Jul 28, 2014

PHAN WEEK: How to Replace a Sky in Photoshop

How to Choose the Right Sky

If you’re wondering how to replace a sky in photoshop, choosing the correct sky to composite into your photo is the most important step in compositing a sky. There are a few different factors you will want to keep in mind when looking for a new sky.

  • Position of the Sun – Make sure the sun is in the correct position in the composite sky, it should mirror the position of the sun in the original image.
  • Atmosphere – If the original image was taken on a cloudy day, don’t try to add a bright sunny sky, the highlights and shadows will look completely different.
  • Initial Color – Although you can easily change colors in Photoshop it is important to match colors as close as possible. The reason is that the colors of the sky change the colors on land. Also the sky looks very different during an orange sunset than on a bright sunny day. Even if you change those colors, the texture of the sky won’t look right.

Make Masking Easier

Most of the time your horizon will be bright, even if you are not compositing images together. Keep that in mind when compositing a sky and your job will be much easier. If you have a light sky, simply apply a gradient layer mask and hide the bottom of the replacement sky. If you have chosen your sky well, the transition should look natural. After the transition is made try altering exposure and color using Curves. If you have anything in your image that you would like to show up over the sky(birds, trees), set the layer blending mode of the sky to “Multiply” to let those objects show through.


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  • user image

    Love the new site Phlearn. Also another great video, glad I learned this sometime ago and hope others take away the advice from this.

  • user image

    Love the new site Phlearn. Also another great episode glad I learned this along time ago, hope others take this great advice also

  • user image

    Thumbs up for this nice new Site-Layout!
    (Btw: Please,please Aaron make a digital->analog Tut (like Ellen Rogers) 😉
    all the best from germany, Louie

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    Clayton Powers


    Wow! What an honor to have my image featured as part of one of your ever-amazing tutorials! Thank you for giving us this opportunity as a Phlearn family to enjoy the work of others!


  • user image

    cool new site. really looks good. keep up the good work ^^

    greets from germany, ruedi

  • user image
    Heather L

    What a gorgeous new layout!! It’s just so easy to use…….congratulations!

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    Jean-Michel Argentin

    Arron you the best and i mean that!!!
    Your technique is one of the kind i actuarial understand you and able to follow you.

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    Tony P

    Another FANtastic episode! Thanks so much! Hey – here’s a sky idea… if the highlights on the clouds do not match the light on your subject (as was the case for one of the skies in this episode) why not just flip horizontal in Photoshop… Cheers!

  • user image

    can you direct me in the right direction…. how do you open the photos as layers

  • user image

    Your tutorials are really saving me, thanks for everything I’ll subscribe to the website soon!! Keep going man haha

  • user image

    I combined 2 photos and i cut down the extra part. I hav two layers : sky and my pic.
    When i try to make adjustment to sky only layer, it is applying to entire pic. How can i solve this ?

    Even i select one layer also; the effect is on both layers.

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    Tania Kuxhaus

    Hello where can I get the sky you used in these photos thanks!