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Light Rays in Adobe Photoshop CS

Creating a stained glass effect with Photoshop's built-in functionality By Dave Nagel
You want to create a stained glass effect in Photoshop, but the built-in Stained Glass filter doesn't exactly produce the sophisticated look you're going for. Maybe you want a little more detail in the glass segments in the effect; maybe you want light rays streaming through the glass. In other words, you want it to look like a photograph of a stained glass window. Don't fret. You can do it all with nothing more than the tools built into Photoshop.

There's a number of ways to produce just such an effect, depending on how prominent you want the light rays to be, how much detail you want in the glass panes, how bright you want the light to be, etc. I'll show you a number of variations on the effect over a black background to simulate the low dynamic range you get in photos of stained glass windows, though you can use any sort of background you wish.

Creating the stained-glass window

I'm going to begin this exercise by splitting my original image into panels, which I'm doing simply by using the Rectangular Marquee tool and deleting the portions I don't want. When I'm done, I'll fill in the transparent areas of the image with black for my background. (Filling in the empty portions of the layer with black will help down the road, as some of the filters we'll be using work much better on layers that do not contain transparency.) In the Layers palette, I'll name this layer Layer 1.

Then I'm going to duplicate this layer and call the duplicate Layer 2. I'm going to set its blending mode to "Hard Light."

Then I'm going to select Layer 1 and apply Photoshop's Stained Glass filter (Filter > Texture > Stained Glass). Here are the settings I'm using.

But the effect doesn't exactly look right. So I'm going to select Layer 2 again in the layers palette, and then choose Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Here I'm going to adjust the way in which the two layers blend together so that the image doesn't look so harsh. Essentially, I want to keep the detail on the original image but also allow the glass segments to show through. Now, the way I'm going to do this is to adjust the "Blend If" parameter for the current layer. Holding down the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (Windows), click on the right handle on the slider labeled "This Layer," and drag it so that the handle splits apart and you get a reading of "33/255" (as seen below).

This doesn't really bring back all that much detail yet, but don't worry. I've read ahead in this tutorial, so I'm pretty sure it will work out right in the end.

And that's the base image we'll be using for the stained glass effect. We'll add the light rays in now, which will not only create the light ray effect, but will also bring back some of the detail and brightness into the image.

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Related Keywords:adobe photoshop, light rays, stained glass effect

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