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Quick Tip: How to Create Rays Using Photoshop and Illustrator

Read Time: 3 mins

In this tutorial we will learn how to create vector rays in a simple and efficient way, using a Wave filter in Photoshop and the Gradient Mesh Tool in Adobe Illustrator. This technique was developed by my friend Yemz.

Step 1

Launch Photoshop and create a new document 600 x 600 px in size.

Choose the Gradient Tool (G) and set the gradient colors, I chose a cool color palette.

Fill the background with the created gradient.

Step 2

Now go to Filter > Distort > Wave and by controlling the sliders in the dialog box, select the type of effect.

Take the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and select the entire workspace, and copy it Command + C.

Step 3

Open Adobe Illustrator and paste the image in its workspace Command + V.

Go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh and set 5 rows and 50 columns in the dialog window.

With the Direct Selection Tool (V) reduce the width of the object.

Step 4

Holding the Option key, drag the object to the right, creating multiple copies.

Select and group up all the created objects (Command + A then Command + G).

Step 5

Keep the group selected, go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp and choose Arc style in the dialog box.

Reduce the inner radius of the arc. First, reduce to zero the vertical handles of the upper and lower nodes of the object.

Step 6

Now move upper nodes of the object towards center, controlling their handles, bring the figure to the right shape.

You can create a circle, and when managing the nodes, use it as a template. That is what I did.

Step 7

Now with the help of Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle that will limit our composition.

Select the rectangle and the shape with the rays and click the shortcut Command + 7, creating a Clipping Mask.

Step 8

Now take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a circle 3 by 3 px in size with blue fill and drag this circle to the Brushes palette and save a new brush as Scatter Brush with the parameters listed in the figure below.

Now take the Paint Brush Tool (B) and make a few strokes along the rays of our composition.

Step 9

Select and group up all by strokes and set the Overlay Blending Mode for this group in the Transparency palette.

Step 10

Create another brush. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create rhombus-like shape.

Create a few similar shapes, so that we receive a star similar to that shown in the figure below.

Group up all the objects of the star and move the group to the Brushes palette, save a new brush as the Scatter Brush with the parameters specified in the figure below.

Take the Paint Brush Tool (B) and create a few strokes along the rays.


Using this technique and various settings of the Wave effect in Photoshop, you can quickly make complex effects. I hope you have enjoyed this quick tutorial.

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