Polar Night in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn how to create a Christmas fabulous night, how to develop an amazing magical landscape with a mysterious expanse of stars. Below we will explain how to apply basic collageing methods in combination with some interesting color correction methods and various tools. Read this lesson and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a fairy tale.

What will you create?

This work was conceived as a fabulous picture. I wanted to convey the mood of magic and tranquility. In this tutorial, we will begin by creating the landscape, adding basic details. The next step is to work on the main characters and change the day to night. In the end we will work on the starry sky and the final effects. So, you need faith in magic, good humor, a little diligence, and any version of Photoshop.

Final image

Step 1

Create a new document. Width (Width) 3840px and Height (Height) 2400px in height, Resolution (Resolution) 300 px / cent. Put the first image Clouds Alps in the working paper. To do this, go to the menu File> Place (File> Post). This is the first plan and the basis for the construction and location of the mountains.

Resize (Ctrl + T) the image so that it covers the entire workspace. Do not stretch the background too much so as not to get an oblique perspective. In the final, we will watch from the hill.

Step 2

Switch to quick mask mode (Q), set the default background color of the default (D), and switch the color (X). Take Brush tool (Brush) (B) and set the following settings: Size (Size) 400px, Opacity (Opacity) 100%, Hardness (Hardness) 60%. Highlight (you will draw in red and this is normal, as the work in the quick mask mode) white field and foreground. Also leave the base of the mountain. All this will come in handy for us to create a transition from one mountain to another. If you drew something in the wrong place, just change the color (X) to white, and delete it.

Press (Q) again or click on the quick mask icon to create a selection from the red zone and add a layer mask (by clicking on the Add layer mask (Add layer mask) on the layers panel or via the menu Layer> Layer Mask> Hide Selection (Layer> Mask Layer> Hide Selection)) to hide unwanted landscape.

Step 3

Add an image mountainEverest and place it in the working document under the layer with the foreground of the landscape. Resize to leave only a fragment with a big mountain and move the image down a bit. If necessary, go back to the previous layer mask and make a smooth transition between images (Opacity (Opacity) brush 60%, Hardness (Hardness) 0%).

Now fill the empty space with the sky. To do this, I used the linear tool Gradient tool (Gradient) (G) with settings: Foreground to Transparent (from foreground to transparent), foreground color is black. Create a new layer above the image. Mount Everest (use the icon Create new layer (Create a new layer) on the layers panel or Ctrl + Alt + N) draw a gradient from top to bottom to the middle of the working area. Create a new layer under the gradient layer (Ctrl + Alt + N) and use a soft round brush (Opacity (Opacity) 100%, and color (# 0c1939) to fill in the empty space between the image and the gradient. Merge two layers into one with Ctrl + E or right-click on selected layers and select Merge layers (Merge layers).

Via Quick selection (Fast selection) (W) Highlight the mountains. Use Eraser tool(Eraser) (E) on the gradient layer to remove it from the mountains. To deselect, use Ctrl + D or Select> Deselect (Select> Unselect).

Step 4

Now back to the foreground of the mountains and slightly change its color tone. For this, apply the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance), to do this, go to the menu Layer>New Layer Adjustment>Color Balance (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance) or click on the corresponding icon on the layer panel. Apply the target values ​​of each color and tone, as shown in the figure below, set Opacity (Opacity) layer is about 70% and create a clipping mask of this layer (right click on the layer and select Create Clipping Mask (Create clipping mask) or Ctrl + Alt + G). In this image, stones with a blue tint will look more realistic and not distract. Among other things, we have a night landscape.

Step 5

Now that we have created the base of the picture, we can start adding basic details. Let’s start with the village. Like all previous images put an image village in the alps in the working paper, on top of all previous layers. Do not worry about a little scary sight of the village. Let’s fix it a bit later. Use Free transform tool (Ctrl + T) to resize the layer as shown in the image below.

Take Pen tool (Pen) (P) to create a contour, and then create a selection from the contour (right click on the contour and select in the menu Make selection (Form a selected area), Feather radius (Feather radius) 0px). Add a layer mask to remove disturbing houses. From this photo I use fragments of houses located in the center of everything else, deleted the rest, because other parts of the houses are on a different scale.

Step 6

Now make the village a little bigger. Select a small fragment of houses, duplicate the original layer (Ctrl + J or Layer> Duplicate Layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer)) and on the layer mask remove everything that is superfluous, except for the necessary fragment. Use Move Tool (Move) (V) to move the fragment to the right place. To flip horizontally, go to Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally).

Place the same fragment in a different place, as shown in the figure. The principle I think you understand, and you can create your own version of the village. I added another fragment to connect my houses. Now we proceed to the correction of the color of houses. I do not think that night was able to hide all the defects. It is much easier to create light when all objects are in the same key. First of all, you need to group all the layers with the village (select the layers and press Ctrl + G or Layer> Group Layers (Layer> Group layers)).

Now add an adjustment layer. Selective color (Selective color correction).
Reds (Red): Cyan (Blue): -91, Magenta (Purple): -87;
Cyans (Blue): Black (Black): -100;
Blues (Blue): Black (Black): -100;
Neutrals (Neutral): Cyan (Blue): 5, Magenta (Purple): +1, Yellow (Yellow): +13, Black (Black): -32.

