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Photoshop Life Beam Tutorial

A Tutorial for GameBanana

Tutorial on how to make a life beam effect in photoshop cs2.



Step 1.) Open up a new document that is 250 x 450. Set your foreground color to: #000000, and your background color to: #042600 Fill the background with a gradient like so:
Step 2.) Next create a new layer, set your foreground color to white (#FFFFFF), select the brush tool, set your brush size to 175, round with a 0% hardness.
and create a dot near the bottom center of the canvas
Step 3.) Next we'll apply a new color adjustment. Do this by going to "layer->new layer adjustment->color balance".
This will open up the box bellow, change the mode to "color":
And apply these settings: Make sure you check the Highlight box
Here's how your image should look after this:
Step 4.) Next create a new layer directly above the layer with the "dot" we'd made in step 2.
Notice it is Bellow the "color balance" layer. Set your foreground color to white (#FFFFFF). Once again, get the brush out, and apply these settings: Size 30, 0% hardness:
Now just draw a straight line from the center of our dot to the top of the canvas. If you hold down the SHIFT key while doing this, the line will be perfectly straight:
Step 5.) Now create a new layer. You should still have the brush tool selected. If not get it back out. Set the size to 225 this time, and place another dot on top of the layer with the line we just drew.
Step 6.) Select the smudge tool and apply these settings:
Starting from the outside, drag inwards on your large dot from the top inwards. This will take lots of clicking and dragging:
Step 7.) Next hold start dragging in and out on the large dot with the smudge tool still, until you get a similar effect:
Step 8.) Now get out the eraser tool with these settings:
And just start clicking around the parameter of the dot until you get something you're happy with:
Step 9.) Create a new layer, get the brush tool back out, set the foreground color to white (#FFFFFF) and make a few more dots on the beam like so:
Step 10.) Whip out the smudge tool again, and merge it into the beam. This is done just like we did above, by clicking and dragging in, and clicking and dragging out. Work with it until you're satisfied:
Step 11.) Next get the brush tool out again, and set the size to 3 pixels. and set the brush up like this:
Now start at the dot, and make two passes up the stem of the beam until you get a similar look:
Step 12.) Next duplicate this layer, and apply a slight Gaussian blur to it (filter->blur->Gaussian blur). I used 1.5 You can continue to draw lines onto the piece, do whatever you think looks good. Just take drawing tool and draw some lines. Than use smudge tool on the lines, from the line to the top of the picture to get fading effect.
I hope that this tutorial will help you with your projects in photoshop.


  • 10y
    deadman22 avatar
    deadman22 username pic Joined 10y ago
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    deadman22 avatar
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    Lol i remember this tutorial. didnt remember it being this detailed tho. so good work on the details. this should not be beginner tho cause it is a little bit more complex for a beginner. good job oh and for a side note you should include a tut on the second screen shot one. cause i want to know how you did that one.


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  • 10y
    Switch// avatar
    Switch// Joined 10y ago
    16,502 points Ranked 268th
    Pros: The tutorial is very into detail and simple enough for the Photoshop beginner to understand. The outcome gives a really nice effect and it was so simple to do xD This could be used in many places so it is very usefull! I love it :D Cons: The only flaw is that if used in a larger project as said before. Would be difficult to do for many people. Improvements: At the end where you said "Than use smudge tool on the lines." I don't really understand where you smudge them at all? If possible could you go into depth a little more on this step as it will confuse a few people. Notes: Favorited and I will use this is in the future I'm sure of it. Well done friend! (Even though your not my friend ^^)


  • 10y
    Pros: Its quite simple, yet it comes out with a nice effect. It has all the ingredients and details for the average person who doesn't know photoshop that well. Cons: The main setback with this - its a little tricky to do if its a part of a bigger project IF the subject is a complete beginner (say, like a sophisticated graphic). Improvements: None that I could think of. Perhaps a little sidenotes for beginners, but i think they can manage without. Notes: Well, you did your job nicely.


    For mother Russia. avatar
    For mother Russia.


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Crazy J avatar
Crazy J username pic Joined 10y ago
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Difficulty Level
Beginner Difficulty


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  • 3 Posts
  • 10y Submitted
  • 7y Modified


88 bScore
9.7 Rating
9.8 Critic

3 voters

2 critics

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