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Technique: Quick and Easy Lightning.

Tutorial by Metara.



So easy it feels kind of like cheating... This is a way to make a really nice looking lightning effect with very little effort. It uses one filter: Gaussian Blur.

Here is my picture.

It is quite nice but it lacks a certain something.



Stage One

Take a nice bright neon-ish blue and paint in the lightning on a new layer at 100% opacity. Be messy and organic. It looks better if you use several sizes of brush. I like to make one big "column" of lightning and draw littler threads going around it.



Stage Two

Now duplicate the lightning layer. Put the duplicate layer BELOW your original lightning layer, and run the Gaussian Blur filter (adjust the slider if needed, until you get a nice fuzzy edge).

On the Layers menu set the blending of this layer to HARD LIGHT.


Stage Three

Nearly done. Go back to the original lightning layer. On the Layers menu tick the box that says PRESERVE TRANSPARENCY. Then go over your image with a big hard-edged brush to color all the lightning white.

Told you it was easy.

This technique is not limited to making lightning. You can use different colours, blending modes and blurs to get all sorts of effects. The bird's eye was also made to glow this way, and the pattern on the floor.



Thanks to Metara for letting me post this lovely tutorial.