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How To Create a Quick & Easy Abstract Background - A Photoshop Tutorial

Updated on August 29, 2015

Tulip With An Abstract Background

Tulip with abstract background
Tulip with abstract background | Source

An abstract background is ideal for your profile page on hubpages or a facebook cover.

An Easy to Follow Step by step tutorial on how to create an abstract background image

Here is a quick and easy way to create a neat abstract background image in Photoshop.

After a couple of tries, you will find you can create this in just a few minutes!

First we want to start with a blank image.

Click on file, new and insert size A4 (or insert the size in landscape - 11.7 inches x 8.3 inches) in the open window, 300dpi - click ok.

Ensure your foreground colour is set to black and the background colour to white in the tool bar on the LHS of the screen

Click on the gradient tool on the LHS of the screen

In the diagram along the top toolbar, click on the red/green drop down box and click on the top LHS box that says foreground to background colour.

Next we choose the type of gradient

Click on the normal linear gradient this is the next icon on the top toolbar.

Now select the ‘mode’ this is further along the top toolbar, click for the drop down box and select ‘difference’

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Click in the bottom LHS of your image (you already have the gradient tool selected) take this visible line up to the top RHS of your document and let go.

Now do the same from the bottom RHS up to the top LHS of your document.

Repeat the last 2 steps

Using the gradient tool

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The fun part!

Your chance to go a little crazy! You can now go side to side, up and down, corner to corner - make the line as long or short as you like!

As you continue to do this, you will see you are building up a pattern.

Continue building up a pattern until you see something you like.

Adding colour

Now to liven your pattern up with some colour, go to the foreground colour in the toolbar on the LHS and select red.

Click in the bottom of your image up to the RHS as you were doing before and also from the bottom RHS up to the top LHS corner and your image is looking a lot more interesting in red/blue.

To make the colours even more vivid, select ‘blue’ for the foreground colour and repeat the last two steps.

You can play around with the colour as much as you like to produce your desired effect.

Experimenting with hue/saturation

If you decide that you preferred an image you produced earlier, take the cursor up to ‘edit’ and click on step backward, as many times as necessary.

Your abstract background image can be used at this stage.

Another idea to try!

For a subtle, gentle tone go back to a black and white image.

Click on ‘image’ in the top toolbar then ‘adjustments’ the ‘hue/saturation’

Click on the ‘colorize’ button in the open window, your image changes colour.

Move the hue/saturation and or the lightness slider to produce your desired effect.

To take away the sharp edges, take the cursor up to the top toolbar and select ‘filter’ then ‘blur’ ‘Gaussian blur’ adjust to about 5/6 pixels and click ok.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

An abstract background ready to use!

You have now created an abstract background you can use for any image.

I have opened a new image and using the move tool have inserted the tulip image, and given it some shadow. You can find easy instructions on how to create shadow in my hub How to bring digital photo strips to life with easy 3D image effects.

The abstract image opens up all kinds of possibilites - have fun experimenting!

Using an abstract background

Click thumbnail to view full-size
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    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Diane, thank you for visiting, I hope you find this hub useful, creating a background is easy and looks great too!

      Enjoy your day and have fun, best wishes Lesley

    • Diane Woodson profile image

      Diane Minton 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

      I usually do not go for Hubs that deal with making photos but have been having trouble finding pics so your help here might just be what I need!! Yippee thank you for doing this work and will let you know how I do with your helps here!!1 Have a great day...success on HP!!

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi pstraubie, there are so many exciting effects to discover in photoshop - well worth exploring!

      Thank you for stopping by, glad you enjoyed it and many thanks for sharing.

      Take care, best wishes Lesley

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thanks for sharing this. I do not have photoshop so really know nothing about this topic. Now I am thinking I need to explore it more. I am bookmarking this to come back to later. Shared.

      Angels are on the way :) ps

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi vallubkul, many thanks for visiting and your comments, I hope you find the tutorial useful!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • vallubkul profile image

      Valabh Kulkarni 4 years ago from PUNE

      Oh.. This article is realy useful.. Dont know about creating abstract backgrounds,, Thanks.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi the girls, thank you for visiting, I'm so pleased you enjoyed the tutorial and have given it a go!

