Picture a night on a Japanese street in Photoshop

Final result:

We often argue that Photoshop is the most powerful tool for creating stunning artwork from ordinary photographs. In this tutorial, we will create a night sleeping village in Japan using various stock photos. Let’s get started!

Materials for the lesson:

Step one. Open the Kanazawa Samurai Houses image in Photoshop. Double-click on the background layer to unlock it, name it Plate. Slide the image down a bit.

Since this image will only be used on the network, I suggest you set its resolution to 72 ppi. To do this, go to the menu Image> Image Size (Ctrl + Alt + I) and set the Resolution field to 72. Make sure that the Resample Image option is turned off to preserve the image quality. It would also be nice to check that you have set the RGB mode (in our case this is already the case). And do not forget to save your work after each completed step.

Step 2. Now take the tool Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso), or Polygonal Lasso Tool (Polygonal lasso) and circle the contours of the houses and their roofs, capturing also two street lamps. Use your imagination to imagine where the edges of the roof are, hidden behind trees. Zoom through the image as needed to make a more precise selection.

When the selection is done, invert it. Select> Inverse (Selection-Invert) (Shift + Ctrl + I) and, being on a layer Plate, click on the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette to add a mask to the layer.

Switch to the layer mask and use a hard black brush to correct the areas for which this is necessary. Since the area of ​​the image that we have hidden under the mask is bright enough, create a new layer, fill it with black color, and place it below the Plate layer. This will help you better see and cut out small parts. In this case, do not particularly zealous, because most of the contours of the roofs we will redraw later.

Step 3. Duplicate layer Plate and name it a copy Plate Backup. Place the copy layer below the layer Plate and hide its visibility. We made a backup copy in case something happens when processing the layer.

Open the filter Filter> Vanishing Point (Outlook Filter) (Alt + Ctrl + V). While in this filter, take the tool. Create Plane Tool(C) (Create Plane) and create a grid of four main points that matches the perspective of the street. Then using the tool Stamp tool (S) (stamp), remove the bottom of the person and gutters. This tool works similarly to the Clone Stamp tool (Stamp), only takes into account the selected perspective when cloning. We use it to preserve the perspective of the street.

Translator’s note. As with the usual Stamp tool, hold the Alt key to take a sample for cloning.

After you finish, close the filter window, take the tool Clone stamp (Stamp) and remove the remaining top of the person. I also removed a blue object that didn’t like me between the left wall and the house, the leaves of the trees covering the far wall, and continued the roof of the right house considering its perspective (see screenshot). Paying attention to all these small details, you can achieve a professional result.

Step 4. In this step, I deleted the layer with a black background, we will no longer need it. Download the image “Cherry Blossom Tree 2” and place it on the left side of the work. Name this layer Cherry Tree. Add a mask to the layer, and using a hard Brush (Brush) black, paint over the bottom of the tree so that it looks as if it is behind a wall. Create adjustment layers Exposure and Levels, set the settings shown below and create clipping masks for these layers (while holding ALT, click with the mouse between the adjustment layer and the layer Cherry tree). With this adjustment will be applied only to the layer with the tree.

Step 5. Download the image “Japan Vacation XXI” and place it in the work, place this layer under the layer Plate. In accordance with the basic rules of composition, all the main visual lines in the image should not be in contact with each other. Therefore, make sure that the mountain and the street lamp are positioned relative to each other accordingly. If you want to learn more about the rules of composition, the author of the lesson recommends an interesting article.

Note: on our website you can read a lesson on building a composition here.

Step 6. We turn day to night.
As work progresses, our file will become more voluminous. Because of this, we need to organize our layers. Create a new group of layers, name it Background, and put a layer in it Mountain (layer with the mountain). Create another group, name it Midground and put layers there Plate and Cherry tree as well as created adjustment layers. Then create another group of layers on top of all layers, name it Night Adjustment. In this step, we will work with her.

The result of this step was obtained by trial and error. It is very important to determine where the light sources are. In our case, the sources of light are the moon and two lanterns, so the roofs of houses, the mountain and the zones around the lanterns should be lit.
I first created an adjustment layer. Exposure, reduced the exposure value, and painted black on the layer mask with those areas that should not be affected by this adjustment layer. I then created an adjustment layer. Hue and Saturation (Hue / Saturation), I ticked the option Colorize (Toning), gave a blue tint and lowered the brightness value. Finally, I added another adjustment layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) and reduced the brightness. As I said, in order to achieve the desired result, it is necessary by trial and error to try different variants of correction, until you get what you need.

After these corrections, you get this result.

Step 7. Being in the layer group folder Night Adjustment, create a new layer for the shadows and name it Shadows. Take a soft black Brush (Brush) small diameter, zoom in on the image and draw shadows behind the blocks on the left side of the alley. Then take a bigger brush and darken the building in the foreground to get a vignette effect. This technique will help draw attention to the main central part of the composition.

Translator’s note. Adjust the brush opacity to achieve the desired result.

Step 8. Download the set of brushes “Moon Stars Sparkles” and install them in Photoshop. Select the second brush from the set – the full moon, set its diameter to 36 pixels and select the white color. Draw the moon with this brush on a new layer. Name layer Moon and make sure you put it in a group of layers Night Adjustment.

