Create light effects in Photoshop

Today we will make interesting lighting effects that you can apply in your work.

Materials for the lesson:

Training. This lesson requires diligence, that is, it is not difficult in the technique of implementation, but you are required to have good taste, knowledge of colors and experience in creating shadows. The author does not recommend this lesson for beginners, as he lowers the basics, immediately moving to the main points. You will get an interesting experience that may be useful to you in the future. Before starting, the author explains how he came up with an idea for his work:

1. In the first image below, the concept art that I planned is drawn. This is the first idea that came to my mind: an energy ball with developing luminous lines surrounding it.

2. In the process of searching for images for work, I found a photo of a guy in a very interesting pose, and I thought that it was just suitable. And so I transferred a person to my work and imagined that he creates energy.

3. A start was made, and I set to work. In the process, it seemed to me that the picture lacked dynamics, so I decided to tilt the image.

4. In the end, when I had no idea how this ball could look, led to the fact that I rejected the idea with the ball, it seemed to me that it would be better to look like energy comes from the person himself.

And so you see that each project changes in the course of work, so before you begin this lesson, remember that you need to work so that it will be easy to change the concept later. Take your time, use your imagination.

Step 1. Before you start, you need to know that any work with lighting looks very impressive against a black background. The darker the background, the more contrasting the light. The author has created a document of size. 900×1100 pix, with black background.

Step 2. The first difficult part is finding the right image. Many people do not like to buy images on paid portals, but there is something in it: if you want good quality, then you have to pay for it. The author decided to use the paid site and chose this picture, you can find yourself an image to your taste and possibilities. Now that you have found the right material, you need to extract what you need to work. The big problem in cutting out the image is hair. If you look at the image below, you will see that the author has cut the man’s hair a little.

To separate the hair from the background, the author used Pen tool (P) (Pen tool). Since our background is black, you can mix black hair with a background to make it easier. To do this, use Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool), Medium tone mode, and darken slightly corners of the hair.

Step 3. In the layers palette, add two adjustment layers: Levels (Levels) and Gradient map (Gradient Map) for a better blend between human and background. The author used the gradient from black to white, and the blend mode of the adjustment layer changed the gradient map to Soft light (Soft light), then slightly opacity down.

Step 4. We now turn to the floor. Using Gradient tool (G) (Gradient tool) and a new layer draw a round gradient from white to transparent (you can see the action in the image below). Now you need to flatten this point, hold down Ctrl + T, then select from the context menu Distort (Distortion) (the following image below). Then you need to blur the point on the floor. Filter – Blur – Gaussian blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur), radius 40 pix. Then make a copy of the dotted layer, turn on the Free Transform mode again and drag out a duplicate, make a few more copies to complement the effect of the presence of the floor. If you do not like something, you can play with Opacity. But remember that the surface should not be very bright.

Step 5. If you look at the first image below, you can see that the author added a shadow under his feet. Create a light shadow, as if the person is standing on something. Use a black soft brush, Opacity 2%. Do not pinch the mouse button, but do mouse clicks, because you can ruin the shadow. Individual clicks will make it better. We now turn to the next image. Now it’s time to give dynamics to the image, turn on the Free Transform mode. Ctrl + T Before this, select all the layers in the Layers Palette. Then expand the image as you like.

Step 6. Move to the right side of the person along with the floor. Sometimes it is better not to place the main objects in the center. It looks more dynamic and original in the side. Once the object has taken its place, you can modify the shadow. If you look at a person, you can see that several light sources are falling on him at once (this is evident from his left hand). Therefore, the author added a soft shadow exclusively under the person, using the same method as when creating the shadow under his legs. Note that there is more shadow under them, as the legs are closest to the floor, that is, the farther the object is from the floor, the shade is duller.

Step 7. If you look at the image, you can see how some bright places stand out with the help of Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool) increase the shadow effect on the sneakers. Also darken your hand.

Step 8. It now remains to impose several color effects on the person. The author has added such adjustment layers as Curves (Curves) and Gradient map (Gradient Map) from purple to orange (found in the standard set). Then lower the Opacity of the Gradient Map layer to 25-30% and change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft light). Both adjustment layers will give the image a yellowish tint.

