9 Steps to creating a moon silhouette
Its not often you can be in the right spot at exactly the right time for the perfect moon silhouette. Sometimes we have a vision that may nearly be impossible to create. If you have an idea in your head for the perfect moon silhouette but you haven’t been able to create it. I am here to show you how you can make your vision come to life in photoshop.
Of course you need to get yourself a photo of a nice big full moon!
If you need some tips on how to photograph the moon check out this post.
What is your vision? What did you want to sit in front of the moon to create the moon silhouette?
My vision for this image was the local Rescue Helicopter sitting in front of the moon. Yep… Something I would never captured so I created it in Photoshop.
I think its easier to start with an image that is already under exposed like this one. If you don’t have one that is like this you can always just add a black layer over your selection.
You need to select the object you want to sit in front of the moon for your moon silhouette. In this case I have chosen a complex image as I have a lot to select and then little bit to remove in the windows and under the belly of the helicopter.
- Make sure the Lock is removed from your image in layer panel
- Choose quick selection tool
- Add to selection
- Select object (Helicopter)
You can go between the add and remove selection buttons as much as required.
- Once you have a fairly good selection of your object – Click the Select + Mask box.
This is what you will see with Select + Mask.
- Choose the second tool down called the “Refine Edge Tool”
- Choose opacity 50%
- Colour: Red or something that stands out against from your image and choose Masked areas in the drop down box.
- Run the refine edge brush along the edges on the object.
You can see there is some yellow sky under the helicopter still – when I ran my brush over that entire yellow area it turned red – meaning it was now in the masked area not the selected area. Which is what we want. We only want the Helicopter selected in this image.
- Once happy with your selection – Click OK
Your object is now selected. You need to put this selection on a curves layer so you can select it again without have to go through the above process again.
- While object is select – Add a curves layer – Rename this layer ‘Selection’
- Do not delete this layer
You need to re-active your selection. To do this:
- Hold down COMMAND or CTRL and click the Black and White layer mask we created on the curves layer.
- You should now have the object selected again.
We now have to remove the background.
- Choose the eraser tool.
- Set opacity 100% + flow100%
- You have to invert this selection now by clicking on the black and white layer mask and holding COMMAND or CTRL + I. This will now select the exact opposite which is the background.
- Click on your original layer and use the eraser over the entire image. This will remove the background and should hold the object.
Deselect the selection by holding COMMAND or CTRL D
Click on the original layer again while holding COMMAND or CTRL. This will reactivate the selection of the coloured pixels on the screen.
- Make sure your object is selected
- Choose a black Brush. 100% Opacity + 100% Flow.
- Paint over the selected area with a black brush. If your object wasn’t black it will be now. It will also pick up parts of the image that weren’t 100% selected in Step 3. You may need to lift your brush and paint over them a few times.
- Once happy with your painting of object. Inverse your selection by going to the ‘Select’ menu and clicking ‘Inverse’
- Grab the eraser tool and then do another once over with the eraser to make sure the background is removed. Be careful going around the object. Don’t go straight over the top of it.
You are now ready to add your moon.
Go to your moon photo.
- COMMAND or CTRL + A to select all which will select entire moon pic. Then COMMAND or CTRL + C to copy that layer.
- Click back to your object and COMMAND or CTRL + V to paste the moon in.
- You will need to click moon layer and drag it under the object (Helicopter) layer.
This will now fill in the grey checks in the background.
- COMMAND or CTRL + T to Transform image and hold SHIFT while you stretch the corners out of the moon layer.
** Make sure you zoom right out as you will probably won’t be able to see everything properly otherwise.
- Once moon is in the position you want it in, behind the object (Helicopter). Click Apply.
You should have something that looks like this!
You have to add a solid colour layer in black underneath the moon layer.
- Add a ‘Solid Colour’ layer + choose the colour ‘black’
- Grab this layer and drag it under the moon layer – This will fill in the grey and white checks behind the moon. (transparent background)
This step is optional depending if you have a horizon or not. If you have a horizon you will want to remove the bottom of the moon.
- New Layer
- Black Brush – 100% Flow + 100% Opacity.
- Paint on the new layer to remove the bottom of the moon.
The last step – If you choose to change the colour of the moon.
- Add a solid colour layer above the moon layer – I used colour #b18a3e
- Right Click on layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’
- Change the ‘Blending Mode’ to ‘Overlay’
If you want to change the colour of the moon at any stage – you can double click the solid colour box and choose a different colour.
** Pin this image for later.