How to Create an Abstract Mosaic Background in Photoshop

How to Create an Abstract Mosaic Background in Photoshop

Learn how to use filters, smart objects and adjustment layers in Photoshop to convert a photograph into a unique abstract mosaic effect. Perfect for making custom wallpapers for your devices or desktop.

Introduction

This effect is created in 3 stages by applying filters and adjustments to a base image. The photograph that you select for the base image will define the overall color scheme and atmosphere of the result. Unsplash is a brilliant source for high quality royalty free photographs if you don’t already have one.

Here is a link to download the photograph used in this tutorial by Fré Sonneveld.

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the intended final dimensions for your background, 3000 x 2000 pixels will cover most devices and screen resolutions.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 2

Place the image you want to work with into your document. If it isn’t already, convert it to a Smart Object and then resize the image to fill the document canvas. Duplicate the Smart Object twice so that you have 3 identical layers.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 3

This effect requires 3 layers so we will be focusing on only one layer at a time. Hide the top two Smart Object layers and select the first layer. Optionally you can rename them ‘Layer 1’, ‘Layer 2’ and ‘Layer 3’.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 4

On ‘Layer 1’ apply a Gaussian Blur filter with a radius of 250 pixels, and that is all we will do to the first layer.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 5

Select ‘Layer 2’ and make it visible, then apply another Gaussian Blur with the same settings as the first layer.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 6

Apply the Crystallize effect which can be found under the Filter > Pixelate menu with a Cell Size of 250. Then also apply the Find Edges filter.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 7

Add a new ‘Invert’ Adjustment layer and create a clipping mask so that it only effects ‘Layer 2’. Do the same with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and move the Saturation value down to -100.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
Note: If you are using an older version of Photoshop without Adjustment layers you will need to rasterize the Smart Object first and use the Legacy Hue/Saturation and Invert.

Step 8

Set the Blending Mode of ‘Layer 2’ to Screen. This completes the second stage of the effect.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 9

Moving on to ‘Layer 3’, apply another Gaussian Blur and Crystallize filter.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 10

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with -100 saturation, and make a clipping mask with ‘Layer 3’.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Step 11

Set the Blending Mode of ‘Layer 3’ to Overlay.
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Result

blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
The result should be this very attractive abstract mosaic effect using the original photograph for colors and shading. One of the benefits of using Smart Objects is that the effect can easily be changed by double clicking the Smart Object layer icon and replacing the image with another.

Examples Using Different Images

blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial
blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

scissors

Related Resource

blurred abstract mosaic photoshop tutorial

Colorful Abstract Mosaic Backgrounds

This tutorial was inspired by one of our latest premium resources, Colorful Abstract Mosaic Backgrounds which contains 10 ready made high resolution images in a variety of colors and can be downloaded here.


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Comments

  • Reply »
    Arthur Evans

    Arthur Evans

    Nice tutorial, Tony. I did not realize how much went into making these types of resources. I like this a lot.

    Jul 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply »
    ryan

    ryan

    do you hav any free mosaic resources

    Jul 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm
    • Reply »
      Jenn Coyle

      Jenn Coyle

      Hi Ryan, thanks for asking! We have these free polygon backgrounds. Also, if you wanted to try a Medialoot membership for one month free, we’re running a sale this week (sign up with coupon code SUMMERSALE). Sign up by Friday!

      Jul 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply »
    james

    james

    thank you tony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jul 9, 2014 at 9:37 am
  • Reply »
    lisalisa

    lisalisa

    this is so easy nice!

    Jul 9, 2014 at 2:28 pm
    • Reply »
      Nicole

      Nicole

      I agree! Thanks :)

      Jul 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm
  • Reply »
    Alen

    Alen

    Nice tutorial. Didn’t know that this effect was so easy to make.

    Nov 2, 2014 at 1:44 am
  • Reply »
    Kenny

    Kenny

    This is a great tutorial and would work very well for my needs, the only problem is I need it to fill a wall that is 235” long by 96” tall. How do I translate this to a large format print without having resolution issues?

    Feb 3, 2015 at 9:03 am
    • Reply »
      Tony Thomas

      Tony Thomas

      Hi Kenny, there shouldn’t be any limit to the dimensions you can use with this effect, other than your computers processing power. In step 1 change the dimensions to 235” x 96”

      Feb 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm
  • Reply »
    tutorial89

    tutorial89

    i like it. thank you so much

    Aug 15, 2015 at 8:09 pm

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