainbows - making of - Step 16

Now we need to add 'flying' lines of colors. We could do that with Pen tool only, but unfortunately Photoshop does not have curved lines with fixed width, or path offset (as Illustrator). And I wanted the lines to have fixed stroke width. So we will have to add paths and then transform them into pixels. So, open Paths palette (from Windows menu), switch to Pen tool, then on bottom of paths palette, click New button. New path will appear (called Path 1).
Rainbows - making of - Step 17

Start your path by clicking exactly the middle of where red line is cut, and dragging (and releasing) the mouse continuing red line direction.
Rainbows - making of - Step 18

Continue your path until it is outside document boundaries.
Rainbows - making of - Step 19

Switch to Brush tool (B), set forecolor to the same red color as the rainbow red, then carefully choose brush size that matches size of rainbow line (in my case, 3px). Then, hit Stroke button on bottom of Paths palette (2nd in the row). You can click Stroke button several times to make line wider. If line does not match, undo and change brush size. You should be careful and patient doing that :-)
Rainbows - making of - Step 20

Next step is to blur edge of line, to add some depth to our artwork. Turn on Quick Mask (Q), then switch to Gradient tool (G), select black-to-white gradient, and apply gradient as shown here.
Rainbows - making of - Step 21

Turn off quick mask (hit Q again): you should see the selection similar to this.
Rainbows - making of - Step 22

Go to Filters menu - Blur - Gaussian blur, and apply 3-5 pixels blur. You can also try Lens blur - it may look better (or not) but take much more time to apply.
Rainbows - making of - Step 23

Now the red line is completed! Repeat the same steps for each color.
Rainbows - making of - Step 24

Next step: in new layer, add some very small spots with white hard small brush (add some 1px dots, then 2px and 3px)
Rainbows - making of - Step 25

Next step: stars. I thought that it it would be more romantic if the stars glow with horizontal and vertical rays. To do such star, switch to Shape tool (U), choose Polygon, set sides = 4, then open Options dropdown window, check Star, and set Indent sizes to 90-97%.
Rainbows - making of - Step 26

Add a shape (hold Shift to preserve proportions), then transform (Ctrl-T) to squeeze horizontally a little bit.
Rainbows - making of - Step 27

Next layer: wings (behind all layers of fairy). Made with Pen tool! Apply same effects as to hair layer.
Rainbows - making of - Step 28

Set shape layer blend mode to Overlay, then in new layer, add a dot with white soft brush....
Rainbows - making of - Step 29

Ta-da! A fairy! the last step is to add one fairy for each color.

Rainbows - making of - Step 30

... then set its blend mode to Overlay too!
Rainbows - making of - Step 31

Add more stars in similar way.
Rainbows - making of - Step 32

Next step: a fairy! A fairy consists of several shape layers, with layer effects applied to each layer. Here is the shape of the body (made with Pen tool).
Rainbows - making of - Step 33

Add layer effects: - inner glow (white, overlay 30-40%) - Gradient overlay (black-to-white, radial, overlay 30-40%)
Rainbows - making of - Step 34

Next layer: arms. (made with Pen tool too)
Rainbows - making of - Step 35

Next layer: head (made with Ellipse tool (U) and then another shape in Substract mode, made with Pen). Add the same layer effects as to body layer.
Rainbows - making of - Step 36

Next layer: hair (behind head layer). Add the same layer effects, but change gradient type to Linear.
Rainbows - making of - Step 37

Next layer: eyes. Made with Pen tool. Change blend mode to Multiply, no layer effects.
Rainbows - making of - Step 38

View full size Rainbow Wallpaper

That's all!

Thanks! I hope you found it useful.

Author: Vlad Gerasimov