World's Easiest Color Spectrum Wallpaper

World’s Easiest Color Spectrum Wallpaper

Wallpapers are fun to make because you have the chance to let your creativity out and just go crazy. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create a wallpaper with a rainbow colored spectrum effect.

What you’ll be making!

Here is the wallpaper that you will be making in this tutorial.

Step 1: Setting Up The Document

For this document, I chose a standard HD sized screen as my base with the pixel dimentions 1980×1020 at 72ppi. However, I would advise you to set up the document according to the screen that it will be used on for the best fit.

Step 2: Creating a gradient

With the document all set, it is time to begin creating the structure of the final product. Start by selecting the Gradient Tool (G) and from its options, select to use a standard black to white gradient. You want a linear gradient at the otherwise default settings.

To make the black and white gradient, start by clicking at the far top of the document and while holding down the mouse button, drag down to the bottom before letting go. To make sure the gradient doesn’t skew, hold down the shift key to keep dragging in the straight line.

Step 3: Creating the Texture

To make the background texture, go to Filter > Distort > Wave and enter the settings as shown in the image above. Make sure you click the randomize buttons a few times (after you have entered the correct values) to get a look in the preview box that you are happy with.

Once you apply the Wave effect, the image above shows what you should end up with.

Step 4: Colorizing the Wallpaper

It is not looking like a color spectrum just yet so we need a bit of color in it. Photoshop actually has a built-in spectrum gradient that comes with the app and since it is a spectrum we want to create, this is perfect.

Go and grab first the Gradient Tool (G) again and then select the Spectrum gradient (highlighted above).

This time, instead of going in a vertical direction, draw out the gradient in a horizontal way. Remember to hold the shift key down while drawing to keep it straight.

Step 5: Blending It Together

The final step now is to blend the color and the texture togther as one piece. First, go ahead and unlock the background layer (bottommost one) by just double-clicking on it, pressing OK when a dialog box pops up.

Then, on the top layer with the spectrum gradient on it, select it and change the blending mode to Darken.

The result that follows the blend mode change I usually think is a bit too contrasty around the top part and to help solve that, drop that opactiy a bit on the bottom layer (containing the texture). This is why you just unlocked it before, to be able to modify it now. I found that an opacity of about 70% works fine for the result I’m after.

If you further wish to darken it down a little. Add a layer on top of these two and fill it with a medium dark grey. Set its blend mode to overlay and adjust the opactiy accordingly.

Finished Result

Here is the finished wallpaper result with that darkened optional last bit applied and a little bit of text added using the Eight One font with a simple black stroke set to Overlay.

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Erik is the owner of online media company Bernskiold Media that runs tutorial website Bernskiold learning and he is a Web Designer, Photographer and Software-Trainer.

4 thoughts on “World’s Easiest Color Spectrum Wallpaper

  1. Great tut. Thanks for putting it together. Is this possible without the black background? I want to create a spectrum graphic with a transparent bg. How would I do that?

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