How to Create a Holographic Foil Effect in Photoshop

Text says How to create a holographic effect in Photoshop on holographic effect
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Easily Create a Digital Holographic Foil Effect for your Creative Projects

Creating a holographic foil effect in Photoshop is super fun and easy, and I want to share the steps with you so you can create some really fun digital paper and art with it.

The steps are pretty simple and you can make it look different every time you do this.

I absolutely love the holographic foil effect which is how I created my moth graphics and digital holographic foil paper for one of my Etsy shops:

moths with holographic effect
holographic paper set

You’ll need a very basic understanding of how to use Photoshop such as knowing where your layers and menu are and what some of your basic tools are for. You’ll also need a willingness to play around with colors. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to create your very own holographic foil effect in about 5 minutes give or take!

At the end of this Photoshop tutorial I’ll include a video tutorial.

Holographic Foil Effect: Step one

Open up Photoshop and create a new document.

Digital papers are typically 12×12 inches so that’s the size I’ll be creating but you’re welcome to use whatever size you prefer. Set the pixels per inch to 300.

Select cmyk for color mode if you plan to print this. If you plan to use it for online use only then rgb is fine.

size, pixels, and color mode settings
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By the way, if you plan to take this to a printer some print shops only accept rgb so if that should happen you’ll just need to change the document to rgb and make a few adjustments…

To make those adjustments, head up to the top menu and go to Image > Adjustments > Mode > rbg.

This may change the colors of your document somewhat so if it does then you’ll have to play around with the other adjustments like brightness and contrast to get it to your liking.

Color matching can be a little tricky and I’m no expert, so if you want more information on this just head on over to Adobe.

Holographic Foil Effect: Step Two

It’s time to select a few colors. There aren’t any hard rules about what colors to choose but it’s generally better to select colors that aren’t dark.

You can experiment with your color choices but I’ve made it easy and have provided you with the exact color palatte I’ll be using for my holographic foil effect:

  • #99d9bd
  • #7dc5cc
  • #be64ae

You can find those colors by clicking the color box and adding the hex codes in the color picker.

arrow pointing to hexadecimal code
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Holographic Foil Effect: Step Three

It’s time to create a new layer. To do this, go to your layer panel and click the three horizontal lines at the top right and select new layer.

There won’t be too many layers in this tutorial so you don’t need to name the layer but it’s a good habit to get into.

Select the brush tool and set it to a medium to large size and set the hardness to 0% so it’s soft and fluffy when you paint in your colors.

arrow pointing to brush tool
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Select a color and begin brushing it in at an angle from one side to the other. Do this for each color until you’ve filled in your workspace.

Next, flatten your layers. Flatten is found by clicking the same 3 horizontal lines used to create a new layer.

Helpful tip: To change the size of your brush quickly just hit the left or right square brackets on your keyboard.

Here’s how mine turned out:

pinks, greens, and blues softly brushed at a diagonal
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Holographic Foil Effect: Step Four

Now we’re going to play around with the adjustments: Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and make the following changes:

  • Brightness: 2
  • Contrast: 45

Next, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Change to:

  • Saturation: 38

Here is where I change the color mode: Image > Mode> rgb

Holographic Foil Effect: Step Five

Next, go to Filter > Liquify

Make sure you have ‘pin edges’ selected so your colors stay on the paper. If you don’t have that option available either you have an older version of Photoshop or you’re still in cmyk mode. You’ll just want to be careful as you push your colors around so you’re not leaving any blank spots.

Use a brush size & pressure that is comfortable for you and push your colors around.

You can get crazy if you want or keep it simple. This is where you get to have fun and experiment with the way your digital holographic colors look.

Once you’re happy with it click ok.

Colors pushed around for a warped look
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Holographic Foil Effect: Step Six

Next select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

My setting is between 41 and 42. Your image should have some softness to it.

Colors are softened
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Holographic Foil Effect: Step Seven

Oooh! Here comes the really fun part where your holographic foil effect really comes alive! Go up to your top menu and do the following:

  • Filter > Filter Gallery > Distort > Glass
  • Distortion: 20
  • Smoothness: 6
  • Texture: Frosted
  • Scaling: 200

That’s it! I just love how it looks!

If you want to add a little extra pop to your holographic foil effect then play around with the exposure, but remember that if you’re going to print this it’s not going to be as bright as what you see on the screen.

You can always print your work on paper to see how different it looks and make adjustments that way… just use high quality paper for this, preferable gloss which always looks best for this type of print.

I made a few tweaks to my holographic foil: I went to Image > Adjustments > Exposure and made the following changes:

  • Exposure: .65
  • Gamma Correction: .90
Pink and blue holographics
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Now we’re done & you can save your digital holographic foil effect!

I hope this tutorial was fun & helpful! If you want to know how to use this as a clipping mask you can check out my how to create gold foil art using the clipping mask post. Instead of using the gold foil you can use this holographic foil.

And of course, if you want to learn how to create a gold foil effect in Photoshop there’s that blog post too!

By the way, this holographic foil texture is available in my free Creative Resource Library to my newsletter subscribers so if you’d like to get your hands on this little gem head over to my sign up page and I’ll send you the password to access it along with other freebies!

Holographic Foil Effect Photoshop Video Tutorial

Don’t forget to take a few minutes to watch the video tutorial!

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