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Light Trail Effect in Photoshop

Posted on 7th October 2018
For this tutorial, you will use the Free Font “Garment District” and the image or texture of a “Blackboard” to use as “Background”.

1 - In Photoshop, open the image you chose to work with.

2 - Go to the “Adjustments Panel” and create e “New Color Lookup Adjustment Layer”, choose “NightFromDay.CUBE” in the “3DLUT File” option. Change the “Blending Mode” of the Layer to “Hard Light”.

3 - Back to the “Adjustments Panel”. This time, create e “New Gradient Map Adjustment Layer”, use the “Black, White” Preset then, change the Blending Mode” of the Layer to “Soft Light” and lower the “Opacity” to 55%.

4 - Click on the small Black & White circle at the bottom of the “Layers Panel” and choose “Gradient” to create a “New Gradient Fill Layer”. Your gradient should be Linear, Black to Transparent with a -90° Angle. Drag the “Opacity Midpoint” lever to be at a 15% “Location” (this may change depending on your image).

5 - Select the three Top Layers (the “Adjustment” and “Fill” Layers) using the “Shift” key to select more than one at a time and click on the small “Folder” icon at the bottom of the “Layers Panel” to create a “Group”.

6 - Create a “New Layer” on top of everything (click on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”). Select the “Pen Tool” (P), make sure that “Shape” is selected on the Top Menu and White is your “Fill” color and draw a shape mimicking the one of the road. It doesn’t need to be perfect since we will fix it later.

7 - Use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) to make the end that should be more far away thinner and the one closer to de lower edge thicker. You can also fix the curves and other details. If the road in your image is segmented, you may need to create other shapes.

8 - Select the “Shapes” Layers, right-click on top of their Thumbnails and choose “Merge Shapes”. Then, right-click again and choose “Convert to Smart Object” to be able to apply Filters nondestructively.

9 - Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur… and use value of 8 Pixels for the “Radius”.

10 - Double-click on top of its thumbnail to apply the following “Layer Styles”:

Outer Glow: (#465598, Contour: Rounded Steps)

11 - Make sure your “Shape” Layer is selected and click on the “Add Layer Mask” button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Select the “Mask” Thumbnail, and use the “Brush Tool” (B) with a Medium and Soft brush (30 px and 0% “Hardness”). Make sure that “Black” is your “Foreground” color and erase some of the portions of the “lights” that should be hidden.

12 - Duplicate the “Shape” Layer (Command/Control + J) and use the “Move Tool” (V) to reposition it in a slightly different location.

13 - Go to Edit > Transform > Warp, you may get a message warning you that “Warp transforms are not allowed for linked layer masks associated with smart objects”. Unlink the “Layer Mask” by clicking on the little chain icon in the Thumbnail and try again. You will get another warning about Smart Filters being turned off temporarily, just click “OK”. Modify your “Shape” using the “Warp Mesh” and click the small “Check Mark” on the Top Menu once you are done.

14 - Now, you can re-link the “Layer Mask”, then, select the Mask Thumbnail and use your “Brush Tool” (B) to erase the portions that need it just as you did with the first one. Double click on the Thumbnail and change some of the “Outer Glow” values (like the color) to make your second light beam stand out.

15 - Your Artwork should be similar to this.

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