Step 9. Now the person looks as if he really is there. Now you can proceed to the light effects. The author has chosen to work this image. Drag the image into the main project on top of all layers, otherwise adjustment layers will apply their effects to the abstraction, and change the blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear Dodge). Via Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool), Midtone mode, darken some parts of the light beam (second image from below). Then take a hard Eraser Tool (E) (Tool “Eraser”) and remove the excess as shown in the third image, giving some lines rupture. Then add Image – Adjustments – Color Balance (Image – Correction – Color balance) and adjust this layer for the three main lines (blue, green and yellow). This can be done for each line separately, after cutting them into separate layers.

Step 10. Now you need your experience with color. Further, the same process will be repeated as in the previous step: create, erase, divide new lines and add colors.

Step 11. There are some more ways to add light lines. The author experimented with the placement of lines (the first image below). But it would be better if the lines are almost parallel to each other (the second image). The author added one green line as if crossing the space, this allowed to give depth to the image.

Step 12. On a new layer created below the light lines, use a soft white brush to draw bright spots in the specified places.

Step 13. The author added more lines emanating from different parts of the human body using the same techniques as before. Next, the author adds other details around the person. He added these brushes. You can find similarity or use your own. For the color of the brush, the author used blue. Then make a selection and compress the selection. Select – Modify – Contract (Selection – Modification – Compress) by 2 pixels. Press the button Delete. Place the resulting image near the blue line.

Step 14. Via Eraser tool (E) (Eraser tool) erase the left side. Switching between tools Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool) and Dodge tool (O) (Brightener tool) move along dark and light areas of the brush. Be careful if you overdo it, you ruin everything. This process, in the three images below, was shown to you for example, in the fourth image the original work of the author.

Step 15. Next, in the same way, make small pieces emanating from the head of a person and at her feet (image below). It is not necessary to use the same brushes. Pay attention to the second image below, the author indicated the place where the shadow of the small piece should be, that is, if you make them near the floor, then you will need to make a shadow from them.

Step 16. To add a semblance of a spark to the image, the author used a photograph of the sun, after cutting it out. Discolor the image and change the blending mode to LinearDodge (Linear brightener), also delete the unwanted areas around the sun with the eraser. Via Image – Adjustment – Levels (Image – Correction – Levels) add contrast. Via Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool), Midtone mode, select the rays. Then using Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and Color balance (Color balance) make the spark green, then give it a yellowish tint.

Step 17. Make the sun very small so that it looks like a simple luminous dot. Create multiple copies and distribute them to different places of the image, while changing colors. To change the color, use the same functions as in the previous step (Hue / Saturation (Color Hue / Saturation) and Color Balance).

Step 18. To make the effect of smoke, the author used the image of the clouds. Open and immediately discolor it. As before using Levels (Levels) add contrast, and use the Eraser to remove the extra parts. And finally, use the Dimmer tool to darken some areas.

Step 19. Drag the clouds into the main image, change the blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear clarifier), then unfold them according to the position of the person (as in the image below).

Step 20. The picture is ready, but the lines of light still do not look very natural, they should bend around a person. Click Ctrl + A, Ctrl + Shift + C, Ctrl + V, these combinations will create a copy of the entire image on a separate layer, placing it at the very top of the Layers Palette. Use the following filter Filter – Liquify (Filter – Plastic), and with Forward warp tool (Tool “Warp”) stretch the lines in those places where the author indicates.

Step 21 In the end, you can add a little more realism – a reflection of light on a person. In the image below, the author with colored (in accordance with the color of the reflection) arrows indicated the necessary places. That is, the first orange arrow shows that the light of orange color should fall on the shirt. To do this, create a new layer, set the blending mode to Color (Chromaticity) (Soft light (Soft light) is also suitable in some cases), and using a very soft brush with the appropriate color, give a reflection of light.

Now you can make an interesting effect without resorting to complex filters. Thanks for attention. The goal of the lesson was to show you a new effect in photo processing, approach your work creatively, and look for new ways to develop your capabilities. You can see the finished image in real format here.

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