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Designing a Diving Wallpaper

You can view original wallpaper here: 
Diving Wallpaper (1024x768px)

First step is to create blurred grass in the background.
Set foreground color to dark green, background color to black. Then switch to
gradient tool (G), make sure that current gradient is green-to-black, select
Radial gradient (on top bar), then draw a big gradient from center to the edge
of image.

Diving - making of - Step 1

I found a stock photo of grass and decided it will be
good for background. Paste the image into your file…
Diving - making of - Step 2

… then resize it to fill entire image, desaturate
(Ctrl-Shit-U) and apply Gaussian Blur (found in Filters menu – Blur) with large
setting (50-100 pixels).
Diving - making of - Step 3

Set this layer opacity mode to Overlay.
Diving - making of - Step 4

Now let’s create some black leaves in the background. It
is very easy – set foreground color to black, then use Pen tool (P) to create
some simple shape of a leaf.
Diving - making of - Step 5

Create some more leaves, then set their oapcity mode to
soft Light and opacity to 30-40%. They are only for background and should be
barely visible.
Diving - making of - Step 6

Now we need the main leaf, where the story will happen.
Set foreground color to vivid green, then in the new layer, use Pen tool to make
the shape of the leaf (I wanted it to twirl a bit).
Diving - making of - Step 7

Here is how the completed shape layer looks.
Diving - making of - Step 8

Apply a bit of layer effects:
– Inner glow (white,
opacity = overlay 50%)
– Drop shadow (black, overlay 20-30%)
Diving - making of - Step 9

Duplicate the layer, send it backward the layers palette
(behind the original green layer), change its color to darker green (almost
black), and move the shape itself a bit down – it will give leaf some
Diving - making of - Step 10

Select green layer with leaf again, then make new layer
above it, and Create Clipping Mask (from Layer menu, or Ctrl-Shift-G). Use large
soft Brush tool (B) with white (and then black) colors to add highlights and
shadows to the leaf.
Diving - making of - Step 11

Set this layer opacity to Overlay, 30-40%
Diving - making of - Step 12

Then create another new layer, fill it with grey, and
apply a lot of Noise (Filters menu).
Diving - making of - Step 13

Create Clipping Mask for this layer too (Ctrl-Shift-G),
so that this layer is also masked by leaf shape. Then, find Smudge tool (hit
Shift-R until you see the finger icon), open Brush settings dropdown, select 4th
brush from the end of default brushes set, set Strengh to about 50%.
Diving - making of - Step 14

with short mouse movements, smugde the noise in the
direction of leaf growth.
Diving - making of - Step 15

Do not stop until all noise is smudged 🙂
Diving - making of - Step 16

Finally, set this layer opacity to Overlay 40-50%
Diving - making of - Step 17

In new layer, set color to gray and with Pen tool, make a
shape that overlays the bottom part of leaf.
Diving - making of - Step 18

Create Clipping Mask for this layer too (Ctrl-Shift-G or
Layer menu), set opacity mode to Overlay, then open layer effects and add some
Inner Glow effect (black, opacity mode = soft light, size = 40-60px)
Diving - making of - Step 19

Using the same technique, create more leaves!
Diving - making of - Step 20

Now we need some threads that spiders will hang on. In
new layer, use small (1-2 px) hard white brush and draw several threads.
Diving - making of - Step 21

Set layer opacity mode to Overlay, then open layer
effects and add Pattern overlay (blend mode = overlay, opacity around 50%, use
any pattern that looks noisy).
Diving - making of - Step 22

Now it is time for a spider. It is very easy too: with
Shape tool (U), make a green circle (hold Shift to make circle, not
Diving - making of - Step 23

Apply the following layer effects:
– Drop shadow

(blend mode = overlay, black, 1-2px)
– Inner Glow (white, overlay,

– Gradient overlay (white-to-black, blend mode = overlay, opacity


Diving - making of - Step 24

That was a head. Create another bigger circle, apply the

same layer effects: this is a body.

Diving - making of - Step 25

Add 2 small white circles, open layer effects and add

Gradient overlay (white-to-black, blend mode = normal, opacity = 20-30%)

Diving - making of - Step 26

…and yes, 2 smaller black circles inside!
Diving - making of - Step 27

In another layer, use Line tool (U) and add some


Diving - making of - Step 28

Hmm, I thought that legs look better with some lighter

circles in the endings.

