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Create Pulsing Shapes From Scratch With The Pen Tool

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We noticed that this image by phamily member Quintino has a cool Light trail that resembles a heart monitor’s pulse. It made us think, how could we add more of these to the image? With a few Tools in Photoshop, the answer is more simple than you’d think.

The Quick Mask

We’re going to start by preparing the Background by stretching the right side of the photo. We want it to look like the Lights keep on going instead of turning around. To do this, we can create a selection around the right side and Stretch it to the right.

We don’t want a hard edge where the selection starts, so we’re going to blur the selection’s edge. We can do this by pulling up the Quick Mask. This shows us our selection by using the Color red outside of the selection. By running a Gaussian Blur on the Quick Mask, we can actually see how ti alters our selection.

You could use the feather command in the Selection Menu, but by using the quick mask method we’re able to actually see what we’re doing to our selection.

Using The Pen Tool

Now that we’ve got our Background cleared up and ready, we can start creating our shapes. We’re going to use the pen Tool to create a path. The Pen Tool is not scary to use! Click on the Pen Tool tag above this video for more episodes all about it.

Once we have our path created, we can click on the path and select Stroke path. This uses our current Brush settings to generate a Brush Stroke that follows the Pen path perfectly.

Layer Effects

Now that we have the shape in place, we’re going to add some effects to it. These will actually be really easy, since we’re going to use Layer Effects. Right click on the layer, select blending options, and check Outer Glow You can then alter the Color and Opacity to fit the rest of your image.

To add some artifacts, we’ll create a New Layer with the same Layer Effect and paint white onto the points of the pulse. This helps it to look more imperfect and less photoshopped. When creating something from scratch in Photoshop, it’s important to make it look realistic – anything overly perfect will look fake.

Final Image

Hover over to view original

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