(RED) Wallpaper in Photoshop

Skill level

Today is World AIDS day, and as you know, (RED) is one of the leading organizations for fighting AIDS in Africa, aiming for an AIDS free generation by 2015. So, to help out, 100% of revenue that I receive from the video below will be donated to (RED). All you have to do, is watch this video, and spread the word by sharing the video on Twitter/Facebook. The more people that watch, the more that gets donated.

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Document Size

When it comes to the size of your document, it really depends on what screen resolution you’re aiming to display this design on. For the most part, we’ll be working non-destructively, so you can easily resize the wallpaper later on. I’m going to start off with a 1920 x 1080 pixel document.


The first thing we’re going to do, is set up the background color with a Gradient Overlay. In order to apply Layer Styles to the background layer, it must first be converted into an editable layer. This can easily be done by holding down Alt/Option, and doubleclicking on the Background layer. You should see it change to Layer 0.

Once that’s been done, doubleclicking on the layer will bring up your Layer Styles, which we’re going to be adding a Gradient Overlay. Before editing the colors, go ahead and change the Style to Radial.

Now you can click on the gradient bar to bring up the editor and edit the colors. The color on the left is going to be the brighter color that will appear in the middle, and the color on the right will be the darker color, which will appear around the edges.

Now you might be noticing that the highlight in the middle is quite small. Back where you changed the Style to Radial, adjusting the Angle of the gradient can expand that highlight to fill more of the document. 20 degrees should work well. Finally, if you’re working with Photoshop CS6, you’ll definitely want to turn on the Dither option at the top. This will eliminate any gradient banding that might occur.

That’ll do it for the gradient. It may not look too snazzy now, but let’s add a texture to make it look much better!


For this project, I found this free texture over at CGTextures.com, which has a ton of free textures and images.

Once the texture is on your document, jump right into the Layer Styles so you can blend it with the gradient that you just added.

Start by changing the Blend Mode to Color Burn, and decrease the Opacity a touch, to around 70%.

Now, down at the bottom, blend out some of the shadows by holding down Alt/Option, and dragging the Shadows slider of this layer to the right, almost to the end.


The text will require a few extra steps than normal. You’ll see why in a moment. After hunting around, I found that the font Trade Gothic was a pretty nice match to the word “RED“, but it didn’t quite match the parentheses that house the text.

After doing some more hunting, the font GeoPlain has a nice set of parentheses. What you’re able to do, is you can select each parenthesis, and change the font of that individual character, leaving the RED text in tact.

That’s looking a little bit better, but still not perfect. The parentheses need to be larger, and centered vertically with the text. To accomplish this, we’re going to be working with our Character panel. You may not see it on your default workspace, but you can always activate it under the Window menu at the top.

Once it’s visible, you’re again going to select the individual parenthesis that you want to modify. Starting with the size, increasing it by about 30 points should work for this design (Holding down Shift and pressing the up arrow three times will increase it by 30 points).

Next, it needs to be shifted down to center vertically. A little bit lower, the Baseline Shift option will allow us to push out character up or down. As we want the character to drop down, we’ll want a negative value, somewhere around -19 points.

That’s looking much more accurate. Now we can move on to some Layer Styles.

When you first open up your Layer Styles, before hopping into any of the styles, we’re going to focus on the Blend If section again for a moment. This will allow you to very subtly blend in the text with the textured background. As you want to blend with a layer below, you want to modify the Underlying Layer slider.

Now for some styles! We’re going to add a Bevel and Emboss to give it an indented, leathery feel to the text.

And that should do it! Your own custom made (RED) wallpaper, which you can customize to say anything that you wish.