Diving - making of - Step 29

Ta-da! Spider is ready.
Diving - making of - Step 30

Now that you know how to make a spider, why not add some


Diving - making of - Step 31

The most interesting part is a water drop. In new layer,

with grey color, create a circle (use Ellipse tool, U, and hold Shift while

making a shape). then switch to Direct Selection tool (A or Shift-A), and click

on the bottom point of circle. use keyboard (Up arrow) to move it up a


Diving - making of - Step 32

Change layer blend mode to Overlay, open Layer effects

and add:
– drop shadow (black, multiply, 40-50%, 1px)
– bevel and emboss

(both highlight and shadow are white, overlay, highlight opacity: 10%, shadow

opacity: 60-70%, size = 0px)

Diving - making of - Step 33

now, hide this layer (but keep it selected), then open

Paths palette, right-click on the path and in the menu click Make


Diving - making of - Step 34

Create new layer, send it backward the layers palette,

then create merged copy of the selected area (Ctrl-Shift-C then Ctrl-V). Apply

some Gaussian Blur to it (Filters menu – Blur), 2-3 pixels.

Diving - making of - Step 35

Create another new layer, send it backward the layers

palette (behind the merged copy), then use soft black brush (B) and make a spot.

Transform it (Ctrl-T) to stretch it horizontally.

Diving - making of - Step 36

It will be the shadow from water drop.
Diving - making of - Step 37

Make original water drop shape layer visible again, then

create new layer above it, and draw a grey circle like shown here: bigger and

aligned to bottom of water drop.

Diving - making of - Step 38

Here goes the interesting trick: set layer blend mode to

Overlay, then open layer effects and add Gradient overlay. Set gradient blend

mode to overlay too, opacity to about 70%, style = radial, reverse. But we will

need to modify the gradient itself, and here is how…

Diving - making of - Step 39

click inside gradient – Gradient Editor will open. Choose

black-to-white gradient (3rd in default set), then find the black slider on

bottom-left of gradient, grad it a bit to the right, then click on empty space

where black slider just was: new slider will appear. Change its color to


Diving - making of - Step 40

Apply this gradient, then Create Clipping Mask with

previous layer (Ctrl-Shift-G). Boom! 🙂

Diving - making of - Step 41

Add another highlight: in new layer, with white soft

brush (B), add a dot, then transform it (Ctrl-T) as shown here,…

Diving - making of - Step 42

then set its blend mode to… you guessed it, Overlay!,

opacity to 30-40%, and again, Ctrl-Shift-G (Create clipping mask)

Diving - making of - Step 43

Add another highlight…
Diving - making of - Step 44

…set blend mode to overlay…
Diving - making of - Step 45

then let’s make another nice reflection. Create new

document (square, about 200×200 px), with transparent background, switch to

Shape tool (U), choose Polygon, set sides=4, then open Options, check Star, and

set Indent sizes to about 85%. With these options, add a star near top-left edge

of image.

Diving - making of - Step 46

Rasterize the layer (Layer menu – Rasterize – Shape),

then go to Filters – Distort – Spherize – apply about 50-60% effect. Repeat if


Diving - making of - Step 47

Now copy-paste the star, transform it as needed (scale

down and rotate), then set its blend mode to overlay.

Diving - making of - Step 48

Another nice highlight: return to the original shape

layer with water drop, duplicate it (Ctrl-J), bring copied layer forward in

layers palette (make sure that all clipped layers remain clipped). Then change

its color to white and scale down a bit (Ctrl-T).

Diving - making of - Step 49

Using Path Selection tool (A), select the path, duplicate

it (Ctl-C, Ctrl-V), move new path a bit to top-right, scale up (Ctrl-T) and

click Substract button (2nd fo the 4 buttons on top bar)

Diving - making of - Step 50

Then, as always, set blend mode to Overlay, and opacity

to 40-60%. The water drop is ready!

Diving - making of - Step 51

Make as many water drops and you like!
Diving - making of - Step 52

The very last touch is to make reflection of falling

spider in the water drop. Make all layers invisible, except the layers belonging

to falling spider. Select bottom half of it, copy merged (Ctrl-Shift-C).

Diving - making of - Step 53

Create new document (square), paste (Ctrl-V) and Flip

Vertically (from Edit menu – Transform)

Diving - making of - Step 54

Go to Filters menu – Distort – Spherize, and apply the

filter. Adjust % to your liking (60-70 may be enough).

Diving - making of - Step 55

Switch to Eraser (E), select large soft brush, and remove

bottom part of image.

Diving - making of - Step 56

Now, select all (Ctrl-A), copy (Ctrl-C), close document,

paste into our artwork document, and set blend mode to Overlay!

Diving - making of - Step 57

That’s all!
Diving - making of - Step 58

You can view original wallpaper here: 

Diving Wallpaper (1024x768px)

Thanks! I hope you found it useful.

Author: Vlad Gerasimov