Gritty Wall Lights
This tutorial is sort of a continuation of the Gritty Pipelines Tutorial. You certainly don't have to work on top of the base wall texture from there, but if you're unfamiliar with some basic photoshop methods you may want to read it first.
Now we're going to move on to putting a light on our base wall texture. Open that texture up and make a round selection in the center. With a fairly neutral color selected, go to edit -> fill -> foreground color. Then go to select -> modify -> contract. I set mine to 20 pixels, but you can make this whatever size you prefer. When you hit ok you'll notice that our selection has shrunk by 20 pixels (Image A). Hit the delete key. We are now left with a thick ring that will act as a border to our light (Image B). Now we're going to make a very basic bevel for our ring. We're going to use two selection tricks for this. One is the shift key. While holding down the shift key and making a selection, it will lock your marquee into a perfect circle or square as you drag. Second is the space bar. If you hold down the space bar and make a selection, it allows you to move it around on the screen. We're going to do both of these at the same time, to give us the most control over our selection. Over the top of your ring, make a circle within it (Image C). When you have it the size that you want, go up to layer -> new -> via cut. This will cut out your selection and move it to its own layer. Now you can work with them as two separate pieces. Lighten the center part of the ring using either the dodge tool or by going up to image -> adjustments -> brightness contrast. Now we have a very simple 3-dimensional border (Image D). Very simple..
The light needs to look like it is actual mounted on the wall, that it affects the surface its on. So, there needs to be a bit of shadow and wear around it. Using the burn tool (set to midtones) darken the textured wall below the ring. Personally, I like to duplicate the background layer so that if I screw up I can simply delete the layer I've been working on and make another. With a fine 1-3 pixel brush, draw in a few cracks at the edges. This is great to do with a mouse because your hand is a tiny bit unsteady. The color I use for my cracks is just a few steps darker than the darkest brown in my base texture, or a selection from the area within the ring that we've just darkened. To make the cracks a little more convincing, go back around the edges of them with a lighter color. The dodge tool set to midtones or highlights can work well for this step too (Image A). Continue working your way around the edges until you are pleased with the result
By now I've combined the two ring layers together to make my work easier, but you certainly don't have to do that yourself. :) I'm starting to build up some of the texture on the ring (Image A). If you like, you can use the same methods we did on the pipes - or you can handpaint it as I'm doing. Either way we want to get away from the smooth, solid look we currently have. Go in with the eraser tool and wear away the edges of the ring. You can also paint some chips into it. While I'm zoomed in, I go over some of the hard edges of the ring (for instance the top edge of the bevel) and put some hard highlights in place (Image B). Continue building up texture and form until you're pleased with the outcome (Image C). This is just something that takes a little effort on the artist's part, there is no quick Photoshop fix to make it look good.
Let there be light! Using a photograph I took earlier (Image A), I copied the bulb out of the picture and pasted it onto my texture. To change the appearance to suit my needs, I selected it, ran a light blur on it, "dodged" out the center to make it more brilliant, and altered the colors under image -> adjust -> hue/saturation. To give it a little bit of final texture I ran a crystallize filter on it. Filter -> pixellate -> crystalize -> cell size 3. See Image B for the final look.
Since we have a light in place, we need to display the way that light affects its surroundings. On a new layer above your ring, paint a little color over the top to match the color of your light. Set the blending mode to "overlay" and drop the layer opacity down to about 70% (Image A). When you're done, you should have a soft ambient glow on your ring (Image B).' '
I want to put a protective grate over the light because... hey, I don't want the bulb to get busted or anything. Har har! *cough* Ahem... anyway. To do this I used the rectangular marquee and made one slender vertical selection to cover the entire diameter of the light. Once I had a single bar in place, I copied that layer multiple times and spread them out across the light. Photoshop has a pretty neat feature which will evenly distribute a set of selections for you. First you need to link each of the layers by clicking the empty box to the left of each one. When you click them, a little chain link will pop up. When all of your layers are linked, go up to layer -> distribute linked -> horizontal centers. Now all of your bars should be evenly spaced (Image A). Merge your bars together into one layer and make a circular selection around the inner edge of your border ring (remember your shift key and space bar tricks) . Once you have your selection in place go to select -> inverse. This turns your selection inside out, so that when you hit the delete key (yup, you can do that now ;)) it erases the area outside of your circle rather than within it (Image B).
To get the lightly beveled effect on the grate was really easy. I just made a round selection within the bars to mark where the bend in the metal would be, and then I lightened the inside edges (Image A). To make the edges more crisp, I zoomed in to put some harder highlights on the edges of the bars to make them a little less flat (Image B). Although I think I could have stuck with the vertical bars alone, I decided to make a full grid over the light fixture. This is simple enough. Just duplicate your other layer and rotate it 90 degrees (Image C).
The last step is just my picky brain at work. Most people can't even tell the little but of extra work I put in at this point - but it looks better to me. ;) In the first two images, I hid the layer with the light so you can see what is going on a little better. I felt as though the bars of the grate needed to be backlit. I combined the vertical and horizontal bars into one layer and selected them (ctrl-click the layer). I went to select -> modify -> expand -> 2 pixels. We now have a selection that has expanded outwards by 2 pixels. On a new layer beneath the grate, fill it with a solid color to match the light (Image A). Looks weird eh? With a soft edged brush, erase the outer rim to soften the effect (Image B). Run a gaussian blur on the backlit, set the blending mode to overlay and drop the opacity down a bit. Now you have a soft glow behind the grate - and what is more important is that you are DONE! Woop woop!