GLOW GLOW GLOW!This tutorial will discuss how to create fantastic lighting effects to really make your image pop! So, here's a work in progress.... a basic steel ball satellite, floating in in the dark void of space.
It's nice enough, because the source image is already a good match. I've already matched the colour tones and shadows to my satisfaction. It's got a mask in place around it and is ready to be worked on. However, it looks flat and dull so here's how to use Photoshop's Brush Blend Modes and Pen Tips to make it look a little more special!
BRUSH BLEND MODESPhotoshop has hundreds of brushes ready to use, and there are countless free ones you can pick up on the internet. I'm going to stick to the default airbrush for the most part here, but remember it's always good to experiment yourself.
.Beside the pull down menu for the brushes is another menu - the 'MODE' menu. Notice that when you click on the arrow you get the same selection of modes that apply to Layer Adjustments. All this means, for our purposes, is that when we select a mode other than 'normal' we can paint locally with whatever Mode is active in that window at the time.What I want to do for the satellite is add matching specular highlights which pick up source light from the background nebula and make them glow on the hull of the satellite.
LINEAR DODGE (ADD) MODESelecting a soft edged brush with a broad tip of around 250 - 300 size, I reduce the brush opacity to 30%, the flow to 30% highlight the airbrush option. This means that holding the mouse button down will act like the paintbrush is 'spraying' constantly for as long as the button is held.Next, I select 'Linear Dodge (Add)' mode. When in use, this mode will build layers of selected colour up every time it is used until it reaches a maxium white. It's brilliant for glows - the idea here is to gently build up the surrounding colour and make it shine on the hull. I sample a nearby colour (the magenta from the nebula) and start gently painting over the edge of the satellite.
ABOVE: The original is on the right for comparison.Every time you let go of the mouse button, then start again, the Linear Dodge glow begins to build cumulatively until it oversaturates to pure white. The new satellite on the left looks much more reflective as a result.[Edited by User on 3/11/2011 12:03:47 PM]
COLOUR DODGE, LIGHT MODES, MULTIPLY MODESIn much the same way, changing the brush mode to any of these will have a similar effect. Colour Dodge will try and apply an extreme Dodge whenever it finds a similar colour underneath it. So, if you paint with yellow over a yellow tonal cast, your added colour becomes a harsh glow. Great for little highlights and sparkles on water and such.SOFT / HARD LIGHT adds colour like a fall of light on the subject, while not covering the underlying tone.Painting with MULTIPLY mode increases dark tones within the source image, so use dark tones to emphasise shadows.
You can use the same Linear Dodge Technique above to add little highlight glows - use a smaller brush and gently build up points of light using the airbrush.Above left, I'm adding a shadow using MULTIPLY.Below, I'm adding small spotlights with a LINEAR DODGE airbrush.
.I also added a circumference line here just to give a little more depth to the spherical shape.[Edited by User on 3/11/2011 12:04:44 PM]
PRESET BRUSH SHAPESI'm going to add some spectacular lighting effects to finish off this little satellite. To do this, I've downloaded a set of brushes from BRUSHEEZY.COM (Plasma) shapes which recreate the flow of laser light. These work differently to paintbrushes in that you have to think of them more like rubber stamps. They don't function in the same manner as the default paintbrushes, being complete pre-formed patterns, and you can't draw with them.
Here's a single click of one of the Plasma brushes I've loaded, on a black background:
Next, I play around within the brushes menu, selecting different spacing and opacity, and angles. On your canvas, you see a small outline of the brush you are about to paint with, but it's really going to be trial and error to get the effect you are looking for. But it's also great fun![Edited by User on 3/11/2011 12:06:47 PM]
Create a new layer above the satellite, so as not to harm the work done so far. This is where the light glows will be built, and it also means you can selectively erase parts of the plasma brush if it doesn't sit quite right on your image.
Then, using the MODE settings as described earlier, I click single 'stamps' of plasma around the satellite. Then I change the brush, change the colour, change the angle, and click again, and again, repeating and building the glow effect as I go. The Linear Dodge Mode adds glows whenever an overlay plasma click crosses a different colour underneath, and the result is... spectacular glow effects:
[Edited by User on 3/11/2011 12:07:17 PM]
FINALLYI always add a final layer adjustment and photo filter adjustment over all the finished layers, just to tie all the colours and elements together. A hard level adjustment will bump up the effect even more.That's all there is to it, though and although there isn't much to this image, it took about 15 minutes to put together for the purposes of this tutorial. Just imagine what you can do when you have days to work with these techniques!Good luck and have fun with your work.
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