Adobe Photoshop CS3: Aura Effect for Dummies

About: Just a wanna'be nerd.

In this Instructable I'm going to show you how to make a "Aura Effect" using Adobe Photoshop CS3. It is possible to do this in nearly any version of Adobe Photoshop, the process just might differ slightly.

First I will show you the tools that we're going to be using, which we will need the Gradient Tool, and the Pen Tool.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Selecting and Using Your Gradient

Select your Gradient Tool and clicking on the Gradient Color Settings on the top menu, pick the colors you want the background to be. For what we're doing here, I usually stick with colors close to the same side of the color wheel, of different hues.

For this instructable I choose a deep purple blue fading to a blue teal.

Start from bottom to top with your Gradient, and as long as you HOLD SHIFT the Gradient will stay straight all the way up the page.

Step 2: Creating a Selection With the Pen Tool

Now to make a selection with the Pen Tool. Using the Pen Tool in Photoshop is more of an Art than anything, so don't get frusturated and give it, the tool certainly takes time to master.

With the Pen Tool, a single click will make a point, but if you click and drag the Pen Tool then creates curves on the points.

Step 3: Creating Your Aura Gradient

Now to create your Aura Gradient.

When ever in doubt of what you're doing, make a layer for it. It's alot easier to delete a layer and start where it left off, rather delete the whole picture because you didn't make layers.

For the Aura Gradient, I'm picking white which seems to turn out pretty well. You can pick any physcdelic color you want for your gradient, mix and match, have fun with it.

Step 4: Applying Your Aura Effect

Now to apply your Aura Effect you've created with the Gradient Tool.

Make Selection will be your friend while using the Pen Tool. If you have something sneaky you just can't seem to select, adjust the nodes that you put down from the Pen Tool, and get it 100% right before you Make Selection out of the path.

To make a selection out of a path, make sure the path is first selected, then right click ANYWHERE on your image and select "Make Selection."

To Inverse your selection you've made from your path, goto select, then inverse or Shift + Ctrl + I

Step 5: The Final Outcome

Tada! You should be done with something like what I have.

Now you have the skills to do a bit more with the techniques I've shown you. As you can tell, most of this technique lyes in the paths, so play around and make detailed curves to resemble symbols, words, pictures, and more!

Enjoy and thanks for checking me out!



    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Spicy Challenge

      Spicy Challenge

    9 Discussions

    absolute zero

    11 years ago on Introduction

    ive have done everything the same as u but i get my"aura" gradient and it wont let me use it. i click and it says "could not use the gradient tool because the content of the layer is not directly editable" plz help me

    2 replies
    xlr83rabsolute zero

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    hey u just have to right click the layer and click rasterize/ convert to smart object and then try again. it should work, good luck!!!!!! :)

    maruaweabsolute zero

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Either you locked the layer or it is the background layer --- first check that you have made a second layer to work on < put the initial gradient the right click on the layer and duplicate the layer 2. If you do not delete the layer that you used the pen tool on the mask is not functional Use the pen tool- select the area - then delete the mask layer and you can coy and paste from the gradient layer. 3.check the lock on the layers menu if it is closed then it is locked , click on the lock icon to unlock when it is open then you can use the layer 4 right click on the layer if the rasherize layer is black then click on that to rasherize the layer and have a workable layer


    9 years ago on Step 4

    I don't understand how to use the gradient tool like you. i just get i white circle. What am i doing wrong?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Any chance you know how to do this in illustrator for cs3? the gradient tool seems different

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, though, Illustrator is based off vectors and not bitmap images like Photoshop, so it is more difficult (you have to mask gradient layers of opacity) I can try to add an instructable if you still need to know how.


    10 years ago on Step 2

    The pen tool Isnt THAT hard to use.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, and Windows Vista has a background that uses a type of concept too. I've also seen it used on the PSP, DS, and many websites / images I can't seem to count.