In this tutorial you will learn how to quickly, and easily add realistic looking lightning to your photos and images. This effect is fantastic for use with animated images, and graphics, as well as static logos and images. There are several ways to create lightning with photoshop, and this tutorial will show you one of the quickest and easiest ways to accomplish this awesome effect.
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Open a new, or existing document in photoshop, here is the image l will be working with throughout this tutorial.
Press 'D' on your keyboard to reset your foreground and background colors to black (#000000) white (#FFFFFF) respectively.
Press CTRL + SHIFT + N on your keyboard to create a new layer.
Get out the rectangular marquee tool (), and make a selection on the canvas as l've done here:
Get out the Gradient Tool () and apply the following settings:
Now fill your selection with the gradient fill tool, similar to what l've done here:
Go to Filter->Render->Difference Clouds.
Go to Image->Adjustments->Invert (or press CTRL + i on your keyboard) to invert the colors.
Press CTRL + L on your keyboard to bring up the Levels Adjustment tool, and apply a setting of .10 in the center box, as shown here:
Press CTRL + D on your keyboard to deselect the selection.
Change the blending mode of this layer to "Screen":
Go to Filter->Distort->Wave. Using the default settings, click the "Randomize" button a couple times, to give the lightning a little more jaggedness:
Finally press the CTRL + T on your keyboard to get out the free transform tool, and position your lightning bolt exactly where you'd like it to appear in your artwork.
Finally we'll colorize the bolt.
Press CTRL+ U to bring up the Hue/Saturation tool to add color.
Make sure the "Colorize" button is checked. Here are the settings l've used:
Here is my final result, after apply these techniques to my image:
I hope you've enjoined reading this tutorial and learning some quick and easy techniques for creating lightning in your photoshop artwork. Please be sure to check out the rest of our great tutorials while you're here!