      Enjoy your day, best wishes Lesley

    • the girls profile image

      the girls 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Good tutorial hub Movie Master! I did it right now on my Photoshop and it's awesome. Thank you!

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi thechronicler, I am so pleased you enjoyed this tutorial and thank you for adding a link to mine from yours.

      I love this abstract look and could play and experiment with it for hours!

      Many thanks for your visit and comments, they are much appreciated, best wishes Lesley

    • profile image

      thechronicler 5 years ago

      This abstract background tutorial is a lot of fun and very easy. I know some Photoshop but hadn't done much with the gradient tool before. I went through this from start to finish and documented it in my own hub. I also linked to your hub at the beginning of mine: http://thechronicler.hubpages.com/hub/My-Abstract-...

      Thank you for publishing it!

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Eddy, thank you for visiting and your comments, I hope you enjoy experimenting in photoshop!

      My best wishes and hugs, Lesley

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Thank you so much for this one which I am saving.

      Eddy.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Vinaya, I hope you change your mind re a series of tutorials, I would look forward to reading them.

      I am so pleased you enjoyed mine, thank you for your visit.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Movie Master,

      I was planning to do a series of photoshop tutorials for hubpages. But after reading your photoshop tutorials, I have aborted the idea.

      Thanks for this easy guide. I believe lots of people will benefit from this hub.

      Regards

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Derdriu, thank you for your comments and votes - the tree ringed path is one of my favourite photos, glad you like it!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • profile image

      Derdriu 5 years ago

      Lesley, All your pictures are lovely as usual, particularly the different views of the last two regarding the tree-ringed path!

      Up + UABI.

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Vellur, thank you so much for your wonderful comments and votes!

      Take care and best wishes Lesley

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Your hub is very useful, the background you have created is vibrant. Photoshop is fun to work with. With or without the background your photos are awesome. Voted up.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Mike, yes I did take the butterfly photos myself, they are featured in a couple of hubs I wrote on 'butterflies up close & beautiful' thank you for your compliments!

      I will check out the movie making contest on Vimeo, many thanks for that info too! I will check out your hub.

      It's always great to know I have inspired someone - thank you again, best wishes and take care, Lesley

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      Extremely useful, informative, and I learned a great deal here Movie Master, even though I prefer to use my graphics editor tool known as Wix, I love the way you explain everything here in great detail.

      Your images you chose to implement into those cool backgrounds are simply beautiful, and the very first butterfly one is amazing! did you capture those images yourself, because if you did yikes, you need to be featured in a magazine like national geographic or something.

      Oh did you know that there is a movie making contest on Vimeo, I figured I'd let you know, its a $200,000 contest there, and its all about making a 3 minute video dedicated to innovation, science and technology.

      I think with your skills you can win that darn thing, who knows right, it began back in April, but I think its still on and running, I will write a hub all about it so more folks can give it a try If the so desire, the extra money cannot hurt you know, and the potential exposure as well.

      Thanks for sharing this awesome hub here, you have inspired me to try to create these kinds of tutorials of my own, and when time permits, I'll send all of my followers your way if and when I decide to generate such hubs. Awesome Stuff!

      Thumbs Up! and out!

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you so much snowdrops!

      Have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      Stunning and wonderful abstract designs lesley!

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi sradie, I'm so pleased you have tried the tutorial and are pleased with the results, many thanks for your comments!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • sradie profile image

      sradie 5 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Thanks for a great tutorial. Very well done. I created as I read and the results are very nice. You have added a great tool to my tool box.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi suzette, thank you for your wonderful complimentary comments, you are very kind!

      Enjoy your day, take care and best wishes lesley

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wow! This is beautiful. Thank you for the step by step instructions. It is complicated for me, but following your instructions I should be able to do this. I love all your photos and epecially the one where you make the butterfly wings transparent - just beautiful. You really are an artist, Lesley. I am always amazed at what you do with photography. You are such a professional! Thanks for sharing your exquisite knowledge with us!

