lighting effect photoshop by AgumJunianto


Simple Focused Lighting Effect In Photoshop
Before                                              After

Written By Steve Patterson

In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, we're going to look at how to bring focus and attention to a specific
part of an image using a simple and easy to create lighting effect. This technique also happens to be a
good way to add interest to a photo that could use a little more visual snap. Let's bring more attention
to her face by making a simple and subtle adjustment to the lighting in the image. Here's how it will look
when we're done:

Step 1: Add A Curves Adjustment Layer

Let's begin by darkening the overall image using a Curves adjustment layer. First, we'll need to add the
adjustment layer, so click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette:
                                                     Photoshop Lighting Effect: Clicking on the "New
                                                     Adjustment Layer" icon.

                                                     Then select
                                                     Curves from the
                                                     list of
                                                     layers that

Photoshop Lighting Effect: Select a Curves adjustment layer.

Step 2: Drag The White Point Down To Darken The Image

When the Curves dialog box appears, you'll see a large square grid with a diagonal line running through
it from the bottom left to the top right. We can control the tonal range of the image by reshaping this
line. If you look on either end of the line, you'll see a small square point. The point in the bottom left
represents areas of pure black in the image, and the point in the top right represents areas of pure

We can move these points around to control how light or dark the image appears. In our case, we want
to darken the image, so click on the point in the top right corner of the grid, which controls how bright
the image is, and drag it straight down. As you drag down, you'll see your image in the document
window becoming increasingly darker. Continue dragging the point down until the Output option in the
bottom left of the dialog box shows a value of around 70:

Photoshop Lighting Effect: Dragging the white point in the
top right corner of the grid straight down to darken the

You can drag the white point down even further if you wish
to make the image even darker, and in fact at this point, it's
better to make the image too dark since we can easily
lighten it later, as we'll see. I usually set my Output level to
around 70 to begin with. Click OK when you're done to exit
out of the dialog box. The photo now appears much darker
than it was originally:
                                        Photoshop Lighting Effect: The image after darkening it with

                                        Step 3: Select The Lasso Tool

                                        Now that we've darkened our image, we need to select the
                                        area where we want the light to appear. We don't need to
                                        worry about making precise, surgical selections, so Photoshop's
                                        Lasso Tool will work just fine. Grab the Lasso Tool from the
                                        Tools palette or press the letter L on your keyboard to select it
                                        with the shortcut:

                                        Photoshop Lighting Effect: Select the Lasso Tool.

                                        Step 4: Draw A Selection Around The Area You Want To

                                        With the Lasso Tool selected, draw a rough selection around
                                        the area you want to highlight. In my case, I want the light to
                                        fall on the woman's face, and maybe down on to her shoulder
                                        as well, so I'll draw out a selection like so:

                                        Photoshop Lighting Effect: Draw a rough selection around the
                                        area where you want the light to appear.

                                        Notice how my selection is rough and jagged looking, but that's
                                        okay. We'll be softening the edges of the selection in a

                                        Step 5: Fill The Selection With Black

If we look over in our Layers palette, we can see that we now have two layers. The Background layer,
which is the layer that contains our photo, is on the bottom, and our Curves adjustment layer, which we
used to darken the image, is sitting above it. One of the great things about Photoshop's adjustment
layers is that each one comes with its own built in layer mask, and if we look closely, we can see a white
highlight border around the layer mask's thumbnail:

Photoshop Lighting Effect: The Layers palette showing a white highlight border around the adjustment
layer's layer mask thumbnail.

This highlight border is telling us that we currently have the layer mask selected, and we're going to use
the mask to hide the effects of the Curves adjustment layer inside the area we just selected. To do that,
we need to fill our selection with black. Go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Fill
to bring up Photoshop's Fill dialog box. When the dialog box appears, select Black from the drop-down
box to the right of the word "Use":

Photoshop Lighting Effect: Select "Black" in the Fill dialog box.

Click OK to exit out of the dialog box, and Photoshop fills our selection with black. We can see if we look
again at our layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette that it's now showing an area of black. This is the
area that was inside our selection:
                                       Photoshop Lighting Effect: The layer mask thumbnail now
                                       showing the area we filled with black.

                                       And if we look at our image in the document window, we can see
                                       that the darkening effect of the Curves adjustment layer has been
                                          hidden inside our selection, revealing the original photo

                                          Photoshop Lighting Effect: The effects of the Curves
                                          adjustment layer are now hidden inside our selection.

                                          Press Ctrl+D (Win) / Command+D (Mac) to remove the
                                          selection outline from the image.

                                          Step 6: Apply The Gaussian Blur Filter

                                           To make the effect look more like light shining on the woman,
                                           we need to soften the edges of our selected area, which
means we need to blur them, and for that, we can use Photoshop's Gaussian Blur filter. Go up to the
Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Blur, and then choose Gaussian Blur. When the dialog box
appears, drag the slider at the bottom towards the right to increase the Radius value. The higher the
Radius value, the more blurring is applied to the image. Keep an eye on your photo in the document
window as you drag the slider to judge how much blurring you need to create a realistic looking, smooth
transition between the light and dark areas. I'm going to set my Radius value to around 40 pixels. You
may want to set yours higher or lower depending on your image. The best way to work is not to
memorize numbers but to judge for yourself what value works best with your image:

Photoshop Lighting Effect: Blur the edges of your selected area by adjusting the Radius value in the
Gaussian Blur dialog box.
                                    Here's my image after applying the Gaussian Blur filter:

                                    Photoshop Lighting Effect: The edges of the selected area now
                                    blend smoothly with the surrounding darker area.

                                    Step 7: Lower The Opacity Of The Curves Adjustment Layer

                                    If you find that the darkening effect of the Curves adjustment
                                    layer is too strong and making the rest of the photo around
                                    the highlighted area too dark, simply lower the opacity of the
                                    adjustment layer to fine-tune the effect. The Opacity option is
                                    in the top right corner of the Layers palette. I'm going to lower
                                    my opacity down to around 60%:

                                    Photoshop Lighting Effect: Lowering the opacity of the Curves
                                    adjustment layer.

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