Day to night 2: mini tut for beginners

Started May 25, 2006 | Discussions
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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 10,011
Day to night 2: mini tut for beginners

The first tut

( http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1006&thread=18550924 ) focused on putting light in windows. This one deals with outside lights such as streetlamps. The techniques differ because the kind of light in each case is different.

I'll call them "diffuse light" and "direct light" (though those terms might not be technically correct). These cutouts from Steve's village shot illustrate the difference:

My definitions: If the light is filtered through a shade or curtain, as in these windows, that's diffuse light and is best created on a blank layer in hard-light blend mode. If the light illuminates details like the brick wall and planter above, that's direct light. Create it on a vivid light layer. (Sometimes color dodge mode will work better. It pays to experiment with both.)

As before, I'll do this with beginners in mind. This is a crop of Bill's photo of the Elms in Newport.

As before, for the "black night" layer I'm using a normal layer filled with black and reduced to about 82% opacity. Use your eye.

I'll do the lamp on the left first. For the direct light illuminating surrounding details, I'll add a blank layer, "direct 1," in vivid light mode. I'm zooming in and adding a guideline where I'll make the gradient. Here's what you should have at this point (without the guideline):

I've chosen a muted peach color for the gradient, EBD89E. It's a good idea to experiment with different hues at this point. Even small changes in hue and brightness can make big differences in how the light appears in the gradient. Experiment. It took me three or four tries before I hit on EBD89E as a good hue for this image.

As in the last tut, set the gradient to go from the foreground color to transparent, and click the icon for a radial gradient. Be sure the vivid light layer, "direct 1," is the active layer. Click the gradient tool at A, drag to B, and release. Here's what you should now see:

At this point it's important to look carefully at the details in the image and figure out where the light from that lamp would strike, and where it wouldn't. Given the lamp's position, it couldn't bend around that vertical corner on the left (our left) and illuminate the setback side of the portico. But it would reach the tops of the shrubs on the left. The lamp also wouldn't illuminate the sky and trees beyond the right vertical edge of the portico. So I'll use the polygonal tool to lasso those parts of the gradient and delete them. Here's where I lassoed and will delete:

Here's what's left of the gradient:

Now we need an indication of the light bulb. For that, make a new blank layer in hard light mode. I'm using the same peach color that I used for the gradient. Round brush, hard edge, 100% opacity, 5 px diameter. Zoom in on the lamp and click two or three times where the bulb would live. While I'm at it, I'll make a bulb for the other lamp on this same layer. Here's what you should have at this point:

Taking the same steps as before, I'll put a gradient on the second lamp. So I create a new blank layer, "direct 2," and set it in vivid light blend mode. Here's what we get:

Notice that this looks too bright (left). That's because the gradients overlap. Turn off the left gradient ("direct 1" layer) and you can see that the right gradient looks about right. So we'll need to come back and do some erasing where they overlap, until the brightness looks realistic. First I want to look at where the light falls to the right of the portico. It looks to me like the light would reach the tops of the shrubs on the right, but not the trees and sky behind them. So I'll select that area with the polygonal tool and erase that part of the gradient.

After that, I go back to the bright area where the gradients overlap. To correct that, I'll put a layer mask on the "direct 2" layer (you could used "direct 1" if you wanted to). With both gradient layers visible, I'll paint on the mask with a soft black brush low opacity (10% or less) until the too-bright overlap is dimmed enough to look realistic. If you take out too much gradient, switch to white and paint it back in. Before I start painting, here's what I'm working with:

After fixing the gradient overlap, one last touch. I'll add another blank vivid light layer, "direct extra," and touch in a little more direct light. Using a soft brush at very low opacity (2%), I'll put just a bit more illumination on top of the shrubs left and right of the steps, a little on the pavement in front, and just a fringe on that tree across the driveway. It looks to me like the light would catch that a little. Here's what I end with:

Four things I would emphasize for realistic results:

1. Try both vivid light and color dodge modes for the direct light (gradient) layers.

2. Experiment with small changes in color in these modes; they're very sensitive to color changes.

3. After you place a gradient, study the image closely and figure out where the light would fall and where it would be blocked by solid objects. Erase carefully wherever light should not reach.

4. After the gradients are in place, adjust opacity as needed for brightness. You can also use hue/sat to adjust the hue.

RayGuselli
RayGuselli Forum Pro • Posts: 14,727
Re: Day to night 2: mini tut for beginners

Peano

May I be first again!!!!

Great tutorial.

Now I must find street lamps to work on!!!!

Best wishes

Ray

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Shuk Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: Day to night 2: mini tut for beginners

Peano,
Thanks again for this Brilliant 2nd tutorial.
Now I can polish up on my trials.
I learned a heck of a lot from the first tut and enjoyed turning day into
a realistic and atmospheric night.
You've given me a lot of confidence with this.

Best
Steve H.

