Glowing Shapes Background in Photoshop

    ●  Create a Background Design with Glowing Shapes.

Learn About:

Color GradientsPen ToolLayer Style Color Overlay 

  •   This tutorial is part of the Drive Me Wild and the Photoshop Portrait Projects.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open Your Project in Photoshop ~

    ●   If you are working on the Drive Me Wild Car Design Project
open that in Photoshop



● OR, if you are working on the Photoshop Portrait Project open that ...


… (Remember: all these tutorials are intended to be
applied to YOUR PROJECT) …

Step #2: Make a New Layer ~

Go to: Layer > New > Layer

new layer

… or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd (⌘)+ Shift (⇧) +N

cmd key + shift key + n kye

… and hit OK.

hit OK

Step #3: Drag the Layer Below ~

Drag the new layer below your existing layers:

Step #4: Gradient Background ~

Select the Gradient Tool which is behind the Paint Bucket

… and choose Linear Gradient from the options bar.

Click on the little arrow to open the Gradient picker window …

… click on little circle and scroll down to Simple

… and click Append.


Step #5: Pick a Gradient ~

Pick a gradient color scheme …

… and drag the gradient across the screen.

Step #6: ANOTHER New Layer ~

Create ANOTHER New Layer above your background and name it "shapes"

Step #7: Ellipse Tool ~

Get the Ellipse Tool which is behind the Rectangle Tool …

… make sure Pixels is selected in "Pick tool mode" …

… and lower the Opacity to approximately 50%

Pick a color for your circle!

Step #8: Draw a Circle ~

Draw a circle holding Shift (⇧) key shift key down to keep it perfectly round:

Step #9: Add Stroke ~

Go to: Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options - and click Stroke.


Step #10: Stroke Size and Opacity ~

  Raise the Stroke size to approximately 10px

  … and lower the Opacity of the stroke to approximately 50%

Step #11: Define the Brush ~

Select the circle and go to: Edit > Define Brush Preset and name it something.

Step #12: Shape Dynamics ~

Click the Brush Tool or hit the keybord shortcut letter (B) …


… then hit F5 or click on the Toggle the Brushes panel button …


… click Shape Dynamics …

… and raise the Size Jitter up Way High.

size jitter

Step #13: Roundness Jitter ~

Next, raise the Roundness Jitter:

Step #14: Scattering ~

Next click on Scattering …

… raise the scattering randomness …

… and lower the Count.

tip count

Step #15: Paint your Background ~

Click the Brush Tool or hit the keybord shortcut letter (B) …

… and paint your background!

Step #16: Blending Mode ~

Scroll through the Blending Modes and find one you like …







Try Multiply, Screen or Overlay or whatever you like best …


If you see other blending modes you like as you're scrolling down, don't be afraid to experiment.


Blending Modes are awesome!

Hint: You can scroll through the different Blending Modes by hitting Alt (⌥)+Shift+Plus:

… and lower the opacity to approximately 50%.

Last Step: Save & Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your work as - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME.psd

save as .psd

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

Other Resources: and