Colorful, Dynamic, Dramatic Photoshop Background Tutorial by Thomas Nguyen


This is my first ever tutorial! While I was in high school, I stumbled upon this technique through fun photoshop experimentation.  However, this technique/style still has stood through the test of time in my opinion.  And the best part is.. it's quite easy.  To simplify it in easy steps, this is what you will be doing:

1. Paste a colorful photo

2. Motion blur that photo

3. Quickly adjust vibrance/saturation & brightness/contrast

4. Do a little dance because BAM, you are done.

However, there is so much more fun things you can do after that and in between in which I will explain.

1. Create a new document.  I started off with a black background.

 2. Paste a photo.  Now, it all depends on what kind of look and style you want.  If you want more defined lines and different colors in your background.. choose a photo with tons of color variation.  If you want a simpler look, then choose any photo with less color variation.


 3.  Now it's time to motion blur.  Go to the filter menu, and then choose blur, motion blur.  From here, you can play with the angle and distance.  In regards to the distance, it's a personal preference.. the further you go, the more the defined the lines will be the majority of the time.  Again, it all depends on what type of effect you  are going for.

4. Color adjustment time.  This is where you can make the colors look more vivid.  Simply just go to the Image menu, adjustment, then vibrance.  Or of course, you can make a new adjustment layer and choose vibrance.  From here, play around until the colors pop out a little bit more.  If you have an old version of photoshop and don't have the vibrance option, simply go to the same menu and choose Hue/Saturation.  Adjust the saturation to your liking and you'll get the same effect.

5. Time to make the photo even more dramatic.  Image Menu - Adjustments - Brightness/Contrast. Play around here for the effect you are trying to go for.  Most of the time, i adjust the brightness a tad bit, but up the contrast to define the color lines even more.

From here you can start your dance!  You are done!  

But.. here are some other fun things you can do.

 Now it's time for some extra lighting effects.  The first step is to duplicate your layer, and then change your blending mode to overlay.  This is VERY important to do before the next step.  It will allow you to preview the next effect.

Go to the Filter Menu - Gaussian Blur.  Play around a bit to get the settings you will like. From here, you can play around and switch blending modes to see if there is another effect you would like.  The 2nd photo there shows how it would look if I used the screen setting.



Another additional style you can do is to add a color overlay on your background.  Simply just right click on your layer, and got to blending options.  Then click and choose the color overlay option on the left side.  From here, change the blend mode to color and pick a color of your choice.  So above is an example of that type of effect.

I hope this tutorial was easy enough for everyone to follow.  Try it out, have fun, experiment even more, and let me know how it works out for you!  If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email.