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ruchira, yes Cyndi's artwork is fabulous, she isn't my daughter though, Cloverleaf is!

      Hope you try the photoshop tutorial, it's great fun - addictive too!

      Enjoy your day and take care, Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ricky, thank you for your fabulous comments and votes, they are much appreciated!

      Have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      gosh MM...mother and daughter are on a roll (drums roll please!!)

      Cyndi is rocking with her art work (love it!)

      And your photoshop details made me ponder on this more...big hug and thank you!!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      MM, this was awesome! You are truly the queen of photography! This is great. There are so many things that you could do with this, it is mind blowing. With this helpful article, anyone can do it. Awesome job. Voted up and all across but funny. This article is a keeper:)

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi teaches, you'll enjoy experimenting with this, it's a lot of fun and easy to do!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes.

      Enjoy your day, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi stars, thank you so much for reading and your comments.

      Best wishes to you and your family, have a lovely day, best wishes Lesley

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Voted way up on this one! I am going to attempt this design, not promising anything but it would be awesome to be able to do this! Thanks.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      This is awesome, and beautiful. Thank You. God Bless You.

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Susan, thank you for reading and your comments, I hope you find the tutorial useful!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi tillsontitan, I'm so pleased you have enjoyed the tutorial, I hope you find it useful!

      I will be publishing my next tutorial next week, you will find the background image useful for this one and it's great fun:-)

      Thank you so much for your comments and votes, best wishes Lesley

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this very useful tutorial.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      This hub is bookmarked and had better be here for a long time. I intend to use it and learn more about Photoshop. I knew the older editions fairly well but the newer ones have me stymied.

      Thank you so much for this wonderfully illustrated and helpful tutorial ....I hope to see more from you on Photoshop!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Nell, I hope you have some success with these instructions for creating your abstract picture, if you have any problems just give me a shout!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, best wishes Lesley

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Wow you clever thing! I am useless at Photoshop, I only signed on the other week and it completely confused me! great information, and one that I will definitely be bookmarking for use, I noticed the picture near the bottom that you did with all the colours? thats exactly the one I want for my bedroom wall! I have been searching everywhere for it! now I can do it myself! fantastic! voted up cheers nell

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi QudsiaP1, thank you for stopping by and your comments - enjoy experimenting!!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 5 years ago

      This was so awesome MM! I am totally going to try it! :)

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi billybuc, I hope you enjoy playing with your backgrounds this weekend - don't plan to do anything else, it's quite addictive!!

      Many thanks for your comments, all the best Lesley

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful tutorial....so useful....and...you made it easy to understand so even an old man like me could do it. :) Thank you for this; I will play with it this weekend.

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Sheila, you'll enjoy playing with this, I guarantee - it's quite addictive!! have fun:-)

      Thank you so much for your comments and votes!

      Have a wonderful day, best wishes lesley

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Darn it! You have given me something else to play with! LOL This looks like fun. I love to play around with some of my pictures and the background idea is awesome! You instructions are very easy to understand and useful, I might be able to do this! Voted this up and more! Have a great day! :)

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good Morning lord, you're up early!

      I'm so pleased you enjoyed the tutorial, I hope you have fun experimenting with backgrounds!

      Enjoy your day, best wishes Lesley

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Useful, masterfully explained and ready to draw my next abstracted background. This tutorial was fun! Left me wanting for more. Thanks for sharing Lesley!

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Alicia, it's great fun experimenting with this effect - every attempt is different!

      Many thanks for your comments, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Rosemay, I hope the basic instructions work for you in Photo Studio - it's a fun effect to work with!

      Many thanks for your comments, it's always good to see you, take care and my best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Hyphenbird, thank you so much for your comments, it's good to know my instructions are easy to follow!

      Take care and best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Mike, I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading, thank you for your comments!

      Have a great weekend, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Bill, thank you for your wonderful comments, votes and share they are much appreciated:-)

      Enjoy your day, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Peggy, creating these backgrounds is so much fun - after you have done a couple you will be surprised how quick they are to do!

