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Facing a New Day – Photoshop Manipulation

Facing a New Day – Photoshop Manipulation

Here is the tutorial I announced on the newsletter about a month ago. I couldn’t publish it before sorry. In this manipulation tutorial I will show you how to create a really nice sunrise scene. I will show you how to transform a day picture into a sunrise using some adjustment layers and gradient maps. Hope you enjoy. If you like this tutorial please stumble it.

Final result preview

Stock images used

Step 1

Start by opening the city stock image in Photoshop. You will need to get rid of the original sky and add your own. In order to do that you will have to use the Pen Tool (P) because there are some tall buildings on the background and the technique of using a soft brush to blend the buildings with the new sky will not work very well. So, crop the original sky and then place a new sky on a new layer below the background.

Step 2

Open the man stock image, crop it using the Pen Tool (P) and paste it on a new layer above the background and the sky layers. Resize if needed.

Step 3 – Background color matching

Ok, once you’ve done with that, start turning this into a sunrise scene. You can transform it into a nice night scene with a big bright moon and stars if you want. If you decide to do a night scene, read my “Beauty in the lake tutorial“, it might be useful because it teaches you how to create a night scene.

I took the sky as my guide to create the color and light for the rest of the elements. I just need to make adjustments to the background and to the man model to match the sky. I used the same Color Matching techniques explained on, the 2rd part of my “Manipulation Secrets” series.

The first thing to do is to make the background darker. All the layers that will affect the background are created as clipping masks and they are all in one group for easier identification.

So add a Curves Adjustment layer and increase a bit the dark tones. I also used the Gradient Tool (G) and created a black to transparent radial gradient to darken even more the buildings on both sides of the road while keeping the center brighter.

Next I just added more adjustment layers to achieve that yellowish tone on the background and match the sky color. On the images below you can see more details about these adjustment layers.

This is hot the image looks after applying all these adjustment layers.

Step 4

Using the Dodge & Burn Tool you can darken and lighten some buildings to create some nice light effects. Create a new layer above all the layers on the palette. Fill it with 50% Gray from the menu Edit>Fill. Set the layer’s blend mode to Overlay and then using the Dodge and Burn tool brush the dark and light parts of the building. Take a look at the images below.

If you really want to see how the Dodge/Burn affects the image, hover the mouse over the image below and see the before and after.

Step 5

Now let’s make some adjustments to the man as well. Create a new Gradient Fill adjustment layer as clipping mask and use the Black to Transparent preset. See image below.

Step 6

After adding the gradient shadow, it’s time to make some color adjustments to the man.  Use the same technique as shown on Step 3. Use a Color Balance adjustment layer to increase the yellows and increase the shadows and Midtones with a Curves adjustment layer.

Step 7

Almost there. All you need now are some general adjustments. I explained this over and over again so I will not do it again here. Basically, create a stamp with Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E and apply clipping mask adjustment layers.

As you can see on the picture on step 6, the image has too much red and orange so among my final adjustment layers is a Color Balance layer which I used to increase Cyans. I also added a vignette effect selecting the entire canvas and adding father to the selection. Then I inverted the selection and filled it with black.

I also added a flare effect. I created a new layer and I filled it with black, than I added a lens flare from Filter>Render>Lens Flare and then I changed the layer’s blend mode to Screen.

After that I created a stamp as mentioned above and added some lighting effects from Filter>Render>Lighting effects. You can learn more about Final adjustments on this tutorial and more about lighting on this other tutorial. See image below

Ok that’s all for now folks. If you to add a really interesting effect to this, just add some lens blur to the buildings and road, you’ll see how cool that will look.

I hope you liked this tut. If you did, please stumble it or share it with others. I will appreciate that.

Final result

About Andrei Oprinca

Yep that's me :) I like Photoshop and Spotify 2 years ago I said to myself I will fill this with some useful info about me but I never had the chance to do it XDDD


  1. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share.

  2. This is a 2 good post. This post gives truly quality information. I’m absolutely going to look into it. in fact very useful tips are provided here. thank you so much. Keep up the good works.

  3. very appreciated for this great tuts.

  4. Well done, good piece of information. Happy New Year to you all on the farm. Clipping Path

  5. link sky die @@

  6. this an very nice tutorial visit fendevils.blogspot.com

  7. Outstanding tutorial. Now I came to know how these images are made with Photoshop. Keep it up.

  8. Here is what i’ve made … i’m at the beginning at this job so i donno if you will like my work… https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=333782080083379&set=a.264117643716490.63192.100003547699516&type=1&theater

  9. Shadows aside, nice tutorial, thanks

  10. Umm my teacher used this as an example of a bad photo edit. The shadows dont even line up and you can use the shadows to figure out exactly where the real sun was. .-.

    • That means you have a good teacher because the shadows are totally off in this one. I didn’t pay too much attention on where the shadows were

      • Does this work with PSE? I’ve heard of expanding PS fncutionality with plug-ins but have never tried I pretty much import raw photos, adjust lighting, crop, and export.

        • I worked with Elements and you can do some nice work with it even though it has less feature that Photoshop. I’ts all about finding alternative tools to get the same results as in Photoshop.

          The color balance adjustment is not available for example so you cannot change the color of each channel but besides that I think you can get a pretty close result with it too

      • i did something similar all i did was go to EDIT > TRANSFORM > FLIP HORIZONTAL. THe end result is in reverse but the shadows almost match up perfectly.. Great tutorial Andrei your amazing!

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