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How to Create a Double Light Effect in Photoshop

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a double light effect in Photoshop. I'll explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create the effect, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

What You Will Learn in This Double Light Effect Tutorial

  • How to select the subject in Photoshop
  • How to create a light effect in Photoshop
  • How to create a double light effect
  • How to create the glow
  • How to make the final adjustments

The effect shown above is the one I will show you how to create in this tutorial. If you would like to create the effect shown below with an action, then check out the Double Light Photoshop Action.

double light photoshop action

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. How to Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
checking image mode and size

2. How to Select the Subject in Photoshop

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make a selection of our subject and then copy the subject to a separate layer. Choose the Quick Selection Tool (W) and select the background of the photo. Use the Shift-Alt buttons on your keyboard to add or subtract areas from the selection. After you've made a perfect selection, press Control-Shift-I on your keyboard to invert the selection.

making selection

Step 2

Now go to Select > Modify > Smooth and set the Sample Radius to 5 px. Next, go to Select > Modify > Contract and set Contract By to 1 px. Finally, go to Select > Modify > Feather and set the Feather Radius to 1 px.

modifying selection

Step 3

Press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection. Name this new layer Subject.

creating new layer using selection

3. How to Create a Double Light Photoshop Effect

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a double light effect. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White to create a new black & white adjustment layer, and name it Subject_Saturation.

creating new black and white adjustment layer

Step 2

Now press Control-Alt-G on your keyboard to create a clipping mask. Then, change the Blending Mode of this layer to Color and set the Opacity to 50%.

changing blending mode and opacity

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Left Light, and choose the color #ff0000 as shown below:

creating new solid color fill layer

Step 4

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay, set the Opacity to 75% and press Control-Alt-G to create a clipping mask. Then, select the layer mask of this layer and press Control-I to invert its color. After that, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the photo where you want to reveal the left light.

brushing into layer mask

Step 5

Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Right Light, and choose the color #0080ff as shown below. Then, drag it just below the Left Light layer in the Layers panel.

creating new solid color fill layer

Step 6

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay, set the Opacity to 75%. Then, select the layer mask of this layer and press Control-I on your keyboard to invert its color. After that, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the photo where you want to reveal the right light.

brushing into layer mask

Step 7

Right-click on the Left Light layer, choose Blending Options and make the adjustments below. Then, repeat this for the Right Light layer.

adjusting blending options

4. How to Create the Glow

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the double light glow. Alt-click on the Subject layer and hold and drag the layer to create a new duplicated layer at the top of the layers in the Layers panel. Then, while this new layer is selected, go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Stylize > Glowing Edges, and set the Edge Width to 2, Edge Brightness to 20, and Smoothness to 15.

adding glowing edges filter

Step 2

Now press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 10 px.

adding gaussian blur filter

Step 3

Right-click on this layer, choose Blending Options and make the adjustments below.

adjusting blending options

Step 4

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Linear Dodge (Add) and name it Subject Glow. Then, select the Left Light layer and Control-click on the Right Light layer to select both layers at the same time. After that, Alt-click on any of these two layers and hold and drag the layers to create new duplicated layers just above the Subject Glow layer in the Layers panel.

duplicating layers

Step 5

While these two layers are selected, press Control-Shift-G to create clipping masks. Then, change their Blending Mode to Color and set the Opacity to 25%. After that, rename the Left Light copy layer to Left Glow and the Right Light copy layer to Right Glow.

changing blending mode and opacity

5. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make the final adjustments to the effect. Select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient Fill to create a new gradient fill layer, name it Background Tint, and use the settings below:

creating new gradient fill layer
The left color stop has the color #ff0000 and the right color stop has the color #0080ff.

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Color and set the Opacity to 20%.

changing blending mode and opacity

Step 3

Select the Left Glow layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer, and name it Overall Brightness.

creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

adjusting levels

Step 5

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation.

creating new vibrance and saturation adjustment layer

Step 6

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +20 and Saturation to +10.

adjusting vibrance and saturation

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! You've learned how to create a double light effect in Photoshop. Here is our final result:

final result

5 Best Double Light Effect Photoshop Actions

Want to see some of the best dual lighting Photoshop actions? Check out this list of double light Photoshop actions from Envato Elements. Enjoy incredible actions!

Double Light Photoshop Action (ATN, PAT)

double light photoshop action

Save your time in creating a double light effect with this action. With the help file included, you'll apply the action in seconds and create results that you can use for banners, posters, magazine covers, event designs, and even T-shirt prints!

Double Light Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT)

double light photoshop action

Here's another double light Photoshop action to add amazing and realistic double light effects to your photos. The action works perfectly with portraits and includes ten color effects. Save hours of work with this action!

CyberPunk Photoshop Action (ATN)

cyberpunk photoshop action

Create amazing cyberpunk photo effects from your photos with just a few clicks! Simply open your photo and play the action. It’s really that simple! Using the CyberPunk Photoshop action, finally you can create a neon cyberpunk Photoshop effect using just a single click and in seconds with the first ever cyberpunk photo effect action.

Dual Light Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT)

dual light photoshop action

This action creates a double light effect with added smoke and bokeh effects. The final effect is fully layered and provides a lot of customization options. The action also creates 20 color presets to apply with a single click!

Dual Lighting Effect (ATN)

dual lighting effect

With this action, you can give your photos a vibrant and impressive look. There are three Photoshop actions included that will create a double light effect. There are also 16 high-resolution bokeh light overlays included!

Did you like this double light Photoshop effect tutorial? Then you may also like:

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