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Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop

There's no sense in bringing an illustration into Photoshop unless we're going to do something to it that we can't do inside Illustrator. And so in this movie we're going to start applying some Photoshop-specific effects, including a reflective lens flare that's a lot more credible than the one you can achieve using the Flare tool inside Illustrator. And it's all in the name of converting our base shield into this version of the shield here. And so I'll go ahead and switch over to the composition so far. Now, the first thing I want to do is darken up this shield so that it can survive the brightening effect of a lens flare.

Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop

There's no sense in bringing an illustration into Photoshop unless we're going to do something to it that we can't do inside Illustrator. And so in this movie we're going to start applying some Photoshop-specific effects, including a reflective lens flare that's a lot more credible than the one you can achieve using the Flare tool inside Illustrator. And it's all in the name of converting our base shield into this version of the shield here. And so I'll go ahead and switch over to the composition so far. Now, the first thing I want to do is darken up this shield so that it can survive the brightening effect of a lens flare.

So drop down to the fx icon and choose, in this case, Gradient Overlay. And then, inside the Layer Style dialog box, change the Style from Linear to Radial. I don't want white around the perimeter; I want it in the center. So I'll go ahead and turn on the Reverse checkbox. I'm also not interested in black around the outside, so I'll click on this gradient bar to bring up the Gradient Editor dialog box, then I'll double-click on this first color stop. And I'll change the HSB values as follows. Change the Hue value to 210, leave the Saturation values set to 100%, and change the Brightness value to 25%, and then click OK.

Click OK again in order to close the Gradient Editor dialog box. Then drag the gradient slightly up into the right, like so, in order to change the position of the highlight. And next, I want to change the Scale value to its maximum, which is 150%. And I'll change the Blend mode from Normal to the darkest of the darkening modes, one that's not even available to us inside Illustrator, which is Linear Burn. And we get this very dark effect here. Now go ahead and back off the effect by changing the Opacity value to 20%, and then click OK. All right! Now to create a lens flare as an independent layer, you drop down to the bottom of the Layers panel and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little page icon there in order to force a display of the New Layer dialog box.

And I'll call this layer lens flare, and then click OK. Now we want to fill this layer with black, and you do that inside Photoshop by first pressing the D key; and that establishes the default colors, which are black for the foreground color and white for the background color, as you can see down here at the bottom of the toolbox on the left side of the screen. Then press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac, in order to fill the entire layer with the foreground color, which is black.

Now, the lens flare filter is going to prove a lot more flexible if you assign it to a smart object. And to do that, make sure your Rectangular Marquee tool is selected at the top of the toolbox, and if it isn't, just go ahead and tap the M key, then right-click inside of the image window and choose Convert to Smart Object. And that will go ahead and assign a little place icon to the bottom right corner of the thumbnail here inside the Layers panel, which tells you that you've got a smart object. Now the reason we want a smart object is because that way you can assign filters from the Filter menu as smart filters, meaning that they are editable in the future.

So go ahead and click on Filter, then drop down to Render and choose Lens Flare. And these are the settings I want you to assign. The Lens Type should be 50- 300mm Zoom, as by default. Then crank up the Brightness value to 150%. And notice this little cross inside this itty- bitty preview right here. You drag it in order to change the location of the beginning of the Lens Flare effect. And in our case we want to drag the cross to right about here. Now you don't have a lot of room to work, but you can take solace in the fact that if you don't get the lens flare exactly positioned in the first place, you can always come back and modify it later.

Next click on the gigantic OK button-- thank golly they didn't make the preview bigger and the OK button smaller inside this dialog box--but at least it's easy to click. So do so in order to apply the filter, and you'll see this effect here. Now you can see that we've assigned Lens Flare as an editable smart filter. We don't need this filter mask, and right now it's really cluttering up the panel. So to get rid of it, all you do is right-click on it and choose Delete Filter Mask; you can always add a new filter mask later if you need to.

Now let's blend the Lens Flare with the shield below by double-clicking on an empty portion of this lens flare layer in order to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. And the first thing you want to do is change the Blend mode to the universal lightning mode, which is Screen. And that will go ahead and drop out all the dark stuff and merge the flare effect in with the shield. Now I want to reveal some of the darkest portions of the shield. And you do that by modifying this Underlying Layers slider. So I'm going to go ahead and drag this black triangle all the way over to a position of 70, as you can see listed right here.

And that value by the way is measured in Luminance Levels. A Luminance Level of 0 means black and a Luminous Level of 255 means white. In this case we're saying anything that has a Luminance of 70 or darker--which is pretty darn dark by the way--is going to push its way through the Lens Flare effect; and anything 70-255, all the way up to white, will allow the Lens Flare to appear. And what that means is we're not seeing much Lens Flare at this point, and we're getting some very choppy transitions.

To smooth out the transitions you divide this triangle in half, and you do that by pressing and holding the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and dragging the left half of the black triangle all the way back to left- hand side of the slider bar so that the values read 0/70, like so. And then go ahead and click OK. And so because Photoshop offers you both blend modes and that underlying layer slider, it gives you a lot more control than Illustrator over the blending experience. All right! Now we want to take the color out of this effect, notice that it's kind of pinkish and as a result it's warming up the background.

To get rid of that saturation, you want to press and hold the Alt key once again, and drop down to this Black/White icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on it, and choose Hue/Saturation. And thanks to the fact that you have the Alt or Option key down, that forces the display of the New Layer dialog box. Let's go ahead and call this layer neutral. And then you need to turn on the checkbox, Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask. That way you're only affecting the contents of the lens flare layer. Then click OK and that will display the Properties panel.

Then go ahead and reduce the Saturation value to -100 and hide the panel by clicking on the double arrow icon, like so. And that turns the lens flare layer black and white, and even though you don't see that reflected in the thumbnail, you do see it reflected inside the larger image window. Now a couple of side notes; you may see a layer mask next to your new adjustment layer. If so, it's perfectly fine and it's not going to cause you any problems. But if you don't want to see those default layer masks in the future--and the layer mask would appear as an additional white thumbnail-- then go up to the Window menu and choose the Adjustments command, and then you bring up the Adjustments panel flyout menu by clicking on its little icon in the upper right corner, and you turn off Add Mask by Default, just FYI.

Anyway, I'll go ahead and Escape out of that menu, hide the Adjustments panel as well. And finally, if you want to adjust the placement of your Lens Flare, if it doesn't look right inside of your shield, then just go ahead and double-click on the words lens flare here inside Layers panel, and that will bring back the Lens Flare dialog box. And you can adjust the position of this little cross as you see fit. Anyway, mine was fine so I'll just go ahead and Cancel out. And so that's how you create a credible Lens Flare effect here inside Photoshop. In the next movie I'll show you how to add a brushed metal texture, as well as these brushed highlights.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14360 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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