advanced photoshop

Tutorial preview: Cinematic lighting effects

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Magazine previews, by Julie Bassett

Use Photoshop to replicate the cinematic lighting effects seen in movie posters

Commercial lighting can take many forms and here we’ll show you how to achieve that soft-lit-subject look familiar in cinema posters. Lighting is a key element in this format, used to convey mood and feelings associated with the feature film.

Here we show you how to build lighting, apply colour and ultimately create an emotive response through all these visual values, using only Photoshop and image stock. Without lighting, your art is dead and if not used correctly you will have serious problems. It’s half observation, half application.
Here we’ll be explaining how colour adjustments play a huge role in targeting and driving image colour values. These are used in unison with manual techniques, using colour brushes with the Dodge and Burn tools to accentuate dramatic effects.

Blending modes and layering also comes into play, showing you how you should build your lighting layers. It’s here that you’ll understand how the sequence of your layers can help create focus. Exposures, contrasts and sharpening processes also feature; all helping you achieve a more striking end result.

Read more in Advanced Photoshop 97, on sale 14 June 2012 from and

Tutorial preview: Cinematic lighting effects