Facebook Pixel Post Production Light Painting - Reader Tutorial

Post Production Light Painting – Reader Tutorial

Over in our forum one of our great members – mephotog.com.

Have you ever wondered how some photographers get perfectly lit shots but have light painting that needs a lot of darkness? It can be done easily in post production. While easy, there are many steps and the process is time consuming. As you practice and the steps become intuitive, you will speed up.

I will show you how to go from this:


to this:


Start by opening your image and creating a new blank layer. Then, from the tools, choose the pen tool. At the top, make sure you have selected paths and not shape layer or fill pixels. Start by drawing a few points, usually the fewer the better, where you want your light lines. I will show you how I did the light around the arm.


Then, from the pen tool sub menu, choose the convert point tool. Start at the top by clicking on the end point and dragging with your line to make the path a smooth curve.


Once you have a nice curve, choose the brush tool. Set it to size 40, the color white, and make sure you have shape dynamic and smoothing enabled.


Now you’re ready to make it glow. Choose your convert point tool again (actually many tools can be used for this step). With your new layer selected, right click on your image and choose stroke path. Make sure to choose simulate pressure then press okay.


If you notice any corners or spots that don’t look right, step back or undo and fix the curve with the direct selection tool.

Double click on your new layer (the one from the first step) to alter its layer style. Add an inner glow (your choice of colors) using a blend mode of linear light and size of 10 px. Add an outer glow (again, your choice of colors) using linear light and a size of 30 px.


To make the light a little more interesting, we will alter the original curve a few times. Use the direct selection tool to click and drag your path in interesting ways. Reduce the brush size to 20 and stroke your path again.


Repeat a few time with brush size 10 (3-4 times should do it) altering your curve slightly each time. You should end up with something like this.


To make it appear to wrap around her arm, I use a layer mask. With the new layer selected, press the layer mask button at the bottom of the layers palette, or go to layers > layer mask > reveal all. Using a black brush, paint out the lights lines you want to be behind the arm.


By the way, to get rid of that pesky path from showing, choose paths from the layers palette and click somewhere outside the selected path. If you want to save the path for future editing, double click on the layer and choose okay. Otherwise, when you start your next path, the first one will disappear.


You are now done with your first PP light painting line.

Make a new layer, new path and repeat the steps for all the light lines you want. Experiment with different shaped brushes and colors.


Read more from our Post Production category

Guest Editor
Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to dPS.
Please see their details in the post above.

Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.

I need help with...

Some Older Comments