London is especially beautiful in Crhristmas time.
Lately I went to watch the latest james Bond film to a private screening at the Sony Pictures headquarters and they had a gigantic Christmas Tree. But when I have seen the picture I took I found out that the lightening was far from the real thing.

So I asked to myself: how can I enhance its lights?

Below you find the original picture and the final effect with the lightening enhancement, and I’ll explain you briefly how I reached this result.


1 – With the picture of a Christmas Tree open, make a new layer and call it LIGHTS.

2 – Select the right color for your lights.

3 – Select the brush tool with the proper size for your lights, Hardness 0% and the SOFT ROUND PRESSURE OPACITY (the fifth default brush in the brush palette from left) and Hopacity 100%..

4 – With the Brush tool selected, click on all the lights. If you have lights of different colors, change your foreground color.

5 – Make a copy of the background picture, name it BACKGROUND 2, put the layer on the top and set the blending mode to Overlay. This way you simulate the volume of the tree, with part of it covering the lights you added and creating more shadows.

The effect is done, now we need some color adjustments.

6 – Create a new Exposure Adjustment Layer and set the values as you like.

7 – Create a new Vibrance Adjustment Layer and set the values as you like.

8 – Create a new layer on the top of all and color it in black. Set the blending mode to Soft Light and the transparency to 20%. This enhances the shadows without affecting the lights you added.

And it’s done!



Lately there have been student demonstrations in my Country, Italy, and I have been astonished to know that police have beaten up students protesting over the corruption of our politicians.
It is even more astonishing to notice how two days later nobody talks about it anymore on Facebook.
I think when you have a strong interest in visual arts and communications it is your duty to do as much as you can to spread the word on topics that are important to you, and this is why I did this drawing.

The writing says To protect the Corrupts from the Helpless.
I did this drawing in Adobe Illustrator.

For the shadowing I used the blob brush, adding a blur effect to simulate the visual effect you have in Photoshop, but with the advantage to keep working on vectors.