Mercury Graphics Tutorial: Abstract Background-

by : Crystal Shards

First, you need a document. It really doesn't matter what size it is. For this tutorial, I'm going to use a 200x200 transparent 72 resolution document.

Make sure your colors are set to default (press d on your keyboard) and go to Filter> Render> Clouds. You should have something like this.

If you're picky, now's the time to rename layers. Go to Filter>Sketch>Chrome. I usually put everything up to the max, but you can do what you want for this. Okay, that looks cool, doesn't it? No, not really. So duplicate the layer, and set it on lighten or soft light. Okay, so duplicate that layer one more time. You should have three layers, like so:

Now, go to your second layer from the bottom and to do Filter>Distort>Wave. Fiddle around with the settings until you get something you think looks kinda cool. It helps to randomize. It might look something like this:

Go to your uppermost layer and go to Filter> Distort> Shear. Go crazy with it, or don't. Again, this, as most graphics designing is, is all up to you. When you're finished, you should have something that looks something like this:

Now, see what you like more, the shear layer on top or the wave layer. In most cases it looks the same, but if you've fiddled with layer settings, it might be different. After you have finished, pick a color you want your image to be on your foreground palette and merge all layers by clicking the top layer and pressing ctrl shift and e. Your screen should look like this:

Press v to get the move tool (just in case you click anywhere), and press ctrl and u. Check the colorize button and set it to what you like. I usually do about 25-50 saturation. In this tutorial, I did 30.

This might not be impressive. Maybe it's a bit lopsided or something. Duplicate the layer and flip it horizontally and/or vertically so it's a little more even. You might even want to do this a few times. Then pick different layer settings. Here's what I got by duplicating once, flipping the image horizontally and vertically, and placing it on color burn:

Dont forget to always experiment... Sometimes the best backgrounds can be made this way!

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