How To Draw A Pixie Dust Effect In Photoshop

Varun Kashyap 02-11-2009

How To Draw A Pixie Dust Effect In Photoshop psiconWho doesn’t want a little magic in life? It’s always welcomed. While I am no magician, I sure know of an application that can work some magic on your photos. Yeah! No prize for guessing – it’s Photoshop. This article is about adding magic to your photos, literally, using Photoshop Learn Photo Editing in Photoshop: Get the Basics Down in 1 Hour Photoshop is an intimidating program—but with just one hour, you can learn all of the basics. Grab a photo you want to edit, and let's get started! Read More and some pixie dust! Here is how to draw pixie dust in Photoshop.


Create a new document, the size doesn’t really matter, we would be discarding it eventually, just make sure the background is white.

We will be creating a new brush by combining the existing brushes that Photoshop offers. So go ahead and choose the brush tool from the toolbox. In the options bar towards the top, click on the drop down arrow next to the brush shape. This allows you to choose the type of brush you want to work with. As we are creating a pixie dust effect, the obvious ingredients would be stars and glowing specks! So go ahead and choose any brush shape that looks like it would fit nicely into the effect. I use the Star brush, a soft round brush and the Starburst brush.

how to draw pixie dust in photoshop

The star and round brushes can be found among the default brushes, you would have to click on the arrow and choose assorted brushes to get to the starburst brush. Additionally you can add even more stars by using the custom shape tool.

draw pixie dust in photoshop

Just click two to three times at random spots with each of the brush/shape you choose to use. Try to contain the clicks fairly close to each other and try to vary the size. Although we will take care of this in the steps that follow, a little planning never hurts.

how to draw pixie dust in photoshop

Next up, we will be creating a new brush from the semi-mess we just created. Make sure the background is white and go to Edit > Define brush preset. Give the new brush a name if you prefer and click OK.

You can now close this document (no need to save). Photoshop remembers the brush you just created across different documents. Now its time to load up the image you want to add the pixie dust to. I got this image from Stock Exchange

pixie dust

Create a new layer atop of the image you just opened. Let’s call it ‘dust’. Choose the brush tool and choose the brush you just created. Choose white as the foreground color.

If you click and drag, in other words “paint” with the brush you created, you might not get what you set out to achieve. The brush requires a little more tinkering and its time to summon Photoshop’s powerful brush engine. Click Window > Brushes or hit the F5 key to get to the brushes palette.

pixie dust

Place a check mark against Shape Dynamics and scattering. Now click on Shape dynamics and play around with the settings. As you tinker with the settings Photoshop will give you a live preview of what the brush stroke will look like. Here are my settings. Make sure to set the control to fade, this will give you a nice swipe of magical dust when you paint a stroke on your image.

pixie dust

Next click on scattering and play with the sliders till you get what you are looking for. Here are my settings. The settings would depend on the type of image you are using. If the image has some action, you would want a fading effect, if it is more of a front portrait you might want to sprinkle some dust all over rather than a continuous stroke. All that can be done from in here by playing around with the sliders.

photoshop brushes pixie dust

Once the settings are done, paint a stroke on a new layer. You can add some glow to add a finishing touch. Double-click on the dust layer and check Outer Glow from the Layer Styles dialog that opens. Choose the color of the glow and its size. You can lower the fill opacity to let some of the background image show through the dust, while still keeping the glow opaque. Here is the end result:

photoshop brushes pixie dust

How did you find that tutorial. Isn’t it easy to add a little pixie dust effect into your photos? Tell us how your photos turn out!

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  1. lisa
    April 5, 2016 at 4:26 am

    i clicked on window, but there is no "brush" listed.
    Nor can i f5 to get brush.
    Is this not available in elements 6?

  2. Brady
    November 2, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    nice tutorial! Any Adobe Fireworks goodies?

  3. jamshaid
    November 2, 2009 at 10:53 am

    i really enjoy it