How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an amazing energy effect. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

The effect shown above is the one I will show you how to create in this tutorial. If you would like to create the even more advanced energy effects shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Energy Photoshop Action.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

What You’ll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. Let’s Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be theBackground layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

2. How to Select the Subject

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make a selection of our subject and then copy the subject to a separate layer. Choose the Quick Selection Tool (W)and select the background of the photo. Use theShift-Altbuttons on your keyboard to add or subtract areas from the selection. After you’ve made a perfect selection, press Control-Shift-I on your keyboard to invert the selection.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Now go to Select > Modify > Smooth and set the Sample Radius to 5 px. Then, go to Select > Modify > Contract and setContract By to 2 px. After that, go to Select > Modify > Feather and set the Feather Radius to 2 px as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection, and name this layer Subject.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

3. How to Create the Background

Step 1

In this section we are going to create the background. Select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Background Color, and choose the color#000000 as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Now go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Temp.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Now press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Distort > Twirl and set the Angle to 50° as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Darken and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer. Then, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and then to Edit > Transform Flip Vertical to flip this layer both horizontally and vertically.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 6

Now Shift-click on the Temp layer to select all layers between and press Control-E on your keyboard to merge them into one layer. Then, press Control-J to duplicate this layer.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 7

Press Control-I on your keyboard to invert this layer. Then, press D to reset the swatches and go to Filter > Render > Difference Clouds.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 8

Now press Control-I on your keyboard to invert this layer. Then, go to Filter > Distort > Twirl and set the Angle to 50° as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 9

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Multiply. Then, Control-click on the Temp copy 2 layer to select both layers at the same time and press Control-E on your keyboard to merge them into one layer.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 10

Now press Control-T on your keyboard to transform this layer and set the Width and Height to 200% as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 11

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer. Then, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush where you want texture to appear. Feel free to change the Hardness of the brush.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 12

Name this layer Background_Texture_1. Then, select the Background Color layer, go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, and name it Background_Texture_2.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 13

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches, and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 14

Now press Control-T on your keyboard to transform this layer and set the Width and Height to 200% as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 15

Now go to Filter > Distort > Twirl and set the Angle to 50° as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 16

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and enter the settings below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 17

Now change the Opacity of this layer to 10%.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 18

Select the Background_Texture_1 layer, go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, and name it Temp.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 19

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 20

Now press Control-T on your keyboard to transform this layer and set the Width and Height to 150% as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 21

Press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Distort > Twirl and set the Angle to 50°.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 22

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Screen. Then, Control-click on the Temp copy 2 layer to select both layers at the same time and press Control-E on your keyboard to merge them into one layer.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 23

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer. Then, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush where you want texture to appear. Feel free to change the Hardness of the brush.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 24

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Screen and set the Opacity to 50%. Then, name this layer Background Glow.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

4. How to Blend the Subject

Step 1

In this section we are going to blend the subject more with the background. Select the Subject layer and Control-click on this layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then, go to Select > Modify > Contractand set the Contact By to 25 px. After that, go to Select > Modify > Feather and set the Feather Radius to 50 px as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection to add a layer mask that reveals the selected area of the layer. Then, in the Properties panel, set the Density of the layer mask to 55% as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer. Then, press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer, go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and set the Radius to 30 px.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Now go to Image > Auto tone and then to Image > Auto Contrast to make auto-corrections of this layer tone and contrast. Then, go to Edit > Adjustments > Levels and enter the settings below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 50%. Then, name this layer Subject Details.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 6

Control-click on the Subject layer to select both layers at the same time. Then, go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers and name it Main Subject.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 7

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that reveals the whole layer group. Then, set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the areas that are left from the background.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

5. How to Create the Subject Glow

Step 1

In this section we are going to create the subject glow. Control-click on the Subject layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then, Control-Alt-Shift-click on the layer mask of the Main Subject layer group to intersect the selection. After that, go to Select > Modify > Contract and setContract By to 10 px.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Now press Control-Shift-I on your keyboard to invert the selection. Then, Control-Alt-Shift-click on the Subject layer thumbnail to intersect the selection. After that, Control-Alt-Shift-click on the layer mask of the Main Subject layer group to intersect the selection again.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Select the Background layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection. Then, drag this layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 10 px as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Linear Dodge (Add) and set the Opacity to 70%. Then, name this layer Subject_Glow_1.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 6

Now Control-click on the Subject layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then, Control-Alt-Shift-click on the layer mask of the Main Subject layer to intersect the selection. After that, go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Temp.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 7

Set foreground color to #ffffff. Then, go to Edit > Fill and set Contents to Foreground Color, Mode to Normal, and Opacity to 100%.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 8

Now press Control-D on your keyboard to deselect. Then, press Control-J to duplicate this layer. After that, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 100 px.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 9

Name this layer Subject_Glow_2 and drag it just below the Main Subject layers group in the Layers panel.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 10

Now select the Temp layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and set the Radius to 100 px.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 11

Name this layer Subject_Glow_3 and drag it just below the Subject_Glow_2 layer in the Layers panel.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

6. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section we are going to make final adjustments to the design. Select the Subject_Glow_1 layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance to create a new color balance adjustment layer and name it Color_1.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it Color_2. Then, drag this layer just below the Color_1 layer in the Layers panel.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall Contrast. After that, drag this layer to the top of the Layers panel.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 6

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 10%.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 7

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer and name it Overall Saturation.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 8

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel set the Saturation to +7 as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 9

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it Overall Brightness.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 10

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 11

Select the Subject layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer and name it Subject_Color_Correction.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 12

Now press Control-Alt-G on your keyboard to create a clipping mask. Then, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel, choose the Cyans preset color range, and set Hue to +55 and Saturation to -80 as shown below:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 13

Select the Overall Brightness layer, press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

Step 14

Name this layer Overall Sharpening and change the Blending Mode of this layer to Vivid Light.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

If you would like to create the even more advanced energy effects shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Energy Photoshop Action.

The action works so you simply fill in your subject with a color and just play the action. The action will do everything for you, giving you fully layered and customizable results. The action will also create 30 preset color looks that you can choose from, and there are 65 high-quality fractal brushes included with the action that you can use to build the designs even further.

The action comes with a detailed video tutorial that demonstrates how to use the action and customize the results to get the most out of the effect.

How to Create an Energy Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop