PiXimperfect Day Into Night feature image

How to turn day into night in Adobe Photoshop, with PiXimperfect

April 12, 2023

Maybe you’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for a while, or maybe you’re just getting started. There are many ways to do every type of edit in the software, as well as all kinds of tips, tricks, and hacks to do things more simply and easily.

In this tutorial, Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect demonstrates how to overhaul a photograph’s lighting in Adobe Photoshop – literally turning a photo from day into night! Check out the video below for the Adobe Photoshop tutorial, or read on for a summary of how to achieve the effect.



Lighting is one of the most important skills for photomanipulation, right up there with basic perspective. Knowing how to match light and color grading with an existing scene, or create an entire new lighting scheme over the objects you’ve photoshopped together, is essential for photo editing.

This 21-minute masterclass on creative adjustment layer use by Piximperfect’s Unmesh Dinda goes deep into developing the skill. He covers the whole process of altering a photo’s lighting by pulling off the most dramatic change possible: turning day into night. Then he paints extra light over the subject himself with a neat trick involving the Curves tool … and a Wacom tablet.

1. Creating the base

Before you start painting in details by hand, you essentially need to relight and recolor the whole image first. One thing to remember with photomanipulation is that although some changes can be very complicated, any light and color adjustments are as simple as adding a few adjustment layers and tweaking the sliders, so don’t be afraid to experiment with various lighting scenarios.

Although there are myriad ways to do it in Adobe Photoshop, Dinda relies on adjustment layers to make the changes nondestructively. Specifically, he uses Color Lookup Tables along with the “Blend If” function. By doing this a few times and adjusting the settings, you can get the exact effect you’re looking for.

Day Into Light tutorial image 1

2. Painting the light

Dinda’s method for painting in the light areas is so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it: first, he creates a Curves Adjustment layer and cranks up the brightness until the picture is overexposed. Then he adds a layer mask, clears it so none of the effect is visible, and paints in only the parts where there should be highlights. Just as if he was painting, he uses pen pressure to control flow, as well as his impressive knowledge of lighting and form to define the elephant’s face with light and shadow placement. And at the end, he does the same thing, just with the curves turned down, for the shadows.

Day Into Light tutorial image 2

3. Adding more brightness and shadow

In the subsequent section, he does the same thing to the background, creating a Curves adjustment layer over it with the elephant masked out, then using large, soft brushes to paint light across swaths of the grass behind it.

Day Into Light tutorial image 3

4. Calibration overlays

This is a fancy term for “more adjustment layers.” For this step, Dinda shows us another adjustment layer hack commonly used to create ambient light: he creates a white-to-transparent gradient on a new layer, then moves the top above the frame so it looks like there’s moonlight coming down from off-camera.

Day Into Light tutorial image 4

5. Dramatic mist brush

Finally, he shows us how to paint mist with some very judicious use of a fog brush from an Envato Elements pack. Effective use of these kinds of subtle, transparent brushes is a crucial skill for expert Adobe Photoshop users, but he demonstrates how simple it can be, enlarging the brush size up to the size of the canvas itself, then clicking just once to add a cloud of vapor over the whole image.

Day Into Light tutorial image 6

Final words

By the end of this process, Dinda has turned a neutrally-lit daytime shot into a dramatic foggy moonlit night. This being one of the most dramatic overall lighting transformations possible, each of the individual techniques he teaches here will also be useful in making smaller adjustments to other photographs. Just remember how much of your lighting Curves and Color Adjustment Layers can handle on their own.

Key tip:

While it is possible to do edits like this with a mouse or trackpad, it is much more difficult – using a Wacom tablet will make everything much more feasible. Adobe Photoshop brushes are very sensitive, so the best Flow setting for digital painting is just 5 to 10%, depending on how fast you want to apply color. Pen pressure can also be set to control Opacity and Flow at once, so that when you press it to the tablet lightly, the resulting stroke will be even fainter and subtler than if it were only controlling one.

