Full Moon Rising – Behind The Scenes Layer by Layer

I have been working on a series of art prints creating abstract sunsets, sunrises and the one I’m featuring today is a full moon rising. The series is a simplistic abstract approach to these subjects.

One of the features in Photoshop I use with creating these prints is layering. I create just portions of the entire subject on each layer and then “lay” them on top of each other for the final look. Todays blog takes you through each step as I layer what totals out to be 8 layers to create “Full Moon Rising”. Full Moon Rising shows the rising moon coming up over a mountain range and is reflected in a mountain lake.

The base layer is called the background layer and is totally white. So starting with the “1st” layer on top of the base, I am creating the sky using a blue tone that I created by drawing a large rectangle filling the top half of the print and filling it with blue. I then used a gradient tool that filters the blue going light to dark (or visa versa) from the horizon line to the top of the page.

Layer 1 Blue with gradient tool

Layer 2 is adding the same rectangle and reversing the gradient tool filling the bottom half of the piece.

Layer 2 reversing the top layer for the bottom half.

Layer 3 is the addition of white stars on the bottom half. The stars are drawn on a “blank” layer and by adding it next over the the previous layer all that shows are the stars.

Layer 3 adding stars to the bottom half

Layer 4 is the addition of the rising moon as a full circle of color. Again, the layer is “blank’ with the exception of the round moon, so when it is layered on top of all the other layers…all that shows is the addition of the yellow circle.

Layer 4 adds the rising moon as a full circle of yellow.

Layer 5 adds an identical circle below the first one to prepare for the reflection in the mountain lake.

Layer 5 adds another yellow circle below the first one.

Layer 6 adds the mountain range as a black silhouette across the top starting with the horizon line. The mountain range was inspired by the view we had from our house in Arizona of the Estrella Mountains using the same cragginess and various peaks of that range.

Layer 6 adds the mountain range

Layer 7 duplicates the mountain range upside down to continue the look of a reflection in a mountain lake.

Layer 7 adds an upside down mountain range.

Layer 8 completes the print with the addition of stars into the nighttime sky.

Layer 8 adding nighttime stars into the sky to complete the print.

End result – Full Moon Rising – a simplistic abstract look!


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34 thoughts on “Full Moon Rising – Behind The Scenes Layer by Layer

  1. Felipe Adan Lerma

    Exceptionally nice visual/verbal go-through of your layering process, Kirt!

    Esp liked the slightly muted mountain ridge line reflection (bottom half); very nice touch! πŸ™‚


    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks….your eye caught a lot of the specific nuances used as each layer gets created. Thought it would be a simplified process to explain and show. I appreciate the feedback….have a great weekend!!

      1. Felipe Adan Lerma

        You too, Kirt – hope you post more like this one now & then, super interesting & shows how much imagination really is used to create something like that; thanks! πŸ™‚

  2. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Hi Kirt. It was so cool to see your step by step process for creating this. I really like the end result too. The composition and the colors are marvelous. I like how the overall shape leads my eye across the canvas. Hugs on the wing.

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks Teagan….what I didn’t go thru is the trial and error on each layer to line everything up…fun for me to watch it all come together. Have a great weekend!!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks Sue….the abstract look was a more simplified one to walk thru…the digital painting gets a bit more complicated!! Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      It was a bit of trial and error on placement of 2nd moon and lower mountain range…stars on the reflection part are inverted from the sky ones. Thanks for stopping by…have a great weekend!!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Not sure how this happened, but it put you comment in my spam file….sorry about that Ryan!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting…I appreciate your feedback! God Bless you and your family!!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      It’s actually a lot more tedious and detailed then I portrayed but the general idea is what I displayed. For the different digital painting techniques the process is somewhat different and more intense. Have a great weekend Gill!


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