How to add a cool effect on your drawings or photos

This quick tutorial in 5 steps will show you how to do a nice light effect on your picture. It works best on drawings but can also be applied on photo’s.

I took my fanArt of the pokemon Snivy as exemple. Let’s compare this picture from before and after this tutorial !

Before / After the tutorial

Step 1

I use a layer for each color and shadow of the drawing. Select all color/shadow layers and put them in a group (CTRL+G or press the folder button). Duplicate this group (right clic on the group and press duplicate), then merge this duplicated group (CTRL+E or right click on the group and press merge).

Step 1 illustration

Note that I didn’t select the ground shadow and the white of the eye reflection layers, because I don’t want them in the effect.

Step 2

Put your merged layer in overlay mod. Then apply a guaussian blur on it (filters > blur > gaussian blur).
You have to adjust the strength depending on your image’s size. I set 15-25px blur for a 2850*1332px image.

Step 2 illustration

If you find the effect too strong, you can decrease the opacity of your overlay layer. I didn’t need to do that here.

Step 3

You can skip step 3,4 and 5 if you are using this effect on a photo.

It’s time to do a nicer background ! Pick the eyedropper (shortcut ‘I’) and choose two colors in your picture. Create a radiant layer (or use the radiant tool on a new simple layer) with these two colors. You can change their luminosity to get a better effect !

Step 3 illustration

Step 4

It’s time to add a texture on our drawing and its background.

I can’t remember where I got the texture I used for this drawing. But it’s easy to find a good one on the Internet.
Per exemple, you can find a lot of them on DeviantArt. Try “grunge” or whatever you want/need as keyword.

When you downloaded your texture, it might be colored. Your first need to put it in black and white by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+B. Press ‘ok’ in the dialog that just opened.
Select, copy and paste it in your drawing.

You can use your texture for the whole drawing, or two differents ones (for the character and for the background). Here I used the same twice, but in different sizes.

Step 5

The last step !

Select your texture layer and put it overhead your background layer. Put it in overlay mode (read step 3) and decrease the opacity until you get the effect you wish. Here I set a 15% opacity.

To apply the second texture to the character, you first need to do step 1 again, because we need to get the selection of all the colors.
When that’s done, press ctrl and left click on your layer picture. Delete this layer, select your texture layer and create a mask (see below).

Step 5 illustration : Texture your picture

Once again you set this texture layer in overlay and decrease the opacity. Here I set 25%.

Snivy by LeMuTaLisKFoU
Final result

This tutorial is now over… and you have a cool effect on your picture ! ;-)
If you have any questions about this tutorial, go to the contact page.