photoshop creative
Sep
17

How can I create dramatic shafts of light in photos?

Posted in:
Q&A, by Mark White
September 17, 2015

Awe-inspiring rays of light from the sky occur when a heavy cloud cover lets in a small crevice of sunlight. The light can be seen streaking down through the clouds in a dramatic spotlight-esque fashion. To simulate this you need to start with a photograph that already contains a sky with heavy clouds. Create a selection around an area of cloud that contains a bright spot. Duplicate this selection into a new layer, then go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color to turn the layer to Grayscale.
Use a Levels enhancement to drastically increase the contrast and …

final

Awe-inspiring rays of light from the sky occur when a heavy cloud cover lets in a small crevice of sunlight. The light can be seen streaking down through the clouds in a dramatic spotlight-esque fashion. To simulate this you need to start with a photograph that already contains a sky with heavy clouds. Create a selection around an area of cloud that contains a bright spot. Duplicate this selection into a new layer, then go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color to turn the layer to Grayscale.

Use a Levels enhancement to drastically increase the contrast and set the layer’s blending mode to Screen. Then go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur and set the Method to Zoom and the Amount to 100. Adjust the blur center to be off the top of the grid. It may be necessary to run this filter multiple times and transform the layer, in order to get elongated rays of light.