Use Photoshop Shapes to Create a Crown of Light
Creating Shapes in Photoshop
While it may be foreign to most photographers, knowing how to create shapes in Photoshop can be an important part of the editing process. By creating just one shape and using the transform tool in different ways, we are able to create a beautiful and unique crown for our subject. Adding gaussian blur along with layer masks make the crown appear as if it is emitting a strong light.
Matching the Light
When making an object appear as a light source in post production, there’s a lot more to keep in mind than just adding a glow. To make the light appear as realistic as possible, make sure it affects the rest of the image as it would in real life. Imagine where the highlights and shadows would actually fall and try to replicate that. Since there’s a light source on our subject’s head, we use curves adjustment layers to bring out the highlights in her face and dress.
Before and After
What do with an old balloon you got for Valentine’s Day? Today I’m going to show you some awesome effects with lighting.
Hey guys, welcome to Phlearn. My name is Aaron Nace. You can find me on Twitter @aknacer. Today we’re doing some really exciting things in Photoshop. I want to show you guys how to take some really cool images with a lighting effect and actually create a halo and some really cool things based on an image that you guys provided us in a contest. I can’t wait to get into it and today’s going to be an awesome episode. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Let’s get started guys. This is our image. It was submitted by EJ for a contest and EJ you won a Phlearn PRO because we’re editing your image here on Phlearn. This is what we’re going to be today, a very cool lighting effect making this person into a queen of the forest and not only are we creating like a crown of light and a glow around it but we’re doing some really great things to lighten up their dress as well.
Let’s go ahead and turn that off and I’m going to show you guys how to do it from scratch. Basically, we got the idea, it was really just an amazing image and I thought it might be cool to play with light for the image. What we’re going to do is I’m going to create a new layer right above our background here and the first thing I want to do is create our little crown. It’s really not that hard to create. What we’re going to do is I’m going to grab my polygonal [0:01:20.2] tool and I’m going to create a triangle shape up here. You can create this in basically whatever shape you want. We’re just going to stick with something like this. We’ve got our triangle shape there and now you’re thinking, “Okay, do I got to make a million of these and array them,” and things like that. You don’t because there’s a really cool thing in Photoshop called step and repeat that’s just going to do it for you.
What we’re going to do now is I’m going to hold shift delete and we’re just going to fill this with … let’s just say fill that with white. There we go. Let’s go ahead and just put this maybe, yes, just there off to the left. That looks pretty good. What I want to do is be able to copy this over and over again and scale it as I do it. Pay attention to the next few keyboard command because they’re relatively important. First thing we’re going to do is hit control or command and click on our thumbnail. That’s going to turn your layer into a selection. That’s a really important step.
The next is we’re going to hold down option command or alt control, if you guys are on a PC, and then I’m going to hit T. So option command is the step part of our transformation. What we’re going to do is I’m going to move our little point right here. You can move your pivot point. If you‘re going over it and it won’t let you … it won’t allow you to move it, you can also move it using these guides right over here. Let’s move it to the very bottom here and then if I hover over it I should be able to move it again. There we go. It’s allowing me to move my little pivot point there. What that means is when I rotate it, it’s going to rotate it around that point instead of around the middle. I’m going to hold the shift key and there we go. Sorry, you don’t actually need to hold the shift key. We’re just going to rotate this a little bit to the left there and you can see it’s copying it because when you do a transform when something is selected like it is there, it’s going to copy it over, that’s what’s called a step, and it’s going to be on the same layer.
What I’m going to do now is hold the shift and the option key, this is shift and alt if you guys are on a PC, and make it a little bit smaller. There we go. That’s our transformation and then I’m going to hit this checkbox up here and it’s going to apply it. What we have now is our main shape and we’ve just transformed it and scaled it over a little bit. That’s our step part of the step and repeat. Now comes the repeat part and this is where it gets really cool; it’s actually really easy to do. Just hold the shift, option and command, if you guys are on a PC it’s going to be shift, alt and control, and then hit T a couple of times. Those three down and hit T. Each time you do it’s going to apply that same exact transformation that you just did over and over and over and over again. You can just keep hitting T a bunch of times now we’ve got that really cool shape. So really not that hard. We’ve made that cool crown thing and just a couple of steps.