Before:

before

After!

Day Into Night After
Wacom Movink pen display

Related posts:

How to ensure your electronic signatures are legally binding and enforceable

How to ensure your electronic signatures are legally binding and enforceable

How to “magically” remove glare from glasses in Adobe Photoshop, with PiXimperfect

How to “magically” remove glare from glasses in Adobe Photoshop, with PiXimperfect

Three ways to use your Wacom One pen tablet, with Joli Noelle David

Three ways to use your Wacom One pen tablet, with Joli Noelle David

How to magically change the focus of photos in Photoshop with Colin Smith

How to magically change the focus of photos in Photoshop with Colin Smith

Connect with Wacom on social media

Curious about which program is best for drawing vector graphics in 2024? Visual artist @studio_viv has you covered! 🙌⁣
⁣
Head to the #WacomBlog to see how Vivienne designs a book cover in Adobe Illustrator vs. Affinity Designer using Wacom One M. ✍ ⁣
⁣
Link in bio!⁣
#wacom #design #designer #graphicdesign #vector #digitalart #artprocess⁣
231 9
WACOM HACK UNLOCKED 🔓

Learn how to customize your pen and change the brush size in just two  steps ✍️

Discover all the amazing features about your Pen in the link in bio!

#WacomOne #WacomPen
441 3
For a creative professional team like @parasolisland , efficiency and productivity is key to deliver the best results to their clients 🚀

For years they were using pen tablets and pen displays in combination with high-end monitors, and today they can reduce all of that into one single device: the New Wacom Cintiq Pro.

Thanks to the excellent colour accuracy of the Cintiq Pro 27, this makes a big difference on their workflow.

Get in touch with our enterprise team in the link in bio.

#WacomCintiqPro #Animation
193 5
Exciting news for all creatives! 🚀

💫 Join Wacom at Playgrounds for a celebration of design, animation, and gaming craftsmanship! @tad.playgrounds @weareplaygrounds 

💡 Dive into artist talks, demos, screenings, and live sketching sessions.

✍️ Swing by our booth to test out our cutting-edge pen-displays and tablets, meet Wacom experts, and pick up some pro tips!

Meet us in:
📅 Eindhoven (April 18th-19th)
📅  Berlin, DE (May 25th-26th)

For more info visit @tad.playgrounds 💫

#Wacom #Playgrounds #CreativeCommunity
168 2
🌀 City Doodling: Amsterdam edition 🚲

This time creativity strikes us directly from the Amsterdam canals in the hands of @fragileart 💫

#Doodling #Creativeinspiration #MadeWitjwacom
504 0
Two ways of scrolling in the same display ✍️👀

Which one is your favourite move? 👇

Customize your Wacom One and see where it takes you!

#WacomOne #WacomPen #CreativeInspiration
465 3
We chat with @adansilvart, illustrator and artist who has been working in branding & illustration projects for different brands. 🚀

Join us while Adan shares insights into his creative journey and the vital role Wacom products has played in his career. ❤️

#ArtistInterview #illustration #DigitalArt
342 41
Today, we celebrate World Pencil Day 🎉

Wacom has been at the forefront of innovation, creating a digital pen that allows you to bring all your creations to life and have thousands of colors and textures in a single pen. ✍️

One of the features we love most about our Wacom One is that you can use any Wacom pen or any compatible pen with it.

Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments. 👇

Check out our special offers in the link in bio!

#WorldPencilDay #WacomOne
582 15
Friday with F like Finished work 💫

We want to see your finished pieces, feel fry to join our artwork chain using the hashtag #MadewithWacom 🚀

How are you ending the week?

#MadewithWacom #CreativeInspiration
326 1
Bedtime stories by @nlanzillo 📚😴⁣
⁣
It’s so cool to see all you can do in 3D and animation using the #CintiqPro27 🚀⁣
⁣
#MadebyWacom in a #CintiqPro27
200 4