Please help me paint a visually stunning sunset!
The human eye is naturally drawn to warm hues. You could compare yellow to light, orange to fire and red to blood – all things essential to our existence as human beings. If you associate this to the “golden hour” when the sky assumes vibrant reddish hues for a brief period of time during sunset (or sunrise), the result is the type of imagery that’s popular among artists and photographers.
When painting sunsets in Photoshop I make heavy use of the Color Dodge colour blending mode. The secret to making this colour mode work effectively is to start with a dark muted base – the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. The effect is then built up slowly so you don’t oversaturate the scene too early on.
Another important aspect to be aware of is what elements are in front of the sunset. They’ll assume the same colours of the sky, and if they have a strong silhouette – such as a castle – then this will add visual interest.
The detail of the tower is most prominent around its edges, which is a naturally occurring effect of back-lit scenes.