Artificial light from headlights in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn to turn a daytime photo into a night one and create a bright light with a blue tint from the headlights of the car.

Final result:

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1

Open the photo of the car in Photoshop. Since it was made during the daytime, we need to work on dimming it.

Create an adjustment layer Levels (Levels):

In the settings window you will see three pipettes. Select a black pipette and click on the photo in the place that should be completely black (the ground under the car, the forest behind). Then select a white pipette and click on the brightest part of the photo.

Create adjustment layer – Photo Filter (Photo Filter) to add a blue tint (# 00eaff).

We still need this color, so save it by clicking on the button. Add to samples (Add To Swatches).

Name the color and click OK.

Increase Density (Density) up to 60%.

Now it looks like our photo was taken at night.

Step 2

You can go to create light. Choose a tool Oval area (Elliptical Marquee Tool) (M) and select the two headlights on the right side. To have multiple selections on the canvas, you need to hold down the keyShift when creating the next one.

Go to correction Brightness / Contrast (Image> Adjustments> Brightness / Contrast) (Image> Adjustments> Brightness / Contrast) and increase the brightness to maximum.

Step 3

Extend selection through menu Select> Modify> Expand (Edit> Modify> Expand). Enter a value of 12 pixels and click OK.

To create the glow we need three layers. Create them through this icon at the bottom of the layers palette:

Name the layers “white”, “blue” and “dark blue”.

Select the “white” layer and go to the fill menu (Editing> Fill (Edit> Fill). Select white color and click OK.

Now fill the blue layer with the color we saved earlier.

And at the end, fill the “dark blue” layer with # 3600ff.

Each of the three layers needs to be blurred. Select the “dark blue” layer and apply the filter Gaussian blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur / Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with a value of 60 pixels. Apply the same filter to the “blue” layer, but with a value of 40 pixels, and to the “white” layer – with a value of 20 pixels.


Step 4

Select all three layers and drag them to the group icon.

Name the group “right headlights” and create a copy of it by dragging a new layer onto the icon. Name the copy “right headlights flare”.

Inside the copy of the group, delete the “white” layer.

Select the “dark blue” layer and activate the tool. Free transform (Ctrl + T). Squeeze the fill as shown below.

Apply filter Motion blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur / Filter> Blur> Motion Blur) with the parameters shown below.

Apply the same filter again (Ctrl + F) to increase the blur.

Create a copy of the “dark blue” layer to make the shine stronger. Select the “blue” layer.

Do the same for this layer: compress vertically, apply a blur filter twice and create a copy.

Create a copy of the “right headlights flare” to enhance the glow even more.

To create a glow on the left headlights, you can repeat the process or create a copy of the groups and transfer them to the left side.

Step 5

Now we will create an external glow around the headlights using gradient fills. Choose a tool Gradient (Gradient Tool) (G) and in the settings set Radial (Radial) style. Gradient – from previously saved blue to transparent.

Above the groups of light effects, create a new layer. Draw a gradient up from the headlights, as shown in the screenshot.

On the same layer, do the same for other headlights. Lower Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 50%. Then create a new layer and repeat the gradient fills, but this time use white. Set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay and lower the opacity to 50%.

Step 6

Create a new layer above the white gradient and name it “right headlight beam”.

Tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool) (L) Create a selection as shown below.

Fill it with white using the tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool) (G).

Apply to the beam filter Gaussian blur with a value of 25 pixels.

Create a new layer and do the same on the left side. Make a copy of both rays to make them brighter.

Add a pixel mask to each copy using the icon shown in the following screenshot.

On both masks, apply a filter Clouds (Filter> Rendering> Clouds / Filter> Render> Clouds).

The final result:

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