Anything Photoshop or Photography

A PHOTOSHOP GOBO LIGHTING EFFECT

Image of a large zinnea bloom on a texture with Gobo window lightI have to admit that I had no idea what a gobo effect was until I saw Mark S. Johnson’s nice tutorial on Planet Hollywood called Using Photoshop to Create Digital Lighting that goes step-by-step on how to create this lovely lighting effect. Mark is the creator of the fabulous Photoshop Workbench videos (also see his Workbench 398 – Digital Gobos for a video of the same effect) that can be accessed at his website – I have learned so many Photoshop tips from these workbenches over the years. Since this effect seemed so striking, I just had to try it for myself and found out it was not that hard to create. Mark gives really straight forward steps and I had never heard of the CTRL+ALT+T keyboard shortcut to copy and open Free Transform at the same time, much less CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+T to repeat the last transformation. Major cool stuff here!

So what is Gobo Lighting? Wikipedia explains that Gobo means “goes between optics” – a piece of metal with patterned holes through which light passes is placed in a beam of light to allow only the desired “shape” or pattern through, while blocking the rest of the light, casting a specific shadow/light into the space. When created in Photoshop, the resulting png file looks like an overlay with a specific design in it. It is a great way to add a little interest to a flat background. I see it used a lot with portraits, like in my bottom photo.

The image above was one I created basically using two textures, a flower object, and the 6-pane gobo created using Mark’s tutorial. Painted Textures beautiful Mountain Range texture was used as a bottom layer, and Kim Klassen‘s July Trio Red texture was placed above it and set to the Hue blend mode at 100% layer opacity. The Zinnia flower is one I had selected from another image so I just dragged it over into this one as a layer. Followed Mark’s video to create the 6-paned Gobo window light as a Smart Object. The Gaussian Blur Radius was set to 40 pixels in this case. When the lighting effect was transformed and placed correctly, a composite (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) layer was created and turned into another Smart Object. Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 was applied to this layer using the Monday Morning filter set to Sepia, Midnight filter set to Neutral Color Set, and Image Border Type 12. The Gobo window lighting layer was saved as a separate file PNG so it could be used in other images again, like the one below.

I decided to help you out with these steps. I have posted a free download of my two Gobo png files for your use up on Deviant Art. Enjoy!

Yellow gerbera image with gobo lightingHere is an example where the same Gobo effect created above was moved into this image and instead of it acting as a light window, it was reversed so that the inner frame is light and the window enhances the background colors. To do this, the png Gobo file created above was moved on top of this image. Using Free Transform (CTRL+T), it was adjusted so it lines up as a horizontal window across the image. Then a Color Fill Layer filled with black was clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to the Gobo layer so it turned the panes black instead of white. You could make this color fill any color you wanted to get a nice creative feel. A Gradient Fill Layer was added on top with the cream foreground color to transparent gradient and set to 66% layer opacity to get a nice soft bright look. 2 Lil’ Owls Studio’s The Artisan Collection Big Set 2-texture 5 (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) was placed on top and set to Soft Light blend mode. Nik Viveza 2 was used to sharpen the center of the flower. Jack Davis‘s Wow Texture 02 Layer Style was added on top to give a little more texture feel to the image. This is “an oldie but goodie” layer style from a book I bought years ago called “Adobe Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow!” by Jack Davis and Linnea Dayton.

Image of Aliona with gobo lighting effectThis image was taken by Premiere Model Management as a JPEG. My daughter-in-law’s wonderful image was first adjusted in Lightroom and an Adjustment Brush was used on her eyes and eyelashes before bringing into Photoshop. Topaz Black & White Effect Platinum IV was applied to get the beautiful color. I created a shuttered looking Gobo to add some interest to the plain background. Used the same technique Mark used except made it a double-pane, 18 horizontal lines down. In this case, a Gaussian Blur filter was not needed.

For some great Gobo effects that can be bought, check out Layer Cakes Collections Window Gobos. They really have created some interesting gobo overlays that I think would look great on all kinds of images. This is a fun effect and can add some unique or subtle interest to a plain image.

Thanks Mark for finding this one – really nice!…..Digital Lady Syd

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One response

  1. Pingback: Gainesville Photographer: Portrait, family and children photographers in Gainesville | How to use a Gobo to add Depth to Your Portraits with Subtractive Lighting

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