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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!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    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
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      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
        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.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by T Paul; 06-15-2004, 07:43 AM.

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        • #5
          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
            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, 11:00 AM.

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            • #7
              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.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                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
                  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.
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    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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                    • #11
                      Clouds oops they disappeared...hehehehe

                      I suppose it might help if I attached the actual image so here goes.

                      Judi
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Rob,

                        Thanks for participating in this thread. Your first example is good, but perhaps a tad too bright and hard edged to be realistic. Also the rays on the left look like they are coming from the dark cloud vs. sunlight breaking through an opening in the cloud. They would work well as search light beams (grin).

                        Now your second example is much better. You were spot on about the spacing of the first being too regular. These rays also appear softer and that hard edge is gone. Nicely done!

                        ~T
                        Last edited by T Paul; 06-30-2004, 11:02 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Judi,

                          First off, thanks for joining this thread. I like the darkened image you have created …very stormy looking. I also really like the softness and the different size rays you have created. Nicely done! I might erase the outer left and right rays as it looks like you might be stretching that angle a bit. The only thing that really bothers me is that the image is so dark except for the white cloud that it makes you question the light source. Of course there may be a UFO in that cloud …then all you would have to add is a person in the beam (smile). Good job and thanks for sharing your steps!

                          ~T

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                          • #14
                            Here is another quick example.

                            Main technique here is to create an outline selection for the ray with a feather of say about 8 pixels (you will have to adjust accordingly for your image and resolution). This will soften the ray. Drag a White to Transparent linear gradient about halfway through the selection starting from the light source. Then deselect your selection. The results are very realistic light rays. You can further adjust the opacity of the ray layer as necessary. Also try placing the rays on different layers and varying the opacity, thickness, angle and so on.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Really Nice.....

                              I really like this example allot. Good work.

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