Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Photoshop CS4 action: Lightning

Sparking hands
I had this image I wanted to create. I already had the photo of the hands with a glowing orb but needed some lightning type effects to make it what I envisioned. A short bit of searching took me to this Photoshop Cafe tutorial. It was a simple six step process but I needed multiple "bolts" and did not want to keep repeating myself. So I created a simple action to do it for me.

This CS4 action can be downloaded here.

To use it, save it to your computer. In Photoshop, on the Actions menu, select Load actions. In the open file dialog, go to the location the file is saved, select and open the file. You should get a action group called HP3's special effects with a single Lightning action in it.

To test it, create a new, empty image. Click on the Lightning action to select it and click the Play button at the bottom of the actions list. You should get a new group called "Lightning" with a number of layers in it and something looking like lightning running from the top right to bottom left corners. Close this group and click the play button again. You should get another group. If you change this second group's blending mode to Lighten, you should see both bolts you just made. Each time you run the script, you will get a new group, different from the one before.

You can change the color of each bolt. To do this, open the group and select the Hue/Saturation layer. In the adjustments panel, changing the hue slider will adjust the color while changing the saturation slider will give you more or less of that color.

You can change the amount of the corona effect by selecting the Levels adjustment layer and moving the position of the black and grey sliders.

If you have any questions, problems or suggestions, leave a comment and I'll try to address the issue. Have fun!
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