Graphic Design, Wallpapers

Wallpaper Tutorial: Strobe Light

Armin Van Buuren is coming to Atlanta on September third this year, my birthday! I am buying tickets and getting stoked. As a result, I’ve been having some trance on the brain. Nightclub posters are almost their own subgenre of paper design and I mashed together a piece inspired by that kind of work. I was listening to “Strobe Light” from Jason Derulo’s latest album when I did this so the lettering spells the song title. I couldn’t decide between the cold one or the warm one after I applied curves so here’s both. I’ve also decided to share more of my graphic design stuff on here so there should be an increase in this type of material going forward. I’ll also try and include mini tutorials whenever I can.

Did I mention I am stoked about the van Buuren concert? Oh my god I think I’ll just die if they allow cameras in there. It’s seriously going to be awesome, just like before.

There’s an intermediate level how-to after the break, including my different curve layers.



One moment your gone, The next you are here
Like smoke in my arms, You just disappear
One moment your here, Then you flash away
You’re startling, I want you to stay
– Strobelight , Jason Derulo

First of all, special thanks to the stock providers. 
Here are the materials. We’re only going to be working with four items. Click to download each stock resource.



Open a 1920 x 1200 canvas in Photoshop. Then open the girl’s picture and move it onto the canvas. Push the girl’s image to the side of the wallpaper you’d like it to be. I chose the right since my icons usually populate the left. Now open up the Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast panel and fade the girl’s face. We want to increase the brightness as we increase the contrast as well

We want the background to sorta match the background in the newly faded stock image. We also don’t want the background to be white. I pulled the background color from the stock image and then used the paint bucket tool to dump it onto the empty space on that layer. Then I fiddled more with the Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast panel until I got my image looking like this. Remember not to increase the brightness until the background is white. Leave it a pale gray.
This is where we get to include the text. Each line of text will need to be on its own layer. This is because the image just flows better when the beginning and end of the words line up with each other. This is personal preference though, so line up your words as you see fit. I threw the words Strobe and Light right on her face. Make sure the important parts of her facial features are totally or almost covered by the font. We don’t want to lose too may of her important features.
Right click on each text layer and click ‘Rasterize’. Then select the layer of text that was on top and go to Layer > Merge Down.

Now bring in the photo of the girl again, lined up exactly with the previous layer with the girl’s photo. Select the merged text layer, then click Select > Make Selection. Then click Select>Inverse.

Click on the new layer with the untouched girls photo on it and then click ‘Delete’.  Hide the text layer. We should now have her face in the shape of the selected text over the faded version.

Now we get to have some fun with the text. Click on the text layer, and then set the blending option to Overlay. Also, set the opacity to 60%. Right click on the text layer and select ‘Blending Options’.
We are going to apply these three settings. Click to enlarge.:

image image image
Note, the paler pink is #b36584 and the darker stroke pink is #6a002c

This is a random personal preference but I wanted to maker her lips more red so I just took my paintbrush and using straight up red I created a new layer and painted over her lips setting the Layer Opacity to 22% and the layer blending option to Soft Light.
Now we pick up the dirty paper texture. I loaded the texture between the text layer and the face layer.  I rotated it 90 degree clockwise and stretched it to fit the canvas. I then desaturated the image and set the blending options for the layer to Overlay.

I didn’t want the girls face to be marred by the new texture where she is visible through the text so , as before, I made a selection from the text but this time without inverting, selected the texture layer and hit delete to clear the texture from where the text is leaving the texture over everything but the text.

Now load up the watercolor brushes and below the layer of text and below the layer of text shaped face, throw on some color. I decided to stay with the pink but it might be a good idea to mix it up if you want some more contrast. I only used one brush I liked from the set, and had the opacity of that layer at 42%.
Now we’re almost done! You can leave it this way if you like the colors or you have the option of messing with the curves. I came out with two different versions. I can’t really explain what I did with the curves so you can look at it for yourself. This is the curves file for the cold version of the image.
HerPinkFace_01This is the curves file for the warm version.

Please don’t reproduce this tutorial elsewhere but  you may link to it if you like. Let me know what you think. Tips & suggestions welcome.

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