Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photo Manipulation
Design

How to Create a Moonlight Scene Photo Manipulation With Adobe Photoshop

by
Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a moonlight scene with a woman watching the flowers. 

We'll start this tutorial by adding the sky and landscape, and then add the moon and its reflection using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. After that we'll add other elements, such as the floor, balcony, model and flowers, and blend them together using the same techniques. We'll finish it up with several adjustment layers. 

During this tutorial you'll also learn how to work with light, enhance the depth of field and more.

Are you a Lightroom fan? We have a great collection of Lightroom presets over at GraphicRiver, which can be a great time-saver if you're looking to add an effect or style to your photograph.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. Add the Sky and Landscape

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 1500 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

new file

Step 2

Open the sky image. Drag it into the main document using the Move Tool (V), and place it in the upper half of the canvas.

add sky

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 8 px:

sky gaussian blur

Step 3

Use an adjustment layer to darken the sky a bit. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves:

sky curves

On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) with a soft round one and black color (soft black brush) to reduce the effect on the left side where we're aiming to add the moon.

sky curves masking

Step 4

Use another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the sky, especially the left.

sky curves 2

Take a soft black brush and hide the effect on the right side where we've aimed to make it darker.

sky curves 2 masking

Step 5

Open the landscape image. Place it in the lower half of the canvas.

add landscape

Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove the hard edge and blend its sky with the existing one. Leave some smoky edges around the mountain tops. Lower the brush opacity where painting on the top of the left mountain to make it fade into the sky.

landscape masking

Step 6

There are some unwanted details on the lake. Create a new layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Select the Clone Tool (S) to remove the indicated details.

landscape cloning
landscape cloning result

Step 7

Add a Curves adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to darken the landscape. Use a soft black brush on its layer mask to remove the dark effect on the part which is illuminated by the moonlight.

landscape curves
landscape curves masking

Step 8

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to match the landscape saturation with the sky:

landscape hue saturation

2. Add the Moon

Step 1

Isolate the moon from the original image using the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and place it in the top left of the main scene.

add moon

Step 2

To match its depth and softness with the sky, apply a Gaussian Blur of 8 px to the moon layer:

moon gaussian blur

Step 3

Double click the moon layer, choose Inner Glow, and set the color of glow to #ededed:

moon inner glow
moon inner glow result

Step 4

To make the moon reflection on the lake surface, use the same method as in my fantasy lake scene tutorial. You should have a similar result to this:

moon reflection

Step 5

Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #ededed to paint on the lake area to reflect the moon glow. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.

moon light

3. Add the Floor

Step 1

Open the floor image. Place it in the foreground and make it narrower using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).

add floor

Step 2

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to desaturate the floor. Bring the Saturation value down to -85:

floor hue saturation

Step 3

The floor looks too bright, so use a Curves adjustment layer to darken it completely:

floor curves

4. Add the Balcony

Step 1

Open the balcony image and isolate it from the background using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L). Select the lower part to place above the floor, on the right side.

isolate balcony
add balcony

Step 2

Duplicate this layer and flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Place it on the left:

duplicate add more balcony

Step 3

Select two columns and position them above the balcony, remembering not to hide the moon.

select columns
add columns

Step 4

Select these four layers and press Control-G to make a group for them. Change the mode of this group from Pass Through to Normal 100%. Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and decrease the Saturation value of Master to -86:

balcony hue saturation

Step 5

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the balcony.

balcony curves

Use a soft black brush to reveal the light on the contouring areas (they're illuminated by the moonlight) and keep the others in shadow.

balcony curves masking

Step 6

There are still some details that need to be retouched, starting with the balcony part on the lower right. Make a new layer above this one (set as Clipping Mask), change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray:

balcony dodge and burn new file

Select the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 20-30%, to bring more light to the front contour of this part, and also strengthen the shadow in the back. You can see how I did it with Normal mode, and the result with Overlay mode.

balcony DB results

Step 7

Do the same with the other parts of the balcony, and you should make the right column much brighter than the rest as it's illuminated more than the others.

balcony parts dodge and burns

Step 8

To create a shadow of the balcony on the floor, make a new layer under the balcony layers. Hold down Control-Shift while clicking their thumbnail layers to load their selection.

load balcony selection

Fill this selection with black and lower the Opacity to 60%. Use Control-T to change its perspective:

balcony shadow perspective

Apply a Gaussian Blur of 4 px to this shadow:

balcony shadow gaussian blur

On its filter mask, use a soft black brush to erase the softness of the bottom as it needs to be harder and more solid.

balcony shadow filter mask

Add a mask to this shadow layer and reduce the shadow opacity a bit on the top area:

balcony shadow masking

5. Add the Mist

To create some mist on the lake, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color and pick the color #2d2d2d.

pick mist color

On the mask of this layer, use a soft black brush to make the misty effect subtly visible on the lake only.

mist result

6. Add the Model

Step 1

Cut out the model from the original background using the Polygonal Lasso Tool. Place her on the right side, on the floor.

add model

Step 2

Make a shadow for her as we did with the balcony.

model shadow

Step 3

Create a new layer above the shadow layer and under the model one. Use a soft brush with the color #ededed to paint the moonlight reflection on the floor. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%:

moonlight on floor

Step 4

Use a new layer (set as Clipping Mask) and select the Clone Tool to remove the tattoo on her back:

remove model tattoo

Step 5

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to reduce the model saturation:

model hue saturation

Step 6

Use a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #87d5f9:

model photo filter

Step 7

Add a Curves adjustment layer to darken the model, especially the back and dress. Paint on the front, face and shoulder contour to maintain the lightness there.

model curves

Step 8

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to bring more light to the model front and strengthen the shadow on her back, especially the dress details.

model DB

7. Add the Flowers

Step 1

Open the flowers 1 image. Isolate the flowers using the Magic Wand Tool (W). Place it in the right corner, behind the right column. Set this layer under the balcony group.

add flowers 1

Step 2

Reduce the flowers' saturation using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer:

flowers 1 hue saturation

Step 3

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the flowers. Keep the brightness of the part towards the light using its layer mask:

flowers 1 curves

Step 4

Add flowers 2 to the top right of the scene, and arrange this layer above the balcony group.

add flowers 2

Step 5

Apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to this flowers layer:

flowers 2 hue saturation

Step 6

Darken the flowers using a Curves adjustment layer. The selected parts show the masked areas:

flowers 2 curves

Step 7

Use the Burn Tool on a separate layer to correct the shadow on some leaves and petals, especially the ones hidden in the column corner:

flowers 2 DB

Step 8

Place flowers 3 on the left side of the balcony:

add flowers 3

Step 9

Create several adjustment layers and repeat the same techniques as done with the other flowers:

flowers 3 hue saturation
flowers 3 curves

8. The Final Adjustment

Step 1

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of the layers and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:

whole scene color balance
color balance result

Step 2

Make two Curves adjustment layers to change the light focus and contrast of the whole picture. The selected areas show where to mask off.

whole scene curves 1
whole scene curves 2

Step 3

Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer and pick the colors #766f64 and #fde9ae. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.

gradient map

Step 4

Make a Color Fill layer and pick the color #230000. Set this layer mode to Exclusion 100%:

Color fill layer

Step 5

Use another Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings:

whole scene color balance 2

Step 6

Create a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #abccf8:

color balance 2 result

Step 7

Make a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect:

vibrance

Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you've learned something new from my tutorial. Feel free to leave your comments in the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!

FInal image of moonlit scene
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.