Retro light effects - Pixelmator Tutorial (2 copies of Pixelmator to give away)

A few days ago we published an excellent video from a French band called Justice, the name of the clip was DVNO and the coolest thing was that it was full of references from the 80’s. Besides that, there was the great interview with James White, and again, his work is full of elements from the 80’s. With all that retro inspiration in mind, I decided to write a new Pixelmator tutorial.

So in this Pixelmator tutorial I will show you how to create a very fast retro design coming straight from that old Atari 2600 that we used to play Decathlon and get our hands full of blisters...

We have 2 copies of Pixelmator to give away, so just leave a comment and you can get a free copy of this nice software. The final day will be April, 1st.

Step 1

Create a new document, 800x600 is fine, then select the Gradient Tool (G) and create a new gradient color in the Gradient Palette, use black and purple (#332233) for the colors and use Radial for the type.

Step 2

Create a new layer and go to Filter>Quartz Composer>Generator>Floor. This filter will create a nice light effect.

Step 3

Create a new layer, name it "lines", fill it with black and change the Blend Mode to Color Dodge, then go to Filter>Generator>Stripes. Make sure that the foreground color is white. Use 6 for width and 0 for hardness.

Step 4

Go to Edit>Transform>Perspective. Move the vertices until you get a nice perspective like the image below. After that go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, use 2 for the Radius

Step 5

Go to Layer>Add Layer Mask, then get the Brush Tool(B), select the white color and a medium brush, like 100px width and hardness 0. Start deleting the end of some lines, make some shorter than the others.

Step 6

Select the Type Tool(T) and add your text, the font I used was Bauhaus. After that go to Layer>Rasterize Type Layer. Then go to Edit>Transform>Distort. Then just pull the vertices to make the text follow the line’s perspective.

The last thing here is holding the Command Key, click on the layers thumbnail to create a selection of they 80’s layer. Then select the mask of the "Lines" layer and fill the selection with white.

Step 7

Duplicate the layer and go to Filter>Quartz Composer>Stylize>Neon. Select pink for the color and use the Amount of 0.08.

Step 8

Duplicate the layer and go to Filter>Blur>Zoom… use the Amount of 50 like the image below.

Step 9

Create a new layer, beneath the layer with zoom blur. Fill the new layer with black and change the Blend Mode to Color Dodge. After that select the Brush Tool(B), white for the color, and a brush with a medium size like 80-100px, the hardness has to be 0%.

Now just paint some parts of the lines, just one click and you will create a nice light effect.

Step 10

Create a new layer and go to Filter>Generator>Random Generator. This filter will create a sort of noise effect. Then just change the Blend Mode to Screen and use like 10% opacity.

Step 11

Create a new layer and fill it with a linear gradient, use Red, Green, and Blue for the colors and change the Blend Mode to Overlay.


This image was experiment I did just to learn a bit more of Pixelmator. The more I use it the more I like it, even though it lacks some very important features like the Layer Styles and the powerful brush engine that Photoshop has, I think Pixelmator is a great tool and it will probably get much better in the newer version.

Download the Pixelmator file

Click here to download the file for this Pixelmator tutorial.

More Pixelmator Tutorials

Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.