Gradient Wallpaper

In this tutorial I will show you how to create one of them really smooth looking OS X wallpapers. Well, not exactly the same but you get the point. I've been using this technique a lot in my website layouts and signature images too and I've had many people emailing me asking how I do it. So here you go!

Let's start by opening a new document. I'm going to create a mini-wallpaper, only 320x240. (Just to save some bandwidth) If you're making a desktop wallpaper you should of course use the same dimentions as the screen resolution you're on. But feel free to use the same size as I'm using here, It may be easier to follow my steps then.

Creating a new document

Select a nice blue foreground color, I choose #003399.

Pick a color

And hit Alt+Backspace (If you're on Windows) to fill the background with the selected foreground color. Or if the hotkeys don't work for some reason, just use the paint bucket tool.

A plain wallpaper

Now, that's way to plain right? So let's move on.

Select the pen tool and make sure "Path" is selected. Because paths is what we're going to draw now.

A plain wallpaper

The pen tool can be a bit tricky if you haven't used it before but try to draw something like this:

How to use the pen tool

We are going to fill the path we just drew with white. So set the foreground color back to white by hitting D to select the default colors then hit X to switch the backround color with the foreground color. The foreground color should now be white. If not, just use the color picker like we did earlier in this tutorial.

We don't want to draw in the same layer as the background, so let's create a new layer:

How to add a new layer

Now, while the pen tool still is selected, right click on the path and enter the "Fill Path..." menu.

How to enter the fill path dialog

And simply use these settings and click OK.

The fill path settings

Hit the "Delete" key to delete the path (We don't need it anymore)
You should have something like this now:

The filled path

And now, let's start with the "fun" stuff, enter the blending options by right-clicking the layer:

Where to find the blending options

Set the blend mode to "Multiply":

Blend mode settings

Add some barely transparent gradient like this:

Gradient blending

Then create a nice white border by applying some inner shadow:

Gradient blending

There's not much more new to learn now. Just create a new layer, and repeat the steps to create a new filled path, but don't make it exactly the same shape as the first one. Try to come up with something like this:

Gradient blending

We want to use the same blending options in this new layer, so let's just copy and paste the old one onto the new layer:

Copy layer style

This is what I have so far:

So far

Go ahead and create another one:

Another gradient thingy

It's still not THAT nice, so let's try to lower the layers opacity a bit. Try setting them to about 50-75%

How to adjust opacity

This is what I ended up with:

My Result

Mine didn't turn out that great, I'll admit that. But as I allways say, Play around with it and you'll eventually get some great results!
You should try different background colors and maybe add some kind of gradient on the background itself. Anyways, here's some more results I got:

Result Result Result

Want to get in touch? Got some feedback for me? or a couple of requests? Follow me at twitter:
@ThomasPedersen

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