How To Improve Sky In Adobe Photoshop | DENIS L. | Skillshare

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How To Improve Sky In Adobe Photoshop

teacher avatar DENIS L., Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. A More Dramatic Sky

    • 3. Blending Sky Using Gradient Tool

    • 4. Replacing Dull Sky With New Sky

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About This Class

An interesting sky is almost as important to a landscape photo as the land beneath it. If the sky lacks interest or is improperly exposed, it can take away from the overall quality of the image. So what’s the secret to capturing those stunning and eye catching skies we see in the work of our favorite landscape photographers? While there’s really no secret formula, there are a handful of things we can do. Let’s take a look at some of those techniques. Timing Is everything but unfortunately, there’s only so much we can do to control what kind of skies we have to work with. Many top landscape photographers consider a circular polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter essential items in their gear bag. Blog

In this tutorial we have three simple segments where you can improve sky in photoshop:

  • More Dramatic Sky
  • Blending Sky Using Gradient Tool
  • Replacing Sky With Another More Dramatic Sky

Meet Your Teacher

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Denis G Lemay was brought up in a little coastal town of Biddeford Maine, served in Vietnam in 1968 in the army corps of engineer, then in 1971 went to school in NY to persue the field of professional photography, and relocated to a little Dutch town of Kutztown Pennsylvania where he owned and operated Rembrandt Studios in two different locations. In 1998 Denis relocated to Wilmington North Carolina where he now owns and operates Ocean View Photography located near Wrightsville Beach NC. 


Past affiliations are PPA, WPPI, IPPG, OPHF, and CFCC. Exhibited at KU, WPPI, OPHF,NYIP. 

