How to Replace the Sky Like a Pro Using Photoshop
First of all, we need to separate the sky from the image using a basic selection tool and a layer mask.
Then the Advanced blending sliders from Photoshop will assist in hiding the original sky. And the new sky will take its place over the original sky.
Now you might be thinking I will use the Magic Wand or Color Selecting Tool to select the sky.
In this tutorial, I will show you using the Advanced Blending Slider procedure while replacing the sky in a photo.
Below is another image that will be used to replace the original sky.
A significantly important note I would like to share, the pixel dimension of both images is similar.
This point is very crucial.
If the photos are dissimilar, make sure to use the same width and length’s image before proceeding to the working procedure of replacing the skin in a photo using Photoshop.
Note: If you are new to Photoshop you might find our guide on photoshop tools helpful.
Step 01: Select and Copy the Actual Photo
Firstly, take both images at the same document so that blending gets easy. Then you need to open both the images in Photoshop. While doing so, make sure the actual images document is active.
To select the actual image, press Ctrl + A in Windows and Command + A in Mac.
Around the edges of the image, the selection outline will appear.
To copy the image in the clipboard, hit Ctrl + C for Windows and Command + C for Mac.
Step 02: Paste the Actual Image Over the Sky Images Document
Go to the replacement sky images document and press Ctrl + V for Windows and Command + V for Mac on your keyboard. This way, the original photo gets pasted in the document.
If you intently look at the layer’s panel of Photoshop, we will find the original photo named
Layer 1 and take its place over the replacement photo.
Step 03: Layer 1 Duplication
The benefits of the Advanced Blending Slider option of Photoshop are, you can easily select and hide any areas of an image depending on the color.
It means the feature can easily hide the blue sky, and green trees will not be affected.
But one thing we need to take care of at this point when you tell Advanced Blending Slider to hide all the blue colors of the image, the feature will not only select the sky but also it will select the whole picture.
The feature will inspect the whole image and hide every area that has a blue color. Please note that other colors can also contain blue color, white and gray are this type of color that has a blue portion in them.
So, if we don’t take a few steps to prevent Advanced Blending Slider to hide blue color from the whole image, the entire replacing process will not be successful. So, we need to work on it to prevent this thing from happening.
All you need to do is, make a copy of the original image. Layer 1 has to be active at this point.
To duplicate the layer, press Ctrl + J in Windows and Command + J in Mac.
No major change will happen in the window, but you will see another copy of the Layer 1 named Layer 1 copy in the Layers Panel.
Step 04: Layer 1 Copy Need to be Turned Off
At this point, we don’t require a Layer 1 Copy. So, for now, we will turn off this layer. Click on the Visibility Icon to accomplish this simple task.
This way, the layer will get temporarily turned off and hidden from the document.
Step 05: Choose Layer 1
This step is to activate the Layer 1. Simply click on the Layer 1 from the Layers panel to make the layer active.
Step 06: Choose the Portion Underneath the Sky
Next, we will outline a selection around the image field under the sky. The selection is required to protect areas from Advanced Blending Slider. You can take assistance from the Standard Lasso Tool if you need it.
However, I will use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to complete this task.
To do so, hover your mouse to the Lasso Tool icon placed in the tools panel and keep on holding the mouse until a drop-down menu appears. From the menu, select the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, outline the areas that you want to protect from any changes due to the Advanced Blending Slider. Majority times, I stay below what appears to be any area through the blue sky until it can be relatively loose with my selection through the trees.
While outlining the top of the house area, you need to be more precise with the selection, especially the top portion of the chimney area, where it comes in full contact with the sky. The tone and color of the chimney and sky are quite similar so that you will face problems to outline.
So, while outlining the chimney area, be very careful with the selection.
Except for the chimney area, you will not face any problem to outline. Once you finish drawing the shape, inside the outline, everything will be protected now from the Advanced Blending Slider.
Step 07: Adding Layer Mask
Now the protected area is selected, and we will convert it to a Layer Mask. The Layer Mask icon is placed at the bottom of the Layer Panel.
Once you do the Layer Mask, you will find it in the Layers Panel area.
If you look at the Layer mask’s preview, the selected area has become white, which means the chosen area is still visible in the document. And the black portion of the document means that area is hidden from the view.
And the image that is available in the document window, quite sure, that is the image that we are looking for.
The selected area is still visible, and the sky portion is hidden, and the new sky hides the original sky. We have already replaced the sky with a new sky, but the image did not receive a professional look.
Step 08: Top Layer Selection and Turning On
In this step, we need to activate the Layer 1 copy. Simply click on the visibility icon of the layer 1 copy, and it will get turned on.
Here, You will find the whole original image in the document window.
Now, hover your mouse to the Layer 1 Copy in the Layer Panel and double click on it.
This way, the Layer Style dialog box will appear. You will find the Blending Options in the middle column.
At the bottom of the box, there is a 2 slider bar. You will find the “Blend if” option directly above those slider bars. By default, this option is set as Gray; we need to change it to Blue.
Step 09: Opening Blending Option and Change it to “Blue” from “Blend if” Option
Hover your mouse to the Layer 1 Copy in the Layer Panel and double click on it.
This way, the Layer Style dialog box will appear. You will find the Blending Options in the middle column. At the bottom of the box, there is a 2 slider bar. You will find the “Blend if” option directly above those slider bars. By default, this option is set as Gray; we need to change it to Blue.
Step 10: Give a Professional Look by Setting the Tone and Color of the New Sky
Once you change the option to Blue, the slider bar at the bottom will also change.
If you look intently at the slider bar, you will understand it has changed to black-to-blue from black-to-white.
However, we will work in the “This Layer” slider bar and ignore the bottom slider bar.
Hold the small slider and drag it to your left side.
Once you do this, you will see magic. The original image’s sky is disappearing, and the new sky color is revealing. Continue dragging the slider until you get satisfied with the color and tone of the new sky.
Step 11: Eliminate Fringing by Adjusting the Transition between Images
We are almost done with the process. The only problem is that a lot of sharp ends and fringing are out there in the trees and leaves.
We need to fix that, and transition fixing between 2 images will assist in this regard.
- Don’t drag the slider at this moment. Then hit “Alt” in Windows or “Option” in Mac and hold it for a while.
- Holding the key, go back to the slider option and drag it again to the left. Thus, the slider will split into 2 portions.
- And using 2 separate sliders, you can drag these 2 options independently. You can release a finger from the “Alt” or “Options” key.
If you increase or decrease the distance between the 2 new sliders of “This Layer” option, you can regulate the softness between the 2 images.
Note: While you do this, keep close eyes on the changes. Because adjusting more may create an issue on the quality of the image.
Once you are satisfied with the result, click OK positioned in the top right corner of the Layer Style dialog box.
Thus, the dialog box will be closed. And below is the final image.
Isn’t the process straightforward? Following the above steps, we can easily replace the sky in a photo using Photoshop.
This type of replacement works is a great way to enhance the beauty of real estate images. However, do the practice of the process, soon you will also be an expert on this technique for sure.