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Create a Festive New Year Graphic in Photoshop

Ready for 2016? Celebrate the New Year by creating a beautiful winter graphic in Adobe Photoshop. Learn how to use Blending Options for interesting effects and how to create your own custom snowflakes with the Pen Tool. Let’s Begin!

Software: Adobe Photoshop CC Difficulty: Beginner Completion Time: 2 hours

Step 1 Create a New Document in Photoshop that is 700×700 pixels in dimension. Fill the background layer with white using the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and right-click the layer to go to Blending Options. Place a check mark next to the Gradient Overlay options and adjust the settings to create a beautiful blue two-toned linear gradient.

When you’re finished the gradient should look like this.

Step 2 Now create two new layers above the linear gradient and set the Blend Modes to Overlay. Use a Soft Round Brush to paint a curve of black towards the bottom of the gradient to deepen the colors. Build more layers of Overlay if necessary.

Step 3 In order to mimic the look of tiny snow or a cluster of small dots, paint white on a layer set to Dissolve. This blend mode will automatically transform your brush strokes into thousands of tiny little dots. Adjust the Opacity to the desire effect.

Step 4 For a beautiful glow and shine, add a New Layer set to Overlay. Now use a Soft Round Brush (B) to paint the color for a bright glow towards the center of the background.

Create Snowflakes

Step 5 Time to create the snowflakes! Select the Pen Tool (P) and use it to create two vertical lines, making one longer than the other. Control-T to Free Transform the smaller line and rotate it at an angle to fit the larger one. Duplicate this small line three more times by selecting the layer and hitting Control-J. Flip two of those layers for the opposite side of the snowflake branch by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.

Select all the layers for your first snowflake branch and right-click to merge them together. Duplicate the branch one time and Rotate it to the right using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T). Then make a copy (Control-J) of the rotated branch and flip it for the other side by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.

To complete the snowflake, merge these layers together, then Control-J to create a copy of the merged layer. Flip the copy for the bottom side of the snowflake by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical and adjust it into place. Merge the layers together to have one finished snowflake.

Step 6 Use this snowflake to create more all over the background. Control-J to duplicate the snowflake once and place two large snowflakes on the background. For a quick glow, duplicate the snowflakes in the current position that they are in and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur for a blur effect with a radius of 30 pixels.

To add a drop down shadow to these snowflakes, right-click the layers that haven’t been blurred and go to Blending Options. Add a brown drop down shadow with the following settings:

  1. Blend Mode: Multiply

  2. Opacity: 24%

  3. Angle: 90 degrees

  4. Distance:12px

  5. Spread:0%

  6. Size:5px

Step 7 Let’s add a couple of more snowflakes to the background. If you don’t want them all to have drop shadows simply right-click the layer and select Clear Layer Style. Adjust the sizes to vary between large and small snowflakes, and lower the Opacity of some for a nice effect. Add Text and Finish Adjustments

Step 8 To create a bokeh effect, first make the brush. Hit F5 to bring up the Brush panel in Photoshop. Select a solid round brush with 100% Hardness. Under Brush Tip Shape, adjust the Spacing to 198% then add a check mark next to Scatter and adjust the Scatter to 550%. When you stroke the brush, many dots should appear at the same time. So practice with this brush by making a few test strokes.


Step 9 Use your new Custom Bokeh Brush (B) and set the Foreground color to White. Add a few strokes of bokeh dots to the background and set the layer to Overlay. Bring down the Opacity to 25% and use the Eraser Tool (E) to soften the bokeh towards the bottom.

Step 10 Last but not least let’s add some text to the bottom right corner. Feel free to use the fonts that you’d like, but here I used “Dragon is Coming” and “Imprint MT Shadow.” Right-click to go to Blending Options and create a slightly 3D effect by adding a quick Drop Shadow and experimenting with Bevel & Emboss.

Finish off the piece off with a little depth of field. Select the Brush Tool (B), and paint a soft dark blue across the bottom of the snowflake and text.

And that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and had an incredible 2015. Join us in 2016 for more amazing tutorials here at 123RF!

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