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


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