Introduction: Simple Lightning in Photoshop

Picture of Simple Lightning in Photoshop

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

Step 1: Gradient

Picture of Gradient

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

Step 2: Difference Clouds

Picture of Difference Clouds

Go to Filters> Render> Difference clouds.

Step 3: Invert!

Picture of Invert!

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

Step 4: Levels

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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!

Picture of Tada!

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


FlorenciaZ1 (author)2016-05-25

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

FlorenciaZ1 made it! (author)2016-05-25

Made it yellow-orange :) nice and simple lightning making tutorial

alexw2150 (author)2011-03-03

It looks really realistic

robots199 (author)2009-08-18

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

CrazyAce (author)2007-11-14

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

potatohead121 (author)CrazyAce2009-08-11

Good enough! Thanks for the instructable!

TheShawMaestro (author)CrazyAce2009-02-22

Where would one find this Plugin?

max_payne16 (author)2008-12-01

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

technopenguin (author)2008-05-11

You can even do this on photoshop elements!

Shifrin (author)2008-01-05

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

technopenguin (author)Shifrin2008-05-11

I agree.

Full Frontal Graphic (author)2008-03-22

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

jare-bear (author)2008-01-24

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

Mr. Bean117 (author)2008-01-05

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

Mr. Bean117 (author)Mr. Bean1172008-01-05

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

Keith-Kid (author)2007-12-09

Great Instructable! I love it! Thanks for sharing

fusse (author)2007-11-26

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

darkmuskrat (author)2007-11-13

Lol, i want to go to get a hamburger now...Mac Attack!

jongscx (author)darkmuskrat2007-11-13

darkmuskrat (author)jongscx2007-11-14

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

jongscx (author)darkmuskrat2007-11-14

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

Comprine (author)2007-11-14

Hmm. I've seen that effect before, still nice, though! And for this little effort, it's really a nice effect. Though, as with most other things in photoshop, it could get very much nicer with more effort ;)

Rizve (author)2007-11-14

Cool. thanks for the tips. wish more tips from u.

PenSpinner (author)2007-11-14

Cool effect ;D

ofeargall (author)2007-11-13

Hey, great instructable. Simple, easy to follow and looks cool. Might want to consider the option commands for the mac folk. Good work!

Pyratking (author)ofeargall2007-11-13

For macs, substitute alt with the function key (located next to the, um, alt key). Hot keys rule.

PyroguyX5 (author)2007-11-13

Well Keith -Kid, Not to be a smartass but check if you are in Rgb or grayscale. If not, what version are you using?

Keith-Kid (author)2007-11-13

I don't know much bout photoshop. I'm having trouble in step 5. All the colors are gray..can anyone help me I use photoshop 5 Limited Edition (LE)

hollasch (author)2007-11-13

Try color burn as well for a bit sharper line.

maruawe (author)2007-11-13


Jezza Bear (author)2007-11-13

Very, good....I am off now to have a play :-)

crankyjew (author)2007-11-12

rather basic, but cool. this works in paint.NET and GIMP, too.

drake (author)2007-11-12

This is a very cool instructable, Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

About This Instructable




More by PhotoshopMan:Whirlpool in PhotoshopCamouflage in PhotoshopSimple Metal Texture
Add instructable to: