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  • Writer's pictureLilakian

52 Weeks of Photoshop: Week 3 - Sky Replacement

Sky replacement? More like hair replacement! My least favourite challenge so far. This was total struggle-town for me! It is something I will continue to practice and incorporate in future images but it is something I would enjoy a really nice break from! I watched a few tutorials and followed all the steps but I felt like I was getting absolutely no where with my results. Nothing went smoothly for me at all and what I ended up with I still am not happy with because Koda almost has a glow around her which is incredibly hard to fix because of all her fur!!! Never have I wanted a smooth coated subject so much!

This was the image I chose to work with. I wanted to give it a really moody / stormy make over because to me this face is saying "I am at peace no matter what is going on" and my girl enjoys her wet weather.

One thing that was really important with replacing the sky in this image was to make sure it was replicated in the reflections of the water otherwise it would have been super obvious that it was altered.

So my first step was to put the sky image I had selected over my photo and line it up with the horizon. I then duplicated the image and flipped it vertically so that I had a perfectly mirror image and the entire photo was covered in sky. I merged the layers together and then changed the layer style from 'Normal' to 'Multiply'. Once that was done it was time to mask my subject. When masking I just 'painted' anything that was not sky or water. (see below)

Refine the edges a little and maybe a spot heal to make it a little more subtle around the edges. Ideally the rest of the image would be further edited (for me back in Lightroom) to darken all the bright features considering how 'stormy' this image is now. To get the water portion softened and blurred to look like a reflection I simply used the lasso tool on the sky image to select all the water area (doesnt have to be perfect because of your mask, just select all of it) and then go to 'Filter' > 'Blur' > 'Gaussian Blur' and then select the amount of pixels, I selected 150 px. Here is the end result:

Ideally this image would be further edited (in Lightroom for me) to darken the rest of the image as the subject and the middle ground is clearly far too bright for this kind of sky. Alternatively, darken it up first. I really wanted to run away from this entire process. I absolutely hated doing it but I know I will be able to do some really great things with it when I master this ability. I couldn't help myself and had to do a quick edit with something that felt super galactic.


Let me know your thoughts! Did you try the process I used? Do you have a favourite tutorial for replacing the scenery? Tag us in your attempts at sky replacement #thekodaco

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