Spirit in the night

In this lesson we will learn how to create the effect of a ghostly figure on an image.
To master this lesson, you need to have basic skills in Photoshop (the basics of working with layers, tools, etc.)

Look at the final result to which we will strive:

Spirit in the night

This lesson will demonstrate the following:
– How to turn a sunset into a night sky
– How to apply a glow effect to the layer to achieve realistic reflections
– How, using a blur filter on multiple layers, to give the object a ghostly effect
– How to impose the boundaries of the object on the new background
– How to use layer masks instead of eraser to hide part of the image
– How to apply simple and effective image adjustments to improve your work.

To continue our work, you can download the following source photos, which are provided by the free photobank sxc.hu:

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1.Prepare the background.
Open the sky image in Photoshop. We will transform a colorful sunset into a cool lunar landscape to create the right mood for the viewer. Duplicate the background layer (click Ctrl + J) and name the new layer “Dark sky“(right-click on the layer image and select the Layer Properties / Layer Properties command). Now open the dialog”Hue / saturation“(Hue / Saturation) – keys Ctrl + U and set the parameters as in the picture:

Spirit in the night

Save your work before moving on.

Step 2. Let’s add the moon.
Open the photo with the moon and circle it with the tool “Oval selectionSpirit in the night (Elliptical Marque Tool – hotkey M). If from the first time the moon could not be accurately selected, go to the menu “Selection> Transform Selection“(Select> Transform Selection) and tweak the oval. When the moon is selected, click Ctrl + J and copy it to a new layer. Name the new layer “Moon“Now turn off the visibility of the layer with the background (click on the icon with the eye in the window with layers) to see the borders of the moon.

Spirit in the night

If you still see a dark border around the moon, hold down the key Ctrl and click the moon layer icon, then select the menu command “Select> Modify> Compress“(Select> Modify> Contract). In the window, specify the number of pixels to which you want to cut the selection (approximately 2 or 3). Click Ok, then combination Ctrl + Shift + I (Invert Selection / Inverse Selection) and the Del (clear everything beyond the bounds of the moon), and after all Ctrl + D (deselect). If after all you have done, you see a dark outline around the moon, repeat the above steps again.

If everything is in order (the moon is ready to be inserted into the main image), drag the layer icon with the mouseMoon“in the window with the image of the night landscape, and the picture with the moon will be inserted into our composition.

Spirit in the night

Step 3. Overlaying the moon on a new background.
Although we added an image with the moon to the night landscape, it still does not look like a part of it. To begin, let’s make the imposition of the edges of the moon on the background. Click on the layer icon “Moon“hold key Ctrl, to select the moon entirely. Now run the menu command “Select> Modify> Border“(Select> Modify> Border), specifying the parameter in the window”Width“(Width) is 3 pixels. Click Ok and go to the menu”Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur“(Filter> Blur> Gaussian blur), in the window with the parameters, specify the radius equal to 1 pixel. Click Ok and Ctrl + D, to deselect.

Now, let’s work on the effects of the layer to give a little glow. Right-click on the image of the layer “Moon“in the window with layers and select”Overlay options“(Blending Options). In the window that appears, select”External glow“(Outer Glow), set the parameters as shown in the figure, then go to”Internal glow“(Inner Glow) and set the parameters as shown.

Spirit in the night

After that, your picture will look like this:

Spirit in the night

Step 4. Add a bird.
Open a photo with a bird. It is a little blurry, but in this case it’s not scary, because we create a ghostly effect, and this blurring will only be to our advantage.

Select the bird on a completely white background is not difficult. Select tool “Magic wandSpirit in the night(Magic Wand Tool – W hotkey), set the value of the parameter “Tolerance“(Tolerance) equal to 50 and click anywhere in the white box. Ctrl + Shift + I inverts the selection, and Ctrl + J put the bird on a new layer. Name the new layer “Bird“and drag it with the mouse onto the main composition, placing it above the layer”Moon“.

Spirit in the night

Two things are immediately visible:
first, the bird is too big and will have to be reduced,
and secondly, a purple outline is visible around the bird.

First, we will get rid of the contour (we have already done this with the moon, so I will not dwell in detail): Ctrl + click on a layer with a bird, then the menu “Select> Modify> Compress“(Select> Modify> Contract), 2 pixels, Ok, then invert the selection Ctrl + Shift + I, then the key Delete, to get rid of the border and Ctrl + D. To zoom, click Ctrl + T (Free Transform), then reduce the image somewhere to 75% from the original. Place the bird so that the left wing for the viewer partially overlaps the moon, which simulates a beautiful wing illumination. Here’s what happened:

Spirit in the night

Now we need to enter the bird in a new background for it. Select the object (Ctrl + click on the layer), execute the menu command “Select> Modify> Border“(Select> Modify> Border), parameter”Width“(Width) is 2 pixels, then go to the menu”Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur“(Filter> Blur> Gaussian blur), the radius is 0.7 pixels. Click Ok and Ctrl + D.

Now you need to clean the edges of the bird to get rid of extraneous colors, such as on the tail and the end of the upper wing. To do this, block the transparent pixels of the layer (click on the corresponding icon in the window with layers). Next, using the “CloningSpirit in the night (Clone Stamp Tool) or brush (Brush) adjust the problem areas (zoom in and use a small tool). If this step seems too complicated and you think that the image looks good, you can skip these steps. But if you want your work to look flawless, try to refine the bird.

