Create amazing lighting effects

Many designers use lighting effects to create some stunning images used in their designs or artwork. While the effects may look extremely complex and difficult to achieve they can be created quite easily in Photoshop. This tutorial will show you how to create some fantastic lighting effects of your own.

As always there is a PSD at the end of the post if you get stuck.


First grab a free stock photo from SXC.hu, I choose this one: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/924210
And also download my brush set here.
If you’re not sure how to load brushes in Photoshop, have a quick look on Google :)


Start by making a new layer, fill the canvas with the paint bucket tool using black. Apply a gradient layer style using the following settings. Make sure to set one end of the gradient transparent. (this is to define the light source).


Use a hue saturation adjustment layer on the photo with the following settings:


Create a new layer and select colour dodge as the layer blend mode, select the brush tool and select a soft round 300 brush. Open the colour picker and type ffaee8 as the colour hex ref. Click to paint a spot.


Select the eclipse tool, and make sure paths is selected at the top of the screen, draw an oval shape.


Duplicate the path a few times and rotate each individual oval till you get what looks like an atom.


If you haven’t already imported the brushes mentioned at the beginning of the tutorial import them now. Create a new layer, select the brush tool go to the brushes palette and select the Dust brush. Select the pen tool right click the paths, click stroke path. Make sure brush is selected and simulate pressure checked then click ok. Finally go to layer styles and add a subtle white outer glow.


Duplicate the layer and do edit -> transform -> flip vertical so it looks like a complete atom not just half of one.
Select the pen tool and draw a path in the shape of an arc.


Create a new layer, right click the path and using the same method as step 6 stroke the path with the stars brush.


Duplicate the layer a few times, edit -> transform -> flip vertical, change a couple of the colours and you should have something looking roughly like the following.


Draw another path, stroke it using Dust 9 brush.


Duplicate the layer flip vertical and rotate till you have a helix looking shape like so. You can colour it a different colour if you like.


Create a new layer, and stroke using the same path but with a default photoshop hard round brush 5.


Duplicate the layer a few times, edit -> transform -> flip vertical, and alter some of the sizes/opacity/rotation.
Create a new layer select the Bokeh 1 brush from the brushes palette, paint a few and add a white outer glow on the layer style. You should now have something similar to this:

Go back to the original photo add a colour balance adjustment layer with the following settings:


Create a new layer and select colour dodge as the layer blend mode, select a pale blue colour and paint over the eye with a small soft brush.


Create a new layer select the Bokeh 1 brush from the brushes palette, paint a few by the eye and add a pink outer glow on the layer style. You can choose to erase some as the example below using any large soft brush so it looks like the tears are disappearing.


Finally create another new layer select colour dodge choose a pale blue in the colour pallete and add a few more splashes of paint with any small soft brush. Reduce the opacity if necessary.


And we’re finished! :)

You may find I haven’t gone into every tiny detail on how to achieve some parts of the tutorial but I feel you should experiment and try things out. The PSD is available here. Above all else have fun! :)

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5 Responses to Create amazing lighting effects

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  2. bet365 says:

    hello!This was a really impressive topic!
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    Also I obtain much in your topic really thanks very much i will come later

    • Greg says:

      No problem glad you enjoyed it, there will be more tutorials every week. If you want you can follow us on twitter or facebook to be notified when the next one is :)

  3. Lisbeth Berdin says:

    Really nice post,thank you, best website ever

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