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1. Introduction: Hi, everybody. I'm Dennis LeMay. Let's talk about the sky in your images. Sometimes when you're photographing is seen or landscape. Um, you don't have the time to take 56 images and then put him in your computer and blend them together with luminosity, masks or whatever method you use. Or you just don't have the time to get into your gadget bag. Get out your neutral density filters so that you can blend both the foreground and sky together. Sometimes you're just on the run, and you need to photograph one or two images and take off. Then, when you put him in your peer, you find that foreground looks good, but the sky needs improved. We all go through that. So what I'm going to do is we're gonna talk about three very simple methods of improving the sky in your images. The first method will be making your sky more dramatic by using a radiant to photo shop and then arrows. Second segment will talk about blending two images together, using the radiant tool very simply and then on. The last segment will actually replace the sky with another sky. So there you are. We'll see you next segment 2. A More Dramatic Sky: Welcome back, everybody. All right? There are a lot of different methods of improving sky, an image in photo shop, even in light room. But we're gonna just going to cover some very simple methods of doing that. Now, this particular matter method we're going to talk about right, And this segment is a more dramatic sky toe improve this guy that's already there. And, um, this method works particularly well when you have a straight horizontal Lauren. And, um so here we have a properly exposed foreground, but the skies a little, um, the information is there, but it could be a little more dramatic. And so what we're going to do is is a very simple method of improving that. So the first thing we're going to dio is, um, once you open your image is to create a blank layer. The icon in your layer pallet says, create new layer. Then we're going to select Grady in two in your toolbox. Click on that. Then make sure that you're in Lynn, your great ingredient, and then scroll to the block that says foreground to transparency. All right. If you place your cursor right on that block, where it says foreground to transparency. And make sure that your foreground background is black and white, all right. The next step is to create a radiant. Now, if you want a straight line creating a straight line, Grady, and just hold the shift key, then down and let go your mouse and four shop automatically creates a grating. You can see it's black at the moment. If you've gone too far, just kind of just control Z and then do it again and just keep doing it until you find it. You've covered pretty much to sky. Once you've done that, go up to your layer pallet and, um, scroll down to your overlay mode or soft line. Stop with the overlay and you can see Photoshopped has created a nice dramatic sky, and the difference between Overland San flight is just pretty much the amount that it creates. In this case, overlay looks pretty good. Now the nice thing about using a layer a blank layer is that you can go up to the your pay city slide, use pasty slider all the way bag, and then just slide it to the right until you find that to your liking on the sky, and another nice thing about it is with a blank layer is you can create a mask on the bottom here where it says, create mask and then choose your brush said it to about 10% or 20%. What's make a 20%? So you see what I'm talking about. Make sure it's a nice soft brush, and some of these areas might be a little too dark for you, but you like the rest of it, so you may want to just tone down the dark areas, and you could do that very easily because you created a blank layer to work with and you put a mask on it and there you are. And you can keep doing that until you're very happy with your sky. Now, if the color of the sky changes too much, uh, you can always go down to now. You need to leave it on overlay. That's my mistake. Que snoehvit the waiters there you want. That's a simple method of, um, making your sky look more dramatic so we'll talk to you on the next segment, where we're going to blend two images together and then blend them by using agree into very simple, very quick talk to you later 3. Blending Sky Using Gradient Tool: Well, welcome back, everybody. Here we go. Yeah, This time we're going to improve our sky, blending two images together. So what you need to dio when you're out there photographing your scene or landscape, you photograph your first image with a normal exposure for the foreground on that would be this one. You can see this is a normal exposure, but the sky is pretty much blown out. So you're a second image will be exposing for the sky and under exposing your foreground, two images quickly done. All right, Our next step after we load him into photo shop, you want your under exposed image on top of your normal manage and then create a black mask on that under exposed image where it says create layer mask, Hold the option or control key on your keyboard. Click on the I climb and that will hide the under exposed image. All right. Our next step will be to again used the Grady Int tool in your toolbox. Make sure that your foreground background is black and white. If it's not hit the D key on your keyboard, I will make it black and white. Make sure the white is on top of the black, and you can do that by reversing back and forth. And the reason we want white on top of the black is because black hides makes your image invisible where white exposes your image. So what we want to do we have our under exposed image hidden because we have a black mask. So by using the white on the foreground, when we use our Grady into it will expose the sky in this image. So choose your radiant to go up to your make sure it's on when you're and choose the foreground background, foreground to background. My Stan, we chose foreground to transparent. This time is foreground to belt background. Click on that and again, if you hold the shift, kid, I would keep your line straight and draw your Grady in on top of the image on there you are . Now, if you haven't going down far, and I just do it again until you feel that covers the horizon, Okay, Now you have your sky Now I did go a little too far. You can see that the Grady int is covering some parts of the foreground. Well, you can easily remove that because you have a mass care. And to do that, just reverse the white to black. Select your brush tool, make sure it's nice and kind of a medium soft. And, um, I'm going to use 50% or pasty on this and just go over that that part of the image where you want to take out to make him more even with sky and same thing with the bridge thing about the bridge down, I'm going to just removed part of it. Leave this dark or maybe 20% of it. I'll take out now. This technique is good for are straight home horizon where you don't have a whole lot of items in this guy like this bridge, for instance, I could even remove more if I