Photoshop Tutorial: Create a Beautiful Night Scene with Mystic Silhouettes



From this tutorial you will learn how to create a lovely starry night scene with shiny moon, mystic silhouettes of buildings and bats in the sky. You don’t need some special drawing skills as all shapes are created without painting. The whole image is a result of using Pen Tool, Rectangle and Rounded Rectangle Tool as well as Polygon Tool for the stars and Elliptical Marquee Tool for the moon. Lots of Layer Styles are used to give the objects volume, texture and glow.


End result:
Create a Beautiful Night Scene with Mystic Silhouettes Final Image

Author:
avatar CorneliaMladenova

Views: 40613
Score: 10 / 10
Author earned: $50
Practice tutorial

Step 1

Create a new .psd document and set Image Size to 4000px of Width and 3000px of Height, Resolution 72 px/inch.
Click twice on Background in Layers Palette to turn it into an editable layer. As the layer will be automatically named Layer 0, rename it Gradient.
Change Foreground Color to #4b0a4e and Background Color to #9f6caf.
Pick Gradient Tool and select Foreground to Background Linear Gradient. Draw the Gradient from top to bottom of the canvas.
While Gradient layer is selected, press Ctrl+G or go to Layer, Group Layers and call the new group Background.


Step 2

Create a new layer above Gradient layer and call it Clouds. Change Foreground Color to #cad4dd and Background Color to #05090c.
While the new Clouds layer is highlighted, take Rectangular Marquee Tool and draw a small triangle as you see on the screenshot.
Go to Filter, Render, Clouds. Now you see your triangle filled with clouds shaded in Fore-and Background color we chose.
Keep the selection of this filled with clouds rectangle. We’ll continue to manipulate it in the next step.


Step 3

It would be better to make the clouds thicker so go to Filter, Render, Difference Clouds. Press Ctrl+F a few times to repeat the filter until you get something resembling my screenshot. Press Ctrl+D (or go to Select, Deselect) to remove the selection.


Step 4

In this step we are going to increase the size of our rectangle full with clouds. Go to Edit, Free Transform and holding down Shift move one of the anchor points so that to cover the canvas. The image still doesn’t look that attractive and the beautiful background gradient gets invisible, but in the next step we’ll improve it.


Step 5

Change Blend Mode of Clouds layer to Soft Light and reduce its Opacity to 90%.
Well, we prepared our misty and cloudy background and the sky is ready for some “evil” bats silhouettes.


Step 6

This and the next two steps are optional. Our task is to add some bats to make the starry night look a bit spooky. For the purpose you can use ready brushes downloaded from the web- there is plenty of bats and Halloween brushes if you are interested to use them.
I preferred to draw the bat myself. If you like to follow me, create a new layer on top of Background group. Still don’t give it a name, we’ll do it later.
Take Pen Tool in Paths Mode and start drawing the bat. You can draw the whole flying mouse or only half of it if you don’t feel that confident with Pen Tool. I found it easier to draw half of it. When ready, right click on the path, select Fill Path, choose black color and press OK.


Step 7

Duplicate the bat layer (half bat layer better to say ;) ) and with the duplicated layer selected, go to Edit, Transform, Flip Horizontal. Move the horizontally flipped duplicate to fit the original. If you are satisfied with the black bat silhouette, merge both halves (highlight both layers, right click and select Merge Layers).


Step 8

While the bat layer is selected, go to Edit, Free Transform and scale down the bat. Duplicate it twice and scale down the copies too. Arrange them on the background as you see on the screenshot.
Select all three bat layers and merge them. Call the new layer Bats and place it on top of Background group.


Step 9

Above Background Group create a new layer called Front Hills. Set Foreground Color to black (press D key), take Pen Tool in Paths Mode and draw some hills. When ready, right click on the path, select Fill Path and press OK.


Step 10

We need to apply some layer styles to give the hills colorful shades and relief. Right click on the layer, select Blending Options and firstly check Bevel and Emboss. Change the settings as follows:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 103%
Direction: Up
Size: 250px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Screen
Color: # 0e689a
Opacity: 18%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #000000
Opacity: 0%

Still don’t close Layer Style window, instead check Inner Shadow and enter these settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Color: #feff5b
Opacity: 4%
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Distance: 178px
Choke: 0%
Size: 250px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Noise: 0%

Press OK button in Layer Styles window to apply the layer styles.

While the Front Hills layer is selected, press Ctrl+G (Layer, Group Layers and call the new group Hills.


