July 16, 2012

Photoshop Tutorial: Lightsaber FX

1) Download this file to your Desktop. Open the zip file and drag the two lightsaber images to your desktop. Open both of them through Photoshop. Choose one to work with, then close the other image.

2) Now, working with the lightsaber model of your choice, go to Image > Canvas Size. Click on the left square from the image grid, and increase the width to 2000 pixels. Click OK.

Make a new layer and then drag that layer underneath your original light saber "layer 0". Click on Layer 1, paint this new background layer a dark grey color, using the Piant Bucket Tool.

Zoom out a bit. Make a new layer (place this layer on top of all others) and using the square marque tool select a thin rectangular shape (make sure your Feather is set to zero first), click and drag to make a long rectangular selection:

To make the tip of the lightsabre a rounded edge, zoom in on the top, choose the eliptical marquee tool (make sure your Feather is set to zero in the top Options bar), hold down SHIFT, and click and drag to make a rounded top. It may take a few tries to get it right, just Edit > Undo (Ctrl+z), and try again. Then zoom back out.

3) Now go to Edit > Fill... choose White (100%), click OK.

Now right click on the top layer and choose Blending Options.

4) Now click on Outter Glow and choose these numbers -- Blend Mode: Normal, Opacity: 75%, Spread: 20%, Size: 80px, Range 75%

5) Then click on Inner Glow and choose these numbers -- Blend Mode: Normal, Opacity: 75%, Spread: 5%, Size: 15px, Range 50%

Click OK.

You can go back by double clicking on the FX in the layer if you want to make adjustments.

Now zoom in on the handle, reduce the opacity of the layer to 50%, and choose the Eraser tool, change the eraser to a hard edge and trim the light to match the edge of the handle.

6) Place the opacity back to 100%.

Go to Filter > Blur > Blur.

Then do it again...

Go to Filter > Blur > Blur.

This will take the hard edge off of the light shape.

Holding down the Shift key, click on Layer 2 and Layer 1, right click on one of the layers and choose Merge Layers.

Zoom out and observe you're newly constructed lightsabre!

It's that easy!
Now you can have countless hours of fun inserting your lightsaber into the hands of you, your friends, or animals!!!

If you want to learn about how to animate this effect in Photoshop, check out this tutorial.

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