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Lighting Effects in Photoshop

10Steps.SG Photo Editing Dec 23, 2009


We will need a nice model image and some vector curves.

There are plenty to be found at Vecteezy and here is where I got mine.

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image 1

Step 1 - Setting Up Background:

Create a document of size 750 by 550px.

Set your foreground color to #505050 and background color to #000000.

Drag a Radial Gradient at the position shown in the diagram.

image 2

Step 2 - Cropping the Model:

Crop out the model with Pen tool. You can check out this tutorial to find out how. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels to tone it darker.

Open up the vector curves you downloaded from Vecteezy in Illustrator. Select the curves and press Ctrl+C. Switch back to Photoshop and press Ctrl-V. Select Paste As Smart Object.

Position the curves as shown on the left.

image 3

Step 3 - Glowing Curves:

Duplicate the vector curves layer. Right-click on this new layer and choose Rasterize.

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with 2px. Set the Blending Mode for this layer to Color Dodge.

With Soft Eraser tool of 300px, erase those parts that are further away from the model.

image 4

Step 4 - Adding Color Light:

Create a new layer between the curves and the model.

Make a circular selection with Elliptical Marquee tool at the center. Go to Select > Modify > Feather with 30px.

Fill this selection with #D200FF. Change the Blending Mode to Screen and opacity to 40%.

image 5

Step 5 - Adding More Lights:

Using the same method in Step 4, create 2 more colored lights above the model layer.

The colors used are #F6FF00 and #00A2FF. Change the Blending Mode for these two layers to Overlay and opacity to 60%.

image 6

Step 6 - Creating Smoke:

Create a new layer below the model and draw a large rectangle with color #FFFFFF.

Go to Filter > Liquify. Using the Forward Warp tool with size 300px, push the white rectangle any way you like to form a wavy look.

image 7

Step 7 - Glowing Smoke:

Select the Smudge tool with size 200px, smudge the white wave earlier around the model. You can pull and push the waves around in any manner.

You can start to see nice glow of colors blending around the blurred edges.

image 8

Step 8 - Adding Point Lights:

Create a new layer on top of the rest.

Select a Soft Brush tool with #FFFFFF. Paint some white dots of various sizes along the edge of the model.

image 9

Step 9 - Stroking Paths:

Create another new layer on top. Use the Pen tool and make one or two paths similar to the one I had in the diagram.

Set the foreground color to #FFFFFF. Select the Brush tool and reduce the size to 3px. Right-click on the path(s) you drawn and choose Stroke Path.

Check on Simulate Pressure then OK.

image 10

Step 10 - Glowing Lines:

Right-click on the lines layer and choose Blending Options > Outer Glow. Set the Blend Mode to Linear Dodge (Add), Size to 6px and Color to #00D2FF. The rest leave as default.

Lighting Effects in Photoshop
Click to enlarge


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