Step 11

Create a new layer called Front Right Hill and position it below Front Hills layer in Hills group. Draw a smaller hill shape with Pen Tool and place it as you see on the following screenshot.
We won’t apply new layer styles on this layer, instead we’ll take the same Bevel&Emboss and Inner Shadow from the previous layer.
So, highlight Front Hills layer, right click and select Copy Layer Style. Move to Front Right Hill layer below, right click on it and select Paste Layer Style.

I have switched off Background group and replaced it with white background color for a better visibility. See the next step’s screenshot to get a better impression how your image should look.


Step 12

If you have followed properly all previous eleven steps, you’ll have the following image on your canvas.


Step 13

Create a new layer and place it below all layers in Hills group. Call it Back Hill 1.
Use Pen Tool (Foreground Color #170024) and draw a hill shape resembling the hill shown on my screenshot below.


Step 14

Don’t change your #170024 foreground color. In this step we’ll add buildings to bring some life to the hills.
You can use freebies for the purpose - there are plenty of buildings and industrial brushes all over the web. I prefer to do the things myself that’s why I created all buildings silhouettes by means of Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle (Radius 10px), Ellipse and Pen Tool.
No matter if you use ready brushes or your own shapes, do it on a separate layers (preferably placed above Back Hill 1 layer).
When you are ready with all buildings and houses, arrange them to fit the hill curve as you see on the screenshot. The best way to move, rotate and position the buildings on the hills is to use Edit, Free Transform.
Highlight all buildings layers together with the Back Hill 1 layer, right click and select Merge Layers. The new merged layer should be automatically named Back Hill 1 if you have placed all building elements on layers above the hill.


Step 15

While Back Hill 1 layer is selected, right click on it, select Blending Options, firstly check
Bevel and Emboss and enter these settings:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 103%
Direction: Up
Size: 250px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Screen
Color: # a4a30b
Opacity: 16%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #000000
Opacity: 0%

Check also Inner Shadow in Layer Styles window and enter the following settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Color: #fbfe65
Opacity: 4%
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Distance: 178px
Choke: 0%
Size: 250px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Noise: 0%


Step 16

Create a new layer called Back Hill 2 and position it at the bottom of Hills group. Set Foreground color to #1d0430 and draw a new two-humped hill with Pen Tool as per the following screenshot.


Step 17

Don’t change for now #1d0430 Foreground color. On new layers draw again some buildings using Pen Tool, Rectangle Tool and Ellipse Tool. Position them on the hill then merge all their layers together with Back Hill 2 layer.


Step 18

We are going to add some relief and volume on this second background hill by means of layer styles. Right click on Back Hill 2 layer, select Blending Options, firstly check Bevel and Emboss and enter these new settings:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 103%
Direction: Up
Size: 240px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Color Dodge
Color: # 006dae
Opacity: 81%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #000000
Opacity: 0%

Check Inner Shadow too and enter these settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Color: #fffc61
Opacity: 4%
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Distance: 178px
Choke: 0%
Size: 250px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Noise: 0%


Step 19

Create a new layer called Windows and place it on top of Hills group. Now use Pen Tool to give the buildings some windows. Choose light Foreground colors, I preferred: #f2f4ff, #ffff93, #d1f1fc, #fcd2e8, #ffeab1, #cbc78a. Then decided to darken some of the windows- for the purpose used Eraser Tool of 30% Opacity and brushed over randomly chosen windows.


Step 20

We could make the windows shinier. Right click on their layer, select Blending Options, Outer Glow and enter these settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 75%
Noise: 0%
Color: # ffffba
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0%
Size: 49px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Range: 50%
Jitter: 0%


Step 21

Above Hills group create a new layer and call it Lines. Take Line Tool of 3px Weight and Fill Pixels Mode then draw 6 lines as you see on the screenshot. Choose light colors, I used the following colors for my lines from right to left: #d9b59b, #f8d68e, #dbc071, #dfa3df, #c590a0.
To make these sky lines glowing, right click on the layer and choose Blending Options, Outer Glow: Leave all settings by default, only reduce Size option to 3px.
While Lines layer is highlighted, press Ctrl+G and call the new group Hanging Stars.


Step 22

In this step we’ll start adding big stars hanging from the sky.
Firstly select Polygon Tool in Shape Layers Mode. Open the fly-out menu of Polygon Tool Geometry Options, check Star, then in Indent Sides By insert 70%. In Sides option insert 7.
Change Foreground color to #fcfdad. Draw your light yellow star and move it to the fifth line (from right to left). Right click on this star shape layer and from the menu choose Rasterize Layer.


Step 23

In this step we should add a star to each line. Choose a various light colors.

