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How To Create Night Vision Goggles Effect

Very large warship in the Sevastopol port  (c) #960318 : Alexandr Stepanov,

to a night vision navy battle scene complete with embellishments like explosions, muzzle flashes and missile smoke trails!

Part A : Adding the night vision goggles effect

  1. Open the image:

  1. Duplicate “warships” as “night” and tune down the brightness. Image > Adjustments > Curves. Drag the points similar to example below:

  1. Invert “night” (Ctrl+I).

  1. Set its blend mode to “Difference” and opacity to 75%.

  1. Create 2 new layers (Shift+Ctrl+n) and fill it with green (#005b00).

  1. Ensure foreground color is green (#005b00) and background color is black before proceeding.

  2. For the first layer of green, rename it as “noise”. Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Grain and apply settings as shown:

  1. Change blend mode to “Color Dodge”.

  1. For the other one, rename it as “scan-lines”. Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Texturizer and apply settings as shown:

  1. Change blend mode to “Color Dodge” and opacity to 25%.

  1. Arrange the layers so that  “scan-lines” are on top of  “noise” layer.

  1. Add in an adjustment layer on at the top. Layer > New adjustment layer > Photo filter. Select a similar shade of green and apply the settings as shown:

Part B : Muzzle flash of artillery guns.

  1. Create a new layer as “flash”. Drag a square box using the rectangular marquee tool.

  1. Filter > Render > Clouds.

  1. Change its contrast by altering its levels (Ctrl+L).

  1. Choose a patch of clouds that resembles a muzzle flash and roughly erase its surrounding.

  1. Set its blend mode to “Screen”.

  1. Re-position “flash”.

  1. Move the “flash” layer below “noise” to convert its color to green, and re-size it to bigger (Ctrl+T).

  1. Change its contrast to increase the intensity of the flash. Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.

Part C : Create a Missile.

  1. Duplicate “flash” and rename it as “missile”.

  1. Elongate the object so that it resembles a rocket by transforming it.

  1. Zoom in to the tip of “missile”.

  1. Erase the tip to a rounded shape similar to below:

  1. Using a small white brush, draw a line with 50% opacity. This will be our missile.

Part D : Smoke trail of the Missile.

  1. Create a new layer on top of “missile” as “trails”. Drag a rectangular box.

  1. Filter > Render > Clouds.

  1. Then, apply Filter > Render > Difference clouds.

  1. Re-apply this filter (Ctrl+F) a few times.

  1. Transform its shape so that end of the smoke looks loose.

  1. Select a soft erase and erase the sharp edges.

  1. Increase intensity of the trail by adjusting the levels.

  1. Lower the opacity to 50%.

  1. Merge “missile” and “trails” together. Set its blend mode to “Screen”

  1. Re-size it.

  1. Apply Filter > Distort > Shear. Dragging a box around the object aids in applying the Shear filter.

  1. We will get something like this:

  1. Duplicate, transform, and arrange those missiles in whichever way you like.

  1. Copy another instance of “flash” and re-size it.

  1. Erase the bottom part and make sure it the bottom is flat, in-sync with the ship’s silo deck.

  1. Use the smudge tool to drag a trail further up, almost touching the missile that we created just now. We are now done with missiles.

Part E : Recreating flames.

  1. Create a new layer under missiles layer. Drag a rectangular box, and render clouds.

  1. When done, apply Difference clouds a few times (perhaps in the region of 10 times).

  1. Next, render clouds again. This time, apply Edit > Fade and fade it at 50%. We will have a nice blend of Difference clouds and clouds that forms our smoke.

  1. Use a soft eraser to erase the sharp edges.

  1. Using same method, create more smoke and this time transform it to form bigger patch of smoke.

  1. Set this bigger patch to 50% opacity.

  1. Create a third patch of smoke and set its blend mode to “Color Dodge” and opacity at 50%. This creates an intense fire on the ship.

  1. Erase areas that are deem too excessive. I would focus on areas like the conning tower or the deck.

Part F : Overall look.

  1. We shall create some lighting here. Go to “night” layer. Create a Curves Adjustment (rename it as “lighting”) layer and clip it to “night”. Slowly drag the curves to a similar output as below:

  1. With the “lighting” layer selected, click on the masking icon. For areas that we want to be brightened, brush it with soft black brush.

  1. I focused on areas which are supposedly well lit from muzzle flashes, flames, flare, etc. Result:

  1. We are going to alter the overall contrast and hue for this image. So, create 2 new adjustment layers (Curves, Hue/Saturation) and bring them both to the top. Apply settings as shown below:

  1. And we’re done! I’ve added in some extras in my final image!

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