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EZ Lightning Effect

This tutorial will teach you a very easy technique for creating a lighting effect that can be added to your text effects, signatures, and banners. The steps to create this lightning effect are very easily accomplished when done in the steps outlined below. Here is an example of what we will be creating with this tutorial:

Page 1 of 1

Step # 1
Open a new document of any size, l will be working with a 300x300 document for this tutorial.

Fill the background with black (#000000).

Step # 2
Press CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + N on your keyboard to create a new layer.

Name this new layer "Bolt" as shown here:

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool () make a long skinny box selection similar to what l've done here:

Set your foreground color to white (#ffffff).
Tip: You can do this quickly by pressing D on your keyboard, and then X on your keyboard.

Get out the Gradient Fill Tool () and set it up as l have done here:

Fill your selection with this Reflective White to transparent gradient as l have done here:

Press CTRL + D on your keyboard do deselect the selection.

Step # 3
Go to Filter->Distort->Wave and apply the following settings:


Step # 4
Go to Filter-Blur->Gaussian Blur, and apply the following settings:


Step # 5
Double Click this layer, and apply the following blending options:
Outer Glow:


Step # 6
Get out the Smudge Tool () and apply the following settings:
Note: You'll want the "size" of the smudge tool to be about the thickness of your lightning bolt.

Using the smudge tool with the settings above, smudge out the tip of the bolt so it comes to a point as shown here. You may have to click and drag 3 or 4 times, to get the desired result:

Step # 7
Go to Layer->New Adjustment Layer->Color Balance, and apply the following settings:


Step # 8
Next Click the layer named "Bolt" to select it.

Press CTRL + T on your keyboard to get out the Freeform transform tool.

Place your cursor near the to right box/node, and drag inward toward the bottom left box/node while holding down the SHIFT key on your keyboard to reduce the size of the bolt we have created.

Press ENTER on your keyboard to finalize the transformation.

Step # 9
Now we have the basic shape for our bolt. Press CTRL + J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer.

Press CTRL + T on your keyboard to get out the Freeform transform tool, and rotate, resize, and position the duplicate bolt as l have done here:

Press ENTER on your keyboard to finalize the transformation.

Step # 10
Continue to repeat step #9 repeatedly, building outward from out basic bolt structure until you have a tree like structure as shown here:

And that's all there is to creating this lightning effect. Here's how mine came out after adding a bit of brushing around the bolts, and dropping a background image in place. The possibilities for using something like this are endless, try it out on your next project, or design and you'll see how quickly this technique can add some real enhancements to your creations.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please be sure to check out the rest of our Great Tutorials while you're here!

Author: Reilly Leaton
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