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The making of "Urbino night"

by  Gus

Sometimes it happens that we are really found of an image, like in this case.
I always loved to photograph narrow streets.
I took this picture late evening while on a trip with my lovely wife.
The conditions were not ideal but immediatly I had in mind to make something different with it.
Here is the result and explanations about the whole processing. 

 "Urbino night" by Gus

This is the original photo before I started any procession.


Canon EOs 450D  .  ISO800  .  1/15sec  .   f/3.5

Like usual I did the first changes in Adobe Camera RAW: straightening and framing the image to have the composition I wanted, before going to Photoshop.

Once in Photoshop, I created 4 duplicates from the background layer to work on each separately without damaging the first layer.  I gave each layer a name to know exactly what I did on each of  them, not to get lost.

For the first copy layer, I was looking fin the Topaz Impression filters to find a kind of abstract one which would not loose too many details.   Later in this tutorial you will see I recovered the small details that I lost.
I thought that the Chalk Smudge filter would work very well here.  I adjusted the values till I was satisfied.  I did not change the fusion mode.

In the second copy layer, which I called  “Brightness / Contrast”, I created a luminosity mask in medium tones to cover most of the photo where I adjusted the brightness and contrast to my taste.  I have managed to lower a bit the brightness of the high lights which were bothering me and worked on some of the shadows.  But I didn't loose any sharpness or details and changed the fusion mode to “darken”.

The colours and tones were now satisfying but I wanted to work more on the details.  Therefore I used the fourth layer called “opacity” and used a value of 30 (which you can easily adapt to your own taste).  You can see now how the details of the windows appear and how the whole image becomes sharper.

I also wanted  to add a person as the main "actor", I decided to add rain and a lady with umbrella.  I found the silhouette in my “bank of images”.

Finally the image started to look like I wanted it.  A dark alley with some light at the end and someone walking through it on a dark rainy night.  I only had to add the rain, but first, I did some more adjustments on the image, mainly the brightness and contrast.  I darkened some parts who were not essential.  When finished I merged all the layers, made a duplicate of it and converted it to Black and White.

Next step: I went back to the original image, did a “copy paste” on top of the black and white image, changed the fusion mode to Darken.  Than I worked a bit more on the brightness and contrast on the places I wanted.

I just needed to add the effect of the rain.  Therefore I used a “PNG” and adjusted brightness, contrast and the optic to my personal taste.
This is the PNG I used in this occasion.

Last thing before finishing the processing was to merge all layers and adjust brightness and contrast if necessary. 

This is the result I felt comfortable with.


Final result “Urbino Night” by Gus

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will inspire you to give it a try on your own work.
Cheers, Gus


Interesting to see your photoshop approach. Thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing, Gus.
Gracias por enseñarnos esa manera tan tuya de trabajar. El resultado lo dice todo, una genialidad. Un saludo amigo mio.

Thank you for teaching us that way you work so. The result says it all, a genius. A greeting, my friend.

Thank you, Gus, for giving insight into your wonderful work.
Gus thanks for sharing your method of achieving the atmospheric result of “Urbino Night” with a very well explained tutorial.
Thank you very much Gus for sharing, it gives ideas and the desire to try !
Great tutorial Gus ... thank you for sharing !