Overview of the Tutorial
This tutorial will teach you various techniques that photoshop has to offer, from using keyboard shortcuts to filters. By the end you will have created a cool lighting effect that appears from a dark abyss.
Firstly, open up photoshop if you haven’t already done so. Select File -> New and setup up the canvas as shown below. It really doesn’t matter what size the composition is just don’t use a resolution lower than 72 pixels per inch.
Okay now you should be staring at a blank canvas. Go ahead and fill it with black by pressing ‘shift + f5′ and selecting the colour black.
Now we are going to produce a nice background which I like to use for a lot of my work. Double click on the layer and select gradient overlay. What we are going to do is produce a subtle radial gradient to create a focus for our composition. Set the radial gradient properties as shown below.
Next, create a new layer by pressing ‘shift + ctrl + n’ and then enter. We are now going to apply some clouds, to do this select filter from the toolbar at the very top and then select render->clouds. This creates a cloud effect with the foreground and background colour. Set the layer to overlay by selecting the drop down menu above layer 2 and clicking on overlay.
You may want to duplicate the cloud layer by presing ‘ctrl + J’ but I think just one looks good! Okay now to start creating your underwater mystery. Create a new layer and press ‘G’ to select the gradient tool. Click the gradient that appears in the toolbar and create a gradient that looks similar to the image below.
Now, making sure you have the radial gradient icon selected, click on the center of your canvas and drag till your outside of the canvas, to produce a nice radial gradient of the colors you have just chosen. We can then map this gradient onto the cloudy layer below by using the blending option ‘color’ from the drop down menu above the layer. Next, I like to duplicate the layer and then set it to overlay with an opacity of about 65%. It gives the composition a more vibrant feel.
Now to a create our strange emerging light. Create a new layer, press G to select the gradient tool and select the gradient that goes from white to nothing. This gradient actually goes from white at 100% opacity to white at 0% opacity. With this gradient draw a small radial gradient roughly in the center of the canvas. Set this layer to overlay and duplicate 4 times, you should get an effect like the image below.
Next up, we’ll create some explosive rays. Create a new layer, render some clouds and in the filter menu above render you should see pixelate. Select pixelate and mezzotint, fine dots. You should get a load of black and white dots. Now to use another filter, blur->radial blur. However, we are not going to use the radial blur, we are going to use the zoom blur method. Set amount to 100 and quality to best then press OK. You should get something like below.
Now just set the layer to overlay. I like to reduce the opacity to 80%, but that’s just my personal preference. Okay, now to make some bubbles. Create another new layer and press the ‘B’ key to select the brush tool and then ‘F5′ to bring up the brush panel. Now what you want to do is choose a round brush with a diameter of 30px. Then add some spacing, scattering, shape and opacity dynamics. It is pretty straight forward, just mess around with it until you get something you like. Now just draw around the circle of light you created.
Set this layer to overlay. Now we want to add some lighting to the bubbles. Double click on the layer
and add a gradient overlay with the settings below.
To create some depth we repeat steps 8 through 10, but add 30px to the diameter of the brush this time and draw a larger concentric circle around the light each time. Below is an example of me doing this. For each of the new bubble layers you copy the layer style from the first one you made by right clicking the layer and selecting copy layer style, then paste it onto your new layers.
After doing this (hopefully) you should get:
Next up, we’ll make some cool light rays. Choose the polygonal Lasso tool and select and area like below. Create a new layer and with the white 100% opacity to 0% opacity graident, drag form the center to the edge of your selection to get the effect below.
Then as always set to overlay and press ‘ctrl + D’ to deselect the selection. Repeat the previous step a number of times until you are happy. Here is how mine looks.
Now to finsh mine off I created a new layer and rendered some clouds. I set that to overlay to add a little contrast. I then selected the blue, red and yellow gradient and overlayed that on a new layer and finally, I created a new layer, rendered some clouds and added the glass distortion filter (filter->distort->glass), and
set the opacity the 65% to give a watery texture.
I was still a bit displeased so I created a new layer went to the toolbar and selected image->apply image. This puts all the visible layers into one layer. I then went filter->distort->zigzag and chose the style ‘around center’. The amount was around 45 and ripples was around 8. Finish by setting the layer to soft light 45%.
Thanks for reading! :)