      Have fun!

      Many thanks for your comments, have a great weekend, best wishes Lesley

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the useful instructions, Lesley. The backgrounds look very attractive, and the process for creating them sounds like fun!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is a great tutorial Lesley, I don't have Phototshop but will try and adapt this idea in my Photo Studio. The images look wonderful on a background like this.

      Awesome thank you

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Amazing! Thanks for the tutorial. I can do this. Your information is easy to follow and the results professional and outstanding. Thanks so much.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You have such an artist's eye. The merging of the photography with the custom backgrounds makes these so unique. Artistic and interesting.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Lesley. This is great. Very helpful with step by steps instructions. Makes for a nice twist to the photo. You are one talented photographer. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and talents with us. Voting up and sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Lesley,

      I purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements way over a year ago and have yet to learn how to use it. Love what you did with your examples of creating an abstract background. I will HAVE to take some time and use this hub as a guideline. Would love to be able to created images like this! Voted up and interesting.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Maggie, the new style profile page sounds great and I love the idea of having a background image, this is what I am going to use for mine too!

      I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading, many thanks for your comments.

      have a wonderful weekend, best wishes Lesley

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Lesley...This is a gorgeous way to do a background...I love it and will try to adapt it to the Gimp program which I think has similar commands.

      This type of background would be good choice for the new profile page when it rolls out since I seem to think we can pick our own...plus I love colours like these. Great Hub! Have a super day! Maggie

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Dex for a fabulous compliment to make my day!!

      Enjoy yours, all the best Lesley

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      This is absolutely beautiful, MM! You truly are a Master!

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ruby, thank you for stopping by and your comments, they are very much apprecited:-)

      Have a wonderful weekend and best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi GClark, thank you so much for stopping by, your great comments and votes, they are much appreciated!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi tobusiness, I hope you have fun experimenting with backgrounds - many thanks for your comments!

      Have a great weekend, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Gyspy48, I hope you give it a try - initially I was reluctant to experiment in Photoshop, I found 'layers' a little confusing, but it's a lot easier than you might think!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Joyce, the photo explosion software is brilliant, I have used it a lot!

      I hope you get it working soon.

      Thank you for your comments and votes, have a lovely weekend, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jackie, yes definitely! so many good photos are spoiled with the wires - they really show up against blue sky - I always try and remove them!

      Hope you have fun trying out these backgrounds, many thanks for your comments, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi RedElf, the background image can certainly bring a photo to life - it's great fun experimenting!

      Many thanks for your comments, enjoy your day, best wishes Lesley

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You have a beautiful talent for photography. Thank you for sharing your information with us..Cheers

    • GClark profile image

      GClark 5 years ago from United States

      Excellent information presented in a clear, easy to follow format. Voted Up! Thanks for sharing.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Many thanks for your comments Josh, I hope you enjoy trying this out it's great fun!

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Curiad, many thanks for stopping by and your comments, they are much appreciated, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Molly, thank you for your great comments!!

      Take care and best wishes Lesley

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This is just what I needed. Brilliant info. thank you Lesley for sharing.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 5 years ago

      Very helpful hub. It will probably take me a while to master this. I am a klutz with anything computer related! Voted up and useful :)

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      This is great. I just bought a Photo Explosion program right now I can't get to work but I'll keep trying. I need to put a title and on photo this is why I bought this program.

      Voted up useful interesting and awesome, Joyce

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I will have to save this back and try it. I am no good with photoshop except to take out electric wires! Hate those things and can't see what anyone leaves them! There are everywhere though blocking so many good pictures. Do you find this true where you live?

      Thank you for the fun hub!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Love these backgrounds! I will definitely give this a try with some of my photos. The background certainly makes that transparent butterfly/ dragon fly pop!

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Lesley,

      This is a very interesting hub Lesley; I am definitely going to have to try this out! Thanks for sharing!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Interesting article MM,

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      MM, you just keep getting better. No wonder your photos are amazing!