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Feb 09, 2016

How to Create Sun Rays in Photoshop

In today’s episode, we show you How to Create Sun Rays in Photoshop!

Getting Started

It’s getting hot in here!  Before we dive into Photoshop we had to ask ourselves the question, why Sun Rays?  The truth is, sometimes it’s the most subtle of effects that really makes an image stand out.  Dust particles, slight color changes, even Sun Rays are a great way to draw attention to your image.  Now we’d suggest you try your absolute hardest to capture these elements in camera, during the actual photo shoot.  But sometimes you just can’t, that’s where we come in.

We start off with selecting our image.  The image we chose was perfect because the sun is actually visible in the image. Next we sample a color from the sun in the image.  We do this so that the color of our light rays are the same color as the sun.  This makes the effect look more believable.  After having our color sampled and on a New Layer, we begin to create a Custom Brush.  The Brush Tool typical writes in lines.  But we want each stroke of our Brush Tool to leave a trail of little dots.  We are able to do this by adjusting our Brush Options

Creating a Custom Brush

We start of by adjusting our Shape Dynamics.  We boost our Size Jitter all the way to 100%.  Then we bring our Minimum Diameter all the way down.  The idea when creating a Custom Brush is to get as much unpredictability as possible.  We also adjust our Scattering so our dots are farther apart.  We then adjust our Spacing and that really helps spread out our dots.  Keep in mind that the idea is for each of the dots to become a light ray.

Creating Light Rays

So now it’s time for us to create light rays on our image.  We start off by scattering a bunch of little dots across our image.  We do this in the most random fashion possible.  Next we decide to add a Radial Blur to our dots.  We play with our options in our Radial Blur to see what we’re working with.  We click on the Zoom option and bring the amount to 100%.  Next we choose our Blur Center.  It’s a good idea to place your Blur Center right on top of the light source in your image.  We adjust the Lightness of our light rays and we are good to go!

9 Comments


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  • user image
    Tony

    Really great tutorial and very cool effect, explained in simple way. Definitely I will try it. Thanks

  • user image
    Villy

    Thanks for your tutorials, they are really awesome!
    But I would have a question: for ajusting photos you use sometimes Image-Adjustment-Levels (Alt+L), sometimes you use the Adjustment Layers for the same. What is the rule for usage either the one or the second one.
    Thanks and best regards:))
    Villy

  • user image
    lucy hall

    I love these tutorials they help me so much with my work 🙂
    Iv been watching them for months and only just realised there are bloopers?!?!?!?! Just sat and watched them all and has really made my day ha ha .. more graphic design tutorials pleeeeeaaase
    love from the UK !

  • user image
    Hai

    Works great. I have tried a couple of times to get the perfect brush setting, but once I nailed it, the outcome is amazing.

    Thanks man. Great work as always.

  • rberrypics

    I like to shoot old barns, sometimes when the sky is boring I cut it out and update. When I select the trees with no limbs it leaves a ghost on the image around all the very small limbs. How do I get rid of these and get a good clean mask?
    Love your tutorials!

  • user image
    Kajetan "KG" Groicher

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’ll definitely be looking to refine my skills with this technique. As I look at my image on two different monitors, and my iPhone, I can tell that I’ve got a way to go in refining, but I’m satisfied to call this a good start.

    Photo taken in Kona, Hawaii on Ali’i Drive.

    15 second exposure, f6.3 ISO 100, 13mm.