I have an image with stage lights in it.

I am trying to add an effect so that it looks like the room is filled with haze and therefore there would be a cone coming from the light sources.

Here is my image: enter image description here

and I want it to look like this (ideally with the haze throughout the scene): enter image description here

You can see on the ground where the lights actually have an effect but there is no haze / cone of light in the image.

Can someone tell me how to add a haze effect and specifically achieve the light cone effect?

2 Answers 2


This is one easy way if you have some beam images taken in otherwise black darkness. I used your example beam:

enter image description here

This works in any photo editor which has layers and blending mode ADD. GIMP is one of them. I used Photoshop, which doesn't offer any advantage in this case.

I added 3 copies of your beam as separate layers with layer blending mode=ADD. I applied hue shift to recolor the beams, erased a little at the bottom with the eraser a (=slowly with low opacity for no edge) and distorted the shapes a little to make them different & fitting better to the perspective.

This can be done also without a beam photo, but it needs some work. You must draw the beams. You can use blurring or gradients or both of them. GIMP's circular motion blur would be especially effective for the conical beam because you will get radially expanding blurrines. Draw a sector with gradient fill and give to it circular motion blur.

A complex thing is how much you want to include the non-idealities of normal cameras such as

  • color and background item contrast loss (=whitening) at bright areas due overexposure
  • lens flares

Here's one home made light beam and its parts without blur.

enter image description here

Making it yourself gives some freedom. Here the color is more saturated. I guess a colored light cannot be simpler. There are only 3 parts in separate layers:

  1. The red glow around the lamp. It's a blurred red ellipse with blending mode Hard light. The opacity is 75%.

  2. The spot on the floor is like the glow around the lamp, but bigger. The opacity is 50%.

  3. The beam is a selection which has been filled with a gradient. The selection is drawn with the pen. The gradient is radial white-red-transparency, red has opacity = 40%, white is opaque, blending mode = Normal. White presents overexposure in the camera. The shape has got circular motion blur.

More plausible result needs some weak color also on the walls.

Warning: The job turns to a complex one as soon as you want to have some items or persons under the beams. Getting their lights and shadows right is far from trivial.


Tried a few things. So far the best result I have is by using the focus blur plugin (independent plugin or the one in the GMIC collection) on a vertical rod:

enter image description here

For the bottom, circle selection filled with color, blurred and then scaled (or apply perspective to be strictly correct), and a slightly lowered opacity:

enter image description here

To whiten the light:

  • alpha-to-selection on the beam
  • add layer fill selection with alpha
  • add a layer mask, fill maks with vertical white-to-black gradient
  • use Curves or Levels to adjust the color transition

    enter image description here

For completeness, the layer stack:

enter image description here

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