Life & Style tutorial: Create a city night scene

11. We’ll create the light beams from the cars in Illustrator, as it offers the easiest way to get the perspective we need. Create a new document in Illustrator, and use the Ellipse tool (L) to draw two circles, a small one and another far bigger one. Click on the Blend tool (W) and select the smaller circle, then the bigger – this will apply the blending effect. To edit this, double-click on the Blend tool icon to open the dialog box, then change the Spacing to Specified Step, and set it to 0.05in. Create two more blends.

12. Copy and paste each blend into Photoshop, positioning them as shown here. Add some Gaussian Blur, with a radius of about five pixels, to each one. For the one on the right, add a layer style and tick Color Overlay, setting the colour to red, with an opacity of 7%. Group the three layers, and rename the folder as ‘Cars’. Change the folder’s blend mode to Color Dodge, then change the opacity of the layers within the ‘Cars’ folder to 90%.

13. Add a sky – you can do this using the technique from my sci-fi poster tutorial in Digital Arts October 2008 (which you can read online at You can also add in a moon – I downloaded the moon I’ve used here from The trick is to reduce the saturation and brightness (Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation) and then change the layer’s blend mode to Screen.

14. Add in more lights, billboards or other urban landscape elements. Remember to place the layers of any elements you want to be illuminated in the ‘Lights’ folder.

15. Group all the layers and duplicate the group. Go to Layer > Merge Group. Change the merged layer to Color Dodge and reduce the opacity to 30% that will increase the intensity of the lights. You can adjust the lights if you want them to be brighter or darker just changing the opacity of this layer.

Who: Based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Fabio Sasso is a graphic and Web designer. As well as running Zee, a small Web-design studio, Sasso has a cretive arts blog, Abduzeedo, which he uses for tutorials, experiments, and articles about Photoshop, Illustrator and other creative applications.
Software: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Time to complete: 2 hours

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