It’s happened to all of us. You shoot a great scene and notice that the sky is hazy or not as clear as you remember. Now you have two options: attribute to failure or replace the air. In this case, we were impressed with the streaks of color on the beach, the water of Lake Superior, and the sky. It turned out that the sky in the photo was not quite what we expected.
In this How To, we’ll walk you through a simple composition exercise that replaces one gloomy sky with another from photos taken in the same location. While composition traditionally takes a person or object to a new background, in this exercise we do the exact opposite and replace the background. There are two ways to do this: the easy way and the general way.
- Fixing Bad Sky in Adobe Photoshop
- Planning to replace one “real” sky with another
- Choose a sky to replace
- Add sky to target image in Photoshop
Fixing Bad Sky in Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop has had the Clouds filter for several years now. While it is quite easy to use, it is also easy to abuse in some ways. Part of the abuse falls in the inability to recognize that the sky is in a three-dimensional plane and that it is not always necessary to accept what is presented to it.
To use the cloud filter, set your foreground color to blue (eg #2463A1) and the background color – White. Select Quick choice † tool and drag over the area to be replaced. When you release the mouse button, the sky area is selected.
Select Filter † display † clouds and you will see a new sky with clouds. If this isn’t exactly the template you’re looking for, click Command-F (Mac) or Control-F (PC) and the filter is applied to the selection, giving you a different model.
Obviously, the sky looks weird because it’s flat. To solve this, let’s figure out that the sky exists in a 3D plane and that the sky is not the problem. This is Perspective. If the sky is still selected, choose Edit > Transform > Perspective † The handles you want to use are in the top right and left corners. Drag either of these two handles horizontally to the left or right and the clouds will look like they are rolling as the perspective changes.
Planning to replace one “real” sky with another
While the cloud filter may provide somewhat acceptable results, you simply cannot replace one “real” sky with another “real sky”.
In this example, we were very unhappy with how hazy the sky was in the waterfall image. Going through the photos from that day, we found a “sky” that could work. So the plan is simple: select the sky in the waterfall image and replace it with the sky image in the lake image.
Choose an air to replace
The first step in this process is to open both the target image and the replacement image.
Open the target image and use Quick Select Tool , swipe the air to select it. This is the perfect tool for this image as there is a distinct color shift between the sky and the treeline. If patches are missing, you can: press the shift key and click on the skipped patches to add them to the selection. If the brush is too big or too small, press the buttons [или] to increase or decrease the size of the brush.
To avoid having a few scattered white pixels along the edge of the selection, go to the menu Select and select Select † Change † Expand selection † When the dialog box opens, enter the value 2 † Click Okay and do not deselect.
Open replacement image, select tool Rectangular area and select an area of the sky. Copy this selection to your clipboard.
Add sky to target image in Photoshop
With the “new” sky on your clipboard, go back to your target image. Instead of just inserting an image, choose Change † Special insert † paste in † As a result, the sky is inserted into the selection.