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Using overlay in Photoshop to create neat light effects

Author: Firebirdz

Tools Needed

  • Poser
  • Photoshop

Support Files


Here is a simple Tutorial on how to use the Overlay Feature in Photoshop to create some cool light effects without having to set up complicated Light setups in Poser.


Step 1 - Overlaying Layers


The image below shows the final result of what a few layers in Photoshop, set to Overlay, can achieve. The Overlay Mode was used to create this candlelight effect.

Step 2 - Rendering using Different Lights


I rendered three images here. Image A is rendered using 3 spotlights in Poser that just focus on the face. Image B is the same model but rendered using several Backlights. You can use any other light setting but the best effects are usually achieved when the render is darker.

Image C is the same model sporting a different texture but I used the same lights as in Image A.

Using the Eraser Tool, I erased part of the face in Image C. I wanted to create an image where part of the face was non-human. I worked with one of those round brushes with feathered edges and set the opacity to 50%. The result is shown in Image D.

I've included Images A, B and C in the attachment so you can try this for yourself.

Step 3 - Combining and Sandwiching the images


I used Image A as the base (Background Image) and placed Image B on top of it. The best way to position the image so that it is exactly on top of the background image is to use the arrow keys. The image will shift one pixel at a time.

I then decreased the opacity of the top layer until I was satisfied. This creates some depth to the image that is hard to achieve with normal renders. I usually set the opacity to between 50 to 80% depending on the effect I wish to achieve.

I then duplicated the bottom layer and placed the duplicated layer on the top, thus 'sandwiching' the layer with Image B. I then set the duplicated layer to Overlay. (Opacity was kept at 100%)

The image above shows the result of this step.

Step 4 - Piling the overlays


I then proceeded to duplicate the top Overlay layer twice and adjusted the opacity of the layers until was satisfied with the intensity of colour that it achieved. You can do this as many times as you like depending on how intense you want the image to look. i found that two additional layers were sufficient here.

In the image below, the first Overlay layer was left at 100% opacity whilst the other two were adjusted to between 20 - 40% opacity.

Step 5 - Inserting more overlays


At this stage, I brought in the image with the scaly skin (Image D). I inserted it as a layer below the Overlay Layers. I duplicated the layer. Both layers were set to Normal and 100% Opacity. Of course, you can adjust the opacity depending on the intensity of the texture you want to achieve. (Layers named “Scales A” and “Scales B” in the Image below)

I then duplicated “Scales B” and set that layer to Overlay and decreased the opacity to 80%


Step 6 - Final Result


This is the final result. Try it now using the attached files!