I've been receiving a number of questions on how to change Google Earth views into evening views, especially when the site is in another location and you cannot be there to take an evening shot! This blog highlights converting a daytime photo into an evening setting in order to convey specialized lighting for streetscapes and entries. I've consolidated and summarized this process into eight simple steps:
STEP 1: INSERT PHOTO INTO PHOTOSHOP [above]: Bring your chosen view into Photoshop and set at the highest resolution needed. I usually set my layers up and name them accordingly, e.g. base image, color adjustment, design elements, etc.
STEP 2: ADJUST BRIGHTNESS AND CONTRAST [above]: I recommend right-clicking on the layer your base image is on and convert it into a "smart object". This will allow you to make adjustments to the original image without the risk of corrupting it. It is similar to the concept of using layer masks in Photoshop. Once you've done that, go to your "adjustments tab" in your toolbox and select "Brightness and Contrast". Slide the brightness selection all the way to the left, and slide the contrast selection all the way to the right. This will tweak all the hues and tones of your "daytime" picture to the other end of the spectrum and the result will be darker tones to replicate an "evening" environment.
STEP 3: HUE AND SATURATION [above]: Under "Hue and Saturation" I chose the "blue" tones to be adjusted to even out the sky and any other color highlights that needed to be toned down from the daytime shot.
STEP 4: EVENING ELEMENTS [above]: To reinforce the evening feel, I wanted to add an image of the moon. To do this, just insert an image from the internet onto a layer in your file. Create a layer mask in order to blend the evening hues and saturation adjustments that you did in Step 3 with the evening moon image. In this step, I've also mapped out where windows and main entries occur onto a layer in order to highlight them in the evening shot.
STEP 5: SETTING UP FOR THE LIGHTING ELEMENTS [above]: Turn on the "Brightness and Contrast/Hue and Saturation" layers to display your baseline evening view. I will usually keep this grouping of layers into a folder in my layers so that I can toggle quickly between evening and daytime views in order to add my design elements that I will be adding into my view to create my special lighting effects at the entries.
STEP 6: INSERT DESIGN ELEMENTS AND USE OF FILTER EFFECTS [above]: Lighting elements, glass boxes, and entourage are added. Once my design elements have the right amount of intensity and illumination (created within layer filters), you can create a "flattened" image by hitting "ctrl, alt, shift, and E" keys. By creating a "flattened" image, I can use special filters in the Filters Gallery within the Photoshop program to create special custom effects.
STEP 7: PHOTOSHOP'S FILTERS GALLERY [above]: The Filter Gallery has numerous effect options that you can try out. For this example, I've created two different images and combined them using degrees of opacity. The look and feel I was aiming for was a hybrid of watercolor and filtered lighting.
STEP 8: COMPLETED IMAGE [above]: The Filter Gallery has numerous effect options that you can try out. For this example, I've created two different images and combined them using degrees of opacity. The look and feel I was aiming for was a hybrid of watercolor and filtered lighting. For a presentation, I will usually have a before and after of the design elements. Just export your flattened image as a jpeg or pdf and insert into your presentation. If you're going to print onto boards, make sure at the very beginning that you've started with a high resolution image; usually 200-300 DPI (dots per inch) are a good rule-of-thumb to follow.
I hope this blog is helpful in showing you how to quickly convert daytime images into compelling and creating evening images for your studio projects and clients. Please let me know if you have further questions regarding any of these steps and I'll be happy to help.