Create a Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light Effects

Create a Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light Effects
Create a Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light Effects

Learn how to create your own futuristic portraits with swirling ribbons of light. This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to create light streaks and other high-tech elements that you can incorporate into your own photos!

Preview of Final Results


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Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light | 3.37 MB

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Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light Effects Photoshop Tutorial


Step 1

Open a new file in Photoshop.It should be 3200 pixels wide by 2100 pixels high.Use 300 dpi for the depth resolution.


Now we are going to set up a basic background for the image.Create a new layer and select the gradient tool (G). Go to the gradient editor and select a gradient that goes from a pure Black color #000000 to a dark gray #202020.


Click on the lower Left part of the canvas and drag the cursor to the top right side to create the gradient.


To eliminate the gradient stops (the lines that appear when the color gradually changes shades on a gradient) we need to add some noise.Go to the menu Filter>Noise>Add noise and use a radius of 1.45% Distribution set to "Uniform" and check the "Monochromatic" option:


Now drag the Starfield stock image to your canvas and resize it to fit.


Set the layer's blending mode to "Lighten" then go to the Levels menu (Ctrl+L) and apply the next settings to make it a little bit darker so it doesn't seem too bright.


Step 2

Drag your model or portrait stock image into your document. I'm using an image from Dreamstime because it has nice resolution and goes with the concept of the image. Feel free to use any similar image you like.


Using the pen tool (P) we are going to extract the model form the background of the image. Draw a path very carefully along the edges of the man.Try to be precise and keep as much detail as possible:


Once you have the whole path,right click and transform path into a selection. Use 0 pixels of feather radius:


This is how your image should look like after extraction:


We need to fix the lightning on the model.Go to menu Image>Adjustments>Brightness and Contrast and apply the next settings. (Try experimenting with different values for other results)


Step 3

Drag the Blured lights stock image into your document and place it behind the model's layer.


Go to menu Image>Adjustments>Brightness and contrast and apply the next settings.(You need to apply this twice with the values show below)


I want to get more red and pink tones. To do that, go to menu Image>Adjustments>Hue and Saturation (or Ctrl+U) and apply the next settings:


Now we are going to apply some more blur to the image to get more defined lines of light.Go to filter Blur>Motion Blur and use a Distance of 710 pixels with 0° angle.


Go to the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and set the feather value to 10 pixels. Select a portion of the lights and Copy/Paste them into a new layer:


Step 4

Select the move tool (V). We are going to distort this new layer to get a curvy shape. Go to Edit>Transform>Warp and distort the image to a curvy shape.Try experimenting warping the shape in different forms.


Change the layer Blending mode to "Lighten" and duplicate it twice.Move one of this layers slightly up and the second duplicated layer slightly down from the main lights layer.Change the layer opacity of the upper layer to 60% and the lower to 35%:


Duplicate again the main lights layer and place copies around the image.Use the Eraser (E) tool with a round brush about 300 pixels wide and 0% hardness to erase parts not needed:


Step 5

Duplicate again the main layer but this time place it above the model's layer.Distort the image once again using the Warp transform option and erase anything unwanted. Set this layers blending mode to "Screen" instead of lighten.


Step 6

Create a new layer and go to the "Single Row Marquee tool" (M)(located under the options for the Marquee tool) and select any row horizontal row of pixels,right click and "Fill" with a bright yellow color.


Go now to Filter>Distort>Wave and use the setting below to distort the line into a wavy detail for the light effects.


Change the layer blending mode to "Linear Dodge" and place over the light effects.Use the eraser tool to delete the endings of the wave:


Duplicate this layer as much as you want and place the waves around the composition:


Step 7

Create a new layer on top of all the layers. We are going to add further detail on the light effects.Select the brush tool and grab a 3pixel round brush with 100% Hardness.Go to the Brushes presets menu and Check on the shape Dynamics option. Make sure the control is set to "Pen Pressure". Now switch to the pen too (P) and draw short paths following the direction of the light effects below. Then stroke the paths by right clicking and selecting "Stroke Path" and make sure to have the Brush selected as the "Tool" and to check the "Simulate Pressure" option:


Repeat this step many times to add detail around the image;You can also duplicate the layer and place it in different positions on the canvas.


Grab the "Rectangular Marquee tool" and make a selection on a new layer.Now take the Brush tool and select White as your foreground color.Using a brush of about 70 pixels wide and 0%Hardness , stroke along the edge of the selection:


Using again the Warp option,distort it to match the curves of the light effects and place copies of this layer around your composition:


Your image should now look something like this:


Step 8

Create a new layer and go to the Layer Style menu.Go to the option outer Glow and apply the next settings:


Select the "Rectangular Marquee tool" and draw small selections and then Fill them with white(Shift+Backspace) like shown below:


Once you have a long sequence of large and small rectangles filled with white and the Outer Glow effect, Use the Warp transform option to match the curves on the light effects:


Duplicate this layer many times and place the copies around the composition like we did before. You can also copy this layer style effect and paste it onto the other effects you have created (like the wave)and place different copies of this elements to enhance the composition and add further detail


Step 9

Create a new layer and select a round soft brush 65% pixels wide and 0% hardness with an opacity of 35% and white as your foreground color. Brush along the edges of the model to create a radiating light effect.You may need to do this several times to achieve this effect:


Step 10

No we are going to create the final Adjustments to finish off our image.This layers should be the top.Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Photo Filter and select a cool filter to give the image a blue tone:


Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves and apply the next setting to enhance the shadows and brightness on the image:


Download the PSD

Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light | 3.37 MB

Download from Website

Final Results


Authors Comment

profile[3]This is all for this tutorial. I hope you learned some new techniques while making it.Remember to experiment around with the colors and values using this tutorial as a base.Hope you enjoyed it!

- Edmar Cisneros

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6 comments on “Create a Dynamic Portrait with Flashy Light Effects”

  1. if you find difficulties with step three, for e.g. i got constant black background behind the lights although i did all the steps, just change layer mode to lighten...

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