Simple Lightning in Photoshop

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Posted in TechnologyDigital-graphics

Introduction: Simple Lightning in Photoshop

In this instructable I'll show how to make lightning.

Step 1: Gradient

First off make a gradient going black to white. It doest matter which way its goes.

Step 2: Difference Clouds

Go to Filters> Render> Difference clouds.

Step 3: Invert!

Easy enough, click control+i, or go to image> adjust> invert.

Step 4: Levels

It's kinda looking like lightning already! Now, go to image> adjust> levels (or control+l). Move the middle slider to the right. The farther left it is, the less the clouds reflext. The farther right, the more they reflect.

Step 5: Color!

Make a new layer above the lightning layer. Fill it in with a light blue (alt+backspace). Set the layer mode to overlay (in the layers pallette, right above the little thumbnails).

Step 6: Tada!

Your done your lightning. Play safe and don't electrocute anyone! :D

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32 Comments

Oh and if you change the layer blending mode to Screen it'll allow the photo to show through underneath

It looks really realistic

For the invert colors in photoshop cs4 for Mac, use command + I

Actually this isn't very convincing lighting. You can use a PS plug-in for this and it looks much better.

2 replies

Good enough! Thanks for the instructable!

when I apply difference clouds noting happens at all, Any help?

You can even do this on photoshop elements!

Wow, This is an Awesome instructable! that would be a great desktop backround! ~Shifrin

1 reply

I've seen pics of real lightning that look less realistic than this.

y dont u try making an animation of this. that would be pretty cool. ill try it myself

a better way of coloring it is: image>(layers?)>hue and saturation click the colorize button and slide the hue and saturation sliders until you get the desired color, this way you can do any color you want without making any new layers

1 reply

and a thinner grey area in the starting gradient makes a thinner lightning bolt

Great Instructable! I love it! Thanks for sharing

Remember to set color to black/#OOOOOO during this step.. else you will have a lightning with some fun colors :P

The guy before me was talking about mac's hence the joke............

oh... mcdonalds... I picked up on Mac = photoshop... but the burgers just threw me off...