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Create a Festive Independence Day Graphic

In celebration of the American Independence Day, design this fun graphic using blending and gradient techniques in Photoshop! You can customize this to any cookout invite or even have them made into flags and greeting cards! So let’s get started!

Software: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended

Difficulty: Intermediate

Completion Time: 3 hours

Images Used For This Tutorial

Vector - illustration of design element for 4th of July

Stock vector illustration of design elements for 4th of July: 28915591 © vectomart

Vector - USA star celebration

USA star celebration: 19622665 © deskcube

1. The Background

Step 1

Create a new 1000×1200 pixel document in Photoshop. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill the first layer with a dark blue color (#0b122a).

Step 2

Now use the Gradient Tool (G) and select the Linear Gradient option to create an off white gradient (#fdf0db) that starts from the bottom and moves upward.

2. The Star

Step 3

Use the Ellipse Tool (U) to create a large white circle and position it towards the upper, middle region.

Step 4

With the circle layer selected, right-click to go to Blending Options. Make a check next to the Gradient Overlay, and create a gradient that transitions upward from a dark tan color (#766651) up to a pale off white color (#fff7e1).

Next, add a black Stroke with a Size of 3 pixels, the Position set to Inside, and an Opacity of 20%.

Step 5

Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to extract the USA star. Resize and position it on top of circle, leaving some room for the edges. Set the layer to Multiply, then go to Blending Options and create a black Stroke with a Size of 3 pixels, a Position on the Inside, and an Opacity of 25%.

Step 6

Create another circle below the star, using the color black for a shadow. Select the layer and right-click to Rastersize it first, then go to Filter > Gaussian Blur > and set the Radius to 30 pixels.

3. The Flag

Step 7

Use the Rectangle Tool (U) to create several off white (#e8d9c2) and red bars (#991818) to represent the USA flag behind the star. When you’re finished, rasterize the layers and merge them together.

Step 8

To add the appearance of shine and movement to the flag, go to Blending Options, and create an Gradient Overlay of black and white colors.

Now bring the Opacity down to 42%, using the Eraser Tool (E) to slightly erase the bottom edges of the flag.

4. Finishing Details

Step 9

Add some white stars above the center star. To do this quickly, you can simply extract a star from the icon set and fill it with white. Next add text to the bottom using the Centaur font.

Step 10

On a new layer set to Overlay. Use the Brush Tool (B) at 0% Hardness to paint white onto the stars and blue background for a great illuminated effect.

Step 11

Extract a small US flag from the icon set to put near the text. Create two identical flags by duplicating one and flipping it with Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Finish the graphic by setting a new layer to Overlay and using the Brush Tool (B) to paint some sparkles and dots for shine.

And that’s it! Here’s to a Happy Independence Day, I hope you’ve all enjoyed creating this 4th of July inspired graphic. Feel free to personalize this to your own preferred style or use these techniques for any type of seasonal graphic!

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