Creating the sky
Video: Creating the skyCreating the sky provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Bert Monroy as part of the Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 1
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Creating the sky provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Bert Monroy as part of the Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 1
Discover how to use Adobe Photoshop, without any added fine art skills, to modify artwork and turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Author and illustrator Bert Monroy takes an unexciting photo and transforms it into an amazing dream sequence by combining it with other photos and techniques. His process touches on compositing, digital painting, masking, and other key image editing techniques. All you need is Photoshop, some images that could use a boost, and your imagination!
- Creating alpha channels
- Isolating content with clipping groups and layer masks
- Turning a day sky into a night sky
- Compositing photos
- Creating tableaus
- Blending color and tone in combined images
- Painting in explosions
Creating the sky
In this movie we are going to take that black sky and give it some life, especially the moon that's casting these wonderful moon glows all over the street. To do that I am going to use two files that I have. One is this file of clouds. Now they are not very fancy clouds. It's just some clouds that I shot. I walked down the street and just see interesting things, and I take a picture. And clouds, I am always fascinated by clouds. So I just took these clouds. Nothing fancy, it doesn't matter. It's their shape that's important here. Then I went on the web, and I did a search for full moon, and I came up with this file here.
I made sure that it was file that was royalty free so that I could use it without anybody getting upset. And those two files right there are going to make up our night sky. First thing I'll do is I'm going to take our clouds right here and they are going to be put right in the scene right there. So let's get those clouds, and I'm going to take my Move tool and simply drag them into that scene right there. Now they are very large. I have not modified any of these images ahead of time just so you can see what happens in situations like this where the files don't quite match.
I need to resize those clouds to fit into that area. So I'm going to hit the F key, which is going to bring me to full-screen with the menus, and then I'm going to shrink it down a little bit so I can kind of see the whole scene there, and then I'm going to hit Command+T, which is going to bring up all the little controls for the actual dimensions of that file. I'm going to hold on my Shift key to constrain, and I'm going to shrink it down a bit right to that edge of the wall right there, and let's bring it over just a little and grab this side. Hold down that Shift key and drag it over just so I can go in there and start to get that size just the way I want it.
Let's shrink this down just a little more right there, bring it down, right in there, and maybe a little further down just like that, and there is our clouds. I'll hit Enter, make that happen, and you can see that, that file came right above the background which was selected at the time. So I'm going to get a little closer now and these clouds kind of look like daytime. So I'm going to go and make some adjustments to them. First thing I want to do is I want to go in there and get rid of the color that's there. So I'm going to go into my adjustments and go in to Hue/Saturation where I'm going to go in there and bring down the saturation so it just becomes kind of like just the black and white.
Not completely down just enough so that I'm getting rid of the strong blues. I click OK, and now I want some more contrast. So I'm going to go in there, and I'm going to go into another adjustment. I am going to go into my levels and in levels I'm going to go in and bring my blacks in, because I got really strong blacks and then bring my whites so that those whites are going to be really strong in this area here. Let's bring those mid tones in a bit more. There you go. So now we're getting these really strong clouds. It's starting to look like a night sky. So we're getting there. Now I click OK.
Now fortunately right here is that bright area, which is where my moon is going to be, right in that area there. Now I want to the moon to appear behind the clouds. So I'm going to click on the background so when I bring in that file, it's going to appear above the background, but behind the clouds. I'm going to turn off the eye for the clouds right now so that I could see my moon. So now that I have that I'm going to hit my F key right there and hit it again which brings me back to my Normal mode, and I'm going to go in there and find that moon file, right there, and I'm going to select it.
I'm going to use the elliptical selection tool, I'm going to just go in there and with the Option key and my Shift key to constrain it from the center out, I am going to draw a nice big circle like that. It doesn't have to be perfect. I just want to encompass most of the moon right there, right in there, that's good. Now I can copy this, because it's a fairly small file, or I can just go in there and copy it over like this by just dragging this. I'm holding down my Option and Command keys, and I'm going to drag it right into that scene there. Now hold it right in there. So I'm going to go in there and bring that. There is my moon, right there.
I'm going to put into position right up there where I want it, right up in that area there. Now it's a little larger than natural. This is not a fantasy, this is just a story that we are doing here. So I need to resize my moon. So I'm going to hit Command+T to bring up the transform tools and holding on my Shift key to constrain I'm going to make the moon much smaller up into that area right there and put it in position right where I want it, right about there, hit Enter so it falls in to place. There is my moon, which I'm now going to go in and start giving it some life.
In my background here, which is right now set to black and white. I'm going to reverse these two so that black is in the background and for the foreground I'm going to pick a blue right from my scene down here. I'm going to pick a nice bright blue like this one right here. Nice bright blue. That might be a little too strong. So I'm going to just bring it down just a little like that, click OK, but it's in the same family. So I got that blue and with my gradient tool, set to Radial gradient, I'm going to go right at center the moon and click and drag out like this, which is going to go to give me this nice kind of a glow, and I might want to make it a little bigger so I might just pull it out a little further. So I got a little bit more of a glow.
Now I want an actual glow around the moon itself. So I'm going to go in here, and let's start naming these layers. I'm going to start losing track. So I'm going this moon, and I'm going call this the clouds. In the moon layer I'm going to double-click on it to bring up the layer styles, and I'm going to go in there and give that a little outer glow. Tiny outer glow. So I'll make it a little bigger. So I get this little glow right around the moon there, and I don't want that yellowish tone. I'm going to go into the blues to make it a little lighter, click OK, and I get the nice little blue halo right around moon itself, click OK.
So now we got our moon, and we need our clouds back. So I'm going to click on the clouds, right there. Now they've completely hidden everything, but I have these light tones and what I want is I want those light tones that make up the clouds themselves to come through. So I'm going to go to the clouds layer, right there, and set the mode of those clouds to Screen so that now the moon shines through, and you get the nice blue glow from the sky behind, and now we are seeing that our sky is starting to look more like the night sky that we want. Now this area down here, we might want to darken that just a little bit, and that is in the clouds.
Still in that layer I'm going to go in there with my Burn tool--and make the size a little bigger--and I'm going to set it right now to Midtones, and I'm just going to go in there and just kind of touch that area very lightly like that just to darken that horizon back there a little more, and there we see that our sky has now come to life. In the next movie we're going to add life to the scene itself.
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