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Scratch Pad Exploration of a single feature or technique, illustrated with user examples

Light Rays/Sunlight

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  #1  
Old 06-13-2004, 10:00 PM
T Paul's Avatar
T Paul T Paul is offline
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Light Rays/Sunlight

I liked to see how different people approach adding rays of light to an image. I’ve supplied the photo to work on (or you can use one of your own), now you get to share your techniques!
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File Type: jpg clouds.jpg (57.3 KB, 170 views)
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2004, 01:20 AM
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Rays don't look natural to me with the colors in the original, so I added colors and contrast, rays with white painted on layer set to hard light mode, then played ... wrote the layer descriptions on each layer for the scene capture since it is hard to explain. I guess I could have done something to make the light hitting the trees look more natural ...

Roger
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File Type: jpg cloudRays.jpg (53.9 KB, 296 views)
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  #3  
Old 06-14-2004, 01:42 PM
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Nicely done Roger and what an excellent description! Thanks for taking the time to share your technique.

I usually paint my streaks on as well. Another neat trick is to fill the streaks with a gradient fill using the Foreground to Transparent setting in the Gradient Options window. With this option your foreground color will fade away at the end of the gradient.

~T
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2004, 03:02 PM
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1. Duplicated background and set mode to Soft Light

2. Created a new layer and used the lasso tool to draw a light ray. Filled the shape with a gradient fill using the Foreground to Transparent setting. I adjusted the gradient to a light yellow color and lowered the opacity to about 46. I also added another transparent tab in the middle and adjusted the opacity to 36. Named this layer Rays.

3. Duplicated the Ray layer and transformed it to created different light rays. Once I was happy with the light rays’ positions I merged all the light ray layers together to create a single light ray layer and renamed it Rays.

4. I then applied a Gaussian Blur to soften the rays making them a bit more realistic. Just adjust the radius until you like the results.

5. I then copied a bit of the cloud from the background to cover the tops of the light rays.

6. Changed the layer mode to Color Dodge on the Rays layer. This changed the rays from yellow to white, but I liked this look better.

7. Copied the trees that were under the light rays and placed them on a new layer above the Ray layer. Above seems odd, but I liked the effect better than when they were below the Rays layer. Adjusted the color of the trees to give them sunshine glow. Added a layer mask and applied a gradient fill using the Foreground to Transparent setting to the mask to help the color fade towards the bottom.

8. Finished the image with a curves adjustment to enhance the colors and applied a USM.
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File Type: jpg ray2.jpg (97.4 KB, 272 views)

Last edited by T Paul; 06-15-2004 at 07:43 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-20-2004, 04:07 PM
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Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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light rays

Very nice job. I'm impressed. The rays look natural...except for one thing (and who am I to comment really when I haven't even tried this for myself). It seems to me from the multitude of photos I've taken that the rays branch out from one central point rather than all being slanted and coming from different points in the clouds. Am I wrong? If so, I apologize heartily.

In any case, I'm going to try your technique. It is superb!
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  #6  
Old 06-20-2004, 06:46 PM
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I'll admit I was just playing around and wanted a quick example so I created the sunrays for the right side, but then that left side just seemed so empty. A quick duplicate layer and a bit of adjusting with the eraser quickly fixed that problem (grin).

In most photos that I have seen the sunrays do tend to branch out from a central point, however, you could have mutiple areas. It all depends on the angle of the sun and where the breaks are in the clouds. I believe the central array of sunrays is more dramatic so that's why you problably see more photographs of them. This central positioning really captures your attention and draws your eye to a central point of interest rather than having two areas compete for your attention.

Here is a good example of multiple rays: acclaiminages.com

Last edited by T Paul; 06-30-2004 at 11:00 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-28-2004, 12:55 PM
Rob S. Rob S. is offline
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I made a layer mask and just painted where and what I wanted. I was going for a look where parts of the shaft appear a bit brighter than the rest as if there's still a thin layer of cloud obscuring part of the gap.
I tried a couple of different techniques, but was most happy with this one.
I wish I could have spent a wee bit more time on it, but as luck would have it, a job came in.
Figures.
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2004, 12:21 PM
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Natural???

I suppose I should not say anything without posting an example myself, but I will. I do not think the last one looks as natural as the other examples. Now that is just one persons opinion. You got to find the technique that best suits you and stick with it. The one thing you want it for it to look natural though. Sorry, just allitle bit of constructive criticism.
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2004, 01:46 PM
Rob S. Rob S. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotofreak
I suppose I should not say anything without posting an example myself, but I will. I do not think the last one looks as natural as the other examples. Now that is just one persons opinion. You got to find the technique that best suits you and stick with it. The one thing you want it for it to look natural though. Sorry, just allitle bit of constructive criticism.
TAKE IT BACK! TAKE IT BACK!!
Just kidding. Yeah, I got rushed when I was doing it because a real live job came through (clients...how annoying can they get?) and had to drop it.
Are the light beams too bright? Angled wrong? I think they may be too bright and the spacing's a bit too regular.
here's another one I was messing with.
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  #10  
Old 06-30-2004, 03:42 AM
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Wink Clouds

Here is my result.

I lowered the gamma on the image to darken and then lowered the gamma on the blue sky and then I removed the trees from the background onto another layer.

On another layer I added sunrays with a gaussian blur of 10.00. On another layer I added clouds and reduced the gamma right down and then reduced the opacity.

With the darkened trees sitting on top I merged and finished.

Judi
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