Dark and Dreamy Design Effect

Design effects don’t necessarily need to be really difficult. In this tutorial we are going to be creating this dark and dreamy design effect using a photo as our starting point and transform it into this nightly scene with Adobe Photoshop.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Final Result


Step 1
Create a new document (File > New) that has the dimensions 900×400 pixels at 72 ppi.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 1

Step 2
Set your foreground and background colors to their defaults (black and white) by pressing the “D” key on your keyboard. Then go to Filter > Render > Clouds. This is going to render a clouds pattern. You can repeat this until you have a cloud pattern you like. To repeat the last applied filter (in our case the Clouds filter), press Command + F (PC: Control + F).

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 2

Step 3
Download this image from the free stock exchange and copy and paste it into the Photoshop document. Use Free Transform by pressing Command + T (PC: Control + T) to scale it down. Tip: hold down the shift key while dragging so it stays in proportions!

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 3

Step 4
On the layer of the photo we just copied, change the blend mode to Soft Light. You should now see the clouds shining through a bit.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 4

Step 5
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a color cast on the image. Tick the Colorize box at the bottom. Enter values like the below ones:
  • Hue: 232
  • Saturation: 30
  • Lightness: 38

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 5

Step 6
Now we are going to make the castle blend in a bit more. Select the layer with the castle photo on it and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that is fully show-through. Grab a brush like the chalk brush shown in the image and increase its size to about 130px. Make sure to set the foreground color to black. Now paint around the edges of the castle photo, rather roughly to start to blend it in.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 6 - Brush

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 6 - Final

Step 7
To blend it in a little more, lower the opacity of the brush to about 50% and start clicking on the edges that got created when we roughly painted in step 6. Repeat the clicking pattern around the frame, making the hard-edge frame invisible. You can also click carefully in the middle of the photo to blend it in some more. Play around with the clicking and the opacity to get the result you want.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 7 - Brush

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 7 - Final

Step 8
So we are done with the background now and moving on to the text. Take a font like Scriptina and write the text of your choice. Make it the color #242941. Right click on the layer and apply an outer glow with the settings seen in the image below. Color used is #bed2ff for the outer glow.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 8 - Outer Glow

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 8 - Final

Step 9
Create a new layer and move it below the text layer. Grab your brush tool and use the settings as shown in the images below to fine tune the brush. Make sure your foreground color is set to white. Now paint some swirly shapes with the brush behind the text, to your liking.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 9 - Brushes

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 9 - Shape Dynamics

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 9 - Scattering

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 9 - Final

Step 10 - Final Step
Apply an outer glow using the settings seen in the image below. After that you may want to adjust the opacity of the sparkle layers accordingly to your liking.

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Step 10 - Glow

Dark and Dreamy Design Effect - Final Result