Today’s experiment was to take an ordinary daytime photo and turn it into nighttime.
And here is the image I started with:
First, I used the Midnight filter in Color Efex Pro to turn it into a dark scene. This filter not only darkens the photo, but can add a bit of blur to it so that it does not look daytime-sharp.
Then I wanted to create lights in the lampposts. The lamp on the far left was in an awkward place and didn’t add anything to the picture, so I cropped it out. This left only the one lamppost. I tried to use Topaz Star Effects but quickly realized that it doesn’t create effects unless it has a light point to work with. So in Photoshop, I painted a small white blob where the lightbulb would be, and then went back into Topaz Star Effects. I had to experiment with this a couple of times before it didn’t look totally fake. And the light created by Star Effects goes in all directions, so I ended up masking and cloning out the light that went above the lamppost. Overall, I was about 50% satisfied with the result – Star Effects works great when there are points of light to start with, but my painted-on white blob was not a good starting place (also, if I started with a yellow blob, Star Effects doesn’t recognize it, so I had to use a white blob).
The final steps were to darken the sky more, using Viveza, and then to increase the contrast slightly in Lightroom.
Overall, I think the result is decent but not great.