Jan 27, 2015

How to Add Clouds to a Sky in Photoshop

The trickiest part of this whole process might be the very first step! If you are adding a different sky to an image, make sure it compliments the rest of that photo. The two images should match up really well in terms of color, contrast, and tone.

To begin, use the move tool (v) to drag and drop your new sky onto the image with the old sky. Turn that layer off for now. Then, select only the sky. You can use any selection tool you’d like and in this episode, we chose the magic wand tool. When the selection is complete and refined, turn the top layer back on. If the selection stays active, you will be able to click the layer mask button and it will mask in just the sky. To position the new sky right where you want it, unlink the layer with its mask so that you can freely move the cloud layer freely.

Remember: The colors of the original sky play into the colors of the original photo. It’s important to adjust the coloring of the new sky so that the image looks realistic! We use a selective color adjustment layer to fine-tune the colors as well as the highlights, midtowns, and shadows. Clip this selective color layer to the clouds, so that it doesn’t effect other elements in the image. Feel free to play with other adjustment layers to match your new sky with your old image. We use a curves layer to darken the sky in this case.


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  • user image

    Thanks Aaron for the selective coloring tip. Btw, I have seen and used blend if to bring the cloud in while keeping the original blue sky. It’s always good to know different method to accomplish the same thing.

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    David Mair

    This was a really useful tutorial. I’ve had a couple of instances where I need to alter a photo due to a washed out sky and couldn’t quite get it right. This is just what I needed for future reference.

  • user image

    Very nice tutorial
    Is it my be posible for you to do a tutorial on how to make a Centaur.

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    Jeff Kingston

    Love your tutorials, pretty much everything good i have learned in Photoshop i have learned from your many videos.
    I couldn’t see one, but have you ever made a tutorial about camera raw and its many benefits and functions?

  • user image

    This is a very special article regarding photography.Glad to read it.Anxiously waiting for the best photoshop software.Kindly advise me.????

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    Rosa Brand

    Another awesome tutorial. I really enjoy watching your videos. Thank you, Aaron!

    I second Jeff Kingston’s comment. I’d like to see how you use RAW images in your work and/or project flow.

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    Ace P

    Hey Aaron, another great tutorial. I was wondering of you could do a tutorial for a photo manipulation that has something to do with ghosts or like your soul leaving your body type deal???

    • user image

      It could be that you’re using an older version of Photoshop Matt. Can you tell us what version you have?