This correction will make the village a normal color without a blue tint. Apply this layer to the group (Ctrl + Alt + G) and move on.

Step 7

Once we have worked with the landscape and the village, you can proceed to the vegetation. Place image Forest landscape in the working paper (File> Place (File> Post). Flip the image horizontally and resize it (Ctrl + T or Edit> Free Transform (Editing> Free Transform)).

Via Quick selection tool (Quick selection) (W), select the left part of the forest and delete everything else by adding a layer mask. Go to the mask settings (double click on the mask and go to the tab Properties (Properties)) and click on the button Mask edge (Edge mask). AT Refine mask (Specify Mask) check the box Smart radius (Smart radius) and make a range of 3.0px. Then install Shift edge (Edge Shift): -20%. Use the brush in this window to remove excess edges and click the OK button.

Group all forest layers and use Quick selection tool (Quick selection) (W) to select the foreground of the mountains, invert the selection (Shift + Ctrl + I) and add a layer mask to the forest group. This will remove unnecessary details and return to realism. You probably noticed that I left the place unfilled forest. This is for polar bears. They will cover the entire background, and it does not make sense to use the forest there.

Similar to the step with the village, we continue to cover the empty space with the help of the image of the forest. Use a layer mask to hide unnecessary and leave good parts. For each part of the forest I used a duplicate (Ctrl + J or Layer> Duplicate Layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer)) of the original forest layer, selected interesting pieces and applied the above scheme. Then he resized and turned over parts of the forest so that it did not look monotonous.

Step 8

Now that you’re done with the forest, you can add bears. We will return to the forest a little later. For a start, big bears. Place image White bears, resize it (Ctrl + T), flip horizontally and use Pen tool (Pen) (P) to create a contour and then a selection. Create a contour around the bears not at the very edge so that the hairs are slightly higher than the outlines. Use to select all contours. Path selection tool (Outline selection) (A).

Add a layer mask to this layer. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B) of the “Dune Grass” shape from the standard set in Photoshop, Size (Size): 30px, Opacity (Opacity): 100%, then go to the brush settings (F5). Uncheck the boxes Color Dynamics (Dynamics of color) and Transfer (Transfer) – name up to version CS5 Other Dynamics – (Another dynamic). Set the default default background color (D) and paint on the layer mask, brush in the direction of the coat. This is a bit of a tedious procedure, but as a result you get the perfect coat on the bears.

Step 9

Place the image with the cubs on the working canvas and position them as shown in the picture below. Place the cubs so that they cover the paws of the big bears. It is important to respect the proportions that the picture was harmonious. I combined the layers with bears in one group The Bears. Then combine the whole landscape into a group. Landscape.

Step 10

Now let’s make a color correction. It was planned that my picture will be night. Let’s start with the adjustment layer. Color lookup (Search color). Check the box for “3DLUT file” and in the list, select “NightFromDay.CUBE”. On the layer mask Color lookup (Find color) soft round brush with Opacity (Opacity) 5% remove the effect on the mountains and bears, as shown in the figure below. This layer should be above the group. Landscape.

Add more contrast to the image to make the colors brighter and the shades deep. Going a little ahead, I will add a full moon, and, as you know, it will add sharp shadows. Add adjustment layer Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) with Brightness (Brightness) +77, Contrast (Contrast) 12, Opacity (Opacity) of the layer specify about 81%.

Step 11

Now the lighting. Hold Alt and click the icon. New layer (New layer) to open the new layer settings. Blend mode Soft light (Soft light) with Opacity (Opacity is about 15% and click OK. Take the radial Gradient Tool (Gradient) (G), go to Gradient editor (gradient editor) and create a gradient like this: # 859aae> # 395987> # 153365> # 00082e> # 000000. Draw a gradient starting from the dark mountains (on the horizon) and ending in the foreground of the mountains.

Step 12

With the main toning of the image, we found out, and now we will correct the colors. Add adjustment layer Selective color (Selective color correction). Specify the settings as shown in the image. Add adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo Filter) with settings Filter (Filter): Warming filter (LBA) (Warm filter (LBA)), Density (Density): 27%, Leave the box Preserve luminosity (Save glow). Install Opacity (Opacity) layer is about 75%.

Step 13

Now back to the forest. You have two options to choose from. You can leave them in the same form as they are now, or change them to snow. For this, I used two adjustment layers. The first Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to discolor the wood. Install Saturation (Saturation) -100 and apply this layer to the forest group. Second layer Selective Color (Selective color correction) to create snow on the trees. Go to neutral tones and set all values ​​to -100. Apply this layer (Ctrl + Alt + G) to the group and here is the snowy forest.

Step 14

So now, add some details to the picture. Let’s start with the light from the windows. On the new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N.) This layer is the highest in the “Landscape” group; take a soft round brush with color # f5e855, Size (Size) 35px, Opacity (Opacity) 100% and point to light in bright windows. Blend Mode Soft light (Soft light). Duplicate this layer (Ctrl + J) and set the blending mode Lighter color (Lighter), Opacity (Opacity) 50%.

