Tutorial: Rays of Light

After releasing my latest wallpaper devkit I received a bunch of requests from people, asking me to do a tutorial on how to create rays of light with Adobe Photoshop. Well here we go...

Draw gradient

In a first step open Photoshop and create a new document. If you intend to create a wallpaper you may already choose the respective dimensions. Fill the background layer with a subtle gradient like on the screenshot below.

Draw a subtle gradient

Select gradient type

Now create a new layer and select the gradient tool from the tools palette. The context sensitive options palette now displays gradient specific settings. Click the gradient in order to open the gradient editor. Now select *Noise* as gradient type and click the “Randomize” button to get a balanced gradient (hue is not important). Make sure that it looks similar to the one shown in the screenshot below.

Select Gradient Type: Noise

Draw angle gradient

Now we can draw a gradient on our newly created layer. Make sure that you’ve selected *Angle Gradient* in the options palette and draw a gradient that looks similar to the one below.

Draw an angle gradient


Now we just need to desaturate the layer via “Image - Adjustments - Desaturate” and set its blending mode either to *Soft Light* or *Overlay*. Voila - we are finished. Quite easy huh? :)

Desaturate and set the blending mode to 'Soft Light'


Hey cool, thanx. I don't know about the gradient type... nice to know. Greets Dave

David Worni

Thanks! Keep up the awesome job!


Dude, you read my mind. I was just looking at the wallpaper admiring the light rays, and this article dropped into NewsFire. Awesome, thanks. Ian


Thanks . . . didn't realize it could be that easy.


Fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial. Looking forward to more!

Matt Wilson

Hey! It must be hot time for rays of light, I just wrote "my own tutorial about that":http://www.vladstudio.com/photoshoptutorials/?26 too! Thoughts crossing :-)

Vlad Gerasimov

wow, nice and easy


its looking nice and easy - i will try it . thanks a lot for this !


Great tutorial. BTW, do you mean "Draw Angle Gradient" :)


Hehe - yeah exactly. Thanks for the hint.


Great job, very simple, but attractive too :).


Really nice and quick tutorial. Thumbs up


Brilliant. Thanks for the tutorial. It's almost TOO easy! :)

J. Houk

Very, very cool! Thanks...



Rafael Marin

sweet! might come handy!

Alexander HAhn

Thanks for that, had no idea that gradient existed and been using Photoshop for years.

Jamie Hill

Hehe, I was just playing with this the other day. While I like your rays I went a different route to have a more... I don't know something. Anyways you can view my mockup of a recent site design at http://www.flickr.com/photos/paretech/tags/taniwha/. Created a bubble then made it into a brush for the rest. Let me know what you think. -mpare


Wow, very nice use of that gradient type!

Hamish M

Wow, really easy! Just need know how. And you definitely do. Thanks for sharing.


That easy, that cool!


Qick and clean, thank you :-)


couldnt have made it simpler myself :D, nice one.


I'm suddenly hit with nostalgia--remembering the Ray of Light website of yore. Managed to find a related link too (the old flash site is unfortunately gone). Any of you dotcom veterans remember this? "Flash Kit: Ray of Light Tutorial ":http://www.flashkit.com/tutorials/Special_Effects/Ray_of_L-Mark_Fen-1/index.php

Wu Han

Wu- I think that was one of the first Flash tutorials I ever did. Wow... that must have been 5 years ago. Back when Flash was still Macromedia, and Photoshop was still using numbers... Good times..

J. Houk

very clever


really nice, thanks 4 sharing


Just tried it, nice ! And as a french speaker I must advice you that "voilà" must be written with the accentued character à ;-)


Wow! nice on indeed! Thanks for sharing


Nice! Amazingly simple. I think I was more astonished on how easy this was then the actual awesome ray! Thanks so much.

Jonathan Solichin

Awesome tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I used the technique in the header image of my blog.


This is what im looking for! This is very realistic (i see these interesting light rays when we go snorkel) Thank you very much!


Wow, really great and so easy! (But it's "voilà", not "voila"... French word :D)


*nlecam* & *pickupjojo*: Although you are definitely right regarding French, New Oxford American Dictionary distributed with Mac OS X confirms that in English you can also use transliterated "voila" without the accent. Theoretically "English alphabet":http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_alphabet contains only 26 characters.


Thank you so much for this - an awesome contribution! It's like heaven itself is shining down :)


This looks like a good candidate for a PhotoShop action!

Eric Stoller

Thank you for taking the time to share :)


Thankyou bartelme, I dont think that this is such an easy Job to DO,


Thanks , Nice tutorial .


Thanks a lot, very interesting ;)


Looks very very nice!

Webdesign den haag

You should write more short tutorials for photoshop. Seems beside me a lot of people like tham.


Very groovey baby, thanks for sharing the wisdom.


With your tutorial it`s very easy to learn how to do - thank you


Would you please tell me how to make a link in photoshop. If you go to my webpage as indivated above, I have only one partial page. I placed a link to a second page by selecting a slive with the slice tool and writting the URL and the target. Although The link work fine when I open the Homepage in IE, the page itself look blank. ( Although if I go to the sector where I put the link with the mouse in will recognize there a link and ig I clicl on it it will open the second page normally. The homepage goes blank as soon as I uploaded with a link in it. Othewise will show up ok. Please I am desperate to have an answer.Thank you very mucj for your help.

Leandro Silva

Cool Tutorial it was usefull for me, thanks


Thank you for the great tutorial.


Thanks! Nice job!

Da Stefan von typneun

Thank you for that great tutorial. That was fast and very easy to understand. Hoping to have more tutorials from you.

Neil Maranan

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