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In this tutorial, I will show you how you can apply dynamic colour and lighting effect to highlight your images and give them a shining and metallic effect in Photoshop. I will also introduce some techniques that you could use to hightlight certain objects within the image to make them stand out.

By following this tutorial, you will gain further understanding into image adjustment tools, layer blending modes and various filters. Have a go, it’s simple :)

Here is a before and after preview:



Ok let’s get started!

Step 1

Download a copy of this image and load it into Photoshop. This image is of my own stock and you may use it freely for anywhere.

Duplicate the background layer FIVE TIMES and hide the top 4 layers, leaving just the one directly above the background layer visible:

We will focus on the “Background copy” layer first and as the tutorial progresses, we will un-hide other layers and apply filters and adjustments to those layers as well.

Step 2

Firstly we would like to get rid of the crowd on the image so as to make it look less busy. However, you may like to retain the crowd and do stuff with them, that’s totally up to you.

OK so get rid of the crowd, select the “background copy” layer, grab a big, soft, round brush with 50% opacity and flow, gently brush over the crowd until you achieve the following effects:

Then change the blending mode to “Multiply” and you will have the following effect:

Step 3

Now un-hide the “Background copy 2” layer, go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effect and apply the following settings:

The reason I did this step is that I would like to make the light sort of coming from the sky and create some depth for the image.

Change the blending mode of this layer to “Soft light” and your effect will now look like this:

Step 4

Now un-hide the “Background copy 3” layer and drag it down below the “Background copy” layer:

Use the Dodge Tool with a 100px soft brush and 70% Exposure in Highlight mode, brush over the edges of the building where necessary to create some dynamic lighting.

Below is the effect after apply Dodge Tool:

Optionally, you can apply the following Brightness and Contrast setting on this layer to enchance the lighting effect:

Step 5

Now un-hide the “Background copy 4” layer, apply the Black and White Image Adjustment Tool with the following settings:

Change the blending mode of this layer to “Color” and reduce the opacity to 50%, and you will have the following effect:

Step 6

Now we’re going to add some more colour and lighting contrast to the image. Un-hide the “Background copy 5” layer, hit Ctrl + M and apply the following Curve Settings:

Then Go to Filter > Render > Gaussian Blur and apply the following settings:

Then change the layer blending mode of this layer to “Color Dodge” and reduce the opacity to 55%. The image will now look like this:

Step 7

Now go back to the “Background Copy” layer, use the Eraser Tool with a soft round brush (I used 200px, 30% flow and opacity), gently erase some portions of the dark area down the bottom (where the crowd located).

This creates more lighting dynamics and make it easier to focus on certain objects:

Step 8

We can add some final touches for this image. Create a new layer and fill it with Black colour, go to Filter > Render > Fiber and apply the following settings:

Then apply this Level Adjustment setting to it:

Change the layer blending option to “Screen” and you will have the following image:

Ok that’s it for this tutorial! The rest is once again left upon your own imagination. Have a play with layers and filters, see what results they will bring you :)

Here is two other versions with different colour scheme I did for this tutorial:

Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it inspirational :)

Thanks very much and have a nice day!

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