News

HOW TO REPLACE A SKY

A TUTORIAL FROM OUR RESIDENT EXPERT, VAL WALKER
09/10/2017
REPLACING A SKY USING PHOTOSHOP/ELEMENTS
Last week Val Walker talked FEPS members through a process of replacing a sky using Photoshop.

BLENDING MODES (Elements/Photoshop)
Note this works best when you need to replace a bland or uninteresting sky.
1. Select your image which needs a new sky and open in Photoshop or Elements. The image will become the background layer.
2. Look for a sky which you think complements the original image. Note that you will need one that is the right scale and with enough pixels to cover the sky area.
The sky image does not have to be exactly the same size, as you will be able to resize it later, but it should have at least as many pixels as the sky you wish to replace. For example, if your background is 1400 pixels wide, then the sky should be at least 1400 pixels or greater.
3. Select all of your sky image using Select A ll or control +A and copy and paste it into the original background image.
The sky layer will now appear as a new layer on top of the background.
You can now close the sky image as you will not need it again.
4. Make sure the sky layer is selected and roughly move the sky into the right position using the Move tool.
Resize the sky using the edit/transform/scale tool if needed.
With the sky layer selected, use the drop down underneath the layers heading to change the blending mode of the layer
. The default is normal but you should try multiply, soft light or hard light to see which works best.
5. Note that in some images you may have to erase some of the sky layer if is covers a dark area below the horizon, but otherwise it works well even on complicated areas such as rigging or pylons where masking would be difficult.
6. In the boats example I used soft light at 100% but again you can vary the opacity if required or adjust the brightness or contrast of the sky independently of the background. In the layer palette of the finished image Flatten and save under another name.

REPLACING A SKY AND ADDING REFLECTIONS.
1. When you replace the sky in an image where the sky is reflected in water, such as a lake, river or still area of the sea, the sky will look false if you do not add colour and detail to the reflection.
2. Replace the main area of the sky in the same way as above. You will now have a background and your new sky on layer 1.
3. Create a duplicate of the sky layer using Layer, Duplicate Layer from the Layer menu . In the pop up window use Background Copy
and click OK. The duplicate will appear in the layers palette as “Layer 1 copy”
4. The duplicate sky needs to be flipped so that it is upside down for the reflection. Use Edit Transform and Flip Vertical.
5. The upside down sky can now be reduced in opacity and the blending mode used to make the reflection look realistic. In this example I used multiply mode at 37% but every image will be different so you will have to experiment.
When happy with the result flatten your image and save under a new name.