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PS Tutorial – Spotlight Effect

I was really upset when I got the newest edition of photoshop (CS5) because it didn’t have one of my favourite techniques – the spotlight. I finally decided to google if there was a way I could get it back and found out that the lighting effects function could not run on 64 bits so I had to change the function to 32 bit mode. If you had a problem with this too then you can read here on how to fix it.

I’m so happy now to have my spotlight feature back that I thought I would post a tutorial about it. Here is the before and after, and the tutorial is after the jump. Here is another example I had posted a while ago too.

  1. Edit
    Choose a picture that you want and edit it accordingly. I use the spotlight technique right at the end to highlight whatever I want in the picture. This shot has been edited using my Sepia tone effect.

  2. Duplicate Layer
    If you opened up a new file then you can skip this step. If you edited your picture you need to create a duplicate layer which will make an original copy of your first layer. You can name the new layer whatever you want. I kept mine as the default background copy name.

    Taskbar: Layer>Duplicate Layer

  3. Spotlight
    Make sure you are on the background copy layer. To check this look at your layer toolbox which is most likely situated at the middle left of your window. Background copy should be highlighted.

    To add a spotlight effect we will need to use a filter. Follow the following taskbar instructions below to access the lighting effects function.

    Taskbar: Filter>Render>Lighting Effects

    Under style there will be a drop-down menu with a number of options to choose from. Select the soft omni option. You will want to tinker around with the options under properties to make your spotlight more subtle or dramatic. You can also expand, contract, and drag and drop the circle for the spotlight on the thumbnail picture to adjust where you want the spotlight to be. Here is a screenshot of the adjustments I made. Note that I have centered the spotlight in the centre of the picture and expanded the circle to highlight the majority of the shot. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

  4. Merge Layers
    We’re almost done! We now want to merge the layers together to make a solitary picture. Once you have done this you can save your picture as its final form. If you forget to merge the layers then your image will save as a psd file instead of a jpeg.

    Taskbar: Layer>Merge Visible
    PC keyboard: Shift+Ctrl+E
    MAC keyboard: Shift+Command+E

This is a really easy technique to use. You can even save a customized spotlight effect by selecting the save option, listed under the style section in the lighting effects pop-up box.

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