How to draw "rays" in Photoshop?


How do I draw "Rays" emitting from an object in an image in Photoshop?

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Example from

10/20/2013 6:26:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Quick & dirty method

Use readily available custom shape, which has been included in the installation since probably CS 1 — maybe even before that. I didn't realize its powers at first, mainly because the small thumbnail is distorted with a heavy moiré pattern (here highlighted):

"ray" shape

Just draw that shape behind the object you want to "emit rays". Here are the shape's path highlighted so you could have a better look how does it really look like; and the final result of the mockup.

pentagon emitting rays enter image description here

The custom shape has many limitations, sure, but it is the quickest method with a vanilla installation of Photoshop.

More unique method

Pick up the pen tool and draw a shape like:

a ray

This would be one of your rays. Copy it, modify them if you wish and rotate them, so they all are pointing into one spot. While this isn't too hard, it takes considerably more time than the first method, especially if you are approaching the deadline.

The fading of the rays could be achieved with a layer mask, which you could e.g. fill with a radial gradient.

1/25/2011 6:22:00 PM

Here's my way...


Prepare an empty layer. Draw a rectangular marquee across the half of the layer. (like on the image above).

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Fill that selection with your desired ray color.

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Select Filter > Distort > Wave. Select the Square type and adjust the wavelength to increase/decrease bars (max and min the same value). Apply.

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Select Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Select 'Rectangular to Polar'.

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Modify your generated rays. You're done. =]