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Twilight Moon Rise
with Video Tutorial
Photoshop Training

I was outside the other night as the sunlight was just about gone. The moon was out, but very low. It was really cool looking, so I started wondering if I could make something like that in Photoshop. Well fortunately with all the crazy tools Photoshop has, it certainly IS possible. For those of you who prefer video check out the Photoshop Twilight Moonrise Video Tutorial.

Here is the photo I will begin with.

With whatever photo you use, make sure that it's layer is not labeled as "background" in the layers palette. If it is, double click on the layer (in the layers palette), rename it, and click ok in the New Layer dialogue window. I am naming my layer "Mountain". Obviously the trick here is to make it look like twilight, and get a moon in. We will use the Pen Tool to select the sky and remove it. Select the Pen Tool now.

You will want to start clicking on the upper edge of the mountain. Keep clicking everytime you come to any kind of a change in direction. It is better for this particular project to be a bit inside the mountain as opposed to outside. We don't want any of the sky to show through as we will be creating our own.

Once you get to the other side of the picture, hold down your shift key and click in the corner just above where you are at. Holding the shift key will keep the path nice and straight. Do the same thing across the top, and then back down to your first click to complete the path.

Next we will need to convert the path into a selection so that we can delete the sky. Do this by clicking on the Paths tab in the layers pallete, and then hitting the "Load Path as a Selection" button.

You now should see the "dancing ants" signifying your selection. Hit the delete key, and then deselect by hitting Ctrl+D. You should end up with something like what is shown below.

Now we are ready to create our twilight sky. Add a new layer by selecting Layer/New/Layer. Name this layer "Sky". This new layer will be put on top of the mountain layer. We will need it underneath the mountain layer. Click and drag the Sky layer so it is beneath the mountain layer.

You can play around with whatever colors you want to for the sky. I have used a purple color (9966FF) for the foreground color tile, and a very dark blue (000066) for the background color tile. Select the colors by clicking on the tile itself and choose from the Color Picker window.

Now we are going to apply a gradient to the sky layer. Depending on your picture, you might need to experiment a bit with how far to drag to get the proper gradient effect you are looking for. For my picture, I pulled from the bottom up to about 3/4 of the way up to get the picture below.

Next we will need to darken up the original photo so it looks more like twilight. Select Image/Adjustments/Brightness-Contrast. Depending on your picture you might need to play with this. Here are the settings that I used, and the result.

I think a little glow coming of the back of the mountains might look nice. Select Layer/Layer Style/Blending options. In the blending options window, use the settings shown below.

Alright, that looks pretty good. Now we need to add a moon. I am going to use a moon picture that I found on the internet. Google images is a good place to look for all kinds of images. Here is the picture that I am going to use for this project.

Use the Move Tool (Hotkey V) and drag the moon image onto the main project. Name the new layer "Moon". Now we need to blend the moon backgound in with our own. Do this by setting the moon layer to screen.

You also may need to resize the moon. To do this hit Edit/Transform/Scale. Drag one of the corne handles and drag while holding shift. I am also going to rotate the moon a bit. Do this by selecting Edit/Transform/Rotate, and move the handles around until it is rotated how you like. Here is what I have at this point.

Lastly, we need to create a bit of a reflection of the moon on the water. Right click on the moon layer and select Duplicate Layer and click OK. On the new copy of the new layer select Edit/Transform/Scale. Drag the top middle handle below the bottom handle to ceate a mirror effect.

Move the mirrored image straight down onto the water. Set the opacity of the layer to 70% and the fill to 40%.

Finally we will need to add a little water ripple to the reflected moon. Select Filter/Distort/Ripple. I set the amount at 100% and the size to small. And here is the final product.