This week I tried to make my photo look like it was taken at night under the moonlight…
Since I started out with a photo that was taken a little overexposed (and then modified) I had to do a bit of work to get it dark, but still retain visibility of the image. My original idea was to just put a blue wash over the image, but it required a few more tweaks to get it to the image above.
Below is a tutorial of how I accomplished this image. You will notice that many of the ‘tricks’ I used were things I’ve been doing for the past two months in the challenges, just applied to create a different effect. As I’m always saying, hopefully you’ll gain some knowledge from the tutorial about new concepts, and then experiment to apply them to your photos in new ways. You are only limited by your own imagination. 😀
You will need:
- A photo editor, I used GIMP*
- Your imagination
Moonlight Tutorial – Quick Glance:
*** The order of the layers does matter, keep this in mind as you create the new layers. ***
1.Create a New Layer (transparency), fill with a dark blue, change blend mode to Multiply.
This first layer will lay the foundation for the rest of the image… once we have a blue-wash over our photo we can see what needs to be done to make it look more like a moonlit night… Fill the layer with a dark blue (something night-like, I used the color picker tool on my current sky and then adjusted the V and S values until I liked the blue), Edit->Fill with FG Color. Then change the blend mode to Multiply.
2.Duplicate base layer, apply Colors->Hue-Saturation adjustments, change blend mode to Value.
I mainly reduced the saturation and the lightness in the master section, then I adjusted the cyan and blue in an attempt to darken the blue sky.
3.Duplicate hue-saturation layer, apply Hue-Saturation adjustments, change blend mode to Value (optional).
The sky wasn’t quite dark enough for me, so I applied another layer of hue saturation concentrating on cyan and blue lightness values…
4.Create a New Layer (white), change opacity to 50%, change blend mode to Color.
Ok we are getting close, but you know how things seem to be less colorful at night? This layer will reduce the saturation of the whole image…
5.Create a New Layer (transparent), fill with a dark brown, change blend mode to Multiply, add a Mask (black), paint in White the areas that need fixing, adjust the opacity to 70% (optional).
We are nearly there, I felt that the light on the trunks was a bit too much for night time, so I added a dark brown layer, added a black mask, then painted the areas on the trunks that were too bright with a white brush on the black mask. I changed the blend mode to multiply to make it darker, and I reduced the opacity to 70% to get the look I wanted…
6.Create a New Layer (transparent), using the gradient tool create a square gradient, change the blend mode to Overlay.
And now for the finishing touch. I still had some highlights from where the sun peeked through the leaves, so why not make it seem like it was a full moon? I added a gradient to make some of the image light and other areas dark… this layer was the most experimental (trial and error)… I originally started with a radial gradient up in the upper left hand corner down to the lower left hand corner, then continued to pull the gradient off the image… eventually I tried a square radiant and made the line I created go from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner… this one worked the best for this image…
Which will give you something like this…
don’t forget to change the blend mode to overlay…
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Lots of ‘tricks’ here that can be used in other ways, I hope you experiment with these concepts!
Until next time…
* GIMP is Open Source software that is available for all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), it is a photo editor that does many (if not all) of the things you can do in Photoshop. You can download it for free here. The GIMP online manual can be found here.
Like Wilber? You can get him here.
I have joined a month-long photo post-processing challenge called One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn at Captivate Me. “This challenge is about processing １ image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.” Every Monday Robyn posts a new version of her photo and challenges us to do the same each week.
17 thoughts on “One Four Challenge January Week 4 – (A GIMP Tutorial)…”
Cool. It does look like it’s a night shot, so: great editing.
Thanks, Cardinal! 😀
Gimp is a great free program!!! Well done and great explanation! I love the night shot!
Thanks, The Dune Mouse! I hope you try out the tutorial! 😀
Lovely edit and a great tutorial. I’ve not used gimp but I might have to try it out. 🙂
Thanks, A Fairy Mind! GIMP can be overwhelming (just like Photoshop can be), I’m hoping to take away some of the fear by not only showing how to get your photo to go from point A to B, but also by adding in shortcuts and helpful hints along the way to make your journey easier. 😀
You did a great job there … and very convincing. I enjoyed this post very much and learned a lot!
Thanks, Bastet! I’m glad so many people are seeing the moonlight effect as realistic. 😀 I hope you try out the tutorial.
I’m certainly going to try and follow it .. I’ve never tried Gimp .. I’ve pdfed your last two tutorials … and hope they help me get started using that program. Thanks for your efforts! And happy editing for next month!
Awesome! Let me know how it goes. 😀
I certainly will … just hope to get seriously started soon!
Hi Nic, great and realistic result – it really does look like a moon lit forest. And great tutorial again… I keep meaning to go back to your notes which are really useful. Thanks – Chris
Thanks, Chris! 😀 I do similar stuff each week, sometimes building on old ideas from before. Hopefully there is something to learn even if the end result isn’t what you want to do. 😀
It really does work, it looks like the moonlight is shining beautifully on the limbs. Great edit and incredible tutorial. Thank you for sharing so much!
Thanks, Carrie! I hope you try out the tutorial. 😀
Yes, I need some motivation to start working with GIMP. I see all the lovely layers and possibilities…just feeling a little overwhelmed by a new program. I just started learning Lightroom. I will pace myself, and remember your tutorial! I know it will come in handy.
I just recently got back into GIMP, I’ve been using Photoshop and wanted to see if I could do the same things in GIMP and so far I’ve been doing pretty good. I wanted to do GIMP tutorials because it is more accessible (it doesn’t recognize raw files, so you’ll have to convert to jpg in another program). I have Photoshop tutorials on here too, but I’m working on making the switch. So I totally understand getting overwhelmed by having to learn a bunch of programs at once. My tutorials will be here if you need them. 😀 I hope to make more in the future.