Photoshop tutorials
Lighting fx in Photoshop
by - ~siner

1) Create a new document with the dimensions of 1024x768, with a black background..
From this we will now create the basic structure of the lighting effect. Now take the brush tool and draw a thin straight line, and add a glow to it by adding another line over it with a flow of about 10@ or 20%. Or whatever you think looks best. My line is a 1 pixel line with a 13 pixel glow and a flow of 18%. (make sure the line with glow is on the same lyaer and in a layer of its own.)
(_view image_)

After you have drawn the line and it looks somewhat similar to mine we will start to make it look more like a lightning effect instead of a plain old line. To do this we will need to apply some filters to the line. Add Filter-Distort-Wave first. From here add your own settings and waves to create the effect you want. I will show you my settings as reference. Now we have to duplicate the wave effect to get more wavy lines over top of each other.

2) Now to get more waves on top of one another we have to Fliter-Distort-Wave about 5-6 more times. Make sure after each wave you do Edit-Fade-Wave or hit shift-Ctrl-F. (_view image_)

Here is what the Fade Wave window looks like.

Make sure you do the Fade Wave after each wave you make. Make sure you screen each wave too. This is very important. So I will show the progression of waves that I got from what i have explained above. Also make sure when you do the wave effect the wave isnt too far off from the original. You dont want waves all over the place, you want them close to each other.(_view image_)

3) Ok so thats what I got for the final wave. If yours doesnt look the same thats perfectly normal, just so that it atleast looks similar. Now we will make it look better and sharper. First make sure the wave layer is still selected. Now hold down CTRL and select the wave layer. Then while it is still selected we need contract the pixels. To do this gotta Select-Modify-Contract. Then the contract window will come up. Contract by 1 or 2 pixels, it depends of the size of your wave. I contracted by 2 pixels and got the wave below. I copied the same layer to make it brighter and then merged them using CTRL+E..

4) Now to sharpen it. Once again select the wave layer, and go to Filter-Sharpen-Sharpen. Don't sharpen it to many times, 1 or 2 times is fine, I did it 3 times just for good measure.
5) From with wave it looks a little to sharp so ill use the smudge tool with a flow of about 6% to smooth it out. And what I got is below, not to smooth cause I like it to be sharp.
6) Thats it. You got your lightning effect or what ever the hell it is. Hope you liked this tutorial and learned a few new things about Photoshop. I added Some effects to it and a glow to make it look a little better, just mess around and see what you can come up with and have fun..

PS: Tutorial written with the permission of the Author!