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Turn an Ordinary Day Scene Into a Magical Night Scene

Final Image

This is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Intro

I’ve had a couple of requests for some tutorials aimed more at beginners, so I’ve tried to come up with a slightly simpler tutorial than normal. However, hopefully people of all abilities will find it interesting how to turn an ordinary day scene into a magical night scene with just a few steps. For all your hardcore Photoshoppers don’t worry – my next tutorial will be more advanced than this one.

Step 1

Open up a new document (600X600px) and fill it with black.

Step 2

Paste in an image of the sea. (original photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1067855)

Step 3

Go to image>adjustments>desaturate to grayscale your image. Then go to image>adjustments>brightness/contrast and up the contrast to around +35.

Step 4

Now go to image>adjustments>color balance and apply the settings shown below.

Step 5

Now create a new layer and make the shapes shown below.

Step 6

Now go filter>distort>ripple and apply the settings shown below:

Step 7

Now create a new layer below your red shapes layer but above your photo layer called ‘black cover’. Fill this layer with black, and then select your red shapes layer. Select your red shapes using the magic wand tool, and then hide this layer, return to your ‘black cover’ layer and hit delete. This should expose the photo beneath.

Step 8

Now duplicate your ‘black cover’ layer. Hide the duplicate and apply a strong gaussian blur to the original.

Step 9

Now make your duplicate visible and apply the gaussian blur settings shown below. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to around 70%.


Step 10

The light stream over the sea is looking good, but the sky is a little too obvious. To fix this I use a large, soft black paintbrush (10% opacity) to brush over it and cover up the sky a little.

Step 11

Now create a new top layer called ‘moon’. Create a small circle using your elliptical marquee tool and fill it with 3E4743. Apply a 1.0px gaussian blur to the layer.

Step 12

Now select this shape using your magic wand tool (set to 0% tolerance). Create a new layer called ‘moon cloud overlay’ and go to filter>render>clouds. This should fill your moon selection with some nice looking clouds. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 50% to make them a little more subtle.

Step 13

Now duplicate your ‘moon cloud overlay’ layer and rename it ‘moon light’. Then use a circular marquee tool to cut away most of the shape, leaving a sliver at the base of the moon. Then go to the layer’s blending options and apply a white color overlay. Finally apply a white outer glow to give the impression of intense light.

Step 14

Based on the position of the moons light the sky is wrong at the moment. There shouldn’t be any light sky above the moon, only below it. To fix this I use a large, soft black brush to brush over the sky above my moon. Then to brighten up the sky directly beneath my moon I erase this area on my ‘black cover’ layers, to expose the light of the photo beneath.

Step 15

Now download a free star brush/image set such as this one. I paste in one of the images from the set and set the layer’s screen mode to screen. Then I move this layer beneath my ‘black cover’ layers but above my photo layer. Finally I reduce it’s opacity to 50%.

Step 16

To make my moon look a little better I apply a subtle outer/inner glow effect.

And We’re Done!

To finish things off I add some text to the image and give it an outer glow effect.

As always I’d really appreciate your comments.

Download Source File for this Tutorial


About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment

18 Comments:

  1. Nice work!! Just You could use add noise effect to make stars – those star brushes just don’t look real. I don’t know, maybe You wanted it?

  2. Another great tutorial.:)simple yet always great effect.

    @dainis

    yes we can also use on the starts but i guess it will be bunch of little stars:)and same sizes:)

  3. crazyhunk says:

    really good tut m8…. U keep amazing me frm time 2 time
    I am truly ur FAN … ;)

  4. Twopo says:

    Great thanks.

  5. Allen Harper says:

    Nice tutorial as always…

    You could always hold Control Key (Command Key on the Mac) and click the thumbnail of the red layer… instead of switching to the magic wand to make your selection.

  6. LBrother says:

    Good Tutorial for beginners. I’d have added some sort of “depth effect”. For instance, you could have improved the vertical shape by making it bolder on the bottom. So it seems like the moonshine is real!
    I like the concept.

    Greetings,
    LBrother

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks for the positive and constructive comments everyone! I really appreciate learning from my visitors. Allen Harper: I honestly didn’t know that technique! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  8. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    OMG…
    My stupid text tool wouldn’t work and it took me like an hour just to add the text at the bottom right…
    But without further ado, here’s my final product:
    http://img206.imageshack.us/img206/8476/mmagicalnightew5.gif

    Give me some honest opinions here people!
    [I decided to skip the stars, a clear sky had a nicer look to me]

  9. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    I decided to add a little lightning effect…
    I don’t know if it lived up to the potential I thought it would give, but suggestions are, of course, welcomed.

    http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/4548/mmagicalnightlightninglk3.gif

    I used an “Outer Glow” after painting with a soft brush a black blob onto a new layer.

  10. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Thanks!
    I liked the effect of the lightning too.

    [I had to delete the old picture and re-upload it, so for people who want to look at it before making their own, here's the link again:]
    http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/8876/mmagicalnightlightningjq8.gif

  11. Drew says:

    That looks almost identical to the cover of “Cease To Begin” by Band of Horses.

  12. Tom says:

    Hey Drew. Yeah they’re one of my all time favorite bands. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me using their CD as a reference point for learning though. Are you a fan?

  13. Umar says:

    I really loved this tutorial and linked it on my blog as well! Thumbs up!

  14. Neat. I love how you used the simplest shapes and images and transformed it into something so realistic and beautiful. Nice job!

  15. Alicia says:

    Any reason this looks almost exactly like the Band of Horses album cover for Cease to Begin?
    http://stereogum.com/img/bandofhorses_ceasetobegin_cover.jpg

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