Jun 04, 2009
This tutorial will demonstrate how to create great effect using Pixelmator. It is based on an image that I created two years ago using Photoshop. The idea is to mix a photo of a girl with some light effects, using basically default filters, brushes and blend modes.
A really cool thing is that when I was doing it in Pixelmator, I was able to try different filters because of the real time preview that you have in Pixelmator makes a huge difference in productivity.
You can download and try Pixelmator at: http://www.pixelmator.com/download/
Create a new document, and use the Gradient Tool (G) fill the background layer with a gradient from black to a dark grey in the center. Use Radial for the Gradient Type.
Place an image in the center of the document; I used an image of a girl in a bikini.
Duplicate the layer of the girl and click on Image>Desaturate. Then change the Blending of the layer to Overlay. You can also apply a Gaussian Blur.
Duplicate the girl layer again, and arrange it so that it is behind the other layers. Then click on Filter>Blur>Zoom Blur. Use 21 for the Amount, and move the controller until you achieve the desired result, like the image below.
Now, just change the layer’s Blending to Color Dodge, and the effect will get darker and more subtle, like rays of light.
Once again, let’s duplicate the original girl layer. This new copy has to go behind the other layers of the girl. Then click on Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Use 50 for the Radius, and 26 for the Angle. Also, change the Blending to Color Dodge.
Duplicate the layer that we just applied to the motion blur twice, for a total of 3 copies of the same layer. This will create a much stronger light effect. ?
Now, we will add a new layer in front of the background layer and behind the others. Click on Filter>Generator>Clouds, use black and white for the colors, and click OK. The clouds filter is good because it makes the light less uniform. Again, change the Blending to Color Dodge.
Add another layer on top of the clouds, then, with the Gradient Tool (G), fill it with the default rainbow gradient in the Gradient Panel (View>Show Gradient). Then change the Blending to Overlay.
Now we can add some sparks. First, add a new layer and fill it with black, then change the Blending to Color Dodge. After that, go to View>Show Brushes. Select a regular rounded brush and double click on it to edit it. Increase the Spacing to 705% and the Scatter to 90%; also, make sure that the Hardness is 0%. Now we have the perfect brush to create sparks. Select the Brush Tool (B) and begin painting some sparks like the image below. Change the size of the brush using the keyboard shortcuts [ and ].
To create more light effects, add a new layer and fill it with black again. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), create a rectangular selection, then use the Brush Tool (B) to select a big, rounded brush. Use white paint inside the rectangular selection like the image below.
Change the Blending to Color Dodge and we will have a nice light streak. Duplicate the layer and position it more toward the middle of the image. Then go to Edit>Free Transform and rotate them as seen below.
Add your logo and the effect is essentially finished. You can add more lights behind the girl, but remember to always create a new layer and fill it with black first, then use Color Dodge for the blending and white for the color of the lights.
Select all layers and duplicate them, then click on Layer>Merge Layers. This way, one layer will have the image and the other layers will be behind it. When the flattened layer is selected, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 20 for the Radius and click OK. After that, simply change the Blending to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 75%; this will create a nice glowing effect.
In this tutorial, we played with brushes and the Color Dodge blending and created some great light effects. We also used 3 types of blur: Zoom, Motion, and Gaussian. Pixelmator is incredibly fast when dealing with blurs; we can preview the effect in real time, making it much easier to try different things. Now it is all about playing with the tool; enjoy it!