More Free Skies For Sky Replacement Surgery

July 28th, 2009

Last week, Rusty Freeman passed along a link to this site that has some nice replacement skies. I’ve added it to the Resource page.

While on the subject of replacing skies it’s worth while bringing up the subject of how to do the replacement. As with anything in Photoshop there are many ways to select just the sky. The difficulty in selecting the sky is proportional to the complexity of the skyline. With many skylines the magic wand and/or the polygon lasso are the fastest. However, when the skyline has something like many wildly irregular trees, getting a good selection calls for extraordinary measures.

My favorite technique for challenging selections is Katrin Eismann’s blue channel selection method. If you have her Photoshop Masking and Compositing book, it’s on page 226. If you don’t, I did a screen capture video that demonstrates this technique. I don’t believe you can use this technique in Photoshop Elements because PSE doesn’t do Channels.

Share this

7 Responses to “More Free Skies For Sky Replacement Surgery”

  • […] and Read More: SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “More Free Skies For Sky Replacement Surgery – Larry Lohrman”, url: […]

  • Hi Larry, I just picked up a magazine at Borders Books called Photoshop for Photographers (2009 Edition). It says it is from the makers of Digital Camera.
    Anyway, it was a little pricey (25.99 – comes with a CD) but the sky replacement technique presented on pages 152-154 are outstanding and make the price a non issue. It is a few more steps then most but it is awesome. Busy skyline or not, it doesn’t matter. The sky comes out amazing.

    Here is a shot that had a grey sky and was adjusted to be bluer. (not so good)

    Here is the same shot using the technique in that magazine.

    I think it is great.

  • Select > Colour range – is the best way to go. A little bit masking later and looks perfect! Quick and easy.

  • I’ve needed to learn this technique… THANK YOU for the resources!!

  • The magic wand is quite a tool when modifying photos. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get what you want.

  • Here is a method for sky replacement. It works awesome. I set it up as an action in photoshop. Less than 1 minute per photo.

    Instructions for Photoshop:
    1. Copy and paste the sky as a new layer .
    2. Use the Move tool to reposition as necessary.
    3. Create new background layer (duplicate layer)
    4. Go to Image > adjustment > levels – and put in 0- left or black point .34-middle or midtone 219 -right or white
    5. Then click on the channels tab and grab the blue channel and drag it onto the new channel button.
    6. With blue copy 2 channel highlighted, hit Image > adjustment > levels – 72-left (black) 1.00 (mid) 228-right -(white)
    7. Now apple click (pc – ctrl click) the channel thumbnail to generate a selection
    8. Click on the rgb channel to view image
    9. Click on the layers palette – make sky layer visible – click on it and add layer mask
    (optional – Alt click on the mask)
    10. Click your brush tool. Paint all areas of the house and property black.
    It should look beautiful.

    Now, create an action button and save all steps 3 – 9 and you’ll have new skies in a few seconds.

    Contact me if you have any questions.
    James –

  • We have been saving our own skies for quite some time. The site is a great resource tool. It seems everyone applies them in a slightly different fashion. Thanks for the tips.

Trackback URI Comments RSS

Leave a Reply