This is page 3 of 7. "Nighttime Scene" begins here.
The limit to this, other than the number of changes that can be undone, is that you have to undo and redo those changes in the same order. If you undo a couple of changes and then do something differently rather than redoing one; all the other changes that you undid are gone forever.
It’s like a chain. Each change you make is one link. When you back off and then make a change from there, that change skews off into a whole new chain of events. There is no way to regain the original chain.
Be aware of that when you are undoing changes to your picture. Lots of times I choose to clone or erase something rather than Control z because I don’t want to lose everything else later in the chain.
Keep working on the Quick Fix, Linear Burn & Old Paper until you find the look you’re after. When you have what you want, there should be either three or four total layers; depending upon whether you choose to apply the Old Paper effect. Turn on all except the locked background layer.
Verify that and then click on “Layer” near the top left of the Photoshop screen. In the resultant drop down box, click on “Merge Visible.”
Anything in gray lettering means that option is not available. There are varying reasons for it, but the result is the same. Only the options in black lettering are available for your use.
If “Merge visible” is gray and doesn’t work, look in the Layers Bin in the lower right. Make sure all the “eyes” are showing except the locked background layer. And be sure that one of those is highlighted in blue.
If only one is on; click the eye of the others. They will come on. Now you can Merge Visible. It will compact your Layers Bin to two layers. If you end up with more than two it means that not all the eyes were on. Merge all except the locked background layer.
When they are merged the resultant layer will take the name of whichever layer is highlighted in blue as you click “Merge Visible.” You can rename it of course, or you can just highlight the layer that already carries the name you want.
Your main editor window should now contain a picture that looks something like this. The Main editor Window will not change during the merging process. Only the Layers Bin will.
It’s important to follow all the steps closely or you will get lost the first couple of times through. Once you know the system it’s pretty easy to slam your way around until you get the look you’re after.
The first time through it may take an hour or two. After a few times; you’ll be this far in a matter of moments.
You merged the background copies because for the rest of the project you’ll have to work with them merged. Otherwise things don’t work right.
Before you merge them [Or hit “Control” + “z” to see it] you can turn off the eye of any layer and see that part of your accomplishments in the main editor window disappears. Remember; eye on = layer on; eye off = layer off.
That means each layer is somewhat transparent and you are simultaneously looking at all of the layers with the eye. That characteristic is what causes problems while you’re working. When you merge them, the problem is solved.
Before they are merged; when you turn off any of the layers, the contained effect disappears from your Main Editor Window because the layers are interdependent. When you edit a layer it only affects one layer and because they are interdependent you will not get the desired result.
In my tutorial on PSDs and Layers
I pointed out that changes are made only to the highlighted layer. This is a prime example of when that could be very frustrating. Not so much the fact that it works as it does, but unless you’re aware of it, it can cause you to tear your hair out not knowing what is happening or why.
Good thing you read my site; now you know. :) I am self taught in Photoshop. I am your point man. I went through the slow tedious process of figuring all this stuff out so that you can fly through it in no time.
If you used the “Control” “z” to check this out, click “Control” “y” now to redo the merge.
To this point it has been merely clicks of the mouse. Now you can begin to add things to the picture and create them the way you like.
If you did not lower the saturation earlier, now is the time. In the left picture the water is far too blue for a nighttime scene. It doesn’t look right.
For this we will use The Polygonal Lasso Tool. The tool is just as its name implies. It creates a “rope” around a subject to lift out of a picture. It has other uses as well. It has three different tools and I use them all very often.
1 is used to trace around an object manually.
2 will “magnetically” attach itself to the outside of the object. This one is pretty accurate when there is a clear distinction between the object you’re tracing and the background, such as when we do the moon a little later.
3 is called Polygonal Lasso. It is for making straight lines. Keep in mind that a whole bunch of very short straight lines create a curve. I often use it that way. But don’t concentrate too much on that right now. It’s just something else for you to keep in mind as you learn to use the tool.
Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool 2, and “New” selection, outline the water. Choose a starting point. Click and release the mouse button. Now just move the cursor along the line you wish to cut out. Near the end, double click your mouse and the loop will automatically close.
It will not be perfect. Using the manual Lasso 1, perfect it along the water surface and around the boat. Do not use the “New” selection for this part.
Rather, you’ll use the “Add” and “Subtract” features for this step. Zoom in and look closely. Wherever the line does not follow where you want it; add to or subtract from the original selection by clicking and holding the mouse button, tracing where you want the line and then release.
To subtract from the selection, begin and end outside it. To add to the selection, begin and end inside it.
When it is outlined the way you want; hover your cursor over the selected area and right click. From this dropdown box select "Feather."
Now set the "Feather Radius" to 5 and click "OK."
Right click again and select "Layer Via Copy."
This will create a layer containing only the water that you just cut out.
Now the newly created water layer will be highlighted in blue. You may tire of me saying this, but always keep the locked background turned off. To me, that layer doesn’t even exist unless and until I need it for something. It is so far from my mind that when I look at the Layers bin, I don’t even notice it any more.
Go to “Quick Fix.” Lower the saturation until you like it. While you will see the entire picture, you’ll notice that only the water saturation changes. Return to Full Edit and merge these two layers.
As a reminder, we are lowering the saturation now because if we lowered it when we did the other Quick Fixes the water would be solid black and you won’t see any surface reflections.
In these 3 examples the water is the only difference. It’s your choice as to which you like best. Regardless of which one I use I maintain surface reflections in the moon's reflection on the water.
The next thing I do is add the moon and “moon glow.” Load a picture of the moon into Photoshop. It can be a full moon or crescent. It can even be another photo containing a moon.