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Creating synthetic rays of light

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Creating synthetic rays of light

In this exercise, I am going to show you how to create what's known as God lighting, which is when you have these bright rays of light that are streaming through the clouds. And we are going to start things off by creating the core effect using a combination of eight different Smart Filters. And if you're working along with me, go ahead and click in the Background layer, down here at the bottom of the Layers panel. Then create a new layer by pressing Control+ Shift+N, or Command+Shift+N on a Mac, and let's go ahead and call this layer rays, and click OK. Next, I want you to fill this layer with black.

Creating synthetic rays of light

In this exercise, I am going to show you how to create what's known as God lighting, which is when you have these bright rays of light that are streaming through the clouds. And we are going to start things off by creating the core effect using a combination of eight different Smart Filters. And if you're working along with me, go ahead and click in the Background layer, down here at the bottom of the Layers panel. Then create a new layer by pressing Control+ Shift+N, or Command+Shift+N on a Mac, and let's go ahead and call this layer rays, and click OK. Next, I want you to fill this layer with black.

Black is my foreground color; I assume it's yours as well. So press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete on a Mac. Now, because we want to work with Smart Filters, we need to convert this layer to a smart object. So go to the Layers panel flyout menu, click on it, and then choose Convert to Smart Object. Or, once again, if you loaded Dekekeys, you can press Control+Comma, or Command+Comma on the Mac. Now I need more room. I need the layer to be much bigger than the composition itself. And we will achieve that effect by modifying the smart Object.

So go ahead and double-click on this black rays thumbnail in order to open the smart object. If you get the alert message telling you how smart objects work, go ahead and click OK. Then, inside this independent window, which will probably be called rays.psb, I want you to go up to the Image menu, choose the Image Size command, or press Control+Alt+I; Command+Option+I on the Mac. Make sure that Resample Image is turned on. Constrain Proportion should be turned on as well. Scale Styles doesn't matter in this case. Change the Width option from pixels to percent, and then dial in a value of 200, so we are expanding the size of the image by 200% horizontally, and 200% vertically, then click OK.

You'll end up with this whopping area with black. Now go ahead and close the image by clicking on the close box up in the title bar or the title tab. Click the Yes button on the PC, or the Save button on the Mac, to save your changes. It's not going to look any different onscreen; that's okay. Now, just so we can get a sense of what we're doing, I recommend you turn off the other layers by Alt+clicking, or Option+ clicking, on the eye in front of the rays layer, so we can examine it by itself. Go ahead and tap the D key in order to establish your default colors: black and white.

Then go up to the Filter menu, choose Render, and choose Clouds. The thing about the Clouds filter is it uses the foreground and background colors in order to colorize the effect. You will end up with some random fractal noise pattern onscreen. Any pattern is fine at this point. Now I want you to go to the Filter menu, choose Distort, and then choose Pinch. And the Pinch filter allows you to pinch the effect toward the center of the image.

So go ahead and crank the Amount value all the way up to 100%, which is the maximum, and click OK. And that pinches the effect just a little; not enough, as it turns out. Just to reduce clutter, once again I'm going to right-click on the Filter Mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel. And I will choose Delete Filter Mask. And now, at this point, we need to replicate this Pinch filter five more times. so press Control+F, or Command+F on a Mac, to repeat the last filter. Because we're working on a smart object, we get the dialog box. Just go ahead and click OK, or press the Enter or Return key. Then press Control+F or Command+F again; press Enter or Return to apply the effect again. Press Control or Command+F for a third time; press the Enter key in order to accept the effect. Press Control or Command+F a fourth time, and then finally, press Control or Command+F a fifth time, and press Enter, or Return on a Mac.

And just to make sure you've gotten the effect we are looking for, go ahead and count the number of pinches in the list. There should be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in all. So what we've done is we've created this kind of streaming gradient. However, it's a lot easier to work this way. Even though Photoshop offers an angle gradient that allows you to achieve effects like this, it would mean adding a ton of color stops manually if you wanted to get anything that looked remotely like this. So this is a much easier way to work.

Next, I want you to go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur -- this is our final filter, by the way -- and then choose Radial Blur. And this will help us to blur these rays so that they look a little more naturalistic. Crank the Amount value up to 100, and set the Blur Method to Zoom. A Quality setting of Good is just fine. Make sure this center point is right there in the center of this Blur Center box, as it is by default, and then go ahead and click OK in order to finish off the effect. Now let's go ahead and bring back the other layers by Alt+clicking, or Option+clicking, on the eyeball in front of the rays layer once again.

The effect doesn't look good at all at this point, and that's because we need to blend it in with its background. And so go up to the upper left corner of the Layers panel, click on the word Normal, and switch to the brightest of the brightening modes, which is Linear Dodge (Add). And that's going to create this over the top, garish effect. If you are working on the PC, press the Escape key in order to deactivate the Blend mode option. And then I want you to press the Shift key, and tap the 6 key twice in a row. So Shift+6+6, right there in a row, and that will reduce the Fill Opacity value to 66%.

It's very important that you set Fill to 66%; not the standard Opacity value. Now press the Control key, or the Command key on a Mac, in order to temporarily access the Move tool, and I want you to drag the center of this effect until it's aligned to the center of that upper right cloud, like so. And that is the starting point. Believe it or not, even though it's so ridiculously over-the-top. That is the starting point for our synthetic rays of sunlight effect. In the next exercise, we will set to work masking the effect.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 28922 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
      52s
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
      55s
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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