This tutorial explains how to
create a "light
painting" effect. This effect is named after a process
photographers use to create areas of light to accent specific
a photograph. Special lighting and repeated "Polaroid" test
shots are needed to get just the right control over light
and shadow.(see image A.) The arrows on the detailed image
show specific areas where light was added on the orange bottle,
the white thread spool and the shadowed items in the center.
Light painting can create many interesting effects as in
the picture of the week titled "Painting
A This image has been enhanced Click the image to open
the detailed view
1)You will need 2 images of the
same object that can be registered together exactly on separate
layers (download lite.zip).
To achieve an exact match the pictures will need to be taken
from a camera mounted on sturdy tripod. Ideally there should
be at least 2 f-stops difference between the images. Take
1 image with correct aperture and shutter speed. Take the
second by leaving the shutter speed and dropping the F-stop
2 clicks. The image will be pretty dark but should retain
much of the highlight details (images C and D)
2) Bring the images into Photoshop and align the images
exactly. Place the bright image on the top layer.
3) Select the bottom (darker) layer. Choose from the file
menu filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur set the slider to 2.0 and
click apply. This will soften the shadows.
4) Select the top (lighter) layer and apply a black filled
layer mask by clicking on the "add layer mask" icon at
the bottom of the layers pallet while holding down the
[alt] key (MS Windows)
Image C - Normal
You will see the layer mask added
to the layer. Click directly on the black mask square to
edit the layer. Choose the Brush tool and set the foreground
to white and background to black by pressing the
"d" key (default colors) then the "x" key. Select a soft
edged brush and set the opacity to less
Image D - Under 2 stops
Paint in the highlights with the white, switch
to black if you go to far or make a mistake. When painting
on a layer mask white reveals the layer and black covers.
When you are done, apply the mask and flatten the image.
You can add special effects by applying filters and and
changes to the saturation of each layer to create some very
Light layer over saturated 50% and fine brush stokes