September 11, 2010

11

Quick-Masking Soft Light Leaks on Photographs in Photoshop

This is a tutorial on how to recreate light leaks on photographs similarly to the those found on film photos that have been exposed to light via a crack or gap in the case. It is not as sharp and defined as most light leaks, as a softer finish is more appealing in this case.

Quick-Masking Light Leaks on Photographs in Photoshop

Quick-Masking Light Leaks on Photographs in Photoshop

1. Quick Mask Mode

  • Open your image up in Photoshop.
  • Select the Quick Mask (bottom of Toolbar), go Select –> Edit in Quick Mask Mode ( or Press Q):
  • And Invert the Quick Mask, Ctrl/Cmd + I, this will help you see the adjustments you make.
Quick Mask Mode (Q)

Quick Mask Mode (Q)

2. Masking with the Brush Tool

  • Grab the Brush Tool with settings: Radius 1800px, Hardness 0%, Flow  30%, as shown:
  • Paint around the edges, as shown:
  • Press Q once finished!
Masking with the Brush Tool (B)

Masking with the Brush Tool (B)

3. Adjustment Layer Curves

  • At the bottom of your Layers Tab select the black and white circle and choose Curves, or Layer –> New Adjustment Layer –> Curves:
  • Increase the RGB Channel up perpendicular to the line.
  • Increase the Red Channel up perpendicular to the line.
  • Decrease the Green Channel down perpendicular to the line.
  • Decrease the Blue Channel down perpendicular to the line.
  • As shown in the screenshot, select the channels by click the tab just above.
  • The results may vary, however not greatly, only minor adjustments will be needed.
Adjustment Layer: Curves

Adjustment Layer: Curves

4. Adjustment Layer Levels

  • To increase the contrast you can use Levels, go Layer –> New Adjustment Layer –> Levels:
  • Move the Black slider right and the Gray Slider right slightly, as shown:
Adjustment Layer: Levels

Adjustment Layer: Levels

5. Retouching Curves Mask

  • You can also go back to the Curves Layer Mask and make adjustments:
  • I added a line using a Bi-Linear Gradient, FG Only White, as shown:
Retouching Curves Mask

Retouching Curves Mask

That’s It! Here is the Before/After:

Before/After Light Leaks Masking

Before/After Light Leaks Masking

Inspiration from Cameronrad and his video tutorial!

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!

If you’d like to use these photographs please Contact Me!

Please comment below if you have any questions and I’ll answer them ASAP!

All images on this site are copyrighted© – All Rights Reserved.

Written by Mike

Michael Scott is the publisher and photographer behind Scott Photographics! He is very passionate about his photography and enjoys sharing the best of his experiences for others to enjoy too! Contact Mike via email!
Read more from Featured, Photoshop, Tutorials
11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 28 2011

    Hi Mark,

    I think you may need to use a white foreground colour at a low opacity, or you can use the gradient tool instead!

    If that doesn’t work either just comment below and I’ll have another look!

    Cheers,

    Mike

  2. Feb 28 2011

    I’m stuck on the second bit. I did everything as you said:
    2. Masking with the Brush Tool
    Grab the Brush Tool with settings: Radius 1800px, Hardness 0%, Flow 30%, as shown:
    Paint around the edges, as shown:
    Press Q once finished!

    When I try to paint it doesn’t do anything at all. Is there a particular colour I should be using or a certain Mode. I had the Mode on Normal as shown in your image.

  3. Dec 28 2010

    Thanks!

  4. Dec 28 2010

    Very nice. Keep up the good work

  5. Nov 2 2010

    Thank you for the kind feedback, much appreciated!

  6. Nina Castillo
    Nov 2 2010

    I tried your tutorial and it was really helpful and obviously effective! The steps are so much easier compared to the last tutorial I tried. Thanks so much for posting this! :)

  7. Oct 4 2010

    Good morning, I want to say thank you for an exciting web site about a subject I’ve had an curiosity in for a while now. I’ve been looking in and reading through the commentary and so only wanted to voice my thanks for giving me some incredibly helpful reading material. I watch for reading more, and getting a more active part in your talks here, while picking up some expertise as well :)

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