Creating Sunsets with Silhouettes

This tutorial will show you how to take your regular beach day photo and turn it into a beautiful sunset silhouette. Oh, and this is my 30th tutorial.

I started with this photo from (Couple by Dimitrii). It’s a perfect photo, since the couple is in the foreground and there are no distracting objects.


Start by selecting the people in the foreground. This doesn’t have to be an exact selection… but the closer the better. It’s also better to have a little outside of the lines than in. I made my selection by using the Quick Mask [Q] and, using the Brush Tool [B], painting away the red.


With your selection made, create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer [Layer > New Adjustement Layer > Hue/Saturation]. Drag the Lightness all the way down to -100. (NOTE: You don’t HAVE to go to -100. Leaving it a little higher will allow your objects to show more.)


You should end up with something like this:


Beneath your Hue/Saturation Layer… you’re going to create another Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer [Layer > New Adjustement Layer > Hue/Saturation] with the same setting of Lightness: -100.

Your image will be black. Select the Gradient Tool [G] and press [D] to set your colors to default. Choose the default Black-to-White gradient.


Make sure your layer mask is selected on your new Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer.


Now, drag the gradient from bottom to top. Do this until you get the effect you like.


Below these two layers, create a Solid Color Adjustment layer [Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color]. Set the color to a dark orange color. I used #f78733.

Set the Layer Mode to Color Burn.


If the color is too dark or too light, just open the Solid Color Adjustment Layer and mess with the colors til you get something you like.

Now, to create the glow of the sun. Make a circle selection with the center near the horizon.


Create a new Solid Color Adjustment Layer and select a yellow color. I used #f4bc12.


Run a high Gaussian Blur of around 25-pixels or so. [Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur]. Make it enough of a blur so you can’t see a hard edge in your circle. Set the Layer Mode to Lighten.


Make a trapezoid shaped selection, with the small end being at your horizon.


Create a new Solid Color Adjustment Layer below the orange-color layer. Fill it with the same yellow you used for the sun. Again, I used #f4bc12.


Run a Gaussian Blur [Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur] (or [Ctrl + Alt + F]) of about half the amount you used earlier. I used 15.

Set the Layer Mode to Linear Light and reduce the Layer Opacity to around 50%.


In case you got confused on the Layer order, here’s a shot of my Layers Palette.


So there’s a relatively quick way to turn any photo into a Hallmark sunset photo.

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Comments Spill 6 Comments »

  1. October 9, 2008 8:41 amEfeitos de Photoshop (Tutoriais) « Bruno Prata’s Weblog

    [...] Sunset silhouettes [...]

  2. November 15, 2008 2:49 am100 maravilhosos Photoshop tutoriais com efeitos em fotos | Portal Mie Magazine

    [...] Sunset silhouettes [...]

  3. December 6, 2008 5:21 pm100 efeitos de Photoshop.UAUUUUU! | Blogando Bit

    [...] Sunset silhouettes [...]

  4. January 10, 2009 2:32 pm101 Fantastic Photoshop Effects Tutorials | Photoshop Transparency

    [...] Creating Sunsets With Silhouettes [...]

  5. February 8, 2009 10:58 pm» 101 Fantastic Photoshop Effects Tutorials

    [...] Creating Sunsets With Silhouettes [...]

  6. February 13, 2009 4:03 amrommel


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