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By Lauren Harmon |

Create a rainbow fabric texture in Photoshop: Deke's Techniques

Follow the rainbow in this episode of Deke’s Techniques. First, Deke shows you how to create a rainbow-colored gradient, which he then transforms into a psychedelic fabric texture with a single application of the Wave filter. In Adobe Photoshop, of course.


  1. Create a new document and change • Width to 1836Height to 1264 Color Mode to RGB Color 8 bitBackground Contents to Transparent Color Profile to Adobe RGB
  2. Once the new document opens, Alt- or Option-click the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Gradient. Name the layer B&W and click OK. The Gradient Fill dialog will open.

  3. Select the ForegroundtoBackground option. Then click the gradient fill bar to open the Gradient Editor. Click the white color stop and reduce the brightness (B) to 85%. Click OK twice to return to the Gradient Fill dialog.

  4. Change the Style to Reflected and check Reverse. Click OK to add the new gradient layer.

Gradient 5. Alt- or Option-click the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Gradient again. Name this layer rainbow. Select the Spectrum option from the Gradient Fill dialog, and change the Angle to 0 and the Style to Reflected. Click OK.

Rainbow! 6. Change the interaction of the two gradients by changing the blend mode of rainbow to Overlay.

  1. To make the effect a little less garish, double-click the rainbow thumbnail, click the gradient bar in the dialog that opens, and change the CMYK values of the color stops accordingly:

• Double-click the first color stop (red). Change the M and Y values to 100. • Select the magenta stop and change its Location to 16%. Then double-click it and change C to 0 and M to 100. Double-click the blue stop and change C and M to 100. • Change the Location of the cyan stop to 50%. Then double-click it and change C to 100 and Y to 0. • Double-click the green stop and change C to 100. • Double-click the yellow stop and change C to 0. • Double-click the final red stop and change M and Y to 100.


  1. Click OK twice to close the dialogs and see the final gradient result.


  1. Select the B&W and rainbow layers, right-click in the image window, and choose Convert to Smart Object. This combines the layers (and the blending mode) in a single Smart Object. Now to add the texture.
  2. Choose Filter > Distort > Wave. When the dialog opens, increase Number of Generators to 500, turn on Wrap Around, and reduce Horizontal Scale to 25%. For the final step, change the Type to Square and click OK.


Member of the lynda.com library? Check out the follow-up technique where Deke shows you how to use this texture inside text. Next week, learn how to refine the dot portrait we created back in July—using smaller dots at an even higher resolution.

Interested in more? Watch the entire Deke’s Techniques collection

Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

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