How to Add Light Beams in Photoshop

On this video Photoshop expert Jesús Ramirez (from the Photoshop training channel) demonstrates how to create a sun behind the clouds and add light beams or rays of light to the image using Photoshop.

The first task is to create a virtual sub behind the clouds. You do this by painting in white and change the blend mode linear dodge add and double click on the layer and choose the layer style window we than choose transparency change layer and now we have something with is just a little bit similar to a sun. We now need to bring the virtual sun back behind the clouds.

To do this we play with the underlayning layer and fine tune the sliders until you get the effect that you are looking for (you can move this sun by clicking v and moving the “sun” on the image). Now choose a large soft brush and paint over the “sun” and by using transform to scale the image to a size which seems O.K. to you.

To create the beams we open a new layer decrease the brush size and choose “shape dynamics” in the brush tool and increase size jitter the scattering and spacing and bump the hardness all the way up and paint the beams.

Now you need to turn these into actual beams and so you choose filter>blur>radial filter and try and find the precise point of the start of the beams (this is trail and error for the most part). From here you will need to remove areas where you don’t want the rays and increase the blur and the strength of the result. In the last part Ramirez gives a different option for creating rays (which looks a bit less realistic in our view but can still be interesting).

We looked at other techniques for creating light beams in Photoshop in the past – including Aaron Nace’s “How to Create Beams of Light and Lens Flare in Photoshop” and “How to Create Beams Of Light From Nothing In Photoshop“ and  Glyn Dewis How To Make Sun Beams in Photoshop.

You can find many more Photoshop video tutorials on LensVid’s Photoshop section. You can also check some of Ramirez previous videos published here on the site on the following link.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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