An overview of the new and improved Photoshop CS6 ‘Lighting Effects’ Filter.
Step One: Open Choice Document
With Photoshop CS6 open, go to the File > Open and navigate to image of your choice. The following is an example I will work with for the beginning of this Lighting Effects introduction.
Note: In my above example, the majority of my original image files are Camera Raw (.cr2) and I often view them in Adobe Bridge then open them via the Open with > Adobe Photoshop (default) right click context menu option (per thumbnail). Then from ‘Camera Raw > Workflow Options’ (the blue hyper-link at the bottom center of the Camera Raw dialog) ‘Open in Photoshop As Smart Objects’ enabled I was able to open the Camera Raw file as a Smart Object in Photoshop. That’s why the above image capture shows the Layer Panel as a Smart Object container.
In this manner I immediately can work with the original image Layer as a Smart Object and go straight to the Lighting Effects, as the rest of this walkthrough will demonstrate.
If you intent to work with a .jpg file format then simply go to the ‘File > Open as Smart Object’ menu command, navigate to you file and double click to open. The selected file will open and automatically have the status of a Smart Object Layer, indicated with a Smart Object icon appended to its thumbnail, as captured above in red.
Step Two: Filter > Render Lighting Effects
With the Smart Object Layer active go to the Filter > Render > Lighting Effects menu command and explore its new workspace. Of the three available Light Types (Spot, Point and Infinite) when you first open the Lighting Effects the default is a single Spotlight with the below captured settings.
The Lighting Effects is divided into four areas: at the top is the Options Bar; followed by the on-screen interactive/preview area; then Properties Panel for the active light; then the individual Lights Panel.
- Allows you to select from available prefab Lighting presets, as well as, commands to ‘Load, Save or Delete’ custom Lighting effects;
- Add new Lights (Spot, Point, and Infinite) – add Lights to the scene and interact with them individually via the Lights Panel;
- Reset Current Light – this only resets the onscreen Scale Length and Scale Width to the default and not a Lights’ properties.
- Apply or commit changes or cancel out of the Lighting Effects dialog altogether;
- Reset to default ‘Lighting Effects’ Workspace – if you reposition the Property or Lights Panel this option will quickly get you back to the default workspace.
On Screen Controls and Property Panel
The following screen captures showcase the on-screen interactive user controls for each of the Light types – Spot, Point, and Infinite.
Switch Light Type or Add New
In the event you decide to switch the current light type to another, go to the Properties Panel and from the type dropdown choose an alternate type. The onscreen controls (except for Hotspot) will adjust and keep the remaining properties intact. If you revert TO a Spot type the Hotspot, Scale Width and Scale Length will default to its original setting.
For optimal control go to the Options Bar and select a Light icon to Add a New Light type. You will have full access to individual Lights from the Lights Panel.
As captured below, the Point Light Type offers on-screen, Move, Intensity and Scale options.
As captured below click and drag the directional handler (encircled in red)
When you finalize on a Light Type, go to the Properties Panel and make adjustments to the other controls not available via the onscreen interactive controls – such as Colorize, Ambience etc.
When the final property adjustments is in place click the ‘OK’ command button located on the Options Bar to bring you back to the original document tab. You will see that the Lighting Effect has been appended to the Smart Object layer as a Smart Filter. Double click it to return to the last lighting effect and make further adjustments.
You can also accumulate the same Filter by going back to the Filter > Render > Lighting Effects go through the effects process and click OK. As captured below, bottom, you can stack Smart Filters and click the Blend Filter icon to alter its Blend Mode and Opacity setting for finer control.
Note: To Hide the on-screen controls but keep the interactive preview use the Ctrl/Command + H key to toggle.
Until next week