How to Make a Lightsaber Using Pixlr


I don’t pretend to be a Photoshop master, but I know my way around the program pretty well. Well enough that a surprising amount of people have asked me to add a “lightsaber” effect to one of their photos. A quick search online will reveal many different approaches to creating realistic looking lightsabers within Photoshop. It’s quite easy, to be honest. Only Photoshop isn’t exactly budget-friendly. GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop that you can download online, and there are even some tutorials online to create a lightsaber using GIMP.

Click here if you want to learn more about GIMP
But there’s actually a third alternative to Photoshop however. It’s also free (similar to GIMP) but it doesn’t require you to download anything! It’s called Pixlr (maybe you’ve heard of it?). You can use it on your phone or on any computer. It runs within your browser and operates very similar to Photoshop (albeit on a much simpler level). While it definitely isn’t as sophisticated Photoshop or GIMP, you can use Pixlr to create a lightsaber effect. I couldn’t find any tutorials online about it, so I thought I’d make one right here. Again, I’m no Pixlr expert, but my methods certainly get the job done, and for those who don’t want to download anything or can’t afford photoshop, then this may just be the guide you’re looking for.

STEP ONE: Open Pixlr and load the image you want to work with

For my image, I took an image of myself and crudely threw a lightsaber in my hand. I did this by grabbing a lightsaber image, rotating it and erasing the parts of the image that overlapped with my hand. It may take some figuring out, but for the sake of keeping this tutorial brief, I’m won’t be covering this step in much detail.
Note: Once you’ve positioned your saber hilt, it may be wise to “flatten” the image, combining all layers into one. You can do this by right-clicking on any layer and selecting “Flatten Image.”

STEP TWO: Create a new layer

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a new layer. The button to do this almost looks like a piece of paper that’s been folded in the corner.

STEP THREE: Use the “Selection Tools” to create a lightsaber shape

On the far left, you should see all of your tools. The dotted-line box and lasso tool are your basic selection tools. You can use these tools to create the basic shape of a lightsaber. The shape you create can be moved later, so don’t worry about its placement just yet.
I first made a long rectangle and then used the lasso tool to add a point (make sure to hold SHIFT while you are adding to a selection).
It may help in getting the perfect lightsaber point to zoom in on your selection using the “Zoom” tool.


STEP FOUR: Use the “Fill Tool” to make your selection white.

The “Fill Tool,” or “Paint Bucket” tool, is also available on the far left. After making sure you have the right color selected, click inside of your selection and it will all become white! You can then move your newly created white object around however you like. I moved mine over to the right so I could see the color better.

STEP FIVE: Duplicate your white lightsaber shape

Over on the right, you have your “Layers” panel. Use this panel to duplicate the layer that has your white lightsaber shape in it. You can do this by right-clicking on the layer itself and selecting duplicate layer.

STEP SIX: Choose your lightsaber color!

On your new layer (which should read something like “Layer 2 Copy,”) use the same Paint Bucket or “Fill,” tool from before to change its color. This will be the color of your lightsaber so choose wisely! I chose a bronze-orange for my lightsaber. If you’re worried about confusing the two layers, you may want to consider renaming them “White,” and “Color,” respectively.
Once you’ve colored your duplicate layer, you’ll want to move that layer below the white lightsaber layer. To do so, return to the layer panel we used earlier. You can click and drag any layer in this panel to change which image will appear on top. For this step, place the copied layer beneath the original layer (see image).

STEP SEVEN: Resize the white part

Now that the colored portion is on the bottom, reselect the white layer of the lightsaber (this is very important). Once you’re sure you have the white portion selected (the layer that doesn’t say “copy,”) go over to Edit (at the top) and select “Free Transform.” Alternatively, you can push CTRL + SHIFT + T (though this doesn’t always work with Pixlr).
You’ll notice that there are blue boxes around your lightsaber now. Use these boxes to shrink the white portion of your lightsaber. Bring the sides of the lightsaber in slightly and reduce it’s length slightly. If you make a mistake you can “undo” it by pressing CTRL + Z, so don’t feel too much pressure. It also may help to get a closer look by using the zoom tool from before. When you are done you can hit “Enter” or click anywhere on the screen to make the transformation changes permanent. Here’s how mine looked when I finished making changes.

STEP EIGHT: Attach the colored part of the lightsaber to the hilt

Once you’ve resized the white part of your saber, take the colored layer and move it to wherever you want the lightsaber blade to appear. You will have to use the “Free Transform” tool from before to rotate and move the blade.

OPTIONAL STEP: Add invisible lines to every corner

Now, for some reason, Pixlr treats each of its Layers as if they had their own canvas size. This may sound confusing, but I don’t know how else to explain it. I would recommend you just do what I tell you to, but if you want to skip this step, go ahead.
At any rate, you’ll want to select your colored layer and use the pencil tool to draw small lines in each corner of the picture. If the opacity is set to 1 or 2 you won’t even be able to see these lines. Doing this will essentially give your colored layer a canvas size of the entire picture, instead of a small box around it.
I know it’s confusing, but just do it.
STEP NINE: Gaussian Blur
The secret behind every lightsaber is the Gaussian Blur. Double check and make sure that your colored portion is selected, then hit “Filter” at the top and select “Gaussian Blur.”
You can experiment with the degree of the blur, but I went with 75.

STEP 10: Finishing Touches

You’re on the last step now. It’s simple really. Just grab the white layer and (using the Free Transform tool we’re so fond of) move and rotate the white lightsaber until it lines up with your colored layer. They don’t let you move two layers at once (at least, not that I could figure out) otherwise you could have moved them together before. But with a bit of effort, you should be able to line them up perfectly.
And Viola! Just like that, I’m holding a bronze-orange lightsaber. How absolutely ravishing. Once you’re done you can click “File” up above and save your creation straight to your computer.
If you had any problems feel free to shoot me a question in the comments below and I will try and coach you through any issues. Thanks and I hope this was helpful.

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