Begin in the upper left corner of the picture.

This is page 2 of 2. "Crescent Moon" begins here.

Begin in the upper left corner of the picture. Click and hold the mouse button. Move down and to the right. When you are about the size of the moon, let go.

It will not match the moon for placement or size. We’ll make it fit.

Move your circle using the left mouse button to click and drag it; or the Up/Down/Left/Right arrow keys on your keyboard. If you cannot drag the circle, go up to #3 and click on “New Selection.”

The arrows are good for precise placement. Zoom in on the moon to get precise placement of the circle.

In order to change the size, click “Select” “Modify” and “Expand” or “Contract” and change it accordingly.

When you click “Expand” this window will pop up; “Contract” will offer the right window for that.

You will set the number of pixels to increase or decrease. This is another one of those things that varies with each picture and file size so I cannot say how many pixels to use. Begin with just a few pixels and experiment with it.

Change the size up and down, until it matches the moon. Move the circle as necessary. I am very detail oriented. Here is an example of my cutout moon. I use the “Manual” Lasso, zoom way in on the moon and follow it closely. The dotted line is barely visible.

You can leave it at a simple circle or you can follow along the topography of the moon. Do it whichever way is right for you.

When the circle matches the outside of the moon, click on “Subtract From Selection.”

Once again, begin above and left of the moon. Click and hold the mouse button. Go until the circle is a bit larger than the first one and they intersect in a crescent shape. Let up. Afterwards it should look like this. Once you release the mouse button on this circle you cannot adjust the placement of it. If you don't like it you'll have to "Control" "z" and do it again.

You will see two dotted lines. This is the portion we will cut out and use. Don’t worry if the intersection is not tilted correctly. We can spin it up or down when we drop the moon into a picture. Just concern yourself that the crescent moon shape is appealing to your eye.

If not, simultaneously click “Control” & “z.” That will reverse the last step. You can undo up to about 25 steps one at a time. “Redo” a step by simultaneously clicking “Control” “y.”

Once you’re satisfied; inside the crescent, right click your mouse. The dropdown menu should look like this.

Choose “Feather...”

In the box that comes up, click on the pixels box and set it to 0.2.

Now click “OK.”

Right click again on the picture and, from the resultant dropdown box, choose “Layer via copy”. You’ll end up with two layers in your Layers Bin. Now turn off the locked Background layer.

Now your Layers Bin looks like this

and your main editor window, like this.

Notice that the moon has sharp edges all the way around. For realism we want a soft edge at the back of the crescent moon.

Return to the “Elliptical Marque Tool” “New Selection.” Make another circle about the size of the moon. Slightly overlap the moon at the back of the crescent. You can adjust the size and placement of this one like the first time.

Notice in my picture that the dotted line almost exactly follows the back side of the crescent and slightly overlaps it. That’s how you get the best result here.

This time right click, feather 15-30 pixels. Click OK. Right click and layer via cut. This will be your result when you turn off the newest layer in your Layers Bin just like you did a few minutes ago with the locked background.

It doesn’t show well on this background, so here. Notice the face of the moon is nice and sharp, but the back side is soft.

And this is a closer comparison between feathering and not feathering the back edge.

What a difference it will make in your night sky, huh!? One more, closer comparison

It sure looks more natural. It is said that one time Michelangelo was questioned by a lady as to why he spent so much time on the trifles in his work. He is quoted as responding “Madam, trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.”

It is little things like a soft back side on your crescent moon that will result in photographs you are proud to display.

When the moon is cut out and only the copied layer is turned on, it will look like this in your Photo Bin

and in the Main Editor Window.

Now delete the newest layer. That is; the leftover layer that you turned off. If you don’t already have a “PSD” folder, create one and save the PSD. Don’t forget to save a picture as a thumbnail.

You can use the crescent moon in as many pictures as you like. In the Photoshop Main Editor Window, you should see the checkerboard background when you click and drag it onto any artwork in progress.

Have loads of fun with it.

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