Turning Day Into Night

Because this project required 19 Photoshop layers, I originally planned dissect how it was done over the course of three blog posts. After thinking about it, I decided a single, rather lengthy post would be better to allow the reader to better follow along and without interruption. To begin, here is the starting background image, taken on a sunny afternoon in Osaka, Japan. Two unseen layers are below it: a retouched image of Andrelica and a layer of her with a mask that eliminates the studio background. Above the Osaka layer is the layer of Andrelica without the mask. Remember, this layer is created so it can be defringed if needed in order to mask out any last remnants of the studio background:

The first four Photoshop layers give us our start.

The first four Photoshop layers give us our start.

Two layers will now be added above the Osaka background layer to adjust the light on it. Layer (5) is a Curves adjustment layer. The midpoint of the curve has been pulled downward to darken the background. Since the layer of Andrelica without the mask is above this layer, she is not affected:

A Curves adjustment layer has been used to darken the background of Osaka.

A Curves adjustment layer has been used to darken the background of Osaka.

The Deep Blue Photo Filter was created above the Curves layer. The Density was set to 81%:

The Deep Blue Photo Filter has added blue to the rail and steps in Osaka.

The Deep Blue Photo Filter has added blue to the rail and steps in Osaka.

Note again that these adjustments affect the background only since the layers that accomplish these adjustments are below her in the layer stack. We need to adjust her independently, but before we do, a drop shadow was created and put on its own layer. I noted the position of the shadows cast by the rails, and positioned her shadow in like fashion. A white layer mask added and the top part of the drop shadow masked out using the Gradient Tool (foreground to transparent gradient, linear, black set as the foreground color) and Shit-dragging on the mask from top to the bottom of her. The layer opacity was dropped to 60%:

The drop shadow has been added.

The drop shadow has been added.

We stand at seven layers, with the layer of our model without a mask at the very top. Next we are going to add four new layers above this layer to adjust the light on her. First, we want to capture the color of the light bouncing around the steps in Osaka and cast that light on Andrelica. To do this, select the Osaka layer in the Layers Panel, but Command (Control)-click on the top layer thumbnail of Andrelica to get the "marching ants." Command (Control)-J to put this selection of Osaka on its own layer. This is actually a selection of the steps behind her. Drag this layer to the top of the layer stack, run a Filter -> Blur -> Average, set the layer blending mode to Color, and reduce the layer opacity to 20%:

Andrelica's skin tone is decidedly less warm now, and better matches the scene behind her.

Andrelica's skin tone is decidedly less warm now, and better matches the scene behind her.

When a person is outdoors, the lower part of the body is darker than the head and shoulders. Let's fix this problem. Add a Curves adjustment layer above the Andrelica layer but below the Light on Andrelica layer we just created. Keep your eye on the lower part of the model and drag the midpoint of the curve downward. Now, all of the model, plus the background, is darker - not what we want. To get the background back to normal, we will clip this new Curves layer to the Andrelica layer below it so that it only affects her and not the Osaka background. To do this, simply Option (Alt)-click between the Curves and Andrelica layers in the Layers Panel.

Now, all of her is darker, but we only want the bottom of her to be darker. To fix this, select black as the foreground color, click on the Curves layer mask, select the Gradient Tool (linear, foreground to transparent) and Shift-drag from the top of her hair to the bottom of her knees. Adjust the layer opacity if needed:

The bottom of Andrelica is now darker than the rest of her.

The bottom of Andrelica is now darker than the rest of her.

Now, all of Andrelica needs to be darker. Add a second Curves adjustment layer above the one we just created, and clip them together. I dragged the midpoint of the curve down just a bit and lowered the layer opacity to 70%:

Now all of Andrelica is a little darker.

Now all of Andrelica is a little darker.

Finally, we will add another Deep Blue Photo Filter, and clip it to the Curves layer below it, so it will only affect Andrelica. The Density was only set to 41%, as compared to 81% for the Osaka background. This is because I did not want her to look freaky - just a little blue is all that is needed:

Andrelica is now starting to blend with the background.

Andrelica is now starting to blend with the background.

The shadows of the two rails need to be drawn over her legs. These were drawn on a new blank layer at the top of the stack. A medium (50%) hard, low (20%) opacity, low (20%) flow black Brush was used:

Shadows on the legs have been added.

Shadows on the legs have been added.

Layer (13) is what I call Top Shadow. Create another new blank layer at the top of the stack. Use the same black brush to paint a thin shadow where her toes and knees contact the pavement. I put this layer high on the stack (above the layer of the model) so I can paint onto her if I want. Often, the part of the model contacting the ground will have a little shadow on it as well:

A thin shadow has been created under the knees and toes.

A thin shadow has been created under the knees and toes.

Because lights are normally on at night, we need to "turn on" the two clusters of lamps on the wall. Layer (14) is a blank layer on top of the stack where a low opacity white Brush was used to paint over the glass panes of these lamps:

A little light has been added to the panes of the two lamps on the wall.

A little light has been added to the panes of the two lamps on the wall.

Four light streaks, each on its own layer, were then added. I again used a brush from Obsidian Dawn. The layer opacities for these layers ranged between 50% and 80%:

The lamps have been lit.

The lamps have been lit.

Finally, a darkening layer (19) - will be added to the top of the layer stack. Add a Curves adjustment layer. Leave the curve itself alone, but set the layer blending mode of the layer to Multiply. I used a soft (0% hard), low opacity black Brush on the mask of this Curves layer to remove some of the darkness from Andrelica:

Final image.

Final image.