Deke's Techniques 493: War of the Worlds, The Sun Attacks (Using Blend Modes in Photoshop)

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to use blend modes, cloud filters, and luminance exclusion sliders to basically portray the sun attacking the earth. It's Photoshop Extreme Global Warming, people.

(Hmmm. Last week, San Francisco was attacked a sinister, but awesome looking, dinosaur, now this? I think the 2016 US Presidential election might be interfering with Deke's optimism about the world. Oh, well, at least when Deke goes dark, it's always bright and colorful.)

So, the orb that attacks the word here is basically our own sun:

The sun, preparing to attack the earth with killer lightning in Photoshop

And the killer rays it emits are actually this spectacular but-not-yet-deadly-solar-powered lightening:

Ordinary lightning, about to be made lethal by the Sun and Photshop blend modes


By applying several (and by that, I mean at least nine) rounds of the Difference Clouds filter, then using the Linear Light blend mode (in concert with the luminance exclusion sliders in the Layer Effects dialog box), this happens:

Sun using deadly lightening (and Photoshop Blend modes) to attack earth

It always zaps my mind when Deke uses those sliders under the "Blend If" option. Especially when he uses the Alt/Option key to break the arrows apart. But if ever I was to begin to understand how to use this advanced luminosity control, this video might be it.

If you're a member of, or you take advantage of the free 10-day trial by going to, there's an exclusive movie this week in which Deke shows you how to make killer attacking clouds using nothing but blend modes (and that If Then command.)

When clouds attack, courtesy of Photoshop blend modes

If you want to understand Blend Modes on a deeper level, you should check out Chapter 23, "Blend Modes," in the recently updated Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Advanced course. (If you checked it out before the holiday break, there are new chapters to be enjoyed, including this Blend Modes deep dive.)

Deke's Techniques, bringing you beautiful deadly catastrophes every week.


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