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How to Replace the Sky in Photoshop
  • By Design Bundles
  • 21 Sep 2018
  • 7 Mins
  • Photoshop Tutorials

How to Replace the Sky in Photoshop

For this tutorial, you will need an image with a sky you want to modify and another one with the sky you wish to use instead. We will use blue sky photo and blue sky with clouds.

Step 1: Open base image and duplicate it

In Photoshop, open the image you want to change the sky to.
Open image in Photoshop
Then, duplicate it (command/control + J) and hide the background layer for now (click on the small eye icon on the left side of its thumbnail).
Duplicate layer in Photoshop

Step 2: Select the sky

Double-click on top of your duplicate’s thumbnail to open the layer style panel and in the blending options tab select blue from the blend if field. Move the right-hand lever from this layer to the left until the sky starts to disappear. Depending on the amount of blue present in your sky this will be more or less accurate. To make a smoother transition hold the alt/option key to split the lever in half.
Blend if in Photoshop
Depending on your image you won’t be able to get rid of the entire sky. To delete the rest, click on the add layer mask button at the bottom of the layers panel to create a mask. Select the brush tool (B), make sure you are using black as the foreground color, give it a large size, and delete as much sky as possible.

Step 3: Recover portions deleted by mistake

It is possible that some portions of the image that you wish to keep disappeared with the blues adjustment. To fix it, turn on your background layer, create another duplicate and add a layer mask to it but hold the alt/option key while creating it to hide everything.
Add layer mask in Photoshop
The mask thumbnail should be black.
Select mask in Photoshop
To have a better view of the spots that need fixing, create a solid color fill layer under the one you just masked. Do it by clicking on the small black & white button at the bottom of the layers panel and choosing a bright contrasting color as fill.
Solid color layer in Photoshop
Zoom in to check the edges and details.
Areas to clean in Photoshop
Select the mask thumbnail and use the brush tool (B) with black as the foreground color to bring out the parts that require it.
Change foreground color in Photoshop
Once you are done, you can delete the color fill layer.
Delete layer in Photoshop

Step 4: Import the replacement sky image

Open the image of the sky you want to add and drag it into your document and place it in between your two masked background duplicates.
Place image in Photoshop
Resize it using free transform (command/control + T) and place it in the proper position.
Resize image in Photoshop

Step 5: Adjust the exposure and vibrance of the original image

Create a new exposure adjustment layer on top of everything, clip it to layer 1 (click on the small button at the bottom of the properties panel).
Exposure adjustment layer in Photoshop
And adjust the settings to make your image more bright and similar to the new sky.
Exposure settings in Photoshop
Create a new vibrance adjustment layer on top of everything and crank the vibrance to +100.
Exposure adjustment layer in Photoshop

Step 6: Fix the edges of the horizon

To make the edges between the horizon and sky a bit smoother, use the blur tool, make sure you are working on layer 1, and use a small brush with a 10% strength to do so.
Clean edges in Photoshop
Your artwork should look similar to this.
Replace sky in Photoshop
If you liked this tutorial make sure to check out our other Photoshop tutorials like changing the color of objects and creating clipping masks in Photoshop.

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