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Converting clouds to lightning

From: Photoshop Smart Objects

Video: Converting clouds to lightning

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.

Converting clouds to lightning

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Smart Objects
Photoshop Smart Objects

95 video lessons · 21552 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 17m 13s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop Smart Objects
      59s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      4m 18s
    3. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 15s
    4. Loading the CS4 color settings in Photoshop and Bridge CS4
      7m 41s
  2. 1h 12m
    1. Nondestructive transformations
      1m 14s
    2. The purpose of Smart Objects
      5m 17s
    3. The trials of destructive transformations
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a Smart Object
      6m 36s
    5. The rewards of nondestructive transformations
      4m 29s
    6. Preparing a composition for masking
      4m 59s
    7. Establishing a base alpha channel
      6m 25s
    8. Masking a Smart Object
      7m 3s
    9. Refining the layer mask
      6m 50s
    10. Multiplying the edges
      4m 17s
    11. Manually adjusting the problem edges
      6m 3s
    12. Free Transform feedback
      5m 14s
    13. The ultimate nondestructive crop
      9m 8s
  3. 1h 19m
    1. Photoshop and its support applications
      1m 45s
    2. Creating a Camera Raw (ACR) Smart Object
      5m 8s
    3. Converting a JPEG image to DNG
      4m 47s
    4. Replacing pixels with Camera Raw data
      5m 27s
    5. Matching image and ACR resolution
      4m 25s
    6. Adjusting ACR Smart Objects
      5m 33s
    7. Importing Illustrator artwork
      6m 13s
    8. Opening placed art in Illustrator
      5m 51s
    9. Examining dynamic effects
      7m 9s
    10. Modifying Illustrator artwork
      5m 20s
    11. Updating an Illustrator Smart Object
      4m 20s
    12. Styling placed artwork in Photoshop
      3m 33s
    13. Combining layer effects and adjustment layers
      5m 14s
    14. Copying a layer from a clipping group
      5m 0s
    15. Scaling vector data beyond 100 percent
      3m 9s
    16. Blending vector data with pixels
      2m 10s
    17. Saving PDF-compatible Illustrator art
      4m 23s
  4. 1h 26m
    1. Many Smart Objects reference a single source
      1m 9s
    2. Smart Objects and file size
      5m 11s
    3. Placing images as Smart Objects
      4m 44s
    4. Creating a basic lens flare
      5m 43s
    5. Turning a flare into a black hole
      6m 2s
    6. Establishing a first true clone
      4m 9s
    7. Finding the exact center of an image
      2m 37s
    8. Reflecting additional clones
      4m 55s
    9. The art of upsampling
      7m 45s
    10. Editing the root image
      5m 37s
    11. Updating all true clones
      3m 29s
    12. Roughing in a polygonal mask
      7m 13s
    13. Parametric Feather and Glow
      7m 12s
    14. Smart sharpening Smart Filter
      5m 36s
    15. Adding highlights and vibrance
      7m 10s
    16. Luminance blending
      8m 18s
  5. 49m 7s
    1. Placing one Smart Object inside another
      1m 9s
    2. Creating a super-massive Smart Object
      7m 9s
    3. Styling a super-massive Smart Object
      4m 29s
    4. Recoloring background regions
      4m 42s
    5. Cloning a super-massive Smart Object
      5m 56s
    6. Finishing off the first draft
      5m 4s
    7. The plasma ball effect
      4m 45s
    8. Applying the Smart Clouds filters
      4m 57s
    9. Converting clouds to lightning
      5m 4s
    10. Updating nested Smart Objects
      5m 52s
  6. 1h 14m
    1. Editable, nondestructive filters
      1m 24s
    2. Applying and modifying creative effects
      6m 54s
    3. Blending filtered effects
      6m 24s
    4. Tweaking filters with adjustment layers
      4m 14s
    5. Restoring halftone highlights
      4m 25s
    6. The price of Smart Filters
      5m 56s
    7. The power of true clones
      7m 13s
    8. Sharing between Smart Objects and comps
      8m 45s
    9. Just click on it
      1m 50s
    10. Applying a corrective filter
      5m 24s
    11. Smart Filters and disk space
      3m 46s
    12. Picking the right blend mode
      6m 36s
    13. Combining multiple Smart Filters
      6m 13s
    14. Editing and previewing filter settings
      5m 27s
  7. 1h 44m
    1. Still more Smart Filters
      1m 3s
    2. Introducing the non-filters
      4m 15s
    3. Reducing luminance contrast
      5m 19s
    4. Faking an HDR portrait effect
      7m 20s
    5. Adding a filter mask
      3m 22s
    6. Editing filter masks and density
      4m 26s
    7. Applying Variations as a Smart Filter
      7m 24s
    8. Establishing independent filter masks
      4m 51s
    9. Painting away unwanted halos
      6m 28s
    10. Creating a wood grain effect
      6m 2s
    11. The luminance-style filter mask
      6m 23s
    12. The downside of independent filters
      5m 11s
    13. Merging the effects of two filters
      4m 38s
    14. Adjusting and merging masked effects
      6m 26s
    15. Introducing the Filter Gallery filters
      4m 39s
    16. Applying a Filter Gallery filter
      5m 57s
    17. Merging two Filter Gallery effects
      7m 16s
    18. Adjusting the colors of Sketch filters
      5m 2s
    19. Adding a third filter to a combo
      4m 58s
    20. The versatility of Smart Filters
      3m 2s
  8. 1m 31s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 31s

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