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Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop

Barry Beckham takes a balloon shot, from the Bristol balloon festival and adds some fireworks using Photoshop.

| Adobe Photoshop
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Night Glow is an evening display at the International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol. The tethered balloons use the flames from their burners to make them glow and under instructions via radio are lit up to music together with a firework display which makes for a spectacular event. However, it's not easy trying to capture all these elements, but with the help of Photoshop we can bring the balloon and firework display together.
 
Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
Taken with the Nikon Coolpix 990, we have captured the balloons lighting up but missed the fireworks, leaving us with an empty black sky (above). We did, however, manage to shoot a few fireworks but with different coloured skies; how can we combine these two images leaving the fireworks in tact? Photoshop magic!
 
With our background image open we make any adjustments that may be required such as cropping and levels. Select and open our image containing the fireworks, and from our Tool box call up the Lasso Tool short cut L on the keyboard. (right) Draw around the area we are going to copy. From the Edit Menu we select Edit > Copy or shortcut Ctrl C . We can now close the firework image. Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
 
Working on our background image call up the layers pallet Window >Show Layers or press F7 on the keyboard, from the menu tool bar we select Edit > Paste or press Ctrl V which will paste our fireworks onto our background as a new layer. To move our fireworks into position call up the Move Tool short cut V (left top). Tip: Holding down the Ctrl key changes the cursor to the Move Tool no matter what tool we are using - release the Ctrl key and it changes back. We now need to blend our firework into the background image but at the same time try and keep some of the smoke which will add to the overall effect. On our layers palette double click on our firework layer which will open the Layer Option palette (left bottom) We can also rename our layer here. Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:

Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
 
Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop: Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
Under the This Layer heading are two sliders(above left); moving these sliders will reduce the amount of black or white pixels in our layer. Pull the slider from the black side towards the centre to reduce the amount of black pixels and like magic our firework begins to emerge from its background, but at some stage it will begin to look a little rough in parts. So to make a smoother transition we have to split the slider (above right). There is a small line in the centre of the slider. Holding down our ALT key we can pull the slider apart and our firework and smoke have now fully emerged from their background. We can repeat this process until we have all our fireworks in place.
 
Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop: Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop: To make our image more realistic we could place a firework emerging from behind the trolley. Working on our background layer select the Magnetic Lasso Tool short cut L (left)and draw around our trolley clicking as the colour or shades change (right). Double clicking will put the marching ants around our trolley. Under the edit menu we select Copy then Paste or try using Ctrl C and then Ctrl V which is much quicker, this will paste our trolley as a new layer.
 
To place our firework behind the trolley we need to drag the trolley layer on top of our firework layer. Under the layers palette we select our trolley layer, left mouse click and start to drag the layer and a small clenched hand will appear (right). Our layer will also turn yellow as we drag it above the layer of the firework. Once in position our firework becomes partly covered by the trolley. Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
 
Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop: Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
Making any final adjustment to our image try using Layer Adjustments. On our layer palette click on the black arrow in the top corner (above left) and from the drop down menu select New Adjustment Layer this will open our layer adjustment palette. Under the Type menu all our adjustments are listed - in our case we choose Hue Saturation and adjust the saturation to + 10, we then click ok. This will add our adjustment as a new layer. The big advantage to this is that we can go back into this adjustment and change its values at any time even after saving our image as a PSD file. (above right)
 
Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
 
 
Nightglow - balloons and fireworks merged in Photoshop:
This technique is an ideal way of blending images where we have a light or dark background to our montage.

 

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