Imitating Zeus - How to Create Lightning for Your Photographs


Wanna see those lightnings in your photographs the cheaper and easier way? There’s no need to wait for a thunderstorm to capture one, simply follow these steps to see lightnings in an entire roll.

Yes, lightnings in an entire roll! But, we need to create one or probably a lot of them.

You need Adobe Photoshop for this tutorial. If you don’t have one installed in your computer, I can email you some lightnings. But, since you don’t want yours to be like other Lomographers’ lighting, you must try doing your own.

Create a new Photoshop Layer. I recommend using small file with low resolution because you cannot achieve the effects in larger.

Press letter “D” on your keyboard to set the foreground and background colors to the default Black and White respectively.
Click the GRADIENT tool (Shortcut: “G”), then drag your mouse from left to right of your layer.

On the navigator bar at the top, select FILTER →> RENDER →> DIFFERENCE CLOUDS. You won’t notice anything that looks like lightning yet. Inverse the Difference Clouds by pressing CTRL+I, now there are some vein-like white lines on the layer.

Adjust the levels by going to IMAGE —> ADJUSTMENTS —> LEVELS (Shortcut: CTRL+L) and drag the black leftmost triangle to the right, until you are satisfied by how you lightning look. You can also adjust the center triangle for better result.

Create a new layer above your lightning, by clicking the “Create a New Layer” at the bottom of the Layers palette. Click on your foreground color, which is currently black.

Then, select any colors that you like by clicking and dragging the cursor. Click “OK.”

Fill the new layer with the color you selected by pressing ALT+BACKSPACE in your Keyboard and set the layer to OVERLAY

Go back to your lightning layer. Click the BRUSH tool (Shortcut: “B”) and Press D to set your for ground color to black. Now, “clean” your thunder by brushing on those unwanted veins and areas.

Save your files and open it full screen. Turn off the lights and shoot an entire roll. rewind and reload the film for doubles.

Shoot outdoor using wide lenses on buildings to achieve a “realistic” effect. The Difference Clouds filter gives you different textures every time you apply it on a layer. Combine it to different gradient directions and you will surely have lightning storms.

written by icuresick on 2011-08-25 #gear #tutorials #film #tutorial #experiment #lightning #icuresick #tipster #doubles #gupexperiment #top-tipster-techniques


  1. chethong
    chethong ·

    For a moment, I thought you were going to make Revolog run of of business :) Nice article!

  2. boredbone
    boredbone ·

    ayus. the many things you can do with double exposures.

  3. ripsta
    ripsta ·


  4. stonerfairy
    stonerfairy ·

    AWESOME!! I really gonna tryy this!!

  5. nazz_jb
    nazz_jb ·

    it's digital manipulation, if someone post this kind of photos and win a rumble, i'm gonna quit lomography. :p

  6. ripsta
    ripsta ·

    i agree with @nazz_jb

  7. faisal_aziz
    faisal_aziz ·

    once you go analogue, dont ever make a room for digital editing.

  8. nazz_jb
    nazz_jb ·

    i know it's double exposure after you shoot the effects, but still it's using photoshop... sorry for my words.. :)

  9. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    Oh common people. It's probably the same technique Revolog did to their film. Be open minded.

  10. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    *Oh come on. Sarreh.

  11. faisal_aziz
    faisal_aziz ·


  12. projectsnap
    projectsnap ·

    Cool! LSI approved this tipster right? Everything we do already has some digital manipulation in one way or another. If you want to go full analogue better develop and print your own pictures. welcome to the modern age.
    Hope this technique win a rumble.

  13. boobert
    boobert ·

    Great Tipster, photoshop or not, still a great tipster!
    keep it up @icuresick!

  14. b0rn2b1ush
    b0rn2b1ush ·

    it's a tip... don't try it if you don't like it. @icuresick, sadya yung typo mo no? hahahaha...

  15. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    I don't think I'll be trying this, only because it's not an effect I seek! But this definitely beats buying the revlog film, which is probably created in a similar way. I personally don't see this as digital manipulation, or at least no more than suzielomolitz illustration techniques which everyone loves!