Spirit in the night

Once done, unlock the transparent pixels.

Step 5. Create a ghost effect.
Via LassoSpirit in the night (Lasso Tool) select the approximate area of ​​the open wing, as shown in the figure:

Spirit in the night

Copy the selected area to a new layer (Ctrl + J). New layer name “Wing“. Click again Ctrl + J to duplicate a layer, and immediately hide a copy of the layer (click on the icon with the eye in the window with layers). Select layer “Wing“. Apply filter from menu Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur), specify the parameters as shown (angle / angle = 40, offset / distance = 200):

Spirit in the night

Now place the layer “Wing“under the layer”Bird“and set the blending mode for the” Wing “layer as”Hard light“(Hard Light). After that, select the layer with a copy of the wing and make it visible again. Click Alt + Ctrl + F, to call the last filter. A window will appear with the latest parameters of this filter, but we will indicate the new values ​​(angle / angle = 80, offset / distance = 50):

Spirit in the night

Click on the icon “Add layer maskSpirit in the night (Add Layer Mask). Choose a large, soft brush (500 pixels in diameter) with very low opacity (Opacity = 16%). Paint the brush to the right of the wing so that the head, body and legs of the bird are visible again. You can switch colors – black will hide parts of the object, white – make visible again. After all the manipulations, set the layer blending mode to “Light replacement“(Blending mode> lighten).

With the second wing, do the following: make the active layer “Bird“, select the approximate area with a lasso, then Ctrl + J – on a new layer, name it “Wing 2“then again Ctrl + J – a copy of “Wing 2”. Layer “Wing 2” put under the layer “Bird”, then Ctrl + T for transformation, drag the center point to the place where the wing connects to the body. Now turn from the opposite corner.

Spirit in the night

A copy of “Wing 2“(that layer that is above the” Bird “) turn in the opposite direction. Then, select the layer”Wing 2“and call the filter”Motion blur“(Motion Blur) – keys Alt + Ctrl + F with parameters angle / angle = 80, offset / distance = 85. Click Ok. Set the layer blending mode to “Hard light“(Hard Light).

Now select copy layerWing 2“, Alt + Ctrl + F, filter parameters angle / angle = 20, offset / distance = 35. Set the layer’s overlay mode to “Light replacement“(Blending mode = Lighten). Maybe you want to remove the lower part of the wing in the” Wing 2 “layer or add a layer mask to hide it, as we did with the first wing. Maybe you will also need to adjust the wing rotation – in relation to the original wing.

Spirit in the night

Now that you have learned to use the filter “Motion blur“(Motion Blur) in combination with various blending modes to create a” ghostly “effect, you can apply it yourself for the bird’s tail (but with caution, because the bird’s tail does not move at the same speed as the wings) .

Step 6. Subsequent settings.
Now that the effect is ready, let’s add some more chips. Select layer “Bird“, go to the menu Image> Correction> Exposure (Image> Adjustments> Exposure).
Fill in the parameters as 0.18 / -0.0020 / 1.08 (shown in the figure):

Spirit in the night

Make a small oval around the bird’s eye and copy it to a new layer with the name “EyeSet the blending mode to “Screen”. This will highlight the eye. Go to the menu Image> Correction> Brightness / Contrast (Image> Adjustments> Brightness / Contrast), increase the brightness.
Make a copy of the “Bird” layer and add an effect to the new layer “Internal glow“(Inner Glow) with the following parameters:

Spirit in the night

Now create a blank layer above the copy of the bird layer. Select both layers at the same time – a new empty layer and a copy of the bird layer (to do this, hold Shift). Next, click Ctrl + E, to merge both layers into one. This trick is needed to add an effect to the layer itself. Call this layer “Glow“. Now by eraserSpirit in the night(Eraser Tool – E key) delete parts of the “Glow” layer. We want only the head and flowing wing to shine, a little back and maybe a little tail.

Spirit in the night

Before you finish work, go to the layer “Moon“and create a new layer above it and name it”Heat“. Next, select a large soft brushSpirit in the night (diameter 900 pixels) with low opacity (opacity = 10%), as well as orange-yellow color.
Brush over the moon once, which will give the glow a slightly warmer shade. Set the layer blending mode to “Chromaticity“. You can adjust the color tone with the Hue / Saturation command – key Ctrl + U on layer “Heat“.

After that create another layer and name it “Stars“. Use a small semi-soft brushSpirit in the night and vary the sizes to create smaller and bigger stars. Also vary the opacity. And at the end add the effect “External glow“(Outer Glow) to the star layer.

Spirit in the night

Step 7. Add text.
The “Outer Glow” effect also looks great with text. Add some text to our image (the author used the font Amorous). Choose a rounded font that looks a bit dreamy to fully match the atmosphere we created.

After that, add an effect to the text layer.External glow“(Outer Glow) with parameters opacity (opacity) = 75%, white, spread (spread) = 0%, size (size) = 27 pixels. Leave the rest as default. Or experiment!

Then make a copy of the layer, and increase the copy by 10-20%. Then merge the copy layer of the text with the blank layer to copy the effect of the layer (as described above). And at the end use the filter “Motion blur“(Motion blur) with parameters angle / angle = 0, offset / distance = 23.

Spirit in the night

Well that’s all! I hope you had a great time and learned a couple of new tricks.

Author: Madalina

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