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Laser-Cut Metal


Ever wanted to be a professional thief? Cracking open safes, robbing banks? Not such a good idea, but why take the risk of getting caught if you can fake it?   I'm going to teach you how to make a nice laser cut on a metal surface, with all the effects you get when you do it. To keep it realistic, I'm not going into creating the laser itself - In reality you can't actually see the laser, so why bother making it?
 

Step 1: Start with a basic metal background. If you don't know how to make one, take a look here. This effect works best on light metal surfaces. You can follow this tutorial with any size canvas, but it's best to start out with a big one of at least 500x500 pixels.

Step 2: Make a new layer and call it 'Cut'. Whip out your Elliptical Marquee Tool and make a circle in the centre of your canvas. Then go to Edit > Stroke and use these settings:

Width: 3px
Color: Black (#000000)
Location: Inside

After that you should delete a part of your circle using the Eraser Tool to create the illusion that you are still busy cutting your shape.

Note:  With a few modifications, this can also work well with simple text, vectors, etc - but I'll leave figuring that out up to you...

Step 3: To give your cut a little bit of depth, we're going to add a few layer styles to the 'Cut' layer. Right-click on the layer in the layer palette and choose Blending options. (Click on the image to the right to see all the settings).

Your cut probably doesn't look anything like a nice and crisp cut a laser would make, but we're going to fix that by setting the fill of the layer to 0%. Look better? Thought so... ;)

Step 4: The next step is to enhance the realism of the cut. When metal gets really hot, it melts. That molten metal needs to go somewhere and, in our case, it stays on top of the cut. So let's set it all up.

Start by tweaking your Brush settings. Select the Brush Tool and press 'F5'. Your Brush Presets will pop up. Use the following settings:

Brush Diameter: 12px
Spacing: 17%

Refer to the image on the right for the rest of the settings.

Step 5: Add a new layer and call it 'Residue'. Now start brushing along your cut as I'm doing on the right. Because we tweaked our brush settings, this is extremely easy. You can move your mouse along the circle and the brush itself will do the rest.

Drag this layer beneath your 'Cut' layer and enter the Layer Styles once again by right clicking on you layer and choosing Blending Options. Click on the image to the right to see all the settings that you should enter. After you applied all the settings, set the Fill of your Residue layer to 0%.

Step 6: You're finished with your cut! But it still looks a bit dull, doesn't it? Let's liven it up a little bit with some sparkles and lots of imagination.

I used some of the sparkle brushes that can be found in the Biorust Graphic Resources. Just experiment a bit with different versions and you'll get the hang of it soon enough.


Note: This technique doesn't work very well on small objects like miniature text, detailed vectors, etc.

- Tutorial written by Malboroman

Automatic Translations: Translate Into French Translate Into German Translate Into Italian Translate Into Spanish Translate Into Portuguese

Last 5 User Comments

User:  Tamlin (#56431)
Date: Thu Mar 26, 2009. 12:32:47

Post #18 of 18

OK - the most important step to getting the "spark" effect right is choosing the right brushes. In addition to the brushes available at BioRUST, there is a good selection here:
PS Brushes.net - Photoshop Brushes, Your Number one source for Photoshop Brushes
I used some of the Lady Victoire "Flare" brushes.

The process is then just a matter of building up the effect, as follows:
[LIST=1]

  • Make a new layer for each brush stroke
  • Set the layer's Blending Mode to Screen
  • Vary the colour and the brush tip on each layer
  • Use Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to soften the brush strokes if necessary
  • Experiment with lowering each Flare layer's Opacity to help blend them together
    [/LIST]

    Here is my take on the effect:


    and here's how my Layers Palette looked:


    As you can see, I used three different coloured "flares" (white, orange and yellow) and then added a simple round white "hot spot" to represent the point of the laser.

    Hope this explains it adequately.

  • Reply to this post


    User:  jprock1 (#56430)
    Date: Thu Mar 26, 2009. 00:30:52

    Post #17 of 18

    i left a post on this thread and it looks like it was removed.
    instead of removing my reply how about updating the tutorial with the finished information needed to complete the flame.

    as i said before this was a complete waist of time for me, i was friendly and pointed out what a great job the author did in the first 3/4 of the tutorial but totally dropped the ball with the final step.
    and the referring comments have not offered a clear clean concise set of instructions that lead up to anything resembling the flame shown for me.

    Reply to this post


    User:  RogueBase (#54117)
    Date: Sun Oct 26, 2008. 20:56:05

    Post #16 of 18

    This is a neat effect. Thanks for the tute I can adapt this to doing some edging as well. Much appreciated.

    Reply to this post


    User:  lurgias (#50128)
    Date: Tue May 20, 2008. 16:14:13

    Post #15 of 18

    Quote from Blu3;47165:
    To do the spark thing is quite easy; I'll refer to this laser cut tutor:
    U have now 3 layers: background, cut and residue.
    Apply on cut and residue layers Lens Flare filter[ Filter/Render/Lens Flare] and chose Movie Prime; the Brightness I set it around 150% [experience a little with it and chose what fits U].
    Now merge all 3 layers in 1.
    Finally on this last layer [Background] apply again this Lens Flare; go to Filter/Render/Lens Flare - for a "blue laser" use 105mm Prime and for a "red laser" use 50-300mm Zoom or 35mm Prime; the Brightness I set it around 95% [chose what fits U].
    That's all.


    Somebody can tell me the name of sparkle brushset used in this tutorial?

    Reply to this post


    User:  Blu3 (#47165)
    Date: Sat Jan 05, 2008. 17:15:15

    Post #14 of 18

    Quote from jennc;44848:
    Hello there,
    you said you would make a tutorial on how to do the spark thing, did you do that? Or could you possibly e-mail me on how to make it? jcowden85@hotmail.com
    It would be much appreciated. Thanks.


    To do the spark thing is quite easy; I'll refer to this laser cut tutor:
    U have now 3 layers: background, cut and residue.
    Apply on cut and residue layers Lens Flare filter[ Filter/Render/Lens Flare] and chose Movie Prime; the Brightness I set it around 150% [experience a little with it and chose what fits U].
    Now merge all 3 layers in 1.
    Finally on this last layer [Background] apply again this Lens Flare; go to Filter/Render/Lens Flare - for a "blue laser" use 105mm Prime and for a "red laser" use 50-300mm Zoom or 35mm Prime; the Brightness I set it around 95% [chose what fits U].
    That's all.

    Reply to this post


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