Apply the Lighting Effects filter

The Lighting Effects filter lets you produce myriad lighting effects on RGB images. You can also use textures from grayscale files (called bump maps) to produce 3D‑like effects and save your own styles for use in other images.

Note:

The Lighting Effects filter works only on 8-bit RGB images in Photoshop CC. You must have a supported video card to use Lighting Effects. For more information, see this FAQ.

  1. Choose Filter > Render > Lighting Effects.
  2. From the Presets menu at upper left, choose a style.

  3. In the preview window, select individual lights you want to adjust. Then, in the upper half of the Properties panel, do any of the following:

    • Choose a light type (Spot, Infinite, or Point) from the top menu.
    • Adjust color, intensity, and hotspot size.

    Note:

    To duplicate a light, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the light within the preview window.

  4. In the lower half of the Properties panel, adjust the entire set of lights with these options:

    Colorize

    Click to tint the overall lighting.

    Exposure

    Controls highlight and shadow detail.

    Gloss

    Determines how much surfaces reflects light.

    Metallic

    Determines which is more reflective: the light or the object on which the light is cast.

    Ambience

    Diffuses the light as if it were combined with other light in a room, such as sunlight or fluorescent light. Choose a value of 100 to use only the light source, or a value of –100 to remove the light source.

    Texture

    Applies a texture channel.

From an Expert: Lighting Effects tutorials

Quickly master the dedicated Lighting Effects workspace. This tutorial from Dan Moughamian gives you a step-by-step tour.

Also, see this Lighting Effects overview video by Matt Kloskowski.

Lighting Effects types

You can choose from several lighting types:

Point

Shines light in all directions from directly above the image—like a light bulb.

Infinite

Shines light across an entire plane—like the sun.

Spot

Casts an elliptical beam of light. The line in the preview window defines the light direction and angle, and the handles define the edges of the ellipse.

Adjust a Point light in the preview window

  1. In the Properties panel, choose Point from the top menu.

  2. In the preview window, adjust the light:

    • To move the light, drag anywhere on the canvas.
    • To change the spread of light (reflecting a light moving closer or farther away), drag the white section of the Intensity ring at the center.

    Note:

    An Intensity value of 100 is brightest, normal lighting is about 50, negative intensity takes away light, and –100 intensity produces no light.

Adjust an Infinite light in the preview window

  1. In the Properties panel, choose Infinite from the top menu.

  2. Adjust the light:
    • To change the direction, drag the handle at the end of the line.
    • To change brightness, drag the white section of the Intensity ring at the center of the light controls.

Adjust a Spot light in the preview window

  1. At the top of the Properties panel, choose Spot.

  2. In the preview window, adjust the light:

    • To move the light, drag within the outer ellipse.
    • To rotate the light, drag beyond the outer ellipse.
    • To change the hotspot angle, drag the edge of the interior ellipse.
    • To extend or shrink the ellipse, drag one of the four outer handles.
    • To change how much of the ellipse is filled with light, drag the white section of the Intensity ring in the center.

Lighting Effects presets

Use the Presets menu in the Lighting Effects workspace to choose from 17 light styles. You can also create your own presets by adding lights to the Default setting. The Lighting Effects filter requires at least one light source. Only one light can be edited at a time, but all added lights are used to create the effect.

2 o’clock Spotlight

A yellow spotlight of medium (17) intensity with a wide (91) focus.

Blue Omni

A blue overhead omni light of full (85) intensity with no focus.

Circle Of Light

Four spotlights. White has full (100) intensity and a concentrated (8) focus. Yellow has strong intensity (88) and a concentrated focus (3). Red has medium (50) intensity and a concentrated (0) focus. Blue has full (100) intensity and medium (25) focus.

Crossing

A white spotlight of medium (35) intensity with a wide (69) focus.

Crossing Down

Two white spotlights of medium (35) intensity with a wide (100) focus.

Default

A white spotlight of medium intensity (35) with a wide focus (69).

Five Lights Down/Five Lights Up

Five white spotlights, down or up, of full (100) intensity with a wide (60) focus.

Flashlight

An omni yellow light of medium (46) intensity.

Flood Light

A white spotlight of medium (35) intensity with a wide (69) focus.

Parallel Directional

A directional blue light of full (98) intensity with no focus.

RGB Lights

Red, blue, and green lights that produce a light of medium (60) intensity with a wide (96) focus.

Soft Direct Lights

Two unfocused white and blue directional lights. White has a soft (20) intensity. Blue has a medium (67) intensity.

Soft Omni

A soft omni light of medium (50) intensity.

Soft Spotlight

A white spotlight of full (98) intensity with a wide (100) focus.

Three Down

Three white spotlights of soft (35) intensity with a wide (96) focus.

Triple Spotlight

Three spotlights of slight (35) intensity with a wide (100) focus.

Add or delete a light

  • In the Lighting Effects workspace, do one of the following:

    • At upper left, click the Lights icons to add Point, Spot, and Infinite types. Repeat as desired for a maximum of 16 lights.
    • In the Lights panel (at lower right by default), drag a light to the Trash icon to delete it.

Create, save, or delete a Lighting Effects preset

  • In the Lighting Effects dialog box, do one of the following:

    • To create a preset, choose Custom from the Preset menu, and click the Lights icons to add Point, Spot, and Infinite types. Repeat as desired for a maximum of 16 lights.
    • To save a preset, click Save, name the style, and click OK. Saved presets include all the settings for each light and appear in the Style menu whenever you open the image.
    • To delete a preset, choose it, and then click Delete.

Apply a Texture channel

In the Lighting Effects workspace, the Texture channel lets you control lighting effects using grayscale images (called bump maps).  You add bump maps to the image as alpha channels. You can add any grayscale image to your image as an alpha channel, or create an alpha channel and add texture to it. For an embossed text effect, use a channel with white text on a black background, or vice versa.

  1. If necessary, add an alpha channel to your image. Do one of the following:
    • To use a texture based on another image (for example, fabric or water), convert that image to grayscale, then drag the grayscale channel from that image into the current image.
    • Drag an existing alpha channel from another image into the current image.
    • Create an alpha channel in your image, then add texture to it.
  2. In the Lighting Effects workspace, choose a channel from the Texture menu in the Properties dialog box. (Choose either an alpha channel you’ve added or the image’s Red, Green, or Blue channel.)

  3. Drag the Height slider to vary the texture from Flat (0) to Mountainous (100).

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