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Create backgrounds, wallpaper, and more with the Custom Shape tool

Added on Monday 1st of November 2010 03:52 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


There’s bound to come a time when you need an interesting background for your images. Don’t waste fruitless hours surfing around stock art websites and paying high image fees. We’ll show you how you can save your time and money by easily creating your own backgrounds with the Custom Shape tool.


To help you get creative with Photoshop’s Custom Shape tool, we’ll:

     Set up the document in preparation for this technique.

     Choose a custom shape that fits your desktop wallpaper theme.

     Apply effects to custom shapes to add depth and visual appeal.

     Randomize the custom shape copies to create variation and visual interest.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to enhance your artwork’s background or want to create one-of-a-kind desktop wallpaper, consider the endless possibilities of the Custom Shape tool. With a little creativity, you can create exciting backdrops and fun artwork with just this one simple tool.


Decorate the wallpaper

The Custom Shape tool can create an endless number of standalone backgrounds or backdrops for imagery. Let’s create the spring-themed desktop wallpaper, shown in Figure A, from scratch using the Custom Shape tool.




To set up your document:

1.       Choose File > New to create a new Photoshop document.

2.      Set the Width and Height to 1024 x 768 pixels respectively. Also, set the Resolution to 72 and choose RGB from the Color Mode pop-up menu.

3.      Click OK.

4.      Choose the Paint Bucket tool from the Tools panel.

5.      Select the Set Foreground Color swatch, choose a mid-range purple hue from the Color Picker dialog box, and click OK.

6.      Click in the work area to fill the Background layer with color.

7.      Change the foreground color to a slightly lighter version of the purple color you chose for the Background layer.


To create a custom shape:

1.       Click the Create A New Layer Button at the base of the Layers panel.

2.      Choose the Custom Shape tool from the Tools panel.

3.      Select the Shape Layers icon on the tool Options bar.

4.      Choose All from the Shape panel’s pop-up menu, as shown in Figure B, and then click Append to display all of the available custom shapes.

5.      Select Flower 1 from the Shape pop-up panel. We chose this image because it fit with our spring theme.

6.      Click and drag the custom shape to fill a small portion of the wallpaper area, as shown in Figure C.


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