For this tutorial, I’m going to show you exactly how I applied the “Twilight” overlay in my Light Set to enrich and enhance the sky. Originally I just copied, pasted and did some erasing/burning over the dark areas, but I wanted to come up with an even easier/more precise way and I think I did. This tutorial looks long at first, but as soon as you learn the technique, it takes almost no time.
First of all, I just open my picture in Photoshop. For purposes of this tutorial, I’m using CS3 in the default view mode, but the same basic steps can apply to most versions of Photoshop.
Then, I open my overlay.
Then I choose Select/All.
Then I choose Edit/Copy
Then I go back to my original picture by opening up the tab Windows and selecting the picture (in this case, the picture is named “Beach)
Then I choose Edit/Paste
Now I need to fit my overlay over my picture, so I go to Edit/Free transform (shortcut: ctrl T)
Now, to actually fit the overlay on top of your picture, you’ll need to pull the little squares found at each corner of your overlay with your mouse (while pressing down the left click button) until it is fitted how you like it. NOTE: In this case, I wanted the entire twilight layer condensed over the sky portion of the picture, so I applied it to the top half of the picture only, while ensuring that part of it remained on the bottom/silhouette portion of the picture (see below).
When you’ve got it where you want it, press “Enter”
Now, hide your top layer (the overlay layer) by clicking on the little icon next to it that looks like an eye.
Now, select your bottom layer, and choose your magic wand tool.
Make a few strokes over the darkened/silhouette portion ONLY of your picture with your magic wand tool. It will automatically select the darkened areas, and look like the picture below with a little blinking line around the darkened area only.
Now, select the top layer, and make it visible.
Now you want to refine your selection just a bit, so you don’t have a harsh line. To do so, click on “Refine Edge” at the top of your screen.
A screen will pop up, set your feather to about 2 or 3, just a little bit.
Now, making sure your top layer is still highlighted, select Edit/Clear.
Voilla! Now, flatten and save.
The next part is optional, but I think it’s worth the extra step.
I typically burn over the darkened parts of my pictures – especially right along the “horizon” line, with a big soft brush set at about 50% opacity. I typically burn in one long swoop of the mouse, then go back and fade the burn tool to around 11% . To fade, just go to Edit/Fade burn tool when you’re done.
In case you’re not sure which one your burn tool is, it’s here:
I hope that helps! The other way to do it, is to just erase with a soft brush over the darkened areas, then go back and burn over where you erased a bit to enhance it.