This is page 6 of 7. "Nighttime Scene" begins here.
Before it gets pitch dark outside, during a crescent moon you can see the dark side of the moon. Accomplish this in your picture with the Elliptical Marque Tool. You’ve loaded the crescent moon. This is what the photo looks like with the Clouds layer turned off.
Be sure the clouds layer is both on and highlighted in your Layers Bin. You’ll see nothing in the Layers Bin thumbnail of the clouds. It looks blank; it is not.
Using the same Marque settings as earlier; create a circle that completes the arc of your crescent moon.
This circle is to be somewhat smaller than the moon. Size and center it as necessary.
Right click and feather 5-20 pixels. You will have to experiment a little with this one to make it look right. You don’t want a sharp edge in the finished picture, but you want it to look like you see the dark side of the moon through the clouds.
Now lower the opacity to about 80%. See whether it looks natural. Adjust it as necessary by clicking Control z twice; resize and re-feather it. Then set the opacity down again. Once you are satisfied; right click inside the dotted circle and “Deselect.”
When the picture is finished it will look like this.
Blown up it looks like this. How about that? We created the dark side of the moon simply by turning the opacity of the clouds down.
How about making a moon reflection? To make it the most realistic I cut out a piece of the water from the locked background and place it into this one. That way the water surface matches. I even cut it from the same place as the moon’s reflection will be.
Click on “Polygonal Lasso” 3. Then click on the box titled “New” in my picture.
You can use the locked background layer for this because it will create a layer without disrupting the locked layer.
You’ll create the shape of a cone.
Highlight the locked background layer in the Layers Bin. To be sure that I use the unaltered layer for this I turn off all the other layers. Now the only thing I see in the Main Editor Window is the locked layer.
Choose a starting point. Click and let up. Move to the next point; click and let up. Continue for the other three sides. Now you have a dotted line running all the way around what will be your moon reflection. Feather and layer it via copy.
Turn off the locked layer. If you turned off all the other layers you should see this. If you don’t something is different.
This one should be feathered to a soft edge like the moon glow. You’ll have to experiment with this because how much the edge feathers depends not only upon the setting itself, but also the ratio of that feather setting to the file size of the picture.
If your picture’s file size is only about 800X600 pixels, a feather setting of 15 pixels will be rather large. On the other hand if your file size is 4,000X3,000 pixels, a feather setting of 15 pixels is far less noticeable.
Turn on all the other layers except the locked background. As with the moon glow, set the opacity down. Use the eraser tool to create a fairly sharp edge where the water meets the sky. Save it to see if you like it at the first setting you use.
A little trick I use to study each picture is to open up my slide show. I pause the show and look at the picture.
My slide show surrounds the pictures with black matting. That makes it very easy to see the picture unencumbered. Now I can easily see whether I like any given part of the picture or if I want to redo it. Control z and do it again until you like it.
Now if you feel the edges need to be a little more blurred you can do this with the motion blur tool. Filter, Blur, Motion Blur.
When it comes up you’ll see this screen.
All you will see in the display box is the little squares. You have the moon reflection layer highlighted so the only thing that can appear in this box is that which is contained in the moon reflection layer. The rest of the layer will consist of the little squares.
Photoshop displays the picture differently for different steps. When you click over to Quick Fix you will see the picture in its entirety but only the highlighted layer will be affected by the changes. For Motion blur, no matter how many layers are on, you see only what is contained in the highlighted layer.
You will best learn Photoshop’s ways through experience. Listing everything will not be helpful. After a bit you’ll recognize which screen displays in what way. In the meantime, knowing that it varies will make it much easier to work your way through it.
Place your cursor over the box and it changes to an icon of a little hand. Click and drag it around. You will find the reflection. In this case I moved it up and to the right because my reflection was down and to the left of center.
The first time, don’t make any adjustments; just hit OK. Look at the picture and see if you think it was either too much or too little blur. If so, hit Control z. Do it again and change the settings accordingly. Control z and Redo the blur a couple of times until you like the result.
When you’re finished it will look pretty realistic.
I make the stars last. Click on the “Create a New Layer” icon at the top of the Layers bin.
That’s the one you’ve been dragging layers to in order to duplicate them. That will create an empty layer to use for stars.
Are you ready? This is another lesson that I learned the hard way. One time I made stars and thought it would be a good idea to load the sky with them. After an hour of creating stars of differing sizes and illumination, on my only existing background copy, I saved it to look at the beautiful work of art. It had far too many bright stars and looked downright appalling.
Photoshop allows a limited number of steps that can be undone. Oops! You guessed it; I deleted the entire project and started from scratch. [During the final step none the less!] Had I created the stars in their own layer I could have just deleted that layer and lost only an hour of my time. Now I know better and am passing my experience along to you.
Leave the other layers turned on so you can see what your stars are doing. Just make sure that the stars layer stays highlighted in the Layers bin. Otherwise you’ll still end up creating all those stars in another layer.
Be patient with this step. It is tedious.
Finish the page here.