Photoshop: How to Add Beautiful Sun Rays or Sunbeams to Photos

Photoshop: How to Add Beautiful Sun Rays or Sunbeams to Photos

Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you how to create the look of beautiful sunbeams or sunrays piercing through a forest. This is an update of a tutorial I did a few
years ago on an earlier version of Photoshop. I provided this forest background that you
can download, so you can follow along. Its link is located in my video’s description
or project files below. It Width is 1920 pixels, it’s Height is 1280
pixels and its Resolution is 72 pixels per inch. If you’re using a different photo, make sure
its resolution is also 72 pixels per inch to ensure that your result will look similar to mine. Make a copy of the background by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J. We’ll use this copy to separate the sky from the land. For this example, go to Select and Color Range. Select “Sample Colors”. Check “Localized Color Clusters”, which obtains
a cleaner, more precise selection. Keep the “Fuzziness” at approximately 80. A higher amount selects more colors, While a
lower amount selects fewer colors. The Range slider fine-tunes the areas of your selection. I’ll keep it at 100%. Click on the sky to select it. To include more of the sky, press and hold
Shift each time you click on more spots of the sky until you can see all of the sky in
the Preview window. Then, click OK. Press”Q” on your keyboard to see your selection as quick mask. Next, we’ll paint out unwanted areas. Open your Pencil Tool and Pencil Picker. Make the Size: 100 pixels, the Hardness: 100%
and the Opacity: 100%. Brush over areas of the quick mask that aren’t
part of the sky and aren’t completely opaque. When you’re done, revert it into a selection. Click the New Layer icon to make a new layer. We’ll fill the selection with white. To do this, press Shift + the F5 key at the
top of your keyboard to open the Fill window. Open the “Contents” list and click “White”. To deselect it, press Ctrl or Cmd + D. Since
we now have the shapes that make up the sky on a separate layer, we can trash Layer 1. Make it active and press the “Delete” key
on your keyboard or drag it into the Trash. Name it, “Rays”. We’ll convert it into a Smart Object, so we
can modify it non-destructively and adjust the effects that we’ll be adding to it at any time. To do this, click the icon at the upper, right
and click “Convert to Smart Object. Go to Filter, Blur and Radial Blur. Make the Amount 100, the Blur Method: Zoom
and the Quality: Best. Drag the center of the cross hair to a position
that’s relative to your photo from where you’d like the source of the sunrays to emanate. For this example, I want the sunrays to emanate
near the top center of the photo, so I’ll place the crosshair point at that position
in the Preview window. Double-click on an empty area of the layer
to open its Layer Style window. Click “Outer Glow” and the color box. In the hexadecimal field, type in F8FF8D. Make the Blend Mode: Screen and the Opacity: 75%. The Technique is Softer, the Spread is 0%,
the Size is 1 pixel and the Range is 50%. Change the Blend Mode to “Soft Light” and make a copy of the layer. We’re going to make the sunrays of the copy
larger, but first, let’s zoom out a bit to give us a bit more room. Press Ctrl or Cmd and the minus key on your
keyboard once or twice. Press Ctrl or Cmd + T to open your Transform Tool. If you see this message, it’s just letting
us know that the outer glow effect will be temporarily turned off while we use the transform Tool. Just click OK or press Enter or Return. Go to the center of the Transform’s bounding box where you’ll see a small icon called the “Reference Point”. Drag it to the center of your sunrays. Go to a corner and when you see a diagonal, double-arrow, press and hold Alt or Option + Shift as you drag it out approximately this much. Notice the Bounding Box got larger from the
center of the Reference Point. To accept it, press Enter or Return. Zoom back in by pressing Ctrl or Cmd and the
“Plus” key on your keyboard once or twice. Go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. Blur it 50 pixels. Make the original “Rays” layer active and again,
go to FIlter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. This time, blur it 5 pixels. Change its Blend Mode to “Soft Light”. Next, we’ll add the sun. Make the top layer active and click the New
layer icon to make a new layer above it. To position the sun more accurately, we’ll
make a temporary composite snapshot of the image. To do this, press Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E on
Windows or Cmd + Shift + Option + E on a Mac. Go to Filter, Render and “Lens Flare”. The Brightness is 100% and Lens Type is “50-300mm Zoom”. Drag the flare to the center of the sunrays. Then, click OK. Now that we have its position, we can delete
the composite snapshot. Make a new layer and we’ll it with black. Open the Fill window and click “Black”. Change its Blend Mode to “Screen” and press
Ctrl or Cmd + F to repeat your last filter, which was “Lens Flare”. Photoshop remembers
the exact position and settings that we chose. Lastly, we’ll adjust the color of the light
of the sun to match the radial light that’s filtering through the trees. Click the Adjustment Layer icon and click,
“Hue/Saturation”. Since we want the adjustment layer to affect
just the lens flare and not any of the layers under the lens flare, we’ll need to make the
adjustment layer into a clipping mask. To do this, either click the Clipping mask
icon or press Ctrl + Alt + G on WIndows or Cmd + Option + G on a Mac. Check “Colorize” and for the Hue, type in
37 and 44 for the Saturation. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!

Dereck Turner

68 thoughts on “Photoshop: How to Add Beautiful Sun Rays or Sunbeams to Photos

  1. Niraj Naveen says:

    Happy new year Marty

  2. Delta Drones says:

    Amazing Tutorial! Thanks a lot and Happy New Year!!

  3. Jonas Da Silva Ferreira says:

    Happy New Years for All

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is it necessary for the Resolution to be 72 ?
    Or we could just put a higher resolution?

