Abstract Swirly Flowing in Photoshop Design Tutorial

graphicxtras > Adobe Photoshop tutorials > tutorials

By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2021

Please check out our youtube channel for 1000s of great graphics related video tutorials / online classes

How to create an abstract swirly flowing design in Photoshop using a combo of Pointillize and maximum and oil paint filters along with vibrance and from any image as well as gradients etc



1. Start point

Use an image or use a gradient as a start point for the abstract swirly flowing design in Photoshop. Apply the gradient in linear, radial etc and use the blending mode of difference.


2. Pointillize filter for the abstract swirly flowing design

Once you have a gradient or image. Set the background color to black or red etc. Go to the filter menu and Pixelate and then Pointillize filter. Set the cell size to 40.


3. Oil Paint

Go to the oil paint filter found in the stylize section. You will need the performance preferences for GPU to be set to on or you will find the oil paint is not available. Set the stylization to max and cleanliness to the max. Apply the oil paint multiple times to smear the Pointillize design into a swirly abstract design


4. Maximum filter and fade

Go to the filter menu in Photoshop and other menu and maximum filter and apply with a reasonably low value but enough to create a nice blurry bright effect. Go to the edit menu and then fade and fade using the difference blending mode.


Apply the maximum again.


5. Vibrance

If you want to boost up the colors of the image then use the adjustments such as the vibrance. Go to the image menu and adjustments and vibrance and set saturation high and click OK


6. Repeat maximum

You can repeat this over and over using the maximum filter and fade and also combine with vibrance and oil paint and you can all kinds of unusual swirling designs


7. Actions

You can record the Pointillize and oil paint and maximum and fade and vibrance and re-apply this over and over again with any image as well. You can also combine the gradients and images with blurs to preprocess the images or gradients.


8. Contour effect

If you repeat the maximum and fade and oil paint and vibrance you will notice that the end result becomes more like contoured lines of color. You can also add in adjustments such as black and white to turn the image into a gray scale design or perhaps invert the image and more. You can then also combine it with other filters such as liquefy to distort the swirly abstract flowing lines.