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  • HELP enhancing sky

    I have some great shots but sky is drab and dreary. Overcast that day.
    Can someone point me to a good tutorial on how to enhance a sky.
    I am using PhotoshopCS.
    Eventually I plan to take pictures of nice skys so I can use to replace drab ones, but for now I would be interested in a PS tutorial on how to enhance.
    Thanks,
    Pete

  • #2
    Hi Pete

    Welcome to RP.

    Replacing the sky is quite easy with Photoshop.

    Post a picture we will walk you through the steps. Try to post a picture with no big trees etc. on the skyline as this is more complicated.

    Ken

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    • #3
      PCS... This is something I need to do all the time and for most shots with a good horizon it's pretty easy...

      1 Duplicate the background layer. (Not really necessary, but a good habit to get into)
      2 Make a "garbage selection" with your tool of choice. In this case just the rectangle marquee tool is sufficient. Select the sky area down to the "solid" horizon line.
      3 With the garbage selection active, do a Select Color Range. Start with the slider at zero and hold the shift key down while you drag the eye dropper through different shades of the sky. Watch the preview expand to white to show the selected areas. When it looks good, you may want to slide the fuzziness slider to the right a beat or too. Click OK, but do not deselect.
      4. Check the blinking "marching ants in the selection. If you see some blinking in areas that you know are sky, use the loose lasso tool with the SHIFT key held down to rope them up and ADD them to the selection. (If you see ants dancing or blinking in areas that are not sky, like a building feature, hold down the ALT key and lasso around those to EXCLUDE them from the selection.)
      5. At this point you may want to go under the Selection menu and SAVE the selection as an Alpha channel so you can load it again if necessary.
      6. With the ants still marching, do a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. Make sure that "Colorize" is checked. First slide the Lightness layer to the left so you can see some color, then adjust the hue to a good sky color, set an appropriate saturation level then readjust the lightness slider to suit your taste.
      7 If you see some gaps you can alwyas go back and clean up the Adjustment layer's mask by painting B/W on the mask.

      Hope this helps...
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Awwww... Ken... Don't scare him like that.. and it's really easy with trees.. LOL

        If you get a good sky selection, you can delete the sky and add clouds... Even reflect the clouds in the water.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Swampy; 08-21-2005, 09:01 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          very nice, dee dee. tough for me to follow the tut, not having PS. what is a 'garbage selection' tool?

          depending on the picture, you could probably use the magic wand also to make your selection of the sky area. then using color selection (hue map in psp), you could do the same as swampy.

          you might get away with an even simpler method. sometimes all you need is an adjustment layer of contrast/lightness to alter a sky area to a desirable effect.

          Craig

          Comment


          • #6
            Craig... Garbage Selection or garbage mask. Well it's a little used feature of Photoshop that lets you define a very loose selection (ie. the large marquee of the sky area) and then perform a Selective Color function within just the garbage mask. Photoshop will not look for matching colors outside the garbage selection area.

            This can be very helpful when you have a situation with blown out sky, background trees, a dark roof line and a very light colored building. With the magic wand you have the option to set up for contiguious selections or not.

            If contiguious is turned ON it might be very difficult to select gaps in the trees with the magic wand. With contiguious turned OFF the wand may pick up the white areas of the light building. Using the garbage mask you can tell PhotoShop to just select the various colors of the blownout sky and not in the building. Kind of a "pre mask" telling Photoshop..."only look in this area."

            Photoshop's Select-> Color Range is a very powerful tool because you get a black and white preview of the selection as you tweak it. The fuzziness slider that it provides can really home in on subtile variations of the color you are picking.

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            • #7
              ah, ok. thanks dee dee.

              one thing i dont get, though. again, not having PS this may seem silly, but in psp if i make a selection, any selection, i can use something similar to the color selection thing in PS and alter the colors. like, make a selection and use 'hue map' to alter ranges of hues. so, how is the garbage selection different?

              Comment


              • #8
                Craig, the garbage matte is only different in HOW the selection is made. There are a number of tools in PS to change the look of a sky (make it red, blue, gree, textured, or just delete it and throw something else in it's place.)

                The Color Range tool in PhotoShop is much more powerful than the magic wand. (Personally, I avoid the magic wand unless it is a very simple white background similar to the Hamera Photo Objects stuff).

                In the first picture below, I used a garbage mask to define the sky down to the horizon then ran the Color Range tool. Note, the fuzziness slider is maxed out. Pinpoint masking of leaves and palmetto is very detailed at this setting. Every trace of blue/gray, white, gray is gone from the sky. I only clicked in one section of the sky (when fuzziness was set at zero). This initial selection was about 3 pixels of sky, but pumping up the fuzziness automatically selected more and more shades of sky until my mask is pure white in the sky area.

                The second picture below is the same selection done without a garbage mask. Even with the fuzziness up to 130 you can see more lumanence areas creeping in to the selection and there are probably still shades of gray in the sky.

                Using the garbage mask technique, I don't have to worry about cleaning up extranious stuff outside the sky area and there is a lot of detail in the resulting selection to work with (to delete, change color, texturize etc.)

                Much depends on the subject of the photograph, but for trees on a blown out sky, it's about the best method I've found.

                dee dee
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • #9
                  With the magic wand you have the option to set up for contiguious selections or not.

                  If contiguious is turned ON it might be very difficult to select gaps in the trees with the magic wand. With contiguious turned OFF the wand may pick up the white areas of the light building.
                  ok, let me go back to this quote. in psp 9 i can make a selection, either with the magic wand or freehand or normal selection. if areas get picked up i dont want, i can convert the selection with 'edit selection' and simply erase what i dont want selected. basically, it converts the selection into a mask. then, once i've edited out what i dont want, i can turn the mask back into a now modified selection and run whatever filter or adjustment i want and that filter will only affect the areas in the selection.

                  if i'm reading you right on this, your garbage mask/selection is like a luminosity selection but that you can adjust it sort of 'on the fly'. yes no? and that the fuzziness slider is that on the fly adjustment tool? i say luminosity selection because of what you said about blown out whites and dark roofs and such. or maybe a better way to describe the fuzziness thing would be like saying it's a luminosity gradient adjustment slider?

                  Craig

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                  • #10
                    Here's what the manual says about the Color Range selection tool and fuzziness slider. (Pic 1)

                    In a photo with detailed leaves and sky (Pic 2-Original) making a selection of the blown out sky can present a challenge.

                    Pic 3 is a selection of the sky made with the magic wand set for non-contiguious, 100% tolerance. It does select the sky, but also mortar in the bricks in the pump house, the subtile roof line of a building in the woods to the left of the pump house and something in the woods along the tree shadow line that almost looks like a man dressed in white. It also starts to pick up the blue channel areas in the "gray-green" upper left leaves (zoom in to about 8 o'clock on the upper circle)

                    Pic 4 is a selection made with a combination of a garbage mask of the sky area all the way down to just below the long sloping limb over the pump house. (This confines the selection to exclude the brick mortar, roof lines in the woods, and the "man in white" figure.) I then did the Color Range Selection on the blown out sky. Again, if you zoom in on the upper circle and pan around you will see that the Color Range selection did not affect as much of the "gray green" areas of the leaves. These mid-tone areas are what the fuzziness slider controls (kinda like the tolerance level of the wand). Those "grey-green" areas are critical to the overall selection, but much easier to control (and les touch up later) with the Color Range tool. The best part is, you can see this selection happening "live" in several different views (masked, white or black matte with color preview etc.) which is so much easier than trying to decipher a marching ants selection with the wand tool.

                    dee dee
                    Attached Files

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                    • #11
                      ok, got it. thanks dee dee

                      Craig

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                      • #12
                        Thanks

                        OK, thanks guys. I will work through these suggestions and see how I do.
                        I am also going to try to get some good sky pictures in my library and try to replace the sky with a better one. Wish me luck!
                        Thanks again for the inputs.
                        Pete

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