Step 9. Now while still in the layer group folder Night Adjustment, create a new group for the passing beam and name it Nearest light. Create a new layer in it, take a soft one. brush 190 pixels in diameter, set the color to orange (I took the color FF911A) and click three times on the image with a brush. Then reduce the brush size to 140 pixels, set the color to white and double-click in the center of the orange circle. It will turn out like this.

Set the blending mode for this layer. Screen (Lightening / Screen), opacity 70%.
Duplicate the layer with the light circle, increase the size to 150% (open the Transform window by pressing Ctrl + T, then holding Shift and Alt, increase proportionally the size, look at the scale value in% at the top in the settings bar).
Set Opacity to 25% for this layer, make sure that blending mode is selected. Screen (Lightening / Screen). Duplicate this layer, increase the size to 150%, and this time set the Opacity to 17%. Name the created layers Light1, Light2, Light3, Place the entire group on top of the nearest lantern in the alley. That’s what you should do.

Now add mask to the layer group Nearest light, in the mask mode, paint over the upper part of the light circle with a black soft brush so that the light from the lamp is only directed downwards.

Duplicate this group of layers, place a copy on the far lamp, reduce the scale to 40%, and name the new group Far Light. Using the same technique, adjust the brightness. This is the result.

Step 10. After we are done with the three light sources, we need to show how their light affects the environment. Duplicate layer Cherry tree, put a copy in a group of layers Night Adjustment on top of the other layers of this group and name this layer Tree highlights, We will create lighting for the tree. Create an adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo Filter), select Warming Filter (85) (heat filter 85), set its density to 100% and create a clipping mask for the tree layer (Alt + click between layers).

Duplicate the photo filter layer and change the blending mode to Color Dodge, 55% opacity, place the layer under the previous layer with the photo filter. Create a new adjustment layer. Hue and Saturation (Hue / Saturation), set the value of Hue (Color tone) to -10 and Lightness (Brightness) to +15, position this layer above the rest of the adjustment layers. Set to layer Tree highlight blending mode Screen (Lightening / Screen), opacity 80%. Finally, fill the layer mask Tree highlight in black and a soft white brush of small diameter, while on the layer mask, paint over the branches of the tree that should be illuminated by our light sources. Don’t forget to zoom in on the image you are viewing to get a more accurate and high-quality result.

Step 11. Let’s go back to the layer Plate, located in a group of layers Midground. Create an adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo Filter), select Warming Filter (85), 85% density, tick Preserve Luminosity, create a clipping mask for this layer to layer Plate (Alt + click between layers).

Applying a photo filter is a great tool for realistically creating in your work the reflections of the surrounding background color from various objects. If you turn on the Preserve Luminosity option, Photoshop will take into account how this color interacts with the colors of the environment. For an artist, studying the interactions of colors and light takes years. Photoshop will help you with this, you only need to properly use its capabilities.

To achieve the desired result, we arranged the layer Plate under the layers that turn the image into the night (a group of layers Night Adjustment), it allows Photoshop to consider how the illuminated pavement will look in a dark night environment. In this way, we get a much more realistic result than if we simply tried to add orange light on top of all layers.

Add a mask to the photo filter layer, fill it with black color, and using a soft white brush, while on the layer mask, paint over those areas of the earth and walls that should be illuminated by the light of lanterns. You should get the following result.

Step 12. Now the work looks good, but there is a lack of something important that attracts the eye. Adding to the work of the main object, the center of attention, will make it more interesting and give it meaning. People, animals, various buildings are well suited for this purpose, they allow the viewer to focus his eyes on them. If you choose such a center of attention correctly, this will give your work depth, the right mood, individuality and completeness.

Download the image of the girl Hanami 20, open it in Photoshop. Separate the girl from the background in any way you like, transfer to your main job. Name layer Woman, place it in a group of layers with the same name, place this group on top of all layers, above the group Night Adjustment.

Step 13. As you can see, on the image with the girl the yellow color prevails, we need to fix it. We need to adjust both the light and dark tones of the image to fit the girl in the surrounding background. I used seven adjustment layers for this, added masks to them, on which I hid areas we did not need. Look at the settings shown in the screenshots.

Step 14. Add to layer Woman (or to a group of layers) mask , and paint over black in the mask mode part of the image to make it look like the girl is inside the doorway. Also create a layer under the layer. Woman for the shadows call it Shadow, and draw the shadow of the girl with a soft black brush.

Step 15. The picture we created looks pretty good, but a bit flat. Add a contrast image by creating a correction layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all layers with the following parameters.

Step 16. It could be considered that our work is finished. But there are some details that should be given special attention in order to make them more perfect.

As you can see, after turning our image into the night, we almost lost the texture of the mountain. Let’s restore it. To do this, download the Moss moss texture from the CGtextures website and place it in our document. Duplicate it three times and place the four layers received as shown in the screenshot. Merge these layers and name the resulting layer Mountain texture.

Find the layer Plate, Ctrl + click on the layer mask for it to load the selection, invert the selection Select> Inverse (Selection-Invert) (Shift + Ctrl + I) and, being on a layer with a texture Mountain texture, add a mask (click on the mask icon).

