Sky Replacement Photoshop CC Tutorial

SKY REPLACEMENT EFFECT IN PHOTOSHOP CC! | Check out how I like to attack an image to create a complex selection of the sky and then drag in a new sky and blend it in place using layers and blend modes.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we will walk through the full process of dragging a new sky into an image and creating a very complex selection of the existing sky to isolate it and fill it with the new sky. I’ll also show you how to use the blend modes and multiple layers to create an effect that can change the way any photograph looks.

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Duplicate the blue channel and use Levels to boost the contrast.
  2. Use Poly Lasso tool to create a rough selection of foreground.
  3. Fill it with black.
  4. Use Soft Light Brush tool and paint the foreground edges black.
  5. Use Levels again to boost the sky white.
  6. Touch up the channel as needed.
  7. Also show people the Quick Select + Select & Mask method in case you need a second way to make this effect work.
  8. Drag in the sky image and load the channel selection and create a mask.
  9. Notice the nasty matte crunchiness that makes the sky look quite fake.
  10. The key with this effect is a few things:
  11. Get a sky that has similar tones to the photo to which it’s being added.
  12. If the sky has a bit of difference, get ready to layer on some color and tonal effects (like we’ll do here) to mask the extreme difference in color and tone.
  13. For this first cloud layer with the layer mask, first unlink the layer from the layer mask and move the clouds into place so they sit right where you want them to.
  14. Reduce this first layer to 75% opacity.
  15. Duplicate the layer and reset the opacity to 100%.
  16. Set this layer to the Screen blend mode. At this point, depending on a.) the brightness level of your existing photo, b.) the brightness level of the clouds you’re pasting in, and c.) the desired result, you may want to try the Multiply blend mode here or even the more extreme Hard Light blend mode. The point is, be open to experimenting with different blend modes.
  17. Duplicate this Screen blend mode and set the blend mode to Soft Light.
  18. Group these three sky layers together.
  19. Add a Hue/Sat layer and Clip it to the layer group and set Saturation to -25
  20. Add a Levels adjustment layer and set the output points to 30–225 and shift the input midpoint to 1.05
  21. Add a color LUT layer and choose the Edgy Amber LUT and set the layer to Soft Light and 75% opacity.
  22. Duplicate the sky mask up to this LUT and use Levels to boost the blacks in the mask to about 75% brightness level
  23. Add a Levels adjustment layer and set to Soft Light blend mode and reduce layer opacity to 65% and duplicate the sky layer mask up to this layer, too. Invert the white/black of the layer mask.
  24. Merge all layers to a new layer and convert to a Smart Object and then open the image into the Camera RAW editor.
  25. Use my EX04 — — preset to get a faded tone with some color in the shadows
  26. Boost the Clarity to +50 and boost dehaze to +20
  27. Add a Post Crop Vig: 10-30-0-100
  28. Camera Calibration: Red: -10/+10 Green: 0/0 Blue: -25/+50
  29. Use huge soft brush and Quick Mask and create a digital re-light effect to darken up the foreground and lighten up the sky/corners a bit until to all looks good.