Dappled Light Examples and How to Work With It

If you have tried the Lighting Effects filter in Photoshop, and are looking for something more natural, this tutorial might be for you. To recreate Dappled Light in Photoshop, you can mimic nature and mask off incoming light. All you need is a black & white mask. I used our Black & White Patterns CD.

Step 1

For my primary subject, I chose this studio portrait.


Duplicate your primary subject matter and create a new layer. Create a mask by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette.


Option click (Alt click on a PC) the new mask to activate it. Your image should disappear and should turn white.


Choose a black & white pattern and paste it into the layer mask.


To simulate directional lighting, choose Edit>Transfom>
Perspective. (You could also rotate and distort the image.)

STEPS 6,7,8,9

Click on the portrait icon in the layers palette.

Choose Screen from the Blending mode menu.

Erase those areas in which you don’t want any dappled light.

Select the black & white layer mask. Add Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur (set to 25 pixels)

Dappled Light

That’s it. You’ve added dappled light. Try experimenting with different black & white patterns. Have fun!

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