Take a Daylight Scene and Turn it Into a Night Scene with Glowing Lights

A subscriber from our portal site Tutorialsportal.com recently submitted a tutorial they wanted us to do so I set out to tackle it. The subscriber wanted us to take a picture of his motorcycle in the daylight, turn it into a night scene, and make the tail lights glow like the breaks are being pushed.

So this tutorial will show you how to take a daylight scene original picture and turn it into a night scene with glowing break lights and a starry night sky.

Here is the original image:

The subscriber also provided a picture to reference for how the break lights should look when they light up in the dark. This picture is of a different motorcycle.

Here is the reference image

The first thing I want to do is turn this into a night scene so I can get working on the tail lights. So open up the original image and duplicate the layer so you have two of them. Hide the first layer to have a backup for later. Duplicate the other layer one more time. So now you should have 3 layers altogether.

Next desaturate (turn black and white) the top layer by using the keyboard shortcut shift+ctrl+u. Once you do that change the desaturated layer’s opacity to 70%.

Create a new layer above that and fill it wtih a dark blue. I wlll use the color #001025. Set its blending mode to overlay.

That gives it a pretty good darker feel

That looks ok but I still think the ground around the bike looks too bright so create a new layer above the layer you just filled with dark blue and take a black soft brush and paint the ground all black.

Set your blending mode on that layer to soft light

That should give the ground a little darker feel

To finalize the dark feel of the picture I am going to use a soft eraser brush yet again with the color black and paint the sky black. So create a new layer, zoom in closer to the image to be accurate, and paint the sky black. Go ahead and cover up certain things in the image like some of the trees and buildings in the background. This will not effect the outcome of the image since the focus is on the motorcycle.

Next I will add stars to the sky. For this I will just use a brush I downloaded
here: http://bl1nx.deviantart.com/art/Star-Field-Brushes-26297294

This is a really nice brush pack of stars and this will make this part of the tutorial really easy.

Create a new layer and open your brushes. Choose different ones to get the effect you want. I am going to place different ones all over the sky. Make sure you choose the color white for the brushes.

Some co-workers of mine thought the stars looked too space like so I took their recommendation and added an image of a city at night. So instead of using all those stars I will bring the opacity down on that layer pretty far and erase some stars. Also I downloaded an image of a city that I will add into the background with the stars.

To finally finish off it being dark outside, the mirrors on the bike should be black since its night. So in a new layer I will use a regular brush and paint the inside of the mirror black and then the stars brushes to add some stars in the mirrors.

The picture still looks like it has some light on the ground, but just pretend it is the glow from the moon making the shadows on objects.

Now I will move on to the tail lights. First I will start out with the left, right, and middle tail lights.

For the left tail light create a new layer and grab your gradient tool. Make sure its set on radial gradient and choose a light yellow color (I chose #f1e6a6).

Put your gradient tool in the middle of the light and while holding shift drag down to make a rounded gradient. Do this multiple times to make the color less transparent.

For the next part of the glow on the same light create a layer underneath the yellow glow. Pick a mid red color I chose #a12635 and use the same technique as before except make this one bigger so the red glow comes out around the yellow glow.

Now merge those layers together, set the layers blending mode to “linear light”, and the fill to 90%:

My glow turned out to look like this:

Just duplicate that layer and move it over the other tail light.

For the middle light I will use a large 65px soft brush and paint the yellow on first then make a layer below that and paint the red using the same colors as before.

Merge those layers together yet again and set them to the same settings as the other lights.

Now if you look at the reference image you will notice on each side of the left and right small lights there is a neon light that goes across each side.

To make those choose a faint yellow color, almost white I chose #fcfddd. Also choose a 5px brush and then get your pen tool.

Create a new layer and with the pen tool make a line like this

Right click on it and choose “stroke path”. Make sure “simulate pressure” is not checked.

After creating the yellowish line add an outer glow to it with these settings:

To make these glows look a little more realistic I am going to make them have a glow above them on the actual bike. This is very simple, just create a new layer below the neon light and take a 35px soft brush and paint the same red we used before in that area. Then set the layer’s blending mode to multiply.

That same method does not work as well for the left light because of the lighting in the image. So to compensate I painted the same way as before, but added a gaussian blur to it instead and then erased parts of it with a soft eraser brush.

The last neon light you can see in the reference image is right below the symbol on the motorcycle. Its hard to see it in the image we have made so far. To see the spot I am talking about better just hide the layer that makes the image look like a night scene.

For that glowing bar use the pen tool to make a line across it

After you get that made, stroke the path and use the same settings as the other bars.

Next I want to make the glow from the bar I just made show on the tailpipes. Create a new layer and zoom in to the left tailpipe and using a 13px soft brush make 3 red streaks across it. I used almost a pinkish red color #ff7165.

Set that layer’s blending mode to multiply and you should have a red glow on the tailpipe

Do the same thing to the other tailpipe.

Now I am going to add some glow on the ground behind the bike from the lights. To do this I will use a large soft eraser brush with its opacity set pretty low and paint on the ground behind the bike.

So in a new layer use the same red color and paint on the ground

Set that layer to multiply and it will give a subtle glow on the ground

If you look in the reference image there is a red light streak going across the image.

To reproduce this I just used a soft brush again at a lower opacity and painted across the image until I got this result:

I realized there are some lights up on the building in the image to the left and since it is supposed to be a night scene I guess those lights should be on. So I took my elliptical shape tool and made 2 small circles where the lights are then made bigger circles around that with gaussian blur to make it glow. To make the light coming down I used my pen tool to make the shape of the light, filling it with a light yellowish color and fading it with gaussian blur and taking its opacity down.

Here is the final version

Hope this tutorial taught you something you didn’t know! Thanks!

By the way let me know if you find the Easter egg I put in the image. 🙂

By John Overbee

John Overbee is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network.

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