By Jenny Le
What You’ll Be Creating
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a moonlight scene with a woman watching the flowers.
We’ll start this tutorial by adding the sky and landscape, and then add the moon and its reflection using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. After that we’ll add other elements, such as the floor, balcony, model and flowers, and blend them together using the same techniques. We’ll finish it up with several adjustment layers.
During this tutorial you’ll also learn how to work with light, enhance the depth of field and more.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
- Flowers 1
- Flowers 2
- Flowers 3
1. Add the Sky and Landscape
Create a new 1500 x 1500 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:
Open the sky image. Drag it into the main document using the Move Tool (V), and place it in the upper half of the canvas.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 8 px:
Use an adjustment layer to darken the sky a bit. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves:
On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) with a soft round one
and black color (soft black brush) to reduce the effect on the left side
where we’re aiming to add the moon.
Use another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the sky, especially the left.
Take a soft black brush and hide the effect on the right side where we’ve aimed to make it darker.
Open the landscape image. Place it in the lower half of the canvas.
Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove the hard
edge and blend its sky with the existing one. Leave some smoky edges
around the mountain tops. Lower the brush opacity where painting on the
top of the left mountain to make it fade into the sky.
are some unwanted details on the lake. Create a new
layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Select the Clone Tool (S) to remove the indicated details.
Add a Curves adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to darken the
landscape. Use a soft black brush on its layer mask to remove the dark
effect on the part which is illuminated by the moonlight.
Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to match the landscape saturation with the sky:
2. Add the Moon
Isolate the moon from the original image using the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and place it in the top left of the main scene.
To match its depth and softness with the sky, apply a Gaussian Blur of 8 px to the moon layer:
Double click the moon layer, choose Inner Glow, and set the color of glow to
To make the moon reflection on the lake surface, use the same method as in my fantasy lake scene tutorial.
You should have a similar result to this:
Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color
#ededed to paint
on the lake area to reflect the moon glow. Change
this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.
3. Add the Floor
Open the floor image. Place it in the foreground and make it narrower using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to desaturate the floor. Bring the Saturation value down to -85:
The floor looks too bright, so use a Curves adjustment layer to darken it completely:
4. Add the Balcony
Open the balcony image and isolate it from the background using the
Polygonal Lasso Tool (L). Select the lower part to place above the floor, on the right side.
Duplicate this layer and flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Place it on the left:
Select two columns and position them above the balcony, remembering not to hide the moon.
Select these four layers and press Control-G to make a group for them.
Change the mode of this group from Pass Through to Normal 100%. Use a
Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and decrease the Saturation value of
Master to -86:
Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the balcony.
Use a soft black brush to reveal the light on the contouring areas (they’re
illuminated by the moonlight) and keep the others in shadow.
There are still some details that need to be retouched, starting with the balcony
part on the lower right. Make a new layer above this one (set as
Clipping Mask), change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray:
Select the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about
20-30%, to bring more light to the front contour of this part, and also
strengthen the shadow in the back. You can see how I did it with Normal
mode, and the result with Overlay mode.
Do the same with the other parts
of the balcony, and you should make the right column much brighter than
the rest as it’s illuminated more than the others.
To create a shadow of the balcony
on the floor, make a new layer under the balcony layers. Hold down
Control-Shift while clicking their thumbnail layers to load their
Fill this selection with black and lower the Opacity to 60%. Use
Control-T to change its perspective:
Apply a Gaussian Blur of 4 px to this shadow:
On its filter mask, use a soft black brush to erase the softness of the
bottom as it needs to be harder and more solid.
Add a mask to this shadow layer and reduce the shadow opacity a bit on the top area:
5. Add the Mist
To create some mist on the lake, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color and pick the color
On the mask of this layer, use a soft black brush to make the misty effect subtly visible on the lake only.
6. Add the Model
Cut out the model from the original background using the Polygonal Lasso Tool. Place her on the right side, on the floor.
Make a shadow for her as we did with the balcony.
Create a new layer above the shadow layer and under the model one. Use a
soft brush with the color
#ededed to paint the moonlight reflection on
the floor. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%:
Use a new layer (set as Clipping Mask) and select the Clone Tool to remove the tattoo on her back:
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to reduce the model saturation:
Use a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color
Add a Curves adjustment layer to darken the model, especially the back and dress.
Paint on the front, face and shoulder contour to maintain the lightness
Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay and fill with 50% gray.
Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to bring more light to the model front and
strengthen the shadow on her back, especially the dress details.
7. Add the Flowers
Open the flowers 1 image. Isolate the flowers using the Magic Wand Tool
(W). Place it in the right corner, behind the right column. Set this
layer under the balcony group.
Reduce the flowers’ saturation using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer:
Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the flowers. Keep the brightness of the part towards the light using its layer mask:
Add flowers 2 to the top right of the scene, and arrange this layer above the balcony group.
Apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to this flowers layer:
Darken the flowers using a Curves adjustment layer. The selected parts show the masked areas:
Use the Burn Tool on a separate layer to correct the shadow on some
leaves and petals, especially the ones hidden in the column corner:
Place flowers 3 on the left side of the balcony:
Create several adjustment layers and repeat the same techniques as done with the other flowers:
8. The Final Adjustment
Create a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of the layers and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:
Make two Curves adjustment layers to change the light focus and contrast
of the whole picture. The selected areas show where to mask off.
Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer and pick the colors
#fde9ae. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.
Make a Color Fill layer and pick the color
#230000. Set this layer mode to Exclusion 100%:
Use another Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings:
Create a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color
Make a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect:
Congratulations, You’re Done!
I hope that you’ve learned something new from my tutorial. Feel free to leave your comments in the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!