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I'm still working inside of this Smart Object that happens to contain the Lens Flare effect, and now I have got a lightening layer on top of it. I cannot provide you with a catch-up file for the simple reason that would break the link between the Smart Object and the base composition. So you'll have to be working along with me or just following along with the videos. All right, I have created this lighting effect right here and I'm now going to bring out the individual tendrils of lightning, in big quote fingers of course, using an application of the Curves adjustment layer, and here's how that works.
And the reason we have to use Curves, by the way, is because we need what's known as an arbitrary map. We are going to be bringing out grays. There is going to be some tendrils of gray that worked out beautifully for us, and we are going to send the whites and the blacks to black and you will see how that works. All right, so drop down to the bottom of the Layers palette. Press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the black-white icon right there, and I want to choose Curves from the menu. And then let's go ahead and just call this guy curves, or if you want, you can call it arb map, which is short for arbitrary map, and then you will feel very smart, won't you? And the turn on Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask and click OK in order to create this new arb map layer right there.
And then notice that I have the Adjustment palette magnified. That is, expanded, and you can expand the palette by clicking in this little folder icon. So by default, it looks dinky like this. This way you have a very small curves graph to work with. To make it bigger, click on this folder icon right there and that will expand things quite nicely. Now to create a classic arbitrary map, you want the Pencil. So you can work with a Curve tool, which allows you set points on the curves. I am assuming you have an understanding of how to use this dialog box, because I don't want to turn this into a lesson on Curves, because Curves is quite complicated.
It has a lot going on. So I can drag out through the dark grays like that and get some interesting sort of frothy, foamy effect. You might like that. That's not what I'm looking for. I am going to go ahead and revert this graph to its default diagonal line by clicking on this little Reset icon there. If you' are working inside of a dialog box inside of Photoshop CS3 and earlier, you'd press the Alt key or the Option key and click on what was formerly the Cancel button. It becomes the Reset button when Alt or Option is down.
All right, let's go ahead and get the Pencil tool. That's what I want you to do and I'm good have you draw a straight line along the bottom of the graphs. So everything turns black, just like that, and then notice how your Histogram is working here. You should see a big spike over here on the left and then the mountain should decline, but at some point you are going to see another spike, another little peak, and then it's going to decline to nothingness. Wherever the peak is, I want you to drag a little bit of a line on top of it, like so, right at the top of the graph.
So what we are doing is we are turning these luminous level right there white. Once you've done that, you might want to exaggerate a little bit. It's not going to look all that right here inside the image window, but you want a lot of whites to work with here. So we've got black to this point, white up here, and then black again. So we are sending these dark grays to white. Everything else is becoming black. Now, we want to create some smooth transitions between those luminous levels so we don't have sudden jagged drop-offs. Do that by clicking on this little icon here.
Now Photoshop CS3 and earlier, if you are working inside of a dialog box, you'll see a Smooth button, click on the Smooth button, but here inside CS4, in the Adjustments palette, you see these little icon, go ahead and click on it. That smoothes out the transitions. Click again in order to smooth it out some more. That's going to make things too gray, so, and then you adds more whites again like this time just a few of them, and click the Smooth button. And then I am just going to add a few more whites right there, just a couple, maybe like four or five luminance levels with white.
And you will get an effect like that. And then if you don't like it, you can switch it around, play with your curves graph as much as you want. If you're getting a kick out it, great. I find that after a while I get a little bit tired of things here. Now you can also do this. You can click at a point in white and you can Shift+Click down here in order to create a straight line between the points. I am going to do that at this location, click, and then Shift+Click here in order to create a drop-off as well. But I'm not liking that as much. So I am going to click Smooth again, and smooth out those transitions. I like it when all of the sudden we have a little bit of white showing up like that.
I think that's pretty effective actually. Click Smooth some more. I was telling you how impatient I get with this process and then I just sit here and play around with it again. Classic trainer maneuver. All right, anyway, this looks pretty good. So go your own way. There is a graph I came up with. I am now going to collapse the Adjustments palette, so I have a little more room to work, and we still have to do some more work, because as things stand, I've completely covered up that base layer in the background, the Lens Flare. I don't want that to happen.
I want to merge this effect with the Lens Flare and I will be doing exactly that in the next exercise.
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