In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a cyberpunk Photoshop effect action to add amazing vaporwave photo effects to your photos. I’ll explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create the effect, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.
The effect shown above is the one I’ll show you how to create in this tutorial. But would you like to save time and download an action with the cyberpunk look for Photoshop? Then look at the CyberPunk Photoshop Action.
What You’ll Need
To recreate the cyberpunk design above, you’ll need the following resources:
Are you ready to get started with this cyberpunk graphic design tutorial? Then let’s dive in!
1. How to Start Creating an Action
First, open the photo that you want to work with. Pick an image with a lot of contrast, which will help create the vaporwave cyberpunk style. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:
- Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
- For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4500 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
- Your photo should be the Background layer. If it isn’t, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
Now go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner, choose New Set to create a new set, and name it Cyberpunk. Then, click on the same menu icon again, choose New Action to create a new action, and name it Cyberpunk.
2. How to Create the Cyberpunk Color Look
In this section, we are going to create the cyberpunk color look in the Photoshop layer. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Color_Look_1.
Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail, and then in the Properties panel, click on the gradient to open up the Gradient Editor panel and enter the settings below:
We also need to adjust the cyberpunk lighting. Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 70%. Have a look at the effect that has on the cyberpunk colors.
Now select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer, and name it Color_Look_2.
Double-click on this layer thumbnail and enter the settings below in the Properties panel:
Now select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter to create a new photo filter adjustment layer, and name it Color_Look_3.
Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set Filter to Cooling Filter (80), Density to 25%, and check the Preserve Luminosity option.
3. How to Make the Final Adjustments
In this section, we are going to make some final adjustments to the cyberpunk graphic design. Select the Color_Look_1 layer and press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall Contrast.
Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Luminosity and set the Opacity to 80%.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation.
Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +25 and Saturation to +10.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer, and name it Overall Brightness.
Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:
Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px.
Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light and set the Opacity to 80%. Name this layer Overall Sharpening.
You Made It!
Congratulations, you’ve succeeded! You’ve now learned how to create cool photo effects in Photoshop that have a vaporwave cyberpunk style. It’s an eternally popular look. The cyberpunk colors make pictures look even more eye-catching. Here is our final result: