In the dark of night

Final result

The complexity level of the lesson, I would say, is average. As always, I will show my technique and share ideas, but you can apply your techniques and add more elements to your work. We load the program Photoshop and the source materials that we need.

Starting materials

Step 1. I worked with the document sizes 2000x1338px. Open the background image (image IMG_2171.jpg from a series of images), add a layer mask and delete the sky with a soft brush. Next, add the sky and move the background below the layer, adjust the dimensions if necessary.

Step 2. Now we are ready to start turning our background into a dark scene, our background will be the basis for further color correction for our adjustment layers when we start adding elements to our scene.

As always, I used adjustment layers to apply all corrections. To begin, I’ll add Gradient map (Gradient Map), as a clipping mask to the background layer and set the blending mode Overlap (Overlay), then reduce saturation with another adjustment layer. See screenshot below.

Step 3. Create a new layer and on the new layer draw trees using the “trees” brush.

Step 4. Load the moon and place it on the sky, with the help of a layer mask and a soft brush, process the moon. Also add layer style effects to make the moon brighter.

Step 5. Add clouds around the moon. I used a light blue tone. And now it would be nice to add a few bats, using brushes. I added an internal glow, as if the light falls from the moon.

Step 6. Open an image of an abandoned house and cut it with a tool Pen (Pen Tool (P). Scale and drag to our document. Name the layer “house” and apply a layer mask to it. Using the grass brush, this brush is available by default in Photoshop, paint over the transition between the house and the background.

Paint on the layer mask in black to show the grass at the base of the house.

Step 7. Let’s apply color correction and contrast to make the house more gloomy. As always, I used adjustment layers.

Step 8. You can make the scene more sinister by adding a few dark trees behind the house, using the same brushes that you used in step 3.

Step 9. Open the image of the roots of the tree and start cutting with the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P). Move to our document and apply a layer mask using the same grass brush that we used in step 6, paint the transition between roots and background. Using a soft brush with low opacity, draw a shadow under the roots and on the roots themselves.

Step 10. Now, apply color correction and light contrast to our tree roots to make them darker. Use the same technique as with the house in step 7. You may have to use different shades, because the shades of the tree are much lighter than the shades of the house.

Step 11. Open the image of the girl and cut out the girl with the pumpkins and transfer to our document. Apply a layer mask to the layer with the girl and use the same grass brush to paint over the edges.

Step 12. The girl is too light. To make it darker, apply the same technique as with tree roots. See screenshot below.

Step 13. Add the headstone and using the tool “Deformation” (Distort Tool) change shape because the headstone is tilted forward. See screenshot below. To make the headstone darker, apply the same technique as with the tree roots, the house and the girl (levels, gradient map and play with blending modes …). Also, create a layer mask and, using the grass brush, paint over the transition at the bottom edge.

Translator’s Notes: In the original lesson, there is no reference to the image “headstone”, so you can search for this image yourself on the stock resources.

Step 14. These are all elements that I wanted to use. I also wanted to add a crow or some bird, but at the end I changed my mind.

The last thing I did with my work before proceeding with the last correction. I used the tool Clarifier / Dimmer (Dodge / Burn tool) to enhance shadows and light. As always, I filled a new layer with gray color 50% Editing – Fill (Edit> Fill), set the blending mode Overlap (Overlay). Next, on this layer, I applied the tool Clarifier / Dimmer (Dodge / Burn tool).

Step 15. After completing the lightening / darkening process, I applied a stamp Shift +Ctrl +Alt +E and added Filter Rendering – Lighting Effects (filter – rendering – lighting filter) with settings as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 16. Now add a correction layer. Gradient Map (Gradient Map) to create the main color of the image, as well as contrast. See details in the screenshot below.


Author: Andrei Oprinca

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