Celebrate Hallowe’en with a brilliant light effect tutorial!
First select the Crop tool and type the desired dimensions in the Width, Height and Resolution boxes (specify the unit of measurement, such as ‘in’ for inches, ‘px’ for pixels), then crop the desired working area. Use Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation to lower the saturation slightly.
Next let’s make everything look more like nighttime with Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter. Choose Colour in the popup box and select a tone, in this case a dark saturated blue. Move the density slider to find a suitable setting, deselect Preserve Luminosity if it’s active, then confirm.
Duplicate the image layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate, then Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Go to Image>Adjustment>Levels, using the sliders to contrast the sky and foreground. Use the Brush tool to cover the remainder in white.
Again, duplicate the image layer, desaturate and invert. Use the Levels adjustment once more to lighten the breaks in the clouds. Shift the sliders until you find the desired balance of contrast.
Select the foreground as in Step 3, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert the selection. Use the Clone Stamp around the edges to remove the border along the outside of the foreground, or paint it using an airbrush and the Colour Picker. After finishing, invert the selection and hit Delete.
Duplicate this new sky layer and pump up the contrast with the Levels adjustment. We’ll use Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All to conceal the layer, then reveal only the parts we want with the Brush tool. Now paint in the areas on the mask to create a moon shape.
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+E to merge all the visible layers together, but make sure this is moved to the top of the layer stack! Now apply the Dodge tool lightly with a soft airbrush to pump up the intensity of the moon.
Now add a new layer on top of the layer stack. In the Colour palette choose a soft, saturated light blue and airbrush light strokes over the moon area. This create the illusion of a glowing moon.
Now grab the foreground by using the selectable layer made earlier. Add a new layer set to Overlay and fill with a pale blue. Mask the layer by going to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All and reveal the moonlight with a white airbrush. Use the Lasso tool to get sharp edging on certain areas, like the rooftops.
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer on top of the stack, setting its mode to Multiply. With a black or other dark colour chosen, boost the strength of the shaded areas by lightly applying over them with an airbrush.
On a new layer, use an orange yellow to paint in the window shape on the building. Create a glow effect by using a soft airbrush, applying over the window itself and any surroundings that may also receive light from it.
Choose an almost white purple from the Colour palette, then use a hard brush on a new layer to create a jagged line for the lightning strike. When the shape is just right, decrease the brush size and insert smaller liners stemming from the base.
To finish, pick a fluorescent pink purple with a soft airbrush to lightly paint over the lightning strike. This replicates a glow effect. A mask can be created via Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Paint this with black to blend and soften the tips, fading them into the background.