Magical Christmas Tree Scene

For this Photoshop effects tutorial, we’re going to create a glowing sky aurora behind a Christmas tree with shimmers and  heavenly beams.


The first thing we’re going to do is use the Marquee Selection Tool and draw a rectangular box over the main tree. Go to the top menu and perform Filter>Render>Clouds.

Now go to your Layers Window and changes this cloud layers blending mode to “Screen”. The default setting will be Normal. This should make the black parts transparent.

Now to the top menu and perform Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and use the following settings:

At this point, Press Ctrl+T (transform) and you’ll be able to alter the shape. Drag the top corners closer to the middle while holding the Ctrl key and you’ll be able to pinch the shape closer to a cone. I pulled the bottom corners out a bit to make the spotlight.

Double-click the light beam layer in the Layers Panel. This will open the layer styles properties. Checkbox Color Overlay and choose a bright yellow on the color box. Pull the opacity down to 10%. This should give the light a golden hue.

Use the Polygonal Selection Tool to select the edges of the beam and then navigate to the top menu and choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur with the following settings.

Here’s what the light beam looks like now after erasing the bottom away with the Eraser Brush.

Ok, now hide the Light Beam Layer so we can focus on the background now. You can toggle the layer’s visibility with the eye icon on the Layers Panel. Create a new layer, and much like we did in the beginning of the tutorial, make a marquee box with some Render>Clouds, except horizontally on the upper half of the image so it covers all of the sky.

On these new clouds, go to Filter>Render>Difference Clouds now. This should invert the values and make some dark clouds.

Press Ctrl+F about 5 times. This will punch the clouds up a bit.

Remember when we turned the last cloud layer to a “Screen” blend mode? Well on this new cloud layer, use “Color Dodge”. Watch what happens to the sky.

We’re going to use a motion blur on these clouds as well except tweak the settings a little bit:

Right-click the layer in the Layers window and choose “Duplicate” to copy the layer. I set it to about a 50% Fill in the layers window. Make another layer sandwiched in between the cloud copies and paint in some light blue or the color of your choice for some additional effect. Also, erase the clouds away from the mountains.

For a final touch we’re going to use a brush with some custom settings to create some Christmas magic sparkle stuff. Select the Brush Tool with a 2px size and look for the Brush Palette Icon:

We’re going to use these brush settings for “Shape Dymanics” and “Scattering”.

For some really small speckles you can try the “Dual Brush” checkbox and some varied brush sizes.

Happy Holidays from all of us at DevWebPro!
Click here to see the high resolution image.

By Mark Rivera

Mark is an animator and ad designer for WebProNews. He has a passion for illustration and 3D art.

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