Create a Dynamic ‘Dance’ Desktop Wallpaper in Photoshop and Illustrator

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Photoshop, when combined with a vector program such as Illustrator, can yield some incredible effects that are perfect for creating desktop wallpapers.  The ability to combine stock images with vector shapes, 3d objects and lines will help make any of your compositions more dynamic.

In this tutorial, Bram Vanhaeren of into1 will show you how to create a dynamic desktop wallpaper called ‘Dance’.  You’ll learn how to manipulate some stock images, create super cool vector 3D shapes, and build a dynamic composition using multiple elements.

Read on to get started!

Tools Used

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator

Final Image Preview:

(Wallpapers Here)

Step 01

When I’ve got an idea in mind and I’m ready to start the artwork, I begin by gathering my resources. In this case, I’ll build up my artwork around a stock picture. Take the time to get the most fitting photograph for your concept. There are plenty of websites where you can find lots of good-quality stock pictures to buy. For this project I’ve found a beautiful girl break dancing.

I’ve chosen this stock image, because I wanted to create a energetic dance scene for a desktop wallpaper.  You can get images such as this either from paid stock sites, or from free sites like SXC and deviantART.

Step 02

To start off I like to cut out the model from the stock image, I prefer the Polygonal Lasso Tool and the Pen tool for the final touches. Make sure you cut everything out well. Work on a black background to check if everything is cut out smoothly. I also desaturated the model colors. We will be working on black and white, because it’s easy to add nice color effects on them later.

Step 03

Before I go on to work on the model, I want my dark background already finished. I took a paper texture,desaturated it (cmd+u) and inverted the colors by using cmd + i and changed the brightness and contrast, so it really looked dark but still good enough so you can see the texture. Then take a nice brush from brush strokes and create a new floor by brushing with a 100% opacity and flow White brush. (for example the great set from FlightOf Grey on deviantART: http://flightofgrey.deviantart.com/art/FlightOfGrey-Stroke-Brush-Set-101600320 )


Step 04

For the next step you will need Adobe Illustrator, or if you prefer the brush tool in Photoshop to draw, it’s perfectly possible to work with Photoshop too. I prefer Illustrator for this part. What we’re going to do is easy, just take your pen tool with a white stroke and draw lines around her arms, clothes and cap. Once you have your lines, change the brush stroke by opening brush library>artistic>artistic_ink and pick a brush stroke, then change your strokes to 0.25 pt. I also drew some angle wings.


Step 05

Next I’ve cut out some parts from her arm and her jacket to create a energetic touch by adding some nebulae stock images. So first search for a nice nebula stock. ( You can find them almost anywhere if you search them on deviantART or sxc.hu) Place the nebulae stock behind our model and use the warp tool to edit.. Feel free to play with the colors! Don’t forget to change the blend options from your nebulae stock to lighten.



Step 06

Now create a new group off layers, this group will be used to add layers to add small details and patterns. I’ve used an easy pattern and my paint stroke brushes one more time to add some artistic effects. Feel free to experiment with patterns, textures and other brushes to add these small details. This is what I have so far.

Step 07

Before we add our lightning effects I choose to add some 3D objects to fly around her. It gives the artwork more energy in my opinion and it’s easy to do. Open your Adobe Illustrator and create 4 basic rectangles in the colors your working on. I went with grey-dark red-red-orange.

Step 08

Now go to your symbols and delete all the existent symbols. Then select your 4 rectangles and drag them into your symbol box and name it. Once you did this, make a black circle with the ellipse tool and delete the left point so you get a half circle.


Step 09

Next go to effects>3D>evolve. Check your preview option so you can see what your doing. You should have a nice Black 3D Ball. Now let’s add our symbol we’ve created earlier by clicking on map art. now choose your symbol and place it over your object and check shade artwork to add shades. Click ok and you have your trendy 3D ball.

You can also add this effect with different symbols and object. Feel free to experiment with it and add it to your work.




Step 10

Before we finish the artwork we still have to add some lightning effects. I love to work with the nebulae stocks. The stars are perfect to add lovely effects on our model with blending option on overlay or screen. First I added some dark parts from the nebulae on her arms and use overlay to darken her skin.


Step 11

Now the work is done, before you want to show it on the web I presume you worked on a A3 sized file or something? Now Change the size to 1600 width on a flatten image. Then go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask ( Amount 90%, radius 0,3 and Zero Threshold) Now change your size again to the actual preview size for the web, i guess around 650 or 700 px width. You can sharpen again on 40% if you want, but make sure not to oversharpen.

Place your signature on the work and have fun!

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