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Subject Topic: Basic Lighting Effects in Photoshop Post ReplyPost New Topic
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tintagel
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Posted: 02/16/2007 at 3:37am | IP Logged Quote tintagel

Here is a brief tutorial on making basic lighting effects with Photoshop. I am using Linebacker's recent map, Cabin Scene, for this.

Let's start with your original:


First, I start with adding an Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to the original. This layer should grouped with the original, but NOT merged.


I choose a contrast/brightness layer and set the contrast down a bit (-10 or so) and darken it from 30-60, depending on how dark I need it.


Next, select the area for the light. I usually choose a Fixed radius (it's a drop-down on the selection toolbar). Feather it to about 25% of the radius. So, if your radius is 200, feather it about 50.


Copy from the original layer, then paste ABOVE the top layer. This copies the brighter original over the darkened adjustment. If this is not bright enough, you can easily duplicate the copy and merge the two.


Next, delete areas that obviously do not get light (like behind walls).


Repeat this process for each light source, or do it once for all lights. Doing this individually will take longer, but will also give you independent light sources for overlap.


When you are done copying your lights, merge them all together. You might consider saving your photoshop file as something else, so you have the original layers to go back to. It's important that they are merged into one, though, if you want the lights to have color effects. Make a brightness/contrast adjustment layer that is grouped with your lights layer. Set this brightness and contrast a bit higher.


Next make a second adjustment layer (grouped) - for Color Balance. Play with the colors to your liking. I find that skewing the midtones and highlights a bit more yellow & red and the shadows a bit more purple helps.


If you find that your image isn't dark enough in the shadows, you can either further darken the adjustment layer - but that sometimes makes for strange colors when pushed too far. You could just add an additional layer between your original and lights, and color it black. Then use the Opacity slider to make it about 10-30% transparent, depending on what you like.


Finally, save your image for the web. Enjoy!


Oh, here is the Photoshop file, if anyone wants it.

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slashdevnull
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Posted: 02/16/2007 at 6:43am | IP Logged Quote slashdevnull

Excellent tutorial! Thanks!

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lupha
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Posted: 02/18/2007 at 8:44am | IP Logged Quote lupha

wow, very nice tutorial. I would never have thought of doing it that way. Thanks!
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Erdrix
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Posted: 12/10/2007 at 3:04pm | IP Logged Quote Erdrix

*performs thread necromancy*

Does anyone know if this can be done with Corel Draw? I know, I know... I'm the only person in the world that uses it.
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dDemonicAngels
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Posted: 12/11/2007 at 9:31am | IP Logged Quote dDemonicAngels

I would not have done it this way either but it really very easy.

You can't use Corel Draw to do this but you can use Corel PhotoPaint, which is probably what you meant. PhotoPaint can spin wheelies around Photoshop with its eyes closed so your answer is yes. We few Corel users need to stick together.

Now when you getting it working, can you send me a tutorial???   

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Erdrix
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Posted: 12/11/2007 at 11:47am | IP Logged Quote Erdrix

AHA! I forgot about photo paint, I've been using draw for every thing and that's probably why I can't get it to do what I want it to do. Thanks for that reminder!
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mercutio
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Posted: 02/22/2008 at 11:13am | IP Logged Quote mercutio

Sorry for the thread resurrection...how could I have missed this tutorial?
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Cisticola
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Posted: 02/22/2008 at 12:02pm | IP Logged Quote Cisticola

Its how I learnt to do my lighting effects.....
Although I use Gimp the principle is the same

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Serendipitous
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Posted: 04/09/2008 at 8:52am | IP Logged Quote Serendipitous

*Bump* I probably shouldn't be bumping a topic at my level of posts (less than ten ) but this tutorial isn't listed on the tutorial list and i wasn't sure if I should post it there or not. I'm just glad i found it so soon, now I can make all my future maps with proper lighting! Thanks a bunch!
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neopavlik
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Posted: 04/09/2008 at 2:26pm | IP Logged Quote neopavlik

I concur.

