Transform a day photo into a creepy night one

In this tutorial we are going to change the mood of a photo. I have taken this photo of a building from imageafter and changed it from a nice clear day to dark and creepy. This tutorial shows that with a few techniques you can drastically change the look of a photo and have it fit any project you need. Enjoy!


creepy night photo



Step 1

First off we are going to grab an image. You can either use the one here or use one of your own. Try to get a photo with a building and with some kind of light source, like the lamp post in the photo I have.


creepy night photo



Step 2

We want to change the sky, because the current one is just too calm for what we want. So I found some nice sky photos at Lost and Taken that we can use.

Download the cloud pack and grab one of the photos. I am going to use IMG_7055.JPG for mine. Drag the cloud image into your document, name the new layer “clouds” and size it so it is approximately the same width as your document. Change the layers blending mode to multiply.


creepy night photo



Step 3

Lets add a mask to the cloud layer.


creepy night photo



Step 4

Use your magic wand tool to select all of the blue sky. You can adjust your tolerance depending on if your wand is selecting too much or too little, I adjusted mine between 12 and 32. Also on the left side I got rid of the antenna thing sticking up by using the rectangular marquee tool and holding shift.


creepy night photo



Step 5

Do apple + shift + i to select the inverse of your selection. Click on the masked part of your clouds layer and fill it with black. This will get rid of all the clouds that were overlaying the buildings.


creepy night photo



Step 6

Lets adjust the color of the buildings so it blends in with the sky in the background. Go into hue/saturation using apple + u and change your photo to something like the settings below.


creepy night photo



Step 7

Now we are going to go into our levels (apple + L) adjust to the settings below to give it a look like the sky is reflecting off the buildings as it does in real life.


creepy night photo

creepy night photo



Step 8

The buildings are still light so we want to go in with the burn tool to darken. First I am going to make a duplicate of the building layer with apple + j, just in case I make a mistake. The reason I use the burn tool instead of using something like the levels or curves is because we have more control over individual areas. I am going to set my burn tool at 50% opacity, and a size around 200px. Play with the opacity, brush sizes and with the mid tones, highlights and shadows.


creepy night photo



Step 9

After a quick burning, we want to go in and check our edges that touched our sky and get rid of the light blue from the sky that may still be there. For this we are going to use the burn tool again and darken the edges until there is no more blue sky showing. We are going to load the sky mask by holding down apple and clicking on the mask. Then do apple + i to get the inverse. We are doing this so we don’t burn the sky, just the edges. You can do apple + h to hide the marquee so you can see better. Make sure you are using the highlight option.


creepy night photo



Step 10

I went through and darkened my buildings a little more because I felt they were still too bright. Now, lets create a new layer (apple + shift + n), and call it shadows. Change the blending mode to multiply and the opacity to 50%. Now lets grab the brush tool, set the diameter to 45px and the hardness to 0%.


creepy night photo



Step 11

Now, start following the edges and shadows with the brush. You’ll probably have to change brush sizes for different parts, to change the size you can just press ] to make it bigger and [ to make it smaller.


creepy night photo



Step 12

At anytime, since I duplicated the house layer I can go back into the one I darkened and drop down the opacity if I think it is too dark. So for mine I dropped my opacity down to 88% to lighten it a little.


creepy night photo



Step 13

Now we are going to give the lamp a little light. Go into your color palette and pick out a yellowish color, like below.


creepy night photo



Step 14

Create a new layer called “lamp light”. Start painting with your brush in where the light bulb would be and change the blending mode to vivid light.


creepy night photo



Step 15

Now we are going to create a light beam coming off of the light. Create a new layer called light beam and drag it to the top of your layers. Now select your lasso tool and draw in a beam of where the light would go.


creepy night photo



Step 16

Select your gradient tool and change the options so that it goes from yellow to nothing. Now click and drag your gradient so that it doesn’t go past the bottom of your lasso area. Change your blending options to screen and the opacity to 30%. Now go to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use the settings below.


creepy night photo



Step 17

Now we want to create an area on the ground where the light is reflecting. Create a new layer called “light ground” and select the elliptical marquee tool. Draw an oval on the ground and fill it will the yellow. Then press apple + f to repeat the filter we used before. If there isn’t enough blur you can do apple + f again to get more blur. Adjust the blending mode to screen and the opacity to 30%.


creepy night photo



There you have it. You can keep playing with it until you get something more interesting. Play with it, have fun with it. If you have one of your own send a link in the comments section. Here is my final outcome



Final Result

creepy night photo


Use your night photography photos to create high quality photo magnets with

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    This is an excellent tutorial.

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    That is like so totally awesome!!

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    Ooh that does look creepy, which is great! You totally achieved what you set out to do. Now let’s hope I’ll be able to do as well as you did. That’ll definitely take some practice. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

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    the light lamp part is interesting! thanks!

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    its totally mind blowing……….amazing……..nice work dude…..just amazing

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