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Designer Tools & Tips

Light plays a very important part in digital design and in our scrapbook pages.  It can be used to add drama to both our photographs and layouts.  Today let’s look at the Lighting Effects filter in Photoshop and see how we can make that work for us.

The Lighting Effect Filter is not available in Photoshop Elements; however, the Lens Flare Filter, which we talked about last week, is an option for you.  In case you missed that tutorial,  you will find it listed below, along with other Filter tutorials you might find helpful.

Using the Lens Flare Filter in Photoshop

Using the Shear Filter in Photoshop

Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop

Today I am using Photoshop CC2014; however,  the Lighting Effects Filter is also available in previous versions of Photoshop.

Here is a layout by layout artist, Bernie, using Hay Day.  I love how she positioned her photograph and cluster in the lightest part of the background paper, but let’s see how we could use Lighting Effects to create even more drama.


Select the layer (or layout) you want to use for the filter.

Convert it to a Smart Object.  (Right Click on the layer > Convert to Smart Object.)  This will allow the filter to be applied as a Smart Filter, giving you the opportunity to adjust it if needed.  (For more about Smart Filters:  How Smart ARE Smart Filters?)

Go to the top Menu Bar and follow the path:  Filter > Render > Lighting Effects


A new window will open, showing your document and a Lighting Effects Panel.

The last filter used will automatically be previewed on your active document.    The last filter I used was the Infinite Filter.  It’s not the filter I want on this layout, so let’s explore our options.


Presets are available for us in the first drop-down box: Point, Spot, Infinite.  I have chosen to use the Spot Preset.


The following is true of all Preset options:

Two elliptical selections are visible around a center pen.  The inner ellipse is the “hotspot,” or where the most intense light is.  The outer ellipse will show the range of the overall light. And you will also see a center circle/dot.


Use the top and bottom white handles (dots) on the outer elliptical to scale the width of the lighting effect; use the right and left handles to scale the length of the effect. Position your cursor just outside the outer elliptical and click; without letting go of the mouse rotate the effect to your liking.  Click and hold anywhere within the ellipticals to move the effect around on your page.

There is a slight gray circle around the center pen.  Within that gray circle is a small lighter gray area.  Click and drag the lighted gray area to increase/decrease the intensity of the light.


There are also additional options in the Light Effects Property panel:

  • Use the Hotspot slider in the Lighting Effects Panel to adjust the size of your hotspot light.
  • Colorize your effect, and adjust the exposure with the “Colorize” option.
  • Experiment with the Gloss, Metallic, Ambiance and Texture options.  These will all affect each image in a different way.

When you are happy with your results, click OK.  Remember – if you have converted your image / layout to a Smart Object before applying a filter, you will have the option to go back and adjust it if you don’t like the end result.

This is the result I received using the Spot Effect, with the additional choices I made:



One layout is not better than another.  It is all personal preference and the look you are trying to achieve.

Lighting Effects are just one more tool to add to your arsenal of Photoshop techniques.  Experiment and have fun!

Working with this Fall layout reminded me of how much I like Hay Day!  With Fall upon us, I think it is a perfect time to put Hay Day on sale for you, as well as offer you this beautiful cluster, created by Kabra.  Just click HERE or on the image below to download.


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Thank you for once again letting me know that you are enjoying exploring Filters in Photoshop.     Based upon your feedback and interest, I will take the next few weeks to explore a few more filters that I think you will find useful in your scrapbooking layouts.  Today let’s look at the Lens Flare Filter.

This beautiful layout was created by Priss (forum name pssequimages), using Rocky Mountain Dreams. 

I asked her to create a layout for me with this tutorial in mind, so she did not include any light in the lantern.  Perfect for our needs! Let’s add our own light using the Lens Flare Filter. But first, let’s convert the layout to a Smart Object. (Right click on the layer > Convert to Smart Object.  Doing so will allow Photoshop to place the filter on it’s own layer, giving us the opportunity to adjust it if we like.  For more about Smart Filters:  How Smart ARE Smart Filters.)


1. Go to the top Menu Bar and follow the path:  Filter > Render > Lens Flare


2.  The Lens Flare Dialogue box will open.  At the bottom of the box you will see 4 lens Type choices.  Tick one of the circles to change the options. Watch the preview box for changes in your document as you switch lenses.  I chose to use the 35mm Prime for this layout.

3.  Adjust the Brightness of the lens flare by moving the Brightness Slider to the right for more intensity and to the left for less intensity.

4. Left click on the “plus sign” in the preview and without releasing the button, drag the light to where you would like it to be in your layout.  In this example, I dragged it to the bottom of the lantern.


5.  Click OK when you are happy with your positioning, and your choice will be reflected in your layout.

In the image below, I have chosen to have a strong lighting effect, for easy viewing here. On a personal layout, I would probably decrease the light intensity so that the light was not so prominent.  But the choice is personal… and it’s yours!


Experiment with all of the lens choices to see what works best for your layout.  Be sure to drag the light around to get a variety of different looks.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using Photoshop CS6.  The Lens Flare Filter is available in many (most?) versions of Photoshop Elements as well.

Priss not only agreed to allow me to share her layout with you, but she also created some wonderful recipe cards for you using Cool Beans.  You may download them here: Cool Beans Recipe Cards.   Thank you, Priss, for sharing with us all!


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Last week we talked about Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop.  Many of you wrote to say that you have not used Photoshop Filters before.  So today let’s look at another filter that can be helpful to you in your scrapbook layouts: the Shear Filter.

The use of paper strips is very popular in layouts.  Here is a beautiful example of this technique:


This layout was created by Cathy (forum name; britnkaysmemaw2), using Tell Me Again, a collaboration between ADB Designs and myself, SnickerdoodleDesigns.

I think Cathy’s layout is perfect as it is, but what if she wanted to put a slight curve to the green paper strip under her photograph, or wanted to add other paper strips with just a slight bend in them?  The Shear Filter can help with that.

The Shear Filter can be found by going to the top Menu Bar and clicking on Filter > Distort > Shear.  The path is the same in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.


In the image below I have opened a paper from Cool Beans.  After placing a blank layer above the paper, I used the Rectangular Marque tool to create a rectangle of my desired width, then filled it with color.


I used the keyboard shortcut Control + D to deselect the rectangle. Alternatively, I could have gone to the top menu bar, and Select > Deselect.

Next, with the rectangle layer active, I followed the path:  Filter > Distort > Shear to bring up this dialogue box:


Here is where the magic happens!  In the grid in the upper left corner, there are 16 boxes, separated by dotted lines.  In the middle is a darker line. Adjusting the positioning of this line, will adjust the curvature of the rectangular strip that you created.  I want just a very slight bend in my strip, so moved the top part of the line only slightly to the left and the bottom part of the line only slightly to the right.  We can see the adjustment that I am making reflected in the view box.  (Be sure that “Wrap Around” is checked, for this technique.)


Once I was satisfied with the curvature on the strip, I clicked OK to commit the change.


Now I have a pretty shape that I can use however I like.  I elected to rotate the shape and clip a paper to it.  I then placed a pre-made Cool Beans Cluster on the shape, and my page was finished in mere minutes.


It’s as simple as that!  I hope you enjoy exploring the Shear Filter this week!

The beautiful cluster in the image above was created by Renee, a member of my Creative Team.  You will find it on our Facebook Page for you to download and enjoy.  If you have “liked” our Page, just click on the FREEBIE tab underneath the Facebook Cover to access the download link.  And if you haven’t “liked” our page yet, just click on the “Like” tab in order to gain access to this and other freebies in the future.


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