Today I’ll be showing you all the ins and outs of the Lighting Effects Tool in Photoshop.
At first I never used to mess with this feature as, I’ll be honest I kinda considered it cheating, which couldn’t be further from the truth, it was so silly of me to think that. I used to do all of my Lighting effects using blurs and layers, which took a long time to do. Instead, I could have just blasted out a few lighting effects and I would have cut the work time down by a great deal.
So that’s the first part of my tutorial, don’t get stuck in the mud and think something has to be this way or that way. If there is an option there that you can use, then by all means take full advantage of that. I mean, they made that feature on Photoshop for a reason and I see everyone using it, from beginners to professional, so 100% get on it and make the most out of it, because I was converted myself. It didn’t take too much to open my mind once I see Lighting effects being used by true professionals, it makes a huge difference when you see the big boys master a tool such as Lighting effects.
So now I’ll be walking you through all the various options, giving good examples for you to follow.
The three different types of lighting effects that we have are the Point light, Spot light and Infinite light.
Starting with our Point Light. This works as if you were holding a torch and shining it on something.
The next effect is the spot light. This light is coming from above, shining down on our subject. You can stretch out the circle around it, to increase the lighting effect, by clicking and pulling the points on the outside.
Last is the Infinite Light. So, imagine that it’s a huge torch, only with this tool you can move the angle of the beam around like in the examples below.
If you play with the settings, you can see that you are able to increase the intensity of the light beams back and forth, and so on.
You may also change the colour of your Lighting Effect, so depending on your image you may want to use a different colour to best suit the light in your images, as it will not always be white light.
There is also what’s called a hot spot area. That slider will intensify the main beam of the light, so in other words the “bulb/globe” area of your lighting effect, or the source!
Exposure does to the lighting effect exactly what exposure would do in a normal camera, so if there isn’t enough our lighting effect will look grey and with too much, it will look completely blown out and far to white, resulting in a major loss of detail.
Either way isn’t good, so I tend to not even bother with this one.
Next you’ll see gloss and metallic, I guess this is kind of self explanatory, but I’ll fill you in just in case.
With gloss and metallic, you would use these on plastic surfaces, cars and other things like that. You’ll want to match it with the material, so imagine what the light would look like on something and use the effect accordingly. If you look around now, wherever you are, you will see how light may fall on a wall, but if there was a metal door beside that the other lighting effect would use the metallic function.
You don’t have too, as I doubt many people would notice, but it’s an option and it’s there for you to use so hey, why not right?
Last of the features is the ambiance. Think of your ambiance as your dimmer switch, say you had a nice picture of a living room with people sitting around and you wanted to create a smokey vintage feel. You could, after the other edits, use an ambient lighting effects on the lights to give the image a bit more atmosphere and expand the range of the light.
Ok, so by now you should be pretty familiar with the options you have at your disposal, so keep practicing and try to apply these to your skill set.
But what if you wish to create such lighting effects in a faster way? Yes it’s true this process gave you full control on how to manipulate the lighting, but when you need to process a large bulk of images, time is gold. For that very reason, we created a bundle of Overlays for Adobe Photoshop in order to attend those needs – Our Complete Collection of Lighting Overlays.
Not only for urban night photographs, but also for boosting natural lighting, these images work with Photoshop’s layer blending modes, not requiring any additional knowledge from you. Quick and effective: you only need to position them, resize and change layer blending mode and voilà! Take a look at this example below.
Here is the original image
And this is the end result after using our Starburst Overlays
Like I mentioned before, fast, easy and effective!
Next up is how to create chromatic aberration in Photoshop, check it out and don’t stop learning!