Dramatic Lighting Effects

Dramatic lighting effects are another great way to make boring images into a lucrative one. By adding various elements, sheds, color adjustments and gradients, you also can give your photos a dramatic look. So, how can you do that? In this photo manipulation photoshop tutorial article, I am going to show you How to make Dramatic lighting effects. So, read this article till the end and follow the steps with care, you will get easy instructions from this article, and you will be able to do it easily. Let’s see How to make Dramatic lighting effects:

Photos You will need to make dramatic lighting effect in photoshop

You have to make sure you have the following images for making dramatic lighting photo effect:

  • A photo of a desert.
  • A photo of a man & horse. Full body image of the man and horse is required.
  • A photo of a cloud. The photo must have a transparent background.

Let’s begin the dramatic lighting effect making:

Step 1: Open a background photo in photoshop

To do that, go to the “File” menu and select the “Open” option. Then, go to your image location and select your photo and then click on the “Open” button. Your photo will be opened in photoshop afterward. Here, I have chosen a photo of a desert.

Step 2: Open a photo of a man and horse and insert it in the main image file

  • Go to the “File” menu and select the “Open” option. Then, go to your image location and select the image and then click on the “Open” button. Your image will be opened in photoshop afterward. 
  • Now, we will only copy the man and horse portion and insert it in our main photo. To do this, you can use either the pen tool or lasso tool or the quick selection tool. So, go to the left side’s tools panel, select the “Pen tool” and make a selection path on the edge of the man and horse and join with the starting point. After making the path, press “CTRL+Enter” to convert the path into selection.
  • After making the selection, press “CTRL+J” to copy the selected part in a new layer “Layer 1”.
  • Now, go to the left side’s tools panel, and select the “Move tool”. Now, click & hold the photo and drag to the main image file. A new layer “Layer 1” will be created. Drag the “Layer 1” layer on top of all the layers.
  • Increase or decrease the size of the photo, press “CTRL+T” to activate the free transform, then click & drag the corner’s handler and drag it outward to increase or drag inward to decrease the size. Then, place the man and horse on the desert. Then press “Enter”.
  • If you see that the photo of the man and horse is brighter, increase the light. To do this, go to the layer panel, select the “Layer 1” layer, then click on the “Add new fill or adjustment layer” button from the bottom of the layer panel and select the “Brightness/Contrast” option. A Brightness/Contrast panel will appear. From there, decrease the brightness slightly and increase the contrast slightly. A new layer “Brightness/Contrast 1” will be created.

Step 3: Make shadow of the man and horse

  • To do this, duplicate the man and horse layer “Layer 1”. Go to the layer panel, select the “Layer 1” and press “CTRL+J” from the keyboard. A new layer “Layer 1 copy” will be created.
  • Now, go to the layer panel, select the “Layer 1” and press “CTRL+T” to activate the free transform. Now, press & hold the “CTRL” button from the keyboard and at the same time click & drag the top middle handler and drag it to the right side slightly and then drag it to the down side. It will look like the shadow is on the ground.
  • Now, fill the bended man and horse image with black color. To do this, press & hold the “CTRL” button from the keyboard and at the same time click on the thumbnail of the “Layer 1” from the layer panel. You will see that man and horse edge is selected.
  • Now, go to the left side’s tools panel and set the foreground color black. Now, press “ALT+Backspace” from the keyboard. You will see that the man and horse are filled with black color. Then press “CTRL+D” to deselect the selection.
  • Then, go to the layer panel and set the “Opacity” between 40% to 60%.
  • Then, go to the “Filter” menu, then go to the “Blur” option and select the “Gaussian blur” option. A window will pop up. From there, set the radius between 3.5 pixels to 5 pixels. And click on the “OK” button.
  • Now, make a shadow under the man and horse. To do this, go to the layer panel, select the background layer, then click on the “Create a new layer” button from the bottom of the layer panel. A new layer “Layer 2” will be created. Now, go to the left side’s tools panel and select the “Elliptical marquee tool”. Now, make a thin oval shape selection from the leg of the horse towards the man’s leg. After making the selection, go to the “Select” menu, then go to the “Modify” option and select the “Feather” option. A window will pop up. From there, set the feather radius 10 pixels, but you have to set the radius according to your need. Now, go to the left side’s tools panel and set the foreground color black. Now, press “ALT+Backspace” from the keyboard. You will see that the selection is filled with black color, a smooth black color. Then press “CTRL+D” to deselect the selection.

Step 4: Open a photo of cloud and insert it in the main image

  • Go to the “File” menu and select the “Open” option. Then, go to your image location and select the image of the cloud and then click on the “Open” button. Your image will be opened in photoshop afterward. Make sure that the cloud image has a transparent background.
  • Now, press “CTRL+A” from the keyboard to select the whole image, then press “CTRL+C” from the keyboard to copy the whole image, then come to your main image and press “CTRL+V” to paste the copied image. A new layer “Layer 4” will be added.
  • Now, increase the size of the cloud. To do this, press “CTRL+T” from the keyboard to activate the free transform, then click & drag the corner’s handler and drag it outward to increase, increase in a way that the cloud image fits horizontally. Now, place the cloud on the half portion of the sky. Then press “Enter”.
  • Now, make another copy of the cloud image. Go to the layer panel, click on the cloud layer “Layer 4” and press “CTRL+J” from the keyboard. A new layer “Layer 4 copy” will be created. Then, press “CTRL+T” to activate the free transform and move the cloud on the rest of the half portion of the sky.
  • Now, go to the layer panel and decrease the opacity between 35% to 50%.

Step 5: Make a smoke effect in front of the man and horse

We will use that cloud image to make the smoke effect.

  • Make another copy of the cloud image. Go to the layer panel, click on the cloud layer “Layer 4” and press “CTRL+J” from the keyboard. A new layer “Layer 4 copy 2” will be created. 
  • Then, press “CTRL+T” to activate the free transform and move the cloud in front of the man and horse. Place the cloud in front of the legs of both man and horse.
  • Now, go to the layer panel and decrease the opacity between 35% to 50% and set the blend mode from “Normal” to “Exclusion”.

Step 6: Do some color adjustments

  • Go to the layer panel, click on the top layer, then click on the “Create new fill or adjustment layer” and select the “Gradient” option. A window will appear. From there, click on the “Gradient”, another window (Gradient editor) will appear. From there, select the “Foreground to background” presets, then below you will see a color slider. From that color slider, from the left side’s slider switch, click on the down side switch, then click on the “Color” option, a color picker window will appear, select the red color from the color palette, and click on the “OK” button. Now, from that color slider, from the right side’s slider switch, click on the down side switch, then click on the “Color” option, a color picker window will appear, select the blue color from the color palette, and click on the “OK” button. Then click on the “OK” button of the “Gradient editor” window. 
  • Now set the “Style” as “Linear”, set the “Angle” as “-24 degree” and then click on the “OK” button. A gradient layer “Gradient fill 1” will be added. Now, go to the layer panel, and click on the “Gradient fill 1” layer. Then, set the blend mode from “Normal” to “Overlay”. You will find the blend mode option beside the “Opacity” option in the layer panel. Then set the opacity between 15% to 30% from the layer panel.
  • We will add another gradient color again.
  • Go to the layer panel, click on the top layer, then click on the “Create new fill or adjustment layer” and select the “Gradient” option. A window will appear. From there, click on the “Gradient”, another window (Gradient editor) will appear. From there, select the “Foreground to transparent” presets, then below you will see a color slider. From that color slider, from the left side’s slider switch, click on the down side switch, then click on the “Color” option, a color picker window will appear, select the yellow color from the color palette, and click on the “OK” button. Then click on the “OK” button of the “Gradient editor” window. 
  • Now set the “Style” as “Radial”, set the “Scale” between 250 degree to 400 degree degree” and then click on the “OK” button. A gradient layer “Gradient fill 2” will be added. Now, go to the layer panel, and click on the “Gradient fill 2” layer. Then, set the blend mode from “Normal” to “Overlay”. You will find the blend mode option beside the “Opacity” option in the layer panel.
  • Now, merge all the layers in a new layer. So, go to the layer panel and select the top layer of the list. Then press “CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E” from the keyboard. All the layers will be merged in a new layer “Layer 5”.
  • Now, we will adjust the color of the merged layer. So, go to the layer panel, click on the “Levels 5” layer, then go to the “Filter” menu and select the “Camera raw filter” option. 
  • A window will appear. From there, expand the “Basic” option. Then, increase the “Contrast” “Shadows”, and “Saturation” slightly. Make other adjustments as per your preference. Then, click on the “OK” button.
  • That’s it.

Video Tutorial about “Dramatic Lighting Effects” who really don’t want to read whole article just follow below video.

That’s how you can make Dramatic lighting effects. In this tutorial I have shown you the process of making a dramatic lighting effect in Photoshop. I have described many things for your convenience including how you can insert other photos in your photo, how to make selections and separate selected areas, how to make shadows, and many more. I have included a few useful keyboard shortcuts for your convenience so that you can do your work fast and easily. I hope you have understood How to make Dramatic lighting effects in photoshop. This is a very easy way to do this, try this technique on your photoshop app now.

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