How to replace a sky: Photoshop effects to make your landscapes more attractive

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 03/07/2013 11:00am
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    If the skies in your landscape photography are looking a little flat, try this simple technique to replace a sky using Photoshop effects like Layer Masks and Blend Modes.

    How to replace a sky: Photoshop effects to make your landscapes more attractive

    Sometimes a beautiful landscape can be let down by a dull sky, at other times a wonderful sky shows up when there’s nothing interesting in the foreground.

    It’s rare that the two come together, which is why landscape photographers will often visit the same location time after time.

    If you don’t have that luxury, there is another option: while there’s no substitute for getting it right in camera, you can use Photoshop to replace a dull sky.

    To combine the images you need to cut out the original sky. But often a successful cut out is only half the battle. No matter how seamless the joins, making it look right can be a challenge.

    To help the elements gel, you need to tweak tones and add a touch of uniform noise, then dodge and burn on a separate layer – which is an invaluable skill for working on any type of landscape, be it traditional or composite.

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements: step 1

    01 Drag the sky
    Open your main image and your picture of the new sky in Photoshop Elements. Go to the sky image, then grab the Move tool from the Tools Panel. Click on the image and drag up to the tab of your main image, then down into the image to copy the sky over. Position it over the top half of the scene.

     

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements: step 2

    02 Select the land
    Go to the Layers Panel. Double-click the background layer. Hit OK. Drag it above the top layer. Grab the Quick Selection tool from the Tools Panel and paint over the land to select it. Go to Select>Refine Edge. Set Feather 0.5, Shift Edge -60 (Contract/Expand in Elements 10).

     

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements: step 3

    03 Lasso the tree
    Click the Add Layer Mask icon in the Layers Panel. Hold Shift and click the mask thumbnail in the Layers Panel to disable it, then draw a rough selection around the tree with the Lasso tool. Highlight the layer’s image thumbnail. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the area to a new layer.

     

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements: step 4

    04 Blend the layers
    Shift-click the Layer Mask thumbnail to activate it, then highlight the top layer. Click the Blend Mode dropdown in the Layers Panel and choose Darken. Grab the Brush tool, highlight the Layer Mask thumbnail, and zoom in and paint with white to reveal the lighter areas on the tree.

     

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements: step 5

    05 Tweak the tones
    Highlight the top layer, then click the Create Adjustment Layer icon. Pick Hue/Saturation. Drag Saturation to -11. Choose Yellows from the ‘Master’ dropdown and set Saturation -19. Next add a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer, and choose Warming Filter (85), Density 35%.

     

    Step by step how to replace a sky in Photoshop Elements: step 6

    06 Add image grain
    Alt-click the Create New Layer icon. In the New Layer options, set Mode: Overlay. Check the Fill with… box. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise, set Amount 2 and check Monochromatic. Hit OK. Make another layer in the same way, then grab the Brush tool and dodge and burn as needed.

    READ MORE

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    Posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 at 11:00 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

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