I'd like to make something like this in Adobe Photoshop:

enter image description here

But I have no idea how to do that. Is there any tool within Adobe Photshop CS5+ that will allow for this kind of design? I know how to handle the color and glow and whatnot; it's just those bars that make this a challenge.

If not, perhaps there's a different design tool that I should try?

  • 1
    Illustrator will probably be easier to get the initial shape then bring it into Photoshop for all of the visual eye-candy. Here's a question that should get you started: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/2800/…
    – Ryan
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 19:55
  • Oh perfect that works! @Ryan Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 19:58
  • Okay, then I'm voting to close this as a duplicate of that one.
    – Ryan
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 20:26
  • Alternatively you could use Rotate Me script. The big advantage with the illustrator feature is preview. With this PS script, you just need to guess and work out the perfect values by trial and error. I wanted to try doing that, so here's what I did in Photoshop with the script and whole lot of other things.... After I had rotated the lines, I set up 3 groups with 3 different layer masks. Then I selected bunch of layers, dropped them in those folders to make them different length.
    – Joonas
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 21:21
  • @Joonas nice, that works really well Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


Okay ill offer an alternative to a script offered by @Joonas, easy or not. The benefit of this method is that you can easily just dump a real sound spectrum or any other graph into your setup.



Image 1: A sound waveform, courtesy of this post. Especially useful if say a band wants their own audioforms on the cover.

Or alternatively to using the waveform you can generate your own data source in Photoshop. With following procedure:

  1. Make a documents that's 1 pixel high and any number of pixels wide (for as many bars as you need), black.
  2. Fill in monochromatic noise.
  3. Stretch image to be much higher with nearest neighborhood.
  4. Make a gradient form black to white from top to bottom on a new layer
  5. put that layer to hard mix.

Generated data

Image 2: Generated data source

In any case be aware that the more you have data in width the smaller your bars will be. Shorter snippets may work better.

Turning the source circular

  1. Make the document square and loose the background color,
    1. delete the underside of the waveform if it has any (or you can keep it for another effect)
  2. Make the document much bigger like 10 times the size for example, this so you can do gaps between the samples if you wish such things. Use nearest sampling.
  3. turn the layer into a smart object. (so you can rotate shift or edit the result for example)
  4. make the document square in size.
  5. (optional) Mask your peaks with a alternating black and white mask

what you should have now

Image 3: What you should have now. the lower the bars are located the bigger your sphere is going to be the higher the bars the higher they will be.

Now run:

  1. Filter → Distort → Polar coordinates...
    • Rectangular to polar


Image 4: Thats it... Just add glows and stuff. Make any variations.

You may want to do this at slight over resolution for best results.


Image 5: Variation of a theme. By adjusting a mask you can make it look like a gradient scope. Use curves to limit levels for example. Lots of possibilities for generated art.

PS: it took me longer to write these docs than to test the procedure 7 times. You can anlso save the procedure as a action and do thsi over and over again till your satisfied with the result. Or paint in modifications.

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