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I understand this effect can be achieved in 3D rendering programs, but I also believe that it can be achieved through a raster editor like Photoshop. I work in Affinity Photo on iPad, so I’ll need to be able to translate any workflow into there. I’ve tried liquifying brush strokes, and it gets close, but doesn’t quite accomplish what I’m going for. Other threads I’ve researched recommend normal/gradient maps, but that seems like a lot of work for still not quite what I’m trying to do. Whatever it is I need to do seems to be reliant upon color palette and texture. Have been searching forever for an answer!

Two more instances of this effect:

https://m.imgur.com/gallery/APqRFdc

https://m.imgur.com/gallery/vlBoRva

I understand this effect can be achieved in 3D rendering programs, but I also believe that it can be achieved through a raster editor like Photoshop. I work in Affinity Photo on iPad, so I’ll need to be able to translate any workflow into there. I’ve tried liquifying brush strokes, and it gets close, but doesn’t quite accomplish what I’m going for. Other threads I’ve researched recommend normal/gradient maps, but that seems like a lot of work for still not quite what I’m trying to do. Whatever it is I need to do seems to be reliant upon color palette and texture. Have been searching forever for an answer!

  • Important to note: I want to create this texture from scratch. Not interested in manipulating pre-existing holographic/iridescent textures that can be found online. And they are everywhere. A lot of them seem to be photographed, and even more seem to be rendered, but a very solid amount of them seem to at least be achievable with the right techniques in raster editors. – zendover Feb 23 at 17:29
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I was able to come pretty close pretty quickly in Affinity Photo - I could only take a couple minutes for this as I'm on a production rush right now I'm afraid.

I made a simple gradient fill, took that into the liquify persona and did some serious liquifying...

Gradient fill enter image description here

Liquify round 01 enter image description here

Liquify round 02 enter image description here

Dropped onto image of CC with appropriate blend modes, added some Filter>Distortion>Ripple, and then quickly painted a highlights layer in an appropriate blend mode. enter image description here

Again, I've just not the time right now to put into trying to exactly match your reference image, but I think this should demonstrate a workflow in Affinity Photo, both on desktop and Affinity Photo for iPad which will work for your use case.

Hope this helps!

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You can simply paint the shapes. Fill the image at first with light grey. That presents aluminium. Here is used grey = 90% of full white.

Paint a series of rainbow colors ie. red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta. Use equal lightnesses and at least nearly equal colorfullnesses.

enter image description here

Here the lightnesses are about 80% of max ie. a little darker than the starting grey.

I found that making a good series from scratch isn't easy. Using the color selector in Lab mode helps a little. All colors can have the same luminance level (=L). I used the color picker and tried to pick the mentioned colors so that the color content numbers a and b were averagely as near the mid zero for every pick.

Then blur the image to get gradients Here 100 px Gaussian blur is applied. That's nearly the same as the width of the painted color stripes.

enter image description here

I must admit that originally I tried to use gradient map to make the color gradients. The result was not good. Or actually I thought it was good enough until I recently saw a real and big enough piece of iridescent looking aluminium foil. => Scrapped my existing answer and write a new, this one.

There's another answer (by user G.Falla) where a simple gradient is liquified heavily. I skip it. I drew the color stripes with some mild zigzags instead.

There's no reason for bigger complexity because I have no facts which actual physical structure things should be reflected. Generally there should be a certificate which should live in certain way when the viewing angle is changed. I'll return for it later.

Now it's ready to be used for something. If there's some content, the iridescence has bigger tolerance. I clipped a piece and placed it on a fake credit card:

enter image description here

As said, the iridescent layer very likely isn't decorative, it has some difficult to reproduce holographic details, which can be seen only in certain angles and which live when one rotates the card. Those are impossible to be shown in a static image. If one can make a plausible logo for that purpose, it's better than nothing. I wouldn't try to copy anything real, but I wrote word GENUINE as a dummy certificate:

enter image description here

It's a new layer with different gradient fill. It has blending mode hard light to reflect possible underlying details altough in this case it's useless. The layer is substantially brighter than the underlying blurred layer.

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enter image description here

  • Start with a white layer and distort the content adding some filters: Clouds, Wave, Gaussian Blur and Auto Levels to increase the contrast:

background layer

  • Add a Curve Adjustment Layer and modify the channels graphics to distort the colors

Curves

  • From the adjustments layers options add a Rainbow Gradient Map

Gradient

  • Add a Brightness and Contrast adjustment layer to increase the contrast
  • Add a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer to increase the saturation
  • Edit the Hue and Saturation Layer and move the hue slider to change the colors
  • Edit the Curves Adjustment Layer and modify the graphic to change the final shape

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    That’s awesome! Almost spot-on. Curious about the cloud and wave filters in Photoshop — what do those actually do? Will have to poke around my editor (Affinity Photo) for similar filters, but in the chance they’re not there how would one recreate those effects manually? And as far as the rainbow gradient, are you able to adjust the colors inside the gradient, to match a more iridescent palette? I’m going for the “film effect” seen on bubbles, and some transparent synthetic materials – zendover Feb 23 at 19:06
  • @zendover - if you have additional questions about other filters or other software, you should really ask another question. This isn't a chat forum. It's a strict question and answer format, one question at a time. If you want you can refer to this question by linking to it in your new question. Thanks. – Billy Kerr Feb 23 at 19:13
  • @zendover Render Clouds and Wave Distort are classic Photoshop filters from the initial versions. The rainbow gradient map is a regular gradient, all colors are editable clicking twice the gradient bar. – Danielillo Feb 23 at 21:16

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