How to Replace Dull Boring Sky Photoshop Tutorial

Article by: Jijo John
It’s not everyday that we get great blue skies, greys are inevitable; but we cant say that to our clients. Here’s a simple tutorial to replace dull / boring sky in a picture with a perfect one.

Choosing the Right Sky for Your Image

This is the most important tip in sky replacement, choose a sky that matches with the general lighting conditions that was prevalent in the scene. Also watch out for reflections of the sky in glass, water or any other shiny surfaces in the picture. Having perfectly blue sky and dull grey reflections simply does not sync. So if you change the look of the sky make sure you correct the reflections too.

Sky Replacement in Photoshop Step by Step Tutorial

Step 1. 
Open the image in which you wish the sky to be changed in Photoshop. For this example we have chosen a reasonably complicated image with lots of foliage to deal with, one need to be careful when it comes to the edges of leaves and branches.

how to change sky in photoshop
how to change sky in photoshop

Step 2.

Click select and choose color range, now use the eyedropper tool to click on the sky to select it, you can add to or deduct from the selection by using the eyedropper tool with the plus and minus signs.

photoshop sky replacement tutorial
photoshop sky replacement tutorial

When you click enter you will have your sky selected and a layer mask added to it. You can modify the mask in many ways. The lasso tool and the brush tool is the most commonly used tools to fine tune layer masks.

Step 3. 

Open the image of the sky you have selected in Photoshop, Press Ctrl + A to select it all and then Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard.

Step 4.

Now go back to the original document and press Ctrl + Shift + Alt + V or click Edit > Paste Special > Paste Into. Photoshop will automatically fill in the mask with the new sky.

photoshop tutorial how to replace sky in a photo
photoshop tutorial how to replace sky in a photo

Step 5.

Use the free transform tool (Ctrl + T) to re-size the sky if needed.

Step 6.

Lower the Opacity of the sky layer if needed, we used 40%. Remember when changing opacity you need to select the sky layer by clicking on the icon in the layer palette to make sure it is the sky and not the mask that is active.

how to replace sky in photoshop
how to replace sky in photoshop

Step 7.

Select Brush tool, press D to set foreground and background color to black and white, set opacity of the brush to a low value, we used 20%. Now with black as the foreground color paint carefully over the edges of the leaves to reduce opacity of the new sky fill and sharpen the edges of the leaves.
This is how our sky layer looked once we were done with the act of fine tuning the mask.

how to replace sky in a photo
how to replace sky in a photo

Control the strength of the brush if needed, making multiple passes will add to the effect, if you need to undo simple press X to interchange foreground and background color and paint over the areas you wish to undo.
Here’s the final result.

How To Replace The Sky In A Photo With Photoshop
How To Replace The Sky In A Photo With Photoshop

Have Fun.

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