Now add some fog to create a height effect and hide the landscape below. If you have a brush in the form of clouds, use it. If there is no brush, then find the brush. Per Stroke Brightness Variance (The difference in brightness for each stroke) from the standard set in Photoshop. Use the color # d1d1d1 and do not forget to create a new layer every few strokes. Thus, you can control the transparency of each layer and area. When you’re done, merge all layers with clouds into one (Ctrl + E).

I don’t like the location of the bear’s paws, and I closed them with Clone stamp tool (Stamp) (S). Create a new layer, set to Clone stamp tool (Stamped) (s) the following parameters Size (Size) 300px, Opacity (Opacity) 100%, Sample (Sample):All layers (All layers), checkbox Aligned (Alignment). Hide the group The Bears (click on the eye icon next to the layer) and find an interesting piece of stone suitable for the landscape and place it on the place where the paws are located. Take Eraser tool (Eraser) (E), make the texture transition invisible (use the values Opacity (Opacity) 30-60%) and, of course, bring the bears back. That’s all! At this stage, everything is done, and we can move on.

Step 15

Before starting to create a starry sky, I make a non-destructive layer to create light and shadow. Hold Alt and click the icon. New layer (New Layer), specify blend mode Overlay (Overlap) and check the box Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray) (Fill in the neutral color of the Overlap mode (gray 50%)). This layer can be above all other layers and groups. You will not see the change, because the blend mode Overlay (Overlap), but actually it is a gray fill layer. Now, using Dodge tool (Clarifier) ​​(O) (creates light) and, while holding down the Alt key, go to Burn tool (Dimmer) (O) (creates shadows) with settings for both tools – Range (Range): Midtones (Mid Tones), Exposure (Exposure): 10-20%. Create a shadow of the bears and impose a light on them, taking into account that the light source is in the upper right corner. Also, check the image below to see the lighting.

Step 16

And now let’s start creating a starry sky. Place texture Starry sky into the working paper and slide it up a bit. Set the blending mode Screen (Screen). Via Quick selection tool (Quick selection) (W), select everything except the sky and add a layer mask to remove an asterisk from the landscape.

Add an image full moon. Resize, rotate and position the moon (Ctrl + T), as shown in the image below. Set blending mode for this layer. Screen (Screen). Soft round brush (Size (Size) 600px, Opacity (Opacity) 50%, color # e8e8e8) on a new layer (layer under the moon), draw a spot to create light from the moon, Opacity (Opacity) layer 68%.

Step 17

So let’s go back to the adjustment layers above the group. Landscape. This step is similar to step 12. Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) above the gradient layer with the blend mode Soft light (Soft light) with Opacity (Opacity) 53%. Take the radial Gradient tool (Gradient) (G), make a gradient according to this scheme: #ffffff> # 647c8b> # 42506d> # 333a57> # 1a1824. Draw a gradient starting from the moon and ending approximately outside the bounds of the document.

Step 18

Let’s go back to the star group. Now we will create a map of the constellations in the sky. Add texture to work document Star atlas, resize it so that it covers the whole sky, and flip vertically.

Add a filter Spherize (Spherization) through the menu Filter> Distort> Spherize (Filter> Distortion> Spherization) with settings Amount (Quantity) -70%, mode (mode): Normal (Normal) and click OK. It is necessary to create a dome effect. After all, the sky is not flat, but spherical. Move the texture half up so that the moon is in the Libra bowl. Remove the part of the star map that covers the mountains using the method from step 7.

Step 19

Convert this layer to a smart object (right click on the layer and select in the menu Convert to Smart Object (Convert to smart object)). Add to Photoshop Constellation brushes and draw the Big Dipper (Size (Size): 500px Angle (Angle): -41 degrees, Color: Black) and Ursa Minor (Size (Size): 250px Angle (Angle): 100 degrees, color: black), as they are depicted on the sky map.

Add adjustment layer Blackwhite (Black and White) and apply it to the star texture map. In the settings, specify High Contrast Blue Filter (High-contrast blue filter). Change the blending mode to Divide (Divide) for textures with stars and enjoy the results! Use Eraser tool (Eraser) (E) to remove part of Libra from the Moon.

Step 20

It seemed to me that the picture was not sufficiently contrast, so I added a correction layer Curves (Curves) through the menu Layer> New Layer Adjustment> Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves), increase the light and dark tones in the RGB channel. Add the first point with coordinates – Input (Input): 135, Output (Exit): 120 and the second point – Input (Input): 210, Output (Exit): 217.

Group all layers and groups into one “Manipulation” group (Ctrl + G or Layer> Group layers (Layer> Group layers)), duplicate it (Ctrl + J or Layer> Duplicate Layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer)) and merge only the duplicated group (Ctrl + E). Go to menu Filter> Other>High pass (Filter> Other> Color Contrast) and set the radius: 2.0px. Set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay (Overlap). This layer will increase the purity of all the details.

Final image

That’s all! The picture is ready. I hope you had a good time and learned a lot of interesting things. Take a look at the final image.

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