Create Dynamic Lighting Using Custom Brushes in Photoshop

Create Dynamic Lighting Using Custom Brushes in Photoshop

Earlier today we released a free brush set called Rays of Light, and I wanted to follow up that release with a quick tutorial on how to use the brush set. Below is quick design using the brushes. Lets take a look at how this was created.

First up, you’ll need to download and install the new Rays of Light free brush set.

Step 1

I found this image of a skater by Robert Bejil Photography. I removed the skater from the background using Quick Mask Mode (Q). You can use whatever selection and extraction methods you prefer. I then copied and pasted the skater onto an 800×800 pixel document with a background set to #101010.

I then ran a High Pass Filter (Filter | Other | High Pass ) with a Radius around 15 to give the figure a slight HDR look.

Step 2

On a layer behind the skater I applied one of the wider light ray brushes at a diagonal.

Note: You can adjust the angle of a brush using the adjustment arrow below. It’s found on the Brush Panel. (Window | Brush)

I used a medium gray for the color when applying this brush.

Next up, on a layer above the skater, I applied another light ray brush. This time I used white as the color, and I adjusted the angle to match that of the background brush.

To punch up the glowing effect of the foreground light rays, I applied an Outer Glow layer style to that brushes layer. I used the following settings.

Step 3

With a soft black brush I applied some shadows on a layer behind the skater.


I added a Gradient Map adjustment layer above all other layers. The adjustment layer’s blend mode is set to Overlay. I used the following gradient.

Note: This is one of the defaults in the gradient editor.

Below is my final image. I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration for using our latest free brush set.

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.


(+add yours)
  1. Ali

    awesome thank u

  2. I am absolutely thrilled to see such a carefully constructed tutorial. I have struggled with Photoshop for years – knowing that it CAN do this or that, but completely unable to make the darn thing obey me. And somehow or other the Help facility is totally useless. If you know what the proper command it, Help will tell you about it. But if you do NOT know the proper command, you are out of luck. It took me a year to find “rasterize”. I sure do like the way you’ve laid it out and I’m bookmarking this to come back often. Thank you.

    • It is a very useful tutorial. It helps to build some good designs in photo shop. Thanks

  3. Nice tutorial, love it

  4. Nice tutorial! I tried it, myself. It was easy to follow and I liked the results! Thank you so much for the brushes and the tut!



  5. Nice one … looks really good. I will give it a go over the weekend.

  6. Very informative tips, I did use in photo shop and got amazing results. More will be coming on Welcome to RizMi – The Rug People

  7. good effect, i do it, thank you.

  8. hi nathan! so when i invert it, it makes the eyes black and teeth white. in yours, it looks mroe normal. am i missing a step?

  9. I congratulate you
    Writing is an art that everyone does it. Congratulate you for having this art.
    Your blog is unique

  10. training.’m Very happy that I was familiar with your site., For teaching that I
    thank you for your site

  11. Adamiks

    Very useful tutorial for me thank you for sharing..

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  13. This is a nice content with lots of information. It’s a very excellent idea for raising money for charity. I think honest review is more important for authors. I like your whole discussion. Keep it up.
    Keep blogging.ur site is good.and finelly ur site going to in high position

  14. WOW! Thank you so much, so simple! I love that you included a tutorial with the free brushes!!!! :)

  15. Nice work .. easy and creative work.. Love your idea .. keep it up man..

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