We’ve got half of a crown now or like a fourth of it. What do we do to get a little bit more? I’m going to hit command J and command J duplicates your layer. Command T, right click and then flip horizontal. Now we’ve got something like this and we’ll just go ahead and bring that in there. You can do this basically anyway you decided to make your crown or whatever you’re going to make, lighting effects using the step and repeat. This is going to come out differently everytime you do it because those transformations are … they’re just going to look a little bit different. We’ll make this one and if we like it, we’ll stick with and if we don’t, you can make a different one. Every single time you’re going to do this they’re going to come out a little bit different.
I’ve got that shape. I think it’s really cool and now I’m just going to copy it over. I’m going hit command J. I went ahead and grouped those two layers so they’re in a group now. I’m going to hit command J on the group and then we’re just going to transform this. I’m going to kind of bring it out and then holding down shift and alt for option, I’m going to stretch that as well. What we’ve got now is basically the crown and it’s in two different shapes here. It’s in the shape of the top part of the crown and then the bottom. I can drag this down, kind of move it however we want, but I think that looks pretty good so far. This is going to be our crown that’s on the top of our subject. Maybe I can go a little bit bigger so let’s shift click to those and I’m going to hit command T which is going to bring up our transform, grab our midpoint here and then just scale that out a little bit there.
Now we’ve got a point that’s quite a bit bigger. What are we going to do with it now? We need to apply this into a curve’s adjustment layer so instead of just showing up white, it’s actually going to look like it’s going to brighten up that area. We’ll show you how to do that now. How do we transfer what we’ve already created onto a curve adjustment layer? All we need to do is we’ve got those two layers; I’m going to hit command E and that’s going to merge them together so there are two groups. We’ve got those together now. We’re going to hold down control or command and I’m going to click on this shape and that’s going to turn that into a selection. You can see now that we have a selection it’s probably going to be pretty easy to apply that into a curve adjustment layer. All you need to do is grab an adjustment layer when you go down with the curve and what it’s going to do is it’s going to automatically load up selection as a layer mask. If you have a selection already active and you grabbed an adjustment layer, it’s going to load up selection as a layer mask.
It’s going to be invisible there so let’s just grab our curve adjustment layer and I’m going to really just crank that part a bit brighter and then we have our really cool lighting effect just like that. We can see it really doesn’t take a whole long time to get something like this. Now because I wanted to … I like creating things in a bunch of different layers. It tends to make things look a little more real and just give that a little bit more effect. We’re creating a light crown. It’s not exactly going to look real no matter what you do but it’s going to look a little bit more like a cool effect. I’m going to hit command J to duplicate that again and now we’re just going to give this a blur. Here on the layer mask we’re going to go filter, blur and then down the Gaussian blur. Something like that you can just decide for yourself whatever is going to look a little bit best. It’s just going to give it a little of … keep it from being one dimensional, just adds a little bit more to the entire blur and you can change your opacity and kind of play around there as much as you want. Very cool.
Keep in mind this has nothing to do with our subject. If I wanted to, let’s go ahead and group those out, maybe I want to make them just a little bit bigger and bring it down. There we go. That looks pretty cool. I can put a layer mask on that entire group and this is where I can define where I want this to be invisible and where I want it to be visible. I’m going to stay away from … I’m not going to try to do a perfect job cutting out all these things that are already here. If you wanted to, be my guest. You can cut things out, but oftentimes I find, especially with light, it’s a little bit better to blend and because we do already have this nice light face, it should allow us to blend relatively well. That’s what I’m going to stick to, but of course when you guys are working on your images you can do whatever you want. All right. There we go. Cool. We’re just sticking to blending and it just makes my job quite a bit easier.
We’re going to do a little bit more for this. I’m going to grab a new layer. We’re going to bring this under, actually, the layer we were just painting on. I’m just going to grab a grading tool, G for the grading tool, let’s cover night like color that’s here in … I don’t know if you want to grab white. Maybe it’s just something that’s right there in the crown. We’re going to use our radial gradient. Click on our gradient editor and make sure you’re using the program to foreground to transparent and then click right here in the middle and drag out. That’s going to create that nice little halo again. We don’t want this to darken anything. It’s supposed to be light so we’re going to go from normal down here to lighten. It’s going to make sure we’re not darkening the side of a face and things like that. Let’s put a layer mask on this and then you paint away wherever you want to as well. Make it a little bit less. Generally, when things look like perfect circles and things like that in Photoshop, it just looks like you did them in Photoshop. I try to put a layer mask and just paint around with some weird shapes on there. It’s going to break it up. You can see here the before just looks like a circle that was made in Photoshop and it’s just a little bit more natural. I don’t know if we’re making a crazy light crown on our queen of the forest so nothing about this image is natural but it doesn’t look as Photoshopy.
