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Basic Lightning

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David24

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I will show you how to create lightning and/or a "lightning-ish" effect.

First open a new image

Then create a new layer. Ctrl+Shift+N

Once you have a new layer, choose your Gradient tool.


Drag your cursor across the screen to get a gradient. You can hold Shift while doing so to get a straight one. Note: This affects what kind of lightning you will get. A bigger gradient will have more scattered lightning and a smaller one will have more of a straight lightning bolt.


Next use the Difference Clouds filter. Filter menu>Render>Difference Clouds

You'll get something like this:


Now we invert the colors. To do this got to the Image menu>Adjustments>Invert OR Ctrl+I for shortcut. Your image will look something like this:


Now you can kinda see the lightning.

Next go to your Image menu>Adjustments>Levels OR Ctrl+L for shortcut. This will bring up the levels window. There will be three arrows to adjust the input levels. Play around with them to get the desired effect.


Here's what I got:


You can clean up the image with the Paint Brush tool to get exactly what you want.


Also in the Levels box you can experiment to get different colors of the "bolt".

This is just a VERY BASIC tutorial.

Any questions are welcome. And just an FYI I used Photoshop CS4 for this tut.

Hope this is helpful to someone!!
 

David24

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Thanks guys.

Another tip. After you get your gradient you can use the Liquify filter to get a more realistic lighning bolt. (Filter menu>Liquify)

You can end up with something like this:


:)
 
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