http://www.peachpit.com/authortips - Author and Photoshop World Hall of Fame member Bert Monroy creates a thunderstorm scene
in Photoshop CS3.
Tags:How to create thunderstorm effect in Photoshop CS3,Bert Monroy,Peachpit TV,Photoshop CS3,Photoshop CS3 tips,Photoshop tutorial,thunderstorm effect
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I have created a star field for you. I will tell you what. I have created a star field and a bunch of stuff here. Let us go in here and let me see what can I do it with—I used a great old file that is perfect for this, right in here.
The gentleman asked for stardust. Basically I am going to create a star field, but that that star field, I am going to manipulate and do something else with it. So I am going to go over here and get the little guy here called rain castle. So I was giving you an idea what I am going to do with this, rain castle.
I am going to make this beautiful sunny day a rainy stormy day so there is going to be a lot of things that are going to come in here, a lot of different things that I am going to use to create this effect. Now, this is a photograph, this is not an illustration, this is a photograph that I am going to use as a basis. Now, I did not want to go out there when it was stormy and lightning and all kinds of stuff because my camera get all wet, so I took it on a nice sunny day and I create the rain.
So, first thing I am going to do is I am going to go in there and separate the buildings from the background and it is one of the two or three uses for the magic wand that I have found in my lifetime. Let us increase the tolerance there. Okay select the sky, shift select, did I not set that to 32? 32, okay there we go. So I am going to inverse that selection, so the buildings are selected and say send it to a new layer, new layer via cut, and there they are. So in a layer between these two, I am going to command click on the new layer, create a layer behind the currently selected layer.
In that layer, I am going to get some colors. So I am gong to get a really deep gray for my foreground and for the background, I will get the, kind of like a muddy blue, kind of a stormy looking blue, like that, okay.
So now I am going to go in there and apply a filter called cloud. So let me just turn off the front for a second and I apply a filter called clouds, right there. Clouds, see the clouds it created? Let me undo that. I am going to hold on my option key. Render clouds. See how much heavier the contrast is now? By holding on my modifier key, I increased the contrast between the two colors, giving me stronger clouds. So I get this guy back and I am going to just take that layer and give it a little scale. I will scale it up like that and to make it little more ominous, I am going to take a nice big soft brush. Not that big, there you go and just throw a little more darkness up along the top there. Okay, now it is getting kind of really stormy.
I am going to make sure that the buildings know that it is stormy, so I got to turn them into a selection and apply a hue saturation adjustment layer. Since something was selected, it automatically reflects the mask, see?
So in here, I am going to bring down the saturation and darken them. So now they look like they are in the stormy scene too. Now, comes the rain and a layer above all these, I am going to go ahead and fill it with black and I am going to give that some noise, add noise.
I will give it a lot of noise and monochromatic. A lot of noise, but right now it is just a bunch of static. I am going to introduce some grays here, so that I can manipulate the amount of noise. So I am just going to give it a little filter, just a little blur more. And that is going to introduce some grays.
Now that I have grays, I can go in there and manipulate this noise. By going into my levels, I am going to push my dark slider in and there is the star field. See, there is your star field. And I bring my whites in a little more, like that, bring this black down a little more. There, I have reduced the amount of noise creating basically a star field, which if I put this layer now in screen mode, I have instant snow. But we want a storm. So by applying another filter, motion blur, put it at an angle like this, bring down the distance a bit. I mean a little less angle there, quite like that, a little more distance. Now we have the rain.
So now we need some lightning, right? We need some lightning. Now lightning is a tough one. I use to do this to show on Tech TV, the screen savers for three and a half years. How many people saw the screen savers? A few. That was the most requested thing on the screen savers, it was lightning and I think it reflected the demographics of the viewers of that show. Based on the emails that I used to get, the viewers of that show were basically boys between six and 24 and women over 65. One of those two groups always wanted to see lightning. I am not sure which one it was, but one of those two groups.
So I went through all kinds of things trying to figure out how to do lightning because I never had to do lightning before. So I went in there and I started playing around with filters because I always know that the answer was in there somewhere. And I found one particular filter that did something that I needed, a little filter called ‘difference clouds’. Difference clouds, which is if I apply it right here to this layer here, go to filters, render, difference clouds.
I noticed that it inverted the image and it created clouds, but it concentrated those clouds in the areas of contrast. So I thought well if I exaggerate that area of contrast, I think I could get lightning out of there and I was right. So, let me just turn these guys off and a layer on top of the sky, I will go in there and fill that layer with white, and now with a black brush, pick a little smaller. I am going to create an area of contrast. My lightning is going to come down like this then go down over here and then come down like that.
Then another one over here, it is going to come this way and down and straight down. Now I am going to fill in between them because there are two bolts of lightning. So it is the area of contrast, in other words the area where the black and the white meet.
So, I am just going to fill that all up, there we go, like that and now I am going to introduce more grays in there just to add more shakiness to it, so I am going to blur it a little more, give it a little Gaussian blur, a little more. Let us say about—that is good, like that. Click okay.
Now I have an area of contrast so I will now go in there and say filter, render, difference clouds. If I invert this, see the lightning? I am going to go into my levels and reduce the clouds. Bring down a number of clouds, bring this down a bit, bring the mid zones down, bring that right down here and go like that. Put that in screen mode, so I see the sky and stuff behind it, bring back my rain and now we got lightning.
We need one more thing though, we need one more thing. I need to go into the buildings here, double click on them, give him a little inner glow, little inner glow which I am going to make white and increase that opacity a bit and make it a little bigger, so I got the little glow, see the glow? But I do not want the glow on this side. I do not want the glow on this side. So what I am going to do now is I am going to separate the layer style from the layer, I am going to go over here, go to layer styles and say create layer, which you are going to separate that right there. So I can take this part of my sky there or my lightning and erase it. I could take my eraser and just erase it from that side there. I do not want it there and I do not want it on this side either here and I do not want it on the top. There. So now we got a nice stormy scene.