Photoshop Tutorial: Foggy Stage Lights

I set off to create a background image for a website I'm making for a friend who wants to host his pod casts about the band Nine Inch Nails. I came up with a good idea, after finding some inspiration, but I needed to create it myself pixel-by-pixel to get the resolution I needed. Here's my inspiration:

I made it by first drawing the grid of white boxes at the top, dragging them across the canvas with the smudge tool, then using lots of Gaussian blur, noise, gradients, and some exclusion light effects. But something was missing: the stage fog. First I filled a new layer with the Render Clouds filter, changed the blend mode to Overlay, and moved the opacity to 17%.

I achieved the fog effect by brushing on several layers with a cloud brush (this one from Deviant Art) and turning the opacity way down. The first layer was made with a clipping mask over the layer of stage lights (separated from the background), white cloud brush, blend mode Overlay, and Opacity turned down to 12%:

Another layer with a white cloud brush, Opacity turned way down to 5%, blend mode Normal:

And one more layer with the cloud brush, this time with the color black, blend mode Normal, and Opacity at 35%:

Now I have a sweet background image to use for the website! Download the full-resolution JPEG and the original Photoshop PSD file by clicking the links below. Enjoy!

File Photoshop file for this image61.37 MB
Image icon 3000px X 2000px278.45 KB