Now let’s go ahead and bring this in … I want to bring some of these lighting effects that I really like onto not only the top here so it looks like it’s actually affecting the rest of our subject but even on down to our dress area. We’re going to do that by grabbing another curve adjustment layer. Let’s go to our adjustment layers and go up here to curves and then we’re going to click and just really drag that up. Looking good. Let’s go ahead and bring that up to the very top and then I’m going to hit command I on that and we’re going to paint white here on our subject just right up here. I’m actually going to this over two different layers and I’m going to show you guys why in just a second. I’m going to try to imitate some of the light falloff from the crown here. I’m going to take care of the top part and then I’m going to take care of the bottom part of our dress completely differently. Sorry, the same, just a little bit less intensity.
I’ve got that up there and I think it looks good. Let’s get it to apply. This is a good hint: whenever you guys are trying to add a bit of light to an image, you can use something called apply image which just basically puts on your layer mask and it makes the dark a little bit darker on your layer mask and it just has the light not show up where the darks are. It continues to lighten your highlights and it ignores the shadows. It just makes everything blend a lot better. What we’re going to do is I’m going to go up here to image, down here to apply image and you would do this right here on your layer mask. This is what my layer mask looks like before. We’re going to let image down here to apply image and let’s go over here and you can see already taking effect. There’s the preview. There is the before and the after. You can see it just looks quite a bit more natural. What you want to do is choose merge, RGB is multiply, opacity 100 and you’re good to go.
This is what my layer mask looks like now. It takes the snapshot of our image wherever is darker doesn’t show up and wherever is lighter does show up which is perfect for adding some highlights. If you want to go a little bit more, make it subtle, just do it again. Image, down here to apply image and you could see it’s going to be a little bit more subtle now. You can decide how bright or how dark you want this. It’s totally up to you. I’m going to do the same thing again just because I do want to brighten the dress up but I want it to be a little bit not as bright. We’re going to grab our curve adjustment layer again. Let’s brighten that up right above there. I’m going to hit command I and here on our dress, there we go, we’re going to paint this in as well and then I’m going to go to image and down here to apply image. Let’s just do that again. There we go. We can see, there’s a little bit overlap here so if I want to just … this is what my layer mask looks like now. It goes from being just a white blob to something with a lot of detail, which is very cool.
Generally, I don’t like to destroy the detail that’s in there. If I take it and I just start painting black now, what happens is I destroy all the detail that’s there. Generally, what I do instead of just painting black on this layer mask, I will group this layer with itself. I’m going to hit command G, group that layer with itself and then I can put a layer mask on that group. Then I can start to fade some things away if I want them and I don’t have to worry about affecting this because I am affecting this instead. Thanks creative light. They’re tweeting at me here. We can affect the layer mask on the group instead of the actual layer mask on the layer and that’s just going to help me blend everything just a little bit better. Very cool. We’ll just grab one final effect. I’m going to just put a little bit of light and a little bit of color on this because when you add light forces I think it’s a good time and I think it’s a little bit of fun to add a little color.
We’re going to bring up our RGB but I’m also going to grab our blues and I’m going to pull that up a little bit and then I’m going to grab our greens and I’m going to pull that up a little bit as well. Maybe the light that’s coming out of her head has got a little bit of color into it too. It’s just not a white light. It’s going to have a little bit of color. There we go. We can just paint around and imitate a bright glow there. Very cool. So you can see it just adds that little bit of color and maybe put a little bit in her dress there. We can even do image down here to apply image. You know what? I don’t even like that. I think it looked better before. There we go. Adding that little bit of a light glow. You guys can see, that really didn’t take too long. I don’t know if this would have any effect, any application on any of your images, but if it does this is really, this is a really cool way to make a shape with light and have it affect the rest of your image.
Guys, thanks so much for watching this tutorial. I hope you really loved it. Find a lot more here at phlearn.com. We’ve got over 450 videos for free. That’s a lot and it should take up quite a bit of your life watching them. Taking up quite a bit of mine making them. Thanks guys. I’ll phlearn you later. Bye everyone.