Sunday, 21 September 2014


The photo composition Starlight is a composite of a couple of photos.

Detail - Starlight


The background layer consists of the photo of a small hilltop covered by willows taken a couple of nights ago without a moon.

The mid ground is a castle I built a couple of years ago.  It is looking a bit the worse for wear and the spiders had got in.  I chose a silhouette to match the starlight night - the first picture had too much detail (thinking of using it with a moon).

Ensure you have a (sky) blue background and use the Photoshop cc.

Use the Quick Select tool to select and then cut the sky.  Then add the castle by copying into a layer with the background.  I then selectively deleted some of the castle wall to allow the tree shapes to reappear at the front of the castle - adding to that with brush strokes.  I then used the layer-Matting tool to achieve a seamless juncture of the two layers.

A couple of fires were added with a flame brush - together with ash, embers and smoke.

Flames can be tricky to add - flames show a lot of variation.  You need to add local reflections (in this case the fires cast a relatively small circle of light, which would have been largely out of sight, but which backlights the foreground tree/bush silhouette), smoke (where illuminated by other elements - the fire itself and other light sources), live embers (which tend to be in and below the prevailing drift of smoke), and ash (darker elements within the drift of smoke).

Fire - detail

I extended the smoke behind the castle layer to emphasise the silhouette.

The dodge tool helped brighten elements of the castle to reflect some of the fire and starlight.

Peter Quinton
September 2014

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