Create a glowing superhero in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn how to turn an ordinary illustration into a retro-futuristic artwork. The lesson will use the selection tools, the tool Pen (Pen Tool) to create various shapes, as well as adjustment layers and layer styles to create glow effects and filter Motion blur (Motion blur) to give the effect of dynamics.
Adjustment layers and layer masks leave us the ability to edit without the slightest risk to the original image. Having studied them, you will use these skills in your other works. The effects that will be used in this lesson, you can also emphasize your other projects and compositions.

Final image:

Materials for the lesson:

Note: In some steps, the author did not specify the settings that he used for adjustment layers, layer styles, so you will have to experiment with the settings.

Step 1. Open the file in Photoshop illus.psd, which is in the downloaded archive. This file has three base layers: ‘linework’, ‘ground’, and ‘figure’. Make the ‘ground’ layer inactive until we work with it.

Step 2. Create a new layer and fill it with black. Place this layer in the layers palette below the two active layers.

Step 3. Now let’s do the painting process. To do this, make the layer active. ‘Figure’ and go to the menu Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient map). Add a clipping mask (Clipping mask) to layer Gradient map (Gradient map) by pressing the key combination Cmd / Ctrl + Alt + G.

Step 4. Now we can start applying various lighting effects to emphasize certain parts. Select layer ‘Linework’ and at the bottom of the layers palette, click Add layer style (Add a Layer Style). Select options Color overlay (Color Overlay) and External glow (Outer Glow). Select the settings for these options and achieve the result as in the screenshot below.

Step 5. Now add Layer mask (Layer Mask) to layer ‘Linework’. Choose a tool Brush (Brush) and use black and white to hide and reveal glowing lines in different areas of the illustration. You can control the brush settings by adjusting it. Opacity (Opacity) and parameters Push (Flow).

Step 6. Duplicate layer ‘Linework’ (Ctrl + J) several times and repeat steps 4 and 5 to achieve a similar effect as in the screenshot below.

Step 7. Now we will emphasize the effects of lighting, adding more contrast in certain places. Add flashes of light that you can create with soft brushes, and also use the option Internal glow (Inner Glow) in layer styles on a ‘figure’ layer.

Step 8. Create an adjustment layer Levels (Levels) above layer ‘Figure’ and add to it clipping mask (Clipping mask) by pressing the key combination Ctrl + Alt + G. In the settings window of the adjustment layer, set Output values (output) for the white slider 150. Using the mask of this adjustment layer, erase certain areas as shown in the screenshot, thereby freeing them from the applied correction. This method will give the figure a dramatic lighting and more contrast.

Step 9. Now we will add some superhero bands to give a sense of movement at high speed. To create these horizontal stripes, use the tools. Allotment (Marquee Tool) or tool Pen (Pen Tool).

Step 10. For processing horizontal stripes, use different layer styles, including Color overlay (Color Overlay), External glow (Outer Glow) and Internal glow (Inner Glow). Also process (erase the excess) these strips on masked layer, so that they are approximately as shown in the screenshot.

Step 11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 for the second and third groups of stripes, giving them different colors. In this way, you create the effect of high-speed movement.

Step 12. To add more dynamics we will work on the background. Create a new layer above the background layer, fill it with black color and go to the menu Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Set the value Effect (Amount) by 20%, turn on the option According to Gauss (Gaussian) and activate the setting Monochrome (Monochromatic).
Now press the key combination Ctrl + L , to bring up the settings dialog Levels (Levels). Put such input values(Input) – 0, 0.4, 180. If you need to add more noise and adjust the layer with levels, until you achieve the result as in the screenshot.

Step 13. Duplicate the noise layer and set the copy overlay mode. Light replacement (Lighten) Now go to the menu Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur). Set these settings: Angle (Angle) value 0, Bias (Distance) 30 pix. call the dialog again Leveland (Levels) Ctrl + L and set the following input values: 0, 8, 90 to make the effect more visible.

Step 14. To focus in the center of the composition, add a color spot. Create a new layer in the menu. Layers – New Shading Layer – Gradient (Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient) and select for it radial style (Radial style). Make sure that this layer is between the layers with the noise and the layers with the figure of the hero and movement. To color a layer with noise that we blur in motion, you can use an adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map).

Step 15. Make the layer visible ‘Ground’ and repeat the previous steps to add color, lighting and motion effects to it, as we did before.

To complete the work add a rainbow circle, again using the layer in the menu LayersNewlayerfillGradient (Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient). In the settings, set the radial gradient and select the appropriate rainbow gradient. You can also add even more color effects, as you did in step 14, creating a color spot.

Here you can see the result in a larger size.

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