Creating Light and Light Beams in Photoshop

Creating Light and Light Beams in Photoshop

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Article by Dhaval Shah

A lot of times, photographers desire that their images turn out in a certain way, however, to achieve it in real-time may be very time consuming and may take too much effort. Yet, they can be achieved in post-processing through photoshop.

In this article, we have demonstrated a simple way of creating light and light beams in a simple manner. The steps taken are very subjective and may differ from subject to subject.

We took an image of a table-lamp from in-order to make the illustration.


Select the Polygon/Magnetic polygon Lasso tool from the tool palette and select the lamp at the edges. Hold ALT/option in-order to subtract selection and select the inner hollow elliptical of the lamp in-order to exclude the wall behind.


Now, hold shift + command/control + in in-order to invert selection. Thus the space around the lamp will actually be the part of the selection. (What we are trying to do is create the shadow area, thus the light can be created easily.)

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Now, on a new layer, select the brush tool from the tools palette, select the colour black in the foreground and paint it around the lamp, thus creating the Shadow area. However, leave around certain area around the lamp or partially paint it by reducing the opacity in-order to show the effect of the light falloff.

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Hold Shift + Command/control + i again in-order to select inverse again. Thus now the lamp will be under the selection area. Now enter Quick mask in order to fine-tune the selection further. Include the area, we left out while painting the light falloff.

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Now, with quickmask still on, select the polygon lasso tool, and select the area that will be seen as the light beam and give a Gaussian Blur by selecting it from the filter menu. This is in-order to make the beam and its fall off more realistic. We left out the edges of the lamp as they need to remain sharp.

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Now, Select the whole lamp and the area of the falloff, select the gradient tool from the tools palette and choose foreground to transparent. We select the radial gradient and hold the curser from the lamp and pull it in the direction of the beam in-order to achieve the light beam fall off.

Select the paint brush from the tools palette and paint it on the lamp with a discerning flow in-order to create a hotspot.

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Your lamp is ready!

Image courtesy of John Kasawa /


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