Ronny Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,102
Thanks Peano (nt)

no text

Wilkev Veteran Member • Posts: 3,711
Thanks Peano

It's a great tut. Haven't tried it yet, but I will.
We need Sam to convert this to a PDF as before.
Sam...you out there?
And thanks for using my pic! Looks great.
--
Regards,
Bill

Sal18 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,213
Thank you

You're an articulate, thorough, careful and generous teacher. These tuts are great!

Sal

SBriggs Contributing Member • Posts: 837
Thanks Peano :-) Here's the PDF link
Ronny Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,102
You inspire me....

and I had fun with this. A lot of mistakes but I didn't think it was too bad considering I used a laptop without a mouse! Got to get that tablet. Thanks again.

chas3000 Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: Day to night 2: mini tut for beginners

Excellent (again) Thanks!!

and thanks Sam for the pdf!

Ronny Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,102
Darn it....

Looked at it on my desktop. Too much red and saturation on the front of the building! Another overcooked piece of work. I have got to get these monitors calibrated!

Ronny

(unknown member) OP Forum Pro • Posts: 10,011
Re: Darn it....

Ronny Harris wrote:

Looked at it on my desktop. Too much red and saturation on the
front of the building! Another overcooked piece of work. I have
got to get these monitors calibrated!

Ronny

If you still have the psd file in layers, you can adjust hue/sat on the gradients and bring down the red. That's actually a good first effort, especially under the conditions you mentioned. Getting control of those gradients can be tricky.

Wilkev Veteran Member • Posts: 3,711
Thanks Sam! (nt)
-- hide signature --

Regards,
Bill

Kent C Forum Pro • Posts: 25,803
Re: Day to night 2: mini tut for beginners

Excellent and clear - the light's right - to borrow an expression

-- hide signature --

Kent

http://www.pbase.com/kentc
For prior discussions on most questions:
http://porg.4t.com/KentC.html
or d/l 'archives' at:
http://www.atncentral.com

Wilkev Veteran Member • Posts: 3,711
The Elms at night

I reworked my image of the Elms that Peano used in his tutorial (tx, Peano) to come up with this. It's dark, but night IS dark...
Any suggestions??
Thanks again for the tutorial Peano, good stuff!!
--
Regards,
Bill

Here's the daytime shot for reference if anyone wants to practice with it...

vabirdy Contributing Member • Posts: 756
Need a PS-to-GIMP translation, please ...

GIMP does not have a "vivid light" mode. It does have "hard light", "soft light", and "Dodge".

Can you please explain what the vivid light mode does so I can try to find an equivalent in GIMP?

Thanks for the great tutorials! I'm really enjoying them.

(unknown member) OP Forum Pro • Posts: 10,011
Re: Need a PS-to-GIMP translation, please ...

vabirdy wrote:

GIMP does not have a "vivid light" mode. It does have "hard
light", "soft light", and "Dodge".

Can you please explain what the vivid light mode does so I can try
to find an equivalent in GIMP?

Here are a few explanations.
http://www.arraich.com/ref/tool_blend_mode_vividlight.htm
http://www.digitalartform.com/blendModes.htm
http://www.uwec.edu/help/PhotoshopCS2/blendmodes.htm
http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2004/09/08/vivid-light-blending-mode/

Ronny Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,102
Wow!

What a difference a Pro makes! That is so realistic looking. I would love to know how you did the windows.....did you select out the panes first ie. pen tool or something like that? Or, did you mask out the yellow from the grids. How did you get the light on the columns and shadows so right. Now to make it perfect, get rid of the daylight shadows on the curtains. Just kidding.

Ronny

(unknown member) OP Forum Pro • Posts: 10,011
Re: The Elms at night

Wilkev wrote:

I reworked my image of the Elms that Peano used in his tutorial
(tx, Peano) to come up with this. It's dark, but night IS dark...
Any suggestions??

Bill, this is excellent. I like the color you used on the porch lights better than what I did in the tut. Looks more realistic. Good job!

Wilkev Veteran Member • Posts: 3,711
Re: Wow!

Thanks, but give all the credit to Peano for his methods and tutorials. The windows were done by following his other tutorial here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1006&message=18550924 .
Sam Briggs made a PDF of this tut also (see his post for link).
Regards,
Bill

Ronny Harris wrote:

What a difference a Pro makes! That is so realistic looking. I
would love to know how you did the windows.....did you select out
the panes first ie. pen tool or something like that? Or, did you
mask out the yellow from the grids. How did you get the light on
the columns and shadows so right. Now to make it perfect, get rid
of the daylight shadows on the curtains. Just kidding.

Ronny

Wilkev Veteran Member • Posts: 3,711
Re: The Elms at night

Thanks. Did quite a bit of masking and a few extra layers of work, but I think "it's there", thanks to you!
Regards,
Bill

Peano wrote:

Wilkev wrote:

I reworked my image of the Elms that Peano used in his tutorial
(tx, Peano) to come up with this. It's dark, but night IS dark...
Any suggestions??

Bill, this is excellent. I like the color you used on the porch
lights better than what I did in the tut. Looks more realistic.
Good job!

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