Deke's Techniques 556: Creating Photorealistic Neon in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to increase the photorealism of last week's Illustrator-created neon sign inside Photoshop.

The technique centers around using the Illustrator file as a smart object (or two) inside Photoshop, thus allowing for much more flexibility than your standard real-world sign made of gas and glass.

To start with, we'll open last week's file as a smart object inside Photoshop:

Open an Illustrator file as a smart object in Photoshop

After making some resolution tweaks, Deke saves off a copy for later in the Layers panel and begins work on the initial layer by applying the Gaussian Blur filter and using the Screen blend mode:

An application of Gaussian Blur with Screen blend mode

Next, he takes the second copy and adds a Field Blur filter with a dose of underlying layer lighting manipulation:

Field blur applied to create a neon effect


Finally, he returns to Illustrator (via the either of the smart objects) and changes the shape using the Round Corners dodads and the Recolor Artwork feature.

Changing the shape and color inside the Illustrator smart object

Deke's Techniques, lighting your world with colored gasses every week.

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