In this tutorial l'm going to show you one way of creating an effect known as the "life beam". This effect can be done a lot of different ways, and there are several tutorials out there on creating this awesome effect.
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Open up a new document that is 250 x 450.
Set your foreground color to: #000000, and your background color to: #042600
Fill the background with a gradient like so:
Next create a new layer, set your foreground color to white (#FFFFFF), select the brush tool, set your brush size to 175, round with a 0% hardness.
and create a dot near the bottom center of the canvas
Next we'll apply a new color adjustment. Do this by going to "layer->new layer adjustment->color balance".
This will open up the box bellow, change the mode to "color":
And apply these settings: Make sure you check the Highlight box
Here's how your image should look after this:
Next create a new layer directly above the layer with the "dot" we'd made in step 2.
Notice it is Bellow the "color balance" layer.
Set your foreground color to white (#FFFFFF).
Once again, get the brush out, and apply these settings: Size 30, 0% hardness:
Now just draw a straight line from the center of our dot to the top of the canvas. If you hold down the SHIFT key while doing this, the line will be perfectly straight:
Now create a new layer. You should still have the brush tool selected. If not get it back out. Set the size to 225 this time, and place another dot on top of the layer with the line we just drew.
Select the smudge tool
and apply these settings:
Starting from the outside, drag inwards on your large dot from the top inwards. This will take lots of clicking and dragging: