Create brushes with rays of light in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn about the simple technique of creating brushes Rays of Light. To do this, we use different filters, as well as color correction.

These brushes are unique if you want to enhance the existing light in the photos or add special effects to your picture or photo manipulation.

I will show you how to create two basic brushes, on the basis of which, you can create many other brushes by changing their settings. So let’s get started!

1. We are preparing the basis for the sun’s rays.

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop. Install Width (Width) and Height (Height) by 5000 px, Resolution (Resolution) at 72. Press ‘OK’.

Step 2

Choose a tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G)). Set the fill color to black. Fill the layer with Background (Background) in black.

Create a new layer, name the new layer. Sun rays (SUN RAYS).

Step 3

Choose a tool Oval area (Elliptical Marquee Tool (M)). Create a selection in the center of the image.

Next, go Allotment – Modification – Feathering(Select> Modify> Feather Selection). Install Radius feathering(Feather Radius) at 200 px. Click ‘OK’.

Step 4

Set the foreground color to white and the background color to black.

Make sure layer Sun rays (SUN RAYS) was active, just click on it. Next, go Filter – Rendering – Clouds (Filter> Render> Clouds).

Cancel active selection, for this we go Selection – Deselect Selection (Edit> Deselect).

2. Create the Sun Rays

To create the sun’s rays, we need to blur the clouds that we created by rendering in the previous step. There are many variations of light rays that you can create, but in this tutorial I will show you how to create two basic brushes.

Step 1

Right click on the layer Sun rays (SUN RAYS) and in the window that appears, select the option Duplicate layer (Duplicate layer). Name the duplicate layer Sun rays 1 (SUN RAYS 1).

Turn off layer visibility Sun rays (SUN RAYS), for this click on the eye to the left of the layer thumbnail.

Click on the layer Sun rays 1 (SUN RAYS 1). Next, go Filter – Blur – Radial Blur (Filter> Blur> Radial Blur). Set the settings that are shown in the screenshot below. Install Power (Amount) at 99, and also select Blur method (Blur Method) Linear (Zoom). Displace Centre blur (Blur Center) in the upper left corner.

After setting the filter, press the ‘OK’ button. You can see the result in the screenshot below.

Step 2

To make the sun’s rays more visible, let’s go Image – Correction – Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels). Install Input values (Input Levels) 25; 0.65; 205. Click ‘OK’.

Step 3

To add detail to the beams, we will slightly increase the sharpness in this step. Let’s go Filter – Sharpness – Contour Sharpness (Filter> Sharpen> Unsharp Mask). Install Effect (Amount) by 1%, and Radius (Radius) at 180 px. Click ‘OK’.

This is the base for your first brush. Turn off the visibility of this layer, to do this, click on the eye to the left of the layer thumbnail, so you can focus on creating another brush.

Step 4

Right click on the layer Sun rays (SUN RAYS) and in the window that appears, select the option Duplicate layer (Duplicate layer). Name the duplicate layer Sun rays 2 (SUN RAYS 2).

Step 5

Next, go Filter – Blur – Radial Blur (Filter> Blur> Radial Blur). Install Power (Amount) at 99, and also select Blur method (Blur Method) Linear (Zoom). Displace blur center (Blur Center) in the upper center of the image.

Click the ‘OK’ button. To make the effect more visible, press the keys (Ctrl + F) to repeat the filter action.

Step 6

To make the sun’s rays a little narrow, let’s go Editing – Free Transformation (Edit> Free Transform). Apply the transformation as shown in the screenshot below.

Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.

3. Create Brushes

So, we created forms for our brushes. Now we need to create brushes out of them. I’ll show you how to create the first brush. To create a second brush – the process is absolutely the same.

Step 1

Turn on layer visibility Sun rays 1 (SUN RAYS 1), and for layers Sun rays (SUN RAYS) and Sun rays 2 (SUN RAYS 2) disable visibility.

Now we need to invert the colors to get the appropriate brush shape. Add adjustment layer Inversion (Invert) on top of all other layers.

Next, go Selection – All (Select> All) to select the entire image. Then we go Editing – Copy merged data (Edit> Copy Merged) to copy the selected image, and Editing – Paste (Edit> Paste) to paste the copied image.

Step 2

Next, go Editing – Define a brush (Edit> Define Brush Preset). Give the name of the brush Sun rays 1 (Sun Rays 1).

Step 3

Do the same with the layer Sun rays 2 (SUN RAYS 2) to create a second brush.

4. We test the created Brushes

To create additional brushes based on these two basic brushes, you can increase or decrease contrast, sharpness, make them wider or narrower with the tool Free transformation (Free Transform Tool), or set the blur in different directions. Everything will depend on you, what effect you prefer to create.

Before testing, let me give you a few tips on how to achieve the most realistic results using the brushes created:

  1. Learn how the light actually acts, reproduce this light in your works. You can preview the photo to see the real sun rays.
  2. Avoid using pure white when adding light rays. Thus, the picture will not look realistic. Instead, try using light yellow or light orange shades.
  3. Use low opacity brushes to get the most realistic results.
  4. Do not forget about the direction of light. Rays of light should have the same direction.
  5. If you want to apply brushes on your photos, just try to enhance the light that is already on the photo.

Let’s see how the brush works. Sun rays 1 (Sun Rays 1).

In the photo below, you can see how the brush works. Sun rays 2 (Sun Rays 2).

Great job, we have completed the lesson!

In this lesson, you learned how to create Rays of Light brushes. You can use them to enhance the light in your photos or, using the brush data, create a new light source. To get the most realistic light, I recommend that you investigate how natural light acts, and also use a low opacity brush.

I hope you enjoyed working with these brushes!

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