want You are and again because you have a layer, you goto Pacenti, slide it back and then come back until you feel comfortable with the way the sky looks or your goal weight 100%. But the water looks a bit light here. All right. Oh, you need to dio if you want a dark in the water just a little bit because you do have a black mask. Select your brush. Make sure the blacks on top or, better yet, reversed and the whites on top because you're gonna add. And, uh, I would, uh, put Theo pacing about 20% and just kind of actually, 10% might have been fine, but I'll do 20% so you can see the effect just going over the water. Now we've matched the water with sky, the density of the water with the sky. That's bit that's how you, uh, now, well, you need to do is make your adjustments because this is a lie image. I can go ahead and give it a little bit of vibrance and saturation and then give it a little bit of contrasts with the S curve looking pretty good and whatever else you want to do. So there you are, Very simple method. Now, in the next segment, we'll talk about actually replacing the sky. So you are. We'll see you next time 4. Replacing Dull Sky With New Sky: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Segment three in segment three. What we're going to do is, um, replace the sky in an image with another one. So it's a good idea if you're going to do this to have an arsenal of skies. I have the folder and I call this guy And, um, whenever I go out and I see a nice looking sky, I'll photographing and put it in this folder. And what you need to do is to make sure you have all sorts of different types of skies Morning skies, dull skies, dark skies, dark clouds Sonny's guys so on and so forth so that you can match images that you're working with if you're gonna replace sky. Okay, We chose these dark clouds here because the image we're gonna work with renders that in this image I photographed this images. I drove through the Amish country in Pennsylvania, and that was driving. I saw these trees within this crop of leaves, whatever they are, and I kind of like the configuration, but unfortunately, it was a dull day and those guy, but I photographed it anyhow, knowing that I we try and do something with it So we're gonna move this particular sky and dragon on top of that image. First thing, Carrie. So now we have two layers, one with sky and one with the background image. Yeah, let's center that. And you can see that the skies of little bit smaller than that image. So we're going expanded a little bit by, um, if you hit command or control t and then hold the shift king and drag to corns one in each hand until the sky. You know, this guy's gonna fit into that image properly. Then double click on there. All right, so there's this guy and there's the image. Okay. Now, before we do anything, we have to remove this lock so that we can edit that image. And the way to do that is double click on it. You can name it, whatever you want. Click. OK. And then we need to move this top layer. If if the sky layers on top, we need to move it on below the background image. It's already there. Just leave it there, then click on the top player. Now what we need to do is to make our selection of the sky and one good way to do that because it's all pretty much very light and white. And I'm gonna also select this area here cause I'm gonna replace that with this guy to That's not going to fit their with that sky. So we're gonna go to select. Um, first, you're gonna get a click on that top layer. Then we go to select color range. Make sure you use the first eyedropper, which is the main eyedropper tool. Click on this guy. And then if you hold the shift key and then click wherever else you want to add to that selection, which I'm gonna add here, okay, and then click OK now, for the shop is selected all of the sky. But there's some light areas in the foliage here. That photo shop also select because it's bright. So we need to remove that selection, and that's pretty easy to do. All you need to do is used the lasso tool and hold the option key down, and then just make a selection as much as you can on the foreground and just keep holding that option key and just keep making selections of the areas that you do not want selected . Yeah, a little bit more up here and a few spots in here to take your time when doing it. You don't need to go as fast. I'm going on doing this just for the tutorial. All right, That's good enough for me right now. Okay, Once you've done that, next step is to right here. Create mask. You want to hold the option que you want a black mask? So we're gonna hold the option key and click on create our add a layer mask. When you do that, there's your sky automatically. Next step we, if you assume in, you can see lines where the trees are. And, um, that's problem when you have trees. So next thing what you want to do is click on the layer mask, double click on it. And then right here was says mask, edge. Click on it. Then where it says shift edge, just kind of move it toe left a little bit until you start seeing those lines disappear. Then click. OK? And you can say for your shop is removed most of that. All right. And of course, you want to do a better job that I'm doing this. I'm doing this quickly for the two tour you confined. Tune that now that you've made just added your sky, you can make all of your adjustments. And I usually don't flatten anything until I'm done. So you now you can do whatever you want to that image. These are raw images. So I haven't done any kind of adjustment on these images. For instance, I got brightness. Kind of lighten it up a little bit. A little contrast here. Then go Teoh vibrance, if you want. There's vibrance in the color saturation that march lips There's a way to my hold on Just slid on May right about there. And then maybe we'll give it a little bit of s curve here. Just a Nerf about there. Sure. All right. And now, also one of the saying here you can move this guy. You have sky in here between just can't see it. You can move this guy wherever you would like to like the place whatever part of this guy you want. So all you need do is if you click on that layer and then choose to move to place your curse on this guy, and you can actually move the sky until you feel you picked the right part of that. I like this here. We've got a little bit of horizon. This guy right there. This is great. So I'm gonna leave it right there. That's nice thing about working with layers. That's why I don't flatten it until I'm done. And also, we can warm this guy up of a bit by, um, if you click on the layer the sky layer goto adjustments, got a photo filter. And there you go. I have filter number 85 which is a warm filter, and that gave us a nice warm sky, which kind of matches the bottom. So there you are. Very simple way of replacing this guy. And it works great. Particularly if you don't have trees in this guy on. Um So I hope you learned something and try it out. Try all three of these techniques, and the more you doing, the more you learn. And, um, thank you very much for listening