How to Create A Long Exposure Sunset Image Using Photoshop

How to Create A Long Exposure Sunset Image Using Photoshop
In this tutorial, we will be integrating a few images to create a long exposure image of a sunset wherein the subject would be a vintage Volkswagen Buggy partially submerged on water. We will learn how to use Photoshop in creating a pseudo long exposure shot which expensive DSLR’s can only produce. We would also learn how to visualize and create realistic reflections using the image itself through the use of the Transform tool and the Blur tools.

Preview of Final Results


The Silent Sun

Long Exposure Sunset Photoshop Tutorial


Tutorial Details:


  • Program: Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • Version: 9
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Resources:


Step 1 - Create a new image

To start off, let’s create a new file, go to the Menu bar and click on File > New and use these settings:
  • Width: 3000px
  • Height: 3000px
  • Resolution: 300 dpi
  • Color Mode: RGB Color; 8bit
  • Background Contents: Transparent
step1_create_new

Step 2 - Create the background

The first step in creating our background is the creation of the sky. Open “Sunset S7 Stock Image “from the folder you’ve saved it into and then drag it to our canvas by using the Move tool (V). With the image on the canvas, click on the layer and then rename it to “sky”. To rename a layer, just double click on the word “layer 1” and you will be able to rename that layer. After that, activate your Transform tool by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + T and transform the image as seen below:
step2a_transformed
Now let’s create the sea. This time, we won’t be opening any sea stock image, for we would still be using the “Sunset S7 Stock Image “. Duplicate that layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J and then activate your transform tool; right click on the image to bring up the contextual menu of the transform tool. As soon as the menu is shown, click on Flip Vertical which should create an illusion of reflection. This layer would serve as the sea. Rename that layer now to “sea”.
step2b_duplicated
Our aim here is to create a pseudo long exposure shot, so we will be applying blur filter effects to produce the desired effect. First, click on the “sea” layer. With that selected, go to the Menu bar and click on Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and input these settings:
  • Angle: 0’
  • Distance: 100px
step2c_motion_blur_for_the_sea
Now click on the “sky” layer and duplicate it; input the same blur filter settings like we used above. Note: When you apply the blur tool on the sky image, the image will be reduced since the Motion Blur technically resizes that image and in turn stretches its overall size. Duplicating the image would fill those missing regions when the Motion Blur effect has been applied.
step2d_motion_blur_for_the_sky
Now we’re finished with the background, so it’s time we group the layers. Click on Layer on the Menu bar and once it opens click on New > Group and change the group’s name to “Background”, you may also click on the Create New Group button from the Layer window.
step2e_group

Step 3 - Insert the Buggy

In this step, we will be adding our subject, the Classic Volkswagen Buggy; open the “Old Buggy” stock image from the folder you’ve saved it into and then activate the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) because we would need to remove the Buggy from its background.
step3a_plt
step3b_plt_cutting
Now after you’ve made the selection, we would need to drag the Buggy from its original image to our canvas. Drag it to our canvas using the Move tool (V) and then rename its layer to “Buggy”. We would need to align it with our background so activate your transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and pick Rotate from its menu; Rotate the image as seen on the image below:

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3 comments on “How to Create A Long Exposure Sunset Image Using Photoshop”

  1. WoooW !!
    This is fantastic not only the image but the processes. Totally awesome. Thanks very much !!!!

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