Hell of a Tutorial in Pixelmator

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a really cool effect. First, we will use basic filters to create a 3D text effect; then, we will blend some stock photos and textures to produce one hell of a wallpaper.

Step 1

Open Pixelmator and create a new document. I’m using, as usual, 1440×900 pixels. Then with the Gradient Tool (G), fill the background layer with a radial gradient. To create the radial gradient, go to View>Show Gradient. Add a new gradient and use black and brown (#3b251c) for the colors.


Step 2

Using the Type Tool (T), add some text to the document. I typed “ HELL.” The font I used is MOD, and you can download it for free at this Website: http://abduzeedo.com/friday-fresh-free-fonts-1.

Step 3

Change the font color to a dark grey, and then go to Layer>Rasterize Type Layer. After that, go to Edit>Transform>Distort. Then move the points to apply a perspective to the text. The idea is that the text will then appear to be holes on the floor either going to or coming straight from hell.?

Step 4

It is quite simple to create this perspective. Select the Lasso Tool (L) and start creating selections in the portions of the text that will be the walls. First, let’s select the ones that are facing the same direction.

Step 5

Add a new layer on top of the HELL layer and go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. This step will restrict the render area to the area within the HELL text. Fill the selection with a very dark grey.

Step 6

Then repeat the same process for the other parts of the text that have these kind of walls. Use different shades of grey to create the 3D effect.

Step 7

Holding Command, click on the thumb of the HELL layer, which will create a marquee selection in the area of that layer. Add a new layer on top of the other layers used to create the 3D effect; then go back to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. Fill the selection with orange and, with the marquee selection still active, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 30 pixels for the radius. After that, change the opacity to 60 percent.

Step 8

Add a new layer on top of the previous one (the orange one); then go again to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. After that, go to Filter>Generate>Clouds. Use black and white for the colors. Then just change the b lending to Color Dodge and the opacity to 40 percent.

Step 9

Once again, add another layer and transform it to Clipping Mask. Then fill the layer with black, using the Paint Bucket Tool (N). Because it’s a clipping mask, you will only see the area within HELL. Select the Brush Tool (B) and use white for the color. Then paint some areas in white as shown in the image below. After that, just change the blending to Color Dodge.?

Step 10

At this stage, we will add some realism to the scene. To do that, let’s use some stock images of fire. The one I used was courtesy of Shutterstock images, and you can download it from this Website: (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-2933444/stock-photo-fire.html). Copy a part of the flame and paste it into the document. Use the image below for reference.

Step 11

Now add more flames. You can use different stock photos, but just try to get a fire image with a black background, because it’s easier to hide the blacks using Screen for the blending. Also use the Transform tools to create variations of the same flame. You will have to use the Lasso Tool (L) to delete parts of the flames to make it look like they are coming from the hole.

Step 12

Add another layer on top of the other layers and go to Filter>Generate>Clouds. Use black and white for the colors. Then using the Eraser Tool (E), delete most parts of the layer, leaving just the area over the effect. Also you can go to Image>Levels and increase the black inputs. Use the image below for reference.

Step 13

Change the blending of the clouds to Color Dodge.

Step 14

Import a concrete texture and put it behind the other layers. I obtained the one below from Shutterstock images, and it can be found at this Website: (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-16751947/stock-photo-large-concrete-wall-texture-background.html). To apply the perspective, go to Edit>Transform>Distort.

Step 15

Change the blending to Multiply and the opacity to 40 percent.

Step 16

Now let’s add some cracks to the floor. To do that, we will simply repeat the same thing we did in the previous step. Select a stock photo to illustrate your purpose. The image I used is from Shutterstock images and can be located at this Website: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-44864269/stock-photo-cracked-ground.html. Apply the perspective through Edit>Transform>Distort. Then desaturate the image by going to (Image>Desaturate). After that, change the blending to Multiply. Then use the Eraser Tool (E) to delete the areas that are far from the center.

Step 17

Duplicate the layer with the cracks from the previous step; then go to Image>Invert. After that, change the blending to Color Dodge and move the layer 1 pixel down. This will create a really nice effect, making it look as if lava were flowing from the cracks.

Step 18

Select the layers you used to create the fire effect and duplicate them. After that, merge all the copied layers and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 20 pixels for the radius. Finally, change the blending setting to Screen. This step is optional, but it adds a nice glow to the effect.


Select all layers and duplicate them. After that, merge all the copies once more so that you will have the image in one layer only. You can then go to Image>Brightness and Contrast and just slightly increase the contrast, raising it to +3. That should be sufficient to add that dramatic dimension to the image.

As you can see, the creation of the fire part is quite simple–pretty much just using blending and some blurs. But the most important part of this tutorial, in my opinion, is the beginning, where the Lasso Tool and Clipping Mask Layers were used to create a nice 3D effect.


Download the Pixelmator File

Click here to download the Pixelmator file used for this tutorial.

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