photoshop creative

Add creative lighting effects in nine steps

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
August 4, 2015

Use creative lighting effects to add a touch of magic to your portraits and make images pop off the page


1. Add texture


Open your start image and add paint splatter brushes like the one in this image. You can find some online on the FileSilo; move into position and set the blend mode to Multiply. Repeat this with more paint splatters and add a nebula image. Set this nebula to Colour Dodge.

2. Mask out the subject


Duplicate the start image and move it to the top. Select the subject with the Quick Selection tool. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>reveal Selection, then to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation, with Saturation at -100.

3. Add more texture


Select another nebula image, resize and position the layer at the centre of the image. Pick the subject’s layer mask (Cmd/Ctrl+click). Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide Selection, using a soft brush to mask out the edges.

4. Continue with textures


Add another nebula. Resize and position this layer at the top-right, set the blend mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and the Fill to 50%. Repeat this for yet another nebula layer, positioning it to the lower-left.

5. Ignite some sparks


Add some sparks to the image now to create an incendiary effect. Resize and position this layer to the left, set the blend mode to Screen and Fill to 60%. Repeat this for another sparks layer and place in the bottom-right corner. Again, mask out the edges.

6. Set off the fireworks


Insert a fireworks stock image. Resize and position this layer to the bottom of the image. duplicate the layer and move it to the composition too. Set the blend modes to Screen, and gently mask out the subject.

7. Include some brushes


Create a new layer and set the blend mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and use the Brush tool to paint in some dots along the subject using different sizes. Use colours of your choice. The colours used in this tutorial are picked directly from the image using the Colour Picker function.

8. Change the colour


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to +30. Go to Layer>Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. Click on the gradient to edit. Use a colour of #3a7a90 for the right left and a colour of #fca0a1 for the right. Set the blend mode to Hard Light.

9. Add a vignette


Create a new layer and name it ‘Vignette’. In the mode box, select Soft Light and tick the box to fill the layer with 50% grey. go to Filter>Lens Correction. Click the Custom tab and enter a vignette amount of -100 and a midpoint of 25, then click OK.

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