In this tutorial we will learn how to create a realistic lightning bolt with a very simple method using difference clouds and levels.

Step 1

Create a new document

Step 2

Open de Gradient editor and create a black and white gradient with a narrow gray area

Gradient Editor

Step 3

Paint the document with a linear gradient

Linear gradient

Step 4

Apply difference Clouds: Filter > Render > Difference Clouds

Diference clouds

Step 5

Apply levels: Image > Adjustments > Levels

Set the levels as follows:

set levels

Step 6

Inverse the image: Image > Adjustments > Invert


Step 7

Create a new layer and paint it with a blue gradient

blue overlay

Step 8

Set the blending mode to overlay

Select a soft, big round brush and paint some lights with a red or a violet color

realistic lightning bolt

Now you got a super easy and realistic lightning bolt

External resources

lightning bolt Pictures


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Javier Cantero

Javier Cantero