Photography studio, gallery and training complex

The Scooby Doo Effect – by Nick Shale (part 2)

So here’s the second part of Nick Shale’s wonderful little Photoshop trick…

10.  I want to make the sky in this image appear more brooding and menacing in order to give the image a bit more of a dramatic flourish, so I’ve turned the rain effect layer off for the time being and have selected the sky around the house using combination of magic wand and polygonal lasso tools, and then deleted it.

12.    Back onto google images and quickly found a suitable thunder storm skyline picture at a high resolution which I’m going to drop in behind the Victorian house layer and use as my stormy sky for this picture.

13.   I’ve done the same with the thunder storm image as I originally did with the image of the Victorian House. I’ve desaturated the colour so the image is black & white. Then I’ve gone into ‘image’ then ‘Adjust image’ then ‘Shadows and Highlights. Set ‘Lighten Shadows’ to 0% ‘Darken Highlights’ to 47% and ‘Midtone Contrast’ to +98%. This really makes the forked lightening stand out against a dark and brooding sky.


14.    I’ve now added this thunderstorm image as a layer to the composition I’m working on. I’ve positioned the layer behind the Victorian House layer so it now acts as the raging thunder storm for this picture.

15.   I’ve now made the rainfall layer visible again to see how the final composition looks. It’s all there but it still looks a bit flat and lifeless.

16.   I’ve added a few more flourishes to make this picture stand out and give it a bit of drama and mystery to it. Firstly, using the ‘Dodge’ tool I’ve brightened up the lightening forks in the sky layer to make them really stand out and add more contrast to the house. I used a fairly large brush size for this and just experimented until I was happy with the result. I then decided to make it appear as if a light was on in one of the windows in the house. I did this my selecting the house layer, choosing the window I wanted to add the effect to,  then with the polygonal lasso tool I drew a mask until I had the shape of the window panes. I then created a new layer with the mask and filled them with White using the paint bucket tool. I then tried adding an outer glow effect to this to give the effect of light spilling out from the window, but the results were not what I hoped for, so instead I used the Dodge tool again and lightened the area around the window on the house, and that gave me the effect I was looking for.

17. Finally, I made the rainfall layer visible again, made a few minor tweaks to the contrast of the house…and voila! A suitably scary looking house that even Scooby Doo and co would think twice about investigating!

Don’t worry if your results aren’t perfect first time. It took me numerous attempts before I got this right and was happy with the end result. Just have fun with it and keep making adjustments until you’ve a result you’re happy with.

Hope you’ve found this useful, and if anyone give it a go, please post up your work as I’d love to see your results.

Cheers, Nick Shale.


As previously mentioned, Nick will be imparting his Photoshoppery wisdom at our forthcoming “Masterclass: Photoshop Tricks with Nick Shale” event. Date will be announced shortly.


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