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Video:Replace a Dull Sky Using Photoshop Elements

with Don Schechter

Don't let a dull and boring sky ruin the background of your photo. Learn how to replace the skies using Photoshop Elements.See Transcript

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Transcript:Replace a Dull Sky Using Photoshop Elements

Hi, I'm Don Schechter for About.com Computing. Today I'll show you how to replace a dull sky in your photo using Photoshop Elements.

Open Photos With Different Skies

First, open Photoshop Elements. Now open a photo with a dull sky that you'd like to change. You should also have a photo of a sky you'd like to replace it with. I'll open that one too. In order to preserve both images, go to 'file,' 'save as,' and choose 'copy.' Double click the background layer and rename it. Click 'ok.'

Delete the Sky You Want to Replace

Now click on the magic wand tool and click on the dull sky image. It probably won't select all of the sky. Go to 'select,' 'similar,' and the rest of the sky should be added. If not, simply click on one part of the sky and delete it one part at a time. Press 'delete' on your keyboard to erase it.

Copy the Desired Photo's Sky

Now go to your new sky image. As long as your new sky image is most of the photo, you can press 'control C' to copy and then select the dull sky photo, and press 'control V' to paste.

Layer the New Sky in the Photo

The new sky is now covering up the subject of our photo. Go to the layers palette and drag the sky layer below the subject photo. Double click 'layer one' and rename it to "sky".

Add an Adjustment Layer to the Sky

If needed, you can adjust your new sky by adding an adjustment layer. Usually the sky is lighter the closer it is to the horizon, and it darkens when it's farther away from the horizon. In the layers palette, click on the 'sky' layer. Go to 'layer', 'new adjustment layer,' and select a hue/saturation adjustment layer. Click 'ok' without changing the settings.

Click on the mask next to your adjustment layer in the layers palette. Select the gradient tool from the toolbar. The mode should be normal, opacity is at 100%, leave 'reverse' unchecked, and check the 'dither' and 'transparency' options.

Click on the edit button to bring up the gradient editor. Double click the lower left marker on the gradient preview, and in the HSB section of the color picker change the B value to 20%. This will change the black to a dark gray. Click 'ok' twice.

Now click at the top of the sky and while pressing the shift key drag straight down. Release the mouse when you reach where you want the bottom of the sky to be. Now in the mask there should be a gradient. But your image has not changed.

Adjust the Sky

Double click the layer thumbnail for hue/saturation adjustment layer. A window will appear where you can adjust the hue and saturation. Drag the hue slider to a negative number and saturation to a positive number.

You can also adjust the lightness. The lower part of the sky will lighten because on your mask it is white. The sky will remain unchanged where the gradient is black in the mask. Click 'ok' when you're happy with the adjustments.

And here's my sky before, and after.

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