It's been a great reference to me...the only different is my version of Photoshop has a very destructive "brightness/contrast" tool so I've been using "levels" instead.
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tintagel
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Posted: 04/09/2008 at 3:58pm | IP Logged Quote tintagel

This may be inappropriate because I am the OP on this, but perhaps it could be added to the tutorials list, or made sticky? It's been bumped a few times now, and that is usually a good criteria for stickyness.

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pedrov
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Posted: 04/09/2008 at 6:00pm | IP Logged Quote pedrov

I second the nomination!

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Cisticola
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Posted: 04/10/2008 at 1:00am | IP Logged Quote Cisticola

Definantly should be in the tutorial list....

....this was the tut that inspired me....once you master
this basic technique there is no going back

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Kepli
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Posted: 04/11/2008 at 11:37am | IP Logged Quote Kepli

Done ... see page three of the Tips sticky

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fallout
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Posted: 08/21/2008 at 12:11pm | IP Logged Quote fallout

I'm having a really hard time following this tutorial...it seems like alot of steps are kind of skipped over :(

What do you mean by merging the lights? Also, I don't know what version your using but it seems like something are different in the version of photoshop I'm using. Also, when I try to mess with the color balance, the color of the whole image changes, not just the lights that I made.
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Kepli
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Posted: 08/21/2008 at 12:18pm | IP Logged Quote Kepli

Sounds to me you are not using layers in PS Fallout.
With merging he means merging the layers with the lights. Select those layers (CTRL-Click) and press CTRL-e to merge them.

Same with the colour balance. You can do that per layer.

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fallout
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Posted: 08/21/2008 at 12:28pm | IP Logged Quote fallout

I'll try to be more specific...

I can get the first brightness/contrast layer created just fine. After that is what I don't understand.

First, he says "Next, select the area for the light. I usually choose a Fixed radius (it's a drop-down on the selection toolbar). Feather it to about 25% of the radius. So, if your radius is 200, feather it about 50."

Ok, so do I create a new layer? Do I select a marquee (that isn't mentioned but I figured that out)? I'm guessing circle marquee. Ok. So create a new layer and select with the marquee the areas that you want for the light. Ok, so I selected the marquee. What do I do now? The next set of instructions says:

Copy from the original layer, then paste ABOVE the top layer. This copies the brighter original over the darkened adjustment. If this is not bright enough, you can easily duplicate the copy and merge the two.

I'm guessing the original layer is the layer with the selected portions of where I want the light to be. If you look at the screenshot it shows Layer 1 and Layer 1 copy with some kind of shadow in it. Was I supposed to fill the marquee layers with black?
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fallout
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Posted: 08/21/2008 at 12:36pm | IP Logged Quote fallout

Hmm, you know what. Through messing around on my own I figured it out. Sort of.
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tintagel
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Posted: 08/21/2008 at 1:47pm | IP Logged Quote tintagel

Sorry I left a bit out, fallout. Sometimes I forget to include things that come second nature to me.

The basic idea is that you create 3 basic layers. From top to bottom, they are:

Lit area
Darkness layer
Original image.

The basic steps include:
#1: create a darkness layer over your original layer. This is done either with a semi-transparent black fill, a brightness/contrast adjustment layer, or a combination.

#2: Select "lit" areas and copy/paste them ABOVE the darkness (so that they are effectively untouched by darkness). You do this by using the circular marquee with some heavy feathering and selecting your original layer, around a light source. Then you copy that and paste into the layer above the darkness.

#3: brighten up the new "lit" layer and adjust colors to enhance the lights. This is also where you erase parts of the 3rd layer to create shadows.

I might try to make a youtube video of this sometime after DragonCon.

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tintagel
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Posted: 08/21/2008 at 2:41pm | IP Logged Quote tintagel

Ok, so I got a bit enthusiastic. Here is my video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlH16Xq8Cc0

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