Vector PSD Tutorial
A huge shout-out to Jen @ Honeyblush for making the vector I used in this tutorial! This was requested by a few people so here it finally is!
Materials you will need
A vector brush, dot pattern, scan line pattern, color scheme, cheetah pattern, pixel brush, dot brush, circle brush, and a decent amount of photoshop knowledge.
It is expected that if you are currently following this tutorial, that you have a decent or somewhat decent knowledge of how photoshop works. You need to know how to read, follow directions, and think outside of the box.
That being said, create a new document. I will be making mine with height 467px and width 350px. Inside this blank document, use your brush tool to stamp down your vector brush with the color black. Then, create a new layer and drag it underneath your vector layer. Use the paint bucket or a brush to fill it with a light gray color.
Make four copies of your vector if you are making this for a 4-color color scheme PSD. If it’s 5, make 5 copies and so on. I am going to be making four copies of the original vector layer. Rename the very bottom layer (which would be the original layer) as “Do not edit” because you don’t need to edit it right now. Rename the four copies in the layers palette by double clicking on the layer name (“Layer 1 Copy,” and etc.). I renamed mine to be “Color 1,” and so on to “Color 4.”
Hide all of the layers in your layers palette (including the original Don’t edit layer) by clicking the eye box to the left of the layer preview.
Unhide vector layer named “Color 1.” Set a color overlay for the first color in your scheme. Choose one vector ray at a time and what you’re going to do is erase the rays, or select and delete the rays, so that it takes 3 (or 4 for 5 scheme) spaces, and then leaves the correctly colored ray. I know that sounds confusing so look at the picture below to help you.
Continue with this until you get all the way around your vector. When you’re all done, it should look like this.
Continue with the other layers until your entire color scheme is what the vector consists of.
Go to your Do not edit layer and unhide it. Then, add a white stroke at 1px around it. If you don’t like adding the white stroke, skip this part. If you happen to notice when you unhide it black peeking in through places on the vector, change the Fill from 100% to 0% in your layers palette which will keep the stroke but lose the black. If you white stroked your vector, create a new layer and merge it with the “Do not edit” layer.
Okay, this next part applies to white stroke and non-white stroke people alike! Add a stroke to your do not edit layer, this time using the scan lines provided at 1px and then add a drop shadow at distance 0. Your vector will then look like this:
So now what you’re going to do is hold down your control or command, depending on what you use, and shift, and then click the layer preview boxes for each of your vector layers that are colored. This will select your vector rays. Then, go to layer > new fill layer > pattern and add the circle pattern. Set it to what you’d like, I’m going to put mine on soft light and change the opacity to 15%.
optional: if you want to, add an inner glow to the colored vector rays. you have to add it to each layer though, so remember what settings you put. I am not going to for this tutorial, but normally i do.
Now, hit the folder button on your layers palette to create a group. Put all of your layers EXCEPT the bottom layer (which is light gray) inside it and name it “Vector.” Create another group and drag it underneath the vector group. I would name this one “Gradient.” Open the gradient group and make a new layer, I named it base. On this layer, take a circle brush and color between the same vector lines. I will be coloring between my pink and orange. It will look like this when you’re done:
Now, hold control and click the layer preview for your base. This selects the lines you colored so that you can hide the base layer and edit on a different layer, as to not lose it. So what I would do now is create another group by clicking the folder button and name it “Cheetah.” Then, open the group and create a new layer. Name this layer “Gradient,” and then fill it with the gradient of your color scheme.
Then, you’re going to want to make sure your base is selected again so you can hold control and click on the preview of your gradient layer, and then go to layer > new fill layer > pattern and select the provided cheetah pattern. Set this layer to screen or soft light. I will be setting mine to screen.
Now collapse your Cheetah and Gradient groups so that you only see your Vector and Gradient groups and your gray background layer. Click the gray background layer and then add another group. This time, name it “Pixels.” Again, you’re going to open the group, create a new layer, and color between two vector rays, (orange and blue this time). When you’re done, name the layer Base.
Create another layer and name it Pixels or Pixels 1. Hold control and click on the base preview to select the area that was colored, and then hide the base layer. Then, take a pixel brush that you have or that was provided and fill the selected area with it. I did mine in white, but if you want to add a color overlay to make it stand out more, feel free. I also added a drop shadow at distance zero, lowering the opacity to 15%.
Collapse your group and click on the gray background layer. Then click on the folder to create yet another new group. Name this one “Colored” and then again color between your lines on a new layer named Base. I’ll color between green and blue this time.
Create another new group and name it something that will resemble your colored brush that goes inside the group. I named mine “Kitty” because I’m using a cat brush. Then, create 4 (or 5) new layers inside the group and rename them Color 1, etc. Hold control and click on the layer preview of the Base layer, and then hide it. Starting with your first color in your scheme, click on the “Color 1” layer and use the brush at the very top/edge of your vector ray, like below.
Now take your second color on the “Color 2” layer and do another set of kitties/colored brushes. Continue in this pattern until all the rays are filled, like below.
Alright, so collapse your groups again and click on your gray background. From there you’re going to hit the folder button again to make a new group. This is the last time, I promise! I named this one “Circles.” Inside the group, make a new layer and name that layer (you guessed it) “Base.” Once again, color your vector lines (this time mine are pink and green) so that you have a base to edit on.
So once again you’re going to hold control and click your layer preview box on the “Base” layer so that it selects the area you will edit. Take your circle brush, color white, and fill in the selected area. Then, I tend to add noise to my circle brushes by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Choose whatever options you like. I also added a drop shadow at 10%, distance 0.
Alright, so pat yourself on the back. Your vector PSD base is completed. You have the tools to add more stuff into your psd. Say you want to change your colored brush from a cat to a peace sign: it’s simple. Just select the base layer’s preview in the colored group, make a new group, and follow the same procedure you did before. Want to change the colors of the cats? Add a color overlay in your blending options, and make sure you change your gradient color and your vector lines color.
Having a vector PSD around can make life a lot simpler whether you’re bored of making them or have a lot of gifts to make! It is time consuming to set up but pays for itself in the end.
Here are some example signs you can make with the same vector PSD.
Obviously you can get a lot more fancy with your vectors and signs but these are just basics to show you that it’s the same vector, different brushes, and can be yours for easier sign making!