I used the following colors and Polygon Tool parameters for the stars (from right to left):

Star 1: color #fcd1ff; Sides: 7; Indent Sides By: 50%

Star 2: color #f9cdfe; Sides: 7; Indent Sides By: 90%

Star 3: color #f9ffd6; Sides: 8; Indent Sides By: 90%; check Smooth Corners in Polygon Geometric Options.

Star 4: color #d8f9ff; Sides: 7; Indent Sides By: 80%, check Smooth Corners

Star 5: color #f8ffa2; Sides: 7; Indent Sides By: 70% (we made it in the previous step)

Star 6: color #ffe8a4; Sides: 7; Indent Sides By: 50%


Step 24

Select Star 1 layer in your Hanging Stars group, right click on it, select Blending Options and firstly check Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 13px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # fdee8e
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #c89e0c
Opacity: 45%

Check also Texture option in Layer Style window (under Bevel and Emboss layer style) to add relief to the star. Enter the following settings:

Pattern: Optical Squares Texture

Note: to choose Optical Squares Texture, click on the tiny black arrow symbol of Pattern thumbnail to open patterns swatches. If Optical Squares is not appended, click on the tiny black arrow of the swatches window and choose Patterns from the menu. In the dialog box click Append button.

Scale: 55%
Depth: -22%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

The last style we are going to apply on this Star 1 is Gradient Overlay:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: Green, Yellow, Orange (from Pastels gradients set)
Reverse: Unchecked
Style: Radial
Align with Layer: checked
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 134%


Step 25

It is the Star 2 turn to get some layer styles. Right click on its layer, select Blending Options and choose Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 164%
Direction: Up
Size: 13px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # efa4ff
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #0f2fa6
Opacity: 47%

Next, check Texture in Layer Styles window and change the default settings like this:

Pattern: Streaks (from Patterns 2 set)
Scale: 39%
Depth: -18%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

It is time to add some color to this star, so check Gradient Overlay and apply these settings:

Blend Mode: Color
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: Magenta, Green, Yellow (from Color Harmonies 2 gradients set)
Reverse: Checked
Style: Radial
Align with Layer: checked
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 149%


Step 26

Move to Star 3 layer. Right click and change the settings of the following 3 layer styles:

1. Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 13px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # fdee93
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #ce9b0e
Opacity: 45%

2. Texture (the same applied on Star 2 layer):

Pattern: Streaks
Scale: 39%
Depth: -18%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

3. Gradient Overlay:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: Brass (from Metals set of gradients)
Reverse: Unchecked
Style: Radial
Align with Layer: checked
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 134%


Step 27

On Star 4 layer apply these layer styles:

1. Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 13px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # fdee93
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #cb9f02
Opacity: 45%

2. Texture:

Pattern: Satin (from Patterns set)
Scale: 65%
Depth: -10%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

3. Gradient Overlay:

Blend Mode: Linear Burn
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: Yellow, Green, Blue (from Pastels set of gradients)
Reverse: Checked
Style: Radial
Align with Layer: checked
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 98%


Step 28

Select Star 5 layer and change the settings of Bevel and Emboss, Texture and Gradient Overlay layer styles as following:

1. Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 113%
Direction: Up
Size: 21px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # fcec9f
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #d19719
Opacity: 45%

2. Texture:

Pattern: Strings (from Patterns set)
Scale: 39%
Depth: -14%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

3. Gradient Overlay:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: Chrome (from Metals set)
Reverse: Checked
Style: Radial
Align with Layer: checked
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 53%

Note: The size of the respective shape influence the layer style effects. If you have created smaller or bigger star than mine the effects applied may not look the same as on the screenshot. You may have to play with these gradient settings, especially with Scale option until you achieve that star flower effect- you see on the screenshot that the radial chrome gradient makes the star shape looking like a flower with blue and yellow petals and brownish stamens.


Step 29

On the last Star 6 layer apply Bevel and Emboss, Texture and Gradient Overlay layer styles too:

1. Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 113%
Direction: Up
Size: 21px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # ffed91
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #c5a011
Opacity: 45%

2. Texture:

Pattern: the same Strings pattern applied on the previous Star 5 layer.
Scale: 39%
Depth: -14%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

3. Gradient Overlay:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: Magenta, Yellow (from Color Harmonies 2 gradients set)
Reverse: Checked
Style: Radial
Align with Layer: checked
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 76%


Step 30

Create a new Group above Background one and name it Moon and Stars.
Create two layers in this new group, call the bottom one Moon and the other- Stars.
Firstly select Moon layer. Set Foreground Color to #fdfdc1, grab Elliptical Marquee Tool from your Tools palette and while holding Shift, draw a perfect circle. To color it go to Edit, Fill, select Foreground Color from the drop down menu and press OK. Now you’ll get a nice pale yellow circle. If you prefer full moon to a crescent one, leave the circle as it is. I decided to place a golden crescent on my sky.
If you like to draw a moon like mine, draw another smaller circle with Elliptical Marquee Tool over the upper right part of the moon and press Delete key.
Now the moon crescent is ready.


Step 31

The moon looks beautiful but still a bit flat. In order to make the crescent more attractive, right click on Moon layer and select Blending Options. Firstly change Bevel and Emboss settings:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 109px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Soft Light
Color: # fbf932
Opacity: 100%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #66540a
Opacity: 28%

Secondly, check Satin and insert these settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: #feeb9f
Opacity: 100%
Angle: 19 degrees
Distance: 9px
Size: 144px
Contour: Ring – Triple
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Invert: checked

The third layer style to apply is Texture:

Pattern: Wax Crayon on Charcoal Paper (from Artists Surfaces patterns set)
Scale: 1000%
Depth: 2%
Invert: unchecked
Link with Layer: checked

Still don’t close Layer Style window as we have to apply two more styles in the following step.


Step 32

Select Inner Shadow in Layer Style window and change its settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: # 581a0b
Opacity: 56%
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Distance: 5px
Choke: 0%
Size: 141px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Noise: 0%

Of course, it is better to add a touch of glow to the moon crescent. Check Outer Glow and add these settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 75%
Noise: 9%
Color: # d9df3f
Technique: Softer
Spread: 8%
Size: 250px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Range: 50%
Jitter: 0%


Step 33

Select Stars layer, take Polygon Tool (check Star in Geometry Options) and add stars with various number of sides. Play also with Indent Sides By and Smooth Corners options.
I chose a few light colors for my stars: #ffea60, #d4ffff, #ecb187, # f8f4f5, #8b90b0.


Step 34

Keep Stars layer highlighted, right click and select Blending Options. Firstly tick Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 5px
Soften: 0px
Angle: 120 degrees
Use Global Light: checked
Altitude: 30 degrees
Gloss Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Highlight Mode: Screen
Color: # ffffff (white)
Opacity: 75%
Shadow Mode: Multiply
Shadow Color: #000000 (black)
Opacity: 33%

To make the stars shinier, tick also Outer Glow layer style:

Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 29%
Noise: 0%
Color: # ffffbe
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0%
Size: 100px
Contour: Linear
Anti-aliased: unchecked
Range: 50%
Jitter: 0%


Step 35

This is the final look of our Big Stars image.
Don’t forget that it is not necessary to follow all steps of this tutorial, you can use it only as guidelines to make something far more creative. For example, a cool broom riding witch could be added to the sky if you want to make a Halloween night image.



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14 Comments:

no avatar
[banned] says:

its a beautiful Cornelia!

(5 years and 129 days ago)
avatar dekwid
dekwid says:

yes, beautiful......very nice result.....

(5 years and 128 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Awesome! Very detailed tutorial, I like it very much!

(5 years and 127 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Love the tutorial on the creating a Big Stars Night. Took me a bit to get it done but I love the step by step instructions. Thanks.
Alan Luis

(5 years and 126 days ago)
avatar CorneliaMladenova

Thak you very much, Nisha and Dek

(5 years and 126 days ago)
avatar Akassa
Akassa says:

Amazing work Cornelia You're very good at making tutorials!

(5 years and 125 days ago)
avatar George55
George55 says:

That is another beautiful work and informative SBS. Thanks for sharing your tutorial witrh us.

(5 years and 123 days ago)
avatar CorneliaMladenova

Thanks a lot for the support, Akassa and George

(5 years and 120 days ago)
no avatar
alex says:

Bravo! I love the result! It reminds me of world of goo. Lol

(5 years and 120 days ago)
avatar nbaztec
nbaztec says:

Excellent tut.

(5 years and 117 days ago)
no avatar
ashok says:

i like it, it tells very deep and good way.

(5 years and 105 days ago)
avatar billyboy
billyboy says:

Thank you, Cornelia.
http://www.pxleyes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4102&p=51007#p51007
Billy

(5 years and 75 days ago)
no avatar
steven says:

I don't totally agree with everybody...it's a good project but I think the tutorial itself needs explanation. It's nice to have a list of effects with parameters....but where's the hearth in that? It's just my opinion but all the thinking you did to make this piece, you should share with us rather than shoot effects and values... Make it more of a learning experience, not following a plan.

(4 years and 185 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

beautiful

(4 years and 98 days ago)


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