Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Introducing the Lighting Effects filter, part of Photoshop CC One-on-One: Mastery.
In this movie I'll introduce you to the lighting effects filter. And along the way we'll transform this somewhat flat portrait shot from the Fotolia Image Library into this more dynamically lit scene here which also offers some higher contrast. And the great thing about lighting effects is that if you get it right you can make a scene appear as if it were really lit that way when it was captured. I'll go ahead and switch back to the original image. Now you can apply lighting effects as a Dynamic Smart Filter, but first we have to convert the image to a Smart Object.
By double-clicking on the background, and I'll name this new layer Woman and then click OK. And next you want to right-click inside the image window with a rectangular marquee and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now you can go up to the Filter menu > Render > Lighting effects. And lighting effects is one of these filters that takes over your entire screen, just like the blur gallery. Now, by default you're going to see a single spotlight, like so. Unless you've used the filter before, in which case, you'll see your previously applies settings.
Just to give you a sense of what's going on, I'm going to start with the simplest kind of light that there is. By going up to the Presets option > Blue Omni. And this is what's known as a point light. And you can tell you have a point light because down here in the lights panel, you'll see the words, point light. And you can see point up here in this pop up menu in the properties panel. And notice that you can switch which kind of light you're working with, between the three lights that are available. Point, spot, and infinite. And you can even combine them, as well.
But I'm going to leave this as a point light, so I can show you what's going on. First thing you can do is drag pretty much anywhere inside the window here in order to move the light to a different location. If you want to change the size of the light you drag on this circle, but you gotta make sure that it highlights yellow. And you have just a couple of pixels to work with there. And once it does, then you can drag on the circle in order to change the light size. And then finally you have this inner ring which lets you change the intensity of the light.
And you've got this intensity value up here in the upper right corner as well. The one thing you can't do is change the direction of the light, and that's because a point light is omni directional. It goes every which way. The nearest equivalent is a bare light bulb hanging from a ceiling. Compare that to the next light available to you, which is an infinite light. I'll return to Presets, and this time I'm going to choose Parallel Directional. And that gives me a couple of Infinite Lights, and you can see them represented here down at the bottom of the screen.
And so you can click on either one, and switch between' em. Or you'll see both the lights represented in the lights panel. So I could go ahead and click on Infinite Light, too, to select it instead. When you're working with an infinite light, you have this semi-sphere, which is showing you the general direction from which the light is coming. And then you have this lever that's showing you the direction that it's going. And as you drag, either on that lever or really, anywhere inside the image preview. You're going to change the direction of the light.
And notice in this case, I've moved the light in back of the image, so its not really doing any good. If I want to light the image, I need to bring it back. And what this should tell you is that obviously you can change the direction of this light. But you can't change its physical location or its size. The best way to think of an infinite light is the Sun. So, for all intents and purposes, it is infinitely far away, and of course, it's ginormous, and you can't control its size. You can, however, control its direction because it moves in the sky over the course of the day.
And of course in the real world its really the Earth that is moving with infinite lights you get a change their direction, you also have this ring right here which works for all of the lights which allows you to change the intensity. And then finally we have spotlights, to get a sense of what's going on with them I will change the preset to crossing and I am going to zoom out a couple of clicks as well and if your lights end up looking really hot and we've got a couple of' em, as you can see. Then, what you want to do is click in this gloss value right there, and then just press the down arrow key.
Just to take it down one click. And you can even take it right back up if you want to. And that will solve the overly hot issue. Now, in the case of a spotlight, you can change both its physical location and its direction. So it's just like a real spotlight. If you want to change its location, you drag somewhere inside the big ellipse that represents the spotlight. If you want to change its angle, you drag outside of that ellipse like so. Now you can also change the physical size of the footprint here.
Notice if I hover over what is now this top handle, it say's scale width. Seems a little confusing to me because it looks like we're going to be scaling the length of this footprint. And as you drag on this handle, you're ultimately changing the location of the light source as well. Over here on the sides we have these handles that say scale length, which it seems to me scale the width of the footprint so at least if you're thinking the same thing you're not alone. All right, so I'm looking at an effect something like this right here, I think I'll scoot this guy up in order to produce this overall effect.
And I'm also going to drag inside the ring to take the intensity and notice if I move my cursor away from the ring I get greater control. I am going to take that intensity down to 25 which is also represented up here at the top of the properties panel. Now you can also change the colour of the light if you like by clicking on this colour swatch, but I am going to leave it white for now. And then finally we've got this hot spot option, and the hot spot is represented by this inner eclipse and its the hottest area of the light, so it's pretty much uniform inside of the hot spot.
If you want to take some of the heat out of the light, then you drag in order to reduce the size of that ellipse. And I'm ultimately going to take my hot spot value down to negative 50 like so. Next, we have a series of options here and you can see more of them at a time if you make the lights panel down below a little shorter. These options rather than controlling the properties of the selected light, they control the image. So they're going to stay exactly the same from one light to another.
So first we've got exposure, and the first thing you should know about exposure is it has nothing to do with this colorize swatch. That's all about ambiance, and we'll come to that in a second. But exposure allows you to make the image brighter or darker. It's not really a function of a light being shined at an object. It's more of the kind of thing you might do with the exposure control inside of Camera Raw. Next, you have this Gloss option, which controls how glossy the material is that you're shining the light onto.
So it can either be quite glossy, like it is now. Or you can give it more of a matte finish by going with a very negative value as I have here. I'm going to leave mine cranked up for a moment so you can see how metallic behaves. Either you're going to have a very shiny reflective image or if you take the value down you're going to have more of a plastic effect. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to take the gloss value down to negative 100, so all the way down to its minimum, and I'm going to crank the metallic value all the way up to its maximum.
Now the final option here is ambiance, and it controls the ambient light, but notice if I change it, I'm not getting a different result and that's because my ambient light is currently set to black. That's what colorize is all about. So you've got to specify some kind of brighter color first. So I'll go ahead and take the value up to its maximum which is 100. And then I'll click on that Colorize swatch. And notice we have these 32 bit light controls, which means you can go nuts with your light if you like. I'm just going to work from the standard HSB values by setting the hue to 210 degrees, saturation to 100%, and the brightness to 100% as well, and then I'll click OK.
And now notice as I reduce the ambience value, that I am getting less of that ambient light. And if you take it down to a negative value, you'll end up getting a complementary color instead. In our case, a kind of orange. So I'm going to take this value down to negative ten to keep the image nice and warm like so. All right, now I'll set spotlight one here. And it's in a pretty good position actually for me over here to the side of her nose. But I do want to change the angle like so to about here.
I might scale the ellipse just a little bit. And again you have to wait for that ellipse to light up for you. And then notice, see I didn't drag directly on that apparently so I've got to move this guy back down. You don't really have an undo, by the way, when you're working inside this window. You've got to see scale length, in order to drag the width upward, like so. And we end up with this final effect here, except for a couple of things. I do want to change the intensity of this light to 40, just going to dial it in here.
And I'm going to change the size of the hot spot to 40 as well. And this is the effect I'm looking for. All right, now I'll click OK in order to accept that effect. And then I'll go ahead and zoom in here, and you can see this lighting effects smart filter at the bottom of the layers panel. I'm going to change its blending settings by double clicking on the little slider icon. And then, I'll change the mode to Overlay. And I'm going to dial down the opacity value here to 66%, like so.
And then I'll click OK. And that folks, is at least one way, to use the lighting effects filter to rearrange the lighting of a scene, here inside Photoshop.
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