Lightening Animation Tutorial

1st lightening image

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    All the content on this Lightening Animated Tutorial site is protected by International Copyright laws. If photos or graphics were created by anyone other than Susie, it will be noted and the copyright will remain with the creator. Please respect these copyrights. Any similarity to any other tutorial is coincidental. You may download my tutorials for personal use. You may share them within a group, if you write and ask my permission first. The image you create from this tutorial is yours to do with as you please.

    I did this tutorial in PSP version 9, but I am sure it would work in other versions as well. There are no outside filters used with this tutorial.

    This is going to be a demo for you, the reader, to practice making lightening and the glow or light that goes with it. We will be using a background of a solid color rather than a night scene background. When I had a set of lightening strikes that I liked, I took the time to copy and paste it as a new image, and then tubed it.

    Open a raster layer, naming it blu bg 1, 300x300. Fill the layer with a dark blue - I used #14142c. I have tried this with black and couldn't get it to work. Duplicate it twice, giving you 3 layers. Rename the two duplicate layers blu bg 2 and blu bg 3. Turn the visibility to layers 2 and 3 off. Highlight blu bg 1. Add a new raster layer, naming it lite 1. You will see on my screen shots that the layers are labeled blk bg, but you are to use blu bg - as I had started this using the black background, but when I tried to get the lighting effects, they would not show up - thus we are using the dark blue.

screen shot 1

Now would be a good time to save.

    We are going to draw our lightening on the lite 1 layer. Stroke white (#ffffff); background or fill - null/off. Open your pen tool, and in the tool bar at the top of your screen, click on the free hand icon.

screen shot 2       screen shot 3

    Set line width at 2. Start the line near or at the top of the image, and draw a jagged line downwards and angle it either right or left - there is no rule. Think of lightening that you have seen and draw something like that. Since the line should be jagged, absolutely anyone can draw these - especially those who say they can't draw a straight line - this is perfect for them! LOL

    Draw a couple more lines, refer to the screen shot for general idea. Then change your line width to 1 and draw a few more lines - similar to the screen shots. Draw as many or as few lines as you want. We will be doing two more layers like this and we are just going to draw different lines on each.

screen shot 4       screen shot 5       screen shot 6

Now would be a good time to save.

    Once you are satisfied with the first set, highlight blu bg 2. Add a new raster layer on top of blu bg 2, naming it lite 2. Leaving your palette with the same settings, again open the pen tool and the free hand icon. Line width again at 2. Draw 1 to 3 lines with the line width at 2, then change the line width to 1 again and draw some more lines - the amount is up to you. Refer to the screen shots for other ideas. Follow the same steps for blk bg 3.

screen shot 7       screen shot 8

Now would be a good time to save.

    Now that we have our lightening, it is time to give it the light. Close off the visibility to the top 4 layers (lite 3, blk bf 3, lite 2 and blk bg 2). Highlight lite 1 layers, and right click - Merge/Merge down.

    Open Effects/Illumination effects/Lights. Use the following settings to set up the lights for your first lightening.

screen shot 9

    If you like this setting, click on save, if you don't, play with the settings until you get the glow you want. Follow the same steps for blu bg 2 and lite 2. Here are the settings I used for my lite 2.

screen shot 10

    Follow the same steps for blu bg 3 and lite 3. Here are the settings I used for my lite 3.

screen shot 11

Now would be a good time to save.

    I know your images of lightening are not going to be the same as mine, so I will explain how to make some adjustments. The following screen shots will show you what I played with for the settings.

    I tried changing the numbers, but didn't know which way to adjust the numbers to make the changes I wanted to see. I used one of the presets I had from another tut, tried adjusting the numbers - got no where, so I moved the targets and lines on the image on the left with the mouse until I got something I liked. I used just the blue background to show off the lines and targets. Play with the settings which ever way works best for you until you feel fairly comfortable with it. Now you are ready to use the lightening and lights on a background to make an image.

screen shot 12

screen shot 13

screen shot 14

    Onto animating our image. The way I did my animation is what I will show you here. I start at the top of my layer palette and work my way down. Open Animation Shop (AS), and minimize it, or have both screens open, clicking on the program name for the screen you want to be in.

    In PSP, have the top layer's visibility on, with the other layers' visibility turned off. (To turn off the visibility, left click on the "eye" in the layer palette and a red X will appear and you won't see what is on that layer.) If there are other layers you want with the lightening layer, you would leave the visibility on for that layer, too. If you are copying and pasting more than one layer, go to Edit/Copy merged. If you are just sending one layer to AS, just click on Edit/Copy. Go to AS screen and right click. Left click on Paste as new image.

    Back to PSP, close the layer/layers off you just pasted and go to the next one down. Edit/Copy, go to AS. Right click on the image there and click on Paste/Paste before current frame. Do the same for the third layer, too.

    In AS, open Edit/Select all. Open Animation/Frame properties. A small box will pop up, change the 10 to 50. Click on the animation icon in the top tool bar. That will animate your image. If you like the speed, then click on the animation icon or the box on the image and click - both ways will stop the animation. Then I would go to Edit/Select none. If you want to change the order of your images, stop the animation, go to Edit/Select none. If you want to change the speeds -for them all to be the same, just go to Animation, and adjust your frame properties up or down. If you want one or more frames to be at a different speed, go to Edit/Select none and then right click on each frame you want to adjust the speed on. I suppose that is clear as mud - if you have questions on this or any part of the tut, please email me.

    These were only to practice making the lightening and the flashes of light, not to make a tag. However, I wanted to show you how animating just those couple of frames would look. The next image, has those same frames, but I added other frames - that just had light effects, and the frames with the actual lines of lightening, I set the speed at 15, with the other frames being at 45. This shows how you can adjust or use these in different ways.

results       altered results

    Thank you for trying my tutorial.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Send email to susie