Create in Photoshop a starry night in the forest

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a Starry Night scene in Photoshop. You will learn how to create a beautiful and colorful background of a starry night using images of the Milky Way and the sky. I will also show you how to work with colors, light and shadow. Complete the lesson and improve your skills in creating collages.

Final image:

Note: Raw format can be opened with ACR (external module Adobe Camera Raw), read more here.

Step 1

Start by creating a new document in Photoshop. Create a document in Photoshop through the menu File> New(File> New) and specify the following values:

Step 2

Open the image in Photoshop Lake and move it to the main document using the tool MoveTool (Move).

Step 3

We need to remove the sky to add another instead. You can do it easily with technology. Calculation Channels (Calculations Channels), which I dedicated a detailed lesson. Watch the lesson, then go back and delete the sky. Below you can see that not only the sky, but also the reflection of the sky in the lake has also been removed. This is easy to do, but it takes patience to separate.

Note: On our site you can see the lesson “Mask for a tree in 3 minutes.”

Step 4. Creating a starry sky

Unpack the archive Milky Way and open the file OPR_9684 in Photoshop. Then drag it to the main document and, using Transform Tool (Free Transformation) (CTRL + T), resize the image as shown below. Do not forget to arrange the layer Milky Way below Lake.

Step 5

On the image Milky Way there is a slight noise, and this usually happens when we set a short exposure while shooting a starry night sky. If you want to leave a noise, you can skip this step, but I don’t like it, so I applied a blur to the image Milky Way. Transform Milky Way in the smart object and go to the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur).

Results after applying the blur:

Do not worry about the stars, we will add them later.

Step 6

Open image Sky in Photoshop and add it to the main document.
Do not forget to increase it with Transform Tool (Free Transformation), as shown below.

Set the blending mode Soft light (Soft light).

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and increase the brightness of the image Sky. You can add an adjustment layer through the menu. Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves) and do not forget to specify this layer as a clipping mask (click on the red icon).


Step 8

Select all the sky layers and duplicate them into a new document. You can do this by selecting all layers of the sky, right-click on them and select Duplicate layers (Duplicate layers). In the dialog that opens, in the destination option, select New (New) document to duplicate sky layers in new document. After that, in the new document, click ALT + SHIFT + CTRL + E, to merge all layers into one layer. Then move the resulting layer back to the main document. Now activate Transform (Transformation) and while it is active, right-click on the document and select FlipVertical (Flip Vertical) to create a reflection of the sky.

Step 9

Create an adjustment layer ColorBalance (Color Balance) over all windows and add some yellow tones to the scene.

Decrease Opacity (opacity) layer ColorBalance (Color Balance) up to 73%.

Step 10. Add stars

You can either create your own stars or use the textures archive. Star background, to add them to the sky. Open the texture archive Star background and select the starry-1 image.

Set the blending mode Screen (Screen).

Step 11

Reduce saturation with a correction layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).


Step 12

Use adjustment layer Levels (Levels) to control star visibility. The more you move the black slider to the right, the less stars will be visible.


Step 13

Duplicate layer starry-one, to add more stars on the left side of the sky.

Step 14. Adding a shooting star

To add a shooting star, I used the archive Glare. Open archive Glare, select image optical_26 and add it to the main document. Turn it using Transform Tool(Free Transformation) and change the blending mode to Screen (Screen).

Step 15

Apply adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change the color of the stars. Specify the following settings:


Step 16

Click CTRL + SHIFT + N , To create a new layer and set the foreground color to # 161231. Using a soft round brush, paint a light on the sky to brighten it, as it looks too dark.

Set the blending mode Screen (Screen) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 46%.

Step 17

Go back to the layer Lake and reduce brightness with an adjustment layer Curves(Curves).


Step 18. Creating light effects

Create a new layer and set the foreground color to # 9a5824. Using a soft round brush, paint the light as shown below.

Change the blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear Dodge), 100% opacity.

Create an adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) on top of all layers. Choose a color gradient from # 091d2c to # 5e451a.

Set the blending mode Color dodge (Lightening Basics), 100% opacity.

Step 20

Apply adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to add more green tones to the scene using Green (Green) channel.

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves). To lower the brightness of the whole scene.

On the mask of this layer, erase the effect in the area highlighted in red using a soft round black brush and leave the effect of darkening on the rest.


Step 21

Create a new layer and, using the color # 4b2c0f, draw a reflection of light on the trees and wherever you think this part will be lit. Always use a soft round brush to paint the light.

Change the blending mode to ColorDodge (Lightening basics) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 36%.

Step 22

Use adjustment layer Vibrance (Juiciness) to reduce juiciness.

On the mask of this layer, mask the effect in the selected area using a medium hard black brush.

Step 23

Using the adjustment layer Selective color (Selective color correction) reduce the yellow tones on the stage. Using the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance) add new colors to the scene. Below you can see the settings.


Step 24

Finally, adjust the contrast of the entire scene using the adjustment layer. Levels (Levels). Using the adjustment layer Selective color (Selective Color Correction) Add dark blue tones.


Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

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