7 days of PS Actions, graphics, templates & fonts - for free!* Unlimited asset downloads! Start 7-Day Free Trial
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Create an Abstract Diamond Lens Effect in Photoshop

Scroll to top
Read Time: 6 mins
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this Quick Tip tutorial, our focus is on creating a trippy diamond lens effect by combining several different lens flare techniques. While these can be adjusted and used in more subtle imagery as well, today we are going big and surreal!

Along with our lens flares, we'll put together a vivid color grade designed to bring out the reds of an image along with the brightest points of the subject's highlights so that they shine against an otherwise dark background. Let's get started! 

Follow along with this tutorial over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel.

What You'll Need

To complete this project, we are using the following resources:

Find more resources on Envato Elements!

1. How to Create a "Third Eye" Effect

First, we combine the two different stock images to create a multiple eye effect. My favorite part about this is that we only use layer modes to blend our subjects—no extraction needed!

Step 1

Create a 3338 x 2236 px canvas, setting the Resolution to 300 DPI if you intend to print the image. 

Drop the first Wavy Red Hair model stock image onto the canvas.

add modeladd modeladd model

Step 2

Drop the second Wavy Red Hair model stock image onto the canvas, placing it above the first. 

Set the second subject layer mode to Lighten. 

Position it slightly to the right so that the left eye is overlapping the left subject's right eye. 

add 2nd modeladd 2nd modeladd 2nd model

Step 3

Add a Layer Mask to the second subject's layer. 

Using a large, soft, round Brush, mask out the left side of the second subject, focusing on the hair that is overlapping the first subject's face. 

merge modelsmerge modelsmerge models

Step 4

Duplicate the second subject, bringing it above the previous two layers.

Right-Click > Flip Horizontally to flip the duplicate. Delete the duplicate's layer mask as well. Set the layer mode to Lighten.

Position the subject copy in the middle and slightly below the original two subjects.

add third modeladd third modeladd third model

Step 5

Add a Layer Mask to the subject copy, filling it with Black #000.

Bring back the subject copy's nose and lips using a medium, soft, round Brush.

mask modelmask modelmask model

Step 6

Make a second duplicate of the second subject, placing it above all other layers. Set the layer mode to Multiply.

Position it so that the newest duplicate overlaps the previous duplicate's lips. 

Crop the canvas down to hide any leftover background. The background should be almost solid black. 

Group all four subject layers into a group labeled "face."


2. How to Create a Lens Flare 

Next up, we are creating two different lens flare effects using textures as our base, and a mixture of both filters and layer modes. Let's go! 

Step 1

Drop in texture "Glitch 43" from the Glitch Effect Overlays Vol. 3 texture pack. 

Enlarge the texture significantly. Set the layer mode to Lighten. 

apply textureapply textureapply texture

Step 2

Add a Filter > Blur > Shape Blur to the texture.

Shape Blur Settings

  • Radius: 50 px
  • Shape: Hexagon 

If you don't have a hexagon available, click on the Cog Icon >  Shapes > OK or Append

blur textureblur textureblur texture

Step 3

Create and clip a Color Balance adjustment layer into the glitch texture. 

Color Balance Settings

  • Red: +100
  • Green: -39
  • Blue: -63
color texturecolor texturecolor texture

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment above all previous layers. This layer is meant to brighten.

Curves Settings

curves settingscurves settingscurves settings

Fill the Curves Layer Mask with Black #000.

Mask back in the irises of all three eyes using a small, soft, round Brush to brighten them.


Step 5

Drop texture "8" from the Vintage Polygon Light Backgrounds texture pack. Set the texture to Screen and 90% Opacity. 

Enlarge it significantly, creating a result similar to the one you see below. 

add textureadd textureadd texture

Step 6

Add a Filter > Blur > Shape Blur to layer "8".

Shape Blur Settings

  • Radius: 20 px
  • Shape: Hexagon 
blur   textureblur   textureblur   texture

Step 7

Create and clip a Curves adjustment layer into the "8" texture. 

Curves Setting

curves settingscurves settingscurves settings
final layersfinal layersfinal layers

Group all of the lens flares layers into a group labeled "Lens Flare." 

3. How to Create a Bold, Grungy Color Grade

To finish up, we are transforming the whole color pallet using several different adjustment layers. This color grade is designed to create vivid reds and bring out highlights both in the lens flares and on the subject itself. 

It's one of my favorites! 

Step 1

Note that we build each adjustment layer on top of the previous one.

Create a Curves adjustment layer. 

Curves Settings 

curves settingscurves settingscurves settings
  • Opacity: 71%
curves resultscurves resultscurves results

Step 2

Create a Color Lookup adjustment layer. 

Color Lookup Settings 

  • 3DLUT File: FoggyNight
  • Layer Mode: Luminosity
  • Opacity: 60%
add color lookupadd color lookupadd color lookup

Step 3

Create a Color Lookup adjustment layer. 

Color Lookup Settings 

  • 3DLUT File: HorrorBlue
  • Layer Mode: Color
  • Opacity: 100%
add color lookupadd color lookupadd color lookup

Step 4

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer. 

Color Balance Settings 

  • Red: -100
  • Blue: +100
  • Layer Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 50%
add color balanceadd color balanceadd color balance

Step 5

Create a Selective Color adjustment layer. 

Selective Color Settings 

Colors: Reds 

  • Cyan: +53
  • Magenta: -25
  • Yellow: +78

Colors: Yellows 

  • Cyan: -100
  • Magenta: +23
  • Yellow: +34

Layer Settings: 

  • Layer Mode: Color
  • Opacity: 49%
add coloradd coloradd color

Step 6

Create a Color Fill layer. 

Color Fill Settings

  • Color: Midnight Blue #161e2e
  • Layer Mode: Lighten
  • Opacity: 69%
ad color fillad color fillad color fill

Step 7

Create a Curves layer. 

Curves Settings

curves settingscurves settingscurves settings
blend if settingsblend if settingsblend if settings

How to Use Blend If 

Double click on a layer to open the Layer Style panel. Towards the bottom, there is Blend If: Gray.

The bottom slider affects how the current layer interacts with the highlights and shadows of the Underlying Layer. Hold Alt and then drag the sliders to separate them, giving you more control over their effect.

In this instance, we do not want any of our brightening Curves layer to apply to our shadows; we only want it in the highlights, so we pull the leftmost toggle to the right. We split the toggles and move the right half of the left toggle even more to the right to further blend the light out of any shadows located under the Curves layer.

For the best results, experiment with this tool to learn how it interacts! I use Blend If in most of my work. 

final layersfinal layersfinal layers

We've Done It!

Layer modes are far more powerful than people give them credit for, especially when dealing with lens flares that are combined and layered on top of each other.

Whether it's to build a subject, apply different textures to achieve various lens flare effects, or to bring out the full potential of adjustment layers, the key to it all is layer modes! 

So, as always, keep experimenting with different techniques and practicing, and don't forget to post your version below, along with any questions, comments, or critiques!


Looking to learn more? Why not check out the following tutorials:

Did you find this post useful?
Want a weekly email summary?
Subscribe below and we’ll send you a weekly email summary of all new Design & Illustration tutorials. Never miss out on learning about the next big thing.
Start your 7-day free trial*
Start free trial
*All Individual plans include a 7-day free trial for new customers; then chosen plan price applies. Cancel any time.