  5. Gerard Donovan says:

    Marty, u are excellent at explaining things, thank you 😄😄

  6. AJ Sharf says:

    The best

  7. rarindra prakarsa says:

    In terms of explaining…you are the best

  8. rrr40 says:

    a very happy new years to all and to you marty with another great tutorial

  9. C MEAN says:

    Good want to learn any more. Thanks

  10. Anggi Pistol says:

    spectacular !!!

  11. Traffic Control Dance says:

    Happy New Year! 새해 복 많이 받으세요! ❤🎉🎊

  12. Roldan Lopez says:

    Great tutorial, thank you and happy new year !

  13. Råhül MË says:

    Nice happy new year

  14. chandra shekar says:

    Happy New year

  15. Andrew Grabham says:

    Nice work! Thanks for 2017, looking forward to 2018.

  16. ប៊ុន សុភារម្យ says:

    Great technique

  17. itachi uchiha says:

    happy new year master

  18. Prasenjit Pandit says:

    Dear merty sir how can I get this type of pic for practice photoshop

    Sorry for bad English

  19. Scarlet says:

    Happy New Year, Marty.

  20. Ανδρέας Κεμάλης says:

    Happy new Year i thank You for all!

  21. Eupix says:

    Thank you! And a happy new year!

  22. Raj senior says:

    Marty you are not only Marty .. You are Smarty .. All you do on PS is Awesome and Amazing
    Heartiest Thanks for the Tutorials.

  23. Graaspurv Strand says:

    Thank you so much for this. Love your videos. Learning a lot

  24. gera grey says:

    Спасибо, красивое сияние лучей . С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ!

  25. Fotojaap says:

    Great tutorial, have a Happy new year!

  26. Ser Humano says:

    GREAT VIDEO…!!!!!!

  27. darwin rojo says:

    Thanks master. Can you make a cinemagraph tutorial please… beacause your tutorials are so easy and helpful.

  28. John Guillaume says:

    Super cool. Happy New Year. Suggestion…can you show us how to easily put a frame and matte a photo. Ideally would like to create an action so I can repeat with any sized photo. Happy New Year

  29. WEB TEACHER says:

    Happy new year modi.

  30. NOWSHER AHMAD says:


  31. SACHIN ERULE says:

    Thank you for this Amazing tutorial and Happy new year!!

  32. Denisson Ragnar says:


  33. Alexi Ivastinov says:

    how may days u needed to learn photoshop ?

  34. SRG says:

    Thank you. You have the rare gift of being able to explain.

  35. Martin Heeren says:

    Marty, love your tutorials. Thank you so much. All the best for you in 2018

  36. Brian Jennings says:

    Great video Marty and Happy New Year. I don't believe you've done any videos concerning making brushes or techniques for using them have you? There are plenty of YouTube videos about brushes, but no one does Photoshop videos quite like you. Thanks for all your time & effort in sharing your knowledge & talent.

  37. laszlo zsurka says:


  38. Lassana Toure says:

    You are the best! Happy New Year

  39. Cunuduh says:

    Is there something you can't do?

  40. RDYS says:

    fantastic, thanks

  41. Bobby Singh says:

    you're magician

  42. Luciano says:

    Hello Marty, I'm a big fan of your work. But I think that you focus a lot on showing the values used in the effects, it gets a little tired, if the person is in doubt, pause the video and check. I've already been a subscriber to your channel for a few years now, and it's the first time I've been talking about it. It's just something I think. I'm a big fan. Thanks for your tutorials. You do a great job. Happy New Year!
    I used Google Translator.

  43. John Chubb says:


  44. Steven Brener says:

    Love it…another great tutorial.

  45. Unique Digital says:

    Happy new year sir

  46. CoBra Mj says:

    Any video on 3d texturing??

  47. Moataz Mostafa says:

    you are just perfect and easy.. i have learned alot from yr videos , you are a reason of me to start photo manipulation .. kindly check mine for some advice and tips .i would appreciate it

  48. Ismaeil MAZZI says:

    thanks for your adorable explaining sir, and happy new year

  49. Ranajit Sen says:

    Sir you r grate…..

  50. Ruslan Sheikh says:

    How can I like a video 500 times?

  51. Trent Rains says:

    Love all of your videos! They help me so much and are explained perfectly.

  52. Anwar Shigrii says:

    wawooo very nice i saw your one another video and i really very impressed!!!!! and know i SUBSCRIBED the channel wawoooooo!!!!!!!!!!

  53. Vincenzo Platini says:


  54. Lakshya sharma says:

    You are awesome as always !!

  55. Insan Dost says:

    You are great Mr. Marty. Love and Respect from Pakistan.

  56. 杨翛 says:

    Very nice

  57. Nikhil Bagchi says:

    Nice Tutorial

  58. Syed Muzammil Mahasan Shahi says:

    Thanks Marty

  59. ******* says:


  60. Timmy Gregson says:

    amazing, thank you!!

  61. Sunny Ahmed says:

    Thank you

  62. whoAmI.007 says:

    How to add the sun wtf?

  63. Tina Nayak says:

    Thanks very youthful vedio sir,,

  64. Mayur Suryavanshi says:

    Explanation was very perfect…. 👍🏻

  65. Mohammad Shaker says:

    You are the best 😘😘😘😘

  66. Succes School says:

    PRESS CTRL + ALT + F ( at 8.00)

  67. Gamze Salman says:

    wow this was the best light rays video I have ever seen, thanks!!! great job <3

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