PI8 Positioning Effects Precisely

If you use PI8 in conjunction with other programs, you'll want to take advantage of the precision with which you can place Lighting and other EasyPalette Gallery effects on your images.

lightning girl!

I've been doing a lot of Poser post renders in PI recently, and have found that our favorite image editor is unmatched for ease in placing special effects exactly where you want them. So boss your particles around and show your lightning who's boss! That's what I've done in this image above.

You can download the UFO file for this tutorial here. You can also get the SMP files for all of the lighting presets here, in case you have difficulty positioning the lightning.

When you open it up in the work space, hit Enter to deactivate the objects. If you look in your Layer Manager, you'll see that there are two objects -- a black rectangle background and a girl (she was made in Poser from Capsces' wonderful Puppet for Koshini). You can see a screen shot of the objects in the Layer Manager below.

layer manager

Click on the background thumbnail to make it active. First we'll apply some lightning to the background. By selecting this object, we can make sure the lighting doesn't appear on the girl object.

In the EasyPalette's Lighting Gallery, Lightning, double click on the Lightning 14 thumbnail. This will fill up the black background with a lot of lightning, shown below at 33% size.

background lightning

While the black object is still active, let's apply a big spotlight behind the girl. From the EasyPalette's Lighting Gallery, Light Bulb, right click on the Light Bulb 1 thumbnail and choose Modify Properties and Apply.

When the dialog box opens, edit the effect as shown in the screen shot below. It will tone down effect strength and create a slight glow on the lightning added previously.

edit light effect

In the Preview window, drag the light over to the left slightly, so that the starburst will appear behind the girl's torso. You might wonder how you will know where it is, since the girl isn't showing in the Preview window. You can see where it is by clicking the Preview button to view the effect applied to the full size image. If it isn't in the right place, click Continue to return to the dialog box and reposition the light.

Keep tweaking the placement until it's behind her, then click OK to apply. Right click and Merge All. You won't have any objects in your Layer Manager because you've Merged everything.

Now it's time to add lightning selectively, so it looks like she's grasping a bolt of lightning in her fist on the left side, and lightning extends from her fingertips on the right side. In the EasyPalette's Lighting Gallery, Lightning, right click on the Lightning 2 thumbnail and choose Modify Properties and Apply. When the dialog box opens, click on Lightning 1 in the "Elements" box. Edit the parameters as shown below to make a slightly less strong white bolt (or use your own values if you like).

edit basic parameters

In the Preview window, position your cursor over the bottom of the lightning bolt and drag it up so that it ends just at the girl's hand. You'll know you're on the lightning's end when your cursor turns into a crossed, double headed arrow. It's kind of hard to find and move the lightning where you want it until you figure out how it works. Click Preview to see how it looks on the image, then Continue until you have it positioned correctly. You want the bolt to look like it's going right into her fist (arrow below). Click OK to apply.

lightning goes to hand

Next, let's add more lightning coming out of the bottom of her fist, to complete the bolt. Again, right click on the Lightning 2 thumbnail and select Modify Properties and Apply. In the Elements box, select Lightning 2 and hit the minus (-) button to delete it (you can do this to get rid of any preset light effect). Edit Lightning 1 with the values shown below.

edit lightning

Here's the tricky part again. In the Preview window, find the bottom of the lightning bolt and drag it down toward the bottom of the image. Then move your cursor up to find the top of the bolt, and position it so that it's coming out of the bottom of her fist. As before, you'll probably have to Preview and Continue a few times until you get it exactly right. You can see a close up of the lightning in her first below.

completed bolt

Don't be concerned if your bolt doesn't look exactly like mine. Its thickness and curve will vary depending on where you've dragged the bottom of the bolt. The main thing is to gain control over where it starts, so that it looks like a continuation of the bolt above it.

Let's add some strong lightning to the upper right corner of the image to add balance. Right click on the Lightning 2 thumbnail, Modify Properties and Apply. Delete Lightning 2 from the Elements box. Edit the Lightning 1 parameters as shown below.

edit lighting again

In the Preview window, find the ends of the lightning bolt and position them so that they extend from her fingertips to the right side of the image.

position lightning in preview

If you want to do so, add more lightning. I thought the upper right corner needed a bit more, so I added some there.

Although it takes a bit of trial and error, I hope this tutorial shows how flexible PI can be in allowing control over where special effects are placed. Remember, this control extends to Particle effects too. That's how I placed clouds exactly where I wanted them here (nudity) and fireflies here.

If you're interested in seeing more of my PI post renders of Poser images, check out my Faery and Koshini galleries here.

This tutorial uploaded 9/5/03

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