Composite Lightbulb Effect

Lake in Lightbulb GIF

Have you ever wanted to combine two pictures in a way that makes your friends do a double take?

You’ve come to the right place.

For this tutorial, we’ll be putting a lake inside of a light bulb. But after following the steps in this article, you’ll be able to put anything you can imagine inside of a lightbulb. 🙂

Lake in Lightbulb BeforeLake in Lightbulb After



Step 0: Downloading the Images

For this tutorial, we’ll be using this light bulb. You’ll also need an image to put inside of the light bulb. For this tutorial, we’ll use this image of a lake.

In addition to this written tutorial, you can also watch our video tutorial on creating this composite lake-in-a-light-bulb effect.




Step 1: Clear Out the Light Bulb

After you’ve opened the light bulb and lake images inside of Affinity Photo, we’re first going to focus on cleaning up the inside of the light bulb.

First, select the Inpainting Brush Tool. To do this, click and hold on the Healing Brush Tool, and then select the Inpainting Brush Tool.

Select the Inpainting Brush

The Inpainting Brush Tool allows you to remove imperfections from a photo. Just paint over whatever you want to remove, and Affinity will fill in the area with information it finds from the surrounding parts of the photo.

The Inpainting Brush Tool allows you to remove imperfections from a photo.

Paint across the wire inside of the light bulb to remove it. 

Inpaint the Inside of Lightbulb

You might have to paint across an area multiple times before Affinity does a good enough job of removing the wire.

You may also need to use a smaller brush size, to paint more accurately. You can change your brush size by using the bracket keys on your keyboard ( [ and ] ). 



Step 2: Bring in the Lake

With the light bulb looking good, open the tab with the lake image.

Switch to Lake tab


First, we will remove the sky from the photo.

Select the Flood Select Tool. In the Context Toolbar, set the Tolerance to 25%.

This lets us click on one color in the photo, and any color that is within a 25% range of that color will be selected.

The Flood Select Tool is great for selecting skies.

Flood Select Tool


Click in the middle of the sky to select it. Press Delete on your keyboard to remove the sky.

Then, press Command D (Mac) or Control D (PC) to deselect the sky. Press Command C (Mac) or Control C (PC) to copy the image.

Delete the Sky


Return to the light bulb tab.

Press Command V (Mac) or Control V (PC) to paste the lake layer.

Back to the Light bulb tab



Step 3: Clean Up the Lake

We need to resize the lake so that it fits into the light bulb.

Select the Move Tool, and then adjust the size and position of the lake. Be sure to have the lake cover the left and right sides of the light bulb, as well as the bottom of it. However, the lake should not cover the top of the light bulb.

Resize the Lake


Now we’ll apply a mask to the lake. This allows us to remove parts of the lake, so that it will fit perfectly inside the edges of the bulb.

Press the Mask icon to apply a mask to the lake layer.

Click the Mask icon


To remove parts of the lake, we’ll need to get out the Paint Brush Tool.

Lower the Hardness in the Context Toolbar to 0%, and make sure your color is set to black in the Color Panel.

select the paint brush tool, and set your color to black and hardness to 0%.


Now we can paint to remove parts of the lake image.

To make your brush bigger or smaller, use the bracket keys underneath the equal sign on your keyboard ( [ and ] ).

Paint away the edges


If you ever paint away too much of the lake, just press X on your keyboard to switch your color to white. Then you can paint to bring back the lake.

Switch colors if too much is painted


Continue painting until the lake fits perfectly inside the bulb.

Finish painting



Step 4: Change the Blend Mode

With the lake fitting beautifully, it’s time to adjust the lighting.

In the Layers Panel, select the lake layer.

Change the Blend Mode from Normal to Linear Light. This adds a nice lighting effect to the image, making it look like the light is coming from behind the glass of the bulb.

Change the Blend Mode to Linear Light


Isn’t that a beautiful light bulb?

Lake in Lightbulb After


Now with all the skills you’ve learned, you can put anything you want inside of the lightbulb! Isn’t compositing fun??

Nailed It GIF