Take a tough black Brush (Brush) and paint her on layer mask excess texture in the sky. Then lower the opacity of the layer to 10% and set the blending mode to Difference. Create a group of layers, name it. Mountain texture, and place your texture layer in it. Add a mask to the group of layers, and with a soft black brush paint over the illuminated areas on the mask so that the texture does not overlap with the lighting. Adding several masks to a layer at different levels (one to the layer itself, and the other to the layer group) will allow you to manage them independently of each other. In our case, we can paint the lighted areas on the mask, without fear of changing the other mask to the texture layer, which takes into account the shape of the mountain..

The texture on the mountain looks a bit flat, adding perspectives to it. Unhook the texture layer mask. Mountain texture (click on the lock between the layer and its mask), select in the menu Edit> Transform> Distort (Edit-Transform-Distort) or press Ctrl + T, then right-click on the image and select Distort. Move the side anchor points to give perspective to the texture. Detaching a layer mask will allow you to transform a layer without changing the shape of its mask.

At this stage, I lowered the opacity of the texture layer so that it does not stand out so much. That’s what happened as a result.

Step 17. Now download the set of Mordecai Brushes and set them in Photoshop. Select one of the brushes with a tree and set the following parameters in the brush settings window.

Take a color swatch from the clouds in the sky (hold for this Alt while using the tool Brush (Brush) or use the tool Eyedropper tool (Pipette)). Create a new layer, name it Mountain highlight, and draw small illuminated trees on the mountain. Place this layer above the layer group. Mountain texture, so that the mask to the group of layers does not affect it.

Step 18. I wish the light from the moon illuminated the clouds from behind. For maximum realism, select photos of clouds with the light we need from the back. To do this, we fit the photos of the sky from the site DeviantArt. First, download the Sky Stock 131 image, put it into work, add a mask to the layer and, while in mask mode, delete the unnecessary part of the clouds with a brush (in the brush settings, check the Scattered checkbox). Then reduce the size of the cloud layer and set its opacity to about 10%.

Repeat the described procedure with other photos of the sky until you get a result that satisfies you (you can find other photos of the clouds illuminated from behind at the same user from the DeviantArt website). You can add as many clouds to your work as you like. Zoom in on your work and pay attention to small details. When done, merge all layers with clouds, name the resulting layer Clouds highlights and set it to blend mode Luminosity (Glow).

Step 19. Now our sky looks a bit boring. Fix it. Hide the visibility of all layers except the group. Background (to do this, hold down Alt, click on the eye icon next to the group of layers Background). Download the Sky 8 image, place it in your work. Increase image size to 105%. Make sure the layer is inside the layer group. Background, above the mountain Mountain. Name this layer with sky Cloud1. Create a layer group for the sky (inside the group Background) and name it Skies, put a layer in it Cloud1.

Create a mask to the group of layers so that the sky does not overlap with the image of the mountain. Hide layer visibility Cloud1, take the tool Magic wand tool (Magic wand), or another tool, which is more convenient for you, and highlight the sky. Then, being on a group of layers Skies, add a mask (click on the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette). Return visibility to the layer Cloud1. You will get this result.

Set the layer blending mode Overlay (Overlap) and reduce the opacity to 30%.

Step 20. Let’s make the sky more interesting. Upload Sky stock 104 image, place it into work, reduce the size to about 62% so that the layer matches the size of the working area. Flip it horizontally with Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal) or press Ctrl + T, right-click on the image and select Flip Horizontal. Name layer Cloud2. Set the blending mode Overlay (Overlap), opacity 50%.

After returning visibility to all layers, we get the following result.

Step 21 At this stage, I discovered that the sky looks too bright and saturated for the night scene. Therefore, while still in the layer group Skies, add adjustment layers Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and Levels.

Translator’s note. Pay attention to the layer masks, in the screenshots the areas hidden on the masks are shown in red.

Step 22 Create a new layer and place it on the top. Call it Leaves (leaves). Then using Brush (Brush) small diameter, 100% stiffness, draw a few loose leaves near the tree. I took color samples from a tree using a tool Eyedropper tool (Pipette). Try to draw the leaves in various, crumbling ways to achieve realism. Do not forget to take into account the direction of light from light sources.

Duplicate the layer just in case. Name copy Blurred leaves, turn off the visibility of the old layer. Blur leaves layer, apply filter for this Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter-Blur-Blur in motion), set the angle of -45 ° and offset (distance) 4 pix.

Step 23 This is the last step in which we will give the work a finished look and fix everything that does not suit us. Create a new layer and name it. Final touches. Place it on top of all layers. On this layer, zooming in the view, take color swatches from suitable areas in the work and draw over those parts that need to be corrected. Add also to the image of additional details, such as people in the distance and buildings in the background. Take your time and pay special attention to these small details, this will allow you to achieve maximum likelihood. Art requires patience and perseverance. Look at the screenshots below, and also try to feel for yourself what else needs to be improved and improved.

If you missed something in the process of work, see how your palette should look like at the end.

The final result.

Author: Tony aube

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