Tag Archives: quickie

PSD Quickie #2 – The Pinwheel Effect

Anyway, this effect is extremely simple to do and will allow you to add something to your background to give your project a little more pizazz. This works great if you need to create a quick advertisement for a client. You place all the text spaced out neatly around the canvas the way you want it. Then you realize that you’re sort of embarrassed giving your client text on a solid color background and you’ve used just a straight up color gradient too many times… Go ahead and throw a simple pinwheel in the background that’s a lighter shade of your background color. Simple!

Final Image Preview

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

The Tutorial

Open up a blank Photoshop document. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to draw out a vertical rectangle. Create a new layer in the Layers Palette and name it Pinwheel. Hit option+enter (alt+enter on a PC) to fill the rectangle with your foreground color on the Pinwheel layer.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Hit command+option+T (ctrl+option+T on a PC) on your keyboard. This will create a copy of your vertical line and put you into free transform mode. You may not notice that a copy has been made because the copy will be sitting directly on top of the original, but it’s there. Move the copy to the right so it’s spaced evenly from the original.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Hit enter to exit free transform mode. Now this is the cool part. Hit command+option+shift+T (ctrl+alt+shift+T on a PC) several times until you’ve repeated the process all the way across the canvas.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Now we want to merge all of these copies of the Pinwheel layer into one layer. Click the top layer in the Layers Palette. Then shift-Click the first Pinwheel layer. This will highlight all Pinwheel layers. Hit command+e (ctrl+e) to merge them all into one layer. For organization, make sure this layer is named Pinwheel.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for. You probably didn’t think this was going to be so easy, but that’s why it’s a PSD quickie!

With the Pinwheel layer selected in the Layers Palette, go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Make sure the Rectangular to Polar option is selected and click Okay.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

And you’re done. You’ve just created a very easy background effect.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

I generally like to cover the area in the middle where the lines start with something. In the example below I filled a circle with my darker shade of blue and then added a Gaussian Blur filter to it. I feel like it adds more depth to the effect.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

A lot of times I’ll move the center point and cover it with a logo.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect

Here is a real-life example. This is a magazine ad I did for a local bowling alley last week. It’s actually what gave me the idea to do this tutorial. Notice the “light rays” coming out from the logo.

Photoshop Pinwheel Effect