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lighting text effect in Photoshop

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Step Start by opening Photoshop and creating a new image. For this example, I chose dimensions of 200x200 pixels. Make a selection. Anything will do, you can use text (like I did) or make a square or ellipse. After you have a selection, fill it with a solid color. (If you used text, it should already be filled).

Picture 2
Step Go to the Layers Palette. Rename the layer with your filled object Base by right-clicking it and selecting Layer Options. Hold down Ctrl (Mac: Command) and click on the Base layer to load it as a selection. Switch to the Channels Palette and create a new channel by clicking New.

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Step Hit Alt+Backspace (Option+Delete) to fill your selection with white. Next, go Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and choose a radius of 12 pixels (with a bigger/smaller image you will need a bigger/smaller radius). Then, Gaussian Blur it again at half the radius you used before (i.e. 6). Now, let's get rid of those jaggies that form on the outside of the selection. Hit Ctrl+Shift+I (Command+Shift+I) to invert your selection and hit delete.

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Step Go back to the Layers Palette and click on Base to select the layer again. Now hold CtrlBase to load your original selection. Then, go to (Command) and click Filter>Render>Lighting Effects If an alert pops up asking you to about rendering or rasterizing the layer, click OK. The Lighting Effects window will pop up and give you many options that you can play around with. First change the Texture Channel to Alpha 1. Now it's up to you to pick options that suit the effect you want. If you want to add more lights, click the light bulb button. By clicking the image to the left, you can see what options I used.

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Step You could stop now if you want, but we can always improve, right. Let's add a drop shadow to make it look a little more realistic. Go to the Layers Palette and right-click the Base layer and choose Blending Options. I used the default drop shadow and a blue outer glow with a blur of 10 pixels.

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Step For a more plastic-like look hold Ctrl (Command) and click on Base in the Layers Palette to load the selection. Go to Filter>Artistic>Plastic Wrap I used the following settings: Highlight 4, Detail 15, Smoothness 10.

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Step This last step will allow you to play with the range of colors used in your image. Hit Ctrl+M (Command+M) to bring up the Curves window. Try clicking and dragging the line around to produce a nice effect. You can click the image to the left to see what I did. I also added a gray radial gradient to color in the background on a layer beneath the Base.