How to make light in Photoshop — 5 ways | Lesson | Photo, video, optics


Do you make complex collages by creating your worlds from scratch? Want to spice up your photo a bit by adding magic or sun flare to your scene? For example, to enhance the feeling of comfort and warmth from the setting sun in a portrait with the help of highlights? In any of these situations, you will need light.

If you didn’t manage to catch the desired beam or forgot to turn on the light bulb in the frame, it doesn’t matter. We share five ways to add light in Photoshop.

The light in a photograph or in a collage draws the viewer’s eye and makes them look at the image / Collage: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert

Brush in Photoshop

Light for Photoshop is not a problem. One obvious way is to take Brush. This is one of the basic and simplest tools in terms of how it works, but this is exactly what gives almost limitless possibilities in retouching. We share two ways how to paint light in Photoshop with brushes.

Read also:

Photoshop for beginners: all about the Brush

brushes of light

Don’t want to draw rays or highlights by hand? Then just download Light Brushes for Photoshop! To do this, it is enough to enter any query in the spirit of “brush light” into the search engines. Even such a simple set of words gives out dozens of sites where you can download any set for free. If you don’t want to go through dozens of options, then specify what you need: rays, glare, flare, or maybe the light falling down from the lanterns?

How to install a brush in Photoshop

1. Download the archive with brushes from the site. Unpack it.

2. Open Photoshop and select a tool Brush in the tool palette on the left.

Click on the drop-down list, and in it — on the gear icon. Then select from the list Import Brushes / Import Brushes / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

3. Find the unzipped folder from step 1. Double-click the left mouse button on the file with the .abr extension.

4. Done! The brushes will load into Photoshop in a separate folder.

Read also:

How to install brushes, gradients, fonts and actions in Photoshop

What you need to know when working with light brushes:

– Create a separate empty layer on which you will add highlights. To do this, in the palette Layers click on the square icon with a plus in the center.

— Set the layer to blend mode Screen.

– Adjust the size of the light brush to match the size of the light source. To do this, use the hotkeys [ и ].

Rotate the brush using the left and right arrows on your keyboard, or using the drop-down box in the brush menu. In the frame on the right — the glow of lanterns, completed in a couple of seconds with brushes / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

If none of the options offered on the Internet suits you, you can make a brush of any shape yourself!

Read also:

How to make your own brush in Photoshop

Paint Light in Photoshop

You can manually add light to a photo or collage. This is technically the easiest option as you only need two things: a regular round brush and an empty layer in blend mode Screenon which you will draw the light.

Then it all depends on your skill. For example, if you are adding a backlight, it is important to understand from which side it shines on the object. For a believable and high-quality result, you need the following: learn to draw, practice, look at the work of other collagists and artists, and also study real photographs in order to be aware of how different light falls on different objects.

Collage before and after hand-drawn backlight / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

light texture

Often in photography, especially if you do not plan to create a complex fantasy collage, you can get by with the texture of light. A light texture is a picture or photograph that shows only a highlight, beam, or flare. They can be either color or black and white. The most important rule of good texture is that the light should be bright and placed against a dark or black background.

Examples of light textures collected for free from the Internet / Collage: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert

How to apply light texture:

  • Download a picture with a texture of light from the Internet. To do this, type in the search engine «light texture» or «light texture».
  • Drag the image with the downloaded texture onto the photo already open in Photoshop.
Three textures put together create the effect of a lantern glow / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

3. The texture will appear in the frame. Move it where you want, stretch or reduce to the desired size. Apply the transformation by pressing Enter.

Set the texture’s blending mode to Screen. If necessary, reduce the opacity of the layer / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

Light in .png

A subspecies of light textures is images of rays or highlights on an empty background in the .PNG extension. This is a format that allows you to make figured images — in the form of a circle, a triangle, a fire flame, a tree crown or, as in this case, a spot of light.

Light in PNG format has pros and cons:

+ no need to cut and change the blending mode — just transfer the picture downloaded from the Internet;

+ many sites with free png files;

— to find a picture in a suitable quality, you have to go through many options;

— .png authors can cut the shape poorly — torn edges will be visible, or the beam itself will look like it was chopped off with scissors.

A high-quality light texture in .png does not need to be improved — transfer it to your photo or collage, place it in the right place and you’re done / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert

Camera Raw

Photoshop has a built-in Raw file converter — Adobe Camera Raw or ACR for short. It allows you to «develop» pictures and prepare them for further processing or publication. It is on his principle that Lightroom was created. In this context, it is interesting because it allows you to quickly create the effect of an object glowing. For example, «light» the light or create the effect of a magical glow of the eye. We tell you how to do it.

  • Open a photo in ACR.

If you have a raw file, just drag it onto the open Photoshop window — the program will go into the converter itself.

If you are working with a JPEG image, then:

— open it in Photoshop;

— make a copy of the source. To do this, right-click on the layer background in the palette Layerss and select Create a duplicate layer / Duplicate Layer.

Left click on the created copy of the layer to select it and go to Filter / Filter — Camera Raw Filter / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

2. In the window that opens, on the panel on the right, click on the icon Masking and choose Radial gradient / Radial Gradient.

Create a circle in the area you want to highlight. To do this, stretch it with the left mouse button / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

3. To create a glow effect, move the sliders to the right Exposure and Whites.

If you want to change the color of the light and its saturation, tone it using the sliders Temperature / Temp, Hue / Tint and Saturation / Saturation / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Photostore.Expert


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