When looking to add light to a dark image, one of the most powerful approaches is to add light beam.
In today’s tutorial, we will create an impressive light beam using a series of Curves adjustment layers.
Step 1: Open a dark image
Open a dark image that can benefit from a dramatic light beam.
Step 2: Add a diffuser beam
At this point we add a scattering beam that represents the outer edge of the glow. Enable the Polygonal Lasso tool. Using the dot connection method, draw a triangular beam similar to the one below.
Open the Adjustments panel and click on the Create a new Curves adjustment layer icon. Grab the midtone and drag to add light to the selected area. Do not worry about lack of light. Since this is an adjustment layer, the amount of light can be changed at any time by simply dragging a point higher (more light) or lower (less light).
Blur the beam by selecting Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. Adjust the radius to make the outer edge of the beam look realistic.
Press the OK button.
Step 3: Add a more focused beam
The center of the beam should have a brighter glow than the outside, so at this point we will add a more focused beam. Using the Polygonal Lasso tool still active, draw a narrower triangular beam into the main beam.
Add a layer of Curves adjustment and draw the center point a little higher than before to add a little more intense light.
Blur the beam with Gaussian Blur using the Radius similar to the main beam.
Press the OK button. Keep in mind that you have the ability to adjust the intensity of each curve at any time.
Step 4: Blur the beam
Because light is strongest at the point of origin, we focus more intensely on the narrow (upper) part of the beam. By activating the upper Curves layer (Curves 2), press Shift and click on the lower Curves layer (Curves 1) to activate both
Now press Control-G to put both layers of Curves in one group (Group 1). Copy the group by pressing Control-J.
With Group 1 copy enabled, click the Add layer mask icon in the Layers panel. Press the D button, then X to set black as the foreground color. Select the Gradient tool. From the Gradient option in the Options bar, select Foreground to Transparent.
Click on the light beam base and drag upwards until the lower part of the beam disappears.
Step 5: Add atmosphere
Without atmospheric particles, such as dust or water, light rays are not possible. At this point, we will add a little atmosphere to the page. Add another layer of Curves adjustment. Like the previous Curves layers, drag the midpoint upwards. Select Filter> Render> Cloud to fill the mask with a cloud effect. To correct the effect on the image, play with the dot on the curve.
If desired, the effect can be separated into certain areas by painting in black (or gray) on a cloud mask. In addition, clouds can be drawn using Free Transform.
Step 6: Lighten the ground
When light hits the ground, the surface glows. Let’s add more shine to the place where the light hits the rock. Add a final layer of Curves adjustment. To activate the controls on the image, click on the hand icon with the arrow.
To increase the light intensity, click on the bright part of the stone and drag it upwards.
Temporarily hide the effect by pressing Control-I. Tap D to set white as the Foreground color. Take a soft brush and paint on the rock surface to selectively add light.
This image is before adding the beam.
And here you see the image with the addition of the beam.