How to Make Cotton Candy Clouds in Photoshop


Making clouds in Adobe Photoshop that look like cotton candy floating in the sky is fairly easy to do, especially for someone already familiar with the basic tools in Photoshop. You will use the paint brush tool and a few filters to achieve this effect. The clouds can be created in shades of blue or pink. Photographs of actual cotton candy can also be used to create clouds in Photoshop.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Photoshop
  • Wacon Tablet (preferred)
  • Photograph of cotton candy (for reference)

Creating clouds that look like cotton candy in Photoshop

  • Create a new, blank Photoshop document. Select the menu: "File<New".

  • Choose the paintbrush tool and set the diameter to a minimum size of 319 pixels and 0% hardness. Drag the mouse over your canvas where you would like to apply paint. You will see a small circular shape to indicate where your brush is applying paint. The size and hardness brush control function is accessible by double clicking your paint brush icon in the tool panel, to show the sub-menu. Click the brush tip icon to bring up the brush control settings. The appearance of these options changes slightly with older versions of Photoshop.

  • Select the starting color of your pink cotton candy clouds. Click on the color selector tool to choose a darker shade of pink.

    In the color palette, choose web color #af79bd, or color build CMYK set to: C-32%, M-60%, Y-0%, K--0%. That will result in a dark shade of rose pink suitable for cotton candy clouds.

  • Paint several large areas of pink color in the shape of clouds using the paintbrush tool with the above settings.

  • Burn the edges of the painted area with the the 'Dodge and Burn' tool, which will darken selected areas. As you burn the edges with this tool, try setting the brush size of the burn tool with different settings, specifically to smaller diameters and add at least 40% hardness.

  • Highlight the cotton candy clouds, using the 'Dodge' option of the dodge and burn tool to add lightened spots in the center parts of the clouds you have created.

  • Blur your cotton candy clouds with a circular, radial blur. Do this by selecting the menu: "Filter>Blur>Radial Blur" set to about 24. You can experiment with the blur numbers to achieve slightly different visual effects.

  • Texturize your clouds by applying a special accented edge filter. Do this by selecting the menu: "Filter>Brush Strokes>Accented Edges". Menu settings are as follows: edge width should be set to at least 12, edge brightness at least 42, and smoothness set to 7.

Tips & Warnings

  • Vary your brush sizes for the clouds, and dodge and burn tool in order to create different sizes of clouds.
  • Change the numbers on the filter settings by moving the sliders to preview the different visual effect it will have on your clouds.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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