photoshop creative

Create exploding photo effects (part 2)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
May 24, 2015

Part 2 of our beautiful exploding lightbulb tutorial!

10. Continuity counts

Target the Bulb/hand layer and clip a Levels adjustment. Change the input midpoint to 0.63 and the whitepoint to 233. Both your light bulbs should now blend seamlessly and their colour and tonal range match much better.

11. Linear gradients

Place a new layer above the Background and label it Grad. With your Foreground colour black, set the Gradient tool to the Foreground to Transparent preset and select Linear in the Options bar. Now press Shift and drag from the top and bottom.

12. New layer via copy

Shift-click the Hand/bulb mask thumbnail to disable it then use the Polygonal Lasso to select the top-right portion. Hit Shift+F6 to access the Feather window and enter 2px. Now press Ctrl/Cmd+J to copy as a new layer and name it Bulb top. Move this layer to the top of the stack then enable the Hand/bulb mask again.

13. Add style

Mask any excess on the Bulb top layer, then add a Bevel and Emboss layer style to give the glass a little thickness with Style set to Inner Bevel, Technique to Chisel Hard, Depth to 100%, Direction Down, Size 3px and Soften 6px. Click the New Style button to save the preset, then apply it to the Bulb Shatter layer too.

14. Blow your fuse

Now we’ll add the exploding filament effects. Either download exploding spark images, or use a brush to create the effect (with the layer style set with a glow for this effect). Place your explosion below the Bulb Shatter layer, change the mode to Screen to render the black pixels invisible and label it Flash 1. Enlarge and rotate so the light trails emit from the impact. Add a mask, then hit Ctrl/Cmd+I to invert to negative. Now reveal the inner area using a large white soft brush.

15. Light fantastic

Duplicate the Flash 1 layer and name it Flash 2, rotate, reposition, stretch beyond the canvas to follow the path of destruction cased by the speeding bullet. You’ll now need to refill the layer mask with black and paint with white to reinstate the light trails.

16. Turn up the heat

To build up the explosion we’ll need more smoke and flame photos. Add one above the previous layer in Screen mode and label it Flash 3. Position it top left within the bulb, then Transform and mask. Place another centrally within the bulb, again in Screen mode. Name this layer Flash 4, rotate, resize and mask.

17. Glowing particles

Now we’ll reproduce some glowing particles caused by the black. Import a firework stock image, again in Screen mode, but this time place it above the Bulb top layer and position top left. Add an inverted mask, then reinstate the central area with a large soft brush as before. Name this layer Flash 5.

18. Glass fragments

Now incorporate elements of a fragmented glass picture. Place it as an upper layer and enlarge to cover the whole canvas with a blend mode of Screen and Opacity at 85%. Add a mask and hide the bottom half with a black to transparent linear gradient, then continue to paint on the mask as required. Clip a Levels adjustment with the Input midpoint at 0.52 and whitepoint at 206.

19. Colour boost

Add a top layer in Colour Mode, then paint with a soft brush at a low opacity with pastel yellows and purples to intensify the colour a little. Concentrate your strokes over the main explosion and, if you over do it, reduce the layer’s opacity to compensate. Finally, add some white glass particles on another layer with custom brushes.

  • This is really creative photo effect.I’ll try to do it.

  • How much amazing!! very professional and creative work. Great job, thanks for sharing your technique with us. Please keep it continue for help us.

  • donna31

    This is incredible! Could you also make some guide to photo effects using PaintShop? I started learning from PaintShop using these tutorials so I am kinda used to it, and I think it’s easier then Photoshop, so if you could sometime add PaintShop tutorials I would gladly watch them! 🙂