Vector Sunburst - Photoshop Tutorial

Learn how to make a resizable sunburst that can be saved as a custom shape in this Photoshop tutorial. A versatile and easy technique.

Topics covered: shape layers, custom shapes, free transform tool.

  1. Create a new document, 500x500px
  2. Select the custom shape tool with the "Flower 5" shape. Make sure 'Shape layers' is selected as shown:
  3. Create a shape by clicking and dragging from the top left corner of your image to the bottom right corner
  4. Select Free Transform from the top menu. Grab one of the corner handles that appears, hold down shift and alt and drag the handle out so the shape is about twice the size it was (holding shift will keep the shape's proportions the same, while alt will resize the shape from it's center)
  5. Select the 'Direct select' tool from the tools palette. Click and drag with this tool to make a square roughly the size of the square below - this will select the inner points of the "flower". Now go to 'Edit > Free transform points', then grab a corner handle and drag it to the center of the image (hold down shift and alt again while dragging).

    Now all the points you selected should be in the center, and your image should look like this
  6. Using the 'crop tool', click and drag a rectangle to select the top half of the image and hit enter to cut the image in half. And our sunburst is complete.
  7. Save your sunburst shape for future use by going to 'Edit > Define custom shape' Give your shape a name like "sunburst" and now it will be a custom shape that you can use in any image. So next time you need a sunburst, all you have to do is use the custom shape tool, select the "sunburst" shape, and drop it in to your images.


its so hard

its so hard

How to do it

It's simple. Just do how it's described and don't look to the examples! The 4 picture looks different by me.

i found out the problem with

i found out the problem with step 5.

"Click and drag with this tool to make a square roughly the size of the square below" the wording here is just poor. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) [Sub of path selection tool mouse arrow on palette]. Only make the square as big as your white picture to highlight the inner points. Don't make select the outer points of the flower too. Problem solved wooo.

the cropping won't work

It is impossible to get it cropped. I mean, the outerpart of the flower remains. So when I save it as a custom shape, it is NOT a sunburst, but the whole thing. I must be doing something terribly wrong, I know. But I tried everything. Googled for hours to find how to go about it, so now I return and ask for your help. THANKS for listening and helping me out


Thanks for your tute. Very useful and well made.

Finding shape

Okay - I was able to follow your steps and complet the sunburst, however - how do I find it when I'm ready to use it?
Can you give step by step directions - I am choosing custom shapes, but I dont' see it.


Thanks alot, very useful

Thanks alot, very useful

Step 5?

Where is the direct select tool? thanks =]

(oh and email me if you have the answer. thanks =])

how to pass step five

1. make the flower the size of your box 500x500
2. make the flower x2 the size of your box via the instructions
3. when you get to step 5, make sure the direct selection you make is smaller than the size of the entire flower
4. you should be good.

Problem With Step 5 How to

Problem With Step 5

How to select all point to transtform?

Explain it to me please!

Thank you!

Excellent! This helped me very much.


Thanks, this really helped. It was a good tutorial and simple to follow i spent less then 10 minutes learning this and im very satisfied with the result. Once again, thanks alot :D

Never knew how to do this!

Thanks soo much for sharing!!! I always drew them as seperate vectors - this is way betta

When you do the part with

When you do the part with the Direct Selection tool, I had a problem too, but I realized that to see the corners, you need to zoom out. I did that and then you are able to select the corners. Hope this helps anyone who is ripping their hair out trying to figure it out :)


thanks for such a nice tip.

Problem With Step 5

I find that your instructions are a little confusing for this step (5) and I believe that is what is causing people some problems. I think people might be trying to grab a corner of the flower instead of grabbing a corner of the free transform box that surrounds the entire flower after selecting 'Edit > Free transform points'. Saying to "grab a corner handle" is confusing considering the many corners and handles there are.

Other than that, good tutorial.

Great Tutorial!

Wow, you just saved me ALOT of time. I used to make this manually with the pen tool. This is sooo much easier! Thank you for sharing!

Oops, I realized that I left

Oops, I realized that I left an important part out for step 2. It has been updated now.

You need to be sure that you're using 'Shape layers' when you draw the flower shape. If not, you will not be able to select the points of the flower.

That should take care of your problem, Farha.

Hey! Thanks a million! I

Thanks a million! I thought I was missing out something somewhere.

Excellent tutorial!


Doesn't work...?!

cant get direct points

Hi, great tutorial.
Quick question though.. I cant get past step 5. I've got the direct selection tool, created a rectangular shape inside..but no points appear at all.

Moving points to the centre

I'm new to photoshop and would like to use it more but i can't seem to get the points to the centre. I can get it to look like number 5 but when i go to drag the points to the centre the whole flower drags across and makes it out of shape. Does anyone know what i am doing wrong? It's doing my brain in!!! Any help appreciated


Make sure you are holding

Make sure you are holding shift+alt while dragging the corner handle in. Grab the handle, start dragging it, then hold down shift+alt (while still holding the mouse button down) and keep dragging to the center. Sounds like that might be the problem.

Thank you :-)

This is a clever, fast and very helpful trick for getting vector sun-beams. Thanks so much for sharing!

This should work in Illustrator as well

Some of the mac users may find that on step 5 you need to hold down (shift + option & drag) to gain this effect correctly. That should fix most of the issues above. Thanks.

This should work in Illustrator as well, with a few miner changes!!!



I can't replicate the

I can't replicate the problem, so I don't know what's causing it. If you'd like, you can send your PSD to info at slicktutorials dot com and I'll take a look at it. Anyone else know what's going on here?

When I try to save the shape

When I try to save the shape I don't get a sunburst I just get a different flower. How do I fix this?

That is your sunburst shape

That is your sunburst shape - it's just not cut in half like in the last step.

If you do need the half sunburst shape:

Using the direct selection tool, you can select all of the outer points on the bottom half and delete them (just hit 'delete'). Then click the left outer point and two handles should appear. Grab the lower handle and drag it up to the left outer point. Then repeat the process for the right outer handle.

I thought a full sunburst would be more useful and easier, so I left that part out. Sorry, it was my first tutorial. They get better as I go :).

Try pressin Ctrl, T

Try pressin Ctrl, T

I've got a problem

When i attempted to do this on my Photoshop (7), I got to the 'Free transform points' bit, but i couldnt find this is my menu. The closest to it was 'Free transform Path'. Is this because i have an earlier version?

probably not

I don't think this is a version problem. My guess is that you're not selecting only the inner points of the flower shape. What you want to do is drag a selection rectangle around only the inner points of the shape. Be sure that you are using the 'Direct Selection Tool' and not the 'Path Selection Tool' (the direct selection tool is a white filled arrow, while the path selection tool is a black filled arrow). If you only have some points selected, the menu option will be 'Free transform points'. If you have all of the points selected, the menu option will change to 'Free transform Path' (which you do not want for this tutorial). Send me an email here if that doesn't help.

Very clever way to do this

Very clever way to do this without filters.

Subscribe & Share

Bookmark and Share