Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Combining Bas Relief with Lighting Effects, part of Photoshop for Designers: Filters (2015).
What I want to do here, is take a picture of a First World War soldier, and make him appear as if he is sculpted from granite, as if this is part of a war memorial. Let's take a look at the finished version. I have saved in a layer group Sseveral layers to which I have applied different amounts of the bar relief filter. Each of these is masked so we are only applying the filter to the figure itself and not the background and each of them has a blending mode so that they combine with the layers beneath.
So there are four different instances if we have another layer which is a copy of the background to which I have applied a lighting effects filter, a lighting effects filter which uses a texture channel that is derived from the original image to burn that texture. into the granite itself and then all of these are put into a group to which I have applied an inner and outer glove.
Let me just build those layers up one by one so you can see what I'm talking about. So there's the background texture and then We have 1 application of Bar Relief. And as you can see, one application is not very convincing. Here's a second, this one uses soft light. And a third, with differing amounts applied every time, this one also uses soft light, and a fourth. So now, we have something that actually looks like it's sculpted. At the top and clicked to the layer beneath, I have a copy of the granite to which the lighting effects filter is applied.
Let's see how we can do this. So, here's our starting point and I'm gonna come to my picture, I have a path already defined. I'm gonna turn on that path and then I'm gonna make that path into a selection. And that selection into a Layer Mask, then I'm going to convert this to a Smart Object. Having done that, I'm gonna come to my Sketch filters and to Bar Relief, and of course we can also find it in the Filter Gallery.
Let's zoom out so that we can see that in Window. And I'm going to start out by applying Detail of 15 and Smoothness of one. So this is going to give us the most detailed application, of this filter. And the light. I'm going to set the light too. Well I'm going to leave it at top right. But we want to make sure that it's consistent throughout. Now for this first instance I'm going to change the blending mode of the layer to luminasto because look what happens to the color and how that's differing from the color of the granite in the background.
And when I change that to luminosity we get a much better blend of the color of the figure and the color of the rock. So now I'm going to duplicate that layer Cmd or Ctrl+J I will change the blending mode of the duplicate to Soft Light. I'll revisit the application of the filter where this time, I'll reduce the amount of details to 7 and increase the amount of smoothness to, well, also to 7, about the midpoint. So we now have a much.
Cruder version, but this will, then, combine with the layer beneath. So that's one application, and then, there's those two layers. I'm going to duplicate that again, Command or Control J, let's visit that filter once more. I'm going to put the detail all the way down, and put the smoothness all the way up. And we can see that's adding in areas of highlight, that we just otherwise wouldn't get. Now I'm gonna come back to the Background Layer and duplicate that. I'm gonna drag that all the way to the top of my layer stack. And convert it to a Smart Object.
I'll now come to my channels panel. Make sure I turn off temporarily that background texture or foreground texture. Also turn off temporarily the smart filters of the top layer and change it's blend mode to normal. I'm also going to turn off the background layer as well, so we're just left with the figure. Now what I'm going to do is duplicate one of my channels it doesn't matter which one because it's mono chromatic they're all going to be the same. And I'll click on red copy now all those things I turned off and need to turn them back on again.
And I need to be on that topmost layer. So I'm going to come to my filter menu, render, lighting effects, and the main event here is choosing a texture channel, texture channel being the alpha channel that we just duplicated, red copy, and we can see that's going to burn into the granite. The texture of that alpha channel. I might make a few other changes. Basically I'm going to go with the setting as they were last time I used this filter, an intensity of 25 and an exposure of 29.
But feel free to mess around with these other sliders, gloss or metallic in this- Circumstance are not really gonna make much difference. But, we can also change the position of the light. Now we're coming from the top right, that's what we said in each application of those filters. So, I'm gonna make sure that our light, here, is also coming from the top right. And, by the way I'm using here an infinite light as opposed to a spot or point. And I can just pull that around to determine the angle of the light.
And I will click okay. Now if the overall effect of that is too strong, and I think it is- I'm going to diminish it so that it only appears within in the figure itself by clipping it to the layer beneath. And I can do that by holding down the option or alt key and clicking on the line that separates those two layers. And I can also dial down the opacity to about 80%. The last thing I want to do to complete the effect is select all of these layers and put them into a layer group and then apply layer effects to them. And the reason that I'm putting them into a group is so that I only need to apply those effects once.
So I will select them all press Command or Control G. First of all I want to apply an outer glow. And I want the outer glow color to be a dark color as opposed to a light color and I'm going to sample from the actual image itself and I need the blending mode to be a darkening blending mode like multiply and i'm going to increase the size of that somewhat. And decrease the opacity down to about 35%.
So that should be relatively subtle change. While I'm here, I'm also going to apply an inner glow. Same principles apply. We need a darkening blending mode so I'll choose multiply and sample same of that dark color from the image. And reduce the opacity also down, to about 35%, an increase the size. An there is our finished effect. As you can see, a single application of the bas relief filter, is not gonna do it.
It's not gonna really be effective. So we had to apply it multiple times with different blend modes. Specifically in this case, Soft Light, and then also apply a texture channel to a Lighting Effects layer that sits above the whole layer stack.
- Understanding the importance of Smart Filters
- Sharpening with filters
- Creative use of filter blend modes
- Painting in the effect of a filter using filter masks
- Combining filters