What would be the best way to achieve the effect in the image?

I've tried making my own brush and working around that but it doesn't seem ideal.

I'm wondering how to replicate the random looking short strokes around a perfect circle path.

Is there a better way rather than painstakingly drawing each stroke?



  • 1
    What went wrong with your brush attempts?
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 11:20
  • Well, if I'm using just a few strokes and copy them along a circular path it doesn't look very random. In the image above many of the strokes seem to be of varying sizes and lengths. How would you do it? If it's just a matter of drawing more brush strokes and arranging them in a circle then I shall do that. I just want to know if that's the best way to achieve this.
    – san
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 13:08
  • I suppose so; make a few different brush strokes, color, arrange, rotate, repeat until satisfied.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 13:35
  • 1
    Be aware, this is most likely 2 photos combined. The light was created with a long exposure setting and a light stick in a dark setting so as to primarily capture the light as it streaked through the air. Placed on a layer above the dancer, then set to "screen".
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


I think there're different ways to achieve a similar this effect. Here're several ideas:

  1. Use a smart object with Polar Coordinates filter applied. This way you can paint straight lines inside the SO and they'll be transformed to circlular ones — that's quite easy to control, you can put any shapes in the original SO layer, adjust strokes length and position. Adding slightly rotated lines will make the circular lines not perfectly circular.

enter image description here

  1. Use a 3rd party cursor snapping tool like Lazy Nezumi for Windows or Hej Stylus! for Mac: they allow to snap cursor to a specific path: line, circle, perspective, etc. I didn't use Hej Stylus! but with Lazy Nezumi it's possible to ease the effect so that the lines aren't always perfectly circular.

enter image description here

p.s. and obviously listening to Lauren Mayberry's voice also should help :D

  • Thank you! This seems great for what I had in mind. I'm going to be trying out both of these methods and see which works best. And that 3rd party cursor seems useful to have in general so thanks for that. And yeah love me some CHVRCHES
    – san
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 20:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.