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Photoshop Tutorial Creating the storm effects

Thursday, May 5, 2011
See below the picture? Transform the image field in an afternoon cloudy stormy and dramatic by adding simple effects lightning!


open cloud picture

Start off by duplicating the default layer (CTRL+J) as Layer 1.

Reduce brightness of duplicate image by dragging center point of the Curves tool (CTRL+M).  

Duplicate Layer 1 as Layer 1 copy. Go to Filter > Radial Blur > Zoom : 80. Set the blend mode for Layer 1 copy as 'Multiply'.

You should get something like this:

Now, create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) and name it as “storm”. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Next up, select Filter > Render > Difference Clouds. Apply the same filter (Ctrl+F) several times (preferably 5 times or above).

Bring out the Levels Window (Ctrl+L) and apply settings until you see lumps of clouds appearing (Input Levels: 30/0.75/175). 

NOTE: Results/settings may vary as each clouds/difference clouds rendered may differ.

Once done, set storm’s blend mode to 'Color Dodge'.

Transform (CTRL+T) and scale the image. You can also adjust the perspective a little, based on the nature of your chosen image. Press Enter to apply the transformation.  

Next, we should remove areas which are too bright. Follow these sub-steps:
1) Go to Windows > Channel (to bring out the channels window).
2) Hold CTRL and click on Red channel (to make a selection).
3) Go to Select > Inverse (or press Shift+CTRL+I) to invert the selection.
4) Go to Select > Feather (or press CTRL+ALT+D) and set radius : 10 pixels.

Click on the masking tool to hide the brighter parts of the layer.

Select layer mask of 'storm' layer and further adjust the levels (CTRL+L) until you have something like this (Input Levels: 0/1.70/180):

NOTE: Again, results/settings may vary as each clouds/difference clouds rendered from previous steps may differ. I’ve decided to remove some bright areas of the storm by brushing over the layer mask with a soft black brush.

Now that we have got the storm going, lets add a few bolts of lightning.

First, create a new layer (Shift+CTRL+N) and name it as ‘lightning’. Using the Rectangular Marquee tool (M), select a square box (holding down the Shift key while dragging will create a perfect square). Bring out the Gradient tool (G) when you are done.
Create a gradient by dragging through the center of the selection.

The gradient should look like this, preferably.  

With the selection still active, go to Filter > Render > Difference Clouds (or just press CTRL+F as it is your last applied filter).

NOTE: Difference Clouds rendered differs as it is randomly generated. Press CTRL+I to invert it.

And adjust the level (CTRL+L). 

 Apply the lightning's blend mode to ‘Screen’.

 Next, use the eraser tool to remove any hard edges. Make sure the hardness is set to 0%.

Transform (CTRL+T) the bolt of lightning to which ever way you like.

I’ve tweaked mine a little bit more; adding glows, reducing brightness, and etc. This is my final image.


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