Create a beautiful sunset in Photoshop

Let’s create a colorful sunset with you using a mix of vector shapes and a couple of light effects.

To get started, pick a photo with which we will work. You can search Google, use my picture, or any of your collection. Open in Photoshop and get started!

Duplicate the layer by executing the command Ctrl + J, then go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and put 1,5px.

For a blurred layer, set the blending mode to Soft light and opacity to 50%. Then discolor the layer Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (Image – Correction – Desaturate) or execute the following Ctrl + Shift + U. This will give our image a slight blur.

Now, I think, let’s get down to doing the dark work. Choose a tool Clarifier Dodge Tool (Brush: 250 px, Range: Lights, Exposure: 50%) and make dark areas more distinct. Still, there is a difference:

Combine the two layers. With the background until finished. Let’s move on to the next stage. Create a new layer, then select the Oval Area tool. Elliptical Marquee Tool and make as shown below. After, fill the selected area with white.

Remove the selection by clicking on Ctrl +D, and use the tool Blur for the sun and change the blend mode of this layer to Overlap.

Ok, now select the tool Rectangular area Rectangular Marquee Tool and perform the selection as below:

Cut the selected area to a new layer by typing Ctrl + Shift + J. We go to Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion) for the resulting layer.

You should get something like this:

Agree, it looks like a real sun. Add a few lace patterns for the sun. Use brushes to your taste. For example, I used the following. Let’s start the mix patterns.

Merge all layers with patterns and duplicate the resulting layer with Ctrl + J. Further Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with similar settings.

It turned out this effect:

Combine the two layers with curls and duplicate more. Then reflect the resulting layer by vector. Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical (Correction – Transform – Flip Vertically).

Use Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur) for this layer:

See now the difference?

Change the blending mode to Overlap and then use the tool Eraser with soft edges of 50px to clean up the image.

Let’s go back to the previous layer and set the External Glow for it in the blending options.


The lighting is almost ready, but I want to add a few color tones to give the image a greater warmth of colors. Use the following shades to make our sunset colorful: #c59840, #c54053, #c540c0, # 7840c5, # 43609a. On a new layer, take the usual brush (Thickness: 80 px) to apply multi-colored strokes.

Then use Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with similar settings:

We get something like this:

Now in the toolbar, select Smudge Tool Finger (Brush: 150 px, Mode: Normal, Intensity: 35%). Using your mouse, spread your colored spots away from the center to the side. Notice that in the image below I made a clear blurring so that you can understand what we are doing here. Of course, this needs to be done with neater and non-separable lines.

Set the blending mode Chromaticity and set the next parameter 47%.

Take Eraser and a large soft brush, and remove unnecessary areas.

Well, now proceed to the addition of sunlight. For this we need the Glow Edge and Radial Blur. Duplicate the back layer with Ctrl + J. Go to Filter> Stylize> Glowing Edges (Filter – Styling – Glow Edges) and set the following settings:

It looks strange, right?

Change the blending mode to Lighten and go back to Filter> Blur> Radial Blur (Filter – Blur – Radial Blur):

Please note that the center of the blur is slightly shifted to the right, to the place of the sun shining.

Repeat the filter step again using the Ctrl + F command. After go to Image> Adjustments> Levels (Image – Correction – Levels) to correct the brightness and contrast for this layer.

Already better, isn’t it?

Try a little bit to correct the sun’s rays. To do this, use the tool. Finger Smudge Tool (Brush: 150 px, Mode: Normal, Intensity: 30%).

Fine! Now let’s add some sharpness to our rays. To do this, take the tool Sharpness Sharpen Tool (Brush: 500 px, Mode: Normal, Intensity: 40%).

With this lesson we are done! I hope you enjoy your result.


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