Consider following images:

enter image description here

enter image description here

The second one is a darkened version of the first. How can I create car lights on the second image so that it takes (blends) pixel information from the first one to show the road? Something like this:

enter image description here

But this is done with adjusting curves of the second image and adding blur to it, so it doesn't use first image's information for light.

Apologies for not using more technical terms.


What I got so far with blending the two layers + adjusting curves + gaussian blur for light: (different light bulbs = different tint/color)

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • So you want to turn that into night time picture and make it look like car headlights are hitting the road? I'm not sure if I'm going to be ready to answer this question, cause it would be a long one. Well, maybe some key points could be explained...
    – Joonas
    Jul 5, 2015 at 18:00
  • Yes, that's exactly what I'm after Jul 5, 2015 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


First, car lights don't show in the same way as your example. What is missing from your test is some perspective but also the lights need to be out of the frame of the picture, and higher. Right now your lights are on the road (eg. really on the ground!)

I don't know if this is the effect you're looking for, but here is what I did to get to this without spending much more than 5-10 minutes. By playing with the blending mode and layers, you can probably get something even more realistic.

1) I took your first picture and merged it with a sky picture. I simply used a gradient on a layer mask to soften the sky in the horizon. It's faster than adjusting the whole picture and sky but you don't need to do this if you want to keep your original sky.

Sky and road pictures

2) I added a layer in multiply with a darker blue/black and a little transparency to make the sky darker. (See last image to see my layers)

darker sky

3) I traced 2 rectangles and then used the free transform to "flatten" them on the road.

Tip: Use "free transform" (command + T) and then hold the "command" key to move each corner of your shape freely.

rectangle on road

4) I added some layer mask on these rectangle and a gradient on the top going towards the bottom. Then some gaussian blur on the main layer.

light with gaussian blur

5) Then I added some gradients on 2 other layers with a light yellow with a lot of white in it. One layer has an opacity of about 85% with overlay, the other with soft light.

And here is how it looks like. You can play around these effect, change the color of your light and sky, make everything darker, etc. It's up to you. No need to use any filter for this.

If you want less light, just lower the transparency of your layers. My image has bright lights.

final image of lights on a road

If you want the lines on the road to be less "milky", you can copy your layers with the road, use a layer mask to hide the road and keep the lines... and put that layer on top of all the "light" layers in hard light blending or overlay, or whatever seems best to you.

Edit: You can use the wand tool with a 64 tolerance, and select the yellow and white lines of your road, if you want a quick way to do this.

Final results with lines not milky

Edit: If you don't need a new sky, you can simply use a layer with a dark color applied with a gradient from 100% at the top to 0% in the middle of your road... and put it in multiply blending mode.

This way you'll keep some luminosity on your road but you'll still have that night effect on the horizon. Adjust the transparency of that layer or change the blending mode to see what you prefer.

  • Thank you, I'm reproducing this right now. Could you please upload the .psd somewhere? Jul 6, 2015 at 11:12
  • errr... come on, there's 8 layers and 5 steps to this "how to"!
    – go-junta
    Jul 6, 2015 at 11:15
  • Yes but what I am trying to do is use the first (daylight) picture's pixel information combined with layers of "light" to reproduce the lighting. If I have a really intense light bulbs and I use the same method as you describe I would get more of a white beams rather than actual road lit with lights. I hope I describe it correctly Jul 6, 2015 at 11:19
  • I updated my answer! My method is really easy to achieve, I'm sure you'll figure out a way to add your own layers and the ones in my instructions. Plus it's good practice and a good way to try the blending modes.
    – go-junta
    Jul 6, 2015 at 11:26

I can edit this post tomorrow morning to be more detailed but basically you need to use a pixel mask on the daytime image and then use overlay blend mode or screen to help blend it with the night layer below. Afterwards you'll need to adjust the level slightly on the separate layers to blend things a bit more. But this should be able to be achieved with basic to moderate level of Photoshop knowledge. 15 to 30 minutes at most.


Sorry for the delay, and actually I shoudln't have posted an answer till I had actual screenshots. Here you go.

Lights Off Lights Off

Lights On Light On

High Beams High Beams On

Layer Stack Layers Close-up

  • I researched blending modes as suggested and got some results, please see my updates post. Any suggestions? Jul 6, 2015 at 9:08
  • 1
    @astralmaster Try to find reference pictures. Otherwise you are going to have hard time making it look realistic.
    – Joonas
    Jul 6, 2015 at 9:16
  • Please see update. By now it seems you may already have a good idea on what to do, but I figured I would still take a shot at it. Jul 6, 2015 at 13:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.