Deke’s Techniques: How to create a rainbow in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

November chilliness got you feeling cold and gray? In this week’s free movie Deke shows you how to brighten the world with your very own realistic rainbow, constructed completely from scratch in Photoshop. Start with a simple rectangular marquee, add a custom gradient, bend it into an arch with the Transform tool’s warp feature, then fine-tune with a little blur and surprising blend setting. The result is this promise of gold you see here:

Deke originally came up with this technique as an addition to a ‘skyshark’ project he created for his new Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals course, where, in chapter 6 he shows you how to use the Color Range command to isolate a threatening shark and transport it to an unsuspecting meadow. Of course, not everyone sees a picture of a ferocious carnivore in an implausible environment and thinks, “What this image needs is a rainbow,” but I’d imagine you can think of a project where having the ability to create a suitable rainbow—or double rainbow—at will might be just the trick.

And for lynda.com members, Deke’s got a follow up video in the Deke’s Techniques collection this week in which he shows you how to create a realistic shadow in the grass underneath the floating shark (Casting an artificial shadow from a layer). If you don’t consider a shadow cast on grass by a floating shark with a rainbow in the background realistic, keep in mind creating photo-realistic (if not outright reality-based) shadows is a useful skill for your less fanciful work as well. Suspend your disbelief, and check out this useful technique.

See you here next week with more Deke’s Techniques!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®
• all courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®

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