Lighting Effect Tutorial
We’ve all had to add lighting effects to a photo, whether it’s creating a new light source or tweaking shadows. With lots of options, sometimes we just need a stylized, off-the-chart effect that grabs attention for a brochure printing orposter printing ad. This tutorial walks you through how to add a classy lighting effect that’s sure to make your work jump off the screen or page.
1. Start with your image to which you want to add the light source. For this tutorial, we’re using a standard city-scape scene:
2. Start with a new layer. Use a soft brush to paint some soft pink (ff00e4) across the canvas where your light will be shining. In the image below, you can see that we’ve added the pink to the entire sky as well as small sections of the buildings.
3. In your Layers window, change the blend mode to Color with an opacity of 25%.
4. Duplicate your background layer, move it to the top, and go to Filter -> Stylize -> Glowing Edges and make the following changes:
5. Change the blending mode for this layer to “Screen” and go to Filter -> Blur -> Radial Blur and apply the following settings. Make sure you move the Blur Center to the location of your image from which you want your light source to come.
6. To make the effect more “light-like,” go to Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation, check the Colorize box, and tweak away with the sliders until you get the look you want.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 several times to taste. Be sure to change the Radial Blur location and size a little each time to give yourself a different pattern of light waves.
8. Let there be light! Grab a soft brush, make it whatever size you need for your light source, and paint away.
9. Right (Cmd) – click the new layer and select your Blending options. Add an Outer Glow with the following settings as a starting point.
10. Grab your Smudge Tool, tweak the settings, and add some streaks to your light source. Be gentle! Want a more dramatic effect? Just duplicate your light source layer.
11. Now, at this point you can reach for some swirly brushes or use a simple font trick. Using a script-based font, find some letters with some swirls, twist and turn them as needed, and push them into the middle of your light source.
12. Regardless of your method for creating swirls, make the color white and create a single layer when complete. If using text to create swirls, you will need to select each text layer (hold down Shift while clicking on each layer), right-click on the selected layers, and choose Rasterize. Then you can right-click on the selected layers again and choose to merge them into a single layer.
13. Now, just tweak your layer styles to add an Outer Glow with the following settings. Tweak to taste:
Your final product should look something like the image below. Using swirl brushes instead of fonts can create some striking effects to further enhance your image:
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