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Turning on lights in Photoshop tutorial

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn on the lights in a photo. I made this car composite where I shot both the car and the background […]

Turning on lights in Photoshop tutorial

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn on the lights in a photo. I made this car composite where I shot both the car and the background during the day, cut out the car and dropped it into this scene.  I changed the mood to nighttime as well as a raining evening. The big problem with this composite is that the car’s lights are off and we need them on. That’s what we are going to learn in this tut.

lights01_

 Step 1

Create a new layer and change it to color Dodge blending mode

lights02_

 

 Step 2

Choose a soft white brush and change the size to roughly the same size at the light.

lights03_

 

 Step 3

Click with the brush to add a glowing effect on the light. Sometimes you may need to apply it more than once, depending on the result.

lights04_

 

 Step 4

So the same for all the lights in the scene (all on the same layer)

lights05_

 

 Step 5

We now need a glow around the lights, as real lights spread.

Create a new layer and change it to Screen mode.

lights06_

 

 Step 6

Change the brush opacity to 40% (you could just change the layers opacity later you prefer)

lights07_

 

 Step 7

Choose a larger brush this time and make sure the foreground color is set to white.

lights08_

Dab the brush on the lights to create the glowing effect. In this case, I applied the brush 2x on each light.

lights09_

 

 Step 8

Now for some beams.

Create a new layer and set it to Screen mode

lights10_

 

 Step 9

Paint some lines beneath the lights, make the brush size the same as the lights.

lights11_

 

 Step 10

Choose Filter>Blur>Radial Blur.

Select zoom and set it to about 44

lights12_

 

 Step 11

Here you can see the lights smoothened out to beams (Sometimes I also apply a gaussian blur at this point, I didn’t on this image, but it might have looked better).

lights13_

 Step 12

Adjust the opacity to suit your tastes.

 

lights14_

And the result.

lights15_

 Extra Credit

Here I applied the lighting effects to different parts of the photograph where there are lights.

I also painted over the top of some bright areas and blurred them to look like streaks and lens flares that you might see on a wet evening, the way that rain makes light distort into the lens of a camera.

lights16_

 

Here is an example of a different shaped light and a beam art an angle using exactly the same steps.

car

lights18_

 

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorials. Check out our other tutorials here at PhotoshopCAFE and don’t forget to join our list for lots of Photoshop goodies.

 

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Colin Smith

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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Colin Smith

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

  • suruha

    Thank you! I did enjoy the tut! To do Christmas lights on a tree, you would substitute colors instead of white for the lights? I saw the photo in the newsletter and thought that the article was on the lights on a tree. LOL But, this is good. I can apply it to a tree. Thank you, again! Su

    • kiwicolin

      Yes, you can do exactly the same thing for a tree, just add color to your brush.

    • Yes, if you were doing christmas lights, you could do the same thing with colors.

      • suruha

        Thank you! Happiest of holidays to you!

        Su

  • I enjoyed the tutorial most. Really the tut stunning concept.

  • Its most awesome and tutorial i have learned very important things from this tutorial.