“Day for night” is moviemaking technique where a night scene is shot during the day. The film image is darkened and tinted with blue to appear as though the scene were shot at night.
It was used so often in B-movies and westerns that it has become known in France as nuit américaine ("American night").
Is it possible to do a daytime drawing that suggests moonlight?
In a previous post, we looked at the depiction of moonlight in terms of color, exploring why moonlight appears blue.
Moonlight has another important quality: simplicity and softness. In limited light, the eyes shift to what is known as scotopic vision, where the photoreceptors in the retina can only perceive simple, large areas of tone, with uncertain boundaries. You can see this for yourself when you try to make out individual twigs or stones on a moonlit night. Only the most generalized shapes in the dark areas are visible, and what details are apparent tend to be in the lightest areas.
You can suggest these qualities even in a daytime drawing by consciously suppressing detail and softening edges in the darker areas. In the drawing of the Williams College Chapel in Williamstown, Massachusetts, I looked at the scene and tried to suppress detail in the shadows, grouping them together into a simple, soft mass.
Wikipedia “day for night,” link
Movie still courtesy film art website, link.