A masterclass on creating fake real world effects in Photoshop. Part two - simulating lightning.

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Catching real lightning with a compact digital camera can be a difficult and somewhat dangerous activity. The choice is either to spend a great deal of time outside in a storm waiting for the perfect moment, or a great deal of money on special photographic equipment. Although we can’t replicate the roar of thunder in Photoshop, we can easily add realistic lightning effects to photographic images. Of course, we could just draw a lightning bolt with a brush and apply a little glow to the layer, but that’s unlikely to resemble the random qualities of real lightning. Instead, in this example, we’ll use the Clouds filter and a simple gradient to convincingly imitate Mother Nature. The effect is positively electrifying.
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