    The analogue solution would be pretty tricky! You could find some slides of lightning (or make some) and expose your film of choice with a slide duplicator! Or just take some photos of some lightning then double the roll! Tricky stuff!

  16. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    still no clouds at the horizon! in the past we had some competitions involving the use of monitors for double exposures, for example, "snaps with your favorite artist" or similar. so I do not see what the problem is! throughout the history of photography the greatest photographers have used every method to make their pictures unique and personal. 80 years ago there were no computers or television monitors, I'm sure that if there were people like Man Ray would have used without problem! The fact is, what is the point if all of us now do the photos with lightning?

  17. boredbone
    boredbone ·

    agree with @superlighter

  18. superkulisap
    superkulisap ·

    I agree with @superlighter . @nazz_jb it doesn't mean that if somebody used photoshop on their photos then the photo is digital. On this case, photoshop was not used in the post processing. However, photoshop was used as a "subject" to his photos. It's like the technique "through the viewfinder". Shooting something through the viefinder of a Digital SLR using your LC-A is pure analog, isn't it? this one's the same. It just so happened that the "viewfinder" on this technique was photoshop. Therefore, the shot was not digitally edited. I still respect your thoughts on this and I respect whatever decision you'll make in the future in case this tipster wins the rumble :)

  19. superkulisap
    superkulisap ·

    and besides, just what @projectsnap said, this has been approved by LSI so it would be up to the reader if they will use it or not =p

  20. cruzron
    cruzron ·

    @all - we're not advocating the use of digital manipulation or photoshop. what the tipster basically 'tips' you about is that you can shoot a whole roll for doubles of something you like. in this case its a digitally made lightning strike. it doesnt have to be confined to just that or things done in photoshop.

    you can shoot a whole roll with swatches of wallpaper, a rusty surface or basically anything else for textures with doubles in mind. its all about the idea of superimposing the initial exposure (the lightning) with the 2nd exposure (whatever you want to shoot)

  21. sharkmaine
    sharkmaine ·

    Amidst all the comments, all I can say is that -- this is but an awesome tipster!! nice one @icuresick, can't wait to try it!


  22. cruzron
    cruzron ·

    raming backer ni cusi. hahahaha

  23. superkulisap
    superkulisap ·

    @cruzron tama. haha haba ng hair eh LOL

  24. ilfrusta
    ilfrusta ·

    For those who criticize the "digital manipulation": I completely disagree, there's nothing unfair in @icuresick technique. It's just like photographing a TV screen or a lamp in a dark room...this is Lomography, mates!

  25. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    When I start reading, I thought it was about editing the pictures in Photoshop and I don't think those articles should be published here (but I have nothing against people doing it, of course!!). But when I read all the article, there is nothing wrong, is like that competition of doing doubles with your computer screen.
    What I don't understand is how come people who scan (digitalizar in portuguese) pictures to upload here still say things like "Oh, I hate digital!". It makes me laugh, don't want to offend but it is ridiculous! @icuresick: I also had some of this reactions once and I just got under the impression that people don't even read the article carefully. Good job!

  26. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    I would've preferred if the tipster talked about how to create convincing lighting strikes using double exposures than using a photoshop. This is technique is using photoshop to create a false imperfection which I dont really agree with, and with no believable source for the lightning strikes, they look out of place on a sunny day. IMO if the source image was a stormy day then they would've suited the image.

  27. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    ...remind me to post my "how best to post process your Xpro's in Apple Aperture" sometime!

  28. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    just re-read the article and missed the "Save your files and open it full screen. Turn off the lights and shoot an entire roll. rewind and reload the film for doubles." and obviously now feeling a bit guilty for my post.

    I think if you'd explained this better at the start of the article rather than waiting until the 2nd to last paragraph where by this point me and everybody else had already skipped to the comments, you wouldn't have got the same outrage.

  29. rtmoratin
    rtmoratin ·

    I want to be like @icuresick someday. :)

  30. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    I think this is a cool tipster, it's the same as other tipsters about writing on computer screens, I don't see how it's wrong. The Revlog film looks almost exactly the same anyway...

  31. ahleng90
    ahleng90 ·

    this tipster is just as if we shoot from tv/movie for double exposure..rememberrr the tipster and the rumble about double exposure with moviess???so whats the different?if you dont want to shoot from the screen maybe you can print it out as a mask perhaps?just like our Diana Queen,Satomi for me..its quite a good idea.. :D

  32. nazz_jb
    nazz_jb ·

    sorry for causing a storm here... my thousand apologies to everyone & @icuresick.
    to @projectsnap, i am full analogue, i developed my own negative/slide and prints with enlarger (colour or b&w) i dodge & burn with my own hands, i love the feeling of being purist.

  33. projectsnap
    projectsnap ·

    @nazz_jb good for you then. Let's just agree to disagree and leave it at that. no more unnecessary negativity. let's be open-minded, yeah?

  34. nazz_jb
    nazz_jb ·


  35. feelux
    feelux ·

    Good one, @icuresick!

  36. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    Thank you guys! I made this because I was inspired by Revolog films, but find them too expensive. 7Euros for 12 shots I think. I have no intentions to give Revolog a run for their money, this is just like doing a DIY Redscaled films instead of buying from the online store.

  37. veato
    veato ·

    Nothing wrong with this. If you took an analogue photo then imported into PS for editing then sure that would be against the principles of lomo somewhat. Creating a texture and photographing it in my opinion is perfectly fine regardless of how that texture was created.

  38. jt13
    jt13 ·

    if you wanted to do it in the most analog way, get a black piece of paper, cut out lightning, make a light box, put the paper over top, and shoot that, same basic principle

  39. shoujoai
    shoujoai ·

    cool, perlin noise! I once implemented the algorithm for generating these pictures :)

  40. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Great tipster. Thanks for sharing.

  41. angelalette
    angelalette ·

    thunder bolt..:) amazing cusi

  42. mitchyslick
    mitchyslick ·

    Did you guys see the Lomo article in How magazine a few issues back? Jim Krause got some pretty cool shots by adding typography to his images using this same method. Besides, Rule 10.

  43. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    Funny how this struck a nerve here. Perhaps we do need to ask ourselves, why use film?

  44. reiga
    reiga ·

    why? why?

  45. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    Are single-exposure analog photos of digital images still Lomo?

  46. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    Why what? @reiga

  47. bombetator
    bombetator ·

    To anyone who's got a 100% analogue lifestyle, you may write your hate mail to icuresick and tie it to the foot of a pigeon and release it. You may also write it on a piece of paper and slide it into an empty bottle, seal it with a cork and let it float on the ocean. Otherwise, just keep your fingers to yourself coz this is one hell of a cool tipster! ;)

  48. reiga
    reiga ·

    why revolog film so damn expensive..haha, and why we think so much..just shoot

  49. iamlca
    iamlca ·

    I agree with @nazz_jb, @faisal_aziz. I am just a newbie. This maybe a tip and thanks for sharing, but what has happened to happy accidents in lomography if you try to edit or have an inkling to do it just because you want to show something that is not there??? @cruzron, you say that you are not advocating, why agree in posting an article that tackles the use of photoshop? Who knows, maybe the next winner used photoshop or something? Just like that guy who used his iPhone and won an award, i think that also made a fiasco here. The line between shooting in film and editing is becoming thin so I don't know, that's just my 2 cents. peace. cám ơn!

  50. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    @iamlca I did not place the lightning that I created using photoshop directly to the photos. I shot the lightnings using my camera, then reused the film to shoot again outdoor. Lomography is not all about happy accidents. Most of the time it's experiment.

  51. iamlca
    iamlca ·

    i see... okay dude. Don't think, just shoot!

  52. badjuju
    badjuju ·

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing :)

  53. renenob
    renenob ·

    dont think just shoot is miss leading as everyone things about his or her craft. lomography is still cerebral

  54. renenob
    renenob ·


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