Make a night of it

James Pater­son trans­forms a day­time scene to night – com­plete with starry sky and glow­ing win­dows – with Pho­to­shop ton­ing and layer tricks

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Trans­form a day­time scene to night with ton­ing and layer tricks

This ef­fect will ap­peal if you’ve ever thought to your­self, “I wish this day would just end!” Us­ing sim­ple Pho­to­shop skills we can trans­form a sunny day­time scene to deep­est, dark­est night.

The purist would ar­gue that this is a point­less ex­er­cise. Why not just go back af­ter dark with a tri­pod and cap­ture the scene? Of course, this would be the best thing to do (not only would it be more re­al­is­tic, it would also prob­a­bly take less time). But there could be any number of rea­sons why this wouldn’t be pos­si­ble. Per­haps you won’t be able to re­turn at night, which was the case here – our visit to the Cuban town of Trinidad was just a quick half-day stop-off.

Be­sides, there are plenty of trans­fer­able skills on de­mand here that will hold you in good stead for all kinds of Pho­to­shop projects. If you’re new to Pho­to­shop then the tech­niques de­scribed op­po­site will in­tro­duce many fun­da­men­tal fea­tures, such as layer masks, ad­just­ment lay­ers and ton­ing. We’ll use masks to drop in a star-stud­ded sky, then ad­just the tones for a night-time hue. Fi­nally, we’ll add in bright high­lights to give the win­dows an invit­ing glow. These are all tools you can use to trans­port your own scenes, what­ever they may be. In this case we’ve changed the time of day, but equally you could use this tech­nique to trans­port a per­